Star Wars Metal Kits: “Metal Earth” offers crafting with metal models

Star Wars X-Wing metal model

At the same time as the start of the new Star Wars film, the film studios' merchandising machine is of course running at full speed. And sometimes - in very rare cases - even very nice things come out of it. In this case the “Star Wars Metal Earth” metal kits! The feel of the metal models is much nicer than that of plastic models. Because they are not carelessly and uncleanly punched out, but rather precisely cut out with a laser, the tiny connections also fit well into one another, which guarantees a sense of achievement for beginners.

Star Wars X-Wing metal model
The Star Wars X-Wing metal model from Metal Earth is definitely an eye-catcher - and a nice challenge for handicraft-loving adults and their children!

Lasers, punching, plugging, bending - Star Wars model making for metalworkers

The fascinating thing about the kits is that the individual parts were lasered out of a flat metal plate and first have to be "freed" from this plate with an electronics side cutter or small pliers. Then you have “flat” parts, which in some cases (like the Millennium Falcon cockpit) also have to be folded into the right shape.

Star Wars Metal Earth Plates
This is the style in which the two 4-inch metal plates in the “Star Wars Metal Earth” kits are constructed. You can also see the small tabs on the parts, which then ensure attachment (photos: Amazon).

They are then assembled with tiny metal tabs that grip into corresponding openings and are then bent - completely without glue.

Close up of the Metal Earth connectors
Here in the close-up you can see how the plug connections in the Metal Earth models work: The tabs are pushed through and then bent over - this is how the individual parts of the metal models hold together without glue.

Size and construction time of the Star Wars kits

Star Wars Destroyer Droid
The Star Wars Destroyer Droid (Droideka) model is certainly one of the heavy construction kits, as it has many curves that first have to be neatly bent out of the flat steel sheets.

The kits are all different sizes and complex, but tact, patience and a steady hand are required for all Metal Earth models. For this reason, they are certainly not for 4-5 year olds but rather for children who have a lot of patience. My junior (7 years old), for example, is a big fan of Lego technology and can spend hours working on the models; I think a Star Wars model would be a challenge for him, but doable.

According to a customer, the construction time should take three or more hours. The parts first have to be detached from the large plate and then processed with flat-nose pliers and chopsticks (yes, you read that correctly!), Which of course also takes time. So you get back a few hours of puzzle work for your money.

The prices are between 8 EUR (for the Destroyer Droid) and 17 EUR (for the Kylo Rens Command Shuttle model) and are appropriate for the building fun.

Suitable tools ensure more fun with handicrafts

Most of the customers have noted in the reviews which tools they used for the assembly: Kebab skewers, chopsticks, flat-nose pliers, electronic side cutters, nail scissors and model making tweezers are part of the range. You have to keep in mind that the solid models are only a few centimeters tall. For example, the Millennium Falcon is 6 inches wide and 7 inches long. The components on the panels are correspondingly small, measuring 4 x 4 inches (approx. 10 x 10 cm). Tweezers and precision mechanic pliers are therefore recommended by other hobbyists for a reason.

If you would like to stock up on tools and need a pair of pliers or tweezers anyway, you should take a look at these two sets:

Electronics pliers set (8 pliers) from Mannesmann

Mannesmann electronics pliers set
Good quality at a low price: the Mannesmann Electronics pliers set.

At around 17 EUR, this set is a good choice if you don't want to buy cheap scrap. The pliers are all provided with ground heads and smooth joints. Due to the rubber coating, they are comfortable to hold and can also be used for long handicrafts. The zippered pocket helps to keep the pliers clean and ready to hand at all times. The set includes flat-nose pliers, round-nose pliers, side cutters, combination pliers and several other types of pliers - more than enough for every model maker. Found here at Amazon.

Tweezer set from Revell (3 tweezers)

Revell tweezers set
The Revell tweezers set also contains the self-closing tweezers, which are very helpful for assembling the small parts.

A set of different tweezers is also helpful to get the small parts in the right positions. There are also inexpensive sets from manufacturers other than Revell, but these are often made of such inferior material that they bend quickly and then no longer grip properly. This set from Revell also has the self-closing tweezers, which is important for moving small parts without constantly having to keep the pressure on the tweezers. The set is priced at around 14 EUR. Found here at Amazon.

Armed with these tools and possibly one more Magnifying lamp or at least this one”Third hand with craft magnifier” (which I use) it should only be a matter of time before it is set up. While the instructions appear to be in English for some models, the accompanying drawings appear to be a good guide to assembly even if you don't speak English.

Overview of the current Star Wars Metal Earth models

The Millennium Falcon is of course the bestseller among the Star Wars metal kits (source: Amazon in the section Stand model construction: space vehicles), but there are several other models in this series. For the sake of clarity, here is a summary of the Star Wars models (models from the first parts Star Wars 1 to 3 and episodes 4 to 6 and the latest Star Wars VII ("The force awakens") from Metal Earth:

My conclusion: Educationally valuable for kids and an eye-catcher for Star Wars nerds

You can think what you want about the Star Wars films - as fans we of course only think good things about them! - but with these kits, the film studio's marketing department has created something beautiful. Tinkering with the models is a lot of fun because you work with small, heavy and high-quality looking components. You feel a bit like a watchmaker working on a tiny machine.

The demands on the hobbyist are not small, since the small parts are extremely small, but with patience and instinct you can conjure up a pretty model from the metal plates that also looks great thanks to the high-gloss surface.

I think the kits are a great gift idea for adults who like Star Wars and who like to do handicrafts. For children from 8 or 9 years they shouldn't be an unsolvable problem either, if the child has a bit of patience and dexterity. In an emergency, dad or mom just has to help a little. :)

I definitely enjoy handicrafts and it is also a good alternative to the puzzle if you want to "wind down". Of course it's nicer with the right tools, but in principle you can also get there with nail scissors, chopsticks and tweezers.

And for those of you who would like to present your first model accordingly, I have here is another solar powered platform found, which then slowly rotates with the model. This is how you provoke envious looks from work colleagues when you place your Star Wars model on the office table. :)

And now the official German trailer for Star Wars 7 “The Force Awakens”… just to get you in the mood. ;-)

 

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