When I pick up a Metal Earth model kit, one of the first things I look for is the “skill level” listed on the package. You’ll almost certainly find this on all newer kits, but you might not if you have an older one. Some people refer to these as “difficulty levels.” The question is, how useful are they, and at what level should you attempt them?
If you’re unfamiliar with model kit ratings, your first experience may not be as enjoyable if you get too far ahead of yourself. Modeling is a hobby that requires practice, patience, and time to achieve the desired outcome. To make it more enjoyable for you, we will go over the different levels with some examples of kits.
Individuals who are new to the hobby or who are purchasing a kit as a gift for someone else will find the ‘skill level’ to be a useful indicator of difficulty rating.
What do Metal Earth Skill Levels mean?
These levels are a manufacturer-developed rating system that serves as a general guide to:
- How difficult will it be to construct a model?
- What level of experience is required?
- How many construction hours can be expected?
That sounds good. However, after a few kits, you’ll probably realize that these skill levels are highly subjective. There’s also the issue of how they stack up against the difficulty ratings used by other metal model companies around the world.
Metal Earth Skill Level Indicator
Typically, only a very basic rating “gauge” is shown – a needle indicating where the manufacturer believes this kit falls on a 10-point scale:
Easy = levels 1 to 2
Moderate = levels 3 to 5
Challenging = levels 6 to 8
Expert = levels 9 to 10
What exactly are Metal Earth models?
Metal Earth models are constructed with high-quality steel sheets. Each model is meticulously detailed, with parts cut from one or more 4″ square steel sheets. Each kit comes with simple instructions and no soldering or glue is required. Snip the pieces apart and bend the tabs through the corresponding connection points.
There are at least two models that I would classify as absurdly simple. These are the previously mentioned Bird House and the Washington Monument. And if you’re looking for something super-easy, quick, and simple to complete with little effort, these are good examples. However, I’m not sure I’d recommend these for trying out Metal Earth models because they’re so simple and don’t give you much of an introduction to the hobby.
1. Butterfly Models
These models are simple, but the results are stunning. Some folds are small and intricate, while others are broad and simple. Best of all, these models allow you to add your own artistic flair to the positioning of the wings and antennae.
2. World Trade Center Models
A very nice starter model that also produces good results due to the building not being made entirely of right angles. It also includes at least one cylindrical piece, which will teach you how to shape curves
3. Eiffel Tower model
This model is fairly simple, though it does present some initial challenges when it comes to aligning some of the pieces together. There are some gentle curves, but they practically form themselves as the model is put together.
4. Mustang P- 51
This model is not easy, but it is also not as difficult as it appears. It consists primarily of flat surfaces with a few simple curved elements. There are some tight tab and alignment fits, but nothing too bad.
1. Star Wars Models
Star Wars models aren’t what I’d call good beginner models. I believe this is because designers are required to include certain levels of detail to match the real thing, so they can’t really simplify certain aspects like they can with Buildings or original model designs. If I had to pick a single Star Wars model to recommend as a starting point, I think I’d go with the Imperial AT-AT. Don’t be misled by the Star Destroyer or Tie Fighter models, either. They may appear simple, but they hide some nasty little surprises in the details.
2. Marvel Models
I would probably recommend Captain America’s Shield or one of the Guardians of the Galaxy Legends models to Marvel fans. Do not begin with an Avengers Legends model… Those were part of what I consider the “Gen 1” release of Legends models, and the legs on those are a pain. However, when the Guardians were released, they redesigned how the legs were formed, and it is much better. Those Legends models have a few interesting moments, but they are much easier to play. Cap’s Shield is fairly simple to construct, except for the wrist / hand straps on the back. You could, of course, stop before that point because they aren’t required, but if you want to finish it, you’ll have to deal with some tight spots and small pieces. However, it remains one of the easier options, particularly in the Marvel lineup.
3. Transformer Models
These are some of the more intricate and exacting models in the Metal Earth collection. Unless you’re incredibly stubborn and persistent, and willing to use tape and glue to hold the thing together, don’t start with a classic Metal Earth Transformer model.
4. Harry Potter Models
Choose the Snitch. It’ll still be difficult to get started because the main body of this model is a ball, which takes a lot of time, patience, and nerve to get right. I must have built several hundred models before my Golden Snitch, and I still ended up with a lopsided gold-nugget with wings. So just be warned… it won’t be easy.
As you go through these kits, you’re bound to run into a few snags. These models are entertaining and visually appealing. Instead of giving up in frustration, learn some useful tools and strategies that will make your life a lot easier.