At Toy Fair, I visited the booth of Fascinations, Inc., which specializes in metal model kits of everything from vintage aircraft to Captain America’s shield. Intricate and easy to assemble, the Metal Earth line holds appeal for collectors, historians, and fans alike.
I spoke with founder William Hones, who revealed that they started their Metal Earth line four years ago, and have been expanding their licensing, in particular to Star Wars.
Along with the TARDIS from Doctor Who, and spaceships from Star Trek and Star Wars, they have a very shiny gold C-3PO model. C-3PO was the first character they did. Turns out it isn’t as easy as it might seem to create metal models of characters, rather than aircraft or architectural landmarks. They also have an R2-D2.
Human faces are particular challenging because, Hones explained, “working with [metal] sheets…you can’t do complex curves, you can curve around an axis, but if you take that curved sheet and then try to do this direction…” it’s difficult to get the metal to curve like a human face. Because C-3PO is a robot with “sharp corners,” this lends itself better to the medium Metal Earth works in. This is why they tend to do vehicles for the characters not the characters themselves.
For Marvel, they have an Iron Man kit—which is Tony Stark’s robot armor—Captain America’s shield, and Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. Many of the kits were all silver or gold, while some are more colorful—the rich blue of the TARDIS, or the vivid red of Captain America’s shield.
The company is Seattle-based, like Microsoft, which they have licenses with, including for Halo, but does design work in Seattle, Vietnam, and China. “It’s a group effort,” said Hones. They also have a license with aircraft manufacturer Boeing.
The model kits start as flat sheets of metal, and then they do “laser cutting and etching…you just punch them out, you can wriggle the little pieces out of the sheets and they have tabs and holes. You put the tabs into the holes and when you’re finished they’re like a museum-quality model, they look really nice.” Hones added.
Have you done any Metal Earth kits already? Anything you’re especially hoping to get your hands on? (I was partial to the Captain America shield). Let us know in the comments!
Author: Dot R
Dot has been bouncing around various fandoms for many years now writing essays, episode reviews, commentary, and reporting news and conducting interviews, among other things. Along with being a Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and Supernatural fangirl, she’s also a fan of fantasy and science fiction television shows, everything from Farscape to Killjoys to 12 Monkeys to X-Files to Wynonna Earp. Currently Fangirl at Large covering numerous geek culture related topics, convention news, casting spoilers, show news, and interviews.
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