EPIC EARL: Car parts transformed into massive mailbox
WHEN Steve Henley was asked by his wife Kathy to buy a mailbox for their Mount Marshall home, he instead pulled out his welder to build an incredible spectacle.
He spent 250 hours tinkering away to build Earl, a striking three-metre tall transformer that stands guard on their front lawn.
From head to toe, Earl is completely built out of car parts, most of which are from Holden cars or motorbikes.
Mr Henley used mufflers, rims, lights, an engine sump and more to piece the incredible sculpture together.
He started at the feet and legs and worked his way up, shaping his body piece by piece to ensure the robot stayed in proportion.
Mr Henley said he enjoyed reusing scrap metal and second hand wares to build something completely new.
"I can see how something can be used in more than one application," Mr Henley said.
"If you look at a bucket on the ground you might think it's just a bucket but I can see it could be something different."
As the owner of Metro Tiles in Toowoomba, Mr Henley spent nights and weekends welding the masterpiece together.
He'd work away in his shed until about 2am, using trial and error to get the pieces just right.
"It's actually my downtime, when I want to chill out that's my way of switching off from everything," Mr Henley said.
"If I see something and it's in my head, I have to build it.
"I don't use plans I just wing it.
"Basically I had a pile of stuff, I thought that'll look cool for his teeth, that'll look cool for a gun, you do map it out a bit."
When Earl was complete, Mr Henley had to remove the roof sheets on the shed and enlist the help of a crane to pluck the 1.2 tonne transformer out.
He was moved about 100 metres to where he now sits, alongside Bender from Futurama who acts as the actual mailbox.
Earl has now been on the front lawn for about three and a half years.
Mr Henley said he never expected the transformer would create such a spectacle, but it's getting to be quite well known.
His wife Kathy also nominated the piece for a mailbox of the year competition run by RM Williams in 2015, which it won.
He said people stopped outside their house daily to view and photograph the robot.
On Sunday, four men riding Harley-Davidson motorbikes pulled up to get a happy snap with Earl.
"I just like to build stuff because I get a kick out of it and they all respect it," he said.
"He's even had fan mail."
The transformer has also become like a part of the family, getting dressed up in a beanie for Jumpers and Jazz as well as wearing a Santa hat over Christmas.
"Every year we dress him up in winter clothing and put a scarf on him," Mr Henley said.
Mr Henley has also built chopper bikes and is currently working on a dog made out of car parts.
He said he had created a few pieces for friends, but for now his creations remained a hobby.
You can visit the transformer on Ryans Rd, Mount Marshall.