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Discussion Starter #1
My favorite kits were the bat-vehicles, the ones that I would see in an ad in the back of a comicbook, but never could find. Repro's of Batman, sure, even found a Robin mint in box in a store's warehouse. But never the vehicles.

When PL re-did those kits, they were on the top of my list. I never thought I would be able to afford the originals. I had such a great time building them that I decided to start a batmobile collection in 1/24 scale.

I started with the very first car to carry the title: a red convertible with a bat-shaped hood ornament. It first appeared in the 1941 Detective Comics #48. Batman had been using some other cars, but this one is the first with the name.

The art in this issue was very crude and trying to find a model that fit wasn't easy. I finally decided on a 1938 Cord. The kit was built stock with the exception of the front end. I modified the snub-nosed convertible using tin foil and Bondo to have a leading point. White putty was used for finishing. I then used tiny files to extend the engine louvers (sp?). Sheet styrene was used to create the side panels and the hood ornament. The windshield that came with the kit was a horrible fit so I cut one out of a yogurt top and dipped it in Future.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The next kit for the collection is my most favorite design of all time. The 1940s Batmobile that most people recognize first appeared a few months after the red convertible version in Batman #5, 1941.

After flirting with car modification with the first batmobile, this project started the more intensive cutting and forming. I started with a 1939 Ford because it had the perfect trailing edges for the bat fin. I chopped the bumpers and widened the rear fenders slighly and built wheel covers out of styrene. There were many artistic renditions of the dorsal bat-fin, depending on the source (sunday comic strip, comic books). I picked the one I liked the most and cut it out of sheet styrene, sanding the scalloped edges.

This car is usually drawn with the front fenders enclosed, which creates a bit of an engineering problem regarding clearance: the wheels have to turn! I bought a 1941 Wilys and cut out the front fenders. I built supports on the '39 Ford chasis to get them to fit properly (they don't meet in the middle, but we'll solve that later). I used more sytrene and putty to get the fenders to line up with the running boards and lots of white putty to make a fillet to the sides of the hood and for the front wheel covers.

The three holes on the sides of the hood are drilled out for aluminum tubing that will serve as the exhaust ducts. Small slats of styrene comprise the new front grill.

The infamous bat head (not pictured) is almost ready to go. I cut it out of a toy easter egg and glued a small strip of styrene down the middle. The egg creates a concave shield that I am filling in with Bondo and putty. The ears are out of styrene and it will mount flat to the front end of the car. The hood will not mount completely flush to the bat head, but I don't think that's going to look bad.

This kit is about two weeks from painting. I found a great midnite blue for the body. The bat head will be black with white eyes. I want to put in the red stripe that ran mid level on the fenders and side panels as a cool color transition between the first batmobile and the batmobile of the 1950's. I think that's going to have to be painted in given the degree of curves a pinstripe would have to adhere to.

Because of the modified front end, the interior and glass had to be installed before the fenders. I dipped the glass in Future and painted the interior semi-gloss black.

The '41 Wilys had red headlights, but the new issue of fine model car has a "how to" on molding new headlights, so that's pretty easy.

I learned an amazing amount about force and torque cutting this kit up. I am painfully learning about lines, all lines, in 3-D. The fact that white putty shrinks was new to me about three weeks ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've got, in various stages, most of the kits for the collection. It turns out that they're about two designs per decade that I really like and want to build. Obviously, the PL 1950's kit is an amazing work of art and is next on the list. This kit has an amzaing amount of detail and I am having the greatest time taking it apart and making it look different. The 50's ended with a similar looking "bubble-mobile" that my old Horizon resin kit has volunteer to go under the knife for.

The 1960's "new look" coupe is the one that I haven't started yet, but I am always hunting hobby stores and car swaps look for potential design inspirations.

The 1960 PL kit that the artist Carmine Infantino drew based on the TV show will be next.

The 1970's subdued version that artist Neal Adams designed is a mix of a '66 Mustang and a '68 corvette. I am still trying to figure out the lines on this one, but it is one of my favorites.

Finally, the Horizon resin 1980's model actually first appeared in the late '70s. This was my first resin car kit. I'll post pics of that some day, but it's not my most favorite design.

Two more possibilities include Batmobiles of the future. I particularly liked Frank Miller's bat-tank from "The Dark Knight Returns" and the Go-Bot looking Batmobile from Alex Ross' "Kingdom Come". Maybe. We'll see about those.

The work of all of the board members here has been so inspiring that I thought that I would try to do something like this. Dan Thompson and his amazing web pages devoted to his bat models (and cool Blackhawk planes. Hawkaaa!) totally convinced me that I was not the only guy with a sick sense of compulsion.

Feedback welcomed, 'cause I've just been making it up as I go along.

excelsior!

deane
 

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Wow! Excellent stuff! Thanks for sharing it. I really admire you guys that can do such great kit bashes. If I were wearing a hat, I'd have to take it off to you!

Wayne
 

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Hey Deano, I have to say it's great to see the same idea I had about 9 years ago come to life... I was planning on doing 1/24 scaled Batmobiles too. I wanted to get better a car kits first b4 I started this endeavour. I have collected many cool rides to bash into Bat cars. Even a few concept Batmobiles are in the works but I wanted to wait. Yours look great, they are very inspirational... I can't wait to see you 70's version. Keep it up boss and send more pics!!!!

Travis
 

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Looking great! Excellent work! I love the batmobiles, too! I look forward to more pics of what you've done and hearing of your ideas in the future!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the kind words, guys! It has been a lot of work but a lot of fun as well.

Rebel Rocker, I think part of my message is that I have no talent, just an interest to try kit bashing and time to watch a lot of episodes of "Monster Garage". Really, asking people for help has been the biggest talent used so far.

XactoHazzard, I will post the 70's car soon. It was the most cutting-intensive and I stopped working on it because I thought I needed more experience to finish it off. Thus, the work on the other, more straight-forward kits.

Dan Thompson has a great website for his batmobiles, if you've never seen it before. It really got me thinking!
 

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daikins said:
Dan Thompson has a great website for his batmobiles, if you've never seen it before. It really got me thinking!
Got me thinking, too!

Do you have any idea of what would be a good slab-sided old car model to bash a bubbletop out of? :confused: I've got plenty of bubbles but no car.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Good question. I will think about it!

In the meanwhile, would you measure the interior diameter of your bubbletops? That will help greatly. I know I am looking for a bubble top for my horizon 1950's kit and would eagerly buy one from you, if you had an extra.
 

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Roger, wilco! Tomorrow I'll grab the bubbles and check them out for you.
 

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Just bought the first volume of the Batman Archives, you guys have inspired me to buy a couple more this weekend.

Found it interesting that the first named bat vehicle wasn't the batmobile, but the "bat-gyro" I think it was called(the book isn't in front of me right now).

It was a funky looking "batplane" that had helicopter blades on top for vertical lift and a single front blade for forward momentum.

Anybody know if such a real world design was ever built?
I know of one in which wing mounted props would rotate for vertical/forward flight, but haven't seen one that permanently had both...
 

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Does anyone make a kit of the first Batman as he originally appeared in the comics or on film?
 

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PerfesserCoffee said:
Does anyone make a kit of the first Batman as he originally appeared in the comics or on film?
A garage kit company - IDC - made a kit years ago of Lewis Wilson as Batman from the 1943 serial, but it is rare and long unavailable. There have been a zillion GK kits of Batman but the IDC is the only one I know of that pre-dates a 1960s version of Batman. DC Direct has offered a number of very nice figures and busts of the 1940s and 1950s era Batman.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Perfesser- I'm thinkin' go with a Studebaker (the car artist Dick Sprang used to base the '50's car on) for the bubble top. That way, the front end of the car is already set up for what you need.

Also, the IDC kit of Lewis Wilson is noted for him holding the big ray gun used in the serial. Very hard to find these days.

DC comics has just issued a "First Appearance" Batman, that comes with a mini-copy of detective 29. The figure is 9" plastic with joints and a cloth cape. Should cost you $17. A "First Appearance" Robin is in the works.
My favorite 1940 batman figure is a cloth & plastic doll with a wire-spoked cape and plastic batarang. It came out in the late 90's as part of a book set. The color and detail is amazingly spot-on.

Chuck_P.R.- Those archives books are great references, but very expensive. I hunt the cheaper prices. JL did a fantasic 1/64 scale kit of the bat auto-gyro to go with a 1940 batmobile.
 

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Hmmm! I might just sculpt up a 1940s "VampireMan Superhero" in 1/24th scale.
 
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