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Vanoyen

AMT 1989 Keaton Batmobile

40 posts in this topic

 

Everyone has their favourite Batmobile. My personal preference is the Tumbler but when it comes to sheer iconic beauty, you can’t really beat the 1989 Batmobile AKA the “Keaton” Mobile.

 

Box Art

 

I remember building the original release of this kit way back in 1991. It was one the first models I’d ever made and although it was rough as guts, I enjoyed the process a lot. AMT reissued the Batman Returns version which is essentially the same kit with a couple of parts added to replicate the scene where the Penguin’s goons hacked into the electronics. The batmobile I want to replicate is the original which had a less glossy, dark grey paint job.

I’m planning to add working head/taillights, dashboard lights and a flickering flame in the jet exhaust.    

I decided to start with the body first so set about cleaning up any mould seams and flash. Turns out there where quite a lot of each but that’s to be expected when the tooling is over 25 years old. The first real hurdle came when I got to the rear wings. Due to the moulding process, a separate part must be added to the inside of each wing. Not a big deal except the fit is horrible and leaves huge gaps that require not just filling but reshaping.

 

Here's one of the gaps...

Gap 1

 

And here's how much filler is needed to maintain the integrity and shape of the wing. I used 2-part Epoxi Sculpt. It dries rock hard but has zero shrinkage.

Gap Filled 1

 

Other areas that needed filling where the bottom rear fenders and the air intake scoops. The bottom of the rear fenders are actually moulded onto the chassis and if left that way a noticeable gap would be seen after painting and assembly. I cut them off the chassis then attached them to the fenders and used Epoxi Scupt to shape them. The air intakes are attached to the  batmobile's exterior engine parts. The back wall of the engine parts is actually a metallic colour but the scoops should be the same colour are the body and they should attach with no seam lines so again the Epoxi Scuplt was brought out and made use of. Unfortunately I didn't think to take pics of these steps but you'll get the idea when you see the other pics. So anyway, after a lot of filling, sanding, testing and refilling/re-sanding I had a surface i was happy with.

 

Here's the body primed. I used Silly Putty and Humbrol Masking Fluid to mask off the side engine back walls as I'd already painted them Alclad "Steel" (I'll be weathering them a little later on).

Tamiya Fine White Primer

 

It took me a long time to determine which shade of dark grey (Batmobiles are never black) I wanted as the colour looks very different depending on the light around it. I decided I wanted something between this...

batmobile1

 

and this..

Grey Shade 1

 

 

So I decanted some Tamiya spray cans (Matt Black TS-6 and Matt White TS-27) then mixed a custom shade of grey which was approximately 3 parts black with two parts white.

Body Colours

 

 

I sprayed the body then dried it in an adapted food dehydrator for about and hour then gave it a couple of coats of semi-gloss clear TS-79.

T1

 

Front

 

Rear

 

Funnily enough, this quick snap shot from my phone gave a much better representation of the actual shade. Lighting and photography... I've got so much to learn.

Phone Pic

 

 

I also started playing around with the mags, trying to find a colour I felt was right. They are another thing that change colour a lot depending on the light. I've seen them represented in everything from a dark copper colour to a bright chrome (which incidentally is what the model mags came as). I stripped the chrome, gave them a coat of gloss black then made a custom mix of Alclad "Pale Burnt Metal" and "Dark Aluminium" which gave me this..

Wheels 3

 

I've still got to dry brush the bats in silver and add some air-nozzles but I'm happy enough with the colour for now. The cool thing about Alclad is it paints on from dark to light so If I want to lighten them up a bit later it will take all of 10 minutes.

That's about it for now. The next thing I plan on doing is finishing off the side engine details. The kits detail is pretty limited there.

 

Thanks for looking :)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Vanoyen
Tidying Up
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Good work! I got this model for Christmas, so I'll be keeping an eye on your build. The fins look great. What did you use to strip the chrome parts?

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Thanks Station. I just soaked them in bleach.

Keep in mind however the chrome is on there pretty well. I left the parts in over night and that only partly removed it so I left them for another three days then scrubbed them with an old toothbrush. That did the trick ;) 

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I agree that the Burton Batmobile is the best looking of the bunch.  I like the new Affleck Batmobile too.

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Really like the finish on your paint, it looks great

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On 12/01/2017 at 0:45 PM, Vanoyen said:

It took me a long time to determine which shade of dark grey (Batmobiles are never black)

Hmmm, you learn somat new every day, do the plans call for black.

 

Would that make the Batwing the same color?

 

Father Christmas didnt bring me the Batmobile & Batwing I asked for.

 

Im liking your progress so far.

 

Wayne.

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4 hours ago, Deadman Disciple said:

Hmmm, you learn somat new every day, do the plans call for black.

 

Would that make the Batwing the same color?

 

Father Christmas didnt bring me the Batmobile & Batwing I asked for.

 

Im liking your progress so far.

 

Wayne.

 

Actually if you mean the Batwing from the 1989 movie, It was dark grey as well but a little darker than the Batmobile... still not black though.

 

 

 

 

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Looking at your photos again, after you have made that custom paint mix.

 

Im wondering if you could get away with painting it in with the color Anthracite.

 

For me Anthracite gives a great go between black & dark grey.

 

So-much-so I used that to paint my Aoshima Airwolf.

 

Photo374_zpsww3gpqo1.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

Wayne.

Edited by Deadman Disciple
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Looking great, I shall be nicking that paint combo when I do mine, it looks spot on :)

 

Andy. 

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Where are you getting the information that Batmobiles aren't black? The only grey Keaton Batmobiles where the ones painted BMW Gray(unless I'm mistaken it's a very similar color to the F-20s) for the much later On Star commercials. None of the filming cars that where used in the movies where grey. 

 

I have a magazine I had signed by the build team, when the #1 car was on the car show circuit,  it goes into exactly what colors where used. Give me a couple hours and I'll get it out of storage.  I want to say all the filming cars had a ridiculous paint scheme, something  like 50 coats of pearl black.

Edited by Thud4444

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16 hours ago, Deadman Disciple said:

Looking at your photos again, after you have made that custom paint mix.

 

Im wondering if you could get away with painting it in with the color Anthracite.

 

For me Anthracite gives a great go between black & dark grey.

 

So-much-so I used that to paint my Aoshima Airwolf

 

That looks great :)  If I was going to use it for the "89" Batwing though I'd probably dull down the shine a bit though. Maybe with a satin clear coat.

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7 hours ago, Thud4444 said:

Where are you getting the information that Batmobiles aren't black? The only grey Keaton Batmobiles where the ones painted BMW Gray(unless I'm mistaken it's a very similar color to the F-20s) for the much later On Star commercials. None of the filming cars that where used in the movies where grey. 

 

I have a magazine I had signed by the build team, when the #1 car was on the car show circuit,  it goes into exactly what colors where used. Give me a couple hours and I'll get it out of storage.  I want to say all the filming cars had a ridiculous paint scheme, something  like 50 coats of pearl black.

 

Sorry... Bad choice of words on my behalf. Some of them are indeed black, including the Keaton mobile from Batman Returns. What I meant was a lot of the batmobiles look dark grey on screen due to lighting, etc. For small scale models of the batmobile, actual black doesn't work too well but that's just my personal preference.

 

The look I'm going for is the same as in this clip...

 

 

 

 

 

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I found it! It's from Cinefex #41 page 23-

 

"There were about six different layers of colors to give the car the finish of a beetle--a lot of colors coming through the blackness so that it had a three-dimensional quality to it rather than just being a flat black. We did not go to a full gloss on it--we left it with a slight matte finish to make it look more like a war machine."

 

I had some notes I took that I'll go into in a few.  First off let's just talk about #1 . The car in your video has to be #1 or #2. They describe it as Keatons car so chances are its #1.

 

That video is from On Star so it's absolutely not black,  but a repaint in, by most accounts, GM 9243 Gunmetal Gray. I think if your going for the On Star Batmobile's looks,  your definitely on the right track. Especially the rims, they where never chrome; your color looks pretty close to the muted silver on the real car.

 

If you're building the Batman Returns car it is gloss black. It's so shiny you could shave in its reflection.  That's the one that had over 60 coats of pearl black.

 

Now the original Batmobile from the first film is.... complicated. Despite what the Cinefex article says it was semi gloss black. It was originally painted matt black with a few drops of metallic colors added to the semi gloss clearcoat. The notes I have said the clear on the back of the car was tinted with blue, while other parts where tinted with red and green. The idea was to give the car an organic shine. In person the car was  shiny, it just didn't translate to film very well.

 

 

That's all I know. I'd assume the Batwing was semi gloss black too, but that's just my opinion. If I where building it I'd use the color Dead man used on the Airwolf. It looks right to me. Hope I helped! 

Edited by Thud4444
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Cheers Thud4444, Very helpful info :)  I'm not a huge fan of the glossy Batman Returns... not sure why they went that way. 

Yeah that " finish of a beetle" is way beyond my skill level for a model of this scale. That explains a lot though... how it always looks a little different in each scene. Sneaky buggers lol.

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I've had doubts about the "beetle" finish being a screen seen paint job. The car that toured after the movie with the Autorama car show exhibited some funky clear red, blue and greens along the fender tops and wings, etc. That did not show at all in the movie. I think when they describe the beetle finish, I think they are referring to the paintjob given to the car that toured the Autorama circuit immediately after the movie. I saw it back in the day and was flabbergasted at how ugly the paint was.

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I can't remember where but I saw thread some place that featured the studio model they used for the Axis Chemicals explosion scenes. It was a purplish colour and their reason for it was that black didn't show up too well with the film and lighting they were using.

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I think the colour whether documented or not will always be open to personal interpretation.

After I finish my K-2SO I've got this beast to continue with. God knows what I'm going to do about colour.

 

IMG_20170116_221348_zpsmlwrk5qt.jpg

Edited by Neo uk
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Apparently from the studio mold for the one they used in the Axis Chemical Plant sequence.

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I had no idea that even existed! I shudder to ask,  but how much was it?

 

 

Crap now I want a batmobile collection.  I watched the uncut Suicide Squad last night, and I really like the new Batmobile.  

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On 12/01/2017 at 0:45 PM, Vanoyen said:

Everyone has their favourite Batmobile. My personal preference is the Tumbler but when it comes to sheer iconic beauty, you can’t really beat the 1989 Batmobile AKA the “Keaton” Mobile.

 

I don't know, I reckon that the original Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile wins that crown. It's long (art deco-esque?) lines makes the Keaton Batmobile look like its superdeformed little brother.

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Any progress @Vanoyen? and to weigh in on the Batmobile debate, I like them all (except Clooney's) same as I like all the films (except Clooney's) and most of the animated stuff (except Cloo... I mean the amazon series) especially the 90's Animated series, used to watch it as a kid... and still do quite regularly, the really early ones are little movies :) My favorite films however have to be the Keaton and Kilmer ones, Forever being the first (non Disney) film I saw in the cinema! if you haven't watched 'Forever' in a while, I suggest you may want to re-watch it as it's (mostly) a really good movie and not as colourful as most people seem to remember it, it was mean't to be darker still but WB wanted it to be a lower age rating after 'Returns'. 

 

Anywhoo, the Build is looking great and I think the colour is great, gives it a bit of weight and makes it look less 'toy' like.

 

Cheers,

 

Andy.

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Thanks Andy. I wouldnt really say it's a debate.. everyone has their own faves and opinions. It's actually great to see everyone's different views. 

Have made a little progress but have also had a few delays. Got the wheels and side engine pieces compete. I'm currently working on the lights of the dash. Will post up some pics soon :)

 

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I've made a little progress on a few things.

I started preparing the dash for the fibre optics by drilling a few 0,25mm and 0.50mm holes in a few select spots. I'll be using red, blue and green LEDs to light the optics but I've kept the placement of the holes to a minimum as I've seen many lit versions of this dash where the modeller has gone a bit overboard with the lights and it never looks right. I also kept the painting here pretty subtle as well using just a few different shades of black/grey break up the detail and some dry-brushed off-white to make the controls and tachometers stand out. I'll have to remember to add a bit of gloss to the small monitor screen.

 

Dash Before Lights

 

 

The headboard which sits between the back of the seats and top of the roof had almost no detail. The movie car had a chunky little mechanism for opening and closing the canopy and a control panel with a few lights.

 

Headboard Screenshot

 

 

I added a few bits of styrene and an internal engine piece to make it a little more interesting. I'll also add a few fibre optics here as well.

 

Headboard

 

 

I finished off the wheels and painted the tyres black/grey. The bats are dry-brushed with testers chrome and look really nice against the custom gold/titanium colour of the wheels but it doesn't show too well in the pic. I'm still deciding if the wheels need a subtle wash with some Tamiya Smoke or if i should just leave them alone.

 

Wheels reduced

 

 

The side engine bits where also lacking a little detail. I added the hoses and hose connectors then made the circular engine piece a little more chunky with some styrene tubing. I tried a few different methods for the metallic look but ended up just using various shades of Alclad and some subtle dry-brushing.

 

Side Engine Bits

 

 

The tail pipes received a coat of Alclad Steel followed by a grimy wash then dry-brushing with Testors Silver. I also drilled a hole in preparation for the orange flickering LED which will light the flames in the jet exhaust. I may actually use 3 LEDs here but I'll have to test and see how that looks before committing to making the hole larger.

 

Exhaust Cropped

 

 

Here's the little LEDs I'll be putting behind the tail lights. They're a perfect fit for the pre-drilled holes but they're extremely bright so I'll need to use a pretty high resistor or perhaps a mini potentiometer to dim them.

 

Tail Light LED

 

 

It doesn't look overly bright here but i can assure you it is.

Incidentally... Can any of you photography enthusiasts out there tell me how to take a pic of a red light and have it actually come out red instead of orange? 

 

Tail Light LED Test

 

 

That's all for now :)

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Vanoyen
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