AMT 1/25 Batwing
First started by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for DC Comics back in 1939, the “Cape Crusader” tells the story of one Bruce Wayne, millionaire (now billionaire) who resides in Gotham City. When Bruce parents was killed in front of him by a petty thug (Bloody unlikely as one sarcastic strip showed…..The likely hood of Bruce the elder and his wife going out alone with their only kid is highly unlikely, especially in such a crime ridden city. As the comic strip showed, the instant that petty thug appeared, he got pasted by 20 guns fired from 20 bodyguards while Bruce the elder just quip, “like we travel alone!), Bruce made a vow and dedicated his life to fighting crime and spent his entire life training to build up his body, skills and mind to be the perfect fighting machine. The discovery of a cave complex, riddle with bats served two purposes, 1. It created the perfect hide out for the soon to be vigilante justice hunter and 2. The bats gave Bruce the idea that soon would strike fear into the hearts of all criminals and Batman was born!
In order to travel to the city and back and forth, Bruce, now Batman needs a vehicle to transport him and soon some of his friends and helpers. At first, the vehicle is just a generic bat faced car. Soon this evolved into a heavily armored machine loaded with gadgetry. Over the years, the car kept on evolving into various different machines to suit the crime fighter’s needs in order to combat deadlier and deadlier foes such as the Croc, the Penguin, the Riddler, sometimes foe, sometimes lover Catwoman, and the always infamous Joker. By 1985 or so, Warner Bros. was set to release a new Batman movie well away from the campy and cheesy Adam West tv series (AHHH…I will always have a place in my heart for that series! The third tv show I ever saw when I arrived here as a 9 year old in 1985 was 1. Transformers cartoon, 2. The ToS Star Trek, and 3. Batman, Batman, Batman, Batman, Bata-lalalalalaaaaaaaaaa Batman!!!!!). The movie will feature a far more serious tone with none of the “ZAM! ZAP! POW! YEOW!!!! KAPOW!!!! that characterized the tv show and far far darker. Tim Burton was hired as the director and created a far more gothic, bleak Gotham City with Michael Keaton in the leading role as Bruce/Batman. As well as Gotham, Anton Furst was hired to design the myriad of gadgets and vehicles including the batarang, batgrapple, the Batwing and ultimately, a new Batmobile as the main ride for the titular hero. The main design of the vehicle was done by conceptual illustrator Julian Caldow, main construction was done by prop builder John Evans, with final body sculpting by Keith Short. The vehicle was originally supposed to be based on either the Jaguar or the Ford Mustang. When both failed, they took a Chevy Impala and modified that instead.
The vehicle features a large turbine engine up front and an afterburner in the back. Gadgets eventually included two browning .30 cal machine guns, two side mounted disc throwers loaded with 15 discs each, belly mounted “shin breakers”, and two side mounted grappling hooks that can be ejected out to grab onto an object and allow the vehicle to make otherwise, impossible to turn tight turns (That was later proven to be impossible to do by the Mythbusters). The vehicle also features an impressive shielding system that can be activated with voice command “shields”. When activated, a fold out retractable metal shield system will cover the vehicle from head to toe. Once shielded, four small deployable bombs can be dropped to ward off any intruders.
When released in 1989, the film quickly became popular and became a huge success, earning over 400 million for Warners and despite initial reluctance from fans that Michael Keaton isn’t really cut out for Batman (says who?!?!?? LOL) and he wasn’t wearing tights and spandex, but rather a threatening ominous all black vinyl plastic (we’re man in tights, hey! We’re MEN IN TIGHTS), it quickly wore quickly and made even ardent fan agree that colorful tights and spandex were no place on the big screen. The batmobile itself soon cut a huge shadow also. It’s sinister, all black no-nonsense appearance and jacked up firepower is a far far away from the 60’s campy tv car based on the Futura and quickly garnered many fans. Too bad after Batman Returns, the film soon fell out of favor when Michael Schumacher took over!
For the skies, Batman always had a few Batwings, or Bat-helicopters lying around. For the film, Anton Furst designed a new Batwing in the shape of the Batsymbol. This design isn’t completely sci-fi, read the Vought V-173 “Flying Pancake”. The designs are similar. This new Batwing feature several tricks up its sleeves, including a grappling claw in the nose, between the two “batears”. Machine guns, including a minigun are hidden throughout the airframe. Finally, 4 rockets behind the cockpit can be guided and launched at the target. Unfortunately, it only appeared in the film briefly before being shot down by the Joker with a really long barrel .38 cal Smith & Wesson special that in reality will never work that way (Yes, the longer the barrel, the more speed imparted to the bullet. But only to a certain point because after a while, the gas generated from the shell will stop pushing the bullet. The only way it could fly faster is if you increase the amount of powder in the shell, which will necessitate a redesign of the chamber to handle the stress. Joker’s super long barrel in real life will be superfluous as a result).
This is Round 2 AMT redux of the 1990 Batman Batwing. Yes, I never bought the original Batwing so when I bought the Batskiboat, I bought this along with it. If anything to go by, it should be the exact same kit. Parts are not many. Cockpit, wings, some clear parts. The kit does though, contain landing gears but since it does have a good sitting Batman figure, I elected to use the display stand and modified it as it was shown in the movies, in the skies, ready to take down some bad guys.
Construction is easy. Not much to say. It’s just the cockpit with the steering column, a generic throttle, a bucket seat. I did dry brush the instrument panel with silver but…That’s about it. The kit also contains some decals for the side panels, I put these in the right place then assembled and painted the Batman figure. The last bit is the aiming device which is put in front of Michael Keaton’s eyes.
The lower fuselage is next. This only really matters if you are putting on the landing gears. Since I didn’t, I just put on the doors in the closed position then the lower ventral fins. The major assembly here is the nose grappling claw thing. In the movie, Batman would use the claws to grab Joker “laugh gas” balloons and sent them sky-high before cutting off the wires. The kit does this by giving you two small nose doors, then the claws are trapped in the middle between the fuselage and its bay. However, since I’ll be showing this with all weapons in the deployed position, which in the movie, happened after Batman used the claws, I cemented the claw bay doors shut and called it a day. The cockpit is then inserted into the upper fuselage. Notice the canopy is trapped between the cockpit and the fuselage so it can be opened or closed. So be judicious with the cement at this stage. Then the fuselage halves are brought together. The only fault of the kit is here. Both the jet intakes and exhaust are solidly blocked….Perhaps the real life model was this but I just wish AMT could’ve dug this out to give it more of a real life appearance.
I assembled the wings next. I elected to keep the speed brakes in the closed positon and left off the clear wing lights before cement them into their slots. The fit here was not nice……Probably due to molding technology of the late 80’s and the fact the mold is quite old now. I had make two passes with my red spot putty glazing to fill up all the seams between the wing to fuselage joints and the wing seams themselves.
All sorts of accessories are now added. These include the nose cannons, the two vertical stabs, the pitot tube, mounted just aft of the cockpit, and the clear windscreen. I elected to keep off the rockets mounted just aft of the canopy for now. To the paint shop we go!
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
First of all, I taped off canopy and windscreen, then it’s just a few sprays of Testor’s Gloss Black. The Batwing in the movie looks new and clean so weathering was kept to a minimum. Two coating, done! Now, there are warning sticker decals for the model but since they are all black and practically unnoticeable on the now very black model, and besides, these are never seen in the movie, I left them off. The leftovers are painting the rocket noses red and the clear light lens silver.
After the paint is dry, I cemented the rockets into position behind the cockpit. The clear wing lights are cemented on and the bottom running lights. The model is complete. The next part is simply inserting the metal tube onto the base and put the finished model on. Model complete!
Done done and more done! This project took longer than usual since you have to decide what to do with what and the parts are slightly more. But other than that, the only real big tripping point are puttying up the seams. Took me around a total of 14 hours to do and it certainly look strange on my shelf! Anyway, highly recommended for all sci-fi and or Batman fans!
23 June 2020
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