|KIT:||Polar Lights 1/32 'Black Beauty'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Long ago in TV land there was this very successful up and coming producer named William Dozier. In 1965 Dozier called Dean Jeffries to build the Batmobile for the upcoming TV show. Jeffries agreed and set to work on a 59 Cadillac. Two weeks later Dozier called and said they moved up the timetable and they needed the car in 3 weeks and Jeffries knowing that he would not be able to do a job he was proud of, declined the task of making the Batmobile. Desperate Dozier contacted George Barris and in roughly 3 weeks the Batmobile was born out of the 1955 Lincoln Futura show car.
It was 1966 when "Batman" the ever-popular TV series aired. Trying to duplicate that success, producers at 20th Century Fox brought forth The Green Hornet starring Bruce Lee as Kato in 1966. Many a young child got their first exposure to martial arts with the introduction to this show.
But ask any one who was a child of the 60's and they will remember The Black Beauty, the Green Hornet's rolling arsenal. (Show now airs on the STARZ Action channel, Saturday 8AM EST)
Dozier was unhappy with the job Barris did so, Dean Jeffries, was contacted by the studio and asked to create a car to rival the Batmobile but be a little more realistic. Jeffries chose a 1966 Chrysler Crown Imperial for the task. Very possibly Chrysler's first prominent TV/Movie car! He created only two cars for the show, one is currently in the hands of a California collector and the other has recently been discovered and is on the east coast. (Barris created 4 replicas for touring at car shows but without Jeffries or the studios approval). Additionally, Barris created a Batmobile for exhibition drag racing in the 60's and this car was taken to many a drag strip across the country. It was driven by "Wild" Bill Shrewsberry. Shrewsberry indicated to me that it NEVER raced against the Black Beauty. That story was simply "Hollywood boasting" created by George Barris.
Jeffries created a car that was fully functional after all there were no digital effects in the 60's. The car has front and rear facing rocket banks, front and rear gas, oil, water, smoke cannons. Rotating headlights, four green and two white. A closed circuit TV system, front and rear cell phones (real big deal in the 60's) sweeps that sweep up its tire tracks and a host of other crime fighting gadgets.
Thanks to www.imperialclub.com for the background info.
Molded in black plastic with a chrome sprue and a large clear sprue, this is one of Polar Lights earlier offerings. The plastic is well molded, with detailing that is a bit heavy-handed in some areas. There are some sink areas, including what appears to be two large ones on the rear trunk. As it is a curbside, there is no engine detail. The interior is sufficiently appointed to please most. No decals means that you'll have to make up what goes in the instrument panel. The chrome plating is well done, but since there are some irregularities in the plastic parts, these show up rather prominently. This is especially true of the large central grill area. The tires are vinyl with the wheel inserts going through the outside section. The back half of the wheel is really tire as only a small section where the plastic axle fits juts through. Clear bits are well molded and should fit well.
I'd like to tell you more about the instructions, but my kit has the side of the sheet that shows the build sequences totally blank. I know that most modelers don't need/use instructions, but in this case it would be nice to know what some of the parts are painted and how they fit. If anyone has this kit, I'd appreciate a scan of that side!
Vehicles like this are always fun to build. They are generally pretty cool looking and are the sort of things that appeal as much to kids as they do the adults. The simple construction is something that a child can build with a bit of assistance from Dad or Mom!
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