1992 Batmisile

The 1989 Batmobile that was designed by the late Anton Furst persuaded me back to the World of Batman. And in the 1992 sequel, the Batmissile just got me hooked even further into the AMT models. But it was a long time before I managed to get one due to a lot of complications when the opportunity came up. This time, it was now or never…

The Batmissile!

A very big Thank You to ToyPanic for delivering this model kit which has slipped through me countless of times. They have packed and protected it so well, that even in the hands of a rogue delivery man, it would escape his fury and still begs for more punishment.

In the movie Batman Returns, The (Anton Furst) Batmobile transformed (or broke apart) to reveal the Batmissile to escape its pursuers after Batman disabled The Penguin’s remote device.

Maybe its the long sausage shape of the vehicle which reminds me of those Salt Flat racers or even Tamiya’s Dangun Racers but man, it’s finally in my hands! Suffice to say, there’s not much lighting to be done except for the rear thrusters and maybe the cockpit dash controls. The next question is, where can I get a Batman figure for it… 😃

[Update: Some years later, I got the Keaton Batman figure from that came with the 1989 Batwing. I am just waiting for the right time to cast ti in resin)
19.08.2017 Batmissile 001

This AMT model has been re-issued by Round2 and this means, thanks to them, you got more than just what was originally offered by AMT (except that there is no Michael Keaton Batman figure in seating or stating pose). The new box artwork really makes me want to buy more than one!
19.08.2017 Batmissile 002
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Round2 has kindly provided something extra which allows you to make a very simple diorama.
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And well, once you unfold them, and place them in a clear case, it would look good.
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The parts are very simple and the construction should be easy despite this being originally a snap-fit kit that came out in the early 90’s.
19.08.2017 Batmissile 006

Somehow, I was hoping there is a 1/25 Michael Keaton Batmon in there…
19.08.2017 Batmissile 007

Quick look at the body and chassis and you know that there is no space for any batteries except for coin-cells or LiPos So, wires will have to be lead out from the model.

Because I want to do the rear thrusters effect….
22.08.2017 Batmissile 008

OK, so I am not going to have a 1/25 Batman figure for the Batmissile. Just comparing with the 1/24 figure and seat on the left has already shown that this is not going to work. Or does it?
22.08.2017 Batmissile 009

After giving it a coat of Gaia Semi-gloss Black to give the cokcpit some highlights, I used a combination of Abteilung’s Neutral Gray, Tamiya Panel line Black and Dark Brown to give more worn detail to the seat. It’s difficult to show you the actual effect but trust me, it looks much better in real life. Heh.
22.08.2017 Batmissile 010

It’s a fact that once the black canopy closes, no one will be able to see the details inside the Batmissile. I can get away with some random dark colours and call it done.
The only way I can get a 1/25 Keaton Batman figure would be from the Batwing, I think. So, it might work but this means getting the kit and also, having the figure recast.
I realised that AFTER gluing the steering wheel and dash. Boy, I am so clever!

(Update: Yeah, I got the Batwing already, just too lazy to buy molding and casting chemicals, alright?)
28.08.2017 Batmissile 011

During the transformation into the Batmissile, a lot of panels and parts (passenger?) had to be discarded. In any product when it closes or have moveable parts, there are always a seam line.
So, laying my weird anal-ness to rest, I quickly used some cut DYMO tape, eyeballed them and…. closed my eyes while I scribed that middle line. OK, so its a bit skewed but I am happy. Later, I went over it with a 2000 sandpaper to reduce the scribed line.
28.08.2017 Batmissile 012

This is not a dick pic but I’m miffed nonetheless. There was a big boo-boo on the crome which I need to smoothen and sand it off.
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Which also gives me the excuse to soak all the chromed parts with Dettol…
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After a night’s soaking, this is the result. The Dettol is really doing its job. At first I thought there was a lot of bubbles but its actually the chrome flakes floating about.
30.08.2017 Batmissile 015

On the second night, the Dettol is becoming more and more cloudy. The chrome plating can be easily washed or brushed off.
31.08.2017 Batmissile 016

So, after another night of soaking just to remove a few stubborn chrome esp on the Nose, they are ready!
I did a little more sanding to the nose to make it more smooth.

I should have sprayed it with primer before painting it as there was a line and a small scratch which needed further sanding, something which I did not catch until too late. Oh, well.
31.08.2017 Batmissile 017

A nice coat of MODO MK-08 Super Real Silver made the rims looked as if they were metal.
Then its a coat of Tamiya’s X-10 Clear smoke. At first I wanted to use Mr. Levelling Thinner but since I had a bottle of IPA….
31.08.2017 Batmissile 018

With the wheels almost done (I need silver for the Bat symbol), its time to create a circuit for the flame. I m going to modify an existing PCB to do this and that area behind the seat is the best location for it.

Alas, there will be cables coming out from the model. Originally I wanted to poke a hole in the tyre for the wires but since it was so soft, I changed my mind.

Notice anything odd about the Batmissile?
The Batmobile has four wheels and when it turned into the Batmissile, it has 8 wheels… (Wait, what?)
01.09.2017 Batmissile 019

Before I moved on to developing the thrusters, it just felt wrong not to light up the interior. Using some spare 0.3mm and 0.75 FO, I drilled out some lights on the dashboard. I used UV Glue to fix them in position on both the holes and behind the dash.
The lighting you’re seeing is a little dim because I’m giving it less than 5mA. Don’t want to blind Batman….
01.09.2017 Batmissile 020

If you look at the photo on the left, which is taken from Propstore showing the 1:1 Batmobile insert, there are some details behind the seat and so, I just added some details there to the best of my ability. The 6 red buttons on the left came out badly. Maybe I should have gotten the Chopper II to accurately cut the styrene strips.
(Propstore link: https://propstore.com/blog/go-batty-for-batman/)
02.09.2017 Batmissile 021

There is something not right about the Batmissile. The Batmobile has four wheels and after the transformation into the Batmissile, it has eight.

During the transformation scene, you can see the Batmissile’s two front wheels being folded in to the body. Now here comes the headache:
– If there are four wheels, the two front wheels would be folded in a staggered fashion and not in-line since they are thinner than the rear tires. But they did not. And they looked wide too, following the concept art.
– The wheels/tyres of the Batmissile in the sketch and also in the movie are of the same size. But in the pre-Batmissile stage, the Batmobile’s rear wheels are bigger and wider.

Therefore, if I were to follow this logic, I would need to get an AMT Batmobile for its two bigger rear tyres. It would make it more ‘accurate’ but the model would need extensive modifications to stay balanced, especially at the front.
I think I’m going to just do the kit and not worry about what is canon in the Movies although it looked so wrong. Ha ha ha.
04.09.2017 Batmissile 022

Remember the Wheels I had done earlier? After de-chroming with Dettol, I used MODO MK08 Real silver as its base coat, then I used Tamiya Smoke to darken it and Tamiya Panel Liner Black to bring out the details.
There is a reason why I used acrylics for the final coats; the Bat symbol, which is silver, can be ‘erased’ off by gently wiping it away with an IPA soaked brush. Don’t use anything harder than that such as a cotton bud as this would smudge the MODO silver.
You need to take your time with this with the IPA.
04.09.2017 Batmissile 023

Next would be thrusters. Using a mechanical pencil, I scored the rough measurement onto the body and after that, 14mm as the diameter sounds good.
I then created the 14mm template with 5x 3mm holes and temporarily stuck it there with white glue. These are for the 5x 3mm flat-top warm white LEDs which are wide angle LEDs.
Since the thrusters nozzle are coated with the MODO MO08 Silver, the reflected light would make it very bright.
04.09.2017 Batmissile 024

I placed the LEDs on the OUTSIDE of the body as template. After measuring them, I bent their anode legs, soldered and then shortened them. You might want to ask why I did not solder all 5 LEDs together; this is because the body of the Batmissile splits right into the thrusters.
04.09.2017 Batmissile 025

OK, I was rushing here after investing a lot of time looking for the chip programmer’s power supply and cable. So I modified the nuBSG Viper programming to make it flicker faster and with the cockpit lights having a little flicker. Yeah, I could have de-soldered and replaced the resistors for the cockpit lights but I was running out of time with lot of house errands.
Once that is done, I hot-glued the whole thingamagic onto the model, taking care to leave about 3 mm gap so that the snap-fit wheel assembly can still poke through.
04.09.2017 Batmissile 026

Behind the cockpit, there are a pair of round holes which allows you to look into the model. After some light blocking to the fibre-optic couplings, I added some parts from a Bandai 1/72 Y-Wing (I bought these models as greeblies since I do not see myself making any Y-Wings)
Suprisingly, this time, after I used the Tamiya Panel lines Black and Dark Brown, the plastics did not crack. Maybe these parts were not under stress.
05.09.2017 Batmissile 027

So, after escaping the Wrath of the Home Minister, I now have a painting stand for the Batmissile made from a, um, ‘missing’ coat hanger. I used the spray version of the Mr. Surfacer 1200 on the model and left it for 24 hours. In the meantime, I’ll try to remember what Adrian Colin Pave’e told me about wet painting which was so long ago…
07.09.2017 Batmissile 028

Checked on the Batmissile this morning and it was not very good. There was one or two dust specks but the spitting/droplets from the airbrush are quite obvious.
My Chinese airbrush has a problem with the needle before I ‘repaired’ it and before I started the painting, I cleaned the airbrush thoroughly.

So, it was all good on the first mist spray before it started spitting. So now, should I remove the paint (how?) or give it another coat of black? Or just sand it then coat it with more black before I go to clear coat? Damn.
08.09.2017 Batmissile 029

Results of some wet sanding with the 3M Ultrafine sanding sponge. I had to sand it very lightly as I can feel and see the effects, which is about 80% gone.
Plus, I get better results with the Les Miserables movie playing in the background instead of Alien: Covenant.

Next, it’s time to search for GAIA #032 Pure Black!
11.09.2017 Batmissile 030

As there was no GAIA #032 Ultimate Black, I went with Modo Black but unfortunately, when I opened it at home, the paint dried into a blob. So, its back to using GAIA #002 Pure Black.

After more Wet-sanding to remove the paint blobs caused by the Chinese Airbrush, I think I want to stop here. Its because its getting tiresome to wet-sanding all those imperfections and dusts. Plus, every coat that I put on, I had to sand off the specks of dust and more blobs that mysteriously appeared.

Finally, I am calling this stage done before I start with some Mr. Hobby Clear in another day or so. I know this surface prep is important but man, it can go on forever.
18.09.2017 Batmissile 031

This is already the second coat of Mr. Hobby Clear and hopefully, tonight, I will give it a wet coat and leave it for a week before I start using Tamiya’s Polishing compound.

Already, I am quite disappointed as there are so many flaws which to me, cannot be rectified without stripping the paint and starting all over again. So, I am going to finish this, then think about the diorama, something which I was supposed to have done but completely slipped my mind.

Plus, I wished I had invested in an anti-static brush as well….
18.09.2017 Batmissile 032

Meanwhile, I have decided to put the Batmissile in a diorama (which, I am not sure). To get it ready, I have drilled a small 2mm hole, enough for a brass tube to go through.

After sanding the brass tube the epoxy to ‘bite’, I used JB Weld and set it overnight. As JB Weld has metallic particles inside it, I used some magnets to ‘pull’ or shape the epoxy it into the wheel arch and not on the floor.
12.09.2017 Batmissile 033

OK, so the Batmissile has been sitting in the cupboard far more longer than it should. Then again, I was busy with my Job and also, totally forgotten about it too. But anyhow, its time to play with Tamiya’s Polishing compunds!

The first time I’ve tried them was years ago and it was fantastic apart from the over-polished raised edges. I also have a Hasegawa’s TT-25 Polishing Compound which I’ve yet to use. Starting from Coarse to Fine and eventually to Finish, the effect was quite good. Since I polished it lightly, there are still some orange peels but I am OK with that. Maybe later, I will experiment with other models. With each successful grade, the shine started to come to life but for me, now its too glossy and smooth.
26.10.2017 Batmissile 034

With the body’s glossy painting complete, it’s now time to tackle the clear parts. And for this, I would be using Tamiya’s three grades of polishing compound again.

I have tried this before but being a total nutjob with some previous models, I got confused on how to use them. Yeah, the Batmissile taught me a lot and with Adrian Colin Pave’e to guide me, I now know where I have gone wrong on the last few projects:

1. Prime surface
2. Sand smooth surface
3. Mist Paint 1
4. Mist Paint 2
5. Wet coat 1
6. Wet coat 2
7. Gloss Coat 1
8. Gloss Coat 2
9. Final Gloss
10. Polish surface

My mistake in 2015 was switching steps 4-5 with 10…. urgh.
26.10.2017 Batmissile 035

I had to break the plastic part here as it was difficult to bend to fit the two polished pieces into their respective holes. Later on, I glued it back.
26.10.2017 Batmissile 036

I did the same thing with the cockpit glass, using Tamiya’s 3 Grades of polishing compound. Towards the end, just as I was on the last swipe, I heard a crack and it was in the middle of he part where it meets the snapfit pillar….

I polished these parts using my index finger as suggested by Vincent Yong. This is because the polishing cloth either ran out of space with deposits from the last job or they kept snaggin on my finger’s loose dried skins. And yeah, these cloth tend to go everywhere except to where you want them on your fingers.
26.10.2017 Batmissile 037

Looks good but pity no one would know about the lighted dashboard unless they see from this angle.
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And yeah, I do need to find an anti-static brush what with all the dusts coming in…
26.10.2017 Batmissile 039

I call this done for the moment until I have the time to create the diorama I had planned. It would be weird to put the Batmissile on a revolving stage with its thruster flaring.