Building a Model


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I've chosen the Batman model to show you some of the thinking that goes on in building a model.

The one I built is the Superpowers reissue from 1985, picked up at a toy show a few years ago for about $25.00.  The same model was finally reissued by Revell as a Toys R Us exclusive this year, it's a rare chance to nab one of these.  

When I checked out the parts and instructions, I noticed the cape needs to go on before the head is glued down, and file that in memory.  All the parts are present in the box, including the little decal for his chest, and it looks to be a pretty clean molding job.  I make sure I have the right color paints I'm going to use.  Batman is traditionally medium grey on his body with medium to dark blue on his boots, trunks, mask and cape. His utility belt is yellow. The base looked like slate, so I settled for painting it a blue-grey in multiple dry-brush layers. The trees are shades of brown bark and bare wood.  Bats are black with brown fur (I've painted a lot of bats and rats in various monster models).  I begin trimming, fitting, and glueing various sub assemblies together right away, like the two parts of the head, arms, legs, etc.  I begin the paint job on the base while the glue is drying.

Assemble, putty, and paint as you go; you don't assemble the entire model and then try to paint it. If the construction is done in stages, you'll always have something you can be working on at any one time.  I put the tree trunk together but didn't glue it to the base, it's easier to get Batman positioned that way.  The branch can't be glued onto the trunk until Batman is positioned, and once that is completed you need a really solid glue job, or the weight of the body and cape will cause the branch to break off later.

Where I used putty on the tree I went back in with a dremel tool and carved in the bark detail for that finishing touch.  If you don't have one, scratch with the tip of the exacto.  I started with flat black, then drybrushed different values of brown for the bark.  

For the Batman, I had to do a little carving around the hands. Those are often lacking in detail on any plastic model.  Since the cape goes on before the head, I made sure the body and head were filed smooth to match as perfectly as possible, since it's a pain to putty around something like a cape.  I painted both body and head before attaching, and that way I just had to touch up the neck area after it was done.  I stuck a little putty up under the cape where it couldn't be seen to help support the heavy thing.  

I kept the whole paint job simple on this one, just a little darker blue in the folds of the cape and the entire underside.  The batarang was also in the darker blue.  The yellow belt was outlined with fine black lines to help it show up.  The decal for his chest required a small area of gloss clear be applied, then several thin coats of flat clear over it.  The overall look I wanted was a simple, classic Batman model that might have stepped out of the pages of a comic book.

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