airbrushing, modeling, product reviews, Uncategorized

New Classic Batman Diorama

Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted and it’s funny how quickly time flies.

Just wanted to take a few minutes to point out something new from Hamilton Collection that brings Classic Batman (Adam West et al) to life!

As can be seen in the photo, there’s quite a bit of action in this forthcoming prebuilt/prepainted diorama. While the likenesses at least in the picture are not right on, the final product may be closer. However, even if not, the concept is impressive with both Batman, Robin and all the main baddies.

Also interesting is the fact that the diorama is lighted. The price on this is $299, plus shipping, which seems like a lot until you break it down by figure. There are 6 figures and the diorama base which means it costs essentially $50/figure.

The whole thing stands 13 1/2″ tall and 13″ wide. I’m guessing each figure is roughly 1/8th scale or smaller.

This is one that I’ll seriously have to consider adding to my collection. I have others from the Bradford Collection. These are the individual figures of Batman, Robin, Riddler and the Joker. I also have the Snowglobe Batcave. They all have either lights or music.

So far, this one coming may be the best crafted. Certainly, it represents the best scene so far with lots of implied action.

For Classic Batman fans, this may be something seriously worth considering.

airbrushing, model building, modeling, painting, paints, Uncategorized

Robin the Boy Wonder

A few months ago, I visited an old modeling buddy in California. My wife had business out there so I flew out with her and spend a good portion of two days at Dave Bengal’s house. We had previously decided to work on models, which is what we did much of the time when I lived in California.

I had decided to work on the Moebius Models’ Robin the Boy Wonder kit, and interestingly enough, Dave had decided to work on the same model!

This particular article is simply going to introduce the model, which will ultimately take several articles to complete. Even though semi-retired, I seem to not have all the time I’d like to have to work on models, so I do it when I can fit it in. Unfortunately, it’s not often enough but it works for now.

A couple of things about this particular model. Most will likely realize that all the model kits in this series are designed to have similar bases. The bases, when all are put together, form a bat signal from above. While that makes sense and it’s an interesting idea, there are several downsides. First, it’s probably best to do all the base pieces at the same time so that they blend as far as paint is concerned. If you do the Batman kit, or Robin or something else in the series and then also paint the base part that will ultimately become part of the completed base (bat signal), there’s a good chance the paint will be slightly off. Of course, if you decide to paint all the base pieces the exact same color with no variation, there probably won’t be a problem since they would all match. But they wouldn’t necessarily be exciting to look at either.

Second, the base doesn’t really cut it for me. It’s okay, but doesn’t rock my boat. I have always been one for a more intricate base, as I’ve stated here on this blog and in the magazine many times during the length of its run. A good base tells a story. It adds to the model subject by enhancing it. I of course realize that not all modelers think that way and that’s fine. I’m simply sharing what I believe about models and bases.

The thing is that I’ll have plenty of time to decide what kind of base to create for Robin because I probably won’t do anything with the base that comes with the kit. The sky’s the limit as to what type of base to create for it. I’m thinking of making part of the Batcave background with Robin standing next to some computerized equipment, but who knows?

As an aside, look at the Joker kit also from Moebius. Take a good look at that box art. Wouldn’t that make a fun base? I think so. We’ll see what happens when I get to that kit.

So the good thing about these kits is that they are wide open to interpretation, at least as far as a base is concerned. Conversely, the modeler can simply opt to paint each part of the bat signal base and display the kits that way.

The models themselves are fairly well designed and molded. Great job. That said, it’s important to understand how the various parts of Robin go together. My suggestion would be to do some serious dry fitting before any gluing. Working with Dave helped me because he had already put some of the kit together and was able to warn me that certain things need to be done in order for gluing.

Beyond this, Robin looks very much like actor Burt Ward, who of course, portrayed Robin the Boy Wonder in the 1960’s series on television. It’s really well done in my opinion. The Batman kit also has a very nice resemblance of Adam West.  Catwoman is a pretty decent likeness as well and so very glad it is of the incomparable and luscious Julie Newmar. Both the Joker and Riddler kits seem to be slightly “off” however, in the final analysis, painting may help here.

It’s really nice to have these Batman-related kits in my collection. As a kid, I had the Aurora kits (and still do), but of course, none of the kits then were created based on the Adam West Batman TV show. It’s so nice to see them out and available and with such overall great quality.

Painting them is enjoyable because of all the colors that pop. Today’s Dark Knight is relatively easy compared to the vibrant color schemes of the TV show or the comic book. Eventually, these will be a welcome addition to my modeling shelves.

Of course that these kits are in 1/8 scale make them work with previous Aurora kits too. Either way, bigger or smaller, I would’ve ensured that I bought at least one of each.

Next time we get together, I’ll have a few photos of the basic painting accomplished, without the dry brushing or shading.  Join me then!

model building, modeling, painting, paints, Uncategorized

A Bridge too Cool!


While visiting a modeling buddy – Dave Bengel – one day, we took a trip to Viking Model Shop in Sacramento, CA and I found a bridge that was created for use with small white metal figures. When I saw it, all I could think of was how great it would be to use this base for my Confederate Soldier!

The diorama would show the soldier crossing over the bridge which stood just over a small creek bed. I talked to Dave about it and we both agreed that trying out oils on this bridge to bring out the detail was the way to go. So I bought the base, went to Dave’s house and began working on it. First, washing the bridge and then priming it (image 1). Click on any image to open in a new window, full size.


After that, I laid down a few browns or tans. You’ll note that the base looks much lighter through the middle (image 2). This gives the illusion that there has been a good deal of foot traffic across the bridge over time.

Once I was happy with the way it looked, it was important to let dry then spray a coat of Future acrylic floor finish over it. This of course would protect the paint job and allow me to wipe off the additional oil paint that I did not want.


As you can see, three different colors were used to achieve the final color of the bridge (image 3). I began with a dark brown, and then mixed up a lighter brown by adding Tan, then adding highlights by adding Dark Yellow to the mix.

The final version of the bridge can be seen after the oils have been applied. The best way to describe that is to understand that you take a small “glob” of oil color, place it on the small piece of white plastic (as shown), then dip your brush into some Turpenoid.

From there, dip your brush into the oil color glob and you’ll use that to highlight the bridge (in this case). You are looking for thinness so that the color will literally “run” into the crevices all by itself. Excess can be wiped up with a cloth and since the bridge was sealed with Future floor finish, the paint underneath is not harmed. It may take a bit of practice, but practice makes perfect, right?

Use of oils brings out the sculpted details quite nicely!