On The Bench 225: Mike Warshaw’s Batplane

mwarshawbatplane002

This is a comic book 1940s Batplane I’ve been working on, on and off, for longer than I care to admit. Like the Batmobile, there are a lot of options for shape and detail, since different artists portrayed the Batplane in different ways. Sometimes it had a radial engine, sometimes it had a propeller, but most of the time, it was shaped like a plane with an in-line engine, a two-seater, in a late ’30s or very early ’40s style. I often thought a P-40 would be the best base, but then I found this kit of a Yak trainer that had unusual lines and two seats. perfect. I decided to model the plane with no apparent mode of propulsion, because that’s the most common look, and what the hell.

I actually laminated the wings with thin plastic card to extend the edges to make room for the Batwing “scallops.” The wing ribs are Plastruct forms, blended in. The stabilizer ribs are fishing line. Batman and Robin are modified from pilot figures.

The Batface is the key detail to my eye. It has to be dimensional, so I made a mold with card and putty and vacuformed the piece. I glued ears on and masked the eyes, and formed a center rib with stretched sprue. You can see one I broke and a new one I just made in the last photo. It’ll go over the front of the fuselage.

The fixed landing gear are kitbashed.

I’m still deciding whether I want to add a little more detail, such as a red wing trim stripe. I have painted a few panels a contrasting shade to make it look a little more complex. I plan to mount it on an old Aurora clear stand at first. Sometime, I’d love to build a little Gotham skyline/batsignal base to have it fly over.

It’s a fun subject and one that nobody’s done. Polar did the autgyro in a tiny scale, but never got to this plane, and to me, it’s a real emblem of the Dick Sprang/Jerry Robinson era.

See the finished model

Mike Warshaw

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