Slated for a spring 2022 release, The Batman puts Robert Pattinson in the lead role under the direction of Matt Reeves. A newly redesigned Batmobile features prominently in the trailers that are now appearing for the film. The design is a complete departure from recent incarnations of the famous vehicle. It’s a hi-tech muscle car whose closest cinematic relative is the Pursuit Special from Mad Max. It also looks a bit like a first generation Chevrolet Camaro on steroids. From the flared fenders and sharply creased bodywork to the massive wheels and exposed engine bay, the design is unabashedly masculine.
In the engine bay sits a motor that looks like a regular piston engine. Although in keeping with the time-honoured Batmobile tradition, flames shoot out the back, which usually means a turbine. Turbine engines have long been a staple of Batmobile technology, going back as far as the 1960s TV series Batmobile designed by George Barris. Car manufacturers actually experimented with turbine engines back then but none of the prototypes made it into mass production.
The new Batmobile has an unrefined appearance reminiscent of a kit car. The body panels fit together like they were assembled in a garage rather than a factory, which means the car gets full marks for realism. After all, this vehicle is supposed to be something that Bruce Wayne made himself.
While most previous Batmobiles maintained a defensive posture on the streets, this one is ready to go on the offensive. The massive front bumper is designed for the express purpose of ramming vehicles when giving chase, as we see in the trailer. We’ll have to wait for the movie to come out to see what other gadgets are lurking under the car’s matte black bodywork.
There appears to be a hood scoop, although given that the car has a mid-engine layout, this element presumably serves some other function. There’s a mysterious red glow emanating from the hood—a weapon of some kind?
The new Batmobile is a refreshing interpretation of the classic comic strip vehicle that Dark Knight fans have always considered part and parcel of the character. The retro, form-follows-function look of the new design appeals to everyone’s inner mechanic and gives a tip of the hat to the muscle cars of the 1970s. Let’s hope the Batmobile gets plenty of screen time in the new film, and that at least one model kit manufacturer will have the marketing savvy to release an accurate miniature of the car.
Iron Studios has released a 1:10 scale replica of the Batmobile, along with a Batman figure and base, from the movie Batman (1989). This product is notable not only for its sheer size, but for its polystone construction. Polystone is a compound made of polyurethane resin mixed with powdered stone. Attributes like hefty weight, a porcelain smooth finish, and the ability to capture fine detail make the material a good choice for cast sculptures.
The Batmobile, Batman figure and base come fully assembled and painted. The Batmobile is advertised as having removable machine guns. It’s not known if the wheels turn. The Batman figure comes in a standing pose and isn’t articulated, so those wishing to position the figure in the driver’s seat will have to do some cutting and filling.
Lighting the car would make a worthwhile project. The large scale makes it practical to add dashboard lights, although it’s not known how much of the vehicle is hollow, so there may be lots of drilling involved. If you’re curious to see what a Batmobile miniature looks like with lighting added, check out Batmobile Winterscape and Contemplating Gotham. Comprehensive case studies of these dioramas are featured in Diorama Design and Forced Perspective Dioramas.
Interpretations of the Batmobile over the years have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous, and many are forgotten soon after they appear. The fact that replicas of this particular version are still being released three decades after Batman’s debut proves that it is one of the most enduring Batmobile designs ever. Conceptual illustrator Julian Caldow, who worked with director Tim Burton on the film, created the original design. It received additional nips and tucks from production designer Anton Furst before the final version was reached.
At 70cm (27.5”) in length, this replica is sure to be an impressive addition to any bookshelf. If it had been released back in 1989, it would probably have been offered as a glue-together kit rather than a finished replica. Ready to display miniatures have been stealing market share from styrene kits for many years, reflecting the dwindling number of customers who enjoy crafting things with their own two hands—but that’s another story.
Now all we need is a 1:10 scale Vicki Vale, and we’d have all the ingredients for a great diorama!
The Batmobile is back. This is the same 1:35 Bandai kit which I used in Batmobile Winterscape, a large tabletop diorama featured in Diorama Design. Now repurposed for a more compact wall-mounted display.
A white metal Batman figure joins the Batmobile against a forced perspective backdrop. LEDs were used for lighting. The case is acrylic and birch wood.
If you like to build dioramas and want to learn more about how to optimize the visual impact of your work, you might like my book, Diorama Design. It’s available in both ebook and print formats at Amazon.
This diorama was inspired by the night scenes of the Batmobile stealing through snow-covered streets in Batman Returns (Tim Burton, 1989). I liked the contrast of the Batmobile against the fresh white snow.
I used Bandai’s Batmobile, a white metal Batman figure, a kitbashed Miniart Ruined Garage, and roof trusses from a gantry crane kit. Everything else was scratchbuilt.