Memories of 1966: My Favorite Model

WE PRESENT THIS INTERLUDE TO YOU, DEAR READER, AS THE POLAR VORTEX HAS FROZEN OUR SPRAY CANS.

WE HOPE TO RESUME OUR SEVEN-PART RESIN HEAD SAGA MOMENTARILY

My favorite model of all time?

The 1966 Batmobile, from the Aurora Plastics Corporation.

As a kid of the Seventies, most of my old comics had this ad on the back cover:

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Those looked amazing!  Unfortunately, Aurora had gone out of business and the majority of their superhero kits were unavailable.  These two- the Batplane and Batmobile– were the Holy Grail of model kits, in my young eyes.

The Batplane was eventually reproduced and I wrote about it here:

http://flyingbatmobile.blogspot.com/2013/06/look-up-in-sky-its-bat-its-plane-its.html

However, because of the well-documented legal issues between Batmobile creator George Barris, DC Comics, and the owners of the Batman TV show, NO ONE expected to ever see the Batmobile.  It was a vintage model worth a small fortune.

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In 2005, everything changed as the POLAR LIGHTS model company managed to untangle decades worth of red tape:

The Batmobile model would be re-issued!

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I love everything about this kit.  The allure of Aurora models was that the company could beat the competition with a lower price point ($.98!) by offering a less-complicated model (Read: Fewer Parts).  The Aurora Batmobile was the definition of the hobby term: “curbside”, because it offered no interior parts, such as an engine or transmission.  They even cut costs by casting the tires as plastic halves, instead of the usual rubber!

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With it’s re-issue, POLAR LIGHTS added only two features: chromed parts and an elaborate decal sheet.  Everything else was straight from 1966.

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ImageImageImageI went nuts painting this: I added metal foil to the wind screens and cockpit details, and I tried to make the costumes as show-accurate as possible.  I even found a $.99 bottle of Testors “rubber” colored paint for the tires!

The best part about this model?  Soon after POLAR LIGHTS won the rights to reproduce the Aurora kit, they were granted the permission to make new, more elaborate (and much more expensive) kits of the TV show Batmobile.  When test shots of the new models were released, fandom exploded: the new models didn’t have the same carbody proportions as the old Aurora kits!  The new kits must be fixed!

It turned out that the Aurora model was the one that got it wrong- it was based on incorrect data from Barris.  The Aurora model is more snub-nosed than the actual Barris car itself.  When POLAR LIGHTS started work on their new kits, they used the Barris car as their model.

So, I love my snub-nosed, curbside $.99 Batmobile.  This is the model that a generation of kids would buy, slap on paint and glue, and then buy another one and try again.  The re-issued model is still out there, in the same box as it was almost 50 years ago, and it’s still a ton of fun.

 

What to build one?  Have a favorite kit?  Discuss here:  http://atomicwanderers.freeforums.net/thread/28/vintage-models

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1 Comment

Filed under Deane Aikins

One response to “Memories of 1966: My Favorite Model

  1. I like that Robin is holding on. I gotta get one of these.

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