19 December 2014

Countdown to Christmas Day 7: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

What's a blog site about Batmobiles writing on Christmas topics gonna do?

It shouldn't come as a surprise that my childhood favorite BATMAN artists all came from the Fifties. Shelly Moldoff's boxy figures, Lew Sayre Schwartz's inky faces, and Dick Sprang's ...

...well, everything.

Dick Sprang designed my favorite Batmobile model and is the subject of today's holiday greeting card.  The 1950 Batmobile model kit from HORIZON is the best model out there, bar none.  I have written before about the fun of building this kit and I urge everyone to try and find one.

I wanted to do something as a holiday diorama and realized I had no idea how to make a diorama.  In fact, all I knew about staging scenes was from my tour of a Hollywood back lot, which was pretty much NEVER LET THEM SEE THE HORIZON and HEDY LAMARR SELLS TICKETS.

Christmas magic debunked: Holiday ruined
I grabbed my BATMAN RETURNS BATCAVE COMMAND CENTER, which has the Penguin's Arctic Lair as a scale back piece and tried to make an alley-way store entrance based on some screen shots from... BATMAN RETURNS.

The Gotham Alley actually came together pretty quickly with two types of sheet styrene, with a little foam core around the edges to promote the illusion of depth.  More foam core was used as a street and sidewalk.


The big purchases for this build?  A 1/24 scale battery operated street lamp and a jar of artificial snow.  The snow nicely hid the street lamp wire and forgave all sins regarding the foam core.  Some spare parts were quickly glued together to approximate a tire jack.

I played around with a prop that really cemented the visual for The Joker line of the rhyme.  I sliced off the head of a PVC animated Joker figure, located a spare spring from the parts box, and made a box out of sheet styrene.  Some lead weight held it all down.

The final detail was lighting.  As you can see, the flash blew out "the magic" of the diorama.  Lighting that came from opposite the street lamp made no logical sense as well.  It took a while to get a lamp at the right distance to support the street lamp.

Flash floods everything
Light from the wrong direction sucks too
After 10 blurred shots, we get a good one.  Time to buy a tripod.
Finally, a little cropping and post-production smearing of the edges:


Finally, I spent 13 months agonizing over font.  After careful deliberations, I selected Black Chancery.

I'm glad I can make the tough decisions.
Have a cool yule from the Flying Batmobile Ranch!

Catch up with our Christmas Count-down:
Day 12 is here.
Day 11 is here.
Day 10 is here.
Day  9 is here.
Day 8 is here.

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