Batman and Superhero Model Kits

Hi.
I'm new to this group, having developed a newfound appreciation for the modeling kits of my youth, probably because I recently turned 49. I notice
a lot of them are being reissued lately. I just completed a vinyl Michael Keaton "Batman Returns" that I found on eBay. Probably a bad place to start, as it was one of the most difficult of any I've done. It looks great, but it didn't come without sacrifice. I ruined a countertop, gouged my left index finger during an Exact-o knife mishap and wore out two tubes of Bondo just to affix the cape to the figure. There was a lot of waste material that had to be cut off before I could even begin to assemble it, and the entire project took over a month to complete. Still, the results were well worth the trouble.
I've heard talk about "washes" and whatnot, and I've seen photos of the finished model that shade the visible parts of Batman's face. The only detailing I've done is to give him eyes and lips, but if there's something I can do to enhance the visual, I'm open to suggestions. Also, I've noticed that many aficionados prefer acrylics over enamel. In the case of this model, I painted his suit, cowl and cape (all black) and orange/yellow and black bat-insignia in enamels. I used acrylic flesh tone on the face and finished with a sprayed enamel dull coat. Is acrylic best airbrushed on vinyl or plastic, and why is it better than enamel (if it is)?
The reason I'm asking is because I've got three other projects in the hopper. In keeping with the superhero theme, I happened upon reissues of 1960s-era Superman, Batman, and Robin, the Boy Wonder kits at a toy store in Purcellville, VA. I scoured eBay for them and each of them required a bid or some exhorbitant "Buy It Now!" fee. eBay has really gone down the tubes IMHO. The ones I've found go for 18 bucks apiece, or less. Anyone experiencing a similar mid-life crisis can go here: www.ourshopintoyland.com. I've received great service from them in terms of delivery of the goods. Speaking as someone who's trying to glom on to as many pieces of his eroding youth as possible, I think I found myself a bargain!
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Great! is that where all the sci fi/fantasy model kits ended up,on Ebone?.Stores cant compete with that.!walmarts just hanging on with adimal selection of crap.
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wrote:> Great! is that where all the sci fi/fantasy model kits ended up,on

Well, the toy store where I found this stuff (Our Shop In Toyland or www.ourshopintoyland.com) is in Purcellville VA. They seem to have the DC superheroes pretty well covered. Of course, Superman's the flava of the day what with this new movie coming out. I'd rather pay $18 and shipping outright than have to go to eBay and bid too much for something I can get for a reasonable price without having to go through a process.
Also, no offense to those who buy or sell on eBay, but IMHO that marketplace has become far too unwieldy and sprawling -- to such a degree that fraud is rampant (by both buyers and sellers), and eBay appears to lack the infrastructure to self-police and enforce its own charter. I'm embarrassed to say how much money I've lost there to shady merchants with very little redress available to me, other than charge-back (another process). I'll go there to bid for something I can't find anywhere else, but I'm going to have to be convinced that it's available nowhere else before I do.
It would have been cool to see more Marvel characters, like Spider-Man or Thor. I built two Spider-man kits, but the little bastard kids who accompany their Moms to attend my wife's parties while I'm at work keep taking them home. A reissue of the Superboy and Krypto kit would be nice. I remember ruining that one when I was a kid. Didn't have any flesh tone handy, so I painted his skin light orange. It was all downhill from there.
Nice to have a second chance at the 1964-era Superman, Batman and Robin reissues, though. I know it's considered heresy now, but I intend to paint Batman's cape and cowl *blue* just like in the old comic books. Once I'm done with those, I intend to move on to the Star Trek kits (they've got a James Tiberius Kirk and one or two others). Then I'll look around for some old "Rat-Fink" car kits, and then it's back to military aircraft.
I've been toying with the idea of doing some clay modeling. I also collect R. Crumb figures, but they're either out-of-reach price-wise or out-of-print. I own a set from Crumb's own website that cost me $340 back in 2003. Wonder how much it would get on eBay? I'll bet modeling clay and some paint would cost far less.
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Hmmm, I've been buying on Ebay for the last 8 months and have never had any trouble. Over a hundred purchases so far. Always got my stuff and in a timely manner too. If I think the price is too high, I just don't bid. Yeah, I'll agree though, if you can get it elsewhere then that's the way to go. But if not, then Ebay is your best bet. Mike G
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On Wed, 28 Jun 2006 15:57:25 -0500, "Mike G."

What is the deal now adays?,years ago it was a no brainer to be bop down to almost any store (pharmacy?) & pick up your fave-or-rite model kit.today,it's all attitude-Oh,we feel models dont suit our changing needs- typical chain store crap.
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I know, my closest Wal-mart even has nothing but diecast. Only Hobby Lobby or Amarillo Hobby House is left here. Here I say, but those are a 60 mile drive one way for me.
Mike G.
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Welcome to the group.... I'll try to answer at least a couple of your questions from my own experiences. I also built the "Keaton - Batman Returns" kit several years ago.
http://www.pasquinellifamily.com/daves_spot/batman.htm
this was my 4th or 5th figure kit and personally I think it's a good starter kit. 90% of the kit is all basically one color and the other 10% are the emblems, belt and face (the face being the biggest challenge) however it's not even a full face. Sorry to hear you had such a troubling time building the kit but you'll get better with practice. My first kit took me several weeks to get right and it was just an Alien from the movie "Alien" you wouldn't think it would be so hard but then again it was my first figure kit. As a kid I too was all about drug store model kits and lots of funny smelling glue and enamel model paints and thinners - I rarely use them anymore. (Not that there is anything wrong with them) Now I prefer to use "Zap-A-Gap" (super glue) and acrylic paints for most of my kits because it's very easy to use and clean up. They also work great for washes and dry brushing and if you make a mistake, it's easy to remove everything and start over again from scratch. Enamels are not so forgiving and to be honest I hate using them anymore, take too much time to clean up too. But this is all just my opinion, a lot of people use enamels and they do a very good job, you'll just have to figure out what you like best and go with it. That's the cool part of this hobby, as long as you're happy, that's all that maters. As far as what you can do on your Batman's face; I noticed you sealed everything with a clear dull coat, that's great. Now you can experiment on the face with some acrylic washes and dry brushing. if you don't like the way it looks, just wash it off and start over. The clear dull coat should protect the finish you have now and allow you to add to the detail. After your happy with the results, clear coat it again to seal it. There are many articles for painting techniques like washes and dry brushing like the one at;
http://www.gremlins.com/denis_bohm/painting_basics.html
This is a great place to start as it's specifically for Figure Kits. They also have lots of other articles that are just as informative - the sight has some racy images so be warned but in all it's a great source for information on the hobby. In fact, the Gremlins web site is one of the first web sites that are dedicated specifically to Figure and Garage kits.
http://www.gremlins.com
When I got started I was lucky, a good friend of mine was very much into it and also very talented. I learned as much from him as I could and then just kept on going. He isn't around anymore but I'm grateful that he took the time to teach me and get me back into the modeling hobby again.
I hope I answered some of your questions and if you have any more just ask. These groups are a great source of information and experience and to top it off, it's free... Happy modeling....
-Dave
Mix wrote:

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Thanks! That's about how mine looks. I've got some touch-up work to do, though -- so while I'm about it, I may as well ask: what color are Keaton/Batman's eyes? I made 'em blue, but I can easily revise.
This is also my third go-round on the bat-emblem. I had it perfect(!), but then I forgot to mask it when I was spray-painting over some Bondo to smooth out a seam at the right shoulder, and it got some over-spray. Not insurmountable.
Also, I think I may have cut away too much of what I believed to be "excess material" at the bottom of the boots, so now it's no longer capable of free-standing. Mind you, I got this copy of the kit from Singapore and it wasn't even in its original box -- it came in a plastic bag along with a very poor, virtually unreadable copy of instructions. My solution was to improvise shims for the irregularities in his stance and then "Liquid Nails" it onto a finished wooden display base. There's still very minor work to be done on it, but I'm satisfied enough with it that I can put it aside for a second to work on the retro projects I recently acquired from www.ourshopintoyland.com.
The only differences I see between the example shown in your link and mine is that the Bat-suit on mine is flatter, but that was personal preference, (with some influence by my wife, who is very influential), your completed kit is capable of free-standing (unlike mine) and your facial detail work exceeds anything I may have thought to do. I'll check the link and try my luck. Thanks for the advice.
Also, thanks for the vindication of my use of mixed mediums. I tend to use spray (and usually flat) enamels for large uniformly-colored parts such as Keaton's bat-suit and acrylics for detail work. Also, my primers are usually enamel. People talk about acrylic vs. enamel primers as though it makes a difference as to which is better to be used, but I can't tell... I like spray primer because I can prime an entire "sheet" of parts in two passes and get on with it a lot sooner.
At the moment, I'm working on both the 1966-vintage Robin, the Boy Wonder and the 1989-vintage Batmobile. When I get bored with working on one, I move on to the other. Robin's more of a challenge, or at least his head is, because it's less than an inch high and requires a lot of detail. Also, there's no "R" emblem on the right side of his suit, nor is there a decal for it and I'm a purist, so I may just paint one in. The Batmobile's a pain in the a** only because the kit requires me to paint features that aren't visible, and won't be in the finished product. The cockpit's about 1" wide, and they require the dials and numbers to be painted red and the bezels to be painted silver. I may skip that step. I've built the 1964 Batman and Superman kits before, so it will be easy to improve on the ones that were destroyed during moves from place to place, or stolen. The Batman kit from '64 will be painted blue and grey, because that's how he looked back then.
Thanks again for your help and your welcome, dbpbandit!

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