Batman by Knight Models – Assembly and Priming
Batman. I am not going to speculate what insanity possessed me to think I wasn’t going to play the Batman Miniature Game by Knight Models but I did try to resist. The Rocksteady Arkham series of video games have been a favorite since Arkham City and after a friend loaned me his copy of the Court of Owls storyline from the re-launched New 52 Batman comics I’ve also been hooked on the comics. I’ve also been whining on Twitter that I wish I could pour all of my efforts into painting some gaming pieces. What better path to complete hobby satisfaction would be pulling all the stops out painting the Frank Miller Batman.
I am going to try to remember to take as many pictures as possible while I paint the figure. Painting tutorials do best with lots of pictures. I tend to zone out when I paint, however, and don’t want to stop to take pictures. I will do my best.
The first task of painting any miniature it to clean off any mold lines, flash or excess material from the miniature. I found the task difficult for this Batman model. There was a lot of flash in the folds of his cape which I carved away as best I could. I am hoping that the amount of work I needed to make this miniature is not indicative of the overall quality of the miniature line. I think this is an earlier sculpt which may mean an older mold or perhaps less experience casting. I hate cleanup and when I have to do more than I think I need it really bothers me.
One of the worst areas were the gauntlets. In The Dark Knight Returns Batman has smaller versions of his iconic fins on his gauntlet. The miniature’s right gauntlet had a very small rough line of metal where the fins should be. The left had a larger roughly rectangular chunk of metal. I carved some fins into that but I know when I paint it I’ll be cursing over these rough parts.
The miniature was cast in five pieces. The base detail, legs, body and cape, left hand holding the rope with batclaw and a bat. I really struggled with assembly, partially because I was impatient and tried to avoid pinning where I could, but mostly because the fit of many of the parts was poor.
The left hand attaches to the arm and is strengthened by a locator lug fitting into the socket of the arm. This didn’t fit on my model, even after I repeated trimmed the lug. I had to remove it completely and then pin the join for it to fit. I used brass rod for the pin and bent it to accommodate the angle of the wrist.
I had similar problems with the feet, which had locator lugs connecting to sockets in the base. This didn’t fit until I reshaped the lugs and I’m not sure if the join will be strong enough. I handled the miniature without giving the cyanoacrylate glue time to full dry and it came loose.
I did have to pin the bat to the model’s leg. I had checked the strength with normal cyanoacrylate but it was obvious that it wouldn’t hold. The bat attached by means of a very small thin section of metal between its tail and its leg. There is a corresponding slit in Batman’s leg for this. I used a thin 26 gauge wire for the pin, which will be visible underneath the bat as the thin section of metal was too thin for even the tinniest pin. I’m hoping this won’t be noticeable as the bat is low on the model and will be heavily shadowed during the painting process.
The base detail has a standard metal tab which it uses to connect to the base. Based on the advice of Endalyon over at Crits Kill People I modified this to move the entire miniature towards the left side of the base. The weight of the metal cape pulls the center of gravity right. Moving the miniature left brings it closer to the center of the base and makes the miniature less likely to tip over.
Batman was primed with an airbrush using Vallejo’s Acrylic Primers. While I’m a fan of brush priming over spray cans I’ve found my airbrush is just so quick and easy that I’ve been using it exclusively. I’m also actively trying to improve my airbrushing and so I airbrush as much as possible. After a coat of black, trying carefully to cover the model without building up too much paint, I load white into the airbrush and apply a zenithal light.
The only reason I like the zenithal light is it gives me an idea of where I want to put my highlights and shade. After I am finished painting the differences between the areas of light and dark primer will be obliterated. However the zenithal light brings out detail which helps me to see where I may have missed a mold line. Vallejo’s primers are fragile so after waiting over 48 hours for the primer to cure I took out the mold line with a file and then brushed on some black primer.
At this stage the miniature looks decent as a minimalistic monochrome statue but I’m looking forward to slapping some paint on it. The next article in the series will be on mixing paints and flatting. Here we will start to get an idea of how the finished miniature will look.
Have you ever had a miniature you were really excited about turn into a real pain during assembly. Let me know in the comments. You can also find me on Google+ and Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the next part of this series.
Batman Rulebook and Studio Painted Frank Miller Batman images copyright Knight Models. Batman is a copyright and trademark of DC Comics.