Tuesday, January 21

Da na na na na na na na - Moebius Models' 1/25th scale 'Dark Knight' "Tumbler" Review Build!

So the best tool that Batman uses to help him fight crime? No not Robin – but the Batmobile. And arguably the meanest looking version of the Batmobile is the Tumbler. We look at Moebius Models new 1/25th kit and built and paint it up for you in today’s review.
Moebius Models
'Dark Knight' Batmobile
Scale 1/25
Kit Number 943
19 sprues: Black Styrene 128 parts: 6 vinyl tyres 1 metal axle
Available from: Moebius’ Distributors

When Christopher Nolan reinvented Batman in his new series or films starring ‘ol grumbly voice and lighting engineer himself Mr Christian Bale, he started off with one of the things that is the most important to the caped crusader movies – making a new “Batmobile”. He wanted a cross between a Lamborghini, a Humvee and a stealth fighter – and what came out looked very much like nine months after a good night on the town with these three – it is tough, fast and stealthy looking car with a massive jet nozzle on the rear with its massive tyres and spoilers. IT certainly surpassed most people’s thoughts on a new Batmobile and it set the scene for the new movies with a look and tone. It was called the Tumbler.
Now Moebius has already made the Batpod that we put together in a review last year along with a lovely Catwoman figure. We liked it and it had some interesting engineering which worked well and went together easily (and it looked good.) They have really invested in these new popular Batman kits and they have seen some success.  We thought this new model of Batman's Tumbler would be a good review - but then again even better built.Shame it was 1/18th scale otherwise it would have mated really well with this release. 
The tall square black box is very full indeed. There is a bunch of four large and several small sprues of black styrene that look like a larger sprue cut up into smaller sub sprues to fit into the box.  The plastic has a little flash and some seam lines especially on some of the smaller thinner struts which I could do without but must be removed before putting them together – as the nature of the black colour all over finish will highlight any modeller slackness.

There is a clear sprue as well for the transparent windows and the spotlights (or batlights?) on the car. You can see straight through these a little too much – I ended up using some Tamiya “Smoke” to darken them up so you couldn't see too well inside – rather like the original.
The sprues themselves are not lettered and the numbers are consecutive - but spread all over the place on different sheets in a funny order – which kinda let to me making this mostly without looking at the instructions.

The Instructions:
Moebius take time and care with their instructions, usually topping others who make the exact same kit. These instructions are fairly straight forward and this helps with the jumbled up numbering system as the steps are clearly laid out.

There are a few mixed up numbers that need to be swapped around  -

There is a problem in step 6F while assembling the rear tail where number 71 and 72 are on the wrong sides as well – these need to be swapped.
Step 6c as well is a problem as well - as part 59 goes in upside down to how it is shown in the instructions.
The placement of the aerofoils is as vague as hell as well – this annoyed the cripes out of me in final assembly and nearly spoiled the experience for me – with the numbers 62 & 63 plus parts 125 & 126 (which hold up the front two aerofoils) were confounding me until I just swapped them over.
Otherwise, the instructions were good!

The rubber tyres:
 These stretch over the hubs easily and look good….but they are a little saggy on the wheels at some parts an you need to pick the two best fits for the outside of the back axle. This needs to be filled and then painted. Using hot water to manipulate these can warp them so do this at your own risk. The wheels are connected by a strong stainless steel axle which won’t break no matter how many times you push down on it trying to fix the aerofoils. (kit wheels on the right)
The front tyres are excellent and fit on easily with out gaps.

The Plastic:
Let’s walk through the sprues quickly before we build the kit– well the major ones anyway – as this black plastic is insanely hard to make any sense of in pictures.

I wanted to take you through sprue by sprue but you get pictures like this:
…Which I cannot make heads or tails out of – so I’ll show you the close-up detail on some of the parts instead.

The rear tail aerofoils
..Followed by the two front left and right foils which on the real car flap up and down to aim breaking and road hold.
The lovely shaped top roof section which can be painted with slight variations to show this feature off.
Some top pods which look a bit like air filters with faceted intakes.
Seats for the cockpit – these are both different – one with a moulded on seatbelt which I put in the co-pilot seat – just in case I put a figure in the pilot’s seat.
The left-hand side driver’s door panel (this isn’t a door but you know where I mean) and window. The two dotted circles are meant to be fuel filler caps.
Two side panels with hydraulic arms (which are for show - knives for a pro)

The (Bat)Build:
So far it wasn't much of a review - it's hard to see the kit arts and I told myself I had a "gap" so let's build it to see how it goes together...

I have shown here a step by step with all of the paint I used in the pictures so it saves m writing “grey” a hundred times…On the note of painting I have used Vallejo for the whole car unless noted here – the Brass and smoke are Tamiya and the silver is Alclad II which smells but it holds by gosh! Washes are Vallejo as well. I use Vallejo wherever I can because I value my health and it is easy to keep your airbrush clean using it.

This kit fits together around a central cockpit box. Nearly everything is attached to it and not much of anything else except the rear axles off the exhaust housing and rear suspension.
Fists the seats sit on the cockpit floor with the handlebar style steering wheel – You will notice on the pedestal for the steering wheel there is a very visible seam that need to be filled right down it. Also right down the centre of the console as well. Like everything here in this cockpit it will not be seen when closed up (but you will know it’s there – eating out your heart every time you look at it)
Before this all gets sealed up I had to choose a colour to paint it all – Vallejo Light rubber on the base and the lighter shade dry brushed over this (before is on the right – after on the left) I let the brush scratch it up a little as well to show a little wear and tear.
I gave the seats a coat of “UK PRU blue” to set them aside from the rest of the light rubber grey camouflage.
I used a silver paint pen for scratches and light grey Vallejo wash for the darker and deeper areas of the cockpit. PRU blue was used for a 2000AD style computer screen.
You can see here the box of the cockpit all secured here and ready for all of the other bits to hang off. It really is some very good engineering to make this all fit so invisibly. No doubt this is a facet of the Tumbler vehicle itself. 
The rear wall location tabs which hold the exhaust shroud to the rear firewall need a stern talking to by the sanding stick or you will see them thru clear Perspex.
These are the main parts of the vehicle cleared from sprues and divided up into a lighter (top on the left pile) and darker (lower on the right) parts. These would be painted different colours slightly to get some colour modulation effect. The vehicle is such an angled creature that this might pay off later…
You can see here the general layout of these parts for the “Top”  of the vehicle – they got a combination of “Dark Rubber” and 333”German Grey” to get them ready for assembly.
The rear tail has two quick release hydraulic connectors in silver and next to them two dials which show some kind of pressure – I didn’t have any dials in the kit so I used some Luftwaffe decals from the 1/32nd Airscale kit “Generic Luftwaffe.” These have some great dials of many different sizes – Nos #3 and #4 on the bottom worked well for me.

Here are the real dials and the placed Aircscale decals below that
For the Hydraulic arms I used the dark copper shade of Tamiya for toughness and toned down (not such a gold look) – and for the silver rams, I used Alclad white aluminium for that extra shine. You can see here the front face down cockpit I in place as well as the front wheel – This wheel can turn but I secured mine as I don’t plan on racing it around the floor anytime soon – (well not when anyone is watching.)
You can see in the picture below the two front wheels are on and most of the side panels are in place – notice that the top facing panels are a slightly lighter grey – this is the Vallejo 71.052 “German Grey” – which is pretty light – but it is there for contrast. This was now applied to all of the horizontal surfaces on the top of the vehicle.
On the rear of the vehicle you will have to fix up the nasty vertical seam on the exhaust shroud – this I painted the lightest of the German grey and then the Alclad silver on the jet pipe was ringed by "XF27 Dark Copper" and then some smoke on the extremity of the tailpipe for that “baked on” appearance.
You can see here how I bit the bullet and masked off all of the top facing panels to become the lighter shade of “German Grey” This worked really well I reckon. You can see here the air intake below is still darker as it would be out of the light.
Here is the lighter coloured vehicle with gradients much easier to see than my first attempt – it is hard to capture under lights with a camera but with the eye, it gives variation and points of 3D interest.
The tyres were painted in a Vallejo’s “Dark Rubber” – you can see the undercoated black on the left and dark rubber on the right – a marked improvement in texture and age of the tyre.
Light rubber shade was used on the highlights of the tyres on the tread and sidewalls where Vallejo “black” wash was used on the places the wheel met the tyre for more contrast. You can just see the Alclad coloured gas bottles inside the rear engine section. 
You can here some sag which I think could be filled - otherwise, the painting looked great to me
The fuel filler caps were painted dark brass and then washed  with some black wash to pick out the recesses – I did the same to all of the “brass” suspension and hydraulics on the vehicle – I like a batmobile to be black (or maybe at least grey) without the “jewellery shop” look which is on the colour call outs.
Black was applied inside the rear exhaust burners as well.
Here she is ready to have the top put on – it’s a shame it is all covered up and it doesn’t have a pivoting roof. That is the one thing I would add to this kit – ohh and lights as well.
Once the top is on you are nearly done – but the four front aerofoils need to be installed – this is a pain in any one of your holes as the parts are sometimes mixed up (see the instructions) but these are the types of holes they fit into.
This photo might help you – it shows the fins on the left-hand side and off on the right – this is the placement you need to follow – and you will still be frustrated!
Here it is all completed...

So there we go – a model that sometimes isn’t sure if it wants to be taken seriously or not. It has a sometimes dodgy sections with other great parts to the build as good as any other kit on the market. I suppose it is all about your individual approach - If you take it seriously you can far outstrip what I have done in 25 hours of work – and if you want to have fun it could take you two evenings – a coat of black paint and boom! You have yourself a Tumbler.

Niggles aside I liked the kit and it now sits next to my television so I can have a little bat-fantasy every time I zone out when watching the TV.

 Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Moebius models for sending us this kit to build and review