Archive for the 'tmnt van' Category

03
Jul
16

The Batmobile that no one has driven…1940 style!

1940-the-original-batman-logo

THE 1940’s BATMOBILE aka N8MOBILE BUILD STORY Part One

By Nate Truman

The hobby of star cars has grown from a few crazy people like me pre-internet looking for original movie and TV cars, sweating the details by scanning every frame of a show to try and recreate our childhood dream cars, to a world wide movement!   Since the 1970’s fans of famous cars have been recreating, or restoring the famous rides of the small and big screen to live out their childhood fantasies of driving the ride from their favorite film or TV show.  Even cartoon cars, like the Ninja Turtle van, Speed Racer’s Mach 5, the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, and Transformers have become real drivable vehicles when a fan with a dream decides to bring them to life.

I have been called a “Founding Father” of the star car movement. That’s a nice way to say I have been doing this a long time. Since the 1970’s. Because of that I am running out of cars to find or build that “float my boat”.    I still have a short list of cars I want to drive or see on the roads of Hollywood, but the list is getting smaller. Other fans have jumped in and are building most everything now, sometimes before the movie has even come out!      One that has yet to appear, however, is one I have been waiting for someone else to build for many years.  Because it’s hard, expensive, and not a car that everyone will even “get” except the big time Batman fans. Only a couple of people have tried it. Due to life getting in the way the few that have started builds have given up or stalled.  So I have stopped waiting and am building my own version!

Batman started in 1939 driving a couple of red sedans, but as the early artists and creators, Jerry Robinson and Dick Sprang started to make batman stuff, like the Bat-plane, the Batarang, etc.  it was only a matter of a few issues of the comic books that the term “Batmobile” showed up.  Throughout the 1940’s various young artists drew the Dark Knight’s ride.  Even though they were pretty similar, it was when the Batmobile burst through the cover of the Batman comic #20 that the world knew Batman’s ride was something pretty special!

batman #20 batmobile

Believe it or not, the Batplane was created first! Made to look like a bat, Batman was flying everywhere in his custom bat plane, but just had an ordinary car for a short while.   As the early artists were young guys trying to work fast to finish more pages to make more money, continuity and conformity to previous art was not a high priority.  So the car was drawn based on each artist’s skills, and their favorite cars at the time.  In other words, it rarely looked the same way twice! No stripes, red stripes, blue stripes, the fin changed in every panel, sometimes with or without fender skirts, windows moved around, doors opened both ways but a few things stayed the same.  It had a big BAT face on the front, and a big bat wing/fin down the middle and out the back!
1925 round door rolls royce

 

I think someone saw the 1925 round door Rolls Royce and just took it a step further.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.55.12 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.55.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.55.29 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.56.51 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.57.02 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.57.09 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.53.13 PM  Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.53.29 PM  Batman introduced the Batmobile, then drove it off a cliff in the first story, but it was right back in the next issue!Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.54.44 PM  batman#5 first batmobile panel

For the sake of speed, many times panels were copied, or used as reference to draw the car like it had been drawn in previous issues, like these two panels.  Basically they played fast and loose with the details of the batmobile, as each artist tried to copy another version, or put a new spin on it for his panels.

For my 1940’s “N8MOBILE” build, I decided that I would use what inspired me from drawings from 1941 to 1948.  After world war 2, the new artists started updating the batmobile and the design changed almost every time the car appeared for decades after 1948.  (If you want to see all the different versions, go to a great site by a pal of mine,  Batmobile History.)

1940's black no bumper art Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 3.14.40 PMdc direct color drawing

As there were surprisingly few panels of the batmobile over the 41-48 years of the comics – a few versions emerged based on different artists. Some of those have become available as toys or maquettes and toy designers had to decide what a solid 3d version of these drawings would look like.  Above are some early designs for the toy versions from several companies.

Danbury Mint came out with the first high end detailed model and I like a lot of what they decided on in the real world!

The red stripe patterns, the four exhaust ports out each side and the coupe style with the swoopy back end was what I wanted to shoot for in my artistic “mash up” version.  The one thing I did NOT like was the bat fin.  TOO big. Rear skirts maybe, front skirts no. In several panels of the comic the doors had “suicide” front opening doors. I think reverse opening doors made it more custom and less like a car from the 40’s with a bat and a fin on it!

40's back1940 danbury mint engine bat     danbury 4danbury 6 danbury 7 danbury 8 danbury 9 bathead danbury

There have been a few other toy versions, Corgi, Eaglemoss, Mattel and a couple of model kits release as well.

Here is the 4 door Maquette version.

dc direct 2 blueprints dash dc direct4 dc direct5 dc direct6 dc direct7 top

Most of all the drawings had the car with two doors, but a few had 4 like this display piece.  I liked the split back window, and the fin on this version was a better design in the real world.  So my fin I would be built to look more like this version.

1940s batmobiles

Here’s a great line up of most of the toy versions. All the fins are different, there are versions with 2,3 and 4 exhausts on each side, stripes move around a bit, or all black, but it’s basically the same overall design.  I looked at how many times a detail appeared, and what I liked and didn’t like, as well as cost to come up with my final design that I wanted to bring to life.  I searched for shots of cars with the side hood exhaust in 2-3-and 4 versions and two looked stingy, three would raise questions of “Is this a v6? (no, they had v8’s but the two center exhausts were combined) so for various reasons mostly that it looked the coolest, I decided I would have 4.

auburn-cord-duesenberg

 

In my quest to do my due diligence I also scoured old comics, one shots, and any source where I thought I might find another take on this era Batmobile.  A few items showed up, but my favorite was in a modern version of a Batman cartoon where his current batmobile is stolen and he has to use his “vintage” backup ride.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.37.14 PMHere is a frame that is a nice “nod” to Michael Keaton stopping his Batmobile from the 1989 movie.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.37.28 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.37.36 PM

As you can see, the red stripes and many of the details from the Danbury Mint version are included, other than adding an afterburner to the rear.  Because, afterburners are just cool. 🙂 

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.37.47 PM   Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.41.38 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.42.48 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.42.53 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.43.35 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.44.03 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.45.50 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.47.52 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.48.47 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.49.02 PM

Actually in this cartoon version, they swapped out the big curvy batfin and added a composite version fin.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 9.53.42 PMThis cartoon also brought something else to my attention, the interior of the car. In the comics all you see is a 1930’s “Banjo style” steering wheel, and a “circle” on Robin’s side.  Most cars of the day had a clock on the passenger’s side dash, and just a few dials for the driver.

Pretty simple by today’s standards but it’s just what cars looked like then.Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.38.06 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.39.12 PM

 

 

 

 

In this recent cartoon take though, the animators decided to “gadget it up” for some Joker gags and add lots of switches and stuff.  I suppose Batman could have had this batmobile retrofitted with bat stuff over the years, he does tend to over prepare!  It was a fun bit, but the bat gadgets didn’t really get going until almost the end of this batmobile’s run – in the comics all they added during those years were some boat propellers and extra costume storage compartments. Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.39.02 PM40's police
The police of the day did have early CB like radio systems, so I would have to put in something like that in mine.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 2.19.51 PM

There was a blueprint dash that was just made up for one of the toys. It was cool, but it was also too busy for the time period and what I wanted the final product to look like.

 

Lastly I had to decide what my Bat symbol would look like. It has changed a lot over the years, and during the 1940’s batman often had NOTHING on his chest or a weird scribbled wing with no head. Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.54.34 PM I was amazed at how this iconic part of Batman was not really defined in the early years and it seemed almost an afterthought to the artists.  The Danbury Mint version had it’s own classic bat on the hub caps and on the motor.
Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.53.29 PM

I eventually combined a few designs, and cropped the ears to come up with a bat I liked.

Now, all that was left to do was find a donor car, and make this fictional cartoon car into my version of a street legal crime fighting monster!    STAY TUNED, BAT FANS, the best is yet to come!  PART TWO, the search for the CAR!

danbury bathead2

30
Dec
15

StarCar phenomonon, dubbed “Carsplay” goes global!

nate

One last blog for 2015, an end of the year wrap up!  Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com was started around the turn of this centurty, and has been growing in leaps and bounds every year.  From a single 66 Adam West Style batmobile, the idea of building, sharing and driving iconic movie and TV vehicles has grown to include StarCarCentral members around the globe.

In the early years of the hobby, people would fall in love with a famous ride, and the lucky few would buy a piece of movie history from the studios.  A few Herbie the Love Bugs, a handful of General Lee’s from Dukes of Hazzard and a Barris replica batmobile were in private hands.  Occasionally a short lived star car museum would open up for a while, then close down a year or two later.  The cars would be put in storage, or scattered around.  George Barris was kean on keeping track of all the famous cars, both the ones he had a hand in building, and anything else that had been on the screen and caught the public’s eye.   A couple of big auctions at his Barris’ Kustoms city and at the Peterson, gathered together for a brief time star cars from all walks of media and entertainment in the 1970’s and 1990’s.

If you didn’t get to the museum in Hollywood, or go to these simi-secret auctions that only movie car guys knew about, you would never have a chance to see more than one famous car together.

A few years down the road, fans started gathering for reunions.  The biggest of these was “Dukesfest” that happened for several years, and rows of repainted Challengers gathered together.  Some other famous cars would show up as well for a group photo.  Then interest waned and the shows stopped.  Now a new “Fanfest” has been reborn.

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Knight Rider fans also banded together and with the help of this new thing “The Internet” started finding other owners of Knight Rider KITT cars.  Rob Louisell, Mark’s Customs, Jay Ohrburg, sold fiberglass parts and the fans constantly improved the interior electronics and helped each other find rare parts to get their dream ride on the road.  A few gatherings of Knight Riders happened as well.  

KITTS

With the advent of the world Wide Web, every individual star car fan found a home to swap stories and ideas with other owners and fans.  There is a Herbie page,  lots of Knight Rider pages, 1966batmobile.com, basically there is a fan page for every famous movie and TV car that you can think of!

Even though Nate Truman had been tracking and finding screen used movie and TV cars since the 70’s, it wasn’t until 2003 at Crusin for a Cure that Nate finally decided to make his idea a reality.  “Let’s put them all in a pile, and play with them!” So over the last 12 years Nate has collected, connected, and introduced all the star car fans to each other!  It wasn’t easy, as many owners thought that their special car was cool, but didn’t want to park or do events with lots of “vehicular Unicorns”.    But Nate knew that seeing one amazing rare car out in “the wild” was amazing – seeing a HERD of them was mind blowing!  So out of that little new idea, and lots of detective work, Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com has become the hub where all the starcars can play together for good.  Hundreds of charity events, police, fire, Autism, Make-A-Wish, Pediatric Cancer Survivors, etc. have been able to include a display of famous movie and TV cars never seen before in public. The first “Carsplay” panel at Long Beach Comic Con happened this year and Nate and his team outlined the history of the hobby, and where it’s headed.

scc display.jpg

So as a cap to 2015, Nate organized his lineup to set a new record.  The most famous movie and TV cars in a single parade.  Over 40 cars appeared in the 2015 Hollywood Christmas parade!  It was a driving, rolling star car museum – brought together for just a few hours, and then disappeared into the night!  A big thanks to all the fans, owners, restorers, historians, and bloggers who have helped the star car hobby grow, and make new friends around the world!   Here’s the Star Car Central video of all the cars on the red carpet in the 2015 Hollywood Christmas Parade!  We have another 20 cars that could have been included, but we were just TOO big!  2015 Nate Truman’s Star Car Central.com Hollywood Christmas parade

red carpet.jpg

two-bats

So come join the fun in 2016, bigger and better!  Email Nate@starcarcentral.com or info@starcarcentral.com if you have a famous on screen ride!  With chapters across the United States and around the world, get your toy out and drive it!

 

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30
Oct
14

Here come Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com famous movie and TV cars again for 2014!

Nate Truman’s StarCarCentral.com line up driving down Hollywood Blvd. for the Hollywood Christmas Parade!

We are gearing up for our big televised parade event, that we have been invited to do for the last FIVE years!  In 2010 we had 6 cars in the parade, representing Columbia records.

Then we returned to be featured on the red carpet with Jaberwokeez dance team with 17 cars!  even more drove across the red carpet in 2012, and last year we beat our own world record to have 30 movie and TV star cars all in a row!  This year, we are shooting for even more, but we have become so large, the parade is breaking us up into section and themes!

We have a few new surprises lined up for this year, and are shooting for right around FOURTY famous movie and TV cars!

Let’s hope everyone can make it, no break downs, and happy faces!  See you on TV!




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