1966 Batmobile (Deluxe Edition)

Polar Lights
Modified Reissue

Reviewed by:
On August 1, 2012
Last modified:October 21, 2014


For those who don’t know the history of this enormously famous 1960s icon, the real Batmobile–the original–was based on the Lincoln Futura show car of 1955. George Barris purchased the Futura from Ford for a song after its show-car life had ended, and proceeded to rework it into the most recognized car in TV history. Several clones have also been created, almost all based upon 1960s-1970s Chevrolet Impala chassis and running gear, but the Futura-based car was the real thing! The car is said to weigh well over two and a half tons. If you haven’t bought one of the new-tool Batmobiles yet, let’s have a revisit. All those started-but-never-finished conversions of Revell Lincoln Futura kits, and those carefully hoarded resin conversion sets, have all now been rendered obsolete. This kit is better than all of them. Because it shares componentry with Polar Light’s previous simpler, snap-together version of the car (pre-decorated, too), there is a great deal of simplification in this kit. How- ever, this does not detract from the excellent overall appearance of the finished product. The most challenging part of this kit will be the painting and finishing, especially the decals–they are thick and are matte printed. Some of the shapes the red striping goes on are tricky, so lots of patience (and lots of setting solu- tion) will be called for here, or you may choose to paint the striping on yourself with the aforementioned Chevy Engine Red (good luck–that ain’t gonna be easy!). One thing is for certain though–with proper research and TLC, the end results will give you a fine replica of the most famous TV car ever. And for refer- ences, you couldn’t do better than the web site www.1966batmobile.com, which has all the photos and documentary information you will ever need to properly do up this kit. Now, as far as this “Deluxe” version–is it worth almost twenty dollars more? My answer is heck, yes! Alternate parts are provided for any ver- sion of the TV car from all three seasons of the show (and the movie, too), and the choice of either the historically correct big-block Ford or fantasy jet turbine adds a new dimension to an already intriguing kit. The two resin figures are the same as the pre-painted snap version, except here they are unassembled and unpainted–but that also is not outside of the average modeler’s capability. But that photoetched sheet makes this Deluxe kit vault from “highly recommended” (which the original glue kit still merits) all the way to “Holy gotta have one, Bat- man!” status. POW! BAM! BIFF! SOCKO! ZOWIE! Need I say more?

batmobile1966 BATMOBILE (DELUXE EDITION) Polar Lights #POL837
MOLDED COLORS: White, Clear, Chrome Plated
SCALE: 1/25 MSRP: $42.98 USD

This new edition of last year’s Batmobile kit has two engine options. The first is a 27-piece Ford (or Lincoln) sourced 429 big block with C6 Cruise- O-Matic transmission. The valve covers, domed pie-plate open-element air cleaner, oil pan, and four-barrel carb are all chromed. Despite the high parts count, the overall level of detail is somewhat soft compared to most recent kits from other mainstream manufacturers, but what is here can be painted and plumbed into a fine replica. The second, newer engine choice is a three-piece “jet turbine” engine (remember Robin’s famous line “Atomic batteries to power…turbines to speed” as the Batmobile prepared to get underway?). The turbine may be non-prototypical, even sheer fantasy, but it does look pretty cool in that engine compartment.

This new edition of the Bat-car has not one but two chassis units–one for the big block (the more prototypical one) and one for the new turbine engine. Both basic chassis pans have both frame and floorboards integrated into one unit, with the front suspension A-arms molded on place. The big-block chassis has the gas tank molded in while the turbine version has saddle-mount fuel tanks and the rear part of the turbine exhaust system as part of the basic chassis. On both units, the engraving level is minimal but generally good, and reminiscent of the simplified Polar Lights car kits of a few years ago. Front suspension (different for big-block and turbine versions) is an eight-piece assembly with poseable steering. The rear suspension (shared between both versions) is a seven-piece affair with separate shocks and springs. Separate also is the X-member stiffener and the four-piece exhaust system (yes, again, the tips need drilling out for real- ism) on the big-block chassis, and the engine cables/hoses and jet exhaust ducts on the turbine version. The underhood area is a separate inner fender unit (two different units are provided, one for the big block car, one for the turbine ver- sion) that glues to the body from beneath, and has separate fuse boxes, battery, firewall, and master cylinder. The radiator attaches to the chassis and is met by the shroud that is part of the inner fender unit.

Chromed Rader five-spoke mags with unplated “bat” spinners ride on no-name semi-wide black vinyl tires with decent tread detail.

Platform-style, the interior builds up off the chassis floor. Only the transmission hump is molded in place (and this applied to both chassis), all else is separate. The side panels have three-dimensional coves but are bereft of additional detail. The bucket seats have no backs to them, but the backs will not be seen anyway, so in this case the point is moot. The console and rear wall are one piece, to which attach a lever of some kind that isn’t the shifter–and that attaches to the tranny hump. There is a separate fire extinguisher and mounting plate that attaches to the rear cockpit wall. The dash is a one-piece simplified unit that also includes the front wall and pedal faces, and this is well engraved, with a fluted dash pattern. Attaching to this is a three-quarter-rim steering wheel or a full Lincoln/Thunderbird-style steering wheel with horn ring. And yes, Virginia, there’s a Batphone on the console, and even an optional Bat-Ram lever for the dash. No less than nine separate decals–including gauges–go onto this, and two for the half-rim steering wheel!

One of the most distinguishable cars in history, the Batmobile’s basic shape is captured well here by Polar Lights. The body itself is one piece, to which attaches a separate finned upper rear deck. Font and rear lower fascias are separate and attack at the break line, making seam cleanup simple. At the front are separate clear headlight lenses, lens covers/turn signal lenses, and two split grilles. At the rear are two split grilles, two variants of the “turbine exhaust” (one with a rear camera attachment), taillight lenses, twin drag chutes, and license plate (this item looks a tad too skinny and you might want to consider replacing it). The longitudinal interior arch between the canopies is a separate component with separate “Bat antler” antennas and a chromed beacon with separate clear lens. The hood has no underside structural detail but does have four ugly mold marks you will want to eradicate. The trunk opens on the model, revealing the famous Mobile Crime Computer, for which there are no less than three separate decals. At the rear deck are the Bat-Rocket launcher tubes (drilled, thankfully) and a small chrome radio antenna. An optional base is included should you prefer using aluminum tubing for the Bat-Rocket tubes, and alternative antenna mounts are given should you prefer using thin wire for the radio antennas. The clear front and rear canopies are nicely done and in this kit, a second rear bubble is provided with an external over-the-canopy arch if so desired. Anyone remembering the episode of the TV series where the Penguin hijacked the Batmobile and made it his “Penguinmobile” will wax nostalgic here, as two Penguin umbrellas are provided for modeling just that vehicle.

On the large decal sheet, besides items mentioned previously, are all the red striping for just about every edge of the car, and these seem to be in a Day-Glo red shade closely approximated by Testors Model Master Chevy Engine Red (really a red-orange). All the Bat motifs for the car’s sides and the wheel centers are included here, as are “Penguinmobile” logos! Three sets of license plates are included, one slightly different shape than the other–all Gotham City, of course: BAT-1, TP-6597, and 2F-3567. OTHER: In addition to all the extra plastic parts, a pair of resin-cast 1/25 scale seated figures of Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder are included, unassembled and unpainted, with their uniform logos on the decal sheet. The real star of this “deluxe” kit is a superbly done sheet of photoetched metal details that include front and rear grilles, Bat wheel spinners, all three Gotham City license plates, dashboard chrome trim, nameplates for all the Bat-gadgets on the dash, door handles, headlight grilles, rear interior deck vent and its associated trim, hood and trunk hinges and supports, gauge faces, Bat emblems for the doors, pedal faces for gas, brake, and clutch, radiator fan (big block version only), upper arch trim lever, center console shifter trim, a Batman TV series logo to display your car with, and the infamous Bat Chain Slicer! Not only that, but the right hand side of the photoetched sheet is toothed to act as a superfine razor saw! Holy superdetail!