Batskiboat
Posted on March 25, 2024
Difficulty:

 

When I took the plunge into 3D printing, it was with the goal of producing 1:12 and 1:10 vehicles, large though they may be. High on that list of potential projects was the Batskiboat from “Batman Returns.”

I worked with a set of files developed by CGmorph on CGTrader.  He’s done some amazing work, and I know I’ll be revisiting his work again.

The first problem I had to resolve was the size. I knew this would be huge. Ideally, I wanted this to be 1:10 scale, to fit McFarlane figures. CGmorph’s listing labels this as 1:6, so I crunched the numbers down to 1:10. I needed to identify a small part I could print as a scale test, before committing to the whole thing. The only part that fit the bill was the seat of the cockpit. So I printed my reduced-size file size, and it was…. far too small. Clearly, the original files were not actually 1:6. That meant I had to print the seat a few times, usually at 10% increments, until I found one that seemed to fit a figure. Ultimately, I landed on 80% of the original file size.

Once I had everything printed and assembled, I found I could not fit a 1:10 figure inside the cockpit. But I could fit 1:12. So for now, Mattel’s “homage to 1989” Batman figure is the pilot. In retrospect, this means the original files were probably close to 1:10 as is, and I didn’t have to reduce the file size.

In order to fit on my Elegoo Jupiter, I had to subdivide many of the larger parts, often into quarters. Those parts were then made “hollow,” so as to cut down on weight and resin use. I chose Siraya’s Blu “Nylon Black” as the resin for its durability. Regular resin, while rigid, can shatter if dropped. By using Blu “Nylon Black” I hoped to reduce that chance.

I printed the windshield in Siraya Blu “Clear.” However, I was disappointed to find the printed pieces did not align well with the canopy itself. I thought something might have gone awry with the prints, but I checked the files, and sure enough, the windshield parts are somehow distorted. I glued them in as is, but there are large gaps present.

The cockpit screens were developed in Photoshop and printed. The “staircase radar” (so ridiculous) is a screengrab.

I should mention I found no reliable reference material for the interior of the cockpit. In the film, we only ever seen closeups of a screen, radar, and Batman’s face. We never see any details of the interior. I could not find any BTS references either. I must commend CGmorph on his design choices. They feel very authentic!

This thing is monstrously huge! The end result is roughly 41″ long, 32″ wide, and 15″ tall. I genuinely don’t have a place to display it, nor do I have a large enough workspace to photograph it. (You can see I gave up all pretense of a proper photoshoot and just took it outside.)

If I were to make this over again (I am not!), I would do some things differently. First, I would not use the Nylon Black resin. My logic for choosing it was sound, but I did not realize that at this scale and size, and with most of the parts being hollow, the pieces are in fact somewhat flexible. The result is the boat cannot hold its own weight on the struts for more than a few minutes without warping the wings and skis. (In one case, I had it resting on the skis while measuring it, and the glue gave out under the weight and flex. A wing ski snapped off.) I should have used the standard resin. It might be more brittle, but it’s also more rigid. I think the risk would have been worth the trade-off.

Also, I’d re-engineer the wings to make them removable. Doing so would make this much easier to store.

Finally, I’d reprint the canopy and the windshields as one merged piece in clear resin, so as to avoid the misaligned parts problem.

I learn from every project, and I learned a LOT on this one. Namely, plan ahead for storage!

Created February 2024

 

 

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