The Batman
Lewis Wilson 1943 Movie

by Keith Cousins "Cous3"

More Keith Cousins Models
More Batman Models

What do you do if there are no kits of one of your favourite characters?
....Easy you make your own. Here is how I went about converting a cheap,
easily available vinyl figure kit into one of my hero's.

The kit I chose to start with was the
Geometric ST Riker 1/6 vinyl.
The pose on this kit, the build of the actor,
and the two part uniform were my main reasons.
My first job was to get plenty
of reference pictures of Lewis Wilson
 these were easily found on the web.

I started by building Riker, the kit came in 5 large pieces and was pretty basic.
I filled both the upper and lower halves with plaster
(I like my vinyl kits to feel solid, plus filling the kit completely removes
the possibility of any collapse later on).

Once built/filled/puttied and sanded I looked at the kit and decided that the first thing needed was to remove the designer stubble that Riker has. I took a sharp blade to his chin to remove the worst and then used sandpaper to remove what was left. Next to come under the blade was his hair, this guy has far to much of it, and so along with his ears I shaved most of it off. At this point you must remember that anything protruding from the head would effect the look of the Bats cowl.

When finished with the head I went about marking the kit with a pencil to see where I was going to add the cowl/pants/gloves and boots. This took several attempts to get how I wanted it to look.

The plan was to use thinly rolled out Milliput to make the extra bits of
the Bats costume, I had never done this before so it was very much a learn
as you go type thing. I started with the cowl, Milliput was rolled out between
two sheets of plastic and talc used so that it wouldn't stick.
For some reason I used the fine White Milliput for this (just because it was
in my box I guess), anyway good job I did. White Milliput takes a lot longer
to go hard than the regular stuff (which I didn't know at the time) which was
just as well because it took me ages to get right. After much cutting and
blending I had a cowl that I thought looked okay, after 48 hours it was solid.
I then used normal putty to fill any holes and then sanded it flat. I noticed
that the cowl seemed too "round" and not much like the Wilson Bat.
To remedy this I added a few pieces of Milliput to the rear/sides of the cowl
to make it appear more baggy.

The same procedure was used on the gloves/pants/chest emblem and boots
only I used the medium Milliput that goes solid faster for these areas, I had
grown slightly better at moulding the Milliput to how I wanted it.
A spare piece of vinyl flashing was used to make the utility belt and buckle,
with thin plastic strips for the additional pouches.

The next thing to do was to make a cape, easy I thought, just do the same
as before with the Milliput! First I made a paper template of how big I wanted
the cape and which shape I wanted to use. Well I have to tell you that it
wasn't that easy at all. First I underestimated how much Milliput I would
actually need, I ended up using two hole boxes of the stuff.
Then I found that trying to roll it out with a rolling pin
(which is what I had used for the other bits) was almost impossible,
it finally took me an hour just to get the basic size/shape that I needed,
cutting bits out here and adding them there.

When I at last had a large, thin rolled out piece of Milliput,
I used the paper template to cut out the shape of the cape.
The plastic was left on both sides of the cape so it would not stick to the kit.
It was left to go solid for 24 hours.

To remove the cape once it had set I had to make two cuts each side
of the neck, the cape then simply lifted away. All that was left was for
the figure and inside of the cape to be painted, when dry the cape was
reattached by pinning it at the shoulders, the two pieces that were
cut away at the neck were glued back on and filled. To finish the figure the
outside of the cape was painted and the whole kit sealed with a matt sealant.

I enjoyed this conversion.......Would I do it again?
Well I would probably use a resin blank if I was to attempt another conversion.
The vinyl kits don't allow you to sand and shape them, for example:
The boots to me look to "thick" on the legs because they were made over
Riker's trousers which I could not cut away or sand, same with the stubble.
I got lucky there and most of it was cut away, but still needed to be sanded,
and as you know vinyl does not sand very well.
However, I now have a Wilson Batman that I converted myself
.....and that is a very good feeling :0)