Gremlins in the Garage!

Horizon - Batman
by Scott Buonanno


 Reviewer:   Scott Buonanno 
 Kit:   Horizon - Batman 
 Scale:   1/8 
 Material:   Vinyl 
 Genre:   Science Fiction 
 Sculptor:   Tosherio Kiya 
 Updated:   January 22, 1998 
 Reviews:   Steve Goodrich, Scott Buonanno


When I saw that Horizon was producing a series of comic book characters in resin, I was very enthused. The initial pictures of the kits did nothing to lessen the enthusiasm. Robin throwing a Batarang, the Catwoman with her whip, Joker and Bane, and Batman standing on a window ledge all looked to be winners. The initial release of Robin (reviewed elsewhere) promised great things for this line of kits. Unfortunately as with most things, reality provided both high and low points.

The Batman depicted does not resemble either of the cinematic versions, nor is he the TV version. Instead we have the character as depicted in the comics. On first impression, the kit is nicely sculpted with crisp detail. Mr Kiya has done a nice job representing the cape. It is intricate with many deep folds and creases. The figure stands with left foot forward and head turned to the left. The cape is draped around the body,billowing out off the back and is held in the right hand. While nicely sculpted, when compared to the dynamic pose of Horizon's Robin and Catwoman, the pose is rather static. Because the face does not resemble any of the actors to play the caped crusader, it appears to be somewhat generic. Unfortunately, the window ledge with gargoyle base the kit is often pictured with (see Amazing Figure Modeler 5) is a seperate item costing as much as the figure. I was very disappointed to find that the base was considered a seperate item.

Horizon's Batman comes well packaged in a sturdy box with foam inserts. Most major components are individually wrapped to protect them. The kit consists of 13 parts: torso and leg, leg, 2 forearms, 2 sets of "barbs" for the forearms, six pieces which comprise the head and cape, and a one piece street base. The kit is molded in a brittle grey-green resin, very similar to the material Verlinden productions uses for their military figures. The moldings had only a very fine mold line and a few pinholes. Of secondary interest is a fine layer of release agent coating all the parts.

Assembly started with a brisk scrub using Murphy's Oil Soap and a firm brush in hot water to get rid of the release agent. The mold lines were lightly sanded and the pin holes filled with Cyanoacrylate cement. Major components were test fit . I assembled the torso and leg first. Because the position of the forearm/hand is dependant on the position of the cape, I decided to assemble the cape next. This is where my problems started. As noted before the cape and head comprise six seperate parts. Seam lines are relatively well hidden in folds of the cape but will need some camouflage to hide completely. I found it difficult to adequately eliminate the seams, but they aren't really visible unless you go looking for them. Because of the complexity of the cape and the way the pieces join together, it is virtually impossible to dry fit the pieces to make sure all the components fit in harmony. I found after assembling the pieces the way mine lined up that the cape seems to ride up the figures back leg. This creates an unnatural appearance and prevents the cape and head from seating correctly into the torso. Secondarily, I had to force the right hand which is gripping the cape into place. Between this and having to force the cape/head assembly down into the torso, there is a lot of internal stress in this part of the figure. I wouldn't be surprised if the stress causes the thing to fly apart one of these days. I'm not sure if this fit problem is due to some warpage in the fairly thin pieces that comprise the cape, or just an error during construction. In any event, with exception of the cape problems, the kit goes together well with minimal need for seam work. I opted to keep the head/cape seperate from the torso until after painting to make access a little easier. A light coat of Floquil laquer primer was sprayed to give a good base for the paint to grab onto.

I use lots of different paints but for this kit I stuck with the new Polly S paints. I find they airbrush well and come in a wide variety of shades. I started by painting the torso a light blue grey, similar to a WWII US Navy aircraft medium blue. I shaded with a darker grey to pick out the musculature and then highlighted with a lighter shade of the first color. I sealed this with Floquil figure flat. I then masked the area around the utility belt with liquid latex. I painted the belt white to mask out the grey primer and then used a Japanese yellow paint for the belt. Unfortunately, when removing the mask, it became apparent that for all my vigorous scrubbing with the oil soap, the release agent was not gone. My paint pulled up in some sections leaving me to curse loudly and question the lineage of the nice folks at Horizon. I stripped all the paint and primer and rewashed the kit. I reprimed and tried it again. Same problem. Whatever Horizon uses as a mold release agent, it is very tenacious. I never adequately solved this problem and was forced to do a lot of touching up on the kit. The cape was painted USAAC blue and shadowed with Luftwaffe dark blue. Flesh tones were, well, flesh tones. I used the Horizon paints for this.

In summary, there are some high points and low points. First the high points. The sculpting is very good as is the quality of the castings. The character is accurately modeled. Assembly (except for the cape) is easy. Now the low points. First, the pose is too static. There are a lot of dynamic poses this character could have been placed in. Take a look at Horizon's Robin or Flash and you'll see what I mean. Secondly, the cape while beautifully sculpted is a real pain in the neck to assemble. Third, for the price of this kit,I would really like to have seen the base pictured in AFM included. There are many other kits out there that give more bang for the buck. Last, whatever it is that Horizon is using as a mold release agent has got to go. I follow the same cleansing steps for all my resin kits and have never had a problem. Why this stuff wouldn't come off is beyond me. In closing, I'll tell you that I'm relatively happy with the way the kit came out. If I don't look too closely to see all the touch ups, I'm not displeased. I just think that perhaps the end results were not necessarily worth the headaches.


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