For many movie fans, there is no better shop than The Prop Store, a treasure trove of movie memorabilia where you can find something related to almost any film franchise you can think of. Costumes, screenplays, full animatronic puppets, screen worn miniatures, and much more may all be found, and often purchased, in one of their auctions if you have the cash to match the bidding wars. Mythbusters presenter Adam Savage recently made a visit to The Prop Store and saw the fully restored 14 scale model of the Batwing plane from the Tim Burton/Michael Keaton 1989 film Batman up close and personal.
Adam Savage visits Prop Store to check out some of the thousands of original movie props and costumes that pass through their archives, including this incredible quarter-scale filming miniature from the 1989 Batman movie! This is the iconic Batwing model that was used for climatic flight sequence, restored to original working condition to showcase the practical motorized and lighting effects that were actually used in the film. It’s one of the coolest pieces of prop history we’ve seen, looking like it flew right out of the silver screen!
The Batwing variant, which measures roughly six feet in width, is nothing short of astounding, as evidenced by the film. The model includes the clipper tool, which was used in the film to disrupt the Joker’s plot to douse Gotham with a laughing gas that had been packed into a number of parade balloons, as well as its own Batman figure in the pilot’s seat and lighting effects. The realistic effects, like many other models, may have been boosted in post-production, but there’s something about witnessing the real thing that’s no less spectacular since it doesn’t have the magic of movie technology behind it.
The Prop Store’s Brandon Alinger features in the video to give some insight into the model. He said, “Models are interesting, because they’re kind of like cars. Time tends to take a toll on them, and they can be rebuilt and reworked and reset like cars. The original production drawings showed the Batwing vehicle was to be 27′ in width. This model is about 6.25′ wide, so its intended to be 1/4 scale. It’s true that the Batwing figure is smaller. If you look at the sequence in the film when you see the 2′ wide model (wider shots, shots where the Batwing is moving a lot), the Batman figure is noticeably larger within the cockpit — probably more like the proportions the construction drawings intended. Regarding the mechanisms, nothing was removed. The original pneumatic cylinders are still present (but disconnected), and the original tracks, slides etc are still used. We just added linear actuators as ‘helpers’ to act in place of those cylinders.”
Although it is now over 30 years since the movie was released, The Prop Store still have some pieces of memorabilia for sale from the production on their site, as well as many items from the subsequent movies in the Batman franchise.