66 Miata Batmobile Build

Grill shape - any opinions?

Nice snapshot - is that you?

I'm working on refining the shape of the grill opening.

I made a gallery of different shapes from different sources.
If anyone has a preference for what they'd like to see me use, please chime in!

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After we get some opinions, I'll share where I got the different shapes from :)
Looks like this replica did one of each. :)


Second one from the bottom wins it!
(It was you and my wife that voted.)
I got the patterns from:

1. Rough mouth opening in the foam frame.
2. 66 Bat-Manga #1
3. 66 Bat-Manga #2
4. 66 Number 1 TV car
5. 1:18 66 Hot Wheels

I made a template for the new mouth shape:

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I marked where to cut:

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I used popsicle sticks to mark the cuts:

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Cutting the mouth:

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New side pieces to match the template:

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I went to a classic car junkyard in Belton last weekend and got the front turn signals off a 1962 Thunderbird:

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They fit!

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More work on the front sides:

I made connector pieces for the lower front:

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I needed a bunch of pieces for the side ridge and the wheel well.
I cut wood blocks to the shapes I needed:

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I covered the blocks with aluminum tape so the hot wire wouldn't dig into the wood, then hot glued then to my clamps so I could make as many identical pieces as I want:

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The side of the front with all the ribs I made today:

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I had to trim little tabs off the ends of the parking lights.

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I reworked and cleaned up the bottom edge of the front.

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I built truss supports to reinforce the headlight platforms.

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On the miata:

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The headlights I got are 5 3/4" motorcycle lamps with H4 bulbs and diamond faceted reflectors. I got these because the small size will fit in the headlight pockets with enough clearance to adjust them in any direction, and also because they'll be easy to mount and adjust.

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'Fit' is a relative term.
I tore down and rebuilt the parking lamp areas so that both sides fit really close with a reinforced mounting platform. It was hard to get both sides sort of symmetrical.
I love these T-Bird lamps. I knew when I saw them in the junkyard that they were what I needed. The original 66 Batmobile has flush mount orange lenses, but I'm a sucker for brightwork.

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It seems that now I'm in the stage of the sculpt where 8 hours of work goes in and overall the thing doesn't look much different.
When I put the final connectors in the sides, it showed me that I had a zig-zag pattern with some ribs too high and some too low. Also, the bulge of the wheel well was too extreme. (The original 66 Bat has no wheel well bulge, but I had to include one to clear the Miata body.)
Here's a high rib marked for trimming:

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I tore out the connectors and turned my hot wire tool into a 'cheese cutter'. This allowed me to shave off controlled amounts from the high side ribs.
Hot wire cheese cutter in action:
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I tamed all the wild side ribs and sanded smooth. I think this will give a straight enough side contour:

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I did the other side too, of course.
What a fun project!
I am really looking forward to seeing it completed.
You have to make fiberglass kits for this, it's just too cool!
I've been working at a slower pace the last month or so - I had to get some actual work work done, if you can imagine that :) (Including the gig poster I made for last night's DEVO concert here in Austin!)

But back to the bat:

I used strips of Balsa to bring the skeleton back to the door seam:
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I also used balsa to give a bat-scallop where the skeleton crosses the hood:
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I made a special trimming tool to trim the door seam:
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Which was great except that the body was mounted a little off when I did the trimming! So I glued on some more balsa and trimmed to fit.
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The other side trimmed:
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I got started on the door ridges - the big problem there is that the door folds inwards, so there's four inches or so where I can't have a ridge.
First I tried giving them a taper:

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That didn't look so good so I reworked them to have a simple hard angle where the door folds inwards:

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Nice and tight!
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I cut a sample fin section for the door. It's exciting to get the first glimpse of fin!

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Fin, sweet fin. . . . . .

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