Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns Bat Armor build. Several photos

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Flash Dixon

Active Member
Hey everyone. First, please excuse the large photos. I should have resized them.
This post is a long time coming, but here are some of my progress pictures and completed Dark Knight Returns Anti-Superman armor that old man Wayne wears for his final confrontation with Superman.
I have several photos of the helmet build, but woefully few of the rest of the suit as I was rushing to complete it by Dragon Con last year.
In fact, the final electronics in the helmet were completed in the hotel room.
I'm normally not that guy that does a last minute build, but I had some delays and was running out of time.
Anyway, here's a handful of photos for you.
If you want to see more, go to my Facebook page Thecapeandthecowl for the full set.
It sarted with the base, which was a telecommunications pedestal that I cut down to the correct height.


Next we laser cut some rings to mock up the shape and then filled with styrofoam and sanded to shape.





Then lots and lots of Bondo, sanding and primer.


I used a Lazy Susan to connect the helmet to the neck ring so I could have movement.

Then came the cuts for the openings and the ear placements.
The ears aren't quite cannon size, but they look better larger as the original test set based on the comic's size didn't translate well to the real world.
I was able to use resin copies of the ears I made for my leather cowl.




The helemet is test fit to the neck ring and blocked in. Ready to mold.

Several layers of RTV later and the jacket mold.


Three pieces are what it takes to make the resin cast. The master, the RTV skin, and the jacket mold.


The finished resin pull.

And the finished helmet, complete with lights.


Here's the famous hob-nailed boot to the armor. The boot has a 3.25 inch sole and I covered it with foam floor mats to smooth the look out.
The spikes are resin pieces I cast and glued under the edge of the foam and against the actual boot sole.
The spikes don't actually make contact with the ground, but they fake the effect well.

I got really lucky with the gloves and found a set that were almost an exact match to the comic art.
All I had to do was cover the back with a piece of leather.


Because the suit is so enormous, I had to wear a padded shirt and pants under the suit coveralls to get the right size.
The shoulder pads are gutted motorcycle helmets I cut in half. Shown is the test fit of a helemt before it was cut.
And a test fit with the shoulder armor and helmet to gauge overall size.




And that's regretably all of the build pictures I have. But enjoy the finished product.
After the Dragon Con trip, I had to readjust the thigh and bicep rings and pad the legs better.
The upside is that I found a great Carrie Kelley to have a photo with.



And here are a couple more photos at Archon in St. Louis after the adjustments were made.
That's my little 5' tall wife standing off to the side.



This was really tough because of Miller's wandering and inconsistent art style.
Proportions and designs change from panel to panel, so I took what looked good to me and went with it.
There's a lot I want to rework on it, as well as build the sonic gun, but it's off to a good start I think.
I hope you enjoyed it.
 
Last edited:

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

troilluss

New Member
Your work is incredible! I've been fascinated by this suit since I first read the comic back in the 80s. You did a great job bringing it to life.
 

JPH

Sr Member
Thanks for the large photos! Great!

I looked at the first few, and I was feeling like I sometimes do watching a painting show. You think the artist is gonna screw things up, then BAM! Grawesomeness!
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Kame

Active Member
I love it! Although I feel like it could be about half it's size, the actual shape of the helmet is spot on. Great work!
 

Flash Dixon

Active Member
Thanks for the large photos! Great!

I looked at the first few, and I was feeling like I sometimes do watching a painting show. You think the artist is gonna screw things up, then BAM! Grawesomeness!
Ha! Thanks! I've never had any of my work described like that, but I'm glad you weren't disappointed!

- - - Updated - - -

I'll check it out.
 

Flash Dixon

Active Member
I love it! Although I feel like it could be about half it's size, the actual shape of the helmet is spot on. Great work!
Thanks, Kame. I get what you're saying about the size. Like a lot of my stuff, the build sort of follows that head or helmet. Miller's art regarding the armor is infuriating! Size and design sometimes vary wildly. For the overall shape and size of the suit, I went with the art panel that shows Batman standing by the streetlight with the sonic gun. He has his back to the viewer and Superman is just above him. Looking at other panels I sort of extrapolated the average size of the helmet versus the size of Bruce's head and facial features. There are panels where the helmet is double the size from other panels, so I had to just settle on what seemed most consistent. And Batman is MASSIVE in the story, so once the helmet was figured out, the suit had to follow that. And again, the art makes the suit slimmer when it needs to be, and bulkier in other views. And I totally understand where you are coming from with the size concerns. It IS huge, but some of the art reflects that. I can say that it is not at all a user friendly suit to wear. Stupid comic book physics...
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

nick daring

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Love it! Always wanted to build this!

Another issue with that suit is that it only shows up for a couple pages. Maybe only 8 panels or so. Not much reference to work with.
 

Flash Dixon

Active Member
Thanks! And yes, that was a big issue. almost no clear art to go off of. It's not like they had a good reference sheet to go from! If nothing else, I think the helmet turned out really well. The lighted eyes are illuminated by two of those led light pens, the kind with the lights running down the side. I think it has 5 lights per pen. Super bright! I had to actually block the lights down to a thin slit and even then I have them pointing downward as they are so bright that you can't look directly at them.
 
Last edited:

Kame

Active Member
Thanks, Kame. I get what you're saying about the size. Like a lot of my stuff, the build sort of follows that head or helmet. Miller's art regarding the armor is infuriating! Size and design sometimes vary wildly. For the overall shape and size of the suit, I went with the art panel that shows Batman standing by the streetlight with the sonic gun. He has his back to the viewer and Superman is just above him. Looking at other panels I sort of extrapolated the average size of the helmet versus the size of Bruce's head and facial features. There are panels where the helmet is double the size from other panels, so I had to just settle on what seemed most consistent. And Batman is MASSIVE in the story, so once the helmet was figured out, the suit had to follow that. And again, the art makes the suit slimmer when it needs to be, and bulkier in other views. And I totally understand where you are coming from with the size concerns. It IS huge, but some of the art reflects that. I can say that it is not at all a user friendly suit to wear. Stupid comic book physics...
I see what you mean. The only way to fill it out using those dimensions would be to make DKR Bruce Wayne's giant head, or at least everything below the eyes.
 

mysterious3rdgu

New Member
wow amazing man. I am working on this build right now and this has given me some useful tips. I have no clue where to start to make the helmet the way you did as I know nothing of that process. However the bondo confirmed something I've just started testing
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Flash Dixon

Active Member
The helmet shape was tricky part of the build. The master that I molded off of is extremely heavy and would never work on its own. Making a cast was a must have. You might be able to get away with carving the shape from foam and putting a skin over it. It doesn't take much bondo to build up a lot of weight, especially if you're trying to balance it as a helmet.
 

JStreet

New Member
Great costume! Nice work. I made one myself. But I can't for the life of me figure out how to make the glowing eyes like that. How did you make them? Thanks!
 

Flash Dixon

Active Member
The eyes are illuminated with a bank of LEDs that face downward. Facing them out make the eyes glow too bright. The lenses in the eyes are frosted with a clear slit to see through. Being frosted, they catch and diffuse the light to get the proper effect.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top