The Batplane
of 1944

Click to see larger version
Click to see larger version
These panels are from THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #167, October 1980. Art by Dave Cockrum and Dan Adkins.
As with the Batmobiles, the Batplane changes, depending on the artist drawing it. Some versions of the 1940's Batplane have a large bat-head on the nose, just like the Batmobile. This version did not seem to have a propeller, and since this was before the introduction of jet engines, its method of propulsion was always a mystery.

While collecting reference materials for another comic related modeling project, the aircraft flown by the Blackhawks, I'd picked up a copy of The Brave and the Bold, a book that teamed Batman with other DC superheroes. This particular story was set during World War II and featured Batman and the Blackhawks together battling Nazis. Of course, since the Blackhawks were primarily fliers, Batman had to spend a good deal of the story in the Batplane.

Although set in the early days of Batman's career, the story was actually published in 1980, and the artists, Dave Cockrum and Dan Adkins, produced a sleek design that retained the distinctive characteristics of the Batplane but also looked aerodynamically sound. Despite the fact that this Batplane came from a period well before I started reading comics (or was born for that matter) and appeared in a comic published long after I stopped reading comics, it instantly inspired me to build it!

The first step was to find a real plane to serve as a basis for the conversion. This Batplane combined elements common to racing and war planes from the late thirties. I considered the early model P-51 Mustangs, the Mig-3, even the Italian Macchi 202, but finally settled on the Curtis P-40 as the best candidate. The design was from the right period and it already had a number of features needed for this Batplane, such as the long pointed nose and the shape of the canopy framing.

One of the primary differences is that the Batplane's cockpit is set farther to the rear than the P-40's. When I commented on this in an article about this conversion that appeared in FineScale Modeler, and suggested that it appeared to be modeled on the racing planes of the '30s, I received a couple of messages that clarified the actual genesis of this version of the Batplane.

The first was from Wayne Moyer, who said "when you moved the cockpit back and centered the engine in the fuselage, you didn't give it a '1930's air racer look', you almost perfectly duplicated the Curtiss YP-37, the forerunner of the P-40. Obviously the artist HAD to use the YP-37 as the prototype for the Batplane." Curtiss YP-37- click to see larger version

And then I heard from Dave Cockrum, the artist who drew it - " A note on the Batplane model, also taken from The Brave and the Bold #167-- very nice model. I used the Curtiss YP-37 as the basis for that. I loved the long front fuselage with the canopy pushed way back. It's a neat look. I felt a little guilty about not having a big bat head on the front of the plane, but I could never see how that version would work." Neither could I, which is why I liked Dave's version.

The model has done well in model contests, culminating in a second place award in the Hypothetical class at the 1996 IPMS/USA National in Virginia Beach.

Model of the 1940's Batplane

1/72 Scale

Click here for more pictures and description of the construction process for the Batplane.

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The character of Batman, the emblems and the comic book panels on these pages are the property of DC Comics. All text and photographs are 2000-2013 Dan Thompson, except where otherwise noted. This homepage is not intended to infringe on the copyright of DC Comics to its characters, but was created out of gratitude to all the talented writers, artists, and editors who created the Batman.