What a swing in temperature over the weekend! Saturday was 30 sweaty degrees and crazy humid, and today’s high reached only 8 degrees. Either way there was lots of work going on in the shop whether the garage door was open or closed.
After finishing up the sound proofing I’ve turned my attention to finishing up the interior panels and trim pieces. These pieces are essentially the equivalent to the interior panels of your common vehicle. Door trim, dash tops, plastic covers etc.
Figuring out which work do in the right order is a bit of a challenge. You have to think 4-5 steps ahead on how everything will go together. You ask yourself questions like “Can I hide that seam or screw?”, “Will anyone be able to see that area?”, “How will I assemble and disassemble everything and not paint myself into a corner?” and “Will I have the necessary clearance?”. The list of questions goes on and on…
I chose to start with what traditionally would be the door cards. Basically the equivalent to the inside of your door that snaps/bolts onto the outer door frame of your car. But in my case it’s more of a side cabin panel since the door on the BatBerry is actually the roof 🙂
To figure out all of my clearances I needed to put the dashboard face and lid back in-place as well as the side sliders/wheels for the canopy. I wanted a tight fit with the dashboard face but also wanted to make sure I had clearance on the tracks and canopy sliders. I’m constructing my trim covers with 1/4″ MDF which will then be covered with black vinyl or carpeting. The sides will be made up of about 3-5 pieces. One that covers the main side area, one kick panel that covers the speaker box, an insert that goes into the armrest, a top trim piece that goes above the track and likely another decorative piece to give the armrest a more appealing shape.
The armrest recessed areas are set-up so that I can create a box which will go inside the recessed area and meet flush with the side panels. This should give me a nice clean seam. You can see a picture below of one of the armrest boxes that I have temporarily screwed together while waiting for the construction adhesive to dry.
I was lucky that the passenger and driver’s side were almost exact mirrors of each other. There was just a little bit of trimming necessary since the two ends of the dash face are slightly different on each end. So creating the second cover was a pretty quick task. I only had enough small screws to hold together one armrest box at a time, so the passenger side box will have to wait until the adhesive sets. The screws are just a simple way of clamping all the pieces together and will be removed when everything dries.
Next on the agenda was a cover for the lower rear wall. This area will hardly ever be seen since it’s behind both of the seats and another vertical piece of the center console, but it will look nice covered in carpeting. I cut the ends of this piece a little short so that there was some exposed metal on each end where I can eventually secure a joining piece of trim that will cover the area between the rear wall and the side panels. It also makes for a convenient door if I need to get to the seatbelt mechanism. I just need to finish securing the side panels before creating the proper brackets. I also had to cut a couple of notches on the ends of this panel to clear the seat belts.
The next panel was the one that rises up on an angle heading to the top section of the back wall which was constructed from 1/2″ MDF. To properly fit this piece I needed to temporarily stick some 1/4″ panels above the canopy tracks to make sure that I had the proper clearances on the side walls. It needed to be “almost” snug, to account for covering it in carpet and the side panels in vinyl. I used a 45 degree router bit to take the edge off of the top panel so that it had a nice transition with the lower panel.
You can see more clearly the notches cut for the seat belts to travel through in the above picture. Both the lower rear panel and the upper rear panel have a screw in the center near their edges. These will eventually be covered up by another center console piece that travels vertically up from the lower center console to the upper rear panel.
You can see the area I’m referring to in the picture below of the studio buck used for filming the interior that they had for sale at the PropStore. It’s the “hump” for lack of a better term that’s in-between the top inner corners of the two seats.
From there I moved on to creating the top rear wall. Since this was currently open space going back into the hatch so I needed to create a wall for this area much like I did for the outer side walls on the cabin. I used some more 1/2″ MDF for this wall because it needed some strength and the ability for me to counter-sink the bolt heads holding it in-place. It will eventually be covered with a trim panel much like I’m doing for the side cabin walls.
The rectangle hole you see cut in the top rear panel is to make room for another switch panel and LEDs that were in the movie car. I managed to get some good photos of this area while we were on the WB tour. I’ll also need to eventually cut an opening for the top canopy actuator.
There’s still a bunch of work to finish off to get all of the trim pieces and panels ready for carpet and vinyl, but this weekend put a pretty big dent in the work. I must say that the years of collecting photos of the Batmobile sure have paid off. It makes a big difference when you can print off a bunch of photos to help as you’re working out proportions 🙂