- HOW BABY FACE WAS BORN...
- 6. Outer Space Men
The Scary Light did get to the stores, by the way, in the form of a Green Hornet Signal Light. However, the toy
industry really only wanted to buy "Colorforms" from Colorforms. We should have realized that from the start, But
we did have some successes in spite of all obstacles.
One of those "successes" was The Outer Space Men. It,
like BF, has become something of a collectible. There's even
a collector's web site and it is very well done! That's another
web site just waiting for me to drop by for a visit, and in this
case I do have ALL the answers, as I was the only person
involved with the project. It was all done by me, in my loft,
and no one at Colorforms even knew it existed until it was
finished! Only Harry knew I was working on it, but he never
saw it, either, until it was done.
The Big Mistake on that OSM web site is 'Thanking
Colorforms "for their foresight and vision" and "especially
whoever wrote the stories on the cards" etc. Modesty
Forbids, but I really should make it clear, before I die, that it
was none other than little "moi"!
Any way You can see this for yourself at http://www.hrfn.net/~/rknralf/index.htm
When you look at this, what you might keep in mind, is that this is the only significant sculpting I really ever did
before and until Baby Face, 20 years later, and like Baby Face I was not supposed to be doing the sculpting, but did
it, or else, out of both desperation and inspiration. The inspiration coming like Baby Face, from "parts unknown." In
designing these I used my collection of Famous Monsters of Filmland as a starting point, some images were very
much inspired by known movie monsters others were no more than "doodles."
I made a lot of sketches and began in the process to feel quite
uneasy, perhaps because it was proving to be too easy! Images were
popping into my mind and I don't know where they were coming
from. I did at least 50 to 75 sketches, from which I chose 7 final
designs and then had to create exact scale drawings, front, back, and
side views, for the model makers in Japan to work from.
I was amazed to discover that I could just draw them as if they were
actually Real, standing there in front of me, which of course, they
weren't (or were they?) I knew exactly how they looked from every
angle. It was Exhilarating and also a little Spooky! As I had never
been this Facile in the past.
The presentation and drawings were sent off to Japan to be modeled and my hopes and dreams went with them. Five
or six months later they arrived, for our approval. They had been sculpted in some sort of clay, like we used to use in
grade school, glorified mud really. They were like unfired, air dried ceramic clay. The joints were all perfectly
turned of brass. But, in shipping the brass joints had only served to break the clay up even more, and the seven
figures arrived in a hundred pieces!
In spite of the damage, one could still clearly see that the interpretation and sculpting
was Terrible! And along with scattered pieces of the Outer Space Men, my heart was
broken too. So, I set to work repairing and completely re sculpting the lot. Only the brass
turnings of the originals remained unchanged. I worked day and night, frantically trying to
save them. You have heard the standard "adrenaline rush" story, I'm sure, like when a
mother finds the strength to lift up a full size car to save her baby. Well, that's the state I
was in-- not for a few seconds, but for three weeks!
And I really didn't know what I was doing. I made all the changes with "Hydrocal" a
material that is harder than plaster. This in conjunction with what remained of the fragile
clay, was an almost unmanageable combination. But I managed it somehow. The figures
were then cast in epoxy, by a model maker in New Jersey. I worked the colors out on the
epoxy models, and it all went back to Japan to be made into "real" toys.
I might mention here that the first thing I did when faced with the task of re-sculpting the Outer Space Men, was
run out and purchase a set of small sculpting tools. One of the six tools had a sort of flat rounded shape on one end
and a tiny flat knife shape on the other. That turned out to be the tool I used most to scratch away at the hydrocal or
lay it on when it was wet. I had broken most of the others in the process, but that one tool survived. And to this day,
It is the only tool can use to sculpt with. I tried to obtain another, years later, when I realized how dependent I was
on it, But the company that made it was out of business, and, as simple as it is, I've never found another like it.
Once, a few days after cleaning up my studio, I noticed that it was
GONE! I looked for it, tearing the place up, for two days, Finally I found
myself riffling through bags of garbage I had searched through several
times before, without success. But now the bags had been taken down to
the roadside, and the Garbage Truck was literally heading down the road
towards me, And I Found It! That was the tool I used to sculpt Baby
The Outer Space Men were quite successful, and with the royalties we
put a deposit on this house. We no sooner moved in than man landed on
the moon, and found nothing there. The Whole world lost interest in
Space Exploration and hardly anyone watched the second moon landing.
Space toys fell down to earth with a thud, and "one Giant Step for
Mankind", turned out to be one foot in the grave for The Outer Space Men!
Next Page: 7. Colorforms
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