WORK IN PROGRESS
Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of THE OUTER SPACE MEN , THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE and other Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright (c) MEL BIRNKRANT
Here is a Potpourri of Peeks at Work in Progress. Much of what I envisioned going here, when compiling the table of contents, somehow, popped up on previous pages. Rather than repeating them, let's see what can be found to entertain your eyes; beginning with these drawings! They arrived in the first E-mail the Four Horsemen ever sent me. It predated everything, even their decision to license the Outer Space Men. Here Eric explains them in his own words. There were11 drawings in all. I’ll post the first 8 here, and add the others as new designs appear.
“Attached are some design drawings for 11 of the 13 OSM characters. These should help illustrate how some of the shared parts would work out amongst the various characters. As you can see there are quite a few unique bodies in the mix as well. Keep in mind that these were pretty quick drawings that were done more to illustrate how the body parts would work than for final styling. They will look similar to this, but a lot of the detail and visual flair will come out in the sculpting phase.”
When Glyos and the Universal Body was explained to me on the phone, before I saw these drawings, I visualized each figure looking very much the same. The drawings tell a different story. The shared parts appear minimal. Exceptions to the rule and unique bodies give each a different look.
The drawings also epitomize a curious trait of the Four Horsemen that is something of a mystery. These masters of sculpting in the Third Dimension, tend to work from drawings that are conceived and executed in 2D. Even the exquisitely rendered drawing for Fan Ex are flat and decorative in nature, reminiscent of the fashionably sophisticated work of the Art Deco master, Erte. Somewhere in the sculpting process, with all the daring of Evel Knieval, the horsemen leap across a chasm from 2D to 3D! Where does the transformation take place? Somewhere in mid-air, between Dimentions 2 and 3? I can’t wait to see what they do with Gamma X, the Man from 4D.
Next, the search for the Universal Body began. Here are the initial images. Right from the start, it had a comfortably lifelike stance about it.
Here are a group of odd images, and a few overlays that will convey a feeling of the back and forth that went on in the process. I was a pain in the butt, most of the time. But, nonetheless, every once in a while, an overlay resulted in improvement. Move your mouse over the image below to look beneath the overlay and see the head before corrections were made. The corrected head is on the right.
A case in point is Xodiac! The Horsemen's first pass is the top line, my overlay is below it.
And now, behold the corrected head and the finished figure! Is this not PERFECTION?
Eric meets Erte. BIG and Small. Even the Color palette is similar to ... SYMBIOTECH.
MOUSE OVER to TAKE THE LEAP
This is a photo the Horsemen sent me, in which they compared, their new body to the original “bendies”. Yikes, those old OSM sure are looking sad and wimpy! This new guy is “mucho más macho!”
Here’s an example of how to drive four Horsemen crazy. When it comes to pumping out overlays I am not lazy. This one with the reference to Popeye was definitely not well received. Meanwhile, it was not until I saw Astro Nautilus's Head on the Universal body that I realized that the concept worked. These newly recreated Outer Space Men were going to be GREAT!
Even though they sent this photo showing the comparative size of the new Outer Space Men, it didn’t quite sink in with me.
I was getting involved in details too deeply, and splitting hairs that were actually much smaller than a human hair can be.
When it came to igniting Inferno, the Four Horsemen were on fire, catching on right from the start. His face required just a little tweaking. No overlays, this time, just some decent photos of the original, and Bingo! They got him right! The lightening bolt chest emblem was a flash of inspiration.
Metamorpho was another winner. The way the Horsemen engineered the helmet was terrific, and far superior to the original, which involved gluing it in place. I did ask that they take another look at the basic human like face, as this first version looked a little angular to me. They altered it slightly to capture a better likeness. Thus, the Four Horsemen recreated both Inferno and Metamorpho, working from photos only, and captured their essence perfectly.
I’ve run out of both energy and pictures, so this page will stop here. Rest assured that in the future the Four Horsemen will get plenty of photographs, before they start on a new figure, like this view of Electron+. The actual production model is in the center, an unpainted epoxy model on the left, and the painted master on the right.
And here’s a final photo. The Horsemen asked for one that showed relative size. This is what I sent them. There is no hint or message in it. I have no idea what they may work on next. In that respect, your guess is as good as mine. But, nonetheless, we can but wonder, are these the Shapes of Things to Come? Hopefully, this photograph will whet your appetite for Outer Space Men.
Last of all, a footnote photo; our way of saying “That’s all, Folks!” This photograph answers the question: “How big, or small, is ALPHA 7 anyway? Yes, he really is that tiny! Two and a half quarters tall! What's a Quarter worth these days? If you like a lot for just a little, be sure to.......