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
ORBITRONTM The Man from URANUS
From the barren mountains of Uranus great waves of thought reach out through the blackness of outer space, probing the Universe. Thus, Orbitron and the men of Uranus search the stars seeking the lost knowledge of the Ancient ones. On great ships, they travel to the farthest reaches of our Galaxy and beyond. Able to read the minds of men, they have collected the learning of a thousand worlds, and yet they go on searching in a never ending quest to learn that which it has been ordained no man shall ever know.
As the photos above display, the finished ORBITRON was going to be Great! Alas, when I first saw him in photos shot at SDCC, I did not feel that way. In the official 4H photo (center) I liked him even less. He even reminded me of those hilariously funky Bullmark figures, which, by the way, were complete Knock Offs, in spite of what some jerk on Wikipedia says. He must have invested in a set!
I might as well seize this opportunity to, once more, set the record straight. I tried to correct an erroneous Wikipedia entry that claimed that they were licensed from Colorforms. But, somebody with an obviously “invested” interest changed my correction back to misinformation again. I thought the lowdown from the horse’s mouth would be welcome. Guess NOT! It wasn’t worth a battle, so I just let it be.
Meanwhile I wrote to the Four Horsemen choosing my words carefully:
First of all, I LOVE the New Stuff you did for Mattel etc. That Dragon guy is AWESOME, far and away better than anything Mattel could come up with themselves! Just Fabulous! And, of course, the Raven is just too good to be an action figure. It elevates the category into the realms of Fine Art!
I Love Colossus Rex as well...FULL APPROVAL!
That, alas, brings us to Orbitron. Eric, I know you said you were just whipping something up quick to stick out there at SDCC, so I hope you meant that, and that you will be willing to do some more work on this figure. Please understand, I am not saying that what you did is in any way “bad”, only that it could be even better.
A few of the issues that I feel could be improved are posture, pose-ability and proportions, as well as adaptability to the GLYOS system. I realize that the original figure, to begin with, has a certain rigid quality. At the same time I see some opportunities to overcome that.
One issue, if I am reading the photos correctly, is the fact that the head seems to be permanently attached to the body. That concerns me, as it tells me that this figure has No Future.
Right now, this guy has just the opposite of the easy going well balanced stance you usually give to all your figures. He looks like a tin soldier, standing at attention, waiting for his commanding officer to say “At Ease!” I realize Orbitron's configuration doesn’t lend itself to a lot of action, But a Glyos joint placed just below the ribcage would allow a little twist to his body, at least.
His HEAD too should be separate, unless he is to be the last of a short line. There is a pretty much flat area where it can be cut, and if you need to add more below the bottom slice to make his head sit a higher that is fine. His shoulders are too high and his head too low, right now.
I like the long straight chiseled flat lines of his lower head and neck in the original epoxy model. Design-wise that is a saving grace and keeps him from looking like Ed Sullivan. The sharply chiseled features, neck and cheeks and elongated face are areas that suffered most from mushy shrinkage and distortion in the 1968 bendy toy. All those elements and lower facial features should be longer.
His eyes should be bigger, balls of at least one size larger. His BRAIN Should be bigger too. His spindly ARMS also should be Longer. If he could put them down they should reach to his knees. Note too that his shoulder and hip accordions rest at an angle! Not horizontal; that will help his legs appear more relaxed. I know you don’t favor strange leg positions, but maybe some compromise between the original figure’s stance and straight as an arrow, can be achieved. Also his legs should be more strange and interesting shapes. Right now they look somewhat generic.
In my haste yesterday, I quickly whipped a plug in, without thinking. Looking at the emails again today I realized the mistake. I imagine you would notice this, but I am sending a correction just in case. It has to do with the placement of the plug and socket on Orbitron’s head and chest/shoulders. I showed it incorrectly on the angle of his chest. It should actually be higher up below his neck. Not that his head can be used on any other bodies, nonetheless by moving the plug and hole up higher, where a “normal” neck would be, other heads could be at least used on his body.
Thanks and Best Regards Mel
WITH A LITTLE MANIPULATION IN THE CONFIGURATION OF ORBITRON THE FOLLOWING MIGHT BE POSSIBLE: UNIVERSAL TORSO MIGHT WORK WITH ORIBITRON'S UPPER BODY. XODIAC AND ORBITRON'S HEADS MIGHT BE INTERCHANGEABLE, THE NECK AREA IS SIMILAR OR COULD BE MADE THAT WAY.
Thanks for the kind words on the Mattel and Raven work. It's always a huge buildup to Comic Con, but it's fantastic to finally unleash months worth of work on the world. I think that if reaction to Colossus Rex is any indication, he will be a huge seller! (Not a huge surprise considering the built in cool factor.)
We are still digging out from the Comic Con crunch, but we should be able to take a good hard look at Orbitron sooner than later. Most of the articulation issues that you have mentioned are things that we planned on doing post Comic Con, so we are thinking along the same path here. Also, the changes were anticipated, so most shouldn't be a problem. By the way, even if we weren't putting in a head or waist type articulation, it would never be because of anything other than a cost issue. Don't read anything into it about the end of the line just yet- we've got a ways to go still!
On 9/16/2011, I posted the above photo and the message, below, in the Four Horsemen Forum:
I got the photo on the far right yesterday, and with the four Horsemen’s approval I want to share it with you. For any among you who might have wondered how faithful in form and spirit the “New” 4H OSM are to the originals, I believe the photo below answers that question, once and for all. Are they as good as the originals? I’ve been saying for some time now, No, They are Better! I believe the photo proves that point dramatically.
I mentioned some time ago that the Horsemen wanted to show a finished Colossus Rex at SDCC, which they did do to perfection! On the other hand, they just threw together a quick first sketch (in the middle) to represent Orbitron. This sketch was based on an actual production model of the bendable figure. But in production, Orbitron shrank and distorted considerably. Now the Horsemen have referred back to the original epoxy model of this figure (on the left) to bring you the best rendition possible. (on the right) And, WOW! Isn’t it Amazing? More Elegant in its simple form than what the public saw some 40 years ago.
More Good News, to reassure any of you who were speculating: Of course, you will get a full color Infinity Edition of Waves 3 and 4.
And furthermore, The Four asked me, yesterday, for photos of all the remaining figures in the original line of 13. So the wheels of destiny are turning, once again, and new figures are on the way! At the very least, you WILL get All of the Original Thirteen and there are plans in the air for an Additional Figure too. What happens from there on? Only Heaven knows. But if all goes well, the sky’s the limit!
Well, those high hopes were voiced in better times, a long, long time ago. Now those better days are gone, and here’s one more photo of Orbitron.
MOUSE OVER TO SEE BACK OF CARD