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FOUR MORE HEADS
The Four Horsemen have requested a new head variation for each of the first 8 Outer Space Men. That leaves four more heads to go. Some of these are not going to be easy. Therefore, I’ll begin by getting the most approachable ones out of the way, beginning with one that I believe is done already:
A new head for Mystron needs to be “demonic”, and therefore, I don’t see why B.L.Z. BUB’s head, won’t do. He’s a “Favorite” of mine, and I also like his name. Whether or not the Four Horsemen choose to make his horns and tongue part of the head itself, or separate GLYOS pieces is really up to them. But I hasten to remind them that those horns would not look bad on Electron +, who already has ear plugs in place.
Is it Possible to do something Really Different? YES! And NO!
I wrote the following a couple of days ago:
For some time now, I have been thinking about a head for “Electron Plus”. There is enough room in his helmet to do something visually unrelated, and one could come up with a new face, strange, interesting, and arbitrary. But that seems just too easy.
When I first ventured into Outer Space, nearly 45 years ago, being “original” was simple, for, although, I was allowing myself to be “inspired” by preexisting movie monsters, nothing even remotely like what I was undertaking, later to be called “action figures” had ever been done before. Now, nearly half a century later, “Action Figures” have voraciously devoured every conceivable idea…. or have they?
Could it still be possible to create a head for an action figure, unlike any that has ever been done before? With that in mind, I have been toying with the germ of an idea… Imagine a head that is only an illusion, a head that, in a manner of speaking, really isn’t there at all!
When I was still living in New York City in the late 1960s, I used to frequent Christian Bookstores, seeking inspiration, but not in the way you might think. Some of the products one could find there, fueled by blind faith and religious exaltation, were simultaneously amusing and amazing. One often found the unexpected. These places had a little bit of Everything, including the Kitsch’n sink!
On one such visit, I purchased two items. One was a set of “Talking Paper Bags” in the form of Jesus, Joseph, Mary and a donkey. The other was a hollow head of Jesus made of porcelain. The image was a negative bas-relief, set into a sort of horseshoe shape, not unlike one half of Electron’s helmet. The reverse face was fully painted, and the effect that it created was a strange optical illusion. The head always seemed to be staring at you. It even appeared to turn and follow you as you walked around the room. This curious curio sat on my shelf for 40 years or so, until not long ago, I grew tired of looking at it, and it looking at me, and I packed it away. Where is it now? God only knows!
For several days now, I’ve been wondering if this principle could be adapted to an Outer Space Man. In the darkest hours of last night, I figured out a way. Well, two ways, actually. One will work for sure; the other, maybe no. I visualize this principle applying to “Electron +”, but one approach, or the other, might be unique enough to serve as the gimmick for a whole line of action figures. Twenty years ago, I would have gone ahead and tried it.
Earlier, I drew up an Electron + Variation. No one seems to have found it electrifying. In it, we find Electron in the process of dematerializing. I’m still intent on pursuing that idea, one way or another.
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Electron has the kind of face that makes one feel that every member of his race might look somewhat the same. Like the familiar Gray, I sort of think about Alpha Seven the same way. I also like the possibilities of electricity to be either Positive or NEGATIVE, as well as the ability for Electron, being "Frozen Energy", to defrost, dematerialize, and dissipate. So, that is the direction I intend to take, and not seek to create a wild new look, but rather to do something mildly wild, incorporating his existing face.
Whoa! It just came to me! I can easily test the theory by pressing the head of the original Electron + into some Super Sculpy, and see if it works in actuality! If it doesn’t, I’ll move on to solution two.
OK! I did it! It works! And, yet, it Doesn’t! The Illusion is quite amazing, but only if its properly lit and VIEWED BY ONE EYE ONLY! Viewing it with both eyes open, in 3D at close proximity, one can easily see the head is a concavity. Jesus worked better, as he was larger and tended to be viewed from far away.
So much for that! I believe the effect is too intangible and elusive to appeal to action figure fans. Nonetheless, I’m going to put some paint in the face cavity, just for fun, and photograph it. I visualized it molded into transparent PVC that would have fit to fill the back half of the helmet, so the face would have appeared to stand in space.
The head on the left was merely pressed into a lump of Super Sculpy. The head on the right is the same lump with a layer of paint added. Here the helmet shaped shell of Super Sculpy is colored black to emulate, when seen against the black background, the effect that transparent PVC would have created.
Well, that was an interesting experiment, and fun to do. Now, moving on to Variation Two, which will hold up to viewing from more angles, and convey a totally different effect. No need to experiment; I know what to expect. In Version One his head is “gone already”; nothing but negative space remains. In Version Two his head is "going", in the process of dematerializing. It will be cast in light blue transparent PVC, as the entire figure will be. In this version his head will have already become transparent, and we will be able to see his scull inside. Oh, by the way, his eyes will Glow with red light from behind!
In Version One his head was hollowed out of a transparent piece that filled the back half of the helmet. In Version Two, his skull will be hollowed out of the back of his transparent head. One will be able to view it either way. From the back, which can become the front, we will see his skull turning in space as in the experiment above. And from the front we will see his transparent head with skull inside. As the neck is completely round, his head can be rotated to face either way!
The interior of the scull will be painted silver, but the eyes will remain clear with a dot of transparent red applied, so they will emit light. Seen from one side, the head will appear transparent with a solid silver scull inside. From the other side, the viewer will see an illusionary scull, (like the test heads above) set into a transparent frame. By the way, "ELECTRON MINUS" is his name!
Given a choice, I’d rather do a female, a “First Mate” for Commander Comet. I even had her perfect name. But, here, I’m limited to just a head, and in this case, a head alone, no matter how good, won’t do! A woman from Venus needs a Heavenly Body too.
Furthermore, the angel wings and feathered armor are so distinctive they don’t allow for wild diversion. Thus, the head of a male human seems like the most logical solution. And, unless one rejects the helmet, the size of that is limited too. All this suggests another member of the crew. As far as human beings go, I wouldn’t want him to be ordinary. So, I see two roads that one could follow: the first being more Godly, like Zeus almighty, and the other more devilish and mythological, like Backus, or even the Great God Pan, head only. Would you like goat legs with that? Yes, but they're not on the menu.
Hummm, I could always combine all of the above, and at the suggestion of The Mighty W-IZ-zard of the Fantastic Forum, base this head on the Godlike visage of Matt Doughty, Master of the Planet GLYOS, Enabler of The Outer Space Men! That Idea sounds as good as any. So, that’s who he is going to be… “MATT METEOR”, “Dark Warrior of VENUS”, “Midshipman to Commander Comet”.
This one is the most chalanging! First of all, this guy is our equivalent of the Familiar Gray. If ever there should be some consistency, this is the place. Furthermore, perceived value is an issue that has yet to be addressed. Just a new head that fits inside that same helmet may not be enough to force the same sale twice. On the other hand, this character lends itself to multiples, each one with a different color outfit and a similar face, from “ALPHA 1” to infinity! One could build a whole Martian Army.
Actually, I thought the Glyos Build-A-Head was great. The Eyeball Helmet was a good addition too! Both added perceived value. In the Best of all possible Worlds, where price is not a key consideration, one might issue a lot of Alpha Variations. Each would be a different color, and have a different number, adding up to at least a dozen, and each would come with a unique accessory.
One thing seems clear, we need more than just another 3” figure with a slightly different head! I never saw the back pack, that the Four Horsemen were working on, but I know they described it as complex with changeable parts and flames … and apparently too expensive to produce. I wonder if something simpler could be added to flesh out a new character?
One might head in a more spectacular direction and create a head that‘s complicated, the brains behind the operation. Maybe he’s the Martian Leader. Thinking this one through…. If his head flared out far enough, his brain could be protected by a dome that is made from the existing mold of half of Alpha Seven’s helmet, which would fit conveniently in place. A round emblem in the front could create a bump to fill the semi-circular neck hole.
Because this figure would be top heavy, both in weight, and also visually, I would give him a wild and crazy beard, like one of my favorite childhood villains, the “Nome King” from the land of OZ, to balance out his face. And then I’d add a cape that touches the ground to help him stand. A staff to hold in his hand would help him stand as well. And atop his staff would be a crystal sphere, orange in color, to represent the Planet Mars. And above the sphere would hover, a tiny Flying Saucer.
Meet: “ALPHA ONE OMEGA”, Omnipotent Ruler of the Planet Mars. He leads the Martian multitudes through the awesome strength of "Brain Power" alone. Omnipresent and Ominous, his massive mind is able to transmit powerful waves of thought through the vast expanse of Outer Space. His "Brainwaves" can be received, and read, by the antennae on every Martian’s head. Thus, he commands the Martian Armada from a secret base, hidden beneath the Mysterious Face that remains the last visible surface trace of the once Great Race that, somehow, manages to survive and thrive, deep below the barren wastes of the dying Planet Mars.
The hand-held view, below, shows what is happening more clearly, disclosing (with some difficulty) the fact that the head is really only a hollow cavity. Ironically, the illusion, which proves ellusive when observed with both eyes open, viewed through the camera's single eye, is hard NOT to see.
Below are the first sketches, drawn over an altered photo of Alpha 7, then refined by pencil and computer.
Next, carrying the rough drawings a step further, I clarified and simplified them, keeping in mind the fact that the final figure will be small.
Last of all, I colored them with “Magic Markers”. The final colors turned out surprisingly close to those I visualized in the beginning. Although, I’ve never been a avid fan of green, it works quite magically when all the other colors join in to make it glow. An element of "Day-Glo" will help, too, in the transparent dome. The acordian joints and other accents will be gold. And the eyes will be an iridescent green.
Below is, more or less, a guide for sculpting. The Existing Head remains essentially the same, with the addition of the lightening bolt on top. The ear pieces that were once removable will now become part of the head. Next, an Inner Scull needs to be created, an actual sculpture, smaller than the outer head. The Scull will then be cast into the back side, which will rewmain open, to form a negative image inside the head.
Here are the results, as seen with “the back” turned forward. The hollow interior will then be painted silver, except for the eyes, which will be painted transparent red. The effect will be the same as Variation One, above.
With the head turned “face forward”, the effect will be that of a silver scull inside a transparent head. The silver eyes on Electron Plus, will remain unpainted so the red glow of the inner eyes will be unimpaired. A surface spray of the Magic Iridescent transparent Blue, I sent the Horsemen, some time ago, would give the transparent head a magic glow to make the details more discernable when the light hits them from a certain angle.
MOUSE OVER TO SEE HELMET
MOUSE OVER TO SEE HELMET
MOUSE OVER TO SEE HELMET
I don’t mean to tell the Horsemen how to do their thing, but if the sculpting job was up to me, this is how I’d go about it, essentially the way I went about doing the drawings: Starting with the already existing head of Commander Comet, (a likeness is already half way there), I'd simply raise the hairline a little, then add the beard and hair and ears. After that, I'd alter the nose slightly. The basic face remains the same.
The first sketches are below. Maybe not a perfect likeness, but for the purpose, good enough. The next drawing refines the the heads a little and darkens in the beards. The drawing after that shows the new head on Commander Comet's body, which will be dramatically recolored in gunmetal and black .