Mel Birnkrant's
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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


Hi Mel,

I just wanted to check in and see how you were progressing with the OSM repaints. We are getting a little tight on time, so need get  those to the factory as soon as possible. They were hoping for a mid  Nov. arrival. Let us know if you think that is possible.

Thanks, Eric”

Hi Eric,

Funny you should write! I just finished them last night.  Now I just want to photograph them before I send them, as some depend on back lighting to be effective.  I will also write up notes to explain how I did them.  Making do with what I had to work with was somewhat instrumental in their design.  There were  a few stumbling blocks I had to work around or override.

This project proved to be a challenge.  Recently discovering that the World of Action Figures involves something new to me called “Customizing”, I am impressed by much of what I see “on line”.  This changes the equation and raises the bar high.  What point would there be if I can’t do as well or better than these?   I did a lot of thinking before I started painting.

As you might have anticipated, I could never be satisfied with simply changing colors.  Thus, each new color scheme had to create a whole new character, true to both itself and the growing Mythology of The Outer Space Men.  New colors gave birth to new names and visa versa, as I tried to make each new addition fit into the Grand Scheme of Things, and neither repeat existing themes, nor prematurely steal a potential future figure’s thunder.

When in doubt as to which route to take, I did what I always do on such occasions; I asked The Outer Space Men.  Some of the replies were slow in coming, but all my questions were eventually answered.  Now only one question remains: Can you and Matt and Hong Kong do what we, the OSM and I, are requesting?  Or will it be too Damned Expensive?

At the expense of modesty, I must confess that I still love the original colors of The OSM.  Few of my early endeavors have so successfully stood the test of time.  Now half a Century later, did I get any better?   Could I improve on those inspired colors that came so easily, so long ago?  Maybe NO, But I gave it a try.  Determined to succeed, I was slightly inclined to cheat, and resorted to some all time favorite colors, not easy to achieve.

Eric, I hope you will also forgive me for bending the rules a little and sometimes coloring outside the lines.  I know that you requested new colors in all the old familiar places, and believe me, I tried.  But in a few places, a change to the existing  paint mask was required.  I hope that you won't feel these minor alterations are too extensive or expensive.  Or, at least, are worth the money.  It probably won’t help to point out that all the styrene accessories are the same color...  Gold Plated!  Yikes!  Maybe a slightly darker shade!  I’ll include a sample in the package.
          This one should come as No Surprise!  Fire Orange PVC with Fire Orange Iridescent paint, same red eyes.  That’s IT!  The only catch is some new paint masks will be required.  On the plus side , the same paint masks could also be used on “Quick Silver”, if you decide to do him in the future.
          In order to achieve the desired effect I had to sacrifice two of my yellow Beta figures.  One, because the paint reacted with the PVC and never dried.  But, thanks to the Rust-olium paint you then recommended, the second worked just fine.  I found that all those Rust-olium paints with a base of mineral spirits worked well, and used them as a metallic base throughout. 

Please note how the paint on Inferno has been altered.  The flames and joints and dots etc. remain unpainted.  More importantly, the rear view shows that portions of the back and the helmet remain unpainted too, in order to emit light.  This supplies the same feature I achieved earlier by cutting a hole in the helmet, while leaving it in tact, this time.
          Many centuries ago, the Men of Neptune, while exploring Earth’s great Oceans, journeyed to a terrible place, deep in the murkiest depths of The Deep Blue Sea.  It is a place so deep that Deep Blue turns to Inky Blackness there, and only a thin layer of remaining rock separates the weight of Seven Seas from the World of Hollow Earth below.  Up from the depths of “INDIGO”, meet “DEEP BLUE ULTRA-NAUTILUS”, dweller of the realms of mystery that lie between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
          The essential Magic of “Deep Blue Ultra-Nautilus” is dependant on an Enchanted Color that I have used, over the years, on only the most special of occasions.  There was a time when I could walk into any hobby shop and find it there.  Now, I can’t even find a hobby store, so I had to order it “on line”.  But there’s plenty of it there.  I hope that Hong Kong can replicate this Magic paint.  It is intended to be a shade of purple with a touch of iridescent blue.  But years ago, quite by accident, I discovered that when it is sprayed over black, it produces a most Mysterious and Magic Blue.  Ever changing, it appears to be several colors at the same time, depending on how it catches the light.

          The process of painting this was simple.  The body was painted with “Rust-olium Gloss Black”.  While the head and tentacles were painted with “Rust-oliun Flat Black”.  When the flat black was dry, I gave it a spray of "Pactra R C Car Racing Finish Pearl Purple", adding some touches of it to the joints and shoulders of the body too.  The belt and emblem are acrylics, Red Orange and Cerulium Blue.
         This figure was, at first, a problem, in as much as “Metamorpho” and his proposed brother and polar opposite, “Ohpromatem” are based on a reversal of color.  This tends to render any other body color arbitrary.  To stick some other guy in there, painted red, blue or yellow, would weaken the whole story.  Fortunately, the name, “METALmorpho” came to me in a dream, and thus, led to this color scheme.

          Having transformed himself into every possible configuration in the "Animal" Kingdom, “Metamorpho” felt the need to explore. Therefore he ventured forth into the two realms remaining , "Vegetable" and "Mineral".  His adventures as a vegetable remains a tale to tell.  But for now, it can be known that “Metamorpho” became “METALMORPHO”, when Minerals replaced Flesh and Bone.
          This is just Metamorpho with his normal colors replaced by metallics.  I gave his entire body a spray of Rust-olium, silver.  Then over painted the dark elements, joints and belt etc. with “Folk Art” acrylic “Metallic Gunmetal Gray”.  I thought I would have liked them to be a little darker, but all the other so-called darker silver paints I had turned out to have no metallic qualities whatsoever, so I went with the lighter color. It’s whispering, instead of screaming,  but seems to be working anyway.

The face is just altered slightly. The purple was changed to iridescent purple.  The reptilian guy is Rust-olium gold with a very slight wash of green ink.  And the red head was painted with the same gold as his eye color.  Then a wash of red orange ink was applied to all but his eyes and teeth.
         “GOLDIAC, GRAND VIZIAR of the Planet SATURN and Father of XODIAC" (I just made that last part up).  He wears a vestment of precious Gold, befitting of his exalted station.  His gun and scepter are Gold plated.  But if you can’t afford it, paint will do! 
I began by spraying his entire body with Rust-olium gold, which is fairly light in color.  Then I cheated, once again, and supplied a "special" color.  This came from a secret vial of deep gold bronze powder I have guarded carefully for 45 years.  It is essentially the same color as  “Folk Art”  Royal Gold acrylic, which I used to paint the body.  But I mixed some of the precious bronze powder into it to give it extra “zip”.

The joints and belt remain the lighter Rust-olium color.  There would be one new paint mask required to do his beard, which is again the lighter shade of Rust-olium gold.  Is it not amazing, how this little bit of added color can create a whole new character!

Well, that’s all folks, my first attempt at customizing.  I hope these colors will excite you.  I tried to make them something special.  I must admit I wasn’t willing to take the risk of doing anything less than Fantastic. Therefore, I bent the rules a little, and dug deeply into my long neglected bag of tricks, using artificially created candy colors, and a rare paint that may be hard to get.  On the other hand, I am convinced that there is nothing that your team in Hong Kong can’t accomplish if they just get the request.  After all, The Four Horsemen, Matt, and his friends in Asia are the Best!

So, bottom line, I hope you’ll feel these crazy colors, are worth the extra effort they’ll require.  I must confess that I am pleased with them myself, maybe even a little proud.  I tried my best to make them outstanding.  And even if I do say so myself, standing here by my computer, they really stand out in a crowd!

   If the Figure was “Quick Silver”, and the PVC was Fire Orange and the paint was silver, the painting would be over.  Here, I tinted the fire with Photoshop, and dubbed in my drawing of his head to illustrate what I mean. 

But, in order to color INFERNO, where  the plastic was yellow, and the paint was silver, I had to add a [badly] airbrushed coat of Orange Ink. 

If there is such a thing as really good Fire Orange Metallic paint, only one step would be required.  But that is not to say that this figure couldn’t be created the hard way, by a coat of Orange lacquer over gold or silver paint.