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
Behold the Mighty ASTRODITE, First Mate to Commander Comet! From the Lofty Peaks of Mount Olympus, to the Mossy Mounds of Venus, ASTRODITE’S Celestial Beauty and Heavenly Body are celebrated, far and wide. Aboard the Colossal Cloud Ship Cumulous, she travels by Commander Comet’s side. Together they explore the deepest secrets of Creation, on a never ending journey that takes them to farthest reaches of our Galaxy. Courageous in the heat of battle, yet at the same time soft and gentle, ASTRODITE’S magic touch can induce a fallen Warrior to rise. On gossamer Wings of Victory, she rules the Cloud Planet’s Enchanted Skies.
“ASTRODITE” has been considered a “done deal” for a long time. Along with TERRA FIRMA, she was the one other OSW, considered a sure thing. God! I LOVE her name! Few names that good remain, in a world of entertainment that gobbles up everything, with a voracious appetite for new delights that leaves few fruits as fresh and succulent as this, still hanging on the tree. Most everything these days is recooked leftovers, or fruit that dropped and began to rot, but nonetheless was picked up and served again.
Her look, on the other hand, is purposely old, old by several thousand years or so. It is intended to be based on the Greco-Roman Goddess of Love, “Aphrodite” in Greece, and “Venus” in Ancient Rome. Curiously, throughout the ancient World, her effigies have always looked the same. The same distinctive brow and nose, appears again and again in classic art, across the centuries, and reappears again, obviously by design, in the movie “Prometheus”.
That is the look I have tried to achieve in ASTRODITE. Well I actually copied it verbatim, as I no longer have the skill and energy to interpret it in terms of the Outer Space Men. Eric, that will be up to you, and the medium. Size alone will dictate necessary change.
The hoses, of course, must be sculpted to clear the helmet, which means that they will overhang the shoulder sockets. The small hoses on the sides of her body may have to be eliminated if they conflict with her arms, too much.
I think this works out fine. If cost was no object, I would have considered replacing her winged staff with a long bow, Dianna style, and a quiver of Eros over her shoulder.
Of all the OSW, this is the most natural; just a new head and upper torso. The neck must be altered to grab Commander Comet’s helmet. His chest emblem will be used in her navel. Actually I might have preferred to see just a realistic navel, sculpted there, but the hole is already there, so it has to be filled, and it does establish a consistent style throughout the line.
Her COLORS: will be the same as Commander Comet, with two changes. 1. The Gold of her body should be BRIGHTER than his. 2. Her hair should be a medium light warm blue metallic, about the same value as Comets hair. This should look good through the pink helmet and mix a nice shade of purple. All the rest will be the same as Comet, the flesh color on face and joints, the same emblem color, and the same color wings.
Last of all, I include this quick computer” sketch”, just to get real about the head. You might just build up the nose and forehead and rounded out the chin on Terra’s head. Then replace the hair. The answer could be as simple as that. It would capture the essence of the “look” and keep the results consistent with the line. The eyes can be a lot like Terra’s, maybe a little less eye shadow.
But, in the end, Eric did much better than that. He tackled the head with all the force of his talent, and arrived at a result that rivaled Venus de Milo. The steps that led there were many, and the challenge was all the harder, because she was so tiny. Let me show you what she would have looked like. I was happy!
Eric ,I tried two approaches to explain slight alterations. The side view spells out the 6 steps I went through. Like me, you might be able to cut move and fill in.
The front view: I just tried to indicate subtle changes. The photo had strange lighting on the nose, so it was hard to define the contour. And because the images were so small, I really couldn’t place the eyes and features where I wanted them, as they would jump from one locked space to another, not enough pixels to move smoothly. Anyway, the side view really is the key, and that was easy.
If you look at the side, and try to trace the sloping brow up and around to where the ponytail begins and visualize it without the space taken up by hair, you will see the problem. There is not enough room to fit a normal scull in there. So the first move was a big one. I sliced off the back of her head moved it back and filled the space. then I did the same for her neck to make it thicker front to back.
Then I removed the front section of her hair forehead and nose and tipped all that forward to form the characteristic Grecian brow, Then moved the eyes forward a little , perhaps they could have been part of the previous face transplant. Then I fixed the upper lip and chin and that was that.
The front view points out lower ears, and more side hair. Make her lower jaw al little fuller. I hope the photos explain all that. The nose should be straight and chisled in effect, somewhat more pointed.
Astrodite is really getting there, better than I dared hope at this tiny size, but there are still a couple of things, none of which really require that you mess with her face. Just a few tweaks, and two that are a little more involved, but easy to correct. First and foremost, is What Happened to Her Neck? Where did it go? (this refers to the photo below) Did her newly rounded chin devour it? Could you put at least a little back again? Added to the bottom, don’t touch her lower chin , just a disk of neck added on to where her present neck to achieve the correct placement and height. And make sure the pivot point is in the correct place, not too far back. The front of her neck has not only disappeared, but it has moved back a bit. I’ll indicate what I imagine it should be in an overlay, but do try setting her head on a body and checking how it looks. Or have you done that already and therefore trimmed down the neck?
The next issue is the top front of her head. Once again, follow the line of her forehead and that of the top of her hair, at least, in the photograph they are not heading to meet in the same place. She needs more hair on the top. And her forehead may round off a tiny bit, where it disappears under her hair. The other thing is the parting line. This should be more clearly decisive and defined. The Grecian hair style is sharply divided in the middle. Also, there is a distinct hair band that could even be painted a different color , like a gold stripe, That should be better defined. please look back at some of the original Greek/Roman images I sent.
I have also noted the possibility of suggesting a faint smile of the Mona Lisa variety. This should be very subtle, just a slight indent at the sides of her mouth, so a smile is implied, right now there is a lack of emotion, bordering on a frown. I’m not asking for a grin , just a tiny indent to indicate a pleasant nature. And make sure her nose is chiseled, bordering on squared off.
Astrodite; Just even up the lower chin, looks a little heavy on the side shown in side view, but from the front a little too small on the other side, this is very subtle, but Please take a look at it with that in mind.
The hair: I see what you are trying to do , a sort of casual look, but the Grecian style is very distinct, a sharp straight part right up the middle, you can temper what I drew as it is more stiff than your version. But take a look at it and do what you like while keeping a sharp divide .. maybe a touch more added to the ribbon at the top see side view.
Well that’s IT! Well done ! Thanks again Mel
Finally, here is Astrodite as she appeared, briefly, at Toypocalypse. She was nearly complete. But she was wearing her old head, the one she had before the re-sculpting above began. This is as close as she would ever come to happening. I have no idea what became of her new head.
It is with a certain irony that this web page, too comes to an end. It was originally named “The Outer Space Men Return,” a hopeful title that heralded in a bright new day. And, for a while, it really looked like they might stay. Now, it seems that “The Outer Space Men Return” has come to mean, Return to Outer Space, again.
But wait!, The story is not yet over. It continues below:
Miracles can, sometimes, happen. Thanks to my two heroes, Gary Schaeffer and Matt Doughty, Astrodite might survive! Together they have managed to keep the OSM alive. Astrodite’s new head traveled to Hong Kong, where it was misplaced. Meanwhile, two years later, Matt found Eric’s original clay sculpture. He made new castings from it and cleaned them up personally. Last week, he sent them to me.
The best of them, compared to the first head that Eric made, has been retained to send to Hong Kong, once again. This is the version from which the final steel mold will be made. Another casting, nearly as good, was what I used to paint and make the photographs that you are about to see.
I painted the head as best I could. Considering I haven’t held a paint brush in two years, it came out relatively OK. But I am counting on Paul, in Hong Kong to improve upon it and do a neater job than me. Then I made some alterations to her body, which I include here, as this page will be a sort of guide for Matt and Paul to see what I did. Then, I freshened up her paint, and shot a group of random photographs. I chose some of these for the package art, which I adapted and updated from cards that the Four Horsemen previously made.
Rather than doing entirely new backgrounds based on whatever images I might harvest from the internet, I decided to opt for consistency and base the backgrounds on the cotton ball clouds I created in Manhattan fifty years ago. I wanted Astrodite’s World to be consistent with that of her companion Commander Comet. Thus, Venus hasn’t changed much over the past half century. Here is a selection of the photographs. They turned out to be more than I would need. I also managed to mock up a fantasy package. This is not the finished product. But I trust that it comes close to what you will someday see.
Matt, please note: I had to make some alterations to the chest piece, below, to even up the neck piece and build up the upper chest. I used some stuff called, “Magic Sculpt.” It’s a little rough. I didn’t dare touch the key piece, so, I altered the painted version. I also straightened up the sideways tip of the wings. You could use this as a guide for fixing the key piece, or cast another from the Painted one.
Last of all, I adapted one of my favorite photographs to create a kind of “Astrodite Poster.” Astrodite is a survivor, may she live long and prosper.
MOUSE OVER TO SEE BACK OF CARD