Four Horsemen’s Outer Space Men: A Retro Recap

By bill - May 14, 2013

outerspacemen-wv1-featThe Four Horsemen’s first licensed toy line continued with a new wave recently, so let’s look back at their Outer Space Men collection.

The Outer Space Men were the brainchild of Mel Birnkrant,and since their release in 1968 they took on something of a cult status as toys.  Too werid to be as major market as GI Joe, Barbie or even Matt Mason, the Outer Space Men (released by Colorforms) were a fusion of pop art, movie references and a trippy sci-fi aesthetic rolled up into one cool collection of aliens.  The original Outer Space Men only got a single series of 5″ scale bendy-style figures (think Matt Mason), along with unreleased prototypes of a second wave.

It’s very clear the Four Horsemen were among the devotees of this strange little toy line, and
their relaunch of the property has seen some amazing releases.  Developed in a smaller, 4″ scale, using the Onell Design Glyos system for their construction, the new Outer Space men do a fantastic job of capturing the weird, retro aline look of each of these Men from the Stars.

outerspacemen 01The Horsemen have released multiple colorways for each series (including translucents, holiday themes and more), but I believe most fans would focus on the “Infinity Edition,” which match colors with the original toys and prototypes to the letter.  Each figure is fully poseable with swivel neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. That sounds like a lot, but due to the Glyos design, each joint is simple a swivel, limiting what you can do with the joint.  On the plus side, the system allows for parts to pop on and off, and interchange with ease, making these guys very easy to customize.

Each figure includes one or more accessories, all of which match their original releases.  The Horsemen incorporated a lot of translucent plastic into the gear these guys come with, and that look blends very well with the Space Men’s own metallic finished space suits and clear helmets.  Each figure is packed on a gorgeous clam shell blister card, replicating the original 60s style cardback, but with updated photography featuring the Horsemen figures.  The packages are very collector friendly, too, as the cardback can slide on and off the bubble with no tape or glue, so figures can be removed or repacked as you wish.

outerspacemen 10The Horsemen’s line made its debut in 2010, with four figures based on Birnkrant’s vintage characters.  Astro-Nautilus, the squid-like Man from Neptune and Xodiac the Man from Saturn were both spot-on remakes of their original ’68 figures, only now featuring the wonderful design work of the Horsemen. The Horsemen clearly had fun with the tentacles and odd, almost Lovecraftian Astro-Nautilus (who really caters to their wheelhouse), and they nailed the odd, wrinkly head of Xodiac, probably the most generically alien-like of the bunch.

The remaining two figures were based on unreleased prototypes which never saw the light of day.  Inferno the Flame Man of Mercury made his toy debut 41 years after originally planned, but he was worth the wait, with his cool silver space suit and translucent flaming head.  Rounding out the first set was Metamorpho, the Man from Alpha Centauri, whose helmet hides a Man-E-Faces style turning head, so the alien can morph between three unique faces.  Metamorpho was never released in 1969, but its clear some news of him reached Mattel in the early 80s, as his face changing gimmick was put to famous use by the Masters of the Universe face changer.

outerspacemen 27Following up the first series, the Horsemen released a second wave in 2011, featuring three more character reboots and one more previously unreleased figure.  This new wave saw the Horsemen pushing boundaries even further– Alpha 7, the Man from Mars is a literal little green man, and the Horsemen crafted an entirely new, diminutive body for him.  Electron +, the Man from Pluto, also got a new body, complete with his robotic chest plate and matching silver suit.

The new series also saw the release of Commander Comet, the Man from Venus. Comet is definitely the most human-like of the collection, but still etherial enough to match this wild universe thanks to his purple hair and angelic wings.  To match the angel-like comet, the Horsemen also released the previously scrapped prototype figure Mystron, the Man from Hollow Earth.  With his spiked tail, bat like wings and horns, Mystron’s devil-like visage seems to suggest he would be evil.  However, either Birnkrant or the Horsemen seem to have a soft spot for misunderstood monsters, and according to his bio Mystron isn’t out to cause problems– he’s a space sailor from the center of the Earth!

Each figure’s background is rolled out that way, with a wild and fun sense of imagination and adventure that matches their cool, unique character designs.  The Horsemen really put a lot of effort into this collection, and that dedication and reverence shows through in how great the new figures came out.

The latest Outer Space Men just saw release in the Infinity Edition, and once again the Horsemen pushed boundaries even further with their increasingly wild designs.  Check back tomorrow for a look at the latest releases from the Horsemen’s Outer Space Men collection!

The Outer Space Men are available now from the Four Horsemen’s webstore.  Click Here to order yours today!!

Related Posts