Review > Outer Space Men Alpha Waves 1 & 2 (SDCC Exclusive)

I had intended to write up a basic introduction to Glyos before writing this review, but life gets busy and for one reason or another, I was never able to get around to it. Mea culpa. You’ll recall I did a two-part interview (part 1, part 2) with Onell Design founder and Glyos creator Matt Doughty a few months back, after the announcement of the Four Horsemen‘s acquiring of the Outer Space Men license and the news that the figures would incorporate Onell Design’s “Fit Function” joint system, making them entirely compatible with all Glyos figures.

So I didn’t get around to that introduction to Glyos, but as often seems to happen these days, NoisyDVL5 over at ItsAllTrue.net took the initiative. Check out his article to find out what Glyos is all about, then come on back for my review.

The Horsemen have yet to announce an official sale date for the regular versions of the first two waves of Outer Space Men (though they did spill the beans that there will be NYCC exclusives). The Horsemen dubbed these exclusives “The Alpha Phase Waves,” which is definitely in the spirit of the many various Glyos releases, all of which have whimsical names.

The figures were sold in two sets. Alpha Phase 1 features Astro-Nautilus – the Man from Neptune (purple octopus guy) and Metamorpho – the Man from Alpha Centauri (white astronaut guy).* Phase 2 consists of Inferno, the Flame Man from Mercury (red guy) and Xodiac, the Man from Saturn (yellow guy). Each pair cost $20, and were sold both on Store Horsemen and at SDCC. They’re now sold out–and those Glyos fans don’t mess around–so if you really want them after reading this review, be prepared to pay a king’s ransom on eBay.

Packaging: While the regular releases will come on blister cards inspired by the original 1960s figures, the SDCC exclusives came in small zipper bags that included cardboard cards and toppers. The primitive, guerrilla-style packaging evokes their kinship with Glyos (whose collectors share a lot in common, and a lot of crossover, with the urban vinyl crowd). But it’s still appealing, and the Colorforms-like Four Horsemen logo is the icing on the cake. (All credit to NoisyDVL5 for that observation.)

Design & Sculpt: The sculpts are based very closely on the original figures; essentially these are those bendy figures made into more modern action figures (not dissimilar from the process of turning a vintage MOTU character into a Classics figure). So those looking for a Horsemen-ized interpretation of the original toys, a la Millennium MOTU, will be disappointed. But if, like me, you’re a fan of the original figures’ very retro-futuristic look, then you’ll like these.

The most intriguing sculpt is obviously Astro-Nautilus, whose tentacles represent a great new limb option for Glyos fans. The detailing on the tentacles is particularly eye-catching and should look even better on the painted releases. Meanwhile, Metamorpho’s helmet features a three-face spinning head feature that is identical to that of Man-E-Faces (perhaps the design of MEF had owned Metamorpho once?).

Each of the original Outer Space Men had entirely unique sculpts. As a cost-cutting measure, the Four Horsemen have introduced as number of generic, interchangeable parts among the OSM. Therefore, Inferno and Metamorpho share the same torso and abdomen, and both share upper and lower legs with Xodiac, who also shares feet with Metamorpho. But since the original sculpts were relatively soft (having been done in the 1960s, and on bendy figures no less), the shared parts do not noticeably affect the iconic look of the characters. The (relatively) extensive paint work on the regular release should hide the re-use further.

Of course, these being compatible with Glyos, they can be taken almost entirely apart, and the parts swapped between every figure. I did some very minor swapping in one of the pics at right, but that was due to time constraints–there is obviously no limit to what you can do with these figures once you start bringing in Glyos parts.

Standing about 4″ tall, the OSM are not quite in scale with Glyos, nor with Glyos’ cousin Callgrim; as you can see from the final photo, the OSM are significantly taller than either figure.

Plastic & Paint: Each figure is molded in solid plastic, with no paint except for the eyes. The translucent colors are definitely eye-catching, and they’re obviously a good choice for an exclusive like this.

But the solid colors do wash out almost all the details on these figures (especially in photos), giving the figures a strong toyish feel (and making them look a bit like delicious, delicious candy).**

Articulation: Articulation varies by figure, but for the most part you can be sure of swivels at the head, shoulders, wrists, hips, and feet. Astro-Nautilus obviously has a lot of extra articulation. The “Fit Function” currently does not feature ball joints or hinge joints (though that may be changing–sort of), so the OSM have basically the same articulation as a 1980s Star Wars figure.

Whether that’s more or less than the original bendy toys is a philosophical question I don’t dare to address, lest my brain, in the parlance of the hipper geeks, “asplode.”

Accessories: Each figure comes with at least one accessory. Metamorpho comes with a gun and a…thing. I really have no idea what it is and I’m terrified to speculate, lest my brain go to some very, very naughty places.

Inferno has a wicked-looking gun, Astro-Nautilus has a trident, and Xodiac has both a gun and a pretty cool staff. Astro-Nautilus’s trident can be a bit tricky to fit onto his tentacles, but I eventually got it.

In messing around with these I found they don’t really fit in Glyos’ figures hands, which is surprising and a bit of a disappointment.

Quality Control: No problems.

Overall: The secret truth about the Outer Space Men is this: their value is increased tremendously if you’re a fan of Glyos. If you are, the exotic sculpts and detailing of the OSM open up a whole new world of customizing. That goes double for these exclusives; due to their solid colors, as part of an OSM collection they can be viewed more as collectibles than toys, but match them up with some Glyos figures and they quickly revert to full toyishness. Does that make any sense?

11111/2

* FUN FACT – The reason Mattel had to call Metamorpho “Rex Mason” on the DCUC Wave 1 (review) packaging was because the trademark to the name is owned by the OSM trademark holders, creator Mel Birnkrant and Gary Schaeffer.

** FUN FACT: Repeating certain adjectives, when done in the proper context, is comedy gold.

Comments now closed (15)

  • I'm confused. People heap lavish praise on Gylos "revolutionary" joints, which by what I can tell just allow simple cut joints to be swapped?

  • @Dead Man Walking

    I'm inclined to agree that there is some exaggeration in the excitement that surrounds Glyos and OSM. There were Stikfas and Xevoz, for example, which seems like a similar concept. There also seems to be quite a bit of feigned hype & familiarity with a line of Space toys that were out well before the bulk of collectors today were born.

    I appreciate Poe's attempts to provide links or history with stuff like this. Instead of "Exciting new thing!," it's "Here's what this new thing is all about."

    Although I don't have any of these, I think the Glyos and OSM designs are cool and unique and they look fun. Fun being the key word. As action figures, I'm not crazy about them. As part of a creative system, they're probably hard to put down. I admit, I enjoy messing around swapping heads and armor with both MOTUC and modern GI Joes and often wish I could do just a little more.(Without breaking them, unscrewing, boiling water)

  • These look delicious! I wish we knew when the first two waves will street.

  • @PrfktTear: The 4HM said on their forums that Wave 1 should be ready for preordering around New York ComicCon time (late September/early October).

    @Poe: I believe that thing Metamorpho has is some kind of scanning device.

  • Individual Glyos joints aren't necessarily very impressive, but when you start mixing parts together the potential becomes more obvious. They're also incredibly addictive.

    I like the Alpha Waves, but I can't wait for the regular production waves so I can start mixing and matching parts.

  • @Dead Man Walking: it is not just a part swapping system. Glyos joints also allow for the construction of larger items like mech suits and beasts from the Glyos universe.

    With Glyos, you have to think big picture. Imagine a future of toys where every toy is interchangeable with every other toy – so if you wanted to give Batman He-Man's furry boots, you could. By avoiding a jointing system like MOTU Classics, it becomes a lot harder to have floppy ankles when you have a PVC figure with no articulation at the ankle. And soon, there will be a joint system for Glyos, as seen on BattleGrip.com.

    Currently, you only have the Glyos figures and the OSM and the upcoming Symbiotech line from the Horsemen using the Glyos joint system, but if there is buy-in from other lines, anything is possible.

    @FakeEyes22: 2 things:

    1) Xevoz and Stikfas have a similar part swapping concept, for sure, but I think the main difference with Stikfas is that Stikfas always seemed to me like a model kit first, and a toy line second. You also had to buy into the stylization that Stikfas offered, which, much as Glyos is, was not for everyone. I was a major supporter of Xevoz, so I agree that I wish it was still around as much as everyone else who liked it.

    2) regarding the OSM, it would be difficult to understand without the historical context. Did you read Tomart's magazine in the 90's? Pre-internet, it was difficult to find information about older toys. Tomart's and Lee's had articles on a lot of toylines that were around before many of us were born – Captain Action, OSM, Matt Mason, 60's Joes…and some of those things stick with you. You could get a 60's Joe with enough time and effort then at toy shows – the OSM were non-existent. The resurrection of the OSM are the first time that many of us have the chance to get those designs that we could only see as pictures in an old magazine – just like Yak Face, Star Saber, or any number of rare and old items.

    Admittedly, there may be some people hyping up OSM that never heard of them before the Horsemen's project, but for many of us, it is the realization of a dream in much the same way I see people excited by Transformers reissues.

  • Having had the opportunity to play with these, I'm left incredibly spellbound by the versatility that the Onell Glyos system affords this line.

    I don't think pictures really do this line justice until you get it in your hand. For me, this line is the culmination of everything I've ever wanted out of an action-figure line since I was a kid: a system standard that enabled interchangeability with any concept and license. Think of it like LEGO except the focus is on the figures and not the playset.

    Where the whole of Glyos system-inspired figures will go (keep in mind, the Horsemen's Symbiotech will feature a smaller Glyos system-esque figure) is up to individual collectors as much as it is to the producers. You can do superheroes, you can do aliens, you can do anything your imagination lets you do. It's incredible and most importantly, a whole lot of fun.

    Playing with Metamorpho (the glow-in-the-dark face-switchy dude), I get the feeling of how Man-E-Faces will be designed. A single face 'block' with three different faces, rotated around via a simple pin. Good stuff.

  • indeed, these toys, like cheese, must be held to appreciate the power. seriously, for those who haven't yet acquired any of the OSM or glyos figs, they are TOYS, they are a device to fire and hone the imagination… they are, to put it midly, exquisite.

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