Xodiac, The Man from Saturn |
Outer Space Men Alpha Phase Figure
Item No.: n/a
Manufacturer: Four Horsemen
Includes: Spare arms, removable helmet, staff
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $19.99 (sold with Inferno in a bundle)
Availability: July 2010, Comic-Con Exclusive
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A bizarre but increasingly common phenomenon in the toy business is the notion of the "pre-paint." The idea is that you release the figure's repaint or variant before the "real" release-- Xodiac, the Man from Saturn is one such figure as this clear orange "Alpha Phase" version came out nearly six months before the standard carded release. Heck, there was even a "Beta Phase" version in green released before the real deal, which is an ingenious way to recoup some costs before the toy finally comes out. This release sold out within a couple of days, and the edition size is supposedly somewhere around 300.
Xodiac uses the Glyos construction system which allows you to pop the figure apart and swap limbs and some gear with other figures. Glyos is presently only used by the Four Horsemen, Onell Designs, and a handful of designer figure makers and hobbyists but it's really a fun gimmick. Not a lot of toy lines let you exchange entire limbs with one another as a play gimmick, but this one lets you do exactly that. The figures are about the same size as Star Wars, about 3 3/4-inch scale, and they look like some lost retro "plays with Star Wars" line sold at a drugstore 30 years ago. The truth isn't that far from the mark-- the original 1960s Outer Space Men figures were actually bendable "plays with Major Matt Mason" toys, although they have since become something of a legend rather than a knock-off. They looked a lot cooler than the product they were building on, but I digress-- what's the deal with this orange space thing?
The toy translates a 1960s Gumby-style bendy figure into a modern 4-inch action figure, which is no small feat. Cast completely in clear orange except for painted bright yellow eyes, the body shares elements with other figures in the line presumably to keep down costs. He looks like some retro space man, down to the accordion-style sculpting around his arm joints and the slick space suit complete with dome helmet. This really is a neat design artifact, back from when people on Earth looked at the solar system and said "maybe there's life out there." The figure's play value is similarly old-school, if you've ever played with a vintage Kenner toy it has about the same range of motion-- all the joints twist nicely, and he could sit in pretty much any original Kenner Star Wars vehicle. It's not going to win any awards in terms of breaking ground, but there's an element of charm in this little guy that's hard to shake. He's also a crazy rare limited edition, which adds to the wow-factor.
His only gear are a staff and a helmet. The helmet fits perfectly, but is a little loose so if you shake him around it will likely fall off. Saturn tops the staff accessory, which fits right into his fist without a problem. Since the figure has no elbow joints, the Four Horsemen compensated by giving him an extra set of arms with bent elbows-- so just swap them out as needed. Clever! I found these figures a ton of fun and it's a shame they're limited to direct-to-consumer or convention-exclusive sales so far, I think kids would really have fun playing with them. They're sturdy and really nicely designed, but since the license is all but unknown to anyone who isn't hardcore toy people may sway some from sampling this fantastic line. How often do you get Four Horsemen sculpts on an obscure space license? Never. So support this line, or don't blame me they didn't make more.
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Click here to see more Outer Space Men figures in Figure of the Day.
Click here to see more Glyos Compatible figures in Figure of the Day.