I’ve had a few friends join me for guest reviews since I started this blog a year and a half ago but I haven’t yet had the pleasure of my lovely Vanessa’s assistance. That may have something to do with her being a grown woman with better things to do than blog about action figures. However she is very supportive of my hobby and has contributed to my collection on several occasions so what more could I ask for in a partner really? Maybe I’ll convince her to join me in reviewing her plush Wrinkle dog one of these days as it’s the only toy I ever recall her reminiscing about. A while back I did ask her to choose a figure for me to review and she surprised me by picking Sinestro of all people; and she doesn’t even like pink. Well she wandered into my man-cave the other night while I was reviewing Horny Toad and she asked if she could select my next subject. I told her by all means. She surprised me once again by selecting Astro-Nautilus. I would have expected her to pick someone cuter or at least someone she recognizes like Captain America or Optimus Prime but instead she went with the tentacled Outer Space Man from Neptune.
Not to say that she made a bad selection because I think this guy is pretty awesome myself. I won’t go into the history of the Outer Space Men because I already did that in my review of Xodiac (a figure which made my top 10 list last year). I’ll just quickly say that the OSM were a vintage toy line from the 60s that was resurrected in recent years by toy sculptors extraordinaire, The Four Horsemen. This probably won’t surprise you but there aren’t too many celebrities in the world of toy collecting. I can talk about the guys that created the comics or starred in the movies that the figures are based on but that’s about it. As far as the actual art of designing and creating the figures go, the Horsemen are about as big a deal as you’re gonna find.
I’ve talked before about how Todd McFarlane’s toy company came onto the scene in the early 90s and changed the face of action figures. He didn’t shy away from the fact that he was making toys for grown-ups. Tons of like-minded companies sprung up afterwards but McFarlane Toys led the pack. I think the main reason that they remained number one was because of the talent they hired. Chris Dahlberg, Eric Mayse, Eric Treadaway, and Jim Preziosi, known as the Four Horsemen hammered out one incredible action figure after another. Even more impressive was that most of their designs were not based on established characters but were completely original. I don’t have room to display them these days but I have a decent sized collection of McFarlane action figures and I’m sure a plenty of them came from the minds of the Horsemen.
The Horsemen eventually left McFarlane Toys and went on to work for Mattel. There they designed all of the toys for the 2002 Masters of the Universe relaunch which I loved. I think applying the Horsemen’s detailed style to a toy line designed for kids made for the perfect blend of cool and fun. The Horsemen were later tasked with designing the Masters of the Universe Classics line which they continue to do to this day, continually churning out awesome figures each and every month since 2008. They also design the DC Universe Classics figures for Mattel.
Somewhere along the way they started their own company as well. They’ve been steadily producing figures under their own banner for several years now, their most extensive line being Seventh Kingdom. I’ve seen their Kingdom figures in magazines and on websites but I’ve never actually seen them in any of my local shops. I assume they’re not produced in very large numbers. The Outer Space Men are another line that they’ve been producing and selling at conventions and directly through their website store, the cleverly named Store Horsemen, for the past couple of years.
Their OSM output has been fairly light over the years. I imagine that’s because there were only ever 7 figures available in the original 1960s line-up. Luckily there was concept art done up for additional characters so the Horsemen have been drawing from that as well. In order to keep the line fresh in people’s minds while they take their time releasing new characters the horsemen have taken to releasing each Outer Space Man in multiple colors. Astro Nautilus was released in the first wave of figures in 2010 and he has been released at least 6 times since in various color schemes. This particular green skinned version that I have was a 2012 San Diego Comic Con exclusive. The Horsemen had some available through their website and that’s where I got mine.
The packaging for these figures is very well designed in that the blister card can be slid away from the plastic bubble, freeing the figure for play or display with no damage done to the package. You can place the figure back into the plastic, slide the card back into place, and they look good as new. The SDCC exclusive that I have came with the signatures of all Four Horsemen on the blister card which is kind of neat.
As for the figure itself I think it’s great. The colors on these figures are so vibrant and fun that I’ve been tempted to pick up the various colored sets so that I could display them all. Astro-Nautilus looks great in green, but the purple and clear versions look awesome too. He has articulation at the neck, ankles, and on all four tentacles, at the base and part way up. The figures are a little stiffer than I would like but the swappable parts is a neat feature in place of movement. The design is simple but that’s what you want in a 60s space alien. For accessories he’s got a clear green trident which can be looped over his tentacles pretty snugly. A very nice figure. 8 out of 10.