With the Observer, STRANGEco and Mars-1 give us another glimpse into the outer space focused imagination of the artist. Recently with the Invisible Plan, Mars-1 (aka Mario Martinez) created accurate three dimensional depictions of characters found in his paintings. With the Observer we are reminded of the original toy, the self titled Mars-1, since both have a completely original design and are relatively the same scale. Similar to previous toys by Mario, the Observer is made to a level of quality worthy of being called art.
Standing at six inches tall, the artist (and sculptor Brin Berliner) was able to add just the right amount of detail while keeping a clean space suit feel to the form. There are grooves cut into the center of the legs, the midline of the front and back, and around the thigh areas to give the idea of seams in the suit. Also, there are round gaskets on the chest plate, and a very interesting rectangle opening in the crotch of the figure. The knee pads are raised on the legs and the back sports a very interesting eye-like form. Could this be the Observer symbol? Or possibly a rear view finder? Who knows, but it nicely breaks up the otherwise simple design to the figure's back. The arms are thin and have no fingers, reinforcing the notion of this clean/simple design. The toy's face is again, very simple with no distinct features beyond subtle eyes and nose. The most distinctive feature of this toy is the capsule helmet. I have to admit I'm a sucker for capsule helmets on toys, and to have a Designer Toy with one really gets me excited. Nothing, and I mean nothing says classic sci-fi like a capsule helmet. I appreciate how this one comes off the broad shoulders and rounds the top of the figure off in a large curve. Again, this is reinforcing the notion of a clean/simple form. The paint applications however are not simple, with multiple layers adding shading to the waist, splattered mud on the legs, and an intricate design around the chest and back plates. As for articulation, the arms twist up and down. Sadly, the legs do not twist. I'm guessing that's because if we were able to make the figure bend over it'd fall face first since it is so top heavy. That said; I feel it has enough articulation since we all know that we enjoy looking at our Designer Toys, not playing with them. As we've come to expect from STRANGEco, the vinyl used is a quality material with no warps and a nice sturdy feel.
I could be wrong, but this figure seems to be homage to the Invader from the Twilight Zone episode of the same name. Both had a round body, with little arms. This has a more open feel to it while the Invader seems to be closed with only eye slots and a respirator on his chest, the form seems to be in reference to that however. None the less, the Observer is a very nice, original piece to add to your collection. Shown is the original green colorway (limited to 750 pieces), there is also a red colorway (750 pieces), and a gray colorway (450 pieces) that will be readily available too. There will also be a super limited black colorway and there might be the black SDCC version (that is in fact different from the open market black) on ebay if you're lucky (those sold out pretty fast).
If you are a fan of science fiction, or just enjoy collecting toys that are worthy of the tag art you should check out the Mars-1 Observer.
Check out STRANGEco's web site STRANGEco.com to see what the company is producing next.
Mars-1 has a great site with info on the artist, a look at his work, and a store where you can buy some great artwork.
The Observer will be available on the aforementioned Mars-1 site soon, and should be at kidrobot as well.
If you dig this guy, you should check out our coverage of the original Mars-1 and the Invisible Plan, both by Mars-1 and STRANGEco.
We put all our Designer Toy coverage on this handy page for you to enjoy.