Outer Limits: Specimen Unknown

     “Specimen Unknown” is the Season 1, Episode 22 of the 1964 science fiction television series, The Outer Limits.   The story involves a strange growth found on the hull of a space station which is brought inside to be examined by the station's science team. Not realizing the potential danger the growth presents, it is brought to Earth in the station's shuttle craft where it breaks free and releases hundreds of spores which take root in just about any substance.   These prolific “flowers” also have a deadly defense mechanism in the form of a powdery discharged which when emitted, attacks the victim's hemoglobin.   If you want a more detail, click this link which will take you to the Wikipedia write up:nknown



     The kit is produced by Dimensional Designs which has the most extensive line of kits based on the original Outer Limits series that I am aware. This kit is something of a departure from their other kits in that most of the flower parts are made of metal (pot metal or zamak, I think) with coat hanger wire for stems with the remaining parts of standard cast resin. There are eight flowers in the kit, each of which has eight parts. A number of the metal parts required bending to shape the root system and stems prior to assembly which was a surprisingly enjoyable activity. I decided to bend the upper petalon a couple of the blooms to copy the scene in the story where they are about to eject their deadly pollen. I did a lot of drilling to mount the flower parts together and used AC glue to assemble them. The resin base had numbered depressions for placing the corresponding flowers which proved to be a big help.

     Before gluing the completed flowers to the base, I gave it a coat of gray primer followed by a dark earth color from rattle cans. Once the flowers were secured to the base, I used some peat moss, ground foam and random plant stuff from my stash to cover the base. In a flash of inspiration, I got my hands on some white sprinkles (like you find on cupcakes) to act as the seeds that periodically spewed from the bulb opening.

     As for the flowers,I started with a base coat of gray primer so I wouldn't be paintingon bare metal. The TV show was shot in black & white which, as in similar circumstances, allowed me to use any color scheme I would like. I used a yellowish tan for the petals with a metallic red for the center. The bulb was painted a light green with its stem and rootlets an olive green. The plant's “mouth” was painted terracotta to better to show off the seeds inside. I hit the sprinkle seeds with hair spray to kill the sheen and to help them adhere to the flowers and base. For the final touch, I took some fine wire painted white and glued it to the center of the flower. On this, I placed stretched out tufts of cotton to simulate the deadly pollen I mentioned earlier along with giving them a spritz of hairspray to keep it stiff and in place.

The outer shots to show side views of the pollen spraying. The center one is to copy the black and white version like the show.

     I have mixed feelings about this kit. Though I am pleased with the final result, I think I would have used different materials for the parts. I believe that the only parts that needed to be made out of metal would be the stems and rootlets since they required a lot of bending. The flowers and their parts would be better if they were cast resin IMHO. The nameplate lettering wasn't that crisp because it may have been a later casting in the production run which tends to lose detail with each casting operation due to wear on the mold itself. My solution to nameplate issue was to paint it black and come back with a wirebrush and burnish the paint off the lettering which is in relief showing the white resin underneath. Kinda of a clumsy fix I'll admit but it worked! 12/10/2023