Review and images by pipsxlch; edited by bmathison1972
Editor’s note: this is our FIRST review submitted by an STS member! Much thanks and congratulations to pipsxlch!
Today I’m reviewing my model of a domestic goldfish, Carassius auratus, of the breed known commonly in the US as a black Moor; it is technically a black telescopic goldfish. This model was manufactured by the Hong Kong company Wing Mau. It is part of a set of common goldfish breeds on interlocking bases, called Eight Styles of Goldfish. The fish are mounted on removable thick clear plastic pegs, softer and thicker than the rods commonly used with Japanese gashapon figures. The pegs narrow down at the ends to the same dimension as the rods, so those may be used interchangeably in display. As the supplied rods can flex and bend under the weight of the figure, you may wish to replace them with the rods. The “rock” and “plant” are removable; the rock has a fitted space molded into the base for it.
The base; you can see how it has a flange on one side, which can fit into spaces on other sides.
The figure depicts a young black telescopic goldfish. It is undergoing a color change (to orange), which is typical. Color is not stable in goldfish, and black and brown are the least stable colors. Most goldfish fry start out black, bronze or olive brown and change to their adult color as they mature. Breeders have been attempting to stabilize the black coloring with only some luck. I really like how this model shows that color change, with the orange placed in a manner you would expect to see in the real animal.
The dorsal fin on this model is not well shaped; it usually is more triangular, highest at the first ray. Possibly the sculptor was working from a photo of a fish with a folded over dorsal fin. This is common, especially in breeds with elongated fins.
The pink inside the mouth is rather startling! The fish appears to be yawning, a common behavior. It is holding its fins out, which would fit the behavior. You can clearly see the structure of the eyes, which are bulged outside of the eye sockets of the skull. This is normal in this and several other breeds of goldfish, slowly developing as the fry grow. As a result, the eyes are easily damaged and lost. Keepers of these breeds need to aquascape their homes thoughtfully.
Overall, this model (and the set it is a part of) is a lovely and fairly realistic model. Adult aquarium fish fanciers should enjoy having it in their collection. Genetics teachers might like it too, as an example of what can be achieved with selective breeding and careful culling of breeding stock. (feral goldfish quickly revert to wild type) While older children may also enjoy it, I would not recommend it to small children due to small parts (the rock and the rod) that could present a choking risk.
Availability of this and other Wing Mau models is spotty; they do not sell directly, and your best chances are on eBay. Their main model seems to be selling to other companies for self labeling. I bought these models around 2016 from a Hong Kong vendor who was able to find the set for me. Recently as of this writing (2019), I have seen what appears to be this same set being marketed on eBay under the name ‘Japanese Beam’.