Review and images by callmejoe3; edited by bmathison1972
Today marks a return to cataloging a member of the group of eight-limbed cephalopods. The order of octopuses, Octopoda, contains 300 extant species. These creatures inhabit a wide range of habitats ranging from pelagic waters and coral reefs to the deepest parts of the oceans. These mollusks are named due to all species normally containing eight-limbs, even the famously dubbed seven-armed octopus (Haliphron atlanticus). Octopuses have fast growth rates and short lifespans, ranging from several months to a few years. These creatures can vary greatly in size from the 1-inch Octopus wolfi that weighs less than a gram, to the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) with a maximum arm span and mass of 9.8 meters and 198.2 kilograms. What allowed octopuses to capture the minds of millions was their own. Octopuses, along with other cephalopods, possess the most sophisticated nervous system and brains of any invertebrates and most life on Earth. Octopuses are known to exhibit problem-solving abilities, signs of tool use, both short and long-term memory, and even escape their tanks in aquaria go prey on the fish in separate tanks. These characteristics are of special interest given that mollusks are about 600 million years diverged from the lineage of vertebrates, the phylum that contains most of the recognized intelligent animals on Earth. Therefore, octopuses can serve as compelling model organisms for the independent evolution of complex intelligence. Octopuses possess chromatophores and papillae in their skin that allow them to alter their color and texture, achieving striking levels of mimicry in their environments. Bottom-feeders typically eat crustaceans, other mollusks, and bristle worms while open-ocean octopuses focus on fish, crabs, and other cephalopods. Due to their broad distributions and the solitary nature of most species, octopus populations are difficult to monitor but are not suspected to be under threat. However, octopuses are sensitive to environmental factors, as the recorded maximum weights of the giant Pacific octopus has decreased greatly over the past few decades.
Today’s figure is a vintage rubber offering from none other than AAA. This figure appears to be from the 1990s and is known to have a much smaller counterpart. The imprint label does not indicate the species and lacks distinct traits that deviate from the morphology shared by most octopuses. Due to this, I’ll simply identify this creature as the common octopus (Octopus vulgaris).
The mantle length for this figure is 55 mm, placing it in the 1:22 scale when corresponding to an average common octopus. The color is a basic light brown/beige gradient, a safe pigment for the common octopus, though it honestly doesn’t matter given the creature’s ability to change color. The eyes have round black pupils. This is one thing I could argue is inaccurate given how most octopuses seem to have more rectangular pupils. Otherwise, there’s not much to complain about.
The overall silhouette is acceptably realistic. Decent attention is paid to capturing the proper appearance of the weighty mantle and the bulging eyes. The skin has a papillate texture to it, with two tiny papillae ‘’horns’’ behind the eyes. Two apertures are sculpted near the eyes, however, there is no siphon on either side. The arms appear to be contracted, possibly creating the impression of it crawling across the ground.
The underside of this figure is rather impressive. The skin underneath the mantle is smooth than on top. Many individually sculpted suction cups are present along each arm. No mouth or beak is sculpted, though that’s a forgivable flaw for a figure that’s likely 3 decades old. Overall, the sculpt is quite detailed for its age as there’s not much room for improvement that I could reasonably expect.
Overall, my impressions of this figure are very positive. Outside of certain details such as the species identity, pupils, and siphon, the larger AAA rubber octopus succeeds in capturing a fair resemblance compared to other figures around at the time. There have certainly been higher-quality figures released since then, but this is a very respectable product for vintage enthusiasts.