Animal toy reviews and walk-arounds

Recent reviews and walk-arounds

April 19, 2018, 03:32:32 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 47 | Comments: 0

I have noticed Chap Mei figures get a lot of attention on the Dino Toy Blog, but their extant critters do not seem to get as much representation. So, here is my sole figure by this company, an emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator (Koch, 1842). Chap Mei figures seem to walk the fine line between relatively accurate animal figures and movie monsters; it does not help that they are often sold with military-style people armed to the teeth! This scorpion reflects the latter. It is sold as part of a boxed set called Giant Scorpion Playset that includes another giant scorpion in different colors and an armed soldier (even though it is sold under their Animal Planet brand).

The figure is large; it is hard to measure with a stiff upright metastoma (tail), but it is comparable with the Safari LTD Smithsonian figure (see last image) which was made in the 2:1 scale. As such, the Chap Mei figure could also be easily placed in the 2:1 range.

The colors are unnatural and gaudy, but if you do not take the colors into consideration, the morphology of this figure is actually pretty darn good! I have been told that the light blue paint glows under ultraviolet light but have not tried it out yet. There is a button on the back that when pushed makes the pedipalps (claws) move inwards and outwards.

If you are one who likes to repaint figures, this would make an excellent choice, as some natural coloring would actually make this a decent figure!

On to the pics:

With the Safari LTD Smithsonian figure:

April 17, 2018, 04:44:40 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 69 | Comments: 2

Walkaround of a Jerusalem cricket, Stenopelmatus sp. by Uncle Milton Industries, Horrible Pets: Scurry and Scare Bugs, copyright 2012. This is one of those fun, novelty reviews, but was deemed necessary as I am not aware of any other figures of Jerusalem crickets. There was one on Shapeways a while back, but my order was canceled as they could not get it to print without breakage. I also need to give thanks to sbell, who found these in a local store and sold them and mailed them to me! There were three other species in the bin, a black widow (with the hourglass on the dorsal side!), a Madagascan hissing cockroach (another popular and familiar species that remains uncommon in toy form), and an American cockroach (see last image below).

I should also point out, the figure and its proportions are somewhat generic, so it could probably also be used as a stand-in for a New Zealand weta as well, but I am leaning more towards a Jerusalem cricket.

The figure is 6.0 cm (without appendages), which could put it in the 1:1 range (BugGuide describes the genus at 2.1-6.9 cm). It is made of a soft, rubbery material. The figure (all four) come on wheels (see next to the last image). I have removed the wheels from the figures I am retaining (the extra cricket is going to sphyrna18). I do not collect mechanical/RC toys, but I have collected bugs on wheels, if I can successfully remove the wheels (I have a rarely-made soldier termite that I had to get on wheels too!).

On to the pics:

With and without original wheels:

The whole gang:

April 01, 2018, 01:06:24 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 243 | Comments: 0

Walk-around of the Tarantula Spider by Toy Major, originally released in 1996. I recently received this figure from froggie; it was on her recent sales post. I originally asked for it because it was a Toy Major figure I was not familiar with, and as I collect more I find myself being more and more a completist. I know TM gets a lot of slack for their suspected knock-offs and such, but I have always been a huge TM fan (also, they have had to fears in making tons of arthropods). When I got this figure in the mail, I didn't realize how much I would like it. Every now and then, a figure comes along with a certain aesthetic charm that we find really appealing, even if it not the most realistic (another good example for me is the Safari Incredible Creatures shrimp).

On to the figure. First of all, it is big. I was expecting it to be smaller. I have a couple similar figures by TM and they are not quite as big. In this figure, the body length is 11.0 cm; when pressed flat it has a maximum leg span of 24 cm! The legs and pedipalps contain wires, so the figure is bendable/pose-able. I am displaying mine with the front legs raised as if in a defensive pose! If I ever get the AMT/Ertl tarantula hawk wasp, these two are going to make a fun diorama :).

I do not think this figure can be attributed to a given species. The banded legs are very suggestive of The Mexican red-kneed tarantula (Brachypelma smithi), or related, but the green on the carapace clearly represents artistic license. If you wanted to call this B. smithi for your collection, I think you could get away with that easy enough :). The eyes and mouthparts are consistent with a true tarantula in the family Theraphosidae.

The underside is a monochromatic black and is marked with the TM logo, the year (1996), and 'TARANTULA SPIDER'. Other pose-able spiders I have by TM are not given a common name other than simply 'spider'.

On to the pics, enjoy!

March 26, 2018, 11:02:31 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 320 | Comments: 3

Review of the complete set of hornets by BREAK Co., LTD. Year of release unknown (possibly 2017 or 2018?). I was unfamiliar with this company, let along set, until Beetle Guy alerted me to it. The company also seems to make sets of scarbaeoid beetles and (I think) freshwater crabs and crayfish, but in the latter two they are different colors of the same species).

The set comes with four figures, each representing a different species; three of the species are 'unique'/new to toy form (as far as I know)! All four figures are roughly 40 mm in length and comparable to the Kaiyodo Choco Q Animatales and Capsule Q Insect Pest Hygiene set figures. They are not quite as realistic as the Kaiyodo figures, but pretty darn close! It looks like there are two sculpts with two paint jobs each.

They are all single-piece plastic. They have a strap which attached by means of a screw on the underside. The screws come out easily, leaving a tiny non-obtrusive hole on the underside.

With these there are now five species in the genus Vespa (Funrise Toys made the common hornet, V. crabro).

The set (with an example of an accompanying card):

1. Giant Asian hornet, Vespa mandarina.
This is the only figure that has been made previously (to my knowledge). The others I have are by Kaiyodo (two aforementioned sets), Yujin, Subarudo, and Rement. I also have a larva by Shineg.

2. black-tailed hornet, Vespa ducalis
Similar to above but the tip of the abdomen is black.

3. yellow-legged hornet, Vespa velutina.

4. Japanese yellow hornet, Vespa simillima.

March 18, 2018, 01:10:35 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 428 | Comments: 0

Walk around of the honey bee, Apis mellifera Linnaeus, 1758 by Safari LTD for their Incredible Creatures line, originally released in 2006. What is surprising about this figure is that it is the ONLY insect to ever be released in the Incredible Creatures line, and it would be the only terrestrial arthropod if not for the recent sinking of the old Hidden Kingdom line into the IC line (of course, the only remaining figures in that line are the monarch, black widow, orange-kneed tarantula, and revamped scorpion). It amazes me that the largest groups of animals have been so underrepresented in the IC line! My hopes is that sinking the HK figures into the IC line might revitalize this group by Safari.

This figure is 11.0 cm long, making it slightly smaller than 10:1 for an average-sized worker. The form of the eyes and presence of a stinger suggests a worker bee. The detail is fairly nice but still comes off as 'generic' like so many bin-style figures. The thorax is denuded on top, which is not uncommon for workers who have been around a while. The hind tibiae are expanded but they didn't sculpt a defined pollen basket. The wings are transparent but the wing venation is not correct (for a figure this size, they could have made the venation accurate if they so chose), but then again, what company outside of Japan would go to the trouble of having accurate wing venation?

As I said earlier, I am hoping Safari's 2018 releases (new spiny lobster, revamped scorpion) are a sign that the IC line will be more diverse and have more insects in the future.

February 24, 2018, 12:28:51 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 407 | Comments: 3

Time for another one of those fun, novelty walk-arounds. This time, it's the Amazing Ant by Becker & Meyer, released in 2003. This is a simpler version of some of the anatomy model kits by other companies, such as 4D Master, etc. Still, it has an irresistible charm to it!  :). I should point out early, this was free from stargatedalek! I only had to pay for shipping! And a quick internet search doesn't show it being relatively available anywhere so I am glad to have gotten it.

The ant comes in 11 pieces:top, bottom, 2 antennae, internal organs (combined in one), and 6 legs. The body is clear, revealing the internal organs. This particular figure is missing one antennae (stars made that clear to me, so I knew it was incomplete beforehand). I will probably seal the parts with glue or something.

The figure measures 10 cm not including appendages, and the way the legs sprawl it takes up roughly 10 x 10 cm of ground space. Because it is not attributable to a given species, I cannot give a scale.

It's pretty simple and easy to assemble, so not much else to say. On to the pics:

February 19, 2018, 11:10:32 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 505 | Comments: 1

Walk-around of the male ant, gen. sp. by Bullyland, originally released in 1994. This is one of four that were released that year, the others being a worker, soldier, and queen. I have never seen the other three. The figure is not marketed to the species level, although one can probably assume it was intended to be Formica rufa Linnaeus, 1761. Ants are rather common in generic bin-style sets; they are relatively rarely marketed at the species level. While this is a 'generic ant', I have to admit it is one of my favorites!

The figure measures 7.5 cm body length; 9.5 cm if you include the antennae to the tips of the wings. The wings are a single, solid translucent piece of plastic, held roof-like over the body (I like that - makes for a more 'compact' figure, rather than having the wings stretched out to the sides). The paint job is subtle yet realistic/believable.

I would be interested in seeing other members of the caste system, to see how they compare in size, color, and wing position (if present).

On to the pics:

Like other Bullybugs, there are dollar-store knock-offs in the Bullyland style, albeit different sizes and lacking wings. I have yet another (but sold in a different set) that is also in the Bullyland style, but much larger and with outstretched wings; I wonder if it was modeled after the Bully queen. If I ever see it, I will know for sure!

February 17, 2018, 02:57:03 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 243 | Comments: 0

Walk-around of the grasshopper, gen. sp. by Bullyland, originally released in 1994. There is no way to attribute a species or even genus name to this figure; this is a typical GGG (generic green grasshopper). No bin-style set of insects is complete without a GGG!

The figure measures 11.0 cm, not including the protruding antennae. It is made of a relatively stiff plastic.

Because this is probably my oldest Bullyland figure, this is one that I was aware was copied by the dollar store set! It was not until these forums that I started seeing other Bullyland insects did I realize most of the larger figures in that dollar store set were Bullyland knock-offs.

Really not too much to say about this figure; it's simple and not specific, so onto the pics:

with it's dollar-store counterpart:

February 17, 2018, 12:24:57 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 206 | Comments: 0

The march of the 'Bullybugs' (thanks, Susanne) continues with the European stag beetle, Lucanus cervus (Linnaeus, 1758), originally released in 1994. This species is not as commonly made as some of its Japanese/Asian cousins, but is still well-represented in toy/figure form. I have 12 figures that can be reliable attributed to this species.

Bullyland's figure is an impressive major male. Measuring 8.0 cm (not including legs nor mandibles), the figure is 1:1 for a large specimen (I have seen true monstrous specimens of this species in Southern Moravia, Czech Republic). The color and texture are very nice.

Like several others reviewed, this figure also has its dollar-store counterpart (see last two images). Interestingly, the dollar store figure has a slightly better scuplt (in terms of shape and contours), but less-realistic texture and colors.

On to the pics:

With its dollar-store counterpart:

February 16, 2018, 03:10:59 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 211 | Comments: 0

Continuing my walkarounds of Bullyland's insects and arachnids, today we look at the lady bug, Coccinella septempunctata Linnaeus, 1758. There are two figures, one with the elytra closed and one with the elytra partially open, revealing the flying wings; both figures were released in 1994. I am not sure if they were marketed at the species level, but the color pattern in conjunction with the fact this is the most common species of Coccinellidae in Europe, makes C. septempunctata the only real possibility!

The figures are 6.0 cm in length (not including appendages), making them roughly 7:1 for an average-sized specimen. It was a neat idea to release this figure in two forms. There are a few lady bug figures out there with exposed hind wings, but not many. Interestingly the underside of the figures are different; the one with closed elytra red and the one with exposed wings black (the latter is correct).

On to the pics:

Like the previously-reviewed rhinoceros beetles and house fly, I have a dollar-store knock off of the closed-wing figure (there was also a smaller version in the dollar store set):

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