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Topics - bmathison1972

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1
So, one day on eBay I stumbled upon four small, interesting butterfly figurines (first image, below) by Land and Sea Collectibles. I bought them, and then started snooping around and eventually found their site. On their site, I saw a set of a dozen similar, but looking slightly different, butterflies. I ordered that set to see how they compare (are there multiple series, etc.). Land and Sea offers many 'miniature' animals like these; they are intended to be accessories for 'fairy gardens' (a popular horticultural activity).

When the first set from eBay came, I was very impressed. The four figures were well-detailed and sat upon a small base simulating wood. I am not sure, but the figures might be made of fiberglass? Feels too light to be resin or stonecast. Anyway I was impressed by them, especially since they gave me two new species (identifications are mine) and one species that I only have as a flat magnet figurine. I should point out that the painting on the ventral side is not accurate; it simply mirrors the dorsal side (which is accurate for each species). I can forgive that, given the detail they do possess at a small size.

Clockwise from top left:
1. The danaid eggfly, or mimic, Hypolimnas misippus, a new species for me [Parasarpa (ex: Limenitis) albomaculata also a good match, but I thought the shape of the white macula on the hind wings was a better shape for the former]
2. The gulf fritillary, Agraulis vanillae.
3. The red admiral, Vanessa atalanta.
4. The crimson patch, Chlosyne janais, the other new species



When I received the 12 butterflies from the actual site, I was disappointed. The 12 figures were essentially the same design, but painted differently and with slightly different bases. They remind me more of the previously-reviewed Steel Street butterflies. I took pics of six of them here, the ones I'll retain. They're nothing special but I'll keep at least these six for now. I am not even going to try to put species' names on them; even if they might slightly resemble something legit, I am sure they are all generically painted. Also, figurines in this set seem to be made of a stonecast-like material, not as light and graceful as the first four.



I am curious why there are two sets of such different styles and quality. When the second set, direct from Land and Sea, came, there was a catalog too, but I could not find anything like those first four in it. They must represent a retired set. I hope if the first four represent a larger set, I can find additional species.

2
Customised figures / Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus)
« on: January 13, 2018, 09:10:09 PM »
this is something I made for the STS Forum's Third Annual Custom Figure Swap. Essentially, you are given someone to make/customize/repaint a figure for, and someone does it for you. The person you are making it for is not the person you are making yours for. Anyway I thought I would share it here, too. This is a cut-and-paste of what I posted on STS:

This little bird is currently flying to his new home:

It's the Andean cock-of-the-rock, Rupicola peruvianus. Now, I am not a painter, and certianly not a sculptor. This is the very first bird I ever made. I chose it because with the rather robust form and solid, bold colors even I should be able to manage one hahaha. I also chose this species because it might be a 'unique' species in figure form(?). The recipient of this figure does have a preference for mammals, but I would be even worse at mammals; besides this person is also interested in birds so I hope it will be well received.

Now I just hope hope hope it makes it safely. For one I hope I packed it ok, and then I actually had a rather unpleasant experience with the person at the post office which has me worrying more  :-\. But fingers crossed it lands at its new home ok!!   :D

It will be coming in two pieces, and there is a small peg on the bottom of the bird to insert onto its rock/feet.

Oh well, I hope this is OK; this is all a totally new realm for me!!!





















The final product:






3
Other/Miscellaneous / Insect World (Battat Terra)
« on: January 11, 2018, 12:43:46 AM »
Review of the set, Insect World by Battat Terra, new for 2017. So, I stumbled upon this set on Amazon.com while searching for something else. I did not have any interest in it, as I assumed it would contain the usual generic Toy Major-style figures (I was proven correct). However, at work we were given $10 gift cards for Amazon. So, I figured since I could get the set for half-off, might as well take a look to see what it's like.

Like all of the Terra 'bucket' sets, it consists of 60 figures, 5 each of 12 different sculpts. I knew this ahead of time and was not expecting 60 different figures (that would have been nice LOL). When I saw them, my hunch was confirmed, these are all the generic 'chinabug' style popularized by Toy Major and its knock-offs. They are made of a stronger, firmer plastic, and the paint seems darker, but the sculpts are essentially the same (the smaller of the two spiders does seem different however).

The undersides are not labeled with creature name, company name, nor any series numbers or letters, so if these got mixed up with other chinabugs, you might not remember what belongs to this set ;-)

Since there is nothing really exciting here, I took two pics of 6 each. I didn't feel it was worth the time to take individual pics for each item (I might down the road someday).

I'll probably throw in sets of 12 as extras during exchanges, etc...

1. the bucket:



2. cicada, bee, ant, fly, dragonfly, ladybug:



3: scorpion, spider (two styles), grasshopper, mantis, cricket:


4
Other/Miscellaneous / Scorpion Anatomy Model (4D Master)
« on: January 10, 2018, 01:25:59 AM »
Walk-around and review of the Scorpion Anatomy Model by 4D Master (2009). The model represents the emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator (Koch, 1842). I have been eyeing this model for a while and finally decided to get it when I could get one on eBay from the US. There is a tarantula as well (not to mention several non-arthropods including a snail, mammals, reptiles, and possibly more) [I thought brontodocus had reviewed one of them but if so I cannot find it].

The model comes disassembled in 29 pieces. A few pieces are clear to view the interior anatomy. This is a very high-quality model, made of vary hard, high-quality plastic. It takes some strength to get some of the pieces in, but it a tight fit once secure. The pincers on the end of the pedipalps have a ball-and-socket connection and the claws themselves are articulated. The detail is superior and is probably the best emperor scorpion model/figure available (we'll see how it compares to the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box model later this year). This was clearly designed to be used as a display model and teaching aid, at a level of quality to be used at the university level! The figure is also VERY big (I was astonished by the size of the box it was shipped in!); I did not measure it, but it appears to be about twice the size of the Safari Smithsonian figure, which would make it 4:1 for a large specimen.

The figure comes with a small base and a peg with which to attach it. It also comes with a booklet with information of scorpions (anatomy, biology, etc.) and assembly instructions.

After seeing the quality, I am tempted to invest in the tarantula next, but not sure if I have room right now for another of this size ;-)

On to the pics:






























5
Kaiyodo - other series / Microcosmos (Kaiyodo - Capsule Q Museum)
« on: January 05, 2018, 01:05:00 AM »
Review of the complete set, Microcosmos by Kaiyodo - Capsule Q Museum (2014). This is Kaiyodo's first (and to date, only) set of planktonic organisms, just one year after Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. released 'The Minimum Coexistence: Microbe' set in 2013, both of which follow Epoch's 'Ecology of Plankton' nearly a decade earlier in 2004.

There are five figures, each can be displayed on a base with clear backing that shows other planktonic debris. I cannot remember, they might glow under ultraviolet light or something, but they do not have have a light source like the Aqua Night Aquarium set did. I originally bought this for the arthropods only, but since acquiring other protozoa/plankton sets I went back to complete it (see under the squid, below). They are all typical gashapon-sized and assembly was minimal in only a couple of the figures.

On to the figures, in their numerical order on the corresponding paperwork:

1. Water flea, Daphnia pulex.
This microcrustacean has become a hallmark of plankton sets. I have additional figures by the aforementioned sets by Epoch and T-TARTS, as well as Kaiyodo's own Night Aqua Museum set.



2. Euglena gracilis.
There are a few other Euglena figures; I have an EISCO Labs model and the Epoch and T-TARTs sets had them also (although the latter two are E. acus, which is now in the genus Lepocinclis).



3. Fairy shrimp, Branchinella kugenumaensis.
This was the highlight of the set for me as it's the only (known to me) figure of a fairy shrimp, Anostraca.



4. Japanese blue crab, Portunus trituberculatus.
This is the zoea stage larva of this species of crab; Yujin also made an adult for their Shrimps and Crabs Collection.



5. Spear squid, Heterololigo bleekeri.
This is the paralarva stage of this species. Because I do not normally collect mollusks, I am not sure if this species has been made before, but given the diversity of squid species by Japanese manufacturers, I am sure it has. Funny story on this figure. Before I became a completist with the planktonic sets, I had traded mine to stargatedalek for a couple figures (the New Ray firefly and cicada, I believe?). So I had to hunt this one down individually on eBay recently. While it was a roundabout way, it was still easier than trying to find the figures I got from Stars... :)


6
Walk-around of the katipo, Latrodectus katipo Powell, 1871 by Science and Nature's New Zealand Wildlife Collection. This figure was released in 2016 but was not available outside of New Zealand until mid-late 2017 or so. I bought mine from MiniZoo in Australia. The katipo is a venomous spider, like other widows in the genus Latrodectus, and is endemic to coastal areas of New Zealand where it is believed to be in serious decline. There are five species in the genus Latrodectus available in toy/figure form, but this figure is only the second version of the katipo; the first is a Cadbury Yowie which I can imagine must be difficult to find easily these days.

There are two forms of the katipo, red and black. The former is what was produced by S&N; the black form has an entirely black dorsum on the abdomen. The figure has an abdomen with a diameter of 20 mm, making it 2.5:1 for a mature female. It is important to point out, this figure is an exact copy of their redback spider (L. hasseltii) from a few years prior, even to the extent that they left 'redback spider' printed on the bottom of the katipo figure (see last image!!!!). I do not mind when a company re-purposes a figure for a new species, but at least print the correct/current species on the underside! The katipo figure however is made of a more sturdier plastic, as the legs are firmer (the redback had somewhat soft legs).

On to the pics:











Comparisons with their redback spider:




7
Kaiyodo - Animatales / Atlas Moth (Kaiyodo - Capsule Q Animatales: Yaeyama)
« on: December 28, 2017, 06:01:09 PM »
Walk-around of the atlas moth, Attacus atlas (Linnaeus, 1758) by Kaiyodo, Capsule Q Animatales - Yaeyama, No. 302 (2014). The atlas moth is one of the largest species of moths and occurs in southeast Asia to the Malay Archipelago. This figure was released as part of one of several sets specializing in specific locations in Japan, in this case the Yaeyama Islands of Okinawa. This is the only atlas moth that was released by a major commercial manufacturer. Jetoar made one for his 'Amazing Moths' line (which I have, of course) and I also have a magnet figurine from Doug Walpus Art Studio.

This figure is, well, probably the best moth figure out there. Actually, the entire Yaeyama set had an amazing species arrangement of superb quality (five of them can be seen here: http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~CH2M-NITU/japananimal7e.htm)! Due to the angle of the wings, it is difficult to measure (and frankly, difficult to image), but taking into account the width of each forewing and the thorax, I have it at a 90 mm wingspan, making it just under 1:3 for a large specimen. Assembly is required and it is a delicate figure, so care should be taken. It's been three years since I assembled mine, so I do not remember the number of pieces. The paint job is exquisite and the 'eyes' on the wings are translucent!

I am surprised I have not done a walk-around of this one before! This figure comes highly-recommended for anyone that might collect insect figures (even if it is not your focus). They still show up on eBay periodically so they are not impossible to find.

On to the pics!!!














8
I recently realized Colorata's older beetle sets have not been reviewed. And I am off a couple days and have time to spare. So, here is Tropical Rain Forest: Rhinoceros Beetles from the Real Figure Box set (original date of release unknown). While this is one of the earliest sets I acquired after discovering the Japanese manufacturers, I have to admit neither this set (nor the stag beetles, to be reviewed shortly) really 'grabbed' me. They are nice figures, but for some reason these earlier Colorata sets never excited me like others.

There are six figures in this set, and there is nothing you have not seen a dozen times already by either myself or Beetle Guy. Pretty standard fare for scaraebaeoid sets. Like older Colorata sets, the figures are made of a softer plastic. They are slightly larger than their contemporary gashapon figures by Kaiyodo and Furuta. There is minimal assembly (legs need to be attached). All figures come with a log of sorts, and there is a peg to securely (but not permanently) attach the figure to the log. Since these are among some of my earlier figures, they were displayed unprotected, hence you might see dust on some of them. Also like most Colorata sets, their is a neat booklet with lots of information on the species (in Japanese and English!)

This will be an abbreviated review, I am going to forgo my usual listing of other versions of these species, since they have all been done on numerous occasions.

On to the pics, in the order they are listed in the accompanying booklet.

1. Dynastes hercules.



2. Dynastes neptunus.



3. Megasoma elephas.



4. Chalcosoma caucasus.



5. Eupatorus gracilicornis.



6. Allomyrina dichotoma.


9
Walk-around of the Miyama Stag Beetle, Lucanus maculifemoratus Motschulsky, 1861 by AMAI, World of Insects Collection, No. 2 (year unknown). First thing first, this is not a typical model kit as previously reviewed for companies like Heller or AMT/Ertl. This is essentially a 'build your own' wind-up toy. I do not normally collect wind-up, mechanical, R/C type figures; in fact, before moving I dumped a bunch of them. Had I known this I might not have bought it, but I did, and so here it is (and frankly now that it is complete, I rather enjoy it!).

This figure is one of four in the set, the others being Allomyrina dichotoma, Dynastes hercules, and Prosopocoilus giraffa. The figure comes in only 11 pieces (including the components needed for moving parts to function). No glue or adhesives are necessary. The base color is a glossy black and there is no recommendation for painting (and since this is a generally uniformly monochromatic dark species, I did not). When fully assembled, the figure is 7.0 cm (not including appendages or mandibles) which makes it 1:1 for a large, major male (the box advertises it as 1:1). Assembly is fast and easy, which is one reason why it's already done ;-)

There are two options for function/display. One is to have a 'wind-up' handle, to make the legs and mandibles move. The other is a suction cup to attach it to a smooth vertical surface. I chose the former, and luckily everything is snug enough it can sit as a stable figure (one of the reasons I ended up liking it when complete). I get the impression from the accompanying paperwork, these figures are to be played with in a battle-type game.

One interesting note about the accompanying paperwork. There is a map showing where the four species in the set come from. They have the L. maculifemoratus coming from India. I know it occurs in Japan, but I do not think it goes that far west. Marcel, can you confirm? Maybe they wanted to species to occur from different places to enhance the 'battle' aspect.

Will I hunt down the other three? Not certain. Maybe if I found them inexpensive and easily available, perhaps, but I am not going too far out of my way to hunt them down.

On to the pics!




















10
Other/Miscellaneous / Emperor Scorpion (Veronese Design)
« on: December 23, 2017, 06:30:54 PM »
Walk-around of the emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator (Koch, 1843) by Veronese Design, 2011. I stumbled upon this sculpture (not a toy/figure) on eBay after Beetle Guy alerted me to something similar. I went to their website (http://www.veronesedesign.com/collection.htm) and I suggest others check it out for some really nice animal sculptures.

The sculpture has a base measuring 11 cm in diameter and it stands (at the top of the tail) roughly 12 cm tall. It is hard to measure, but it appears to be 1:1 for a large individual. It is made of cold cast resin. The scorpion and its base are separate objects, but the scorpion is permanently affixed to the base by means of sealed pegs of some sort. The detail in both the animal and its base are amazing. I am glad I invested in this one! More realistic than typical toy/figure versions of this species (although Kaiyodo is releasing one next year in their Sofubi Toy Box line).

On to the pics (I had to really play with the lighting in my apartment today to get the detail):














11
Other/Miscellaneous / Butterflies (Fascinations - Metal Earth)
« on: December 23, 2017, 06:04:02 PM »
This will be a thread for an overall review of the Butterflies set by Fascinations - Metal Earth, new for 2017. Metal earth has many metal model kits, and I normally do not like metal or metal kits, but since the models in this set are painted accurately (above and below), I decided to give them a try. There are eight figures in the set. At the time of this initial post, I only have two assembled (I will add them as I do them--might take time due to other commitments).

The set includes eight species, all North American, and at the time of this initial writing, one is a new species for me. I am having trouble manipulating the metal to get the pieces to fit into the near-microscopic holes, LOL, so I decided to build the bodies and wings separately, and then glue the wings to the body. Not ideal, but it suits my purposes.

I only have two assembled, and they have 100 mm wingspans, so assuming they are all the same size, will range from slightly under to slightly over 1:1 ratio.

On to the models, as I make them. Because they are smooth metal, I am finding them hard to photograph well, so I apologize for less than optimal images.

1. Red admiral, Vanessa atalanta.



2. Red-spotted purple, Limenitis arthemis.



...more to come over upcoming weeks, or possibly months.

12
Other/Miscellaneous / Butterflies of Paradise (Franklin Mint)
« on: December 15, 2017, 06:00:36 PM »
Review of the complete set of Butterflies of Paradise by The Franklin Mint (1987). I had previously reviewed the complete set of the Franklin Mint’s Butterflies of the World (http://animaltoyforum.com/index.php?topic=1969.msg15494#msg15494) collection. When I bought the Butterflies of Paradise set, I hadn’t realized it was incomplete. I only recently tracked down the 12th and final figure so I could do a review!

Of the 12 figures, 10 are unique species, and of the two that have been previously made, one is a magnet figurine and the other is a tentative ID based on wing shape rather than color pattern.

These are porcelain figurines. They are very well made but are very fragile. They are not toys to be played with. Each species is displayed on a specific plant as well and are marketed with both the butterfly’s and flower’s names. I assume the plants are native to where the butterfly is from, but I am not a botanist and didn’t feel like researching.

While as porcelain figures I realize this set is not for everyone, this is a great opportunity to get nearly a dozen unique species!

On to the figurines, in no particular order:

1. BHUTAN GLORY, Bhutanitis lidderdalii on Himalayan maple (Podophyllum hexandrum)



2. TIGER. Tithorea harmonia on sunshine tree (Tabebuia serratifolia)



3. ROYAL ASSYRIAN, Terinos terpander on Philippine violet (Barleria cristata)



4. RED LACEWING, Cethosia biblis on common white jasmine (Jasminum officinale)



5. BLUE BANDED PEACOCK, Papilio arcturus on Asiatic poppy (Meconopsis grandis)
The only other figure of these I have is a magnet by Doug Walpus Art Studio.



6. SWORDTAILED TORTOISESHELL, Hypanartia paullus on frangipani (Plumeria alba)



7. GAUDY COMMODORE, Precis ocravia on African violet (Saintpaulia ionanthe)



8. FOREST BEAUTY, Paralethe dendrophilus on crossandra (Crossandra infundibuliformis)



9. LILAC TREE NYMPH, Sevenia pechueli on yesterday-and-tomorrow (Brunfelsia calycina)
This figure is misidentified on the accompanying paper as Eunica amelia, which is turn was misspelled as E. amulia.



10. LEOPARD, Phalanta eurytis on periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)



11. ATOSSA NYMPH, Euriphene atossa on black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata)



12. PARADISE BIRDWING, Ornithoptera paridisea
This is the one I bought solo, so I do not have the card indicating what the flower is. I have tried online searches but I cannot find a checklist. This is also the other non-unique species. There is a figure in the K&M Butterflies Nature Tube I have identified as O. paridisea based on wing shape (although the color is more like O. priamus).



13
Other/Miscellaneous / Insects (K&M International - Itsy Bitsies)
« on: December 11, 2017, 12:38:24 AM »
Review of the complete set of Insects by K&M International's Itsy Bitsies series (2009). Recent discussions on the COG Itsy Bitsy bucket of Reptiles got me researching to see if they had a bucket of insects. Nothing by COG, but I did come across this set by K&M International (did K&M take over and re-release COG sets, or is this something entirely different with a similar name?)

It was available on Amazon cheap enough, so I decided to invest in it. Honestly, I was expecting the usual Toy Major-style fare of generic toy bugs. And while many of these are generic, they represent sculpts I have not seen before (and I collect most every variation of generic toy bugs), and they are made of a relatively sturdy, quality plastic.

There are 17 critters, plus a small plant and a plastic rock, all packed within a bucket measuring 9 cm high and 8 cm in diameter. The insects are about 30-45 mm each. A few of them appear to be miniature versions of insects from their Polyvinyl bag set.

The bucket:



Beetles. Now there are some interesting things here. There is a longhorned beetle (might be able to get a genus on it), and a carabid that most-certainly represents Carabus, even painted more like on than the Polyvinyl bag set (the European C. intricatus comes to mind early). There is also a short-winged beetle that may represent the same Polybag figure that, when repainted, looks a lot like a nicrophorine carrion beetle. There also appears to be a possible Cicindela (sens. lato). The lady bug is generic fare.



Orthopteroids. Pretty generic fare of a mantis, grasshopper, and cricket.



Odonota and Hemiptera. The dragonfly is generic, well all three are, but I really like the stink bug and little cicada!



Hymenoptera and Diptera. Usual fare here too, with winged and wingless ants (rather like the latter), bee, and fly.



Arachnids. Generic scorpion and spider; at least the scorpion has a raised tail and for a small generic figure, accurately has 8 legs (many generic bin scorpions are made with 6 legs).



Lepidoptera. Here is the one butterfly, a swallowtail with its wings raised, along with the plant and rock. I might permanently attach the butterfly to the plant (and maybe the lady bug or ant to the rock) to make permanent mini-bases :)


14
New for 2018 / Mojo Fun - New for 2018
« on: December 03, 2017, 06:44:23 PM »
No one has started a Mojo thread, so I guess I will. I admit, I am snagging these from STS Forum. If anyone from Mojo objects to them being here, I will delete the images promptly.

In no particular order:

black bear, cub



rabbit, standing



domestic turkey



Jack Russell terrier



rabbit, laying



great-horned owl



Labrador, adult



Labrador, puppy



otter



chameleon



cobra [looks like a king cobra]



Friesian, gelding



manta ray



spotted eagle ray



chimpanzee



humphead wrasse



Shibba Enu



thoroughbred horse



Dutch warmblood



mustangs (two color forms)



elephant seal



walrus


15
Review of the complete set of the Sanitary Insect Pest Exhibition by Kaiyodo (2015). This is an arthropod-centric set focusing on insects of public health importance, whether by parasitism, envenomation, or household pests. There are five figures, and all of them are unique to uncommonly made (at least at the species level; and since this is a Kaiyodo set, the figures are marketed at the species level with Latin names). I had originally done walkarounds on the ATF for the cockroach and pubic louse, but they were lost during the Photobucket purge and not replaced.

The figures are typical gashapon-sized. All come as a single piece except for the cockroach. All are free-standing except for the flea which comes with a detachable base.

As a professional parasitologist and entomologist, this set has a special place with me, much like the Fleas, Lice, and Ticks set by Play Visions.

On to the figures, in numerical order based on the paperwork:

1. Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarina.
This is the only species that has been semi-routinely made, and this figure is almost identical to the original Kaiyodo Choco Q figure (the front legs are held at a slightly different angle). Other figures are by Yujin, Rement, and Takara Tomy A.R.T.S.; Shineg made a larva.



2. Smoky-brown cockroach, Periplaneta fulginosa.
This figure was unique at the species level when first released, but Kaiyodo has since released a nymph a year later as part of the Sticky Tack Insect set.



3. Pubic louse, Pthirus pubis.
This is one of the boldest species ever made in figure form, and the only other one I am aware of is in the aforementioned Play Visions set (which remains to this date one of my last Holy Grail figures to acquire...).



4. Blow fly, Lucilia caesar.
This species is included in this set as its larvae can cause facultative myiasis. This figure is unique at the species level, however another species in the genus was made by Skillcraft.



5. Human flea, Pulex irritans.
This figure is unique at the genus and species level. Other flea figures are marketed as, or clearly attributable to, the genus Ctenocephalides (cat and dog fleas). The base allows this laterally-flattened figure to be displayed well!


16
Other/Miscellaneous / Floral Egg Crab (Epoch - Poisonous Creatures)
« on: December 03, 2017, 12:10:42 AM »
Walkaround of the floral egg crab, Atergatis floridus (Linnaeus, 1767) by Epoch, Poisonous Creatures (unknown date). I think the official name of the set may have been 'The Poison'. My translating software isn't being consistent. Atergatis floridus is distributed from southeast Asia to Australia to Hawaii, where it lives on coral and rocky shores. The species epithet floridus refers to the floral pattern on its carapace; it does not occur in Florida nor the southeastern United States (at least natively). If you wonder why a crab was included in a set of poisonous creatures (there were two actually, including a coconut crab), it is because this species can be very poisonous when eaten!

This figure has been a Holy Grail figure of mine. All three arthropods in the set, but this one in particular because it is a 'unique' species! The other arthropods were the aforementioned coconot crab and an emperor scorpion. There was also three kinds of poison dart frogs, a Gila monster, and a cow fish. The 'secret' was a cooked coconut crab on a platter.

The figure, unlike the other two arthropods in the set, is solid-piece of PVC. The carapace is 30 mm across, making it 1:3 for an average-sized specimen. It comes with a half-eaten fish prey (that does not attach to it). Unlike other figures in the set, it does not come with a base. Bases for Epoch figures usually do not have a means of secure attachment.

On to the pics:












17
Other/Miscellaneous / Encyclopedia of Insects Vol. 3 (F-toys)
« on: December 02, 2017, 10:50:25 PM »
Review of the set of Encyclopedia of Insects Vol. 3 by F-toys (2007). This is a set I was aware of online, seeing other collectors' posted collections. I did not think I would ever see it again. Beetle Guy alerted me to it on the Japanese Yahoo! auctions, and I was able to secure it with the help of Brett and Emiko! There are six basic figures, plus a 'secret' that is a color variant of the Lamprima adolphinae. Also, there was an opportunity to mail in the packaging and get three color variants of the female of L. adolphinae. Unfortunately, if my translation software is working correctly, that opportunity expired in 2009  >:(. I am curious what species were in the first two volumes...

None of my other F-toys beetle sets date back to 2007. They are really nice. They seem quite delicate (a leg actually broke off in transit, and they were secure within their original packaging!) and there is not the usual mobility of appendages as seen with F-toys current figures. The size variation within the set lead me to believe, and Beetle Guy confirmed, are all 1:1. Also, unlike current F-toys figures, they come with a collector's card with information on the critter. Measurements on the collector's cards confirmed they are all 1:1 as well.

Two of the species are relatively commonly made, the others are not, although none are unique. One or two might have been unique at the time of its original release. There is also more geographic variation seen here than more recent F-toys sets.

On to the figures, in numerical order on the packaging and cards:

1. Lamprima adolphinae.
Not including the color variant and three female options here, I have two other figures of this species. One by DeAgostini (World of Insects Data Book) and Sega (small series, standard).



2. Phalacrognathus muelleri.
This is another that is not commonly made. DeAgostini made a male and a female (secret) for the World of Insects Data Book collection. Other figures are by Cadbury (Yowies - Australian release), XX, and Colorata (Tropical Rain Forest Stag Beetles). If Sega made one, I do not have it yet.



3. Mesotopus tarandus
This is one of the more commonly-made species. I have 10 other figures by 3 manufacturers (OK, 7 of those are Sega variants!).



4. Cyclommatus metallifer
I have nine figures of this genus total, but they represent five species. I only have two others of this particular one, by DeAgostini (World of Insects Data Book) and 4D Master.



5. Allotopus rosenbergi.
This is the other commonly-made species. I have 12 other figures by six manufacturers (and seven are Sega variants).



6. Chrysochroa fulgidissima.
A buprestid is a welcome addition by a company that predominately makes scarabaeoids. I have two other figures of this species, by Yujin (Insects of Japan) and a small, boxed figure by an unknown Japanese manufacturer. There are also two additional species in figure form.



7. SECRET: Lamprima adolphinae (blue variant)
This is merely a color variant of number 1, above (although the head does angle in a different direction).



The complete set, showing size variations (and before I fixed the M. tarandus leg):


18
Colorata / Coconut Crab (Colorata - Yanbaru Creatures)
« on: December 02, 2017, 10:19:27 PM »
Walk-around of the coconut crab, Birgus latro (Linnaeus, 1767) by Colorata, Yanbaru Creatures, No. 8, new for 2017. The coconut crab is the largest terrestrial hermit crab (but only their young utilize an abandoned mollusk shell for protection). It occurs on many islands throughout the Indian and South Pacific Oceans, including Japan, hence it's inclusion in a set of animals from Yanbaru, a forested region of Okinawa Island.

Colorata figures are hard to get individually. I had to buy the whole set. Luckily I found a buyer on STS forum to take the remainders. I sold him the six non-arthropods for half the cost of the set. Still, I saved money this way rather than if I had I bought them individually (and who knows when that opportunity would have come along). I let him have the collector's box but since I paid the fees, I took the booklet :).

The figure is a single-piece of plastic. Based on the carapace width (20 mm), the figure is roughly 1:10 in size. It comes with a nicely-detailed habitat-style base. Small holes on the underside of the crab and the upper side of the base allow it to be snugly, yet not permanently, attached to is base. The rod is clear and can be cut to the desired length.

Coconut crabs are surprisingly rare as toys. This is only my fourth, the others being by Epoch (Poisonous Creatures - yes, despite that this crab is a delicacy, it can be poisonous to eat depending on its diet), Yujin (Shrimps and Crabs Collection), and Kaiyodo (Okinawa Figure Collection).

On to the pics:











Finally, its page from the accompanying booklet:


19
Other/Miscellaneous / boxed insect figures (unknown manufacturer)
« on: November 23, 2017, 02:07:02 PM »
This is the review of a set (complete?) of small, stylized boxed insects from an unknown Japanese manufacturer. I bought them from Beetle Guy, who got them in a large mixed lot. I have no idea who made them, what year they were released, or if the set is complete or not. I do know that among these 10 simple figures, I added six new species and three new genera to my synthetic insect collection ;-).

As I said the figures are stylized, but not to the point I could not made a decent attempt to identify them. Eventually and entomology colleague originally from Korea helped with the names on the back and confirmed or corrected my initial hunches (I had all the genera correct, just 1-2 species were off).

The figures sit in a nest of cotton and are contained within a small box that measures 50 mm x 35 mm x 17 mm. The box is a hard plastic, but the clear top is soft and taped on (so it does not have a hard clear cover). The boxes all interlock so it can form one unit (see the first pic below). On the back (in Japanese) is the scientific name, order, family, and a little biological information. The figures can be removed from the boxes (but I will display them boxed up).

I know this set is not for everyone, but it’s a great chance to get some very interesting species.

This first pic shows the interlocked set (note the numbers were for another post and do not correspond to the individual images below). The Japanese text on the right is a mirror image of the figures on the left so if you want to match figure with text, you must mentally flip the image horizontally :).



And on to individual figures:

1. Deraeocoris ater
This is a unique species for me, at both the genus and species levels. Terrestrial Heteroptera are not common, so I am always excited to get one. This is the figure that inspired me to contact my Korean colleague, since he is an expert on Miridae.



2. Nezara antennata (green stink bug)
I originally had this identified as the more familiar, N. viridula but apparently it is intended to be N. antennata. Another unique figure at both the genus and species levels, and another terrestrial heteropteran.



3. Anoplophora chinenses (Asian citrus longhorned beetle)
This figure is marketed as A. malasiaca, which is generally considered a synonym of A. chinensis, and I will consider here as well unless otherwise convinced. This species was also made by Rement and Hayakwa Toys.



4. Allomyrina dichotoma (Japanese rhinoceros beetle)
No set of Asian insects would be complete without this species. This little gem marks my 45th figure of this species! It has been made by over a dozen manufacturers!



5. Parasteatoda tepidariorum (common house spider)
This was a pleasant surprise, a spider marketed to the species level (and a unique figure for me at both the genus and species levels). This spider is in the same family of the widows (Theridiidae) and marks my first member of the family not in the genus Latrodectus.



6. Carabus insulicola (left) and C. gehinii (right).
Two unique species of Asian carabines is a nice treat! The only other species in this genus I am aware of is C. auratus which was made by Bullyland and Kaiyodo. K&M International had a Carabus species in their European Garden Tube.



7. Chrysochroa fulgidissima (left) and C. buqueti rugicollis (right).
Two jewel beetles. The former has been made by Yujin and F-toys (the latter of which should be coming to me soon from Brett). The second species is unique. A third species, C. limbata was made by DeAgostini.



8. Coccinella septempunctata (seven-spotted ladybug)
Another commonly-made species, but a welcome addition to this set.



20
Other/Miscellaneous / The Greatest Beetle Legend (Maruka)
« on: November 23, 2017, 04:53:27 AM »
Review of the complete set of The Greatest Beetle Legend by Maruka. I was completely unfamiliar with this brand when I stumbled upon this set on the Japanese Yahoo! auctions. At a glance in the packaging, the figures appeared to be knock-offs of small Sega or Kabaya figures, but in fact they all appear to be original sculpts (well, original compared to anything else I have). They all have a round, flat surface on the bottom which suggests they may have been copied from something with magnets? If they are copies or knock-offs, I am not sure of what.

There are eight figures, each representing major males of large flashy scarabaeoid beetles (as the name of the set suggests). None of these species are uncommonly made, and they represent fairly standard fare. The Lucanus cervus is uncommon among Japanese manufacturers, so that was a pleasant surprise (even though it is commonly made outside of Japan). The figures are the same size as small Sega beetles or most gashapon-style figures. They solid-piece PVC and have detailed texture. Some are more accurate than others...

The figures came in a blister pack. On the back, the figures are identified to the species level., along with their Japanese names and some other stats in Japanese.

I am going to forgo my usual breakdown of each species, and all the companies that made each of these species, since all of these species are commonly made in toy/figure form and have been previously covered in other reviews of mine. So, on to the pics (in numerical order on the packaging):

001. Dynastes hercules.



002. Lucanus cervus.



003. Chalcosoma moellenkampi.



004. Prosopocoilus giraffa keisukei.



005. Prosopocoilus inclinatus.



006. Allomyrina dichotoma. [marketed as Trypoxylus dichotomus]



007. Chalcosoma caucasus.



008. Megasoma elephus.


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