Animal toy reviews and walk-arounds

Author Topic: Japanese Spined Loach (Yujin - Freshwater Fishes Series 2, second release)  (Read 2334 times)

sbell

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This walk around is part of my series of the Yujin Freshwater Fish series. Part of this will be repeating this same introductory and concluding info because copy-and-paste is easy, and it keeps things consistent.  So feel free to only read this once (or never…) as well as the stuff at the end. My main motivation is that Yujin does not have many walk arounds on this site, which is a shame because they make some great models. It is also an attempt to flood (!) the site with some fishes, because there simply have not been enough lately. ;)

One other thing--when I give the lengths of the living species, I will be using the length given on the figure’s paper for consistency. Some of them seemed off, but they seem close—often better than my original usage of the Fishbase TL (unless the FB one is more interesting…). When there are more than one, I will use the higher values. And the scales will be rounded and approximate!

So now, the fish!

This figure is the Japanese Spined Loach (Shimadojou in Japan), Cobitis biwae , number 22 from the second series. This is a small, long-bodied loach endemic to Japan, there are numerous potential subspecies but no distinction was made with the model. They prefer river environments, living primarily along the gravel bottoms. They are predators in the substrate, looking for worms and other invertebrates. The Japanese Spined Loach is exported for keeping in aquaria, and apparently they are also eaten in some places. I remember having ‘dojo loaches’ and the name may come from this (although the species was likely related but different). The Yujin model gives a length of 14cm, other sources differed but were close.

This model is about 5.5cm long, making the figure roughly 1:3 scale. The sculpting of the fish is excellent, capturing even the barbels around the mouth and subtle variations in the mass of the body (the dorsal muscle of the body is wider than the ventral and lateral surfaces) giving the fish a life-like shape. The fins are well defined, with each fin ray clearly present in the yellowish, translucent fins. The colouring of the figure, in my opinion, tends to be less impressive.  The fish has a pale cream base colour, with three series of dark blotches, one along each side and one down the dorsal margin. Between these rows of blotches is a number of irregular dots, dashes and squiggles. Some of the anterior squiggles are highlighted in black. One the base of the caudal fin is a single, darker blotch. In the real fish, these blotches and squiggles exist but are less defined than the solid colouring in the figure, giving it a more cartoonish appearance (when it comes to loaches, they are generally cartoonish enough!). The base is the brown small gravel, with a plastic plant. There are definitely other models of this fish made, of course by Japanese companies—I own both a Kaiyodo Animatales and Colorata model (both of which are labelled as C. biwae and so are not related species, and there are likely others.

Pictures:







I refer to this one as the bowhunting tournament pose--a hole in it, tossed on its back...but it's easy to see the detail that Yujin puts into every side of the models (and can often see the numbers in the photos).


For those not familiar, the Yujin Freshwater fishes were released as two series of fish, for a total of 32 fish figures. This number includes at least 3 secret figures (whose numbers remain in sequence--all figures are marked somewhere with the number) but does not incorporate a number of re-issues and repaints; there was at least one complete reissue (from which mine all come so far). The original releases, from what I can find, had yellow papers; the second release used light blue for the Series I and black for Series II. The entire set, with all variants and secrets, is actually available as a boxed set on YAJ (for around $300!), but individual figures can be found there or even on eBay for a variety of prices (the secrets & specials are of course the most expensive). Myself, there are still two or three species I don't have, but I haven't put a lot of effort into changing that...

Another nice thing about these Yujin fish model is that, like most Yujin releases, almost all of them come with a natural base and acrylic stem to display them (the Series II has a few exceptions). There are 4 or 5 bases used, plus a few unique ones for some specials. When I received mine several years ago, the fish+acrylic stems were not directly associated with the bases, so I just went with whatever worked (so if you have one or two, and the base is different, now you know why--I couldn't find a way to be sure if the bases were specific). All of the bases are based on environment--wood stems, gravel, river rocks, silt+plants, that sort of thing. Most are monochromatic, but a few are painted differently (again, often for the specials). In fact, if I wanted to get really pedantic, the bases themselves are labelled with letters based on the style, but I won't.




sbell

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Side by side comparison Release 1 and Release 2 Japanese Spined Loach
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2016, 03:29:00 AM »
This is a photo set to compare the figures from the First & Second release of the Series II Japanese Spined Loach Cobitis biwae, number 22 in the series.

As will be seen in any of these 1 & 2 comparisons, the Release 1 figures tend to have a simpler paint job, with far less nuance to them. In many instances the patterns and details are simplified, in particular markings and the face region. The fins are also often left with less colour or pattern.

In the Spined Loach, the most obvious difference is the fewer number of dark blotches on the Release 1—to the point where there are none along the dorsum of the figure at all, while the R2 has a row of distinct brown patches along the back. The face of the R1 figure also has simpler markings, mainly simple brown dots, whereas the R2 has a variety of squiggles and dots.  And the R1 ventral fins are all marked, while the R2 fins are left unmarked. Finally, the R1 has a more distinctly defined dill by the operculum.

Comparisons (R2 on the left, R1 on the right):





And because Kevin hasn’t been out for a swim for a while.


Newt

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Thanks for this review! That's a very nice little figure. I like to see these "ordinary" species represented; the world has enough lion and elephant figures. Plus, I have a warm place in my heart for cypriniforms of all sorts. You mentioned YAJ; is that the best place to order Yujin figures?


I'm guessing biwae refers to Biwa, Japan's largest lake. I visited Biwa on my sole trip to Japan, reaching it near sunset after a long walk among rice paddies teaming with Hyla japonica metamorphs. Unfortunately I saw no loaches, or fish of any sort, at the lake.

sbell

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Thanks for this review! That's a very nice little figure. I like to see these "ordinary" species represented; the world has enough lion and elephant figures. Plus, I have a warm place in my heart for cypriniforms of all sorts. You mentioned YAJ; is that the best place to order Yujin figures?


I'm guessing biwae refers to Biwa, Japan's largest lake. I visited Biwa on my sole trip to Japan, reaching it near sunset after a long walk among rice paddies teaming with Hyla japonica metamorphs. Unfortunately I saw no loaches, or fish of any sort, at the lake.

That is one of my favorite parts of the series--it isn't all 'famous, sport, or food fish. Well, most of them are, but it does also bring in the minnows, the stickleback, the smaller salmonids, etc. We need more of those overall--good for education and collections. The loach is a good example--it was one of my first Yujin fish (after the snakehead).

I would say YAJ is definitely the best spot for Yujin, in all series. Talk to Brett.

I do know that, if I hadn't already gotten a bunch many years ago, followed by a few last figures, it's a good way to get a complete set of the fishes. And if someone is willing, it's even possible to get a full set including all of the variants (including albino eels, hybrids patterns, multiple fancy koi varieties, etc). Expensive all at once--but complete!
« Last Edit: March 01, 2016, 06:18:58 PM by sbell »