Animal toy reviews and walk-arounds

Recent reviews and walk-arounds


bmathison1972
August 19, 2017, 02:12:36 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 54 | Comments: 2

Review of the complete set of Creatures of the Waterside by F-toys. Release date unknown. When I first discovered and started collecting the Japanese gashapon-style figures, this was one of the first sets I obtained, and it remains one of my favorites!

There are 6 figures (I also show one variant, below), all representing freshwater species native to Japan (or at least southeast Asia). Four species are rather commonly made among the Japanese companies, but two species are unique and together are the only members of their family (Nepidae, waterscorpions). Three of the figures are elevated on bases (the bases for all three are the same), the other three are independent figures. All figures are single-piece (or at least came fully assembled). They are typical gashapon-sized, comparable to early Kaiyodo, Furuta, others.

The figures, like many Japanese models, come with a card with a photograph of the species and biological information (in Japanese, of course).

This classic set continues to be one of the best of this kind, and comes highly-recommended, and not just to us entomophilic types :-).

On to the figures, based on their number designations in the set:

1. Japanese giant water bug, Lethocerus deyrollei.
This species has been commonly made; I have other figures by Bandai, Yujin, and three versions by Kaiyodo (Choco Q, Capsule Q, and Shinagawa Aquarium). This figure does not come with a base.



2. Korean waterscorpion, Laccotrephes japonensis.
This is a unique figure, and with the other nepid below (#4) are the only members of their families made. This figure comes elevated on a base (but like others are removeable from the base).



3. Giant Japanese diving beetle, Cybister japonicus.
Another popular species, made by Yujin and twice by Kaiyodo (Choco Q and Kyoto Aquarium). This figure comes with a base like the two waterscorpions.



4. Waterscorpion, Ranatra chinensis.
Like #2 above, another unique figure and another waterscorpion in the family Nepidae. It also comes with a base.



5. Japanese crayfish, Cambaroides japonicus.
This species is commonly made, and often in both brown and blue forms. I have four original sculpts, including this figure, one by Yujin, and two by Kaiyodo (Capsule Q and Natural Monuments of Japan). All but the Yujin figure come in brown and blue forms (and Yujin may have had another version I am unfamiliar with?).



5-variant. Japanese crayfish, Cambaroides japonicus.
The blue form of #5, above.



6. Freshwater crab, Geothelphusa dehanni.
This is another commonly-made species, and like C. japonicus often comes in multiple color forms per sculpt. I have additional figures by Kitan Club (2 sculpts), Kaiyodo (2 sculpts), and Epoch. I do not have all versions of all the sculpts (in fact the only sculpt I have more than one color form of is the Kaiyodo Choco Q figure), but among these sculpts there are at least 17 versions (maybe more?)! The Kitan Club 'strap' set comes in eight color forms (not even sure if this species naturally comes in eight different colors); the Kaiyodo Choco Q and Birdtales sets come in three and two colors, respectively; and Epoch comes in at least two colors. Only this F-toys figure and the Kitan Club Nature of Japan figures come in just one color (to my knowledge...).



Here’s the whole family in one of my mini-dioramas.

bmathison1972
August 14, 2017, 10:36:16 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 75 | Comments: 0

Continuing the butterflies sets with one more (and last for now), Butterflies on Strings (provisional name) by Bullyland. Release date unknown, but probably in the 1990s.

This set consists of eight figures. They are comparable in size with Safari LTD and K&M tube-style figures and are made with a thicker, heavier PVC. The figures were originally sold suspended on strings (as if to be displayed hanging), with the strings attached to the upper thorax by means of a small screw. I have removed the screw and strings, but it leaves a rather obvious hole in the top of the thorax. The figures do not have extended legs, but they are sculpted as ridges on the underside of the body.

Being traditional Bullyland, a German company, all the figures (except one) represent species native to Europe, a refreshing change! It is fun sometimes when sets are geographically specialized.

On to the figures, in no particular order:

1. Old World swallowtail, Papilio machaon.
This species is not commonly made, and outside of a couple feves or refrigerator magnets, the only other figures I am aware of are larvae by Kaiyodo and Shineg.



2. the red admiral, Vanessa atalanta.
Made a few times previously, most-notably by Skillcraft and Toy Major.



3. the common morpho, Morpho peleides.
This is the only non-European/Holarctic species in the set. It has been previously made by Furuta and four times by Safari LTD.



4. the common brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni.
While probably unique as a toy figure, I do have one as a French feve.



5. the Eros blue, Polyommatus eros.
This one is a unique figure, although two other members of the genus have been made.



6. the painted lady, Vanessa cardui.
Insect Lore did a nice life cycle of this species as well. The paint job could be better on this one.



7. small tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae.
CollectA did a nice adult of this species, and Beam made a larva [tentative ID by me].



8. the European peacock, Aglais io.
Made twice by K&M International (Butterflies Mini Polybag and Butterflies Nature Tube); I also have this species as three different French feves.



bmathison1972
August 14, 2017, 10:00:30 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 61 | Comments: 0

Since I have been recapturing images lost during the Photoshop Purge of the late (?) Holocene, I have decided to take images for a new review. I have done several butterfly-centric sets (Toy Major, K&M Butterflies Nature Tube, Koro Koro, two by the Franklin Mint, and the Authentics and Collectors Case by Safari LTD, plus a caterpillar set by Shineg). Here we have another by Safari, the Butterflies TOOB. I do not remember the release data, I am thinking 2012 or thereabouts. It is good to do these reviews, since these butterflies are often copied after one another, in paint if not sculpt, so it helps to keep track of what is what (it helps me so these online reviews also serve as my personal references :) ).

This TOOB contains eight figures, four different sculpts with two examples of each painted differently. All eight figures are marketed at the species level, and even have the Latin or common names printed on the underside! The quality is similar to that of the Collectors Case or K&M sets, but the plastic is a bit firmer. They are typical TOOB size, with wingspans of roughly 55-60 mm. Also, all figures, even the nymphalids, have 6 legs...just saying...

At the time of this writing, four of the figures are unique, others have been previously made (including a couple regularly by Safari!).

On to the figures (in no particular order):

1. the jazzy leafwing, Hypna clytemnestrata (marketed as Anaea clytemnestrata).
This is one of the unique figures in the set!



2. the green swallowtail, Papilio blumei.
This is a favorite of Safari LTD, being made for their Collectors Case, Authentics set, and Hidden Kingdom Insects.



3. the regal hairstreak, Evenus regalis.
This is an interesting choice. There are several figures out there attributable to E. coronata, based on the Club Earth figure that started the trend. But this, as presently delineated, is a unique figure.



4. the Menelaus blue morpho, Morpho menelaus.
This figure is only stamped 'Morpho' but was marketed as M. menelaus. Their Hidden Kingdom and Smithsonian morphos can also be attributed to this species, although the Authentics, Collectors Case, Good Luck Mini, and Insect TOOB figures are the common morpho, M. peleides.



5. Garlepp's swallowtail, Papilio garleppi.
Another unique figure!



6. the white-angled sulfur, Anteos clorinde.
Another unique figure. I do love the pierids!



7. the red glider, Cymothoe sangris.
This species was made also by Toy Major. Safari's figure has a better shape, but Toy Major's paint job is better. Still nice representatives of an African genus of butterflies!



8. the orange-barred sulfur, Phoebis philea.
This is another that is no stranger to Safari LTD, being made for their Hidden Kingdom, Authentics set, and Collectors Case. I also have a couple from unknown manufacturers and Beam did a larva.

OkapiBoy
August 03, 2017, 05:46:21 PM by OkapiBoy
Views: 189 | Comments: 1

My prayers has been answered, thank you CollectA for producing this beautiful figure! I have been praying for a Bongo figure forever, and finally!
It's an impressive figure! It is larger than the Kaiyodo stury room figure.

Impressive figure of one of the most majestic antelope and also my favorite.

Now, CollectA should do some prehistoric ungulates :)
OkapiBoy
August 03, 2017, 05:41:53 PM by OkapiBoy
Views: 83 | Comments: 0

Another first ( I think), the highly odd looking and endangered Saiga antelope finally has a figure!
And it's a beautiful figure! I'm so happy that CollectA chose this one, it truly deserves a figure.


With the Chiru, another high plains and highly endangered antelope. CollectA really has the best collection and species diversity of anteopes! I hope they keep on making them!
bmathison1972
August 02, 2017, 10:02:23 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 101 | Comments: 0

Review of the complete set of Larvae Moei by Shineg. First a little background. I had three figures from this set, bought randomly on YAJ courtesy of Brett. When a couple others showed up, we decided to see if his contact could hunt down the entire set, plus translate the paperwork to get the name of the company and the identity of a couple of the species (no English or Latin names anywhere on accompanying paperwork). Much to my pleasant surprise, Emiko found two versions of the set: one with straps and one with magnets. I went with the strap set since they straps can be easily removed by unscrewing, leaving a small unobtrusive hole.

There are seven figures in a set, representing five species. They are solid piece of PVC, roughly 30-40 mm long. They are more stylized than most Japanese figures, but still real enough to be good and not appear cartoony or anime-like.

Most species have been made with relative infrequency, at least as larvae, so it's a welcome set.

1. Old World swallowtail, Papilio machaon.
Out side of specialty figures, such as feves or magnets, this species has not been commonly made. Bullyland produced and adult and Kaiyodo a larva for one of their Capsule Q Museum caterpillar sets. Shineg gives us two raised larvae, one with and one without an osmeterium (defensive gland-like structures).



2. Asian swallowtail, Papilio xuthus.
Unlike P. machaon above, this species is more commonly made in toy/figure form. It has been made by Bandai (twice), Kabaya, Rement, and Kaiyodo (twice). The two Kaiyodo figures are larvae, one for the Capsule Q Museum set and the large nice one for the Sofubi Toy Box series.



3. The chestnut tiger, Parantica sita.
This is only the second figure of this species I am aware of, the other also being a larva by Kaiyodo (Capsule Q Museum). Time for someone to make an adult!



4. commercial silkworm moth, Bombyx morii.
Two figures of this species, a larva and a pupa (sans cocoon). Kaiyodo has also recently done an adult and larva, and with these four figures forms a nice 'life cycle' set. Interestingly, before any of these were made, Insect Lore did a complete silkworm life cycle!



5. Asian hornet, Vespa mandarina.
This was the biggest surprise (and had not been for Emiko's translation I would have had it misidentified as a silkworm pre-pupa!). The figure represents and early instar and must be the first figure of a wasp larva.  The ant and bee life cycles out there have larvae but otherwise hymenopteran larvae are ignored!

bmathison1972
July 28, 2017, 02:57:50 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 107 | Comments: 0

Walk-around of the Arizona hairy scorpion, Hadrurus arizonensis Ewing, 1928 as part of the Rampaging Scorpion Diorama by AMT/Ertl in their Gigantics series, originally released in 1996. Aluminum Metal Toys (AMT) was a Michigan-based toy company that specialized in model cars, trucks, and such (and I believe most were plastic, despite the word ‘aluminum’ in their name). In 1978, AMT was purchased by British Lesney (the makers of Matchbox) and then in 1983 by Ertl and renamed AMT/Ertl. It was during that period this figure was made. In 2007, AMT was sold and its models reissued by independent companies until it was taken over by Round 2 LLC in Indiana. Most of the models throughout the years have been automobiles, with some Star Trek and other sci-fi products. There were at least four of these ‘monster’ arthropods released as part of a line called ‘Gigantics’. I recently acquired the mantis, the scorpion, and tarantula, and there is also a wasp I still need to get. I have already reviewed the mantis and tarantula here on the ATF.

Unlike the mantis and tarantula, this model was not marketed after an exact species. The paint scheme they recommend is for ‘common North American scorpions,’ but they also refer the user to the box lid for ‘a more exotic breed’. I have decided to paint mine after H. arizonensis because the morphology (especially with regards to the sternum) best fits members of the family Iuridae (although the tail looks like that of a buthid…). To my knowledge there are no figures specifically marketed as H. arizonensis, although this genus was most-certainly the inspiration for the Hidden Kingdom and Desert TOOB figures by Safari LTD.

As the name of the set and series suggests, these Gigantics figures were intended to appear as giant ‘movie-monster’ type creatures, displayed destroying a city or neighborhood. I, of course, am only interested in the animal itself and will not be assembling or painting its accessories. If you are curious, the people, cars, and much of the building are also gray plastic, but the ground and backdrop are painted cardboard.

Unlike the mantis and tarantula, the scorpion comes in only 19 pieces, but is still the same a pale gray base color. Glue is required to hold most of the pieces together, and like the tarantula comes with an assembly stand to help attach the legs. If you look at the morphology of the tail you will notice it appears to be ‘upside down’. The way the figure assembles, it is impossible to correct since the basal two segments of the tail are permanently attached to the main body. At least I was able to attach the stinger in the correct position (contrary to their recommendations…).

Like the first two figures reviewed, I completely assembled this figure prior to painting. I initially painted everything a brown-yellow (I don’t like the yellow paint I have been using—it’s awfully thick and applies kinds of paste-like…). I painted the medial and lateral eyes and stinger black. I used a gray Pitt pen to add gray bands to the dorsum. Like all figures I paint, the final product was covered with a satin varnish.

Stretched out, the figure would be roughly 17.5 cm, making it slightly larger than 1:1 for a large specimen (natural length up to about 14 cm).

On to the pics…





















and the final product...

Bimmie_James
July 24, 2017, 04:45:23 PM by Bimmie_James
Views: 116 | Comments: 2

     Primeval was a UK series about anomalies, or portals, opening up and allowing various creatures from the past (or future) to enter into modern London (I think mostly London). Anyway in the second episode of the first season an anomaly opened up from the Cambrian period and several types of arthropods made their home in the underground. The one I have here was the star of the episode in my opinion. It's a fairly generic and quite well done Solpugid. To my knowledge, this is the only Solpugid figure out there. Even though it's not modeled after a specific species, it's still fantastic.




bmathison1972
July 23, 2017, 04:20:44 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 93 | Comments: 1

Walk-around of the tarantula, Aphonopelma steindachneri (Ausserer, 1875) as part of the Huge Tarantula Diorama by AMT/Ertl in their Gigantics series, originally released in 1996. Aluminum Metal Toys (AMT) was a Michigan-based toy company that specialized in model cars, trucks, and such (and I believe most were plastic, despite the word ‘aluminum’ in their name). In 1978, AMT was purchased by British Lesney (the makers of Matchbox) and then in 1983 by Ertl and renamed AMT/Ertl. It was during that period this figure was made. In 2007, AMT was sold and its models reissued by independent companies until it was taken over by Round 2 LLC in Indiana. Most of the models throughout the years have been automobiles, with some Star Trek and other sci-fi products. There were at least three of these ‘monster’ arthropods released as part of a line called ‘Gigantics’. I am not sure how many were made, but I have recently acquired the mantis (previously reviewed on the ATF), the scorpion, and tarantula (reviewed here). A quick Google search suggests there may have been a wasp as well.

Like the mantis, there are some taxonomic issues with the figure. The figure was marketed as ‘Eurypelma californicum’, a name that has been considered nomen dubium for decades. In 2012, it was proposed that most specimens assigned to E. californicum probably represent Aphonopelma hentzi. However, the species was originally described from California, and A. hentzi as currently delineated does not occur in California. In 2016, the genus Aphonopelma was revised, and there is no mention of E. californicum or the 2012 note about its possible connection to A. hentzi. Not being personally familiar with the taxonomic status of species prior to the revision, it’s possible that in 2012 specimens from California were being attributed to A. hentzi. Anyway, to make a long story short (I know, too late), I have decided to paint my figure after A. steindachneri, a large black species from southern California (I figure, if this is going to represent a spider destroying a city in California, might as well be Los Angeles…).

As the name of the set and series suggests, these Gigantics figures were intended to appear as giant ‘movie-monster’ type creatures, displayed destroying a city or neighborhood. I, of course, am only interested in the animal itself and will not be assembling or painting its accessories. If you are curious, the people, cars, and much of the building are also gray plastic, but the ground and backdrop are painted cardboard.

Like the mantis, the tarantula figure comes in 23 pieces and is originally a pale gray. Glue is required to hold most of the pieces together. The legs were two pieces each, halved down the length of the legs. When assembled, the tips do not touch, giving the impression of cleft claws. I am not sure if this is intentional or if they just don’t align perfectly along their lengths. The model came with an assembly stand to help attach the legs.

Also like the mantis, I completely assembled this figure prior to painting. I painted everything except the abdomen black, and then the abdomen a very dark gray. I used that same dark gray to ‘dust’ the legs and chelicerae (might not be clearly visible in pics). I am not going to put any contrasting highlights anywhere, keeping the figure relatively dark and uniform (like some specimens of the assigned species). Like all figures I paint, the final product was covered with a satin varnish.

The body of the figure is 105 mm long, not including appendages or mouthparts, and the carapace is 45 mm long, making it slightly larger than 2:1 for an adult female (we can assume from the lack of leg spurs the figure is a female).

On to the pics…



















and the final product:


postsaurischian
July 20, 2017, 02:35:38 PM by postsaurischian
Views: 200 | Comments: 3









                         











                         



                         

                         

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10