Animal toy reviews and walk-arounds

Recent reviews and walk-arounds

March 18, 2018, 01:10:35 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 144 | 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: 298 | 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: 305 | 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: 161 | 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: 130 | 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: 135 | 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):

February 14, 2018, 01:19:05 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 141 | Comments: 0

Walk-around of the rhinoceros beetle, gen. sp. by Bullyland. There are two color forms, the brown one was released in 1994 and the green one in 1995. They are not marketed at the species level (or if they were, I do not have the accompanying paperwork to confirm). One would suspect they represent Oryctes nasicornis (Linnaeus, 1758), given that is 'the' European rhino beetle, but the deeply-grooved elytra are not consistent with that species. Honestly, it looks more like a coprine dung beetle than a dynastine!

The two color forms are the same sculpt; they measure 6.5 cm (not including horn nor appendages), which would make it 1.5:1 if were intended to be O. nasicornis. Despite the abiguity of their identifications, I really like these figures.

Just like with the previously-reviewed house fly, this figure has a 'dollar-store knock-off' (see last image).

On to the pics:

With it's dollar-store counterpart (far right):

February 13, 2018, 12:22:10 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 227 | Comments: 2

Review of a (complete?) set of Magnamorphs by K&M International, released in 2005. I was completely unaware of these models until froggie (Beatrice) offered to sell me hers. They seemed unusual and almost outside of my range of things I collect but I thought I would give them a try. As usual, turns out I like them more than I thought I would :-).

I was never familiar with the 'magnamorph' concept, but it looks like they have other animals as well. They are 'puzzle' figures consisting of 5-7 or so pieces held together with strong magnets. Most of them hold together pretty well, and the magnetic connection allows for manipulation of the appendages.

The figures are larger, maybe comparable to Safari Incredible Creatures or larger Bullyland insects. They are stylized but five of the six insects are recognizable at the species level, and the sixth probably to the genus level. The biggest glaring scientific errors are the 6 legs on the two nymphalid butterflies ;-)

These figures (insects or other animals) are probably best for completists among various taxa or are good learning models for children.

1. monarch, Danaus plexippus.

2. praying mantis, Mantis religiosa

3. morpho, Morpho menelaus [the underside of the wings confirms genus Morpho!]

4. Mexican red-kneed tarantula, Brachypelma smithi

5. honey bee, Apis mellifera

6. bumble bee, Bombus sp.

February 12, 2018, 11:52:55 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 131 | Comments: 0

Walk-around of the house fly, Musca domestica Linnaeus, 1758 by Bullyland, originally released in 1994. I believe there were two color forms released. When I reviewed the house fly in the Kaiyodo Sticky Tack Insect set, I thought that was the only figure specifically attributable to this species. However, this Bullyland figure (which I only recently obtained, courtesy of Beatrice) came with papers specifically identifying it as M. domestica. One cannot resist a fly figure attributable to the species level :).

The figure is 7.0 cm long (not including legs and wings), making it 10:1 scale. The paint job is relatively conservative. It has nice protruding mouthparts and thick, hard-plastic, clear wings. The wing venation is not accurate for this species (unlike the small Kaiyodo figure which, of course, paid attention to such detail). The name 'housefly' is also stamped into the wings.

On to the pics:

So, years ago (maybe sometime 2001-2004 or so) I purchased three large sets of hard plastic insects at a dollar store in Tempe, Arizona. I was excited to see such variety for so little money. What I did not realize at the time, is that a lot of the larger figures in those sets were rip-offs of Bullyland figures. As I acquired more and more Bullys over the years it became more evident to me. Included are rip-offs of the Bullyland dragonfly, rhinoceros beetle, stag beetle, firefly, lady beetle (elytra closed), grasshopper, and possibly others that currently escape my mind. I still have most of them (unfortunately I misplaced the firefly years ago). Here I show you the fly from that set. Interestingly, it is more detailed than the Bullyland figure. It is a little more elevated, BUT it has the exact same inaccurate wing venation pattern ;-).

February 11, 2018, 02:17:48 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 191 | Comments: 2

Walk-around of a figure I have been after for a long time, and now thanks to froggie (Beatrice) I now have it: the firefly, Lampyris noctiluca (Linnaeus, 1767) by Bullyland, originally released in 1994. The figure is not marketed at the species level, but given Bullyland is a German company, this probably represents a German species, with L. noctiluca being the best option. This species is the 'common glowworm' of Europe. It has marked sexual dimorphism; males are typically beetle-like with functioning flying wings and fully-developed elytra, but the females are larviform (see last image).

The figure is 7.5 cm (not including appendages, and my figure has broken antennae!), making it roughly 5:1 for an adult male. Because with this species males are only weakly bio-luminescent, the figure does not have well-defined light organs. The eyes are also nicely proportionatly large, as they would be in a species that needs to see well at night! The only perplexing thing is that the elytra are clear. Many of the flying insects that Bullyland put out about the same time as this figure have clear wings, but this being a beetle it should have at least opaque elytra.

On to the pics:

Here is the Bullyland male with a female custom made for me by Jetoar in 2016:

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