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Topics - bmathison1972

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1
Other/Miscellaneous / Creatures of the Waterside (F-toys)
« on: August 19, 2017, 02:12:36 AM »
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.


2
Bullyland / Butterflies on Strings (Bullyland)
« on: August 14, 2017, 10:36:16 PM »
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.




3
Safari Ltd - Other lines / Butterflies TOOB (Safari LTD)
« on: August 14, 2017, 10:00:30 PM »
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.


4
Other/Miscellaneous / Larvae Moei (Shineg)
« on: August 02, 2017, 10:02:23 PM »
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!


5
Other/Miscellaneous / Scorpion (AMT/Ertl - Gigantics)
« on: July 28, 2017, 02:57:50 AM »
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...


6
Other/Miscellaneous / Tarantula (AMT/Ertl - Gigantics)
« on: July 23, 2017, 04:20:44 PM »
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:



7
Other/Miscellaneous / Chinese mantis (AMT/Ertl - Gigantics)
« on: July 18, 2017, 08:33:36 PM »
Walk-around of the Chinese mantis, Tenodera sinensis (Saussure, 1871) as part of the Colossal Mantis 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 (reviewed here), the scorpion, and tarantula. A quick Google search suggests there may have been a wasp as well.

The brief history of the company out of the way, let’s examine the taxonomic issues with this figure. As you can see in an image below, the mantis was marketed as the praying mantis, Stagmomantis carolina. However, technically the term ‘praying mantis’ refers to Mantis religiosa. To complicate things, if you read further in the text, it says the model was based on the Chinese mantis (which refers to Tenodera sinensis). If we examine the morphology of the figure itself, it is clear it was indeed modeled after T. sinensis based on the form of the facial shield and that the wings extend to and beyond the tip of the abdomen. This is actually to my advantage, as figures by Japanese manufacturers are actually T. aridifolia, and as such this is a new species for me (although I was looking forward to a second Stagmomantis…).

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.

The mantis figure comes in 23 pieces and is originally a pale gray. Glue is required to hold most of the pieces together. The sculpting on the figure is exquisite and morphologically it is probably one of the most detailed figures of this genus!

Unlike the recent Heller figures, I completely assembled this figure prior to painting. The paint scheme was inspired by the images on this BugGuide post (http://bugguide.net/node/view/231853/bgimage). I started with a base gray-brown then painted the brown and white and green on the wings, and used a yellow Pitt pen for the eyes. I then added stippling highlights for other parts of the body. I was nervous to try to add ornamentation to the face so it is left relatively plain (except the eyes for which I am very happy with). Like other figures I paint, the final version is covered with a satin varnish.

The final figure is about 140 mm tall by 165 mm long total (including appendages). Stretched out, the body would be about 170 mm, making it about 1.5:1 in scale.

On to the images:





















And the final product:





I hope to start on the tarantula this coming weekend...

8
Other/Miscellaneous / Fleas, Lice, and Ticks (Play Visions)
« on: July 16, 2017, 02:50:54 AM »
Alrighty...here we go!

Review of the entire set of Fleas, Lice, and Ticks by Play Visions (1996). Many of you know I am a professional parasitologist and one of my specialties are arthropod ectoparasites. So, you can imagine this has been a ‘Holy Grail’ set of mine for a while. While at the time of this writing I only have seven of eight figures, I have been anxious to do a review of this set; the last image (pubic louse) is courtesy of dinocat from the TAI and will function as a placeholder until I can get and image a figure of my own!

This set was one of several taxonomically diverse sets by Play Visions in the mid-late 1990s and one of five sets that contained all arthropods (the others being Exotic Insects, Exotic Beetles, Crabs, and Bees, Wasps, and Hornets; I have reviews of the first three here on the ATF).

The figures are marked with a common name, the traditional ‘PV’ logo, and year (1996). There are some peculiarities on some of the species assignments, so I will address those below. The common name given below is what is stamped on the underside; what’s in parenthesis is Latin name or other designation I am assigning).

On to the figures (in no particular order):

1. scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabiei).
This one is pretty straight-forward and one of only two figures of this species I am aware of, the other being a model by GPI Anatomicals as part of their Canine Skin Parasites set.



2. dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae).
This is a particular figure that borders on cartoony and seem slightly out-of-place with others in the set. Still, it must be the ONLY figure of a dust mite in existence, huh? I chose D. farinae because it is the North American species; you guys in Europe may chose D. pteronyssinus :-).



3. chigger (soft tick, family Argasidae).
This is one of two clearly misidentified figures in this set. The morphology here is clearly modeled after a soft (argasid) tick. Many soft ticks are superficially similar as adults, so assigning a species or even genus here is difficult. It is probably modeled after Ornithodoros or Carios. I am unaware of any other soft tick figures.



4. deer tick (hard tick, family Ixodidae).
This is the other misidentified figure. In English, at least in North America, the term ‘deer’ tick refers to members of the genus Ixodes, which is one of the most medically-important genera of ticks as it transmits agents of Lyme disease and babesiosis. However, there are three dorsal features here that would normally rule-out a member of Ixodes: the presence of eyes, the presence of festoons, and an ornate dorsal shield. I am not sure what species this was modeled after, but for those of you that insist on assigning species-level IDs, the best option from what’s presented here is the Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum. Several genera and species of hard ticks have been made (check out my thread on ‘Arthropod Ectoparasites’ under ‘Animal Groups’).



5. bed bug (Cimex lectularius).
This is another fairly straight-forward one, and frankly my favorite in the set. I have thought about pitching a bed bug to some of the major toy animal manufacturers. I think between the animal toy collectors and medical and public health personnel, it would sell well haha. I have two others, a small one by Club Earth (Backyard Bugs) and a custom figure by Paleo-Creatures.



6. head louse (Pediculus humanus).
As a ‘head’ louse specifically, this would be P. humanus capitis. The only other members of this species I have seen are vintage rubbery ones. I have seen several on eBay (I have lost a couple on bid attempts…) but only have one small one myself.



7. cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis).
Several flea figures attributable to Ctenocephalides have been made (including the large figure by Safari LTD. for the Smithsonian Insects line), but this is the only one I know of specifically marketed as C. felis. I do have a couple figures marketed as the related dog flea, C. canis.



8. pubic louse (Pthirus pubis).
Again, thanks to dinocat of letting me use his image until I can acquire this figure for myself. Probably the most bizarre choice ever for an animal figure, if for no other reason than the social stigma attributed to those colonized by this critter. There is one more figure, by Kaiyodo (Sanitary Insect Pest Exhibition), and I think there may be some vintage rubbery ones out there (you could make one with Creepy Crawly Thingmakers :) ).



9
Kaiyodo - other series / Common pill-bug (Kaiyodo - Sofubi Toy Box)
« on: July 07, 2017, 12:13:54 AM »
Walkaround of one of the most anticipated figures this year, the common pill-bug, Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille, 1804) by Kaiyodo, Sofubi Toy Box, No. 012A, new for 2017. Armadillidium vulgare is native to the western Palearctic but has been introduced to places around the world, including North America. Kaiyodo previously made this figure (albeit much smaller) in 2015 as part of their Capsule Q Museum Backyard Creatures - Soil Organisms set (see last image).

The figure, well, like many of the Sofubi Toy Box/Megasofubi Advance figures is absolutely amazing. It is made out of a soft, hollow plastic. It can be 'squeezed' but it is not soft and rubbery. Like the swallowtail caterpillar, it is a single-piece with no movable parts.

The figure measures 137 mm (not including appendages), making it approximately 7.5:1 for a large specimen. Apparently there is a color variant which I may or may not get (maybe if I see it conveniently on eBay someday...).

The figure comes in a plastic bag and also includes a catalog for the entire STB series (the swallowtail caterpillar did not come with that).

On to the figures:











"There's a new sheriff in town, little guy."


10
Walk-around of the deep-sea pram bug, Phronima sedentaria (Forsskal, 1775), by Ikimon Co. (formerly, Kitan Club) - Nature Techni Colour, Deep Sea Creatures, new for 2017. Phronima sedentaria is an unusual pelagic amphipod that usually lives at a depth of 1000 m (0.6 miles). It is predaceous on salps (a kind of planktonic tunicate). Females tear into a salp, eat the gelatinous innards, and then use the empty shell as a barrel-like structure to swim around in while raising its young. This figure, which comes within it's salp shell, is not only the first amphipod figure (to my knowledge), but also the first salp (although not the first tunicate).

The figure was in a set of 8 'deep sea' critters, including mollusks, arthropods, and fish. The other 'new' species in the set was another arthropod, the giant ostracod Gigantocypris agassizii.

The figure is on a key chain, and I removed the chain and cut away the plastic ring to which it was attached. The salp is 40 mm tall. I cannot stretch out the amphipod itself, as it's a relatively firm, single-piece of plastic, but it's roughly 40-45 mm, making it 1:1 for a large female specimen! The amphipod easily comes out of its salp, it does not connect to the salp in any way but sits loosely within the barrel. The hole at the bottom is narrow enough that it will not fall out easily.

The detail on the amphipod itself it amazing. It was hard to photograph for the walkaround since it's transparent except for some structures in the head. I probably should have photographed it over a black or dark background.

The amphipod within the salp:



The amphipod itself:









I hope recent issues with Photobucket don't prevent others from posting their new critters... :)

11
Walk-around of the Japanese carpenter ant, Camponotus japonicus Mayr, 1866 by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S., B.I.G. Insects - 2017. This large ant species is distributed in East Asia. This species has been made once before (to my knowledge), as part of a 'caste' set by Epoch which included a queen and three (5?) workers; three workers are carrying various objects (one has a larva, the others various foodstuffs). Ant figures are rarely identified to the species, or genus, level, but other carpenter ants include the Texas carpenter ant (C. texanus) by Club Earth (Ants and Termites) and an unidentified species by K&M International (Insects Polybag).

The figure, like many Takara figures, requires some assembly. Mine came 8 pieces: head (including antennae), thorax + abdomen, and 6 legs. The antennae were attached but appear to be removable. The figure lacks ocelli, indicating it is a worker (interestingly, the Epoch figures ignored this bit of science and gave their workers ocelli!). It measures 75 mm making it 5:1-10:1 for an average worker (range 6-15 mm). The figure is solid black with no additional color highlights of any kind. The texture is nice and the color matte.

I was excited for this figure. Every year, T-T.A.R.T.S. releases a 'B.I.G. Insects' set, which usually consists of 4 scarabaeoid beetles and one other. The last two years there were mantids (different sizes and, as such, different sculpts), and in 2014 it was an Androctonus scorpion. Earlier than 2014 I am not sure, as I do not have complete sets, but needless to say an ant was a welcome addition.

One to the pics:













with the Epoch 'family':



at home in one of my mini diorama sets:


12
Other/Miscellaneous / Oryctes nasicornis (Heller)
« on: June 09, 2017, 12:21:25 AM »
Walk-around of the European rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes nasicornis (Linnaeus, 1758) by Heller, No. 79402 (2000). This is my second review of a Heller model kit, following Coccinella septempunctata (http://animaltoyforum.com/index.php?topic=2075.0). Oryctes nasicornis occurs in the western Palearctic, including Europe (exclusive of the British Isles), northern Africa, west to Pakistan. It is the only dynastine in northern Europe. This figure represents a new species for my collection, and as far as I know, the only member of this species in toy/figure form (I do possess two figures of Oryctes gigas, by DeAgostini and Sega).

The model comes in 13 pieces (venter; elytra; pronotum; head (2 pieces), antennae (2), and legs (6), in solid black. Unlike the Coccinella figure, there were no decals.

I took a slightly different approach with this model. I painted individual parts first, and glued everything except the legs together. I then added the clear varnish to the individual legs and the completed body. After the varnish dried, I then glued the legs to the body.

I must admit, I am not crazy about the design of the legs here. It almost appears the pegs are on the wrong side and that the legs attach ‘upside-down’. If the pegs were on the opposite side, and the legs flip-flopped from their intended side of the body, they may look more natural. Even as is, I arranged the legs in a way that I thought looked most natural, and not necessarily what was spelled out in the instructions [you might also notice one of the tarsi broke off and I had to glue it back in the end]. Also, the top and bottom parts do not align well and there are small gaps in the seams.

The model is 95 mm (not including legs), making it roughly 2:1 for a maximum-sized major male.

I am also working on Heller’s Lucanus cervus model but have not been taking images along the way, so I probably will not do a review of that figure, but it will show up eventually in the Lucanus section of Bug of the Day.

On to the images:











and the final product:






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Other/Miscellaneous / Coccinella septempunctata (Heller)
« on: June 06, 2017, 02:17:11 AM »
Walk-around of the seven-spotted lady beetle, Coccinella septempunctata Linnaeus, 1758 by Heller (2001). This species occurs naturally throughout much of the Holarctic and is considered the most common lady beetle in Europe. It has been introduced into continental North America (where it has pushed out populations of native species, including C. novemnotata), Hawaii, and apparently Madagascar. This species is no stranger to toy form, and while several generic figures may be attributable to this species, it has been specifically made by Bullyland, 4D Master, Blip Toys, Furuta, Kabaya, and CollectA that I am aware of (although I am still lacking the Bullyland figure).

Heller was new to me when I stumbled upon this figure on eBay. The French company appears to specialize in model kits, primarily military craft and infantry soldiers. However, some recent snooping around revealed there are (at least) three other European insects: the scarabaeoids Oryctes nasicornis and Lucanus cervus and the ant Formica rufa. I have also seen the ant, lucanid, and lady beetle packaged together in a set marketed as ‘Forest Monsters’. Just yesterday I won on eBay the two scarabs, but I really really want that ant!

The lady beetle figure comes in 11 pieces (venter; elytra; head+pronotum; 2 antennae; 6 legs), all in a base red color. There are also decals for the maculae that are applied with water, however I decided not to use the decals but rather paint the maculae myself. It is also intended to paint the elytra red but since their base color in adequate for this species, I did not apply an additional coat of red.

The first thing I did was paint the individual parts. I then attached everything, using glue where needed (the legs and antennae have holes in which to insert them, but the pronotum, elytra, and venter are all to be supported by glue). I applied additional glue to the base of the legs and antennae to secure them. I then did touch-ups of the areas where the paint got rubbed or scraped away during physical assembly. Lastly, I coated the whole figure with a satin varnish. The instructions suggested using modeling clay to attach the beetle to a branch or log, but I will leave my figure independent of a base (although it fits nicely on the plastic logs that the 4D Master figures come in!).

The figure is 90 mm, making it roughly 10:1 for an average specimen. On forums for model kit collectors, I have seen the four Heller insects indicated as being 4:1; this might be true for the scarab beetles, but the lady beetle is clearly in a much larger scale (as too is probably the ant)!

On to the pics:

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...and the final product:

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and lastly with the Furuta (Insect Science) and Kabaya (Insect Directory) figures, that are as close to 1:1 as possible among figures:

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Other/Miscellaneous / Bugs n' Jug (Imperial Toy Corporation)
« on: May 27, 2017, 02:57:41 AM »
Review of the complete set of Bugs n' Jug by the Imperial Toy Corporation (Imperial Toys, as it's often referred to on this forum) from 1990. The set consists of 12 beetle figures, a pamphlet, plastic forceps, a small magnifying glass, and a small mesh insect net, and the whole set came in a plastic jar. The set was clearly designed to introduce children to insects and promote insect collection!

The figures are on average about 30 mm long and a slightly soft rubber/plastic, characteristic of many vintage figures. Some represent interesting and bizarre families; half I still cannot confidently place. I have been holding off posting this until I could confidently identify everything but finally decided to post them, in hopes maybe someone can recognize some.

I have 'knock-off' figures of a few of these, although I am not sure who came first (I do not know how 'original' Imperial Toys tended to be...). Each figure is marked on the underside with their vintage 'crown' stamp but no name, common or scientific.

Group shot with pamphlet:

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Individual beetles, the 'known' species to families followed by the unknowns:

1. Wedge-shaped beetle, family Ripiphoridae. This is a neat one, and to my knowledge the only member of this family in toy form (not including potential knock-offs--I think I have seen one on eBay).

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2. Stag beetle, family Lucanidae. Nothing exciting and probably too generic to ID further...

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3. Click beetle, family Elateridae. This figure actually has a prosternal process sculpted on the underside, solidifying its placement in Elateridae (my specialty group!). I also have a lavender-colored knock-off of this guy.

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4. Tumbling flower beetle, family Mordellidae. Like the ripiphorid above, another unique one at the family level!

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5. Primitive weevil, family Brentidae. I have a few of these in various sizes but all influenced from one another. I have yet to hunt down the genus or species but it looks familiar...

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6. Giraffe weevil, Trachelophorus giraffa, family Attelabidae. This figure is identifiable by its shape, but it really should be red instead of green. The only figure in the set I can currently identify to the species level.

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7. Unknown #1. The shape suggests Chrysomelidae but the mandibles are unusual...(Histeridae?)

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8. Unknown #2. I am pretty sure this is a flea beetle (Chrysomelidae: Alticini). In the U.S. one might consider the genus Orthaltica!

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9. Unknown #3. This is most-certainly a fungus beetle of some kind, probably in the family Erotylidae or Endomychidae (maybe a glorified Tritoma?).

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10. Unknown #4. Another possible chrysomelid? Very generic; the form is actually dytiscid-like but the antennae are awfully long.

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11. Unknown #5. I have seen this general morphotype a few times in toy form. I always considered them checkered beetles (Cleridae), but who can say?

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12. Unknown #6. This one strikes me as a possible member of Tenebrionidae. Maybe a glorified Bolitophagus?

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15
A slight divergence from the usual toys and figures, here I am presenting sets of refrigerator magnets by Doug Walpus Art Studio. Doug is the artist of the individual pieces.

I stumbled upon these on ebay, but they are also available on etsy and, I believe, direct from DWAS. I bought a few sets of butterflies and moths, but after stumbling across more of his work, I realize I only have the tip of the iceberg! In addition, according to sphryna18, he also produced dragonflies.

The models are 1:1 size (this is great news for you who like life-sized figures--you reading that stargatedalek?  ;) ). The bodies are simple and there are no legs nor antennae (could be easily added, if you so desire), but the paint job on the upper side of the wings is exquisite! The underside of the wings are not painted but rather a solid black. I think the wings are a coated thick paper, but I cannot rule-out a plastic-like product. They are fairly durable regardless (but not to be 'played with' like toys). Doug has hand-signed each figure as well!

The ones below were sold in three sets: 1) miscellaneous butterflies, 2) swallowtails, and 3) moths, however from other sets I have seen, they can be variably mixed (I want to go back and get some of his birdwings and morphos!).

The identifications below are of my assigning, but there are a handful in the last images I cannot yet put names on (help, anyone?).
* - new species for me
** - new genus for me!

Plate 1:
1. Heliconius erato chestertonii, red postman*
2. Agraulis vanilla, gulf fritillary**
3. Vanessa atalanta, red admiral
4. Limenitis arthemis, white admiral**
5. Lycaena phlaeas, small copper
6. Colias philodice, clouded sulfur
7. Colias eurytheme, orange sulfur
8. Junonia orithya, blue pansy
9. Polyommatus icarus, common blue
10. Autochthon cellus, golden-banded skipper**
11. Parnassius apollo, mountain Apollo
12. Heliconius charithonia, zebra
13. Heliconius melpomene, postman
14. Heliconius sara, Sara longwing*

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Plate 2:
15. Aglais io, European peacock
16. Vanessa cardui, painted lady
17. Siproeta stelenes, malachite
18. Junonia coenia, common buckeye*
19. Pieris rapae, small white*
20. Colias fieldi*
21. Eurema daira, fairy yellow*
22. Pontia protodice, checkered white**
23. Lycaena cupreus, lustrous copper*
24. Cymothoe excelsa, scalloped red glider*
25. Cercyonis pegala, common wood nymph**
26. Evenus coronata, crowned hairstreak
27. Eurema brigitta, broad-bordered grass yellow
28. Appias nero, orange alabatross
29. Erebia ligea, Arran brown**
30. Plebejus lupini, lupine blue**
31. Plebejus melissa, Melissa blue**

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Plate 3:
32. Papilio ulysses, Ulysses butterfly*
33. Papilio demodocus, citrus swallowtail*
34. Protographium philolaus, dark zebra swallowtail*
35. Protographium marcellus, zebra swallowtail
36. Papilio polyxenes, black swallowtail
37. Papilio cresphontes, giant swallowtail*
38. Papilio demoleus, common lime butterfly*
39. Papilio astyalus, broad-banded swallowtail*

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Plate 4:
40. Papilio glaucus, eastern tiger swallowtail
41. Papilio machaon bairdii, Old World swallowtail* [tentative ID]
42. Papilio troilus, spicebush swallowtail*
43. Papilio palamedes, Palamedes swallowtail*
44. Battus philenor, pipevine swallowtail
45. Papilio glaucus
46. Papilio bianor, Chinese peacock
47. Papilio arcturus, blue peacock

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Plate 5:
48. Papilio blumei, green swallowtail
49. Papilio machaon oregonius, Oregon swallowtail*
50. Papilio homerus, Jamaican giant swallowtail*
51. Chrysiridia rhipheus, Madagascan sunset moth**
52. Citheronia regalis, royal walnut moth
53. Hyalophora euryalus, ceanothus silkmoth*

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Plate 6:
54: Samia cynthia, ailanthus silkmoth
55: Callosamia promethea, Promethea moth (male)**
56: Antheraea polyphemus, Polyphemus moth**
57: Hyalophora cecropia, cecropia moth
58: Callosamia promethea, Promethea moth (female)**
59: Attacus atlas, Atlas moth

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Plate 7:
60: Eochroa trimenii, roseate emperor**
61: Actias luna, luna moth
62: Actais selene, Indian moon moth*
63: Argema mittrei, Madagascan moon moth**
64: Argema mimosae, African moon moth**

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Plate 8: currently unidentified

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16
Review of the COMPLETE set of Barnacles, by Kitan Club - Nature Techni Colour (2012). I was happy to finally get the complete set. I previously had 6 figures representing one species each, but the complete set is 18 figures representing nine species! To my knowledge, this set represents the only barnacles in toy/figure form.

Some are solid figures, some are magnets, some are straps, and some are pins to be worn.

The first figure shows the complete set to get an idea how the sizes compare among the species.

I am writing the species' coverage in the Bug of the Day format, so I only have to cut-and-paste into that thread  C:-).

Enjoy!

the whole set:

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I. Balanus rostratus.
There are four figures here. Three combine together to form a cluster (with magnets inside them to help hold them close), and the fourth is a strap figure (that I removed the strap to make a cluster of four).

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II. Japanese goose barnacle, Capitulum mitella.
Two figures, independent and different figures with internal magnets.

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III. Turtle barnacle, Chelonibia testudinaria.
Two figures, of the same sculpt; one is a solid figure and one is a pin.

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IV. Conchoderma virgatum.
One figure, a strap figure (for which I removed the strap).

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V. Fistulobalanus albicostatus.
Two figures, both with magnets. [marketed as Amphibalanus albicostatus.]

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VI. Megabalanus rosa.
Two figures. One is a pin but the other is remarkable: it is split down the center revealing a cross-section of the internal anatomy! Truly the most amazing in the set for this reason!

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VII. Thatched barnacle, Semibalanus cariosus.
Two small figures, both with magnets.

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VIII. Scapellum stearnsi.
One figure, a strap figure (and displayed on a marine snail shell), for which I removed the strap.

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IX. Japanese acorn barnacle, Tetraclita japonica.
Two figures, one a regular solid figure and one a pin to wear.

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Bullyland / Velvet Spider (Bullyland)
« on: March 10, 2017, 07:02:14 PM »
Walk-around of the velvet spider, Eresus kollari Rossi, 1846, by Bullyland, new for 2017. The species is distributed from Europe to Central Asia and was previously considered part of the E. niger-complex. To my knowledge this is the only figure of a member of the family Eresidae and honestly one I have always secretly wanted to be made! The figure might represent E. moravicus, but I think E. kollari is the more logical choice.

The figure is painted to depict a male and is 40 mm long (not including appendages), making it slightly larger than 3:1. It is solid, firm piece of PVC with slightly softer legs (not as soft as the Papo wolf spider legs, however).

This unique figure comes highly recommended!

One to the pics!

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18
Walk-around of the larva of the Asian swallowtail, Papilio xuthus Linnaeus, 1767, by Kaiyodo - Sofubi Toy Box, No. 007, new for 2017. This figure was released early this year and has already been discontinued, so grab one while you can.

The species is common in much of Asia, from Japan to India, also the Hawaiian Islands. The figure has been made several times, including another caterpillar by Kaiyodo (Capsule Q Museum - Caterpillars), and adults by Bandai (Bugs Museum; Insect Science), Kabaya (World Insects Series I), and Rement. See the last image for comparisons with the Capsule Q caterpillar and the Insect Science adult.

The figure. WOW. It measures 23 cm long. Assuming the Capsule Q Museum version is 1:1, that makes this figure 4:1 (although it seems much bigger - someone can confirm my math if they want). The figure, unlike others in this series, is solid piece with no moving parts.

I have updated BOTD to reflect thus guy as well!

On to the pics:

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Other/Miscellaneous / Jumbo Insects (Learning Resources)
« on: March 03, 2017, 01:25:45 AM »
Review of the complete set of Jumbo Insects by Learning Resources. Taking the forum back to its roots to examine a set of actual TOYS! Yes, the figures in this set are specifically designed to be educational toys for children.

There are seven figures, all large (size comparable to K&M Polyvinyl Bag or Safari LTD Hidden Kingdom figures), solid-piece PVC figures. While they are all fairly generic, the sculpts are not duplicates of anything else I have seen or have. The figures come in a sturdy cardboard carrying case and are accompanied by a pamphlet with 'fun facts' for kids to learn more about the largest group of animals on the planet!

The figures represent a butterfly (presumably a monarch), lady beetle, bee, fly, ant, dragonfly, and grasshopper (I am particularly fond of the ant and grasshopper).

Normally, when I review a set, I recommend it for the superior quality or interesting species choices. This time I cannot give such recommendations. The only people that might be interested in this set are 1) those with children interested in the natural world or 2) entomologists that like to have representatives of as many different companies' versions of different species as possible. Can you guess which I am? Hint, I do not have kinds LOL.

Other animal sets in the Jumbo series include: Farm Animals, Ocean Animals, Pets, Jungle Animals, Zoo Animals, and Dinosaurs.

One to the pics!

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New for 2017 / Ikimon Co. - Nature Techni Colour - New for 2017
« on: February 25, 2017, 02:20:16 PM »
Some June 2017 releases by Ichimon (formerly Kitan Club):

Luckily for me the 'NEW' species in the deep sea set are the two arthropods. The orange one appears to be an ostracod in the genus Macrocypridina but I am not sure yet about the little one, maybe a decapod larva?

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