Author Topic: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others  (Read 12546 times)

blackdanter

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Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« on: April 30, 2013, 03:49:26 PM »
Until relatively recently I'd only been aware of the larger Sega Mushiking beetle figures. By chance, I have had the opportunity to acquire a few figures from different lines and have discovered that this particular area of collecting was actually much larger than I at first thought. There are indeed various lines out there. In addition to those shown here I am aware of sets by Bandai and also additional (or augmented) sets by T-Arts.

The mini explosion in beetle figure lines is completely due to the success of the Sega arcade game Mushiking. Just as Dinosaur king created an explosion of interest and demand for dino related products, Mushiking had much the same effect and was equally as popular, perhaps more so. What we saw in the west from these two runaway franchises (which was next to nothing for Mushiking) was a mere echo of the two phenomena in Japan. In tandem with this, the pet trade in beetle keeping and rearing also mushroomed and continues to be popular to this day.

The first thing to be aware of is that Subarudo, T-Arts, Tomy and Takara are all linked. Increasingly, it seems that they are in fact either the same company or indeed trading entities of a larger parent company. It's very useful to be aware of this when trying to track down figures in Asia. You will see some of the link between these companies in the figures below.

In nearly every set I've encountered there is a Hercules beetle. This seems to be the Tyrannosaurus rex of beetle figures lines!

The majority of these figures seem to have been available in blind boxes with candy, much like the Kazunari Araki sculpted Kabaya dinosaur figures that some of you may be aware of.

These figures are molded in soft pvc plastic. The plastic is very similar to that used for Colorata figures and is therefore prone to minor warping. This is easily fixed with hot/cold water treatment although, I've not gotten around to dealing with these yet.

To get an idea of the scale of these figures, here's a picture which shows a Yujin Rhinoceros beetle between figures by Subarudo (left) and Tomy (right).



By the way, I'm no beetle expert. I can spot a Hercules or Rhinoceros beetle but anything else is unknown to me. If anyone can identify these figures by species I'd be glad to know what they are.

The earliest set I have examples from is by Tomy and dates from 2004 and consisted of 6 figures. These figures are slightly smaller than the usual big beetle figures however, they are well painted and quite detailed. Detail wise they're not that far off of later Yujin figures. The electra can be opened on these figures but they were not issued with wings. 

Here's a paper insert which shows what the set consisted of:



The 3 figures I have from this set:



The undersides showing the quality of the painted detail:



The next set was issued by Subarudo in 2007. It consisted of 4 figures (3 beetles and a forest hornet(?)!). As with the Tomy figures, the electra can be opened but in addition each figure comes with a set of wings which can be slotted on to display the animal in flight if so desired. The wings have the vein detail picked out with paint. Also, the heads and thorax are ball jointed so there is limited scope for posability.

Here's the paper insert for this series:



This remains one of my favourite sets and here are my figures:



The undersides:



The third series was issued by T-Arts in 2011 and consisted of 7 figures. Interestingly, the Hercules beetle is exactly the same molding as the Subarudo figure. One of the other figures in this series is also from the same mold as used in the Subarudo set but with a resculpted head! These figures also have electra that can be opened and optional use wings. The wings in this set are plain translucent plastic and have no detail picked out with paint. The heads and thorax again are ball jointed.

Here's the paper insert for this set:



Here are the figures I have:



The undersides:



The main thing to aware of with this set is that they have very minimal paint application. In the main, the eyes and sometimes the wing cases are painted. The main body of the figure is basic shiny black plastic.

Here's a picture which shows the different head moldings for the figure mentioned earlier (Subarudo is on the right and the T-Arts on the left). The difference is mainly in the horn:



Here's the 2 figures side by side (Subarudo on the right hand side):



There you have it for now. I'll add more as I aquire more figures. I will also add the Sega Mushiking life figures at a later date.

Feel free to add examples, additional info etc.  ;)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 07:38:20 PM by blackdanter »



tyrantqueen

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 04:06:41 PM »
Amazing :o They look almost like taxidermy specimens
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 04:07:07 PM by tyrantqueen »

They came flying from far away, now I'm under their spell....

sauroid

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 04:17:07 PM »
your collection is very cool blackdanter. will post what i have asap.

blackdanter

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2013, 04:25:06 PM »
Amazing :o They look almost like taxidermy specimens

Thanks Tyrantqueen. I think that out of all of the figures I own (and it's rather a lot now!) I have a special affection for these!  ;)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 07:39:36 PM by blackdanter »

blackdanter

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2013, 04:26:49 PM »
your collection is very cool blackdanter. will post what i have asap.

Please do Sauroid  :)

Oh, I'll come back and fix the spelling issues later. Apologies!  ::)



brontodocus

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2013, 10:33:52 AM »
Oh boy, oh boy, those are all so phantastic! :o Many thanks for showing them! :)
In nearly every set I've encountered there is a Hercules beetle. This seems to be the Tyrannosaurus rex of beetle figures lines!
Indeed, it is! :) It is the longest beetle that can be reared in captivity (Japanese breeders sometimes rear males around 170 mm including horns!) and due to its extremely long horns it's a bit like the ultimate rhinoceros beetle for collectors and insect keepers (did I mention I once had them in culture, too?). I think the Japanese Kabutomushi or Samurai Helmet Rhinoceros Beetle, Trypoxylus dichotomus (=Allomyrina dichotoma), that's the species featured in the first photo, may be even more often represented as a figure.

These are from left to right Kabutomushi or Samurai Helmet Rhinoceros Beetle, Trypoxylus dichotomus (=Allomyrina dichotoma); Prosopocoilus inclinatus (a Japanese stag beetle); and the Neptune Beetle, Dynastes neptunus, which may attain sizes similar to its more famous cousin D. hercules.

These are Hercules Beetle, Dynastes hercules (obviously); the Caucasus Beetle, Chalcosoma caucasus (I'll get to the different heads in a second! ;) ); Kabutomushi again, and the Japanese Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia japonica.

Here are again Hercules Beetle, Dynastes hercules; another Chalcosoma, but this time it's apparently the Atlas Beetle, Chalcosoma atlas; another Japanese stag beetle, Lucanus maculifemoratus; and a longhorn beetle that has yet to be fully identified. All I can say at the moment is that it belongs in the subfamily Lamiinae within Cerambycidae.

The different head sculpts actually turn these into two different species. Chalcosoma atlas and C. caucasus are very similar (although C. atlas is often more metallic) and can be identified by their different cephalic horns. C. caucasus has a spine at midlength on the dorsal side of the cephalic horn which C. atlas doesn't have - so the left one would be C. atlas and the right one C. caucasus. :)

Jetoar

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2013, 10:53:56 AM »
Oooooh Giant hornet  ^-^.
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blackdanter

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2013, 08:00:00 PM »
Whoa Brontodocus, thanks for the species info. I really appreciate that. Especially as I haven't found a basic guide book on commoner big beetle species yet (may have to pick up a couple of those Japanese ones and just drool at the pictures!).  ;)

brontodocus

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2013, 10:21:36 PM »
You're welcome! :) And I see what I can do to identify the longhorn beetle...

EDIT: So the lamiine longhorn beetle is a Batocera lineolata then! I found it similar to tropical Batocera (they are among the most spectacular cerambycids with e.g. Batocera wallacei males with antennae up to over 9 inch / 230 mm long). But the genus has species in Japan, too. This one is Batocera lineolata, not nearly as big as the species from tropical Asia but rather between 20 and 30 mm long. Edited again: It seems the 20-30 mm are for Japanese populations. I've just seen the website of an insect dealer offering specimens of the same species from Thailand that are over 60 mm long. The size of big cerambycids is highly variable and dependent on nutrition and probably climate, too (one of our largest in Central Europe, Cerymbyx cerdo, can be as little as 25 mm or as large as 53 mm).
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 08:05:40 AM by brontodocus »

blackdanter

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 08:16:57 AM »
You're welcome! :) And I see what I can do to identify the longhorn beetle...

EDIT: So the lamiine longhorn beetle is a Batocera lineolata then! I found it similar to tropical Batocera (they are among the most spectacular cerambycids with e.g. Batocera wallacei males with antennae up to over 9 inch / 230 mm long). But the genus has species in Japan, too. This one is Batocera lineolata, not nearly as big as the species from tropical Asia but rather between 20 and 30 mm long. Edited again: It seems the 20-30 mm are for Japanese populations. I've just seen the website of an insect dealer offering specimens of the same species from Thailand that are over 60 mm long. The size of big cerambycids is highly variable and dependent on nutrition and probably climate, too (one of our largest in Central Europe, Cerymbyx cerdo, can be as little as 25 mm or as large as 53 mm).

Thanks Brontodocus. Looks like a mystery solved! What reference material do you use (in terms of good old fashioned books)? 



brontodocus

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2013, 01:48:00 PM »
I didn't use any literature in identifying these. With the exception of the Batocera lineolata I knew them before. Honestly, I had the feeling it might be a Batocera and made a google picture search until I found the right one and then I was even more convinced seeing it's a Japanese species, too. There are lots of other species were I would never have a chance to identify them since I do not own any of the comprehensive but highly prized "Les Coléoptères du Monde" books. I have some books about tropical beetles by e.g. Klausnitzer, Linsenmaier, Preston-Mafham and others but my technical literature is restricted to Central European species. Of course, really identification of beetles to species level often takes considerably more effort (and many beetles cannot be identified from a photo alone, genital morphology is very important to tell very similar species apart. In my office at uni I have "Die Käfer Mitteleuropas" by Freude, Harde, and Lohse, which allows identification of virtually any beetle in Germany to species level but with all supplements there are about 25 volumes with several hundred pages each and there are "only" about 8000 beetle species in Central Europe. For most countries outside of North America, Central Europe, or Japan, such comprehensive literature doesn't exist, yet.

sauroid

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2013, 12:49:09 PM »
i have another large sega beetle figure (though im not sure of the species). 12.5 cm.



i also have the same Tomy figure that you have



i still have to find my other japanese beetle figures ^-^
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 12:59:17 PM by sauroid »

brontodocus

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2013, 07:21:07 PM »
Congrats, sauroid! :) That's Megasoma actaeon - one of the heaviest rhinoceros beetles. The grubs in their final instar are among the heaviest insects recorded and regularly weigh approx. 130 g (a few days ago I've read exceptional specimens weighed as much as 200 g), the imago would be substantially lighter, though. It's one of the most popular rhinoceros beetle for breeding but the grubs take ages, approx. three years. At 125 mm this one would be life size, too! :)

blackdanter

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2013, 07:00:34 AM »
Thanks for posting Sauroid. I think I have that Sega, I'll have to try and find mine to see which ones I have although I'm pretty sure I only have 2 or 3 from a set of 10(?).

Brontodocus - Great info. It's great to be able to properly identify these figures. 

sauroid

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2013, 02:09:06 PM »
more beetle figures from Tomy tho not quite the same as what blackdanter has posted (except for the one i previously posted).



« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 02:10:05 PM by sauroid »

blackdanter

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2013, 09:15:26 AM »
more beetle figures from Tomy tho not quite the same as what blackdanter has posted (except for the one i previously posted).





Nice. Not seen those before. What size are they Sauroid?

brontodocus

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2013, 09:46:18 AM »
I would like to know that, too! I have a rather soft and large kabutomushi (Allomyrina dichotoma / Trypoxylus dichotomus) that looks very similar in quality but I never knew what brand it was, I wonder if it's possibly from the same series.

sauroid

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2013, 02:18:30 PM »
they are 10 to 12.5 cm. and unlike the previous beetle figures that i've posted, these ones have detachable parts. and yes, they are "soft" (and lighter) because they are hollow. :)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 02:20:18 PM by sauroid »

blackdanter

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2013, 03:04:15 PM »
Here are two of the big Sega Mushiking figures I have. I have a third but cannot find the critter at the minute! My Megasoma looks different to yours Sauroid. Mine aren't the premium figures, they're the general large range. I suppose they were intended as sort of action figures/models. They are very nice however and I wouldn't part with them (only duplicates!).
So, here are pictures (sorry about the quality ........... it's a dull day indeed). For some reason I rather like these with the wings attached!

Megasoma actaeon and Dynastes hercules (again!)



The undersides. You can see the locating pin holes for the stands that are supplied with them.



When I come across the third figure I'll post it. From what I recall it's similar to the Megasoma but light brown in colour (not very helpful really!).

brontodocus

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Re: Japan Big Beetle Series - Subarudo, Tomy, T-Arts and Others
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2013, 10:21:44 AM »
The Megasoma actaeon is huge! :o
When I come across the third figure I'll post it. From what I recall it's similar to the Megasoma but light brown in colour (not very helpful really!).
There are other species within Megasoma which are light brown (In reality they would be covered in fine, hair-like toment which would make them appear as if they were made out of suede). The most popular of them is the Elephant Beetle, Megasoma elephas, and it's possible you have one of those. It's a little more gracile (yet not shorter) than M. actaeon with a longer and thinner cephalic horn and diverging horns on the pronotum (unlike the ones of actaeon which are more or less parallel).