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Messages - bmathison1972

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Walk-around of the caterpillar of the puss moth, Cerura vinula (Linnaeus, 1758) by Sun Wai Toys. This species occurs throughout much of Europe, temperate Asia to China, and northern Africa.

A little history about this figure. I found it a few years ago, randomly online on Archie McPhee's novelty website when doing various Google searches for 'toy insects'. The first one was actually lost in the mail (quite possibly stolen from my front porch--that happened a couple times during that period), and was replaced free-of-charge by Archie McPhee. I knew nothing about the figure, but to find a toy of such an interesting and distinctive caterpillar, I had to have one. I didn't realize how interesting this figure was to other people. I have had a few private messages asking where to get one, and even a couple people practically begging me to sell them mine! This ranks up with my Imperial Toys walking stick as a real treasure!

I think Sun Wai made at least a sphinx moth caterpillar as well. Sun Wai figures, at least the few arthropods I have, are larger, yet detailed novelty-style. Most are fairly realistic (although their lobster looks like a mashup of a Maine and spiny lobster...)

Like many of the Sun Wai toys, the figure is large and a soft, hollow plastic. The figure measures roughly 225 mm (not including the caudal appendages), making it nearly 3:1 for an average caterpillar (although its stature makes it appear so much bigger). It is surprisingly detailed for what amounts to a novelty toy.

On to the pics:

New for 2018 / Re: Safari - New for 2018
« on: October 20, 2017, 08:07:07 PM »
Added today's batch to the front page. Kind of a mixed bag. Some of these are real beauties, but the tabby cat, for example, is startlingly crude.

Thanks for keeping up with this, Halichoeres!

I will echo my sentiments from STS here:

Yeah the tabby is just a repaint from an older model, that was also gray (as well as orange), and doesn't like specifically like a tabby (unless it's the mackerel tabby). The Komodo dragon also seemed like an unnecessary remake (and not as good as some other brands).

I do like the Ongole cow (got to love exotic cow breeds).

The IC figures are nice. I like the frogfish and songbirds are a great idea for the IC line, esp. since some of them could easily be made 1:1

They clearly still have more to reveal, including a spiny lobster and scorpion. I am curious if those are TOOB figures or in the IC line. There are also more prehistorics to reveal, including at least one more sauropod and a ceratopsian.

Collections / Re: Blaine's Bug of the Day
« on: October 20, 2017, 01:25:22 AM »
Last one for the day, the Tully Monster, Tullimonstrum gregarium. I was at one point interested in this species, but then decided against it when it was considered a chordate related to lampreys. Apparently, at the time of this writing, it is now back among the invertebrates. Because of its enigmatic standing I will collect a couple figures that become available.

This first one was a 'freebie' given to me by Pat May (Paleocasts) when I ordered a bunch of arthropods from him.

It turns out the original paper put its thumb on the scale by sampling non-vertebrate taxa very poorly in the phylogeny. They almost couldn't help but recover it as a vertebrate. So it probably isn't one, but it does have a few curious vertebrate-esque features like pigment stains that look suspiciously like retinas.

It's still cool enough to have in my museum for the time being  ;D 8) C:-)

Collections / Re: Blaine's Bug of the Day
« on: October 18, 2017, 06:35:23 PM »
Last one for the day, the Tully Monster, Tullimonstrum gregarium. I was at one point interested in this species, but then decided against it when it was considered a chordate related to lampreys. Apparently, at the time of this writing, it is now back among the invertebrates. Because of its enigmatic standing I will collect a couple figures that become available.

This first one was a 'freebie' given to me by Pat May (Paleocasts) when I ordered a bunch of arthropods from him.

Collections / Re: Blaine's Bug of the Day
« on: October 18, 2017, 06:32:02 PM »
The extinct swimming crab, Portunites. This is a plaster cast by Fossil Molds and Replicas. Normally I wouldn't collect something like this, but it represented a new genus for me!

Collections / Re: Blaine's Bug of the Day
« on: October 18, 2017, 06:29:55 PM »
The enigmatic extinct arthropod, Leanchoilia superlata.

I have two figures, one main figure and a smaller version, by Paleocasts.

Collections / Re: Blaine's Bug of the Day
« on: October 18, 2017, 06:26:19 PM »
Next the red wood ant, Formica rufa. Ants are common in bin sets but very rarely marketed below the family level. This single figure is a model kit by the French company Heller.

Collections / Re: Blaine's Bug of the Day
« on: October 18, 2017, 06:24:16 PM »
Time to update with a few new genera and species. First up, the enigmatic prehistoric crustacean, Dithyrocaris (several of these today will be extinct taxa).
I have two figures, both variants of the same sculpt, by Paleocasts.

Animal toy lines / Re: Little Critterz
« on: October 13, 2017, 10:59:48 PM »
While cruising eBay, I stumbled upon a couple more I was unaware of. One is a monarch larva from the Little Critterz line and the other is a bumblebee from the Northern Rose line. The bumblebee was advertised as being retired; I assume the monarch larva is too since it's not on their website. There is still a retired swallowtail in the NR line I am missing.

I just noticed 'Gila' is spelled incorrectly in the title of this thread  C:-)

Other/Miscellaneous / Spiny Lobster (Aquatop)
« on: October 11, 2017, 12:40:07 AM »
This is one of the reviews of those odd, more novelty-type figures, a spiny lobster, Panulirus sp. by Aquatop. Aquatop specializes in aquarium accessories and this is intended to be displayed in an aquarium as decor. They make a few other animals including jellyfish and a Mandarin goby! Sphyrna18 alerted me to this on eBay and it was not too expensive, so I decided to give it a try, and I am glad I did! Interesting timing, too, as it appears Safari LTD will be releasing one this year. Will be interesting to see whose is more accurate...

The figure is 100 mm long, not including legs or antennae. So, it is larger than a gashapon-style figure, but smaller what what one usually gets with Safari Incredible Creatures crustaceans. It is essentially a solid piece TPR (rather than the usual PVC), although the tail segments could pop off if pulled on firmly, as the tail is fully articulated so it can appear to move when in water. There is a suction cup on the underside (that I removed, of course) to attach to the side of an aquarium or bury in aquarium gravel. Other than the articulated tail, the legs and antennae are rather stiff. It is advertised to glow under UV light (probably the hot pink parts). I bought the red version, but it also comes in blue and teal (I might invest in another if I can associate it with a precise species).

I am not an expert on spiny lobsters but the dorsal surface texture and detail is amazing for aquarium decor. I am not sure what species, if any, it is attended to be. From what I can tell, spiny lobsters have a fairly uniform morphology among the species, and as I said I am not a specialist in this group.

On to the figures:

New for 2018 / Re: Safari - New for 2018
« on: October 10, 2017, 11:58:12 AM »
I don't think it's that bad, it looks more like long fur clumping together than quills, but the same could be said for the real deal. It would be hard to do better without making it huge.

I agree. It's a tough morphology to capture in a figure, esp so small. I like it!

Other/Miscellaneous / Scorpions (Takara Tomy A.R.T.S.)
« on: October 08, 2017, 06:59:41 PM »
Review of the [nearly] complete set of Scorpions by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. (I do not remember the release data). Like the spider set, it was probably released about the time of the merger with Yujin (this set came out either the year before, or after, the Venomous Spiders set). Also like the spider set, the species are not restricted to Asia/Japan (T-ARTS often seems to be more diverse, geographically).

Unlike the spider set, which had 6 figures (5 + 1 SECRET), this set has 7 figures (6 + 1 SECRET). At the start of this post I say nearly complete, because I do not have the secret figure. If I remember correctly, it is second species of Pandinus (and if I remember, they just painted the P. imperator in this set a different color). Otherwise there are many similarities to this set and the spiders. For one, a few have a habitat-style base (although they do not attach to it - I secured mine with glue), and all have a round flat base with the Japanese name, Latin name, and degree of toxicity on a 1-5 scale using skulls-and-crossbones.

The figures themselves are typical gashapon-sized and made of a single-piece PVC. When the set was released, five of the species were unique (including, I assume, the secret), but at the time of this writing one has been made a second time. So, below I will only be showing 3 unique species.

On to the figures, in order they are illustrated on the accompanying paperwork:

1. emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator.
No scorpion set would be complete without this quintessential species! It is the most commonly-made species at the genus level, and I have many other figures (assuming that if not otherwise indicated, emperor scorpions represent P. imperator), including those by AAA, Bullyland (two versions), Cadbury (UK Yowies, a tentative ID by me), Chap Mei, Discovery Channel (Deadly Kiss), Edu Science, Kaiyodo (Night Aqua Museum, plus they will release one in 2018 as part of the Sofubi Toy Box series), Safari LTD (Smithsonian Insects, Authentics Insects), and Toy Major. 4D Master did an anatomy model I do not yet have. Also, the scorpion in the K&M International Desert Polyvinyl Bag set looks like it was sculpted based on Pandinus.

2. South African fat-tailed scorpion, Parabuthus transvaalicus.
This remains a unique species! Notice the misspelling on the base.

3. deathstalker, Leiurus quinquestriatus.
Initially, this was a unique species but in 2014 Kaiyodo released one as part of their Toxic and Dangerous Creatures set in the Capsule Q Museum line.

4. yellow fat-tailed scorpion, Androctonus australis.
This might be the only figure specifically attributed to this species, however it is clear the CollectA and Papo scorpions are intended to represent it.  The Safari LTD Venomous Creatures TOOB and T-ARTS B.I.G. Insects scorpions are probably also at least in this genus.

5. lesser brown scorpion, Isometrus maculatus.
This is a unique species. Love the rock on which it sits!

6. dwarf wood scoprion, Liocheles australasiae.
This is a unique species and is the smallest figure in the set. It comes with a piece of bark on which to sit. Another with the misspelling of the genus name on the base!

Other/Miscellaneous / Venomous Spiders (Takara Tomy A.R.T.S.)
« on: October 06, 2017, 09:23:27 PM »
Review of the complete set of Venomous Spiders by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. I do not remember the year of release but it must have been during the acquisition of Yujin, since urls for both companies are listed on the paperwork. Kind of a funny name for a set, they could have just called it 'Spiders' since 1) all spiders (except for, I believe, Uloboridae) produce venom and 2) not all the species in this set are venomous for humans!

There are 6 figures in the set, 5 standard and one secret. Unlike most sets from Japanese manufacturers, the species are not specifically Asian or Japanese. They are standard gashapon-sized. All are single-piece PVC. Some come with a habitat-style base of some kind that they can be attached to and removed from. All of the figures have a flat, black, display base that they cannot be attached to (i.e., they sit freely and loosely on it). The display base has the Japanese name, Latin name, and the degree of toxicity on a 1-5 scale represented by skull-and-crossbones.

T-ARTS released a similar set of scorpions (that I am sure I will review soon...).

On to the figures:

1. black widow, Latrodectus mactans.
This figure's habitat-style base is a leaf. This is probably the most common spider made at the species level. Other figures have been made by Discovery Channel (Deadly Kiss), Safari LTD (Hidden Kingdom, Smithsonian Insects, Glow-in-the-Dark, and possibly the Good Luck Mini to be released next year), Club Earth, K&M International, and Play Visions, plus several of unknown origin.

2. redback spider, Latrodectus hasseltii.
This is the Australian mainland cousin to L. mactans. The only other figure I have is by Science and Nature (Animals of Australia). This figure's base appears to be a grate of some kind, or maybe a vent or screen (definitely hints at an anthropophilic association).

3. Japanese sac spider, Cheiracanthium japonicum.
This is my favorite. Not only because it is a unique species (even at the family level), but I love the base of a rolled leaf complete with its egg sac!

4. Sydney funnelweb spider, Atrax robustus.
Considered the most venomous spider to humans, this set would not be complete without it! As an Australian species, of course it has been made by Cadbury (for both Australian and UK Yowies) and Science and Nature (Insects of Australia), but the biggest and baddest of them is the large model by Bullyland!

5. European wolf spider, Lycosa tarantula.
Not really venomous to humans, but it was believed for a long time to be venomous and cause tarantism, which can only be cured by dancing the tarantella. Hence, it has the species epithet, tarantula, which is now commonly applied to the hairy mygalomorphs in the family Theraphosidae. This is a nice figure, but Papo's figure from 2016 is the best. Also made by Bullyland and unspecified wolf spiders have been made by Club Earth (Spiders to Go), Funrise Toys (World of Nature Insect Collection), and Safari LTD (Cave Dwellers TOOB).

6. SECRET, cobalt blue tarantula, Haplopelma lividum.
This figure is covered with a light felt-like fabric coating. This species was also made by Club Earth (Spiders to Go).

Review of the entire set of Backyard Creatures - Soil Organisms by Kaiyodo - Capsule Q Museum, originally released in 2015. This is a small set of only five gashapon-sized figures, depicting soil-inhabiting invertebrates. And, as usual for Kaiyodo, they all occur in Japan/Asia.

At the time of its release, all five figures were unique at the species level, and even among their general groups have very rarely been made. One species has since been made again, however.

Four of the figures are single piece; only the mole cricket comes in two pieces that easily snap together.

In the order they are marked on the paperwork:

1. mole cricket, Gryllotalpa orientalis.
I have only two other mole crickets, and they are small, vintage (one rubbery), and not well detailed. This figure is a masterpiece, however!

2. earwig, Anisolabis maritima.
I have only three other earwigs; two are small, hard vintage figures (one with its wings expanded) and the other is a 'mini' vintage figure by Schleich!

3. tardigrade, Echiniscus japonicus.
I have four tardigrade figures, all of them representing different species. Interesting this group has not been made more (plush toys not withstanding).

4. earthworm, Pheretima communissima.
I historically have not collected earthworms, and at the time of this writing this is my only one. AAA made one, and Safari LTD did a life cycle (both of which I think I will pursue!). I am sure there are several more out there, but still not really commonly made.

5. common pillbug, Armadillidium vulgare.
With the removal of the deep sea isopods (which have exploded in figure/toy form in the last few years), the terrestrial isopods are very rarely made. I have four, one of which is a stonecast figurine. Kaiyodo did make a second version of this species, a very large model, in their Sofubi Toy Box line earlier this year.

Review of all three sets (as of the time of this writing) of the Capsule Q Museum – Caterpillars by Kaiyodo. Because caterpillars have rather simple body plans, I decided to do group shots of each set. Under each figure, I am listing other figures that I personally have for each species (so the list might not be all inclusive), in what stage they were made, who made them, and in what series (if known). Those that are ‘unique’ species are indicated as such.

There are currently three sets; the first two sets have six figures, the last set has only five figures. All species represent the larvae of Palearctic/Asian lepidopterans except for one which is a beetle larva! The figures all have a wire within them so they can be bent into different positions. However, if one is not careful, the body will bend but the wire will stay put and might tear through the specimen. So, I recommend not trying to pose them if you don’t need them in an alternate pose!

The figures are all roughly 50-70 mm long and are in varying degrees of ratio. Most are probably close to 1:1.

These are exciting figures and one can only hope one-day Kaiyodo will make the adult versions of some of these (some of these have striking adults that have yet to be made in toy/figure form).

One to the sets and the figures contained therein:

Volume 1 [released in 2013]

1. Asian swallowtail, Papilio xuthus.
larvae: Kaiyodo (Sofubi Toy Box); Shineg (Larvae Moei)
adults: Bandai (Bugs Museum); Furuta (Insect Science); Koro Koro; Rement; Kabaya (World Insect Series 1).

2. Indian alkwing, Choaspes benjaminii.
UNIQUE species

3. chestnut tiger, Parantica sita.
larvae: Shineg (Larvae Moei)

4. Ailanthus silkmoth, Samia Cynthia.
adult: Doug Walpus Art Studio

5. deaths-head hawk moth, Acherontia lackesis.
UNIQUE species [other species in the genus made]

6. fruit-piercing moth, Eudocima tyrranus.
UNIQUE species.

Volume 2 [released on 2014]

1. spangle, Papilio protenor.
adult: Doug Walpus Art Studio

2. Old World swallowtail, Papilio machaon.
larvae: Shineg (Larvae Moei – 2 forms)
adults: Bullyland; Doug Walpus Art Studio; also a couple French feves by an unknown manufacturer

3. cankerworm moth, Cystidia truncangulata.
UNIQUE species

4. impatiens hawk moth, Theretra oldenlandiae.
UNIQUE species

5. lobster moth, Stauropus fagi.
UNIQUE species (and probably the coolest in all the sets!)

6. the lone beetle, the stag beetle Dorcus hopei.
pupae: Kaiyodo (Choco Q Animatales – three versions)
adults: Bandai (Bugs Museum); F-toys (Beetle Battle; Insect Hunter); Hayakwa Toys; Kaiyodo (Capsule Q Museum – Stag Beetles); Rement; Sega (a few versions); Colorata (Tropical Rain Forest Stag Beetles); DeAgostini (World Insects Data Book); Kitan Club – Nature Techni Colour (Nature of Japan); Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. (B.I.G. Beetles); Wing Mau.

Volume 3 [released 2015]

1. paper kite, Idea leuconoe.
pupa: Yujin (Insects of Japan)
adults: K&M International (Butterfly Mini Polybag; Butterfly Nature Tube); Safari LTD (Authentics Butterflies; Butterflies of the World Collectors Case); Yujin (Insects of Japan); also, a French feve.

2. commercial silkworm moth, Bombyx mori.
larva: Shineg (Larvae Moei)
pupa: Shineg (Larvae Moei)
adult: Kaiyodo (Sticky Tack Insect Set)
life cycle: Insect Lore

3. great orangetip, Hebomoia glaucippe.
adults: K&M International (Butterfly Mini Polybag); Safari LTD (Butterflies of the World Collectors Case); Steal Street; U.S. Toy; plus a few of unknown manufacturer.

4. oleander sparrow, Daphnis nerii.
UNIQUE species

5. common map, Cyrestis thyodamas.
UNIQUE species

Yujin / Re: Insects of Japan Vol. 1 (Yujin)
« on: October 04, 2017, 11:08:19 PM »
Thanks Marcel

If I see them individually I might pursue them, but it's not worth the cost of a whole new set for a couple color and one gender differences (although the different gender of dragonflies is more tempting).

Other/Miscellaneous / Re: Insect Magnets (Rement)
« on: October 04, 2017, 08:51:04 PM »
This is the secret D. hercules.

Nice! Please tell me you have an extra for me ;-)

Yujin / Re: Insects of Japan Vol. 1 (Yujin)
« on: October 04, 2017, 08:50:10 PM »
Thanks Marcel; I hadn't realized they were different genders! Was that a secret? A later re-release? It was not part of the original set. By the way, the numbering of the figures in these sets is confusing and I do not think consistent...

Other/Miscellaneous / Insect Magnets (Rement)
« on: October 04, 2017, 02:16:38 AM »
Review of the [nearly entire] set of insects by Rement, released in 2010. I say nearly complete, because the accompanying papers suggest there was a secret figure which I do not have (the silhouette of the secret figure suggests something in the genus Dynastes.).

There are 10 primary figures in the set. They are comparable to Kaiyodo and Yujin gashapon figures at the time, but they do not require assembly. They are fairly nice, comparable to the Kaiyodo/Furuta Choco Q figures. The figures all have a somewhat unobtrusive magnet on the underside of the body.

The 10 figures are nearly all familiar Japanese/Asian species, most of which have been made several times. Only the Anoplophora chinensis is a rarity in toy/figure form. Since most of the species have been previously reviewed by me, I am not going into detailed descriptions this time.

On to the figures, based on their numerical order on the paperwork:

1. Japanese rhinoceros beetle, Allomyrina dichotoma.

2. Sawtoothed stag beetle, Prosopocoilus inclinatus.

3. Stag beetle, Dorcus hopei.

4. Cicada, Cryptotympana facialis.

5. Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarina.

6. Migratory locust, Locusta migratoria.

7. Citrus longhorned beetle, Anoplophora chinensis.

8. Golden-ringed dragonfly, Anotogaster sieboldii.

9. Japanese giant mantid, Tenodera aridifolia.

10. Asian swallowtail, Papilio xuthus.

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