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Topics - bmathison1972

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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.

Other/Miscellaneous / Amazing Ant (Becker & Meyer)
« on: February 24, 2018, 12:28:51 AM »
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:

Bullyland / Ant, male (Bullyland)
« on: February 19, 2018, 11:10:32 PM »
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!

Bullyland / Grasshopper (Bullyland)
« on: February 17, 2018, 02:57:03 PM »
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:

Bullyland / Stag Beetle (Bullyland)
« on: February 17, 2018, 12:24:57 AM »
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:

Bullyland / Lady Bug(s) (Bullyland)
« on: February 16, 2018, 03:10:59 AM »
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):

Bullyland / Rhinoceros Beetle (Bullyland)
« on: February 14, 2018, 01:19:05 AM »
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):

Other/Miscellaneous / Insects (K&M International - Magnamorphs)
« on: February 13, 2018, 12:22:10 AM »
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.

Bullyland / House Fly (Bullyland)
« on: February 12, 2018, 11:52:55 PM »
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 ;-).

Bullyland / Firefly (Bullyland)
« on: February 11, 2018, 02:17:48 AM »
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:

Walk-around of the scorpion, gen. sp. by Safari LTD, Incredible Creatures, reissued for 2018. The scorpion was not marketed at the species level. While it was originally hinted at being African during the teaser Polaroid shots released by Safari late last year, I do not think it was intended to be an African species. More likely, it was modeled after North American species Hadrurus arizonensis Ewing, 1928 or Paravaejovis spinigerus (Wood, 1863) [or a related vaejovid].

This figure is simply a reissue of the Hidden Kingdom scorpion from 2000, but with an upgraded paint job. One thing that is odd, is that while the stamp on the bottom of the figure is not the same as the 2000 model, it still has ‘2000’ stamped on the underside! Safari LTD must base copyright dates on when the initial sculpt was released.

I should also point out, the few remaining figures available from the Hidden Kingdom line have been merged with Incredible Creatures. This could be an advantage for someone like me; if Safari continues with taxonomic diversity in the IC line, this could mean more regular insects or arachnids (despite several crustaceans this is the first arachnid in the IC line, and there has been only one insect prior to the sinking of the Hidden Kingdom figures into it!).

The figure measures 17 cm (tail outstretched, but not including pedipalps), making it slightly over 1:1 for a very large specimen of H. arizonensis or roughly 2.5:1 for P. spinigerus. Like the original HK figure, the metasoma (tail) and pedipalps (pincers) are poseable.

In all honesty, unless you are a completist (with regards to taxon or company), there is probably no reason to get this if you have the 2000 release (unless you like the color better). I like it, but I am not excited for it.

On to the pics.

Out with the old, in with the new:

Scorpions are no stranger to Safari LTD over the years: Smithsonian Insects (1994), Hidden Kingdom (2000), Incredible Creatures (2018), Desert Creatures TOOB, Insects TOOB, Venomous Creatures TOOB, Authentics Insects, Cave Dwellers TOOB (2014), and Good Luck Mini (2017). The entire Safari scorpion family:

Walk-around of the California spiny lobster, Panulirus interruptus (Randall, 1840) by Safari LTD, Incredible Creatures, new for 2018. The figure is not marketed at the species level, but given its morphology, color, and that it was originally hinted at being North American, P. interruptus is the most-likely candidate. Members of this genus are morphologically similar, and I am not enough of an expert on this group to say for sure, but if we call this P interruptus (which I think I will), this will be the sixth species in the genus in toy/figure form!

This is the seventh in a growing list of crustaceans (and similar aquatic arthropods) in the Safari Incredible Creatures line, following the Sally lightfoot crab (2006), terrestrial hermit crab (2006), American/Maine lobster (2007), horseshoe crab (2008), blue crab (2010), and shrimp (2015). My hopes is that one day Safari will make miniatures of some of these (with others) in a ‘Crabs, Shrimp, and Lobsters TOOB’.

The figure is impressive, measuring 16.5 cm in length (not including antennae nor legs), and putting it in the 1:1 range. Despite its size, it is not my largest spiny lobster (I have an even larger one by Nihon Auto Toys). The detail…WOW. Absolutely incredible. Any complaints about the inaccuracies of their last IC crustacean (the 2015 shrimp) are gone here. The entire figure, even the legs and antennae, are a strong, stiff plastic. This is an incredible figure of an impressive size and amazing detail! Also, like more of Safari’s recent releases, it has a duller matte finish rather than being mostly smooth and glossy.

Enough talking, let the images speak for themselves:

Spiders Comparison

Ever get small, yet relatively realistic, spiders in lots or bin sets? Ever wonder what the species is or who makes them? Me too! I am creating this comparative thread to show the figures that were released in four spider-centric sets in the mid-late 1990s, and beyond. Three sets are by major brands: Play Visions, Club Earth, and K&M International. The fourth set is by a currently unknown manufacturer that essentially copied the Club Earth set.

Below are the sets, their release year (when known), and species composition. I am lucky to have every figure except one (does anyone have an extra Club Earth black widow?).

I. Play Visions – Habitat Earth: Tarantulas and Spiders
Release Year: 1995
Set Review:

Figures, left to right, top to bottom:

1. Indian ornamental tarantula, Poecilotheria regalis
2. Costa Rican zebra tarantula, Aphonopelma seemanni
3. Mexican red-kneed tarantula, Brachypelma smithi
4. black widow, Latrodectus mactans
5. green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans
6. black-and-yellow argiope, Argiope aurantia

II. Club Earth – Spiders to Go
Release Year: unknown
Set Review:

Figures, left to right, top to bottom: argiope, Argiope aurantia
2. black widow, Latrodectus mactans [image courtesy of froggie – this is the one figure in all four sets I am still missing…]
3. wolf spider, gen sp. (possibly Lycosa tarantula)
4. red widow, Latrodectus bishopi
5. funnel-web spider, Megahexura fulva [note, at the time of this writing, this species is misidentified on TAI as Atrax robustus]
6. crab spider, Thomisus onustus
7. crab spider, Misumena vatia
8. purseweb spider, Sphodros rufipes [note, at the time of this writing this species is misidentified on TAI as Atypus sp.]
9. spitting spider, Scytodes thoracica
10. raft spider, Dolomedes plantarius
11. cobalt blue tarantula, Haplopelma lividum
12. tarantula, gen. sp. [I have tentatively identified this as an immature greenbottle blue tarantula, Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens]

III. K&M International – Spiders Bulk
Release Year: 1997
Set Review:

Figures, left to right, top to bottom:

1. desert tarantula, Aphonopelma chalcodes
2. black widow, Latrodectus mactans
3. African baboon spider, Pelinobius muticus
4. spiny orb-weaver, Gasteracantha cancriformis
5. Mabel orchard spider, Leucauge venusta
6. St. Andrew's cross spider, Argiope keyserlingi

IV. unknown manufacturer; a set of predominately Club Earth knock-offs
Release Year: unknown
Set Review:

Figures, left to right, top to bottom:

A. black widow, Lactrodectes mactans [labeled ‘red widow’ on the underside; same sculpt as H (below)]
B. crab spider, gen. sp.
C. purseweb spider, Sphodros rufipes
D. raft spider, Dolomedes plantarius
E. green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans
F. spitting spider, Scytodes thoracica
G. Costa Rican zebra tarantula, Aphonopelma seemanni
H. red widow, Latrodectus bishop
I. tarantula, gen. sp. [this might represent the Mexican red-kneed tarantula, Brachypelma smithi]
J. crab spider, Thomisus onustus (blue morph)
K. tarantula, gen. sp. [I am thinking this might be an immature greenbottle blue tarantula, Chromopelma cyaneopubescens]
L. tarantula, gen. sp. [this is labeled 'tarantula' but is modeled after the CE 'wolf spider'; perhaps it is Lycosa tarantula?]

Other/Miscellaneous / Spiders to Go (Club Earth)
« on: January 25, 2018, 11:04:41 PM »
Review of the complete set of Spiders to Go by Club Earth (year unknown). Having recently reviewed similar sets of small spider figures by Play Visions (, K&M International ( and a set of unknown origin (, I am now doing a review of the Club Earth set in preparation for a comparative study of the four sets.

There are 12 figures in this set. Each one is labeled on the underside with a common name and a number ranging from 1-12; there is no company name or logo on the underside. At the time of its release, most of these figures were unique at the species level, and if not for the aforementioned set by an unknown manufacturer (as well as other knock-offs), most of these still would be unique!

The Latin names are mine, most of these were clearly influenced by the book, The Golden Guide to Spiders and their Kin by Levi and Levi (I have the 1987 edition). If you disagree with my identifications, please consult that reference to understand my position :).

Credit for the black widow image below is courtesy of froggie, since it is the one I still do not have!

On to the figures in numerical order: argiope, Argiope aurantia.

2. black widow, Latrodectus mactans.

3. wolf spider, gen sp. (possibly Lycosa tarantula).

4. red widow, Latrodectus bishopi

5. funnel-web spider, Megahexura fulva.
Note, at the time of this writing, this species is misidentified on TAI as Atrax robustus.

6. crab spider, Thomisus onustus.

7. crab spider, Misumena vatia.

8. purseweb spider, Sphodros rufipes.
Note, at the time of this writing this species is misidentified on TAI as Atypus sp.

9. spitting spider, Scytodes thoracica.

10. raft spider, Dolomedes plantarius.

11. cobalt blue tarantula, Haplopelma lividum.

12. tarantula, gen. sp.
I have tentatively identified this as an immature greenbottle blue tarantula, Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens.

Other/Miscellaneous / Spiders (unknown manufacturer)
« on: January 20, 2018, 05:43:58 PM »
In preparation for a comparison topic on small spider figures, I need to do a review of an interesting set of spiders of unknown origin. I have already reviewed the sets by K&M International ( and Play Visions ( and within the next couple weeks, I plan to do one for the Club Earth Spiders to Go. But for a comparison topic to be complete, we must also visit this intriguing set.

The set, assuming it is complete (my figures are labeled A-L), is clearly influenced by Club Earth and PV. The figures are actually nice, and made of a good quality PVC. They are labeled on the underside with a common name and a letter (A-L), but no company. There are several other sets like this floating around out there, in my collection I have sets of crabs and caterpillars, and I believe there are also tropical fish and birds. I bought my figures individually in large barrels at the gift shop of the Rain Forest Cafe in Tempe AZ, sometime between 2001 and 2005 I believe.

The following figures are listed in alphabetical order of the letter stamped on the bottom. The common name is what is printed on the bottom; the Latin names are of my assigning. I am also listing when these species are included in the aforementioned PV, CE, and K&M sets (only).

A. ‘black’ widow, Lactrodectes mactans
I put ‘black’ in quotation marks because technically this figure is labeled ‘red widow’, as they used the same sculpt as for H, below. They did however stamp it with the letter A rather than H (interesting they made the effort to change the letter but not the spider’s name).
This species shows up in all four sets.

B. crab spider, gen. sp.
I cannot attribute this figure to an exact species based on this color pattern. The Club Earth set did have two crab spiders (see also J, below) but neither were colored like this.

C. purseweb spider, Sphodros rufipes.
This species is also in the Club Earth set.

D. raft spider, Dolomedes plantarius
This species also shows up in the Club Earth set.

E. green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans
This species shows up in the Play Visions set.

F. spitting spider, Scytodes thoracica.
This species shows up in the Club Earth set.

G. Costa Rican zebra tarantula, Aphonopelma seemanni.
This species shows up in the Play Visions set.

H. red widow, Latrodectus bishop
This species shows up in the Club Earth Set.

I. tarantula, gen. sp.
This might represent the Mexican red-kneed tarantula, Brachypelma smithi, which is also in the Play Visions set.

J. crab spider, Thomisus onustus.
This species shows up in the Club Earth set, albeit as the more-familiar pink form (in nature, this species is highly variable, as are many crab spiders). The ‘J’ on the underside is juxtaposed, looking more like a soft ‘L’.

K. tarantula, gen. sp.
This figure is very similar to the generic tarantula in the Club Earth set. I do not have a definitive identification, but I am thinking it is an immature greenbottle blue tarantula, Chromopelma cyaneopubescens.

L. tarantula, gen. sp.
This generic ‘tarantula’ is not immediately attributable to any species, nor figures in the other sets. It is labeled 'tarantula' but is modeled after the CE 'wolf spider'; perhaps it is Lycosa tarantula?

Classifieds / still need a few miscellaneous items...
« on: January 20, 2018, 02:27:40 PM »
Refreshing my interest to see if I can get a couple last few items:

I still need a couple figures to complete a couple sets.

1. PV Ticks, Fleas, and Lice: I still need the pubic louse, Pthirus pubis.

2. Club Earth Spiders to Go: I still need just the black widow

Other things of interest:

3. New Ray scorpion, grasshopper, and hawkmoth caterpillar
4. Safari Smithsonian monarch (adult)

For trade I have:

1. almost all of the PV exotic insects (only missing the leaf insect): [trade does not have to be 1:1; I can let a few of these go for 1 or 2, above]

2. Several Fri Homa Eigelb Figuren: [I can let this whole set go for one or more figures]

Other/Miscellaneous / Butterflies (Land and Sea Collectibles)
« on: January 18, 2018, 03:05:00 AM »
So, one day on eBay I stumbled upon four small, interesting butterfly figurines (first image, below) by Land and Sea Collectibles. I bought them, and then started snooping around and eventually found their site. On their site, I saw a set of a dozen similar, but looking slightly different, butterflies. I ordered that set to see how they compare (are there multiple series, etc.). Land and Sea offers many 'miniature' animals like these; they are intended to be accessories for 'fairy gardens' (a popular horticultural activity).

When the first set from eBay came, I was very impressed. The four figures were well-detailed and sat upon a small base simulating wood. I am not sure, but the figures might be made of fiberglass? Feels too light to be resin or stonecast. Anyway I was impressed by them, especially since they gave me two new species (identifications are mine) and one species that I only have as a flat magnet figurine. I should point out that the painting on the ventral side is not accurate; it simply mirrors the dorsal side (which is accurate for each species). I can forgive that, given the detail they do possess at a small size.

Clockwise from top left:
1. The danaid eggfly, or mimic, Hypolimnas misippus, a new species for me [Parasarpa (ex: Limenitis) albomaculata also a good match, but I thought the shape of the white macula on the hind wings was a better shape for the former]
2. The gulf fritillary, Agraulis vanillae.
3. The red admiral, Vanessa atalanta.
4. The crimson patch, Chlosyne janais, the other new species

When I received the 12 butterflies from the actual site, I was disappointed. The 12 figures were essentially the same design, but painted differently and with slightly different bases. They remind me more of the previously-reviewed Steel Street butterflies. I took pics of six of them here, the ones I'll retain. They're nothing special but I'll keep at least these six for now. I am not even going to try to put species' names on them; even if they might slightly resemble something legit, I am sure they are all generically painted. Also, figurines in this set seem to be made of a stonecast-like material, not as light and graceful as the first four.

I am curious why there are two sets of such different styles and quality. When the second set, direct from Land and Sea, came, there was a catalog too, but I could not find anything like those first four in it. They must represent a retired set. I hope if the first four represent a larger set, I can find additional species.

Customised figures / Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus)
« on: January 13, 2018, 09:10:09 PM »
this is something I made for the STS Forum's Third Annual Custom Figure Swap. Essentially, you are given someone to make/customize/repaint a figure for, and someone does it for you. The person you are making it for is not the person you are making yours for. Anyway I thought I would share it here, too. This is a cut-and-paste of what I posted on STS:

This little bird is currently flying to his new home:

It's the Andean cock-of-the-rock, Rupicola peruvianus. Now, I am not a painter, and certianly not a sculptor. This is the very first bird I ever made. I chose it because with the rather robust form and solid, bold colors even I should be able to manage one hahaha. I also chose this species because it might be a 'unique' species in figure form(?). The recipient of this figure does have a preference for mammals, but I would be even worse at mammals; besides this person is also interested in birds so I hope it will be well received.

Now I just hope hope hope it makes it safely. For one I hope I packed it ok, and then I actually had a rather unpleasant experience with the person at the post office which has me worrying more  :-\. But fingers crossed it lands at its new home ok!!   :D

It will be coming in two pieces, and there is a small peg on the bottom of the bird to insert onto its rock/feet.

Oh well, I hope this is OK; this is all a totally new realm for me!!!

The final product:

Other/Miscellaneous / Insect World (Battat Terra)
« on: January 11, 2018, 12:43:46 AM »
Review of the set, Insect World by Battat Terra, new for 2017. So, I stumbled upon this set on while searching for something else. I did not have any interest in it, as I assumed it would contain the usual generic Toy Major-style figures (I was proven correct). However, at work we were given $10 gift cards for Amazon. So, I figured since I could get the set for half-off, might as well take a look to see what it's like.

Like all of the Terra 'bucket' sets, it consists of 60 figures, 5 each of 12 different sculpts. I knew this ahead of time and was not expecting 60 different figures (that would have been nice LOL). When I saw them, my hunch was confirmed, these are all the generic 'chinabug' style popularized by Toy Major and its knock-offs. They are made of a stronger, firmer plastic, and the paint seems darker, but the sculpts are essentially the same (the smaller of the two spiders does seem different however).

The undersides are not labeled with creature name, company name, nor any series numbers or letters, so if these got mixed up with other chinabugs, you might not remember what belongs to this set ;-)

Since there is nothing really exciting here, I took two pics of 6 each. I didn't feel it was worth the time to take individual pics for each item (I might down the road someday).

I'll probably throw in sets of 12 as extras during exchanges, etc...

1. the bucket:

2. cicada, bee, ant, fly, dragonfly, ladybug:

3: scorpion, spider (two styles), grasshopper, mantis, cricket:

Other/Miscellaneous / Scorpion Anatomy Model (4D Master)
« on: January 10, 2018, 01:25:59 AM »
Walk-around and review of the Scorpion Anatomy Model by 4D Master (2009). The model represents the emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator (Koch, 1842). I have been eyeing this model for a while and finally decided to get it when I could get one on eBay from the US. There is a tarantula as well (not to mention several non-arthropods including a snail, mammals, reptiles, and possibly more) [I thought brontodocus had reviewed one of them but if so I cannot find it].

The model comes disassembled in 29 pieces. A few pieces are clear to view the interior anatomy. This is a very high-quality model, made of vary hard, high-quality plastic. It takes some strength to get some of the pieces in, but it a tight fit once secure. The pincers on the end of the pedipalps have a ball-and-socket connection and the claws themselves are articulated. The detail is superior and is probably the best emperor scorpion model/figure available (we'll see how it compares to the Kaiyodo Sofubi Toy Box model later this year). This was clearly designed to be used as a display model and teaching aid, at a level of quality to be used at the university level! The figure is also VERY big (I was astonished by the size of the box it was shipped in!); I did not measure it, but it appears to be about twice the size of the Safari Smithsonian figure, which would make it 4:1 for a large specimen.

The figure comes with a small base and a peg with which to attach it. It also comes with a booklet with information of scorpions (anatomy, biology, etc.) and assembly instructions.

After seeing the quality, I am tempted to invest in the tarantula next, but not sure if I have room right now for another of this size ;-)

On to the pics:

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