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Topics - bmathison1972

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Other/Miscellaneous / Insects (K&M International - Itsy Bitsies)
« on: December 11, 2017, 12:38:24 AM »
Review of the complete set of Insects by K&M International's Itsy Bitsies series (2009). Recent discussions on the COG Itsy Bitsy bucket of Reptiles got me researching to see if they had a bucket of insects. Nothing by COG, but I did come across this set by K&M International (did K&M take over and re-release COG sets, or is this something entirely different with a similar name?)

It was available on Amazon cheap enough, so I decided to invest in it. Honestly, I was expecting the usual Toy Major-style fare of generic toy bugs. And while many of these are generic, they represent sculpts I have not seen before (and I collect most every variation of generic toy bugs), and they are made of a relatively sturdy, quality plastic.

There are 17 critters, plus a small plant and a plastic rock, all packed within a bucket measuring 9 cm high and 8 cm in diameter. The insects are about 30-45 mm each. A few of them appear to be miniature versions of insects from their Polyvinyl bag set.

The bucket:

Beetles. Now there are some interesting things here. There is a longhorned beetle (might be able to get a genus on it), and a carabid that most-certainly represents Carabus, even painted more like on than the Polyvinyl bag set (the European C. intricatus comes to mind early). There is also a short-winged beetle that may represent the same Polybag figure that, when repainted, looks a lot like a nicrophorine carrion beetle. There also appears to be a possible Cicindela (sens. lato). The lady bug is generic fare.

Orthopteroids. Pretty generic fare of a mantis, grasshopper, and cricket.

Odonota and Hemiptera. The dragonfly is generic, well all three are, but I really like the stink bug and little cicada!

Hymenoptera and Diptera. Usual fare here too, with winged and wingless ants (rather like the latter), bee, and fly.

Arachnids. Generic scorpion and spider; at least the scorpion has a raised tail and for a small generic figure, accurately has 8 legs (many generic bin scorpions are made with 6 legs).

Lepidoptera. Here is the one butterfly, a swallowtail with its wings raised, along with the plant and rock. I might permanently attach the butterfly to the plant (and maybe the lady bug or ant to the rock) to make permanent mini-bases :)

New for 2018 / Mojo Fun - New for 2018
« on: December 03, 2017, 06:44:23 PM »
No one has started a Mojo thread, so I guess I will. I admit, I am snagging these from STS Forum. If anyone from Mojo objects to them being here, I will delete the images promptly.

In no particular order:

black bear, cub

rabbit, standing

domestic turkey

Jack Russell terrier

rabbit, laying

great-horned owl

Labrador, adult

Labrador, puppy



cobra [looks like a king cobra]

Friesian, gelding

manta ray

spotted eagle ray


humphead wrasse

Shibba Enu

thoroughbred horse

Dutch warmblood

mustangs (two color forms)

elephant seal

Review of the complete set of the Sanitary Insect Pest Exhibition by Kaiyodo (2015). This is an arthropod-centric set focusing on insects of public health importance, whether by parasitism, envenomation, or household pests. There are five figures, and all of them are unique to uncommonly made (at least at the species level; and since this is a Kaiyodo set, the figures are marketed at the species level with Latin names). I had originally done walkarounds on the ATF for the cockroach and pubic louse, but they were lost during the Photobucket purge and not replaced.

The figures are typical gashapon-sized. All come as a single piece except for the cockroach. All are free-standing except for the flea which comes with a detachable base.

As a professional parasitologist and entomologist, this set has a special place with me, much like the Fleas, Lice, and Ticks set by Play Visions.

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

1. Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarina.
This is the only species that has been semi-routinely made, and this figure is almost identical to the original Kaiyodo Choco Q figure (the front legs are held at a slightly different angle). Other figures are by Yujin, Rement, and Takara Tomy A.R.T.S.; Shineg made a larva.

2. Smoky-brown cockroach, Periplaneta fulginosa.
This figure was unique at the species level when first released, but Kaiyodo has since released a nymph a year later as part of the Sticky Tack Insect set.

3. Pubic louse, Pthirus pubis.
This is one of the boldest species ever made in figure form, and the only other one I am aware of is in the aforementioned Play Visions set (which remains to this date one of my last Holy Grail figures to acquire...).

4. Blow fly, Lucilia caesar.
This species is included in this set as its larvae can cause facultative myiasis. This figure is unique at the species level, however another species in the genus was made by Skillcraft.

5. Human flea, Pulex irritans.
This figure is unique at the genus and species level. Other flea figures are marketed as, or clearly attributable to, the genus Ctenocephalides (cat and dog fleas). The base allows this laterally-flattened figure to be displayed well!

Other/Miscellaneous / Floral Egg Crab (Epoch - Poisonous Creatures)
« on: December 03, 2017, 12:10:42 AM »
Walkaround of the floral egg crab, Atergatis floridus (Linnaeus, 1767) by Epoch, Poisonous Creatures (unknown date). I think the official name of the set may have been 'The Poison'. My translating software isn't being consistent. Atergatis floridus is distributed from southeast Asia to Australia to Hawaii, where it lives on coral and rocky shores. The species epithet floridus refers to the floral pattern on its carapace; it does not occur in Florida nor the southeastern United States (at least natively). If you wonder why a crab was included in a set of poisonous creatures (there were two actually, including a coconut crab), it is because this species can be very poisonous when eaten!

This figure has been a Holy Grail figure of mine. All three arthropods in the set, but this one in particular because it is a 'unique' species! The other arthropods were the aforementioned coconot crab and an emperor scorpion. There was also three kinds of poison dart frogs, a Gila monster, and a cow fish. The 'secret' was a cooked coconut crab on a platter.

The figure, unlike the other two arthropods in the set, is solid-piece of PVC. The carapace is 30 mm across, making it 1:3 for an average-sized specimen. It comes with a half-eaten fish prey (that does not attach to it). Unlike other figures in the set, it does not come with a base. Bases for Epoch figures usually do not have a means of secure attachment.

On to the pics:

Other/Miscellaneous / Encyclopedia of Insects Vol. 3 (F-toys)
« on: December 02, 2017, 10:50:25 PM »
Review of the set of Encyclopedia of Insects Vol. 3 by F-toys (2007). This is a set I was aware of online, seeing other collectors' posted collections. I did not think I would ever see it again. Beetle Guy alerted me to it on the Japanese Yahoo! auctions, and I was able to secure it with the help of Brett and Emiko! There are six basic figures, plus a 'secret' that is a color variant of the Lamprima adolphinae. Also, there was an opportunity to mail in the packaging and get three color variants of the female of L. adolphinae. Unfortunately, if my translation software is working correctly, that opportunity expired in 2009  >:(. I am curious what species were in the first two volumes...

None of my other F-toys beetle sets date back to 2007. They are really nice. They seem quite delicate (a leg actually broke off in transit, and they were secure within their original packaging!) and there is not the usual mobility of appendages as seen with F-toys current figures. The size variation within the set lead me to believe, and Beetle Guy confirmed, are all 1:1. Also, unlike current F-toys figures, they come with a collector's card with information on the critter. Measurements on the collector's cards confirmed they are all 1:1 as well.

Two of the species are relatively commonly made, the others are not, although none are unique. One or two might have been unique at the time of its original release. There is also more geographic variation seen here than more recent F-toys sets.

On to the figures, in numerical order on the packaging and cards:

1. Lamprima adolphinae.
Not including the color variant and three female options here, I have two other figures of this species. One by DeAgostini (World of Insects Data Book) and Sega (small series, standard).

2. Phalacrognathus muelleri.
This is another that is not commonly made. DeAgostini made a male and a female (secret) for the World of Insects Data Book collection. Other figures are by Cadbury (Yowies - Australian release), XX, and Colorata (Tropical Rain Forest Stag Beetles). If Sega made one, I do not have it yet.

3. Mesotopus tarandus
This is one of the more commonly-made species. I have 10 other figures by 3 manufacturers (OK, 7 of those are Sega variants!).

4. Cyclommatus metallifer
I have nine figures of this genus total, but they represent five species. I only have two others of this particular one, by DeAgostini (World of Insects Data Book) and 4D Master.

5. Allotopus rosenbergi.
This is the other commonly-made species. I have 12 other figures by six manufacturers (and seven are Sega variants).

6. Chrysochroa fulgidissima.
A buprestid is a welcome addition by a company that predominately makes scarabaeoids. I have two other figures of this species, by Yujin (Insects of Japan) and a small, boxed figure by an unknown Japanese manufacturer. There are also two additional species in figure form.

7. SECRET: Lamprima adolphinae (blue variant)
This is merely a color variant of number 1, above (although the head does angle in a different direction).

The complete set, showing size variations (and before I fixed the M. tarandus leg):

Colorata / Coconut Crab (Colorata - Yanbaru Creatures)
« on: December 02, 2017, 10:19:27 PM »
Walk-around of the coconut crab, Birgus latro (Linnaeus, 1767) by Colorata, Yanbaru Creatures, No. 8, new for 2017. The coconut crab is the largest terrestrial hermit crab (but only their young utilize an abandoned mollusk shell for protection). It occurs on many islands throughout the Indian and South Pacific Oceans, including Japan, hence it's inclusion in a set of animals from Yanbaru, a forested region of Okinawa Island.

Colorata figures are hard to get individually. I had to buy the whole set. Luckily I found a buyer on STS forum to take the remainders. I sold him the six non-arthropods for half the cost of the set. Still, I saved money this way rather than if I had I bought them individually (and who knows when that opportunity would have come along). I let him have the collector's box but since I paid the fees, I took the booklet :).

The figure is a single-piece of plastic. Based on the carapace width (20 mm), the figure is roughly 1:10 in size. It comes with a nicely-detailed habitat-style base. Small holes on the underside of the crab and the upper side of the base allow it to be snugly, yet not permanently, attached to is base. The rod is clear and can be cut to the desired length.

Coconut crabs are surprisingly rare as toys. This is only my fourth, the others being by Epoch (Poisonous Creatures - yes, despite that this crab is a delicacy, it can be poisonous to eat depending on its diet), Yujin (Shrimps and Crabs Collection), and Kaiyodo (Okinawa Figure Collection).

On to the pics:

Finally, its page from the accompanying booklet:

Other/Miscellaneous / boxed insect figures (unknown manufacturer)
« on: November 23, 2017, 02:07:02 PM »
This is the review of a set (complete?) of small, stylized boxed insects from an unknown Japanese manufacturer. I bought them from Beetle Guy, who got them in a large mixed lot. I have no idea who made them, what year they were released, or if the set is complete or not. I do know that among these 10 simple figures, I added six new species and three new genera to my synthetic insect collection ;-).

As I said the figures are stylized, but not to the point I could not made a decent attempt to identify them. Eventually and entomology colleague originally from Korea helped with the names on the back and confirmed or corrected my initial hunches (I had all the genera correct, just 1-2 species were off).

The figures sit in a nest of cotton and are contained within a small box that measures 50 mm x 35 mm x 17 mm. The box is a hard plastic, but the clear top is soft and taped on (so it does not have a hard clear cover). The boxes all interlock so it can form one unit (see the first pic below). On the back (in Japanese) is the scientific name, order, family, and a little biological information. The figures can be removed from the boxes (but I will display them boxed up).

I know this set is not for everyone, but it’s a great chance to get some very interesting species.

This first pic shows the interlocked set (note the numbers were for another post and do not correspond to the individual images below). The Japanese text on the right is a mirror image of the figures on the left so if you want to match figure with text, you must mentally flip the image horizontally :).

And on to individual figures:

1. Deraeocoris ater
This is a unique species for me, at both the genus and species levels. Terrestrial Heteroptera are not common, so I am always excited to get one. This is the figure that inspired me to contact my Korean colleague, since he is an expert on Miridae.

2. Nezara antennata (green stink bug)
I originally had this identified as the more familiar, N. viridula but apparently it is intended to be N. antennata. Another unique figure at both the genus and species levels, and another terrestrial heteropteran.

3. Anoplophora chinenses (Asian citrus longhorned beetle)
This figure is marketed as A. malasiaca, which is generally considered a synonym of A. chinensis, and I will consider here as well unless otherwise convinced. This species was also made by Rement and Hayakwa Toys.

4. Allomyrina dichotoma (Japanese rhinoceros beetle)
No set of Asian insects would be complete without this species. This little gem marks my 45th figure of this species! It has been made by over a dozen manufacturers!

5. Parasteatoda tepidariorum (common house spider)
This was a pleasant surprise, a spider marketed to the species level (and a unique figure for me at both the genus and species levels). This spider is in the same family of the widows (Theridiidae) and marks my first member of the family not in the genus Latrodectus.

6. Carabus insulicola (left) and C. gehinii (right).
Two unique species of Asian carabines is a nice treat! The only other species in this genus I am aware of is C. auratus which was made by Bullyland and Kaiyodo. K&M International had a Carabus species in their European Garden Tube.

7. Chrysochroa fulgidissima (left) and C. buqueti rugicollis (right).
Two jewel beetles. The former has been made by Yujin and F-toys (the latter of which should be coming to me soon from Brett). The second species is unique. A third species, C. limbata was made by DeAgostini.

8. Coccinella septempunctata (seven-spotted ladybug)
Another commonly-made species, but a welcome addition to this set.

Other/Miscellaneous / The Greatest Beetle Legend (Maruka)
« on: November 23, 2017, 04:53:27 AM »
Review of the complete set of The Greatest Beetle Legend by Maruka. I was completely unfamiliar with this brand when I stumbled upon this set on the Japanese Yahoo! auctions. At a glance in the packaging, the figures appeared to be knock-offs of small Sega or Kabaya figures, but in fact they all appear to be original sculpts (well, original compared to anything else I have). They all have a round, flat surface on the bottom which suggests they may have been copied from something with magnets? If they are copies or knock-offs, I am not sure of what.

There are eight figures, each representing major males of large flashy scarabaeoid beetles (as the name of the set suggests). None of these species are uncommonly made, and they represent fairly standard fare. The Lucanus cervus is uncommon among Japanese manufacturers, so that was a pleasant surprise (even though it is commonly made outside of Japan). The figures are the same size as small Sega beetles or most gashapon-style figures. They solid-piece PVC and have detailed texture. Some are more accurate than others...

The figures came in a blister pack. On the back, the figures are identified to the species level., along with their Japanese names and some other stats in Japanese.

I am going to forgo my usual breakdown of each species, and all the companies that made each of these species, since all of these species are commonly made in toy/figure form and have been previously covered in other reviews of mine. So, on to the pics (in numerical order on the packaging):

001. Dynastes hercules.

002. Lucanus cervus.

003. Chalcosoma moellenkampi.

004. Prosopocoilus giraffa keisukei.

005. Prosopocoilus inclinatus.

006. Allomyrina dichotoma. [marketed as Trypoxylus dichotomus]

007. Chalcosoma caucasus.

008. Megasoma elephus.

Other/Miscellaneous / Blaine's Sega Beetles
« on: November 19, 2017, 05:55:31 PM »
So, I have been acquiring a lot of Sega beetles lately, and there has been some interest on STS to review them. So, this post is specifically the Sega beetles I have in my personal collection.

Sega made A LOT of sets containing primarily, if not entirely, stag beetles (Lucanidae) and rhinoceros beetles (Scaraebaeidae: Dynastinae). That is a lot of figures for only two suprageneric taxa! Figures can vary from very small to very large; some are solid, some are articulated; some require assembly, others not; some are flying; some are on bases. Many are marketed under the brand 'Mushi King' which I believe is a Pokemon-like card game. Beetle Guy on the AFT is an expert on Sega beetle figures and I am sure he will embellish more on what I am presenting here.

The thread is not to do a comprehensive review of all Sega figures, but rather to highlight the sets and figures in my personal collection (and frankly, help me organize what is what--when you get so many versions of the same species, it can be hard to keep things straight!).

Feel free to comment all you want, but as with my 'Bug of the Day' thread I ask that you do not post images to this thread. I want everything to be mine for logistical reasons.

So, without further rambling, here are my Sega beetles. Posts will be updated as I add figures.

1. Large series, standard. These are very large figures, many probably 1:1 if not larger. I am not sure how many were made, but at the time of this writing, I have the following four. All are stamped with the year 2003. Some assembly (legs) are required.

Left to right, top to bottom: Mesotopus tarandus, Dorcus titanus palawanicus, Allotopus rosenbergi, Megasoma actaeon.

2. Large Series, DX.
These are the ‘Deluxe’ versions of the larger figures, with slightly better materials and paint jobs (although the large standard figures are very nice as they are). Again, I am not sure how many were made, nor are any of them stamped with the year they were released. Like the standard figures, some assembly is required, the legs and sometimes the prothorax-mesothorax juncture.

From left to right, top to bottom:
Prosopocoilus giraffa, Dorcus alcides, Megasoma actaeon, Megasoma mars, Dorcus titanus palawanicus

From left to right, top to bottom:
Mesotopus tarandus, Dynasts hyllus, Allomyrina dichotoma, Dynastes hercules

3. Small Series, standard
This is the largest series I believe. There were (at least) 100 figures spread over 10+ sets. While there are a few duplications for color morphs, etc., the vast majority of the figures represent different species. At the time of this writing I have 62 of them. They are small, roughly gashapon-sized, single-piece plastic and very realistic for their size. Many are unique at the species if not genus level! The following are shown in alphabetical order for my convenience:

From left to right, top to bottom: Aegus platyodon, Allomyrina dichotoma, Allomyrina pfeifferi celebensis, Allotopus rosenbergi, Augosoma centaurus, Beckius beccarii, Beckius koletta, Chalcosoma caucasus, Chalcosoma moellenkampi, Chiasognathus granti, Cyclommatus elephus, Dipelicus cantori.

The Dorcus species, left to right, top to bottom: D. alcides, D. grandis, D. hopei binodulosus, D. rectus, D. rubrofemoratus, D. tityus.

The Dynastes species, left to right, top to bottom: D. granti, D. hercules, D. hercules (blue morph), D. hyllus, D. neptunus, D. satanas.

Left to right, top to bottom: Eupatorus gracilicornis, E. gracilicornis edai, Eupatorus hardwickei, Eupatorus siamensis, Golofa pizzaro, Heterogomphus hirtus, Hexarthrius forsteri, Hexarthrius mandibularis, Homoderus mellyi.

Left to right, top to bottom: Lamprima adolphinae, Licomedes buckleyi, Lucanus gamunus, Megasoma actaeon, Megasoma gyas rumbucheri, Megasoma mars, Mesotopus tarandus, Neolucanus delicatus, Neolucanus maximus.

Odontolabis species, left to right, top to bottom: O. burmeisteri, O. cypri, O. duivenbodei, O. imperialis, O. spectabilis.

Left to right, top to bottom: Oryctes gigas, Prosopocoilus fabricea, P. giraffa, P. hasterti, P. inclinatus, P. wallacei, Rhaetulus didieri, Rhaetulus speciosus.

Left to right, top to bottom: Rhyssonotus nebulosus, Scapenes australis, Sphaenognathus feistameli, Strategus mandibularis, Trichogomphus martabani, Xylotrupes gideon, X. pubescens.

4. Small series, DX
These are the ‘DX’ versions of the small standard figures. I know very little about them, and at the time of this writing I only have the following two (Allotopus rosenbergi and Golofa porteri). I doubt there are 100 different figures, however.

5. Mushi King.
There are several sets under the name ‘Mushi King’ (I think they were all affiliated with card games). If I remember, my twelve figures are from two sets of 6. They are all stamped ‘2003’. I am not sure how many others came like this on bases. They can swivel on the bases but cannot be removed from them.

Left to right, top to bottom: Megasoma elephas, Dorcus hopei, Mesotopus tarandus, Lucanus maculifemoratus, Dynastes neptunus, Dynastes hercules, Dynastes granti, Allomyrina dichotoma, Odontolabis burmeisteri, Prosopocoilus giraffa, Allotopus rosenbergi, Chalcosoma caucasus.

6. Mushi King – magnet set
These six figures are small, even smaller than the small standard and DX sets. I have six figures, which probably represents a complete set but I am not sure. They all have a small, unobtrusive magnet on the underside.

Left to right, top to bottom: Chalcosoma caucasus, Dorcus grandis, Allotopus rosenbergi, Dynastes hercules, Megasoma actaeon, Mesotopus tarandus

7. Mushi King – Flying Beetles
There were at least two sets of beetles depicted in flight. I have a complete set from 2005 and a partial set from 2006. Some assembly is required, notably, the attachment of the elytra and flying wings, sometimes also the pro-mesothorax juncture. They are all elevated on clear rods and bases and attach in a hole on the bottom of the prothorax (making the figures a little back-heavy). The PVC is relatively soft on these. Where species are duplicated, the sculpts are not 100% identical.

2005 set (complete), clockwise from top: Allomyrina dichotoma, Prosopocoilus giraffa, Dorcus hopei, Dorcus rectus, Mesotopus tarandus, Dynastes hercules.

2006 (partial), clockwise from upper left: Dynastes hercules (blue morph), Chalcosoma moellenkampi, Prosopocoilus giraffa, Dynastes satanas.

8. Mushi King – Fighting Beetles
These figures seem to have been made for some game whereby one figure can ‘flip’ over another by means of an articulation between the pro- and mesothorax. Again, I am not sure how many there are, but my figures are stamped with years 2003, 2005, and 2006 so there were at least three sets. These are normally something I would not collect, but after getting a few free from Beetle Guy, I decided to invest in more.

Left to right, top to bottom: Dynastes neptunus, Dorcus hopei, Hexarthrius mandibularis, Chalcosoma atlas, Xylotrupes gideon, Prosopocoilus inclinatus, Megasoma actaeon, Allomyrina dichotoma (black), Eupatorus gracillicornis, Odontolabis burmeisteri, Allomyrina dichotoma (brown), Rhaetulus speciosus, Dynastes hyllus.

9. Trunk Figures
These figures are small (the tree trunks are roughly 20 mm long) and single-piece plastic. I am not sure if this set if complete or not (or maybe multiple sets together), but it's one of my favorites. Because of their small size, it was sometimes hard to confirm the identifications.

1. Lucanus maculifemoratus
2. Mesotopus tarandus
3. Dorcus rectus
4. Dorcus hopei
5. Hexarthrius mandibularis
6. Prosopocoilus inclinatus
7. Megasoma elephas
8. Chalcosoma moellenkampi

9. Dynastes granti
10. Allotopus rosenbergi
11. Xyotrupes gideon
12. Allomyrina dichotoma
13. Chalcosoma atlas
14. Chalcosoma caucasus
15. Dynastes herculus
16. Allomyrina dichotoma (anime style)

10. Miscellaneous figures
These are random figures made by Sega. The largest is a two-piece Lucanus maculifemoratus. The seven 'mini' figures (which might not be part of the same set) include Chalcosoma atlas, Dorcus hopei, Allotopus rosenbergi, Prosopocoilus inclinatus, Eupatorus gracillicornis, and Odontolabis burmeisteri (identifications on the Chalcosoma, Dorcus, and Odontolabis are tentative due to their small size and lack of detail). The silver figures are a Dorcus species (Neolucanus?) and Prosopocoilus giraffa. The gold one is Allomyrina dichotoma. Lastly, there are two 'anime' style A. dichotoma. I was debating on whether or not I would retain them.

New for 2018 / CollectA - New for 2018
« on: November 02, 2017, 11:44:36 PM »
With many thanks to Numaan on the STS who is generously sending me CollectA 2018 pics as they get formally announced.

African civet

ring-tailed lemur

bongo, calf (to compliment the adult from 2017)

musk ox

Pere David's Deer

white-tailed deer


sperm whale

blue whale

gray whale

common zebra

Friesian, foal

quarter horse, foal

Morgan Bay - deluxe model

Belgian Mare, chestnut

Falabella Mare, Palomino

Warmblood Stallion - Bay

Icelandic stallion - blue dun

Box of Mini Horses

Box of Mini Farm Life

There will be updates weekly, and I will update this thread as Numaan gets me images.

Other/Miscellaneous / Centipede (Target Brands - Hyde and Eek! Boutique)
« on: November 02, 2017, 11:28:46 PM »
OK, this is a rather fun and silly walk-around. I like to do reviews of obscure or unusual figures, or neat figures of odd or unfamiliar brands. Today I bring you the review of a centipede, gen. sp. by Target Brands, as part of their Hyde and Eek! Boutique line of Halloween decor. This past weekend I was visiting a friend in Minnesota for her annual Halloween party and when I walked into her house, this is the first thing I noticed! She took me to Target to get another, but they were out, so she gave me one of the two she had bought earlier!

The figure is LARGE, measuring 52 cm, not including appendages. It is articulated (see the third image) and can be manipulated to some degree. It is not super accurate from a scientific standpoint, especially given its size, but it's a fun figure nonetheless.

I also have a large stag beetle in this series, and my friend gave me a couple large cockroaches that may be in this series (you probably saw them all in Recent Acquisitions).

Really not much more to say, so on to the pics:

On my kitchen floor with my other very large centipede:

With my smallest centipede figure, a small hard plastic vintage figure (possibly inspired by the old Creepy Crawly Thingmakers sets):

Classifieds / PV Exotic Insects for trade
« on: November 02, 2017, 12:39:35 AM »
I have an extra set of 7 of the Play Visions Exotic Insects (missing only the leaf insect). I have available: assassin bug; thorn bug; velvet ant; grasshopper; bush cricket; lantern bug; mantis.

My interests are:

1) missing PV and K&M Insects
2) missing Wing Mau arthropods
3) larger, retired Bullyland insects/arthropods
4) Safari Smithsonian Monarch (adult).
5) anything else of interest

Pics avail by email, but they are in perfect condition and the paint jobs look like my pics on the review page:

Other/Miscellaneous / Puss Moth Caterpillar (Sun Wai Toys)
« on: October 21, 2017, 02:26:38 AM »
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:

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:

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

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.

Yujin / Insects of Japan Vol. 4 (Yujin)
« on: October 01, 2017, 10:12:17 PM »
Bad weather days means lots of time for figure photos, so...

Review of the the fourth and final volume in Yujin's Insects of Japan. As previously mentioned, there was a publicity photo for a potential fifth set, but to my knowledge it never materialized (it may have been sidetracked during the Yujin-Takara transition). As the name suggests, all species are Japanese/Asian.

The sets vary in the number of figures in each set, and each set seems to have a taxonomic focus to some degree. Each set also has one 'secret' figure. Volume 4, reviewed here, has only seven figures (six and one secret). Only one of the species in this set are unique and the taxonomic focus seems to be Lepidoptera.

All of the figures in each series appear to be molded after actual specimens. As such, all figures are 1:1 in size (also explains the exquisite detail in each of these, including the incredibly accurate wing venation on the lepidopterans and cicada here!!!). All figures require some degree of assembly, and given they are molded after actual specimens, it means legs and antennae can be very thin and delicate. Care must be taken with assembly; it also helps to secure some with glue. Several figures also come on habitat-style bases, which if you follow my posts, know I am a high fan of.

On to the figures, in order of the entire series.

32. SECRET: paper kite, Idea leucone, pupa.
This is the pupa of number 33, below. Just in 2015, Kaiyodo made a really nice larva, and the three figures together make a nice life cycle set!

Together with the adult and Kaiyodo larva:

33. The paper kite, Idea leucone.
This is the largest figure in the entire series, based on overall surface area of the wings. While not clear in this image, it is up on a clear rod as if in flight. The secret figure in this set (above) is this species' pupa! Adults were also made twice by Safari LTD and K&M International and I also have a small, porcelain figurine as a French feve.

34. Cicada, Cryptotympana facialis.
This species was also made by Rement. This figure highlights the fragility of figures in this series; the right foreleg on mine broke off (not visible from this angle).

35. Giant Japanese diving beetle, Cybister japonicus.
The only beetle in this volume is a familiar one, having been also made once by F-toys and twice by Kaiyodo! This is a dynamic figure, posed as if swimming alongside a submerged piece of wood.

36. Red helen, Papilio helenus.
This is the unique species in the volume. It appears to be the same sculpt as the P. bianor from Volume 3.

37. Hairstreak butterfly, Neozephyrus japonicus.
This figure is also delicate (this is actually my second one after my first fell apart). This was a unique species until Koro Koro released one in their recent magnet set.

38. The common bluebottle, Graphium sarpedon.
This figure appears to be the same sculpt as G. doson from Volume 3. This species was also made by Cadbury for the Australian line of Yowies.

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