Animal toy reviews and walk-arounds

Recent reviews and walk-arounds


October 13, 2017, 02:26:33 AM by ErinH | Views: 98 | Comments: 3

Hello! I have a HUGE Schleich horse collection, but recently, I've noticed that their horses have gone down in quality and number. So now I'm searching for high quality horse figurines. I looked at the CollectA website. To me, the horses appear of lower quality than Schleich. Does any one know where I could go to a store to take a look at them or some other company I might like? Thanks!
-Erin  :)
bmathison1972
October 11, 2017, 12:40:07 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 93 | Comments: 1

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:











bmathison1972
October 08, 2017, 06:59:41 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 60 | Comments: 0

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!

bmathison1972
October 06, 2017, 09:23:27 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 72 | Comments: 0

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).

bmathison1972
October 06, 2017, 02:39:59 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 123 | Comments: 0

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.

bmathison1972
October 05, 2017, 01:36:48 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 62 | Comments: 1

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


bmathison1972
October 04, 2017, 02:16:38 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 105 | Comments: 3

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.

Beetle guy
October 02, 2017, 10:44:27 PM by Beetle guy
Views: 164 | Comments: 1

Cheirotonus jambar is endemic to the northern part of Okinawa Island in the Ryukyu Islands (Nansei-shoto), Japan. Cheirotonus jambar lives as one small population on Okinawa Island in the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. Although protected it faces many threads, the main being ongoing deforestation. More information (with a quite depressing outlook for the beetle) on http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/54143047/0

This is the model made by Colorata for their 2017 'Nature's library, Janbaru Creatures' release. It makes a nice addition on its base.










Next to the two Kaiyodo ones. The detail in the Kaiyodo ones is far superior to the rougher molding and little messy painting of the colorata beetle.



bmathison1972
October 01, 2017, 10:12:17 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 81 | Comments: 0

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.

bmathison1972
October 01, 2017, 04:52:19 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 73 | Comments: 0

It's a rainy day and I am waiting to go for a run, so let's do Volume 3 of the Insects of Japan by Yujin. I was originally thinking of putting all four series into one thread but it would have been a lot of images/species in just one thread, so I will break them up as they were released. 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 3, reviewed here, has only seven figures (six and one secret). Not sure if this was is taxonomically focused, but we do see an increase in Lepidoptera (which will be the focus for Vol. 4...)

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 odonates!!!). 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.

25. Giant stag beetle, Dorcus titanus platymelus [marketed as Serognathus platymelus.]
This species is not made as commonly as D. hopei, but I still have seven figures, representing three different subspecies.



26. Japanese giant water bug, Lethocerus deyrollei.
This is a familiar species by Japanese manufacturers. It has been made five other times (including three times by Kaiyodo!). But, this is the biggest and baddest of them all :).



27. Chinese peacock, Papilio bianor.
In toy/figure form this is technically a unique species, however I do have a magnet figurine by Doug Walpus Art Studio. Like some of the large dragonflies, this figure is elevated on a clear rod as if to appear in flight.



28. SECRET, golden-ringed dragonfly, Anotogaster sieboldii, nymph.
I already showed the adult of this species in Volume 1. You can refer to that review for a more information on this species. I did want to point out here, that the only other nymph of this species I am aware of is by Furuta (Insect Science).



29. Darner, Anaciaeschna martini.
This is the second darner in the entire series, and a unique species.



30. The common tiger, Danaus genutia [marketed as Salatura genutia.]
This is a unique species, unlike the related D. plexippus (monarch) which is ubiquitous in toy/figure form.



31. Common jay, Graphium doson.
While this is a unique species, the genus is well-represented. I have nine figures representing five species (you'll see another one in Volume 4...).


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