Animal toy reviews and walk-arounds

Recent reviews and walk-arounds

February 17, 2018, 02:57:03 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 33 | Comments: 0

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:

February 17, 2018, 12:24:57 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 37 | Comments: 0

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:

February 16, 2018, 03:10:59 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 43 | Comments: 0

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):

February 14, 2018, 01:19:05 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 48 | Comments: 0

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):

February 13, 2018, 12:22:10 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 85 | Comments: 2

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.

February 12, 2018, 11:52:55 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 51 | Comments: 0

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 ;-).

February 11, 2018, 02:17:48 AM by bmathison1972
Views: 113 | Comments: 2

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:

February 10, 2018, 09:32:02 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 75 | Comments: 1

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:

February 10, 2018, 06:58:25 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 168 | Comments: 5

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:

January 25, 2018, 11:04:41 PM by bmathison1972
Views: 110 | Comments: 0

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.

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