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Messages - bmathison1972

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Animal art / Re: Paleo-Creatures.
« on: September 23, 2017, 04:03:50 PM »
Your stuff is so nice. I would buy a lot more if I was more taxonomically diverse :)

Furuta / Insect Science (Furuta)
« on: September 23, 2017, 01:54:06 AM »
Review of the complete set Insect Science by Furuta. This is an interesting set of eight figures, but marketed in four pairs; four main figures with one 'accessory' each (the accessory being prey, a mate, progeny, etc.).

Like most Japanese manufacturers, this set represents typical Asian fare, nothing unusual or uncommonly made. The figures are single piece (well, they came same piece, possibly they can be taken apart -- I certainly have not tried). The primary figures are slightly larger than most of the earlier Furuta/Kaiyodo Choco Q figures, being more inline with the Yujin Insects of Japan Series.

Each primary figure comes with a sturdy collectors card with lots of fun facts (in Japanese, of course) and a picture of the primary figure and its accessory.

On to the figures, in their numerical order:

1a. Asian swallowtail, Papilio xuthus.
This figure has a fine felt coating over its wings. This species has been made by Bandai, Kabaya, Koro Koro, and Rement as adults, and by Kaiyodo (twice, including Mega Sofubi Toy Box) and Shineg as larvae.

1b. Seven-spotted lady beetle, Coccinella septempunctata.
This figure, and the follow on which it is sitting, is the accessory to the swallowtail (above). I decided to display the beetle on the flower since it is so small (not too much larger than 1:1). This is probably the most commonly made non-scarabaeoid beetle. I have figures marketed as, or at least clearly attributable, to this species by 4D Master, Blip Toys, Heller, Kabaya, Kitan Club, plus several of unknown origin. It was also made by Bullyland (which I do not personally have).

2a and 2b. Sawtoothed stag beetle, Prosopocoilus inclinatus.
This figure and its accessory are the male and female of the same species. This is one of the more common stag beetles made in figure form, having also been made by F-toys, Hayakwa Toys, Kabaya, Kaiyodo (a couple times), Maruka, Rement, Sega (several times), Subarudo, Yujin, Takara Tomy A.R.T.S., and Wing Mau. I only have one other female of this species, however. Unfortunately, females of these scarabaeoid beetles are way less commonly made than the males.

3a and 3b. Golden-ringed dragonfly, Anotogaster sieboldii.
This primary figure and its accessory are an adult and nymph/naiad of the same species. This is the most commonly made Asian dragonfly, having been previously made by Hayakwa Toys, Kaiyodo, Rement, and Yujin (both adult and naiad).

4a. Giant Japanese mantid, Tenodera aridifolia.
This is the fourth primary figure, again the most common member of its group made. Other figures I have are by Bandai, Hayakwa Toys, Rement, and Yujin. In addition some of the Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. B.I.G. Insects mantids may be attributable to this species.

4b. Migratory locust, Locusta migratoria.
This is the accessory to the mantid (above). Not sure if they were lumped as orthopteroids or if this is a predator-prey pairing. Anyway, other figures of this species are by 4D Master, Funrise Toys, Kaiyodo (twice), Rement, Yujin, plus an additional figure by Furuta.

Yujin / Shrimps and Crabs Collection (Yujin/Takara Tomy A.R.T.S.)
« on: September 21, 2017, 03:05:21 AM »
This is a review of the complete sets of the Shrimps and Crabs Collection, originally released by Yujin and then re-released by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. after the latter bought the former. I wish I knew the years of release for these sets. If anyone knows, please chime in. I bought mine first as a complete Yujin set, and then later individually bought the Takara additions.

The original Yujin set included:

1. spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi
2. Alaska king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus
3. red-claw crab, Chiromantes haematocheir
4. blue crab, Portunus trituberculatus
5. coconut crab, Birgus lato
6. red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii
7. blue-banded hermit crab, Pagurus samuelis (with one shell)
8. anemone hermit crab, Dardanus pedunculatus
9. shrimp, Palaemon paucidens
10. mantis shrimp, Oratosquilla oratoria
11. SECRET A: red swamp crayfish (green form)
12. SECRET B: Japanese crayfish, Cambaroides japonicus

After Takara T-A.R.T.S. bought Yujin, they released it with the following changes:

1. removed 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 (above)
2. Added the following:
A. fiddler crab, Uca tetragonon (male)
B. slipper lobster, Ibacus cilatus
C. SECRET A: fiddler crab (female)
D. SECRET B: red swamp crayfish (albino) [but same sculpt as SECRET A in the Yujin set]
3. Added a second shell to the P. samuelis figure.

In all there are 13 species. Like most gashapon manufacturers at the time, the species are Japanese/southeast Asian. Also, like their contemporary Choco Q figures by Kaiyodo and Furuta, assembly is required for all of the figures. Despite their rather small size, they have amazing detail. The PVC is very firm and possibly more fragile (much like the Yujin Insects of Japan series), so care is recommended when assembling (especially with such think and delicate legs and antennae on some!

At the time of their release, many of these species were unique or rarely made. However, at the time of this writing all but three of them have since been made by other companies.

On to the species:

1. spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi
This species is popular and commonly made, including by Chap Mei, Colorata, Epoch, Kaiyodo (three times!), Kitan Club, and even Play Visions.

2. Alaska king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus
This is another commonly-made species, also by Kaiyodo (twice), Epoch, Little Critterz, Nihon Auto Toy, and also by Play Visions.

3. red-claw crab, Chiromantes haematocheir
At the time of the original Yujin release, this might have been unique (Furuta released one in the third series of Choco Q Animatales). It has also been made by Wing Mau and Kaiyodo. Kaiyodo is releasing a large figure next year as part of their Sofubi Toy Box series.

4. blue crab, Portunus trituberculatus
Until very recently, this figure was a unique species. However, in 2014 Kaiyodo released a zoea-stage larva as part of their Microcosmos set. Still, two other members of the genus and a few other members of the family Portunidae exist in toy/figure form.

5. coconut crab, Birgus lato
This species is surprisingly not commonly made. Kaiyodo made one for their Okinawa Figure Collection and Colorata released one recently this year (although I do not have that one yet…).

6. red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii
This species is commonly made and in multiple color forms. Interestingly this is the one species that is not native to Asia; it was introduced from the United States. Kaiyodo released red and blue versions of this species as part of the Choco Q Animatales series. Takara T-A.R.T.S. released a large figure, comparable to their large beetles, and Yujin release a very small figure as part of Gacha Edition depicting various critters in captivity.

7. hermit crab, Pagurus samuelis
This was, and continues to be, a unique species. Mine is from the original Yujin set, so it only has one shell option.

8. anemone hermit crab, Dardanus pedunculatus
This is the smallest figure in the set and remains a unique species, to my knowledge. Love the symbiotic relationship depicted in this figure!

9. shrimp, Palaemon paucidens
This species is also unique, although Kaiyodo has released freshwater shrimp in other genera.

10. mantis shrimp, Oratosquilla oratoria
This is another species that surprisingly gets overlooked by figure/toy manufacturers. The only other one I know of from a formal company is the very large figure by AAA.

11. Japanese crayfish, Cambaroides japonicus
This native crayfish species is another one that is made several times and in both brown and blue forms. I have three other sculpts of this species (two by Kaiyodo, and one by F-Toys) and all three come in blue and brown forms. To my knowledge, this Yujin figure was not released in other colors.

12. fiddler crab, Uca tetragonon
The two Takara T-A.R.T.S. figures here were unique until Kaiyodo released one relatively recently in their Capsule Q Japanese Crabs Collection.

13. slipper lobster, Ibacus cilatus
At the time, this was the figure I was most excited to get. The only other one I am aware of is by Epoch.

Animal groups / Re: Plankton and Protozoa
« on: September 20, 2017, 07:45:31 PM »
Three protozoans as pressed-glass figurines. Normally I do not collect glass figurines, but as a parasitologist, human parasite figures cannot be ignored. These were bought on Etsy from Trilobite Glassworks.

left to right: Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. intestinalis, G. lamblia) (trophozoite), Trichomonas vaginalis (trophozoite), Toxoplasma gondii (tachyzoite)

Other/Miscellaneous / Re: European Kingfisher (Vienna Bronze)
« on: September 20, 2017, 01:55:05 AM »
Nice! These are the kind of gems I love to find!

Other/Miscellaneous / Re: Crustaceans (Epoch)
« on: September 19, 2017, 12:56:26 AM »
Thanks Tim, glad you are enjoying them :). I am always enjoying your collection on DTF (, bugs, and weeds lol)

Review of the complete set of Insects Gather to Sap - Night Feast of Midsummer by Kaiyodo - Capsule Q Museum, released in 2015. This is an ecologically-specific set, focusing on gummivorous insects, i.e. insects that are attracted to sap exudates from trees. All species, as typical with Kaiyodo, are Japanese/southeast Asian. There are 8 figures total, representing only five species, two of which are new to the toy insect realm (one at the family level!).

The figures are comparable in size to other Kaiyodo/gashapon-style figures (but of a much better quality than previous versions) and are a solid-piece PVC (no assembly required). They all also have a small, unobtrusive magnet on the underside.

On to the figures:

1. Japanese rhinoceros beetle, Allomyrina dichotoma.
Any set of Japanese insects would be incomplete without this guy. No stranger to toy form, I have 40 figures from 18 different manufacturers, plus a few of unknown origin!!!

2. Saw-toothed stag beetle, Prosopocoilus inclinatus.
This is another commonly-made species by Japanese manufacturers; I have 19 figures by 12 different manufacturers.

3. Drone beetle, Pseudotorynorrhina japonica [marketed as Rhomborrhina japonica.]
This is one of the 'unique' species (even though are two of them). This species is naturally variable in color and Kaiyodo made both copper and green versions. It is a surprise more Asian goliathine scarabs have not been made in toy form! The sap beetle (next) was an accessory to this figure.

4. Sap beetle, Glischrocheilus japonicus [marketed under its subgenus name, Librodor japonicus.]
This is the other unique species and the only figure I am aware of representing the family Nitidulidae (sap beetles)!!! This figure was technically sold as an accessory to the P. japonica (above) and as such there were two in the set (one for each drone beetle).

5. Great purple emperor, Sasakia charonda.
There are two figures of this butterfly, one male (more purple, left) and female (more gray, right). While they just painted the same sculpt in two different color schemes, in nature the female would be larger than the male. Kaiyodo made this species previously as part of the Choco Q Animatales series. It has also been made by Bandai and Kabaya and I have a large figure from an unknown manufacturer originally suspected by a string.

Other/Miscellaneous / Re: Butterflies and Other Insects (French Feves)
« on: September 17, 2017, 02:14:08 AM »
I recently acquired a set of eight grasshopper French feves. These are not marketed as exact species, but so far I can put tentative names on four of them: Phymateus morbillosus, Poekilocerus pictus, Aularches miliaris, and a Taeniopoda nymph. Others might be influenced by Melanoplus or Schistocerca.

Review of the complete set of Japanese Crab Figure Collection by Kaiyodo - Capsule Q Museum. I do not remember the release date, but it was probably 3-5 years ago. As the name suggests, they are crabs endemic to Japan/southeast Asia.

There are seven figures representing six species, two of which are unique at the species level. They are all solid PVC however a few of them have articulated claws. They are also typical gashapon-sized and comparable with other Kaiyodo figures. The detail on these are amazing, some of the best of the small crustaceans made!

One to the figures, in the order presented on the accompanying paperwork:

1. Blue swimmer crab, Portunus pelagicus.
This species was made once more by Kaiyodo and twice by Cadbury, for the Australian and UK Yowies series. This figure is one with articulated claws. Other species in the genus and family have been made.

2. Box crab, Calappa lophos.
This species was made once more by Kaiyodo for one of the Aquatales sets, and will be re-released later this year or early next year. This one also has articulated claws.

3. Samurai crab, Heikeopsis japonica.
This is one of the two unique figures in the set!

4. Fiddler crab, Uca tetragonon.
There are two other figures of this species, a male and female by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. when they re-released the Yujin set (after T-TARTS bought Yujin). The male figure has an articulated major claw.

5. Soldier crab, Mictyris brevidactylus.
This is technically a unique figure, as I believe other members of this genus are attributable to M. longicarpus (although I am not 100% sure of the Epoch figure...).

6 and 7. Red-clawed crab, Chiromantes haematocheir.
There are two figures of this species, one mature and one immature. Furuta made this figure previously as part of their Choco Q Animatales series and Kaiyodo will be making a large figure in 2018 as part of their Sofubi Toy Box line!!! It has also been made by Yujin and Wing Mau.

Other/Miscellaneous / Crustaceans (Epoch)
« on: September 17, 2017, 01:22:40 AM »
This is a review of the crustaceans (and one xiphosuran) released among four crustacean-centric sets by Epoch. Epoch has produced crustaceans for several marine sets but they also have four (at least) sets of all arthropods (again, mostly crustaceans but one xiphosuran). There is a lot of duplication between the sets but each set has at least one species unique to the given set. I have assembled mine individually over the years and while I do not have every figure, I do have at least one of every species made (there were multiple color forms of a couple of the species). Like most sets my Japanese manufacturers, they mostly represent Japanese/southeast Asian species.

The figures are mostly solid PVC; a couple have to be snapped together. They are typical gashapon-sized comparable to Kaiyodo and Yujin figures. Several have a base of sorts, but they are free from the base and sit loosely on the base (i.e., they do not have pegs or other methods of permanent attachment).

Here are the 10 species that can be found among the sets:

1. terrestrial hermit crab, Coenobita cavipes.
Epoch made at least four color versions of this species; I have three of them. Other members of this genus have been made by Kaiyodo and Kitan Club, and the Incredible Creatures and Good Luck Mini hermit crabs by Safari LTD are probably attributable to this genus.

2. Japanese spiny lobster, Panulirus japonicus.
This species has also been made by Kaiyodo and Kitan Club, in addition to four other species in the genus I have made by various manufacturers.

3. Harlequin shrimp, Hymenocera picta.
This is a unique figure to Epoch. It nicely sits atop a base of not only a rock/sand substrate, but also its starfish prey! This is the gem of the set(s).

4. Japanese horseshoe crab, Tachypleus tridentatus.
This species was made twice before by Kaiyodo, although this is the largest of the three.

5. Japanese freshwater crab, Geothelphusa dehanni.
Epoch made three color versions of this species, and it has been made several times in several color forms my other companies (I think in an earlier post I calculated there are at least 17 versions of the species available by four different companies, if you take into account the color varieties among same sculpts...).

6. Giant Japanese spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi.
This species is a staple, especially among Japanese manufacturers. I have eight additional figures by Chap Mei, Colorata, Kaiyodo, Kitan Club, Play Visions, and Yujin.

7. slipper lobster, Ibacus ciliatus.
This species had been made once before, by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. in a set that was a re-release of a set originally produced by Yujin after T-TARTS bought Yujin (although this species was not in the original Yujin lineup)

8. European lobster, Homarus gammarus.
This is an refreshing choice; most lobster figures attributable to the species level are the Maine lobster, H. americanus.

9. fiddler crab, Uca lacteal.
This species was also made by Wing Mau, but I have four other species in the genus by various manufacturers.

10. Long-armed soldier crab, Mictyris longicarpus.
This species was also made by Cadbury (Yowies) and Wing Mau, with an additional member of the genus (M. brevidactylus) made by Kaiyodo. I don't have the paper for this figure, so it might be M. brevidactylus. I assumed it was longicarpus since that was the only species made until Kaiyodo's brevidactylus figure.

Other/Miscellaneous / Re: Butterfly Nature Tube (K&M - Wild Republic)
« on: September 10, 2017, 12:51:55 AM »
Update 9/9/2017. With help from Bowhead Whale on the STS forum, looks like we now have reasonable identifications for all 12 figures in this set. The first post was edited accordingly.

Other/Miscellaneous / Imomushi (Beam)
« on: September 07, 2017, 02:15:53 AM »
Review of a complete set of caterpillars, Imomushi by Beam [note: Beam might be the distributor and not the manufacturer]! I was holding off on posting this set until I got everything identified, but maybe posting it will aid in the identification of some of the more challenging figures.

First of all, many of you may recognize some of these. There have been at least four sets of caterpillars similar to this, and the companies copy each other back and forth, to the point I do not know who made which one first. No two sets have the same species composition. I am picking this one because 1) I know it is complete and 2) I know the manufacturer/distributor.

There are 12 figures, each a solid-piece PVC roughly 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.

The identifications below are my assigning based on:
1) identified by other sellers online
2) comparison of figures by other sets/companies
3) exhaustive Google searches
4) consulting with lepidopterist colleagues.

The figures are in the order based on their letter designation of the accompanying paperwork:

A. zebra swallowtail, Protographium marcellus.
Swallowtail larvae have a similar morphology but can vary in color. I felt this was the best option given this figure’s general form and color. I have another from a unknown manufacturer that is more blue.

B. anise swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon.
Another variable species, and again I have another larva by an unknown manufacturer, plus I have identified one of the Toy Major butterflies as the adult of this species.

C. orange-barred sulfur, Phoebis philea.
This is an ID of mine, and was happy to come to this conclusion after several adults (mainly by Safari LTD).

D. creamy marblewing, Euchloe ausonides.
This is one I have seen marketed as this species, so I am confident on the ID. It is my only figure of this species.

E. small apollo, Parnassius apollo.
This species is made by a set that actually labels its figures to the species level, so I am confident of the ID. I have one other larva, but no adults.

F. great spangled fritillary, Speyeria cybele.
This one is most-certainly in the fritillary-branch of the nymphalids. With these figures, one must understand that little knobs on the figures might represent longer spines.

G. black swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes.
I have seen this one marketed as this species. While the brown base is a little odd, I still think it is a sound identification.

H. small tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae.
This one looks good based on color and general form, but the red legs are perplexing. As such I am keeping the ID somewhat tentative, although it is definitely within this group. Bullyland and CollectA made adults.

I. unknown.
This is one of the two I am struggling with. I think it is another in the general fritillary group of Nymphalidae.

J. pipevine swallowtail, Battus philenor.
This distinctive species is fairly straight-forward. I have another similar larva by an unknown manufacturer and Toy Major did an adult (painted ‘upside down’ however).

K. queen, Danaus glippus.
This is clearly a danaine, and based on the color and arrangement of tentacles, the queen is the best option. I have another larva and a tentative ID on an adult by Toy Major.

L. unknown.
This is the most perplexing and hardest to come up with. The horns are similar to the satyrines, but just not sure. I do not think the horns represent the osmeterium of a papilionid nor the tentacles of a danaine.

Collections / Re: Recent acquisitions
« on: September 02, 2017, 03:21:23 AM »
I recently bought a Leanchoilia superlata from Paleocasts (Patrick May). I also inquired about some small figures by Pat that I saw on DTF, and he sold me a bunch of them at a nice price. In the end I ended up with 10 new taxa representing 9 new genera: the enigmatic L. superlata, 6 trilobites (Harpes sp., Asaphus kowalewskii, Phacops sp., Hollardops sp., Asaphus cornutus, and Eldredgeia venustus), two xiphosurans (Paleolimulus and Euproops), and the crustacean Dithyrocaris.

New for 2018 / Re: Kaiyodo - New for 2018
« on: August 31, 2017, 12:30:02 AM »
I wonder... has Kaiyodo stopped making CapsuleQ animal sets. Seems a poor year, especially arthropodwise.

Most of the 2017 CQ sets have not been animals, no. Not sure if it's just ebb and flow or what.

I however am super excited for that crab

I really like a matte finish, unless the animal is naturally shiny or glossy!

It was great of Safari to include a lizard in the North American line, a line reserved most commonly for large mammals and birds.

Collections / Re: Blaine's Bug of the Day
« on: August 27, 2017, 05:55:41 PM »
The silver-bordered fritillary, Boloria selene.

One figure, by K&M International (Butterfly Nature Tube). This figure has been an 'unidentified' figure for years until a recent suggestion of B. selene was made by a forum member.

Review of one of my favorite sets, the complete Figure Pictorial Book of Gakken – Insect by Bandai (year of release unknown). This is a set of 5 typical Japanese species that turn up in many sets, the exception being the spider which is, as far as I know, a ‘unique’ figure.

Now, first thing first, as much as I love these figures, there are better representatives of them (again, except the spider) out there. Don’t get me wrong, they are nice, but not as nice as we have come to expect from other Japanese manufacturers (Kaiyodo, Yujin, Kitan Club/Ikimon).

So, if they are not as good as others, what do I like about them so much? Well, for those of you who follow my posts know I love figures on bases. They are especially nice for insects, which otherwise are made as flat, sprawling figures. Each of these comes on a really neat habitat-style base.

The figures are all single-piece PVC and come attached to their base. I am sure they are safely removeable, I just have never tried. For one, I like them on the base, and secondly, I do not want to risk damage. They are all typical gashapon-sized figures, but the bases may make them a little longer or taller than other similarly-sized Japanese figures.

On to the figures (in no particular order):

1. garden spider, Argiope amoena.
As I already mentioned, I think this is a unique figure. It sits atop its web, with a small fly underneath (the fly is painted on the underside of the clear PVC web).

2. Japanese rhinoceros beetle, Allomyrina dichotoma.
This Japanese staple comes attached to a small branch/log with a sprig of leaves. There are two small green beetles sculpted onto the branch, too. Not sure what they are meant to represent, but I am thinking another sap-feeding scarab, Pseudotorynorrhina japonica.
I am not going to waste your time or mine listing all the other versions of this species made, as I can tell you I have 39 additional figures by 19 manufacturers, plus a few from unknown manufacturers!

3. cicada, gen. sp. (probably Graptopsaltria nigrofuscata).
This figure is displayed emerging as a new adult from its nymphal exuvia, just like the Lyristes plebejus in my recent review of Kaiyodo’s Souvenirs Entomologiques. Kabaya (Insect Directory) also did a molting cicada and Bandai, in another set, did six figures representing the post-moly drying process!

4. Japanese giant water bug, Lethocerus deyrollei.
This is the coolest of them all, and one of my favorite and most dynamic figures. It is displayed underwater and face-down, feasting on fresh prey: a small frog!!! I had done a walkaround of this figure on ATF but after the Great Photoshop purge of the Late Holocene, I decided to just review the whole set.
This figure has also been made by Yujin, F-Toys, and three times by Kaiyodo.

5. Japanese giant mantis, Tenodera aridifolia.
This figure is poised elegantly upon a branch, but nicely with its wings open, as if about to take off (or it just landed). This figure is also no stranger to toy/figure form and has been made by Furuta, Hayakwa Toys, Rement, and Yujin. Unnamed mantids by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. may also be attributable to this species.

New for 2018 / Kaiyodo - New for 2018
« on: August 26, 2017, 10:32:48 PM »
The first Sofubi Toy Box figures are announced for 2018:

1. Red-claw crab (Chiromantes haematocheir), January 2018

2. Two for the 'Spring', an emperor scorpion (this appears to be an unpainted prototype) and Tyrannosaurus rex.

Forum business / Re: Forum changes
« on: August 26, 2017, 08:30:07 PM »
A SEGA/ Bandai section would be great, I have loads of them. No suprise...mainly beetles.

Do you mean for reviews or 'New for...'? The New For boards are for new releases, not acquisitions.

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