The official blog of the Animal Toy Forum is now LIVE! Check it out at Animal Toy Blog!

Main Menu

Disclaimer: links to and on the Animal Toy Forum are often affiliate links, when you make purchases through these links we may make a commission.


Hymenoptera - Bees, Ants, Wasps, and related

Started by bmathison1972, March 11, 2015, 10:36:23 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


hey all,

Starting a thread for Hymenoptera. I will not be dumping all my figures here at once, but will gradually add to this as I do walk-arounds and diorama shots. But please, feel free to contribute!

First up, the Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia Smith, 1792 (more specifically, the Japanese subspecies, V. m. japonica Rad., 1857).



These are so cool! I love the clear wings on them. I think when insect figures have clear wings like that it makes them look a lot more realistic. That display is really nice too!


Now I want some hornet toys, lol. Wasps are hard to find here in the US. I have only a few, but not any good photos of them yet. For now enjoy some some ants.

T.M line of toys (odd I can't find any info on the company or their toys.  They just vanished in Thin air?)

Queen Ant:

Not sure where I got the black one. I think it was one of a few insects gifted to me from one of my teachers as an incentive for getting homework done on time or present after finishing elementary school.

The orange and red one I got later, like 2003 in with a bag of other insects from the TM line.  All scaled down versions of a larger line from the early/mid 1990's. They appeared to be reissued, but still same molds and date stamps of the realistic line. Both marked as 1994.

There was also a larger form of it, which I had seen in stores, around 1993 for a birthday, but it was sadly one I did not leave the store with. (I was given about $100 to spend and I bought other stuff with it.)

Worker Ant:

1st one is the original. I remember it being marketed as either "Hidden Kingdom" or "Backyard Bugs". Came with a hang tag (which I never keep, even the ones I get today). :-[  The tag described some small facts about the insect or had different languages and also warnings not to choke on it.

2nd one is a scaled down version. Both are marked T.M. with a circle. The older one has the circle hand drawn over it. 1994 for big ant and 1997 for the small one.

3rd and 4th are recent (2013/2014) knock offs I bought at a surplus store marketed as Halloween decorations. Note, they are hollow, missing the lines by the eyes and antenna bridge. They also lack the mandible area.


Series:   Kaiyodo - CapsuleQ Museum Animatales: Series 9
                                                  (This is figure QMN 065 - Animatales No.314)



Great photos as always, Helge! :) Quite possibly the best ant figure, yet.


My website: Paleo-Creatures
My website's facebook: Paleo-Creatures


I like turtles.


Walk-around of the Japanese carpenter ant, Camponotus japonicus Mayr, 1866 by Takara Tomy A.R.T.S., B.I.G. Insects - 2017. This large ant species is distributed in East Asia. This species has been made once before (to my knowledge), as part of a 'caste' set by Epoch which included a queen and three (5?) workers; three workers are carrying various objects (one has a larva, the others various foodstuffs). Ant figures are rarely identified to the species, or genus, level, but other carpenter ants include the Texas carpenter ant (C. texanus) by Club Earth (Ants and Termites) and an unidentified species by K&M International (Insects Polybag).

The figure, like many Takara figures, requires some assembly. Mine came 8 pieces: head (including antennae), thorax + abdomen, and 6 legs. The antennae were attached but appear to be removable. The figure lacks ocelli, indicating it is a worker (interestingly, the Epoch figures ignored this bit of science and gave their workers ocelli!). It measures 75 mm making it 5:1-10:1 for an average worker (range 6-15 mm). The figure is solid black with no additional color highlights of any kind. The texture is nice and the color matte.

I was excited for this figure. Every year, T-T.A.R.T.S. releases a 'B.I.G. Insects' set, which usually consists of 4 scarabaeoid beetles and one other. The last two years there were mantids (different sizes and, as such, different sculpts), and in 2014 it was an Androctonus scorpion. Earlier than 2014 I am not sure, as I do not have complete sets, but needless to say an ant was a welcome addition.

One to the pics:

with the Epoch 'family':

at home in one of my mini diorama sets:


Walk-around of the male ant, gen. sp. by Bullyland, originally released in 1994. This is one of four that were released that year, the others being a worker, soldier, and queen. I have never seen the other three. The figure is not marketed to the species level, although one can probably assume it was intended to be Formica rufa Linnaeus, 1761. Ants are rather common in generic bin-style sets; they are relatively rarely marketed at the species level. While this is a 'generic ant', I have to admit it is one of my favorites!

The figure measures 7.5 cm body length; 9.5 cm if you include the antennae to the tips of the wings. The wings are a single, solid translucent piece of plastic, held roof-like over the body (I like that - makes for a more 'compact' figure, rather than having the wings stretched out to the sides). The paint job is subtle yet realistic/believable.

I would be interested in seeing other members of the caste system, to see how they compare in size, color, and wing position (if present).

On to the pics:

Like other Bullybugs, there are dollar-store knock-offs in the Bullyland style, albeit different sizes and lacking wings. I have yet another (but sold in a different set) that is also in the Bullyland style, but much larger and with outstretched wings; I wonder if it was modeled after the Bully queen. If I ever see it, I will know for sure!

Beetle guy

I know why I like the Japanese brands seeing this. From above it looked rather nice.

But such a (relatively) big ant model, yet so little detail and very rough connecting parts. I expected it to be a 2,5 to 3 cm model.
To beetle or not to beetle.


Time for another one of those fun, novelty walk-arounds. This time, it's the Amazing Ant by Becker & Meyer, released in 2003. This is a simpler version of some of the anatomy model kits by other companies, such as 4D Master, etc. Still, it has an irresistible charm to it!  :). I should point out early, this was free from stargatedalek! I only had to pay for shipping! And a quick internet search doesn't show it being relatively available anywhere so I am glad to have gotten it.

The ant comes in 11 pieces:top, bottom, 2 antennae, internal organs (combined in one), and 6 legs. The body is clear, revealing the internal organs. This particular figure is missing one antennae (stars made that clear to me, so I knew it was incomplete beforehand). I will probably seal the parts with glue or something.

The figure measures 10 cm not including appendages, and the way the legs sprawl it takes up roughly 10 x 10 cm of ground space. Because it is not attributable to a given species, I cannot give a scale.

It's pretty simple and easy to assemble, so not much else to say. On to the pics:

Beetle guy

I think it is a great figurine! Was it only released in the US?
To beetle or not to beetle.


Quote from: Beetle guy on February 24, 2018, 11:44:53 AM
I think it is a great figurine! Was it only released in the US?
I originally purchased it through "book orders" that Scholastic gives out to schools in Canada. They occasionally also included educational model kits. I think I lost that antennae shortly after getting it a very long time ago (2003 is definitely the right time frame).

Beetle guy

Quote from: stargatedalek on February 24, 2018, 05:18:16 PM
Quote from: Beetle guy on February 24, 2018, 11:44:53 AM
I think it is a great figurine! Was it only released in the US?
I originally purchased it through "book orders" that Scholastic gives out to schools in Canada. They occasionally also included educational model kits. I think I lost that antennae shortly after getting it a very long time ago (2003 is definitely the right time frame).
To beetle or not to beetle.


Walk-around of a wasp figure by an unknown artist. The figure is probably generic but the morphology to me is most suggestive of the western paper wasp, Mischocyttarus flavitarsus (Saussure, 1854). This species is endemic to the western half of North America.

A little background on this figure. I stumbled upon it on eBay one day. It was being sold alongside a similar cecropia moth (also reviewed here today) as handmade tin insect figurines. The starting bid was about USD 3.50. I bid it, about 1-2 days before closing, with a max bid of USD 20. Well, about 4 hours before it closed, I was outbid. I decided to try for 50. Outbid. 70. Outbid. What the heck, USD 100. Outbid. Hmmm. 120. Outbid. 150. Outbid. I thought what the heck, did USD 200 and was not outbid. Then about 20 minutes later, I got outbid. I decided I was going to let it go. Anything 200 or more for these two figures couldn't be worth it, right? Well as the last couple hours ticked away I started thinking I was not going to get beat. No way, not today. With 13 seconds left, I snuck in a max bid of USD 225. As usual, when max bids are preplanned, they alternate up about 2 dollars at a time. Well, that started to happen, and I won them in the last second with a bid of USD 220.20! I can't believe I did that! But with the figures in-hand now, I have absolutely NO regrets!

I contacted the seller to see if she was the artist or know who it was. I introduced myself and my hobby and told her I like the info for my database. She said she was an artist, but not the creators of these gems. She bought them years ago at an estate sale in Florida (where the seller happens to live as well). Who knows where they originated...

On the the figure. The wasp (shown here) measures about 6.5 cm, not including the antennae. The wings at their widest points apart measure 8.0 cm between them. The longest distance between two points of the base is 11.0 cm. It stands 9.0 cm high. It's probably in the 2:1 size range. The figure was sold as being tin, but it feels maybe wood? Plastic? I honestly cannot tell. The wings are thinner and may be a coated paper of some kind. It is attached to a flower with a wire. The flower and its leaves are plastic, but not cheap like plastic flowers usually are. The plastic plant is then attached to a piece of driftwood.

Let these images speak for themselves:


Walkaround of the giant Japanese hornet, Vespa mandarinia (Smith, 1852) by Mushibuchi (year unknown). I have this figure thanks to Brett who stumbled upon it on YAJ. I was unfamiliar with the brand. Some Google searching shows they have a few other insects including what must be the only figure of a member of the order Plecoptera as well as a flying dung beetle suggestive of Heliocopris! Vespa mandarinia is not uncommonly made in toy/figure form and I have additional figures by Kaiyodo (2x), Subarudo, Rement, Yujin, Break Co., and a larva by Shineg. I believe Takara Tomy A.R.T.S. also did one (which is probably similar if not identical to the Subarudo one).

This figure is a plastic model kit. It comes in 24 pieces: head; thorax; 5 abdominal pieces; stinger; 6 legs; 2 mandibles; 2 antennae; 2 eyes; 4 wings. The figure was intended to be assembled using ball joints (not supplied) to make the final product articulated. However, I used super glue and rigged small pieces of plastic to make everthing a secure, permanent attatchment. For one reason, I found the ball joints hard to come by without ordering from overseas, and secondly I am not a fan of articulated figures if I can help it.

The plastic is...different it seems. It is kinds of waxy (maybe I should have cleaned or treated it first?). I wanted to do all the coloring with Pitt pens, but the plastic rejected the ink somewhat. I had to use acrylic paint for the brown portions. I did use orange Pitt pens over the yellow base, however. Because the ink did not outright cover the yellow, it gave it a subtle orange tint to a yellow background. I actually like it better (although it may not show up well in the images)! I also used some black Pitt pens to highlight the brown banding on the abdomen. I coated everything with satin varnish before I glued the parts together. This plastic is really prone to chipping (even with the varnish coat) and I was periodically doing touch-ups. I am happy with the color but not sure how well it will show up in the pics. Another frustrating thing is with the way the wings were attached to the mold casts, it creates notches in three of the wings.

The figure is designed to be in flight and I am still trying to come up with a safe and attractive way to display it. The final product is 11 centimeters long (not including 2 additional centimeters for the stinger), with a wingspan of 17 centimeters and a height (with extended legs) of 12 centimeters. It is advertised as being 3:1 scale.

Not sure if I will pursue others in the series. I have seen the mantis on YAJ. If I see the plecopteran I would probably have to get that one as well as the (Heliocopris?) which may also be hard to refuse.

P.S. Has anyone noticed that until now I have been misspelling the species name 'mandarina'? One of my earlier figures must have been marketed with a misspelling...

On to the pics (this is a very image-heavy post):

the final product (again, need to find a good and safe way to display):


You did a good job constructing it - looks like it was a delicate and fiddly job.

With regard to displaying it, maybe you could suspend it from a free-standing hook? Something like this:


Hmmmm...that might just work. I'll look into it, thanks!


Quote from: animaltoyforum on June 13, 2018, 10:40:23 PM
You did a good job constructing it - looks like it was a delicate and fiddly job.

With regard to displaying it, maybe you could suspend it from a free-standing hook? Something like this:

Adam, the ornament holder is actually working well!