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Japanese Eel (Yujin - Freshwater Fishes Series 2, second release)

Started by sbell, July 02, 2015, 05:19:16 AM

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This walk around is part of my series of the Yujin Freshwater Fish series. Part of this will be repeating this same introductory and concluding info because copy-and-paste is easy, and it keeps things consistent.  So feel free to only read this once (or never...) as well as the stuff at the end. My main motivation is that Yujin does not have many walk arounds on this site, which is a shame because they make some great models. It is also an attempt to flood (!) the site with some fishes, because there simply have not been enough lately. ;)

One other thing--when I give the lengths of the living species, I will be using the length given on the figure's paper for consistency. Some of them seemed off, but they seem close—often better than my original usage of the Fishbase TL (unless the FB one is more interesting...). When there are more than one, I will use the higher values. And the scales will be rounded and approximate!

So now, the fish!

This figure is the Japanese Eel (Nihon Unagi in Japan), Anguilla japonica , number 23 from the second series. This is the only freshwater eel found in Japan, although it is found throughout Eastern Asia as far south as Vietnam. Like many other freshwater eels, the Japanese Eel is catadromous, spawning and hatching at sea but living much of their life in freshwater habitats and brackish estuaries. The eels can change morphology considerably depending where they are in their life cycle; some never enter freshwater, which results in a different colouring. They are important food fish in their native region, but are unfortunately considered endangered (like all anguillids, AKA freshwater eels) due to fishery pressure and habitat loss. Some farm-raising is done, but they are not bred in captivity; instead juveniles are captured at sea and raised in farms, which does nothing to reduce natural population pressure. The Yujin model gives a length of 100cm, but several other online sources gave a length of 150cm.

This model is difficult to measure, given its various curves, but measures 16cm long, giving a scale of 1:6; using the longer length of some sources of 150cm, the scale would be more like 1:9. This is definitely one of the most interesting models in terms of sculpt—instead of the normal more-or-less straight body, this sculpt has given the eel its full range of curves and bends, reflecting the snake-like appearance of the fish. The details are equally excellent—the fins are all a translucent yellowish colour, finely detailed with the fin rays; the single dorsal-caudal-anal wraps completely around the body as it should, following the edges of the body as it curves. The ventral fin flattens out against the body part way, reflecting the body's weight as the fish swims around the river bottom. The main body of the fish is very dark brown on the dorsal surface, changing abruptly to silver on the ventral surface. The head is well-sculpted, and the eyes are painted well, with the light eyeball and dark pupil giving a sense of life to the fish. The base that this one is on is the same as the arowana one, essentially a mound of river bottom with branches, although painted with fewer colours. There are definitely other models of freshwater eels, but possibly only a couple others are A. japonica. Most are Japanese, but Bullyland has made a European freshwater eel. There is a 'secret' version of the Yujin, a completely yellow or gold model, but I haven't ever seen it available for a reasonable price.


I refer to this one as the bowhunting tournament pose--a hole in it, tossed on its back...but it's easy to see the detail that Yujin puts into every side of the models (and can often see the numbers in the photos).

For those not familiar, the Yujin Freshwater fishes were released as two series of fish, for a total of 32 fish figures. This number includes at least 3 secret figures (whose numbers remain in sequence--all figures are marked somewhere with the number) but does not incorporate a number of re-issues and repaints; there was at least one complete reissue (from which mine all come so far). The original releases, from what I can find, had yellow papers; the second release used light blue for the Series I and black for Series II. The entire set, with all variants and secrets, is actually available as a boxed set on YAJ (for around $300!), but individual figures can be found there or even on eBay for a variety of prices (the secrets & specials are of course the most expensive). Myself, there are still two or three species I don't have, but I haven't put a lot of effort into changing that...

Another nice thing about these Yujin fish model is that, like most Yujin releases, almost all of them come with a natural base and acrylic stem to display them (the Series II has a few exceptions). There are 4 or 5 bases used, plus a few unique ones for some specials. When I received mine several years ago, the fish+acrylic stems were not directly associated with the bases, so I just went with whatever worked (so if you have one or two, and the base is different, now you know why--I couldn't find a way to be sure if the bases were specific). All of the bases are based on environment--wood stems, gravel, river rocks, silt+plants, that sort of thing. Most are monochromatic, but a few are painted differently (again, often for the specials). In fact, if I wanted to get really pedantic, the bases themselves are labelled with letters based on the style, but I won't.