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Butterflies (Toy Major)

Started by bmathison1972, January 09, 2017, 12:06:23 AM

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Toy Major Butterflies

Review of Butterflies produced by Toy Major in 1996. OK, butterfly sets have been made multiple times. Club Earth did a set, Safari LTD did at least three (Collectors Case, Authentics, TOOB), K&M did a tube, US Toy did a small set, and I have figures from sets not attributable to manufacturers.

All of these below are marked 'TM' and '1996'. They have letters on the underside, but the letters are duplicated and not just on a figure of the same sculpt. Makes me wonder if TM produced two sets of 12 in 1996. I probably bought these in the early 2000s and honestly cannot remember where I bought them. My numbering below is random and not how the figures are marked or marketed.

Because they were not marketed as specific species (to my knowledge) the identifications are all mine. Several are based on the Club Earth set (these companies all had habit of copying one another) but many are from my deductions, often by using 'The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Butterfly World' by Paul Smart in conjunction with Google searches.

I am sure these are not all the best identifications possible. If anyone has a better idea, PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS. If anything, I hope this thread will initiate discussion on these and other figures...

Several factors were taken into consideration when making an ID. Shape and color were the big ones, but sometimes you have to 'read between the lines' and note that a prominent color on the figure might be a minor accent on the real thing. Think of it this way, if some painted a toy zebra, the way it was painted could determine if it appeared to be white with black stripes or black with white stripes. So, at times you have to be creative and try to get into the mind of the artist.

Papilionidae (swallowtails)

1. eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus. This is a fairly safe determination given that this species has been made several times before.

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2. anise swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon. Based on the color, this could be several things (the Old World swallowtail, P. xuthus, is another possibility). I chose this one namely because it was also made by Club Earth.

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3. nobile swallowtail, Papilio nobilis. I am not happy with this ID, but I couldn't find another tailed species with a pale orange-brown base color.

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4. purple-spotted swallowtail, Graphium weiskei. This figure pops up in toy form now and then, including by Club Earth.

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5. pipevine swallowtail, Battus philenor. While these colors are clearly those of the pipevine swallowtail, they are the colors of the underside of the organism. Like adding or removing tails, painting the venter on the dorsum is also not unheard-of with toy butterflies... Beam did a larva of this species.

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6. Cairns birdwing, Ornithoptera euphorion. This is generic enough it might represent any one of a few birdwings, but Cairns was also made by Club Earth (as well as by Cadbury-Yowies).

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Nymphalidae (brush-footed butterflies).

7. monarch, Danaus plexippus. This is the most-commonly made species of butterfly and its ID cannot be in question here, either.

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8. queen, Danaus gilippus. This figure could also represent the tropic queen, D. eresimus, but I thought the queen was the more logical choice. The unbranded caterpillar sets include a larva of this species.

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9. red admiral, Vanessa atalanta. A distinctive shape and color, this species was also made by Bullyland and Skillcraft. Surprisingly, neither this species nor the mourning cloak (next) were made by Club Earth.

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10. mourning cloak, Nymphalis antiopa. A distinctive species and possibly a unique figure!

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11. Large tortoiseshell, Nymphalis polychloros. I waffled back-and-forth with this one. At first I thought it was a Papilio or Graphium without tails (but the shape in general never sat right with me). Adding tails where they shouldn't be, or removing them when they should be there, is not unheard of among toys (Safari added tails to both its Morpho peleides and Idea leucone in their Collectors Case). I then started looking at Polygonia and Nymphalis and suspected the spots on the wings were just painted as continuous stripes...

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12. purple emperor, Apatura iris. Not as realistic as its Club Earth counterpart.

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13. red glider, Cymothoe sangaris. This predates, and is a much better example of, the figure by Safari LTD for their Butterfly TOOB.

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14. Graecian shoemaker, Catonephele numilia. Very similar to its Club Earth counterpart (I do not think I would have ever figured this one out if CE hadn't made one!).

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15. Menelaus morpho, Morpho menelaus. Generic at the genus level, I chose this species as it's commonly made (the Club Earth species clearly represents M. cypris).

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16. large true forester, Euphaedra sarcoptera. I am not happy with this ID but it is a best fit for the underside (again) of E. sarcoptera. There just are not many species incorporating pink and green with black spots.


Pieridae (whites, sulfurs, orangetips)

17. southern dogface, Zerene cesonia. This might represent something else but I think this is the best match (plus it's one of my favorite leps). K&M did one for their Butterflies tube. Interestingly, the only pierid in this set!

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Lycaenidae (gossamer-winged butterflies)

18. crowned hairstreak, Evenus coronata. Being from Arizona, I always associated this figure and others like it with the great purple hairstreak (Atlides halesus) but E. coronata was made by Club Earth and others and this seems to be the species of this morphotype...

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19. coral jewel, Hypochrysops miskini. I bounced around several lycaenids but finally settled on this one. This could easily be assigned to other species if you guys have a preference for your own collections...

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20. Genoveva azure, Ogyris Genoveva. Again, not the best example but it corresponds to the Club Earth figure.

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21. small copper, Lycaena phlaeus var. schmedtii. I bounced around a few Lycaena species (including L. gorgona) but finally settled on this one.

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Riodinidae (metalmarks)

22. Cramer's mesene, Mesene phareus. This does not seen to be a great representative of this species, but it is in-line with the Club Earth Figure (and a good example why the target species may not be immediately recognizable).

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These last two I am just not comfortable with:

23. This is probably a color variant of Graphium weiskei (above)—just not many options utilizing pink, green, and white.

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24. I am really stumped here. I was hoping the pink spots would be an indicator but I cannot find anything like it.

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edit: upon further examination of other figures, I am pretty sure now #23 is indeed a variant of Graphium weiskei. That there are two version of this species, in combination with duplicated numbering systems, makes me think there were two sets of 12 rather than one large set of 24.


Hi Blaine – and sorry for being late again... :-[ Wow, some of these figures can really give a headache when you try to identify them. Of course, I'd mostly agree with the ids you gave here, anyways. No. 11 puzzles me quite a bit. Nymphalis polychloros is a possible id but the colours don't really match and I think it may be meant to represent a different nymphalid (although currently I'm not able to tell which) or possibly even Dodona adonira (Riodinidae) which still is far from being an exact match. However, I think it most likely is meant to represent a nymphalid even though at the moment I fail to find a better contender. The green markings and lack of red dots of No. 12 confuse me. It may be meant to represent Apatura iris or another member of Apaturinae but there seems to be so much artistic license that it makes an exact id difficult. Oh, and of course I'll try to keep up with everything else you posted during the last week but... oh wow, it looks like it's been more like a year! :o ;D Well, of course it'll take some time to catch up with everything but I'll do my best. :)


Thanks to WhiteLightningWolf on STS, I now have EIGHT new species of Toy Major butterflies. These things just keep coming out of nowhere! I have confident identifications on six of them, a good idea for one, and a tentative ID for one. In no particular order (the letters are the letters that are stamped on them). Also, all figures are also marked 1996.

C. star saphire, Asterope sapphira.

E. Ancyluris formosissima
This is a relatively good ID based on color, although the blue spots are a little misleading. A possible differential is  Palla ussheri (although I like my first choice better).

K. Paris swallowtail, Papilio paris.
If not this species, than certainly something in the paris-group

H. TENTATIVE ID: lesser purple emperor, Apatura ilia (female)
This is the one I am least confident on. A possible differential is a member of the genus Asterocampa, such as the hackberry butterfly A. celtis.

L. Claudina agrias, Agrias claudina

D. California dogface, Zerene eurydice
I was most-excited for this one!

B. common buckeye, Junonia coenia
There appears to be at least two different paint jobs for this species.

G. Wallace's golden birdwing, Ornithoptera croesus.