Vault tales Run the Set 73 Iwako Prehistoric erasers

What is this? Well, it’s another Run the Set! This time, a selection of erasers from Japan by a company called Iwako. There is no way that I have all of them, but I do have a pretty interesting variety of species among them.

What are these? As I said, they are erasers. Of some pretty strange taxa, to be honest. Anyone familiar with browsing Japanese auction sites, etc, will be familiar with the range of collectable erasers available there. It’s not something that I would normally pursue, but hey, weird prehistoric animals!

These are all the figures I have. I will never of course use them as erasers…and they are very small, at most 4cm long.

Any story about these? Like some of my figures, the source for these are lost in time. If I had to guess, I probably got them in a trade or as an impulse purchase from a fellow collector. It’s unlikely that I would have purchased these directly…unlikely. Not impossible.

And now the figures:


Here we have a couple of plesiosaurs. Probably meant to be Plesiosaurus from the shorter necks…but just as easily Nessies, really. One thing about these Iwako erasers, they do just one colour (at least with these prehistoric ones) but they put in all kinds of details–little scutes, ridges on the flippers (I don’t think they’re meant to represent fingers), even distinct facial features. And these are small figures, about 4cm along the back, so the details are pretty fine. Of course, these ones are in the old-fashioned swan neck, but I doubt they’re based on new models; not sure their age, but erasers like this have been around a while! They’re okay, but I don’t display them.

Any story b


Here we have a couple of small mosasaurs. Guessing the plesiosaur’s representation, these ones are pretty much impossible. But, again, at their tiny size of under 4cm, they can be whatever. Unlike the plesiosaurs, these two are different from each other in more than just colour–the white one is just a little smaller. Again, there are lots of little details all over them–with a series of ridges down the sides and along the flippers. And like the plesiosaurs, they carry a bit of an older style with them, with a ridge along the back. I do have the pink one on display, although I don’t fully know why. Maybe because it matches the other displayed ones!? (see below) Again, interesting little figures.


This mammoth, well, it’s a weird one. I am pretty sure it’s Iwako again (the markings are pretty faded). And the amount of detail in such a small package is definitely there. This one is barely 1.5 cm at the shoulder, and is kind of blocky. And yet, with some forgiveness for style, it’s not a terrible woolly mammoth–lots of fur, curved tusks, even an angry face! The legs are a little chunky, but that’s just part of the charm. This one is also not on display. I have lots of mammoths. Interestingly, this is the only one I have that is neither reptilian nor marine.


This ammonite is almost bulky compared to the rest. It carries that same older reconstruction found in many of these figures, looking more or less like a nautilus with a different shell. Again, though, lots of details and features–between each ‘chamber’ the shell has little markings sculpted in, and the tentacles are well-defined. Overall, it’s pretty neat. It has a diameter of about 2 cm, so it could fit into any scene as a background ammonoid of some kind (maybe even sneak in as a nautiloid…). I do have this one on the shelves. It doesn’t stand well, but that’s okay.


This Desmatosuchus is probably one of the reasons I wanted these figures. There just aren’t enough aetosaur figures overall–and at the time there were even fewer). It’s a little creative with the anatomy, even if the details are well done. The face is a little too crocodile like (or even reminiscent of the mosasaur faces) instead of having the shorter, up-turned snout. And the back scutes are weirdly…lumpy? But it’s kind of fun that it exists. It’s not terrible for size at 4 cm, I’m sure there are some small rauisuchians or phytosaurs that would roughly match the scale! And of course this one is on the shelves. Have to keep those weird ones visible!


And speaking of weird an unusual…a Kuehneosaurus figure! If the Desmatosuchus represents a group of animals rarely done, this one is an animal…never done!? This would have been another must-have figure for me. Again, the face looks like all of the other reptiles (is that a theme here?) but the reptile body and curved posterior margin of the wing clearly mark the strange winged reptile it probably represents (other options may have included Icarosaurus or Coelurosauravus, but the wing shapes are different). The wings (patagium?) are sculpted with the ribs extended from the body, just like in the animal, so that’s nice. The limbs are too hefty though. It is of course on the shelves, on display. For whatever reason, just the pink ones are out. No particular reason.

As a final thought, above is the belly of the pink mosasaur, showing the brand markings (surprisingly clearly). I highly recommend these little oddities, although finding them (or even knock offs) may require searching Japanese auctions. It’s also very possible that these are spread further afield–looking for those marking will help. Also try ‘cake toppers’, a popular label for small figures in sales sites. However you find them, though, I recommend these ones. The variety is great, and their tiny size makes them appropriate for all kinds of purposes.

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