Today’s figure is another fish from the defunct Replica Toy Fish Company, but more than that, it is another custom paint job of one of the RTF figures. Last time I turned a brook trout into a bull trout, this time I turned a northern pike into an Amur pike (AKA blackspotted pike). Like the majority of the small RTF fish, the northern pike came out in about 2010. I had a few spares, and felt inspired, so I repainted this one just a few years ago. Obviously the Amur pike version is not findable, but really neither is the northern pike–but their reincarnation as Toy Fish Factory has seen a revised pike figure (better paint job in my opinion).
Obviously no company made the choice to make this species, which is too bad, because it’s so unlike what we are used to in pike, with a very light body and black spots and dashes–it’s like a dalmation fish! I am pretty sure I decided to do this repaint when I was repainting the bull trout. Might as well do a few projects at once! I became inspired to go with this species when I read a blog post (I thought it was the Fisheries Blog, but I can’t find it anymore, wherever it is) about all of the Esox species. Some had only recently been described, but the Amur pike was especially different, and I thought I might be able to pull it off. Opinions might vary. It is of course in one of the many fish cabinets, alongside the other pike figures–along with the commercially available figures, I even have a few test paint versions. So that shelf has a lot of variety.
Normally I give opinions on the figure here, but like other figures that I’ve painted myself I am not a great judge. Or I’d be the harshest critic? I am overall happy how well this turned out–given the small size, it was tricky getting the spattering of black dots and dashes on there in a reasonable way. Hopefully I did the species (Esox reichertii for those interested) justice. The sculpt itself, being the original RTF pike, is a pretty good representation of the figure, and the genus overall–it is slender enough to differentiate from the muskellunge figure that was also available, as well as ensuring that the tail fins were properly rounded. Given the option between the two figures, the northern pike was the better match for the Amur pike, which seem to share that slightly more slender body. The figure itself is 8.5cm long, so it would be roughly 1:13.5 scale, assuming a full size adult. Similar to a very large northern (1:17 at assumed max length), but double an average size one.
And now is where I say you should track one down, but of course you’ll have to do it yourself. Just find a spare RTF pike figure, or another pike figure (The Toy Fish Factory one is available! And there are a couple RTF Tiger muskies still available, they might work) and get out the acrylics. I’m not dissatisfied with how it turned out, and if I can pull this off, I think most people could. Maybe someday we’ll see a set of all of the Esocidae (maybe even the Esociformes?) to highlight the variety that exists. I know it won’t happen, but I am always up for more freshwater fish figures.