This post will be short because, in all honesty, I don’t have much to say about it! It is one of the Life Cycles made by Safari Ltd as part of their Safariology line–toys and models meant to act as educational guides as well as toys. This one features a pretty well-known cycle, that of the Monarch Butterfly.
The set is item number 622616 from Safari, first released in 2011. As far as life cycle toys go, this is probably one of the standard ones (along with a frog and a biord of some kind…it’s almost a toy trope). As I mentioned, these aren’t really something I would collect, but they appealed to the kids back in the day, so why not? It’s still on one of their shelves, along with a whole bunch of others. Safari has actually produced quite a variety of these kinds of sets featuring a range of animals and even a plant! Primarily invertebrates, and especially insects, though. Oddly, until this year no new ones have been released since 2015!
The nice thing about these sets is that they are made to the same excellent standard as most Safari figures. The monarch butterfly (and the mosquito, if you’re curious) have both been released as standalone figures as well. There are a few little things of course–some elements, like legs and antennae, are far too thick for the real animal due to the limitations of production in PVC. As well, the figures in the set are in no way to scale; the chrysalis and adult butterfly are just a little larger than true scale (making those thick parts very noticeable) whereas the eggs and caterpillar are very over-sized. The caterpillar is about double life size, and the eggs are more than 10 times true size (if I got my sizing right!). But the set is meant as a visual aid anyway.
These kinds of sets are made by all kinds of producers, in varying quality. The butterfly–and let’s be honest, the monarch butterfly–is definitely a staple of the genre of model. If you need one, the Safari would be a good choice. At least I think so, I’m sure that people more familiar with insects might find have more detailed thoughts about what is right and wrong. But in the end, the goal with these is education, and the opportunity to use high quality (and durable!) models for the purpose is great. And unlike some of the Life Cycles, the Monarch Butterfly set is still available.