Vault Tales 116 Famemaster 4D Clown Triggerfish

It has been a while since I discussed a puzzle figure from the FameMaster company, and I think this is the first marine animal one! As with those other ones, these figures are notable for their fairly high attention to detail, sculpt, and paint job, in spite of being in service of a laser-cut puzzle format. This detracts a little from some of the figures–like this triggerfish–due to the visible seams. But overall they turn into nice display models. The fish and other aquatic animals lend themselves especially well to this. As is clear, the design of the triggerfish model here is very exacting, capturing the broad range of patterns and colours on a pretty accurate representation of the species–I also like that the fins are a transparent or translucent material.

This triggerfish is meant to represent the Clown Triggerfish as part of their Sea World line, item number 26540; this line was made up of a number of interesting tropical fish and invertebrates…I say was, maybe it still is. FameMaster has been notoriously hard to find and source for years. At one point, they were being distributed by TedCo, famous for their gyroscopes and such as well as the original distributors of the Prehistoric Panorama models. That’s how I got this one; we ordered a wide variety for the dino museum (they weren’t relevant, but they were popular with lots of people).

These figures also came in a wide variety of packaging; depending on theme they might have been in plastic eggs, sea shells, ammonites, barns, or any other sort of relevant item. When we got these ones, they had moved to using small cardboard boxes. As a retailer I appreciated that because they stored and displayed much better, and it was much easier to tell what was inside! The figures themselves, as mentioned before, create fairly challenging puzzles, and the packaging often gave suggestions on how long it should take you to be considered a master. And honestly, first time through, these could be tricky. With experience, they get easier (like all puzzles). My son, who is now the keeper/displayer of most of these, used to jumble the pieces together from several and then rebuild them…we had a lot of them, so it could take a while.

I have always enjoyed the FameMaster designs, but like I said, they are not easy to find. There is a website, and it claims that the series is still around–now the trick is finding a source (who knows, maybe TedCo still has them…but I don’t think so). For fans of wildlife models, these are great additions. While the triggerfish here may not be in a super engaging pose (it’s a fish…!) some of their others are really cool (hunt down their centipede or rattlesnake, for example). They’d make an excellent addition to any sea life shelf!

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