It’s a run the set today, and I’ll be honest, it’s going to be brief. Not because they aren’t nice figures, I just wouldn’t really have much to say. It’s the Safari Ltd Tropical Butterflies set, number 684504. I believe first released around 2016 but it could have been earlier. As far as insects go, butterflies are a fairly popular, safe choice for companies–but with this set they went into some less familiar ones, so that’s a plus.
The set itself consists of 8 butterflies in a variety of colours and shapes. I have to applaud the designs here, as Safari took the time to actually sculpt what appears to be 8 unique, distinct butterflies. I can’t speak to their accuracy for the various species, but at least they’re all different. More importantly, they are properly marked–with Latin binomial names! For someone like me that likes to keep a proper record of everything (in the nerdiest database anyone has ever made just for fun…) that is really helpful. Especially since the earliest Safari bug toobs had no names at all.
Speaking of those names though…I didn’t take any photos of the underside, but Safari really, really wanted to make sure that they were seen. Unlike most figures (toob or otherwise) the names are not just stamped into the plastic, but actually painted…in very bright white or glaring black. It kind of detracts from the figures if it is visible. But at least, again, it’s easy to find.
As I said, these figures are nice in that they are not just generic butterflies, and it looks like care was put into the sculpts to try and highlight the variety of wing shapes that butterflies can have. Of course, the legs and antennae tend to be sculpted thicker than they should be but that’s a necessity for production purposes since these are meant as toys. Unfortunately, at least with mine, I find that the care in the sculpts doesn’t fully translate to the paint jobs. They are serviceable enough, but in many of them the colouring seems rushed–the bodies are not differentiated, or the colour is applied more broadly than it should be. I have seen pictures of the same figures in other people’s collections, and noticed that mine seem to have a more simple paint job. It is possible that I have a later run toob, where this is not uncommon.
Overall, it’s a nice enough set. Insects get surprisingly little attention (given how many of them there are) so it’s nice to see a more varied set. As far as I know, this one is still readily and easily available, so it’s easy to get for the collection or toy box. Maybe we need to encourage more sets like this, giving broad ranges of invertebrate groups. We need a spiders toob or something!
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