Vault Tales 145 ToyTrio Ayu, Brown trout, Wels catfish

So, another trio and this time it’s all (mostly) freshwater fish! All of them being ones that are frequently caught by anglers, for various reasons. Plus, I don’t think any of these fish figures are actually still in production anymore…so there’s that.

Yujin Freshwater Fish Pictorial book 1 Ayu

Our first one is a fish from Japanese company Yujin. I had to limit the full name of the series in the heading, because the full line is called Primary Freshwater Fishes Pictorial Book 1 Reissued revision…yes, as I pointed out once before, the Yujin freshwater fish have been issued, revised, reissued, and repackaged several times. Overall, I try not to get them all because…some of them don’t really change much. This figure, number 01 from the series, is the Ayu or Sweetfish, a smelt relative from east Asia.

As with most of the Yujin fish figures, this Ayu is incredibly well made. It is a soft PVC painted in a way to highlight (exaggerate?) the colours of the living animal. The fins are interesting in that they are translucent, giving a more realistic flavor to them. And like the majority of Yujin fish, it comes mounted on a small base with an acrylic rod, making it well suited for display, and giving the fish a little more life. It’s one of those things where it seems like it makes sense that mid-water swimmers like trout and smelts look better when they aren’t resting on the ground. While not in production, these figures are often widely available on secondary markets, and aren’t usually too expensive either–only the secret and special figures from the sets can be prohibitive.

Replica Toy Fish Brown Trout

Speaking of trout that don’t have bases…a Replica Toy Fish figure, from their release of a bunch of salmonid figures. Interestingly, of all of the species made, this is the only one that is not a native North American species…although they are well-established in many areas. Which is probably why it made sense to include the species, even though there are so many locals that could have been made instead…That said, it’s still great to have, and gives a good contrast with the several other trout species in the series.

As a trout figure, the model is pretty spot on, although the adipose fin probably shouldn’t have rays sculpted into it. Otherwise, it captures the distinctive look of a brown trout; when lined up against the other trout species in the RTF series the differences are clear. The figure also does a decent job trying to highlight the characteristic halos that surround the red and blue spots on the brown trout’s back. But it’s also evident that whoever was painting was challenged by details like that, and it was things like this that pushed RTF to revise their models as Toy Fish Factory. Given how this figure…and the just mentioned ‘other trout species’ (there are at least five or six other salmonids)…are long of production, I am hopeful that we will see them come out with all of their planned trout (and other) species. Because oddly enough, we do not see a whole lot of trout figures, at least not good ones, or much variety of them.

Feves Aquarium de Touraine Amboise Wels Catfish

And now for something really, completely different. Those last two figures are PVC, and playable (more or less). Now we’re into a type of figure that I don’t actively seek, but come on! It’s a Wels Catfish! The giant bird-eating catfish of Europe! And it’s one of my tiniest figures because it’s a Feves figure, part of a set of souvenir figures from the Grand Aquarium de Touraine in France (also, new place to visit on the list…!). I’ve described a Feves set before, but I didn’t realize, I don’t think, that they are also kind of treated like souvenir things in France. Now I want them to be everywhere I go. They are tiny, but so varied, and if they make cool little fish like this (or the one hiding in this post!) then I am all for it.

It’s funny to look at photos of these figures, since they turn out larger than the figure actually is, and makes it easier to see the details. There is a lot of effort put into these–not only are, say, the barbels painted on, but the larger one are raised just a little, meaning they are part of the sculpt. And of course, lots of subtle paint touches. Production probably helps–maybe it’s easier to mass produce porcelain figures? I have no idea. What I do know is that it’s almost unconscionable that this, I think, might be the only figure of a Wels Catfish! How can that be? These are notorious river monsters, long before the eponymous show called them that, and found all over Europe where all kinds of companies have produced animal figures, including fish. Maybe there’s one from Diramix but…the Feves is going to be better. The figure probably wouldn’t make a great toy, but would be a great curiosity for a collector. But I don’t know how available they are, so I guess it might take a trip to an Aquarium!

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