Vault Tales 147 ToyTrio Mole cricket, Whelk, Slit-shell snail

I seem to have found a way to create themes for the trio posts…today is super unusual for me–it’s all invertebrates. Not a group that I have a lot of although some weirder ones are in my collection–I do have at least one whole shelf of mostly prehistoric ones after all!

Bin figure large Whelk snail

So this is a bit of an oddity…I think it’s a whelk, although the species (or even the entire identification) is kind of a guess. It is part of a set of marine animals that really have a broad range…maybe I could have Run the Set instead, but the opportunity for a themed trio came up and I couldn’t resist. As a figure, it’s kind of basic–clear enough that it’s a marine snail, and detailed enough that I think even the eyes are painted on. This one has a shell about 8cm long, so it might be to scale or not, depending on species; there is actually a similar set (which I also have) that features the same creatures but smaller. I don’t display this one, it (and the set) were more purchased at a dollar store because I thought the variety would be good for the kids (there’s an anemone! And a sea cucumber! Nobody makes those!). The whole set pops up frequently in packaged or bulk lots, so they’re probably not hard to find.

Epoch “Living Fossil” Slit-shell snail

Next up, we have another snail–this one a deep sea Slit-shell snail. Unlike the previous whelk, we known that this one represents a very specific species, Mikadotrouchus beyrichii. Because it is printed right on the base. It seems to be painted a little too brightly, but how often do weird snail figures get made? This one is part of a set from Epoch in their “Life Account of the Trip” series, the set being of ‘Living fossil collection’; part of my collection is me learning about animals that I knew nothing about and here’s one. There are types of modern snails (slit shells) that are more primitive than others, with slit-shells being part of a family with roots in the Cambrian! I’d never really thought about it…before. The whole set contains 8 regular figures, plus two chase figures; honestly, most of the other figures were of more interest to me than the snail, yet I somehow have two of this one!

Overall, Epoch figures are just a little more toy-like than many other Japanese figures. They tend to be a bit bigger, and a more robust material. Other than the bases which, from experience, have some major weaknesses in that peg. The top is a ball-joint, so the figure can be rotated and tilted to suit the display or fit a space. They are well-made, and stand out nicely. Of course, they are no longer in production but I know they show up on auction. Maybe someday I’ll find a new home for my extra.

Kaiyodo “Soil Organisms” Mole cricket

Finally, we have another figure from Japan, this one made by Kaiyodo in their CapsuleQ Soil Organisms series. A whole set, dedicated to the small and (mostly) unnoticed invertebrates that crawl in and under the ground. We have here the mole cricket, an especially unique looking insect with big forelimbs for digging. Again, not an animal I know a whole lot about, but it adds a nice touch of strangeness to the shelf!

It’s interesting to look briefly at figures like this in my collection; I don’t actively seek out most insects and other invertebrates, so it’s nice to point some out here and there. I know that this set (of course it’s out of production, and less easy to find) mostly appealed to me because it had a tardigrade in it (I have a few of those…so weird) but I like having the range of critters. They are not front and centre on the shelves, but they are there, just to change things up a little! And when they are as superbly made as this Kaiyodo model, it’s even better!

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