So here’s a few figures connected by being…air breathing vertebrates? Sure, let’s say that. Otherwise they’re very, very different.
COG “Cool Reptiles” Green salamander
First off, I’m starting with a small salamander figure from a bucket set called Cool Reptiles from COG Ltd. Even though it seems to contain more amphibians than reptiles…anyway, I recently pictured the salamander from that set, along with a number of others, in this recent Salamandroidea clades post. They are of course small figures, this one being about 6cm long–of course, the species is at best vague; ‘green salamander’ is probably more on the nose than actually reflects the green salamander species. It is entirely monochromatic, without even highlights as dots for the eyes. Really, it’s a decent if generic lungless salamander, or a close relative, of some kind. I don’t know if the set is available anymore (it was a Dollar Store find 15 years ago or more) but I would definitely recommend it. Some day I will hopefully run this particular set, but before that day, I did review the set for the Animal Toy Blog here (the link brings you to part 2, with the amhpibians). So you can see them if you like.
Kitan Club “Nature of Japan” Japanese Giant Salamander
The next salamander is from a company called Kitan Club…which I think is now Ikimon? It’s sometimes hard to follow. Anyway, this is one of many Japanese companies that makes all kinds of capsule and gashapon figures in different themes of figures. This is one called Nature of Japan, celebrating, of course, the wildlife of Japan. From series one, this figure is a pretty active representation of the Japanese Giant Salamander, number 07 in the line. While not as well known, Kitan figures are often very well made, and this salamander is no exception.
There’s lots of great things to say about a model like this. A lot of care and attention has been put into the sculpt and the paint, and the figure is definitely a product of a great deal of care. One of the most interesting things to note is the tiny, brightly-coloured eyes. There is even a tiny pupil in the centre of the very reflective eyes. The Kitan figures like this one are single pieces, so no seams are visible; and the material is a fairly sturdy plastic that doesn’t seem breakable. I know these are not currently in production, but I also don’t know how hard they are to find. As far as the many giant salamander figures out there go, this one seems like it might be more accessibly priced; I know that it is not even the only one from Kitan out there! It’s worth a look, everyone should have a few giant salamanders.
Yowies Series 2 Queensland Lungfish
Our final figure is one of my first primitive fishes figures–the Yowies Queensland lungfish (or Australian lungfish). This figure is from their second series, originally available with Cadbury’s chocolate. It is a good figure, and especially for when it was produced in 1998, it was pretty impressive. I didn’t get my hands on one until several years later, long after I knew that the figure existed (being solely Australian means sourcing from Australia). But once I knew, I definitely needed to track one down; at the time I don’t think there were any figures out there of any of the traditional ‘primitive’ fishes at all. Since that time, there have been…a surprising number, actually, of Queensland lungfish. Which is great to me in many ways, but it would be nice to see some of the other species!
Given the rough nature of the Yowies model, it still represents the fish well. It has the big scales, and the big fins, although the face could be a little less rounded. But that just gives it character! Along with the big white eyes, this fish really feels like it should be part of some Australian river-life cartoon or something. Then again, compared to some Yowies of the era it’s still pretty good. I’m personally glad to have it (a couple, actually I think) even though over the years I’ve managed to gather a decent collection of this species, but the Yowies depiction kind of stands out…maybe because it is so stylized? There are of course several other figures of the Queensland lungfish out there–all otherwise from Japan–and some are even currently available, but I still think it’s worth trying to get this one too. It’s unique, but I will warn that given the age, they are not easy to find–find a friend in Australia, where there are lots of collectors, and you might luck out. In auctions they can be relatively pricey, especially with postage form Australia if you don’t live there (although just getting huge lots of random figures is fun too–never know what other treasures you’ll get).