So…I’m doing this, this week. Three different figures, three different takes on imaginary/mythical/cryptozoolgical animals all based on real animals. To varying degrees of quality. We’ll even go from solo to a duo to a trio! Some were worth getting because of how they represent real creatures; others were probably part of random lots…or came as parts of sets. Into the imaginations I guess!
Wizards of the Coast Flame Snake
First up, a figure from Wizards of the Coast, a Dungeons & Dragons painted plastic model. This one is a Flame snake which, sure. It is from the ‘Desert of Desolation’ series, number 42. WotC continues to release sets of plastic figures for the more immersive version of the game–I’ll admit that I enjoyed building up the maps on the table with figures. Go figure. While I often had figures that could work already, sometimes it was fun to have more literal figures (although, come on, of course I have various cobras and other snakes). Most likely, this one showed up in a lot of some kind that included animal(s) that I actually wanted but whatever. It’s nice enough as a weird cobra. Maybe I even used it in a game at some point, but now it sits on my daughter’s shelf. I am guessing that this particular release is now unavailable, but it isn’t uncommon for these molds to be re-released in different forms.
Takara TOMY ‘Assassin Fang’ Tsushinoko pair
Next on our made-up-animals journey, we have a pair of Tsushinoko from Takara TOMY as part of their ‘Assassin Fang’ series. It was a series dedicated to some of the most famously venomous snakes in the world. And as with most Japanese series, there were secret figures–and as with more than one Japanese set, the secret figure is a snake from Japanese myth/legend. Except that there are two versions of the same figure–one is flat brown, while the other is striped. But they are otherwise the same figure.
I would say, I wouldn’t have necessarily gone out of my way to get these particular figures. I don’t put a lot of effort into cryptid and legendary animals. But, they came with a complete set of the Assassin Fang figures, all of which are definitely excellent snake figures to have (hopefully I’ll draw one of them at some point, or even get to run the set). They do give a good example of the quality of the figures in the series though–lots of detail in the paint and sculpts. The figures themselves are single piece, and each comes with separate circular plastic base. There are labels on them, but of course the Tsushinoko don’t have a binomial name to include. As a set it’s definitely worth tracking down (of course, it’s no longer made, it’s been many years now).
UHA Collect Club World’s Mystery Nessie (plesiosaur?) trio
Finally, the trio (within a trio, I guess). Three figures meant to represent the famous Loch Ness Monster, in a super fancy swirling base. This is from one of several sets made by UHA Collect Club to represent various mythical, cryptozoological and archaeological wonders. They were never easy to find outside of (where else?) Japan. There are actually several series of similar themes, from several companies, all from around the early 2000s or so. This one is from the third series 3…which may have been a release of their series 1? Not sure. And many of them, when creating cryptozoological models, would take inspiration from real animals (extinct or modern), which were the ones that I sought out where possible. It of course goes without saying that several Nessie figures were made, and I’m pretty sure they were all based on plesiosaurs. Like this one!
Which brings us to the figures. They are stylized, but the source material is clear. They don’t even have super bent necks, so are almost within reasonable range of motion for plesiosaurs. Trying to establish a species would be pointless, so it’s probably Plesiosaurus. The three figures have distinct variations on a blue dorsal side, with lighter highlights. The texture is overall smooth, but the faces have been carefully sculpted to have distinct eyes and toothy mouths. I was able to track this one down at some point, and then another with only the two larger figures (yet another random lot!). I appreciate how they appear on the shelves, as many have distinct bases and styles. I recommend models like this for anyone that likes prehistoric animals, especially marine reptiles. I have no idea how hard they are to find though; these ‘mystery’ series figures were never particularly easy to find outside of Japan, especially since most of discovered them long after they were discontinued.