Vault Tales 165 Run the Set Yowies UK series 2

Here we are with another Run the Set, and again it’s one where I don’t have the whole set…not even close. But I have a number of them, and I think entirely from one trade with someone!

The UK Yowies were distributed by Cadbury, just like the Australian ones, and probably around the same time, latest 90s/earliest 2000s. Unlike the Australian ones, the UK ones were single PVC figures and did not require assembly. This obviously makes them better able to withstand play and transport, but they are also a more rough style of sculpt. They came out when both Play Visions and K&M International were at their peak for PVC small figures, but are nowhere near those levels of detail or paint. Interestingly, the recent revival of the Yowies line in Australia and the US (and, apparently, sometimes in Quebec, Canada…but only there?) has also been single-mold PVC figures, but (at least originally) higher-end sculpts.

One thing about the UK Yowies sculpts is that they tend to be kind of…continuous? The lemur is a good example–the arms and legs are designed in a way that blends them into the body. It makes the figure kind of lumpy. I don’t have any examples from this series, but there are also several figures that are molded flat onto bases, reminiscent of the Safari Ancient Fossil toob figures except they represent living animals. It’s kind of awkward, but they do have a characteristic look.

The set is actually really large, with both series 1 and 2 (there are only 2) featuring 50 animals each. Unlike Australian Yowies, which tended to feature predominantly Australian animals, the UK series were more cosmopolitan. Still more Australian animals than your average set would otherwise be, but there did not seem to be a particular theme. There is also the same range in terms of taxonomic diversity–still mostly mammals and birds, but also lots of reptiles, invertebrates and amphibians…and just 6 fish (two of which are sharks). So it makes sense that these figures do not feature heavily in my collection–from Series 2 I only have six, all mammals.

As it is, it’s happenstance that I have any of these at all. I received them in a trade from a collector in the UK–he of course had easy access when they were available, and sent me a list of everything he could spare. I ended up with a number of animals that were interesting to me…and he threw in the lion and a few Series 1 reptiles too. I honestly don’t recall what I sent him…probably mammal based, most likely something to do with elephants. He was (is?) and elephant keeper! Which was crazy to actually meet someone that does that. Without that incidental meeting I probably wouldn’t have any of these figures. I can’t actually recall how we got in touch…this was pre-social media, pre-forums, must have been through a mutual email contact? No matter–these are interesting figures, worth looking in the series and seeing if any suit your collections. But probably not ones to stress over too hard!

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