So I decided to change things up a little, as mentioned at the end of my last post. It felt like it would be more fun to do more figures, with shorter discussions. Unless, of course, it warrants more discussion. So I’m labelling these FigureFrenzies! Lots of fun stuff (I hope). Let’s do this!
Panini Spotted Hyena
Well, start something new-ish, might as well be with one of my earliest figures that I can remember getting. Part of a set of 36 wild animals in a blind bag series. They were available in association with a sticker book and stickers, but of course it was near impossible to get all 36 animals. Oddly, I was able to get a hyena almost right off the bat…then got a whole lot more. Eventually, I got a sense of how they felt in the bag, and ended up with quite a little clan…I used to have more than you see in that one photo, but over time a few became keychains and such! As an early small hyena figure, in 1994 or so, it wasn’t a bad figure, if a little cartoonish but still taken seriously (there weren’t many easily available options then, and it was a while before another Spotted Hyena showed up) and I would still recommend one if you can get one; it’s easily one of the better figures in the set of 36 and I think they are still available.
Favorite Paint-your-Own mini Spinosaurus
From a figure I easily remember to one that…just kind of appeared. Made by Favorite (better known for for larger vinyls, soft model and desktop models), they actually have quite a range of paintable figures in different sizes. I’m just not much for paintable figures, even though my lack of real investment means it would make a great practice figure…As a Spinosaurus figure it stands out as a representation of how we viewed that dinosaur maybe ten years ago. When it came out, it was based on the larger figures which seemed really realistic, before we had a bit more skeletal detail. This one is at least heavily inspired by its relatives like Baryonyx and Suchomimus. Not sure how many people would really need it now, except as a practice piece or a curiosity.
Groovy Tubes Arctic Chill Polar Bear
Next up, a Polar Bear from the Innovative Kids series. Unlike some of my earlier discussions, featuring mostly fantasy and such, there were several more modern sets. In this case the polar bear is from the Arctic Chill book/game/toy tube. As a set of figures, ‘Arctic’ is pretty well-worn territory, but they did a good job of expanding the term to be more of a ‘northern latitudes’ set, which meant a broader range of animal representation (and no penguins…). But it does mean a few standards from the area, including of course the top (land) predator, a polar bear. There are of course a lot of polar bear figures (easily one of the most popular animal toys) and this one…probably isn’t among the best. The set is interesting (I’m sure I’ll get to it as a Run the Set eventually) but the polar bear probably isn’t the reason to hunt for it.
Safari Ltd Cryptozoology Toob Sasquatch
Okay, so I am not a bigger collector of cryptid figures, unless they are modelled directly on a ‘real’ animal (as seen in a few posts here) or show up incidentally, as parts of a set or in random acquired lots. In the case of this Sasquatch it is the latter–Safari released a Designer Cryptozoology toob. And it had a coelacanth in it (which…why?) so I had to get that set. Which means I ended up with a bunch of figures of more familiar cryptids, like this Sasquatch. Which, as far as figures of this kind go, isn’t so bad. It is a very classic look, similar to some famous ‘photos’ of the mystery animal. I don’t display it or anything, but for fans of this kind of creature it’s not bad. The coelacanth is still the primary reason to get the toob though, at least as far as I’m concerned.
Safari Endangered Species-marine toob Sea Turtle pair
And, speaking of Safari toobs that have a few good figures and some really, not great ones, here are two figures from the Safari Endangered Species-marine toob (mentioned here before). Two sea turtles. Poorly painted ones. I can’t overstate how unimpressed I am by them. At first I thought it odd that a toob to 10 figures would have two of the same figure (or just the same species). It turns out that these are just repaints of previously existing figures of a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle and a Hawksbill turtle (the one with the ridged edges on the carapace). Neither of which are painted even close to correctly…but were re-marked after their initial release in the Frogs & Turtles toob. I am usually pretty positive when it comes to my figures…but these ones are purely incidental. The toob has some okay models (like that Hammerhead shark and a few other recasts) and some sublime figures (I’m sure I’ll get to the two batoid figures some day) but these ones are easily relegated to the sand box. I actually discussed the whole set on the Animal Toy Blog quite a while ago if you are curious.