Vault Tales 186 FigureFrenzy Crappie, Hemicyclapsis, Stingray, Botia, Manta

Is it another Figure Frenzy? It is! Another 5 figures (some with a few versions) all of the fish variety! It feels like it’s been so long since I visited some fish figures.

Replica Toy Fish Crappie

First up, we have a Crappie figure from Replica Toy Fish, which I’ve mentioned before. The figure was later revised, along with others from the set, for the follow up Toy Fish Factory American Angler set. Being able to compare the two, both figures are overall very similar in general shape, but the RTF figure demonstrates why that line is sorely missed. The paint job is decidedly more detailed and more accurate. There is also a much broader range of colour, and it allows a better guess to the species, which is more likely a Black crappie. Although even then it’s not exact. Either way, a very nice figure, but of course it’s no longer available (along with the rest of the company). It wouldn’t be very easy to find anymore, but the TFF series is of course currently available and if you need a Crappie, it’s going to be close enough.

Shapeways Hemicyclaspis

And here we have another Shapeways figure. This time the osteostracan Hemicyclaspis. Shapeways used to have a designer that made a number of uncommon Palaeozoic agnathan fish. And of course one of them was this species, which actually has been made at least once before (by Dinotales). Still, it’s always great to get more of these kinds of fish figures. There are some details that might be a bit rough, and some of that might be due to the material, which was admittedly the lowest quality plastic…and of course I haven’t painted it either. It’s a good figure, just a little delicate so not a great toy, and fortunately, it can still be purchased from the Shapeways site. It’s not like there are a lot of other options.

Club Earth Stretchy Stingrays

Next we have a few different versions of a stingray from company Club Earth. They were part of a set of 5 stretchy rubber rays. They are always these monochromatic renderings, the first one I was able to get is that green one in a roughly matte colour finish. This was about 15 years ago; I got the one set and after one of the other figures (a sawfish) was ripped, I always knew I’d need another. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was at an aquarium gift shop that I finally saw the set again. This time, the figures were in a pearlescent colour finish, and just a little bit larger, but were otherwise the same. The figures themselves are surprisingly well-sculpted, with lots of details–and even making sure that the tail spine is present. It’s unfortunate that they are only in a soft rubber and not a solid painted PVC (Club Earth has done other figures like that) but they are decent, and the associated torpedo ray is worth it on its own. The set is of course still in production, and can probably be found in gift shops or online.

Kaiyodo ChocoEgg Animaltales Japanese Botia

And here we have a great figure from the Kaiyodo ChocoEgg Animaltales series, a Japanese botia (or Kissing loach), number 132 from series 5. I had always liked loaches and botias, and have kept a few in aquaria (and also maintained a fair number of other ones in stores). So it was kind of exciting to find a figure of one, finally, after so long. This was almost certainly among the first bunch of Kaiyodo figures that I had ordered from Japan. I still find it to be among my favorite little figures. It’s very accurate to the overall style of a botia, although the colour appears a little exaggerated for the species. The translucent fins really give it an element of realism. It goes without saying that I think everyone should try to get one…but of course they’re out of production. That said, I think they can be found for reasonable amounts online.

Safari Wild Safari Sealife Manta Ray

And finally, from Safari Ltd, their 2004 Manta ray from the WS Sea Life series, number 277729. It is a well made figure, but not quite to the same level as the current one. There is some nice detail, which the shoulder patches having some nice grading visible on the borders. One thing that can be tricky is that at the time of the figure, all ‘manta rays’ were considered one species. As such, there isn’t a lot of distinct features in the paint job to tell what variant/species they might have intended. The most likely species would be the giant oceanic (since that was the only option at the time). Either way, the figure could be described as…serviceable. It is clearly representative of a manta ray, but does not especially stand out among the many others that are out there. As it is, I think it is one of three available from Safari…and while the least expensive I would say the others are more worth getting, as toys or as collectables.

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