Vault Tales 194 Run the Set Play Visions Sharks

Another Run the Set, but one that I have part of now. These are the figures I have from the Play Visions bulk bin Shark series. This was one of the many series that came out in the later 90s from Play Visions featuring some kind of unifying theme, often (more or less) taxonomic or location based. They were notable for being relatively well done small figures, and often featuring unique and interesting animals. The sharks series came out in 1996, with a set number of 1254, and I seem to recall getting the whole lot of them around that time. Some of the figures were familiar species, but some were probably the first representatives of species. Those are the three that I still have.

The series, like most of the Play Visions sets, was made up of 8 figures. The three that I still have are the Goblin shark, Angel shark and Zebra Bullhead shark. The other figures are a Great white shark (of course), tiger shark, Hammerhead shark, Whale shark (another of course), and Thresher shark (with a sadly too-short tail). The sharks were sold as bulk models in bins, and also showed up sometimes in box sets; sometimes the box sets even contained larger versions of the figures (which I was never able to find).

For small figures like this, especially from this era, there are a lot of details in these figures. And they are not static figures either. The figures have been given active, swimming poses which makes them look more alive. They also have lots of accurate details, like number of gill slits, and small nostril and mouth details. One thing that might be missing for them is that the paint jobs are kind of rudimentary. Admittedly, most sharks tend to be kind of grey or brown. It’s when the patterns and highlights go on, they tend to be kind of broad or basic.

Play Visions discontinued the majority of their sets in the early 2000s, and between this and the range of figures, most have become very collectable (for example!). But Play Visions is still in business, and continue to produce various toys, but only a few bulk sets of figures. Fortunately for shark figure enthusiasts, this is one of the few bulk lots that is actually still in production. This is kind of great, because as far as shark sets go, it continues to hold up well even compared to many existing sets. Maybe it doesn’t compare to a company like Colorata, but given the low cost for the figures, and the wider availability, the accessibility of the series is great for collectors of any age.

As for the question of why I only have 3 species of the 8, I did have them all of course. But a while ago I had to make some space, and and had to make some choices. So the other 5 species (and a whole lot else!) found there way to another collector! I believe they found their way somewhere in Europe, but it has been awhile! But these three species definitely needed to stay on the shelves! I highly recommend the series, or at least picking out a few species. They’re relatively easy to find, so that’s good.

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