I’m going to be looking at another full set today, the Wing Mau set of lizards. I have visited one of the individual figures once before, but I’ll go over the full set of 12 now. It’s an interesting set that features a number of species that we don’t otherwise see made as figures. And since they’re all marked, it’s even better because it takes away some of the guess work (seeing as the paint jobs are…not always accurate).
The set of 12 figures feature lizards that are all American species, from North through Central America. Not sure what the reason for that is, but we can take it. I don’t foresee getting another spiny lizard figure…ever. They are all roughly the same size, and overall similar in form. The material is a soft PVC, with soft flexible tails and legs. Over the years the set has been re-released several times, in a variety of paint schemes. They have been released in multiple ways over the last…at least 25+ years? I got most of mine in 1995 or so.
The sets have been released in different methods as well. I have seen them in bagged sets and in bins, as well as capsule vending machines. That is actually how I got 11 out of the twelve species. Back in the 90s there was a grocery store near the place where I worked–if I had the right coin, I would buy yet another lizard. I received a lot of doubles of the figures, but gave those to customers and coworkers. I never did get the twelfth figure in that machine…eventually came across it as a bulk bin find. So at least I got the whole series!
One really funny thing about these figures is the brand identification. For years (YEARS!) these figures were well-known and widely available. But the brand was uncertain. The bottoms of the figures are marked with the species’ name, and a number from 1-12, plus what was assumed to be a brand marking of XX. Nobody was sure what that meant, and it just carried on. Then, a few months ago, someone pointed out that it isn’t 2 X’s; it’s a stylized W on top of a stylized M. Which is the trademark of a company called Wing Mau–a company that was already familiar for a few other sets of figures released under that brand, as well as supplying models for other companies.
The figures are kind of rudimentary and wouldn’t be considered ‘museum quality’, yet the range of species still makes them attractive to collectors. In looking around for these, they seem to be available in more updated colour patterns, most of which are improvements. But the sets I found also seem to have dropped a few of the species out of the set, in favour of what appear to be some amphibian figures that are also familiar…it is possible, but it could be that these were recast by a different company. Or it’s a case of Wing Mau producing the figures for some other company. Regardless, they are certainly interesting models for fans of reptile figures. They are more toy-like than collectible, but fortunately not that expensive.