I appear to be on a bit of an inadvertent Japanese set streak this month. It wasn’t intentional, but sometimes it just happens. Not sure how long it’s going to go. But for today, instead of a Kaiyodo set, it will be the first of at least two sets from Kitan Club, a Japanese company that got started in the early 2010s. Many of their models are wildlife or nature based, and many are encompassed under the Nature Technicolor of capsule figures. The original name of the company was Kitan Club, but as of 2016 they are now know as Ikimon (not sure what caused the name change). Given that this set, the Salamanders & Newts, came out in 2015, it would have been a ‘Kitan Club’ series. Let’s take a look!
It’s a very nice set, but as with many of the Kitan capsule series, they have a bit of a gimmick. In this instance, all of the figures come with an embedded belly magnet, or with a ball chain from which they hang. This latter is used to its best effect with one of the Japanese Firebelly Newt figures, as it is meant to appear suspended in the water (but it does make display tricky). All of the other figures are depicted in walking or crawling poses. Very alert looking overall, with bright and clean paint jobs. The magnets are also visible on the bellies of the newts, but is embedded and hidden on the magnet-bearing Giant Salamander.
All of the figures in the set feature Japanese species, of course. Although there are six figures total, there are only four sculpts; the two walking Firebelly newts are the same sculpt although different paint jobs; the Okinawa Swordtail newt is its own sculpt; the aforementioned hanging firebelly newt is of course its own; and while there are two Japanese Giant salamander figures, they are both the exact same figure and paint job. One was a magnet, and one was on a ball chain, but I was able to remove that fairly seamlessly, and it didn’t even make sense given the pose and species. All of the species represented are of course Japanese. While they are very nice models, it would have been nice to have a few other species instead (I personally have a couple of other caudatan figures of Japanese species, or even subspecies, so they could have!)
Overall, this is a pretty awesome set. The figures are very well made, most of them close to scale; of course the giant salamanders are not. They are all sculpted to be very realistic, and could easily pass for the real animal (size notwithstanding of course). As I said, a little more taxonomic diversity would have been appreciated, but they’re all worth it. All of the figures are single piece, and made of some kind of a PVC-like material; no small bits to lose! As with many Kitan Club/Ikimon sets, the figures were available in capsule form. And also like most of those, the set was available for a limited time, and the figures have become far more difficult to get. For fans of salamander figures, a surprisingly limited bunch overall compare to their hoppy relatives, it would be a welcome addition to a collection, and I highly recommend the search.