Vault Tales 234 Run the Set Ikimon Nature Technicolor Move Eels

Following with the accidental “Nature Technicolor” theme of the week, this time we are going to quickly look at a more recent set (well, 75% of it). Released in 2019, this set of Garden eels would have been under the Ikimon Nature Technicolor brand, unlike the Kitan Club set from a few days ago. This one also has a pretty fancy gimmick, and in spite of myself I have included a gif at the end to demonstrate (foreshadowing: it is endearingly goofy).

The set is made up of four species, all different garden eels. As is clear from my photos, I only have three; the figure that I am missing is the Splendid Garden eel. As with all figures of garden eels, these are not full-body representations but instead show the eels as you would normally see them…sticking up part way out of the ground. All of them are sculpted the same way, in a close trio of three eels, all of differing lengths, but painted differently. As with anything that includes garden eels, one is the Spotted Garden eel of course (as with all figures of spotted garden eels, this one is Heteroconger hassi, although other species are also called ‘spotted garden eels’). The other two species, the Zebra Garden eel and Taylor’s Garden eel are unique as figures. Of the four, those were certainly my main goals; I seem to recall that I had to choose one of either the Splendid or Spotted. In retrospect, I think I should have gotten all four. Especially given the mechanic they have.

The figures are obviously well-painted and sculpted, with the kind of grumpy faces clearly sculpted. The dorsal fines and detail of the body are also captured well; it’s admittedly not too hard with a fairly tubular eel–but the dorsal fins should be noted for being very carefully sculpted with fin rays, and left in a translucent plastic (with some appropriate markings). The bases are kind of annoying, being very larger blocks that are taller then the highest eel in the trio, but that is in service of the mechanism–the gear wheel on the side is meant to be turned by a finger, and it cause the eels to raise and lower at different heights. And, these bases can be joined together, with the gears interlocking, and all of the eels moving in sync–but in each base, the fish raise out of sync. Notice in the photo above, the tallest eel in each one is in a different position! I could never have planned that. So how well do the figures move? Take a look (you might have to allow gifs…):

Look at ’em go! Wheeeeeee! If they were real, they’ d probably bite my hand if they didn’t duck into the burrows…

So that’s kind of fun. Honestly, the original promotion materials showed that you could link these in all directions–which, if they were easier to get/less expensive, would make it totally worth getting a whole bunch just to link them up. At the very least I should probably try and track down the fourth species, the Splendid garden eel. They are made occasionally, often as the chase figures in sets. This set, of course, is no longer in production, but I think most fish people would like them. Some might even want to free them from the mechanism to allow them to display a little better. Especially if you have a number of other garden eel figures:

Here’s hoping we see some of the other garden eel species as figures someday. To say nothing of the other eels in general!

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