Staying with the sets, although this is the first one in some time that isn’t Japanese! It’s a more recent one from CollectA, the Prehistoric Marine mini box. CollectA item number A1104, it was released in 2017.
It was super exciting when CollectA first announced they would release mini boxes. It was even more exciting that many would be miniature versions of their larger figures. The first sets included many smaller models of their dinosaurs and some pterosaurs. I think there were some of the modern animals too but I didn’t collect those. It was right around when CollectA became far too difficult to find in Canada. Which means it is always a challenge to get my hands on any of them–but when this box came out I definitely had to track it down.
Almost all of the dinosaur sets were miniaturized versions of figures from the standard or deluxe prehistoric lines. The prehistoric marine set primarily features a large number of animals that hadn’t been made by CollectA before–in most cases, they hadn’t been made by anyone before. And only a few have been made since! And many of those figures easily fall into two important categories–figures that many of us had been waiting for, and several that represent great models for people that need more invertebrates in their collections.
There are two great things about being small tube-sized figures. One, it’s so much easier to fit them all on a shelf! The standard and especially deluxe figures can get pretty large, so they can take quite a bit of room. It also means that many of the figures, especially the invertebrates, are better suited to display more or less to scale with the more commonly made prehistoric models, most of them ranging from 1:80 to 1:11 (with some much larger and smaller scale ones too). I don’t generally worry about scale, but for some people I know it can be important.
Overall, the figures are very well-done, and for their size show a lot of detail. Being among some of the earlier mini boxes, CollectA clearly had a plan to give collectors some of the animals we all wanted, that might not have been feasible as individual figures. Most are carefully sculpted, and the paint application is really well done given the size. If I had to complain, it’s that the shelled cephalopods don’t really stand well…I wouldn’t expect CollectA to include separate bases for them, especially at this size and price point, but it is a little annoying for displays.
I can’t say for sure, but seeing that the larger-scale CollectA lines have included several invertebrates in the last few years, plus a couple of the fish from the set, might indicate that this set acted as a bit of a test case. I really hope that’s at least part of it, since a set of this variety has not been released in some time. Honestly, this much taxonomic diversity is more reminiscent of the Dinotales or Yowies sets (and given the size, they could easily display alongside them! There aren’t even that many repeats among them!) I am personally very much in favour of these small sets, and would love to see some more that feature other aquatic (or dare I say amphibious?) prehistoric animals as well. As far as modern companies go, they might be our best hope. I’m just glad that these sets are still in production, and relatively easy to get online at least.