Vault Tales 247 FigureFrenzy Ichthyosaurus and belemnite, Torpdedo ray, Catfish, Cusk eel, Trumpetfish

Another frenzy of figures! And all aquatic animals! Mostly fish, with one prehistoric reptile + mollusk diorama…let’s get in the water!

Bandai Hungry Dinos series 1 Ichthyosaurus

The first figure is probably the most spectacular–a diorama figure made by Bandai as part of their “Hungry Dinos” series. There were two series, of five dioramas. Each featured some kind of prehistoric predator and some kind of prey. The figures primarily included dinosaurs, as the name suggests, although a few were other prehistoric reptiles. This figure, an Ichthyosaurus, is one of those, a very detailed and active marine reptile leaping out of the water from what can best be described as a fantastic water surface diorama base. In and of itself, the figure would have been of interest to me, but honestly, I was more intrigued by the ‘prey’ model–clearly a long-bodied cephalopod of some kind; given what we know about ichthyosaurs, most likely a belemnite of some kind. This was an animal that is generally not common as a figure (at least not when this came out in the early 2000s). So it was a pleasing addition–and I was able to get it (and one other…) through trading a number of Dinotales spares to an online store! Which was awesome! Sadly, they are of course long out of production…and could probably be pretty pricey (and they weren’t cheap even back then).

DeAgostini Piranha & Co Marbled Torpedo Ray

Another figure that could be difficult to obtain, of a species that is definitely uncommon as a figure. This is one of two electric rays made by DeAgostini for their “Piranha & Co” series of blind bag figures. The series featured a number of aquatic animals (another was seen here), I think mostly fish (marine and freshwater), that could be broadly described as ‘scary’ or ‘potentially capable of hurting someone I supposed if you interact poorly with them’. In this instance, we have a Marbled Torpedo Ray which has a decent shape of a torpedo ray, although in the grand tradition of DeAgostini (and the similar Diramix), the paint and final product is…lacking, to be generous. I appreciate the broad taxonomic diversity that these sets put out, but it would be nice to see them be a little more accurate in the details. I am not sure how available these still are…I think there are rebranded bulk lots on Amazon, or at least were, that included them.

Kaiyodo Furuta ChocoEgg Animatales 04 Torrent Catfish

On to a far more accurate fish model, we have a figure from the Series 4 Animatales from the Kaiyodo Furuta ChocoEgg collections. This Torrent Catfish is number 119 from the animatales lines (series 3 had 50 figures, so the number jumped really fast!) Like many of the figures of the time, this figure is made of several small pieces of a fairly brittle plastic; despite their very inexpensive original cost (and inclusion with candy) it seems odd that they were ever meant for children; this one falls apparent if I bump it! Clearly, they were meant for display–and this catfish figure is a fantastic display piece. It is a bit of a static model, but the paint and sculpt is expertly made. Even more interestingly, it is one of very few figures of very small species of catfish, which are generally found in many places in the world, so it’s great to have this kind of figure. Highly recommended, although of course they’re long out of production (early 2000s of course) but can sometimes be found in auctions for reasonable prices.

Takara TOMY Deep Sea Fish 2 Pudgy Cusk Eel

Another Japanese capsule/gashapon figure, this time a Takara TOMY figure from their Deep Sea Fish Series two. In general, the sculpts are not quite as good as Kaiyodo, but otherwise the figures and presentation is excellent, with good bases and rods that gives a little more life to figures like fish (which seem to belong in a ‘floating’ display of course). This figure is a Pudgy Cusk eel, the type of fish figure that is generally only going to be found in these kinds of Japanese sets! This one came out in about 2010 or so; there were three Deep Sea Fish series in total (although the 3rd was all inverts). The material is less brittle than animatales, being the more commonly used softer materials. And, the figure is a single piece, so no seams or falling apart (but be careful with the rods). Nice figures, but not especially easy to find or get hold of.

The Access 3D Pictorial Book “Marine Fish Model” Chinese Trumpetfish

This Chinese Trumpetfish is a tricky figure. As a species, it’s excellent to have as a model–trumpetfish are surprisingly not made elsewhere. But the set it comes from is a bit of a question mark. There is a whole set of marine reef animals (all fish, I think) that are available in a box set. Unfortunately, the box set is not labelled with any identifiable company or source. I do know that it is referred to as the “3D Pictorial Book” on some online sites…but I am not even 100% sure what country it is from (although ‘Pictorial Book’ is a common Japanese reference). Anyway, I was able to track down the whole set, although only a few were of definite interest to me (another, the garden eel, can be seen here). The fish are decent; the presentation in box is nice (although I don’t think they are labelled) and the base price is usually lower–but really, the trumpetfish is the absolute must have from the set, as it is an excellent little rendition of an animal that isn’t seen often! The set is often available online, in box or not, and is worth the look (make sure to check random bulk lots too!)

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