Vault Tales 252 FigureFrenzy Japanese AND Grey Wolf, Snow Leopard, Polar bear, Sea Lion

Today we’ll look at a number of carnivoran figures, a popular source of inspiration for animal figure companies. Of course, not all companies are equal, and this means the figures range widely in quality…most of these ones are at least decent…most of them.

Ausini Grey wolf

Yeah. Most of them. We’ll start with what is assumed to be a Grey Wolf from the Ausini miniature set. There are a number of subspecies, and of course it isn’t made clear, but it’s probably meant to be a Tundra, Timber, or other more familiar larger one. No matter, it is a perfectly basic figure of a wolf, identifiable as a wolf as opposed to the more lightly built probable coyote I reviewed earlier. As always, the set is fine, interesting for being tiny little figures that would be great for small dioramas or other scenes. Given the scale, this figure can work with larger appropriate figures. Not a necessary set, but food enough if you find it.

Kaiyodo Furuta ChocoEgg Animatales Classic Japanese Wolf

And here we have another, specific wolf species, the extinct subspecies Japanese wolf. This is a popular subject for Japanese figure makers, despite of course being declared extinct in 1905. Maybe because Japan doesn’t have a lot of other large carnivore species. The detail on this figure is exactly what you would expect from the Kaiyodo Animatales sets. Originally the Japanese wolf was released in the series two as the Honshu wolf (same subspecies) as number 046, in at least two colour variants, in 1999. The figure that I have came from the Animatales Classic series with the same number. Kaiyodo released a number of figures from previous sets one more time in about 2002-2003. Some of them had slight paint variations, but were otherwise the same figure; it was easier for me to get that one, as the original Series 2 was already out of production and hard to get. Either way, an interesting addition to a collection. A good figure, although there are some more recent ones that might be a little nicer. And maybe a little easier to find!

Play Visions Snow leopard

Play Visions bin figures are one of those series that, if you were able to get any, you know how great they could be. I remember coming across all kinds of sets, but my favourites were always the carnivorans. The wild cats series had a number of cat species that had not ever been available before; this wasn’t true of the Snow Leopard, but still, a good cat to have! For the time, these figures were excellent models; maybe not to the standard of Kaiyodo or Colorata, but those weren’t even around until roughly when Play Visions stopped making most of their series (all of the best ones). The cats are not as rare as some sets (the more obscure the animal group, the harder they are to find) but as a set is still pretty sought after by collectors–and not especially easy to find anymore.

Safari Ltd Good Luck Minis Polar bear

Now another very small figure, the Safari Good Luck Minis Polar bear, number 341722. As always, this is a decent reproduction of one of their larger models; I think it is based on the Femalke polar bear 903103 from the Vanishing Wild collection that ended in 2008. It is tough to tell…as far as animal figures go, polar bears are right up there as one of the most popular animals, and Safari has made several. The figure, being very tiny, might actually not work great for smaller scenes, except perhaps with small-scale Ice Age animals or whales. But for fans of little bears, it would be a nice one to have.

Colorata Marine Mammals Real Figure Box Steller’s Sea lion

The final carnivoran is a marine one, Steller’s Sea lion from the second iteration of the Marine Mammals Real Figure box from Colorata. As with many of these sets, I was able to get mine through a friend visiting Japan; if I’d gotten this earlier, it might have included more figures (it’s always hard to be sure if I don’t have them); this is how the sharks boxes worked as well. The figure is a great example of Colorata work–lots of details, with just a bit of softening on the edges. Part of this is probably due to the softer material; contemporaneous with Kaiyodo ChocoQ figures, but they went with PVC from the start. So no pieces to assemble, therefore better as toys. But it does tend to flatten the models a little. Really nice set though, and while marine mammals do not feature heavily in my collection, the range from Colorata is a nice way to round it out! I believe that the set is even still available, in the same for, so if you have a way to get it, I highly recommend doing so.

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