Vault Tales 271 FigureFrenzy Pufferfish, TroutPerch, Perch, Crocodile shark

Start of a new year! So let’s start with a variety of fish!

Colorata Saltwater Fish 1 Tiger Pufferfish

Our first fish of 2022 is the Tiger Pufferfish from Colorata, number 14 in the original Saltwater Fish box set. It’s a magnificent figure, lots of detail and colour. As is is common with about half of the box set, the puffer has its own specific base–a small rocky piece, with a few snails and shells, indicating a favourite food. This is a nice touch, giving a bit of life history to the animal. The choice of figure is not surprising, as this species is familiar in Japan dishes as a source of fugu (although it is of course poisonous if not prepared correctly). It is also a notable species as the whole genome has been sequenced due to its use as a genomics reference species. Great figure, interesting life history–and still available in the revised Saltwater Fishes box (although there do not appear to be any changes to it).

Custom-made Trout-Perch

The next fish is a custom made Trout-Perch. These odd little fish are not overall available as figures…I think if anyone thinks of them as anything, it’s as bait. Their relative the pirate perch is probably more familiar, but only barely. Anyway, it was a few years back that I finally met these odd little fish–during a fall Fish Rescue with Trout Unlimited Canada, there were a few among the many other local fish trapped in the canals. In later rescues I cam across a whole lot more–hundreds of them. They are neat little fish, kind of unlike any other small fish in the area (once you know what to look for). So I decided I needed a figure of one of these little guys–but it turns out no one makes them (the same kind of thing led to me customizing a bull trout myself). So I reached out to someone that I know who would make fish models; I had others from him already (a paddlefish from him can be seen here) so I reached out about having figures of both perscopsid figures made (which worked out for this Fishmas post too!). They are…okay. Decent size, but someday I am hoping to get better ones. If anyone know of one I want to know!

Safari Ltd Great Lakes toob Yellow Perch

As a more recent fish model, the most recent in this post, we have a Yellow Perch from the 2020 Great Lakes toob, Safari number 100264. Interestingly, another species I’ve come across during fish rescues…except they’re invasive, so the ‘rescue’ isn’t quite the same for them…! Anyway, lately Safari has been making toob sets with a theme focused on specific ecological reasons–the Great Lakes one is especially interesting (there’s a really nice sturgeon!) and this perch is also really nice. It has some very bold, striking colours and the sculpt does a great job showing the features of a yellow perch–and demonstrating how this fish species acts as kind of a ‘typical’ form for ‘percomorph’ fish (it even has the name!) The toob features some great species, and just the fish make it worth picking it up. Fortunately, it is a very recent toob so the set should be easily findable.

Safari Ltd Sea Life Crocodile Shark

Finally, a shark figure, but not just any shark species–a figure of a Crocodile shark, a type of mackerel shark (like great whites, basking, and sand tiger sharks) but notable for that long, pointed body and long, low dorsal fins. This figure is a stand out figure from the earliest Safari Sea life series, number 276029, released way back in 1997. I did not get my hands on one until 2008 or so though–back in the dino museum days, I clearly found a way to get it with a Safari order. I’m glad about this, as the figure is no longer listed on the Safari site, but I don’t know when it was actually retired. It’s a great model of a more obscure shark species, and is great for highlighting the diversity of mackerel sharks. This is also the only official crocodile shark figure, although there is a toob-sized one in the original Sharks toob (erroneously labelled a grey reef shark…it is clearly a crocodile shark). If you ever get the chance to pick up this more obscure Safari figure, I can’t recommend it enough. But I can’t promise that the search will be easy!

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