Vault Tales 274 FigureFrenzy Conger eel, Andrewsarchus, Thylacine, Quetzalcoatlus

More variety–living, recently extinct, and prehistoric. The only thing that unites them is that they’re in my collection! And all of them are pretty great.

Yujin Primary Seawater Fish Book 2 Japanese Conger Eel

The only fish today! A pretty decent one, a Japanese Conger eel, number 30 in the Yujin “Primary Seawater Fish” Pictorial Book 2. The number 30 indicates that, like in Dinotales series, the numbers carry from series 1 to series 2; each ‘Pictorial Book’ (series) had about 15 figures. Anyway, coming across a figure like this in the early days of discovering Japanese figures was really exciting; I have always been a big fan of eels, but other than morays, there weren’t many out there. So discovering a conger eel model was really cool; it helps that Yujin are definitely one of the best small figure gashapon models (from the early 2000s I believe). Many figures in the set were on bases with pegs, but this eel is a standalone model, with an accessory piece of ground, plus a line with a worm on a hook! Clearly, popular fish to catch (for food, in this case). The figures are of course no longer in production, but seem to still show up in auctions, and fairly reasonably priced. Better yet, it is not impossible to find the whole sets available, again for relatively okay prices!

Starlux Andrewsarchus

Next up, a really sought after figure. One that I actually got by accident in a big lot of models from France! This is the Starlux Andrewsarchus, number FS40103. I can’t say when it first came out (the Starlux models were released variously from the 1960s until, in the case of this one, 1982, although that varies); the whole series is long gone now of course. I lucked into it, when I was able to get hold of a couple of large lots on eBay France in the mid-2000s. My goal figures in that one were actually some of the very, very rare fish models, but they were fairly large lots. I didn’t even know this one was there–and once I was able to identify it, I was really excited to learn that they are very hard to get. Especially unbroken…I was really lucky, since they were packed terribly, but no breaks in the parcel from France–and these things, made of a strange composite material, break with almost no effort at all it seems. So yay! Another interesting thing–the portrayal of Andrewsarchus is interesting, very ‘carnivoran’ inspired (and I think it’s based on a known art piece, although not sure which) compared to later reconstructions (see the Bullyland one here, for example, which is more ‘unique’); current relationships indicate that Andewsarchus is probably more like an entelodont…a recent model from CollectA reflects that (I’ll get to it someday!) Anyway, I highly recommend this Starlux figure as a curiosity, but I will admit it could be tough.

Mojo Wildlife Thylacine

Next up, we have another extinct mammal (yes, it’s extinct, sadly), the Mojo Wildlife Thylacine figure, number 387161. This figure was super exciting when it came out–other than a few obscure models, and of course some Yowies models, we had never had one of the ‘big’ figure companies make a thylacine. Then, in 2014, Mojo released this model (alongside several others). It was especially surprising since Mojo was still pretty new on the market, so to see an unusual animal like this so soon in their run was fantastic. Even better, the figure was sculpted for Mojo by a notable sculptor, Anna Dobrowolska-Oczko, who has produced several models for them, as well as many of their own. This figure is very nice, although it looks a little skinny (maybe it was a thylacine from the end of their time…) There are a few other thylacine figures now, which is good since the Mojo was discontinued in 2018, but I would say it is worth trying to find the figure for your collection.

Vivid Imaginations WwD3D Quetzalcoatlus

Finally, going very prehistoric, to a pterosaur from the Vivid Toy Group small figures released for the Walking with Dinosaurs movie (a few other figures can be seen here). This one is apparently not specified to a specific taxon, but given the geologic age and locale in the movie, it’s probably Quetzacoatlus. This figure is another in the line of mini figures, but where I live, it was not not available like the rest of them; the other ones I have were found in ‘tubes’ of three figures. But this figure was only available in blind bags, and the blind bags were not sold where I am. Fortunately, a fellow collector was able to find a spare for me–so I am able to have a complete set of the mini models (the same collector also sent me an Alphadon, so I actually have two of those). As far as models go…it’s okay. A little rough, the head seems a little awkward, but it does have a bit of an imposing appearance, which seems suitable. One unfortunate thing is that the figure is overall kind of small compared to the other models in the set, so it actually comes across kind of underwhelming compared to the other, heavier looking figures. A decent set though, and for fans of Walking with Dinosaurs it might be tough to get, but it will be way easier than the only other WwD pterosaur figure (collectors will know when I’m talking about…!)

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