It’s been a while, but we’re going all fish today! A couple of sharks, and a couple of freshwater fish, both Protacanthopterygiians (and also both from Replica Toy Fish). Overall a good day for fish.
FameMaster Great White Shark
We’re going to start with the biggest fish (although not biggest figure) but the one with the most issues. It is the Great White Shark from the FameMaster Sea World series. It is number 2014B, one of 4 figures in the batch (they are numbered 2014 A through D). As a shark model, it’s pretty decent, but it’s better as a puzzle. Especially as the seams are really, really visible. If it were a solid great white shark model, but looked the same, it would be great. Even the teeth are sculpted as sharp triangles, if minimally. A neat thing about this figure, and the other four in the set (the others are orca, bottlenose dolphin, and humpback whale), is that they all came with a rod–and the lid of the shell-shaped container acts as a base! For pelagic aquatic animal figures, they often display best when raised up and allowed to look like they’re swimming. These puzzles are still around, I think, but availability is kind of all over. Nice though, and lots of fun to assemble.
K&M International Exotic Sharks Caribbean Reef Shark
The next shark up is a far more unique model, in many ways. First, it’s the only Caribbean Reef Shark figure that I am aware of, so that’s already up there. Second, it is from the original late 90s K&M International bin series of small figures; this one comes from the Exotic Sharks series. At the time (1999) I purchased the whole set at…a pet store! Over time, I let some of them go to other homes, but this shark is different so I held on to it (and the swell shark…someday I’ll get to that). The whole set, and the figures form the era made by K&M, were always very well made and generally pretty interesting–the current incarnations of small figures in the Wild Republic brand are nowhere near as well made or as well designed. This particular figure is admittedly kind of a generic blue requiem shark, a little too bulky for the species, but at least not mistakeable for a bull or tiger. Of course, it has a prey fish in its mouth, just for fun! If I have a complaint, it’s that there are only four gill slits (a common issue with many small and even regular size shark models, from a broad range of companies). It’s an interesting species for the collection, but honestly, these 90s-era K&M figures can be quite tough to track down.
Replica Toy Fish 6″ Northern Pike (test paint design)
Moving into our freshwater fish, I am starting with a figure from the original and only 6″ Replica Toy Fish series (I looked at the Alligator Gar before) so I don’t need to explain that further at least. This figure is the Northern Pike, but this is not the version that was released as the general figure. Instead, this one is painted in a far more elaborate, and realistic, pattern. I don’t exactly know why, but I think it may have been a colour test for the figures when they were first being designed. I only know that, when RTF decided to shut down operations, the owner sent me a whole bunch of figures–some for resale, and many were seconds-quality, unreleased models, or unusual paint styles like this pike. I definitely appreciate having it on the shelves, but of course it is the only one. The sadder part is that even the original version of the pike is long out of production and unavailable; they are occasionally offered for resale but not very often. Nice model though, and I hope someone else eventually comes along to do it. The six inch models were definitely very popular!
Replica Toy Fish 3″ Chinook Salmon
Next up, we have another figure from Replica Toy Fish, but this is a very different one from that pike. This Chinook Salmon is one of the smaller figures, in the ostensibly 3″ line, but did not see wide release. Instead, a series of salmonids (including trout, char and salmon) were kind of quietly released in about 2018; production issues meant that many of the figures were not considered saleable, but enough were available that the figures were made available for a little while before the company folded. This salmon was of course one of them, and I have to say, I appreciate that it is presented as an adult form, looking more like a sleek, ocean-going predator, instead of the more frequently seen breeding colours and morphology. So that is definitely a plus. The big minus is of course that the line ended rather abruptly, taking these figures and their related ones with them far too soon. Also of note is that there appears to have been some confusion on the species; some early information indicated that this might be a ‘steelhead’ (AKA sea going rainbow trout) figure; eventually, the original Replica Toy Fish site (no longer around) settled it by stating the species it was meant to be! But, in case you are looking, that’s another way to search (but honestly, good luck…)