Vault Tales 118 ToyTrio Nimravid, Iberian Lynx, Ichthyosaur

Time for another Toy Trio, a model I use to look quickly at a few figures that were picked by the Random Number Generator, but might not warrant a full on post on their own. It’s also a chance to work through the list a little faster…I’m not going to run through it anytime soon, but there’s lots to get to!

Mech (?) “smilodon”/Nimravid

First up, a weird little figure from the 90s, from a company called Mech. Or maybe Playspaces. Or maybe neither, since it could just be a generic set that gets reproduced by other companies. I know them first from a collection from a sticker book+toys produced by Panini. The artwork was old school (I don’t have it anymore) and the figures were…older school. This was one of 24 figures of varying quality–later, 2 extra animals were added to get to 26 (Velociraptor of course being one). I used to have the entire set, but most of it has found new homes.

Many of the figures were crude, or vague. This particular one is labelled Smilodon but that can’t be true–the tail is too long, and the similarity in front and hind limbs didn’t seem right either. So I’ve always taken it for a nimravid of some kind, going with Eusmilus because why not. The figures are small, these ones about 2.5cm at the shoulder, but of course the scale of the set is all over the place. The figures are sometimes available in a tube collection now, and I know I’ve seen it in gift shops. Good toys, maybe diorama extras, but not a remarkable set overall (maybe someday I’ll get to show you what they called Moropus…it’s a tragedy).

MojoFun Iberian Lynx

From an animal pretending to be a true cat to a definitely true cat, the Iberian Lynx from Mojo Fun, item 387064 in their Woodland series. I remember when Mojo first came along–it caused a huge stir because there was some kind of connection with CollectA, a brand that was really coming into its own. But something happened and us collectors were worried that a new favourite brand was disappearing. The name of the new company didn’t really set our minds at ease (I still can’t help but think of Austen Powers…ugh). As luck would have it, we ended up with two different companies with similar products and yet very different products. One of their earlier efforts was the Iberian Lynx, a species that might be less familiar but still needed a really nice figure!

Figures like this let us know that Mojo could be a major player in the animal model world. Some were rough (their dinos were often lesser versions of the earliest CollectA ones…not a great start there…) but some like the lynx showed that they really did have a firm grip on what they were doing. The good news is that this figure is still in production, so if you need it to round out your Lynx genus figures (the Safari Bobcat and Canada Lynx go well with it) you’re in luck. But it won’t look like mine anymore–one thing Mojo frequently does is go back and update paint schemes on their figures and in 2013 the lynx got such an update. Instead of the spots, the markings were changed to a more appropriate series of small dashes and the base colour was also darkened just a bit, a little less yellow.

COG Prehistoric Panorama Ichthyosaur

Finally, we have a COG Prehistoric Panorama figure from their Sea Creatures set. I might have mentioned it briefly during the Pliosaurs clade write up, but otherwise haven’t had the chance to discuss it much. Again, it was set of 6 prehistoric animals, this time focusing on 6 prehistoric marine animals (that weren’t Cambrian…). The ichthyosaurs are of course a classic prehistoric animal for a set like that, and despite the kind of rough look, it’s a really nice set. Some of the information and details that came with them weren’t always great–like my uncertainty over the species this figure represents (I always thought it looked more like Temnodontosaurus myself) but I’m not an expert.

The sets were innovative in how they were figures that needed to be put together–but being soft PVC type material they weren’t going to break if small hands (or big) pushed too hard. It did mean that sometimes they fall apart due to the loose fits, but as toys it’s probably better than being breakable (but small pieces means they really should be around really small children). On a shelf, once they’re in place, it doesn’t matter! A nice thing about the marine life figures–and the pterosaur set–is that the figure all came with peg holes in the belly, so as long as you had a peg and a base, they could be displayed nicely. My ichthyosaur is in a Sculpey base made by the kids, but I also have other figures on Yujin, Colorata, and New Ray bases (depends what spares I had!) to name a few. It did help to also have lots of spare Colorata rods, which are the perfect diameter. I really like these models, and am glad that 2/3 of them were re-released..although I couldn’t tell you if the ichthyosaur was one of them.