Vault Tales 136 ToyTrio Lotus Flower, Blue Spiny Lizard, Powan

Today’s trio is all over the place…in terms of species, company and quality!

Safari Flower Toob Lotus Flower

Well, first up we have a plant. The lotus flower from the Safari Ltd Flowers toob, product number 682904 from 2013. As a set, it is certainly different; I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how unusual it is to see plants as figures on their own. The lotus in the set is especially nice as it works well with all kinds of scenes and play. It is also the only one that rests naturally as a figure–all of the other flowers are on stems, and don’t stand. So good on the lotus at least (I honestly can’t say much, but it is a good scene filler).

WingMau Blue Spiny Lizard

Next we have a Blue Spiny Lizard from WingMau. This is from a set of 12 lizards that is commonly available in all kinds of formats, from a variety of companies. They are kind of cheaply made, but represent a range of lizards that we generally don’t see as figures very often. This one is marked Blue Spiny Lizard, and while I guess I can see where they are going with that in terms of sculpt, the paint is…less so. It is also a little thin overall, where the tail should be shorter and stockier; and the scales should be spikier (or spinier?).

I got this figure, and the rest of the set, when I was working in a pet store, and blue spiny lizards and similar relatives were often sold as pets. I always liked them as they were easy going and easy to care for, and made good pets for people interested in lizards, but needing something to learn (this was back when iguanas were so popular…those are not easy pets). Finding a local grocery store had a capsule machine with toy lizards in it was irresistible so anytime I had the change, I would buy some lizards; I eventually got the whole set, and often gave my doubles to coworkers and customers. Anyone needing to round out or build a lizard collection should be able to find these in random lots; as I said, they get repackaged all the time. I recently say them in slime-filled eggs for example.

Bullyland Freshwater Fish Powan

Finally, a relic from a company that used to be so awesome, and has just kind of faded off. This is a Powan from the Bullyland Fresh Water Fish series, from 2002-2003 (and then discontinued in 2006). The Powan (also called Whitefish on some labelling) was item number 67454. As far as a series can go, it was unique; all of the species were of commonly encountered European fish, generally sport or food fish (but did we get a sturgeon? No. Of course not). They were so fancy, in fact, that they came in small acetate boxes with a series card and everything; no string tags while sitting on the shelf for these figures.

Overall, this figure demonstrates what made Bullyland so great, and so sought after, in the mid-2000s. They were primarily found in Europe, especially their home nation of Germany, and around this time were starting to become better known and better distributed further afield. I know that there were some corporate things that happened, but in the last 10 years or so, a lot of their coolest and best figures were retired, most forever. The Fresh Water Fish were not part of that purge, but didn’t last long anyway; maybe they needed a broader range, or more exciting fish? But sometimes it is still possible to track these down–I am not sure on the status of their legitimacy but I have seen the figures from the set available on Aliexpress, for example. So if you need some different sport fish (I know you do) it might be worth taking a look there. It’s been a long while since they could be found elsewhere!