Who makes it? Bandai, as part of a World Natural Animals capsule series of African animals. Most were paired mother & young, or a family trio. The hyena set is two adults; the pictured one is the standing adult (the other one is sitting in a decidedly not-hyena like pose). They don’t give product numbers in the line. UPDATE–right after posting this, I noticed the number 12 in two places on that card. I guess there is an item number…:/
When did it come out? 2005 or 2006?
Still available? Occasionally on Japanese auction sites. Not much has changed for those of us not in Japan.
Where can it be found in my displays? The cabinet of mainly Japanese capsule animals 2BESTA
How does it fit in the collection? It’s a hyena…and it’s a Japanese capsule figure. These are two big elements of my collection (although I still try to pick and choose as new models come out every year, there are so many capsule figures it could get overwhelming).
Any story behind it? A few. One, it was, and is, the only uniquely naturalistic Japanese hyena model that I have, or know of. When I got it, I had very few hyenas, and fewer still small scale ones.
Plus, this one has distinct memories of how I got it—back in those days many collectors were aware of ebay seller UDF (I don’t think Japan has ebay anymore). He had all of the best figures, relatively good prices, and lots of variety. I ordered from him several times, and a number of my oddities are in my collection thanks to him…we had even gotten to the point of communicating directly with each other. But then one day he up and vanished. I knew people that had outstanding orders with him that were never even fulfilled (I was luckier than that). This has happened with Japanese sellers more than once…not sure why.
Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): There are surprisingly, maybe disappointingly, few small hyena figures from Japanese companies (or other makers of small figures, like Yowies, I suppose). Which is is why I’m pleased that the two hyenas in this set are well done for such simple models. Almost like the Schleich figure previously it kind of borders on cartoonish and is even more than a little too dog-like, but it is recognizable hyenid. It does miss the sloping back though, which is unfortunate.
Would I recommend it? If you are patient and like tiny animals (this guy is about 1:43 scale) it might be worth tracking down. I think it shows up on the Japanese auction sites but the age of the figure could be a problem. Also if you are a fan of Japanese miniature animals, there’s lots of those but this is the only hyena I know for sure. Overall it’s a great figure of a great animal!