Vault tales 52 Yujin NHK Apatosaurus

Who makes it? Produced by Yujin in conjunction with a NHK-Canada Film Board production called ‘Miracle Planet’. Part of a series of 14+3 secrets capsule set.

In it’s display form, on a fancy plinth!

When did it come out? Same time as the series, around 2004

Still available? Only in auctions and peer-to-peer. As with many of these ‘event’ figures, this one was only around for a short time. The Apatosaurus, along with some of the other figures in the series, were later released as more traditional gashapon figures, some in different colours, and all with ‘natural’ bases instead of the black plinth base.

From the front, you can see the tiny head–which is tilted ever so slightly. And the lovely manicured toenails (instead of claws)

Where can it be found in my displays? Alongside the rest of the series, in a cabinet of Japanese gashapon and bottlecap figures.

How does it fit in the collection? It’s an unusual set of Japanese prehistoric figures, in small size, so of course I would need this one. While some, like the Apatosaurus, may not have been must-haves for me, there are some really unusual figures in the series. Getting it as a full set (other than secrets, don’t need them) was possible and easy at the time.

From the back, it’s possible to get a sense of the long tail. It’s also possible to kind of make out the back of the front foot, which does not have the wide elephant-foot that is so common.

Any story behind it? Yes! It’s easy to remember when this set came out, because I literally defended my Masters’ thesis the weekend before I discovered it! So I bought it as a personal treat to me for finishing that. I would have bought it anyway, but the timing was right!

Notable remarks about this figure (a review that isn’t really a review): I’m not an expert in sauropods, but it looks okay. A little shrink wrapped, especially around the neck and tail. Overall colour and texture is pretty dull, being a basic olive green with brown wash. The skin is wrinkly and elephantine..and speaking of which, the feet are also too elephantine, when they should just be…different. Bigger claws at the rear, less nail-like toe tips. But they did sort of capture the horseshoe-like shape on the front feet. Sort of. But otherwise it’s fine. The figure itself has noticeable seams, but the figures (or at least mine) do not come apart in any way; they might have been glued by the seller? The presentation is nice–all of the figures come on a black plinth-like base labelled for the NHK, but not the name of the animal. There are different shapes and sizes depending on the animal figure associated with it. There is a peg on the base for the Apatosaurus that sticks into a hole on the foot. This is great, since it means that the animal can stand without the base if necessary. When they are all lined up together, it gives an attractive and distinctive display. They are, however, not to scale with each other, which is good–the figures range from Apatosaurus to an Archaean bacterium, so that could never work! This figure, about 16.6 cm along the curve, is roughly 1:140 scale.

These are the smallest human figures that I have, and they are still far too big. So it’s a juvenile Apatosaurus! Ever seen the movie Baby?

Would I recommend it? They are great figures, and a very good set. Any fan of dino figures, especially dinosaur and prehistoric animal figures, should be happy to get this Apatosaurus along with the whole set. Not especially easy now, but it is possible (but it might cost you). As I said, there are later-release gashapons out there of some of the models, and they are not always as expensive, so that can work as well. The figures are also nice in that they are not made of a breakable material, so storage or handle is unlikely to cause damage to them. You could even let kids handle them (gently! always gently!) if you wanted.