Vault tales 91 Kaiyodo National Museum Futabasaurus & Skeleton

(Side note–I’ve been doing this for almost a year, and have decided to change up the format. I’ll say about the same things, but I’m just going to go with paragraphs now!)

A pretty purple plesiosaur perfectly perched…precariously? The alliteration got away from me, it’s actually on an acrylic peg of course.

Today’s figure (well, figures) are continuing the Kaiyodo theme, with a pair from the Kaiyodo National Museum gashapon series–a set of capsule figures with a natural sciences theme. Some are prehistoric (like these ones), some are modern animals, and some are just kind of science and tech things. They first came out around 2007 or so, and of course it was a limited run…and now they are fairly hard to find.

From the other side. One thing about this figure, that pose is really awkward get the whole thing visible at once. But it’s very dynamic.

The choice of Futabasaurus is not a surprising one from Kaiyodo, or from Japanese companies in general, being a recently described species from Japan that they are clearly proud of. In this instance, they made a full body reconstruction and a skeleton. And while normally I don’t chase down skeletons, this one was pretty cool–and it’s cool to have the two together, like a before and after. Had to get these for the collection because how can I not add beautiful little Kaiyodo prehistoric figures? And of course these are on a shelf together with a whole lot of other expo and limited release figures.

The skeleton and reconstruction together. Despite being similar, they are actually completely different poses! Note the paddle orientations, and head position.

Getting the figure was of course a challenge. It was only available in a museum in Japan. In vending machines. So, a few challenges. I had to track down the reconstruction figure on ebay of all things (as well as the Nipponites from the same series–that will be a good one to talk about too!) The skeleton came later, I think a fellow collector had one on offer and I either traded for or bought it from them. Either way, I’m glad to have it.

And the back view–it’s possible to see the way the body curves, and that white along the back is intentional.

So what can we say about this pair of figures? Well, they’re stunning models. There is a whole lot of detail packed into these tiny figures. They are not even the same size; although hard to measure, the skeleton is 9.4cm long and the reconstruction is 10.1cm; this gives scales of 1:74 and 1:69 respectively, and could be taken to represent the differences in overall size between a skeleton and a fully-covered body (no shrinkwrap). They have been sculpted with a modern flipper positioning, and together demonstrate the alternating up-down of the paddlers. The necks are held out straight forward with only a slight curve, closely matching the physiological studies of the time. It’s hard to see in the photos since they are so very tiny, but the heads are sculpted right down to the tiny teeth and eyes, and the bones of the paddles are clearly visible on the skeleton. There are no tail fins included, but I don’t think that aspect of plesiosaur anatomy was hypothesized until after these came out. Plus, the two figures complement each other, with slight variations in pose and orientation.

In comparison with a diver (also from a different Kaiyodo set). They are nearly almost exactly in scale with each other.

Do you collect prehistoric animal models? Or just cool figures? Then you should probably try to add these to your collection. They are not great as toys of course–there are a couple of pieces, and while not the Dinotales-level of breakable material, they are fragile and thin (especially the skeleton). Plus, they are made up of a few parts, which makes sense since they were originally in vending machine balls. And on top of that…it will take some work to track them down. They are not impossible to find, but they are not easy either, and can still cost a fair amount. To be fair, there are lots of Futabasaurus figures out there that might be more suitable for play (Colorata and Ania immediately come to mind). Keep these for your shelves!