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 Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?

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Chris Sweetman



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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:27 pm

Firstly, Happy New Year to everyone - let’s hope 2015 is going to be a bumper year for animal figure collectors with plenty of spectacular new releases and perhaps collectors of vintage animal figures will be able to capture a ‘Holy Grail’ that has been eluding them for some years.

Now back to the topic. There is a parallel between Schleich and the old Britains company that is market positioning. This enables / enabled said companies to gain a hold on the market to the almost exclusion of their competitors. Today I can find Schleich in my local toy shops (yes we still have them here in England) and in Toys ‘R Us. I found Papo in a toy shop that was part of an art community! The only other animal figures I can find in shops are plastic bags full of ‘Made in China’ copies of Elastolin and Britains and tubes containing similar items. Never seen Mojo animal figures in any retail shop as yet and this goes for just about every other animal figure companies mentioned here on STS.

Going back to my childhood it was a similar case for Britains. Britains were available in all toys shops (many more existed in the 1960’s compared with the present!) and in department stores - remember these? The lesser companies mentioned by Dave: Crescent, Charbens, Cherilea etc... were relegated to newsagents and market stores - down market locations in our eyes even back in those days!. The other thing in favour of Britains was that they produced a yearly catalogue so you knew what Britains made and you could tick off what you had and more importantly knew what else to look for! For the reason of market positioning Britains held in the 1960’s the minds of youngsters like me held the fact that all other companies were second best.

Using the Britains example above Schleich currently are in the same position. There is also another similarity between the old Britains company and Schleich - they are designed for children! Animal figures today have to undertake a far more severe testing procedure than they ever did in the 1960’s!

Unfortunately, for collectors, Schleich (and the old Britains company) exist/ed to provide for the needs of children and their products have to relate to this market.

As Jack Odell (part owner of Matchbox toy cars) once said in the 1960’s “collectors just get in the way with their demands”. Just like then toy animal figure manufacturers first priority is for children and their products have to comply with health and safety legislation and to the needs of children at play.

Finally, going back to the original question: "Are we biased by brand when judging a model?”

If one is using the above the answer is: Yes - our first love is the one we remember forever! Very Happy

However, how many of us are objective in our views? Do we need to be? Should we judge a figure by what some else has written? Most of the reviews here on STS are of animal figures I have never seen before and possibly never will. I feel it is good that STS has a range of collectors and they express their personal preferences and somewhere there is a happy medium.

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DaveScriv



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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Thu Jan 01, 2015 1:28 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Just to point out folks that a similar discussion might have taken place between collectors 50+ years ago regarding (now vintage) brands.

For many then (& quite a lot now!) it was all Britains, Britains, Britains, with other brands (just looking at the UK for the present) such as Charbens, Cherilea, Crescent and JoHillCo being regarded as decidedly downmarket.
In reality, whilst Britains products were mostly of a good average quality, they did produce some duds, whilst some of the other companies designed some real gems along with some truly dreadful items.  

For British people of course Wink

50+years ago in France, for many then (& quite a lot now!)  it was all Starlux and for a lot it was Clairet... Britains ? C'est quoi Britains ? Laughing

In Germany, for many then (& quite a lot now!) it was all Lineol or Hausser... Starlux ? Was ist Starlux ? Wink

Regarding France and Germany - of course. I had thought of those, but didn't want to make the post overly long and complicated.
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Chris Sweetman



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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:03 pm

Are we biased by brand when judging a model?

More thoughts here - what is a model? Is there a difference between a model and a toy?

For me a model is something in miniature that represents a real item in scale form.

A toy is essentially an item for playing with. It’s detail depends on the age group it is aimed at. For example Duplo animals are basic but they have the main characteristics of an animal and can be identified as a particular animal. As a child gets older the animal figure needs to be more realistic but still has to comply with health and safety requirements.

So how can a collector of animal figures criticise an animal figure that is has been designed as a children’s toy?

In my view such criticism should be aimed at manufacturers that produce models of animal figures.

Sure some products from Schleich can be described as cute and cuddly but we must remember the market this animal figure is aimed at!

I have never seen any CollectorA models in the flesh but assume due to the name the company has selected that they have aimed their products at a collector. Therefore, their products need to be realistic and move away from the cute and cuddly to being a realistic representation of the animal modelled.

In short if we are being biased by brand when judging a model we need to first establish the market the said figure is aimed at.

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Thu Jan 01, 2015 2:44 pm

This topic is so interesting cheers
I was turning all the different opinions in my head...and put tooh paste on my hands instead of hand lotion geek Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:10 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Are we biased by brand when judging a model?

More thoughts here - what is a model? Is there a difference between a model and a toy?

For me a model is something in miniature that represents a real item in scale form.

A toy is essentially an item for playing with. It’s detail depends on the age group it is aimed at. For example Duplo animals are basic but they have the main characteristics of an animal and can be identified as a particular animal. As a child gets older the animal figure needs to be more realistic but still has to comply with health and safety requirements.

So how can a collector of animal figures criticise an animal figure that is has been designed as a children’s toy?


Chris, I think that's true, toy animals should not be criticised for what they are. But we can talk about their realism even if the producer is not very much interested on making them  perfectly realistic. We are collectors so, that means we search items for our collections. And if many of us is looking for realistic replicas why not check all possible brands, even the typical toy brands? Let's think about AAA/ELC (Early Learning Centre) animals. They are typical toys but among them we can find some quite realistic replicas, for example AAA giraffe after repainting can be really amazingly realistic Very Happy . It's so much fun to look for realistic animals in toy brands Very Happy

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
In my view such criticism should be aimed at manufacturers that produce models of animal figures.

Sure some products from Schleich can be described as cute and cuddly but we must remember the market this animal figure is aimed at!

I have never seen any CollectorA models in the flesh but assume due to the name the company has selected that they have aimed their products at a collector. Therefore, their products need to be realistic and move away from the cute and cuddly to being a realistic representation of the animal modelled.

In short if we are being biased by brand when judging a model we need to first establish the market the said figure is aimed at.


Again, I think we can look for realism in all brand. Perhaps we should not be negative if toy brands are not very much realistic but we can compare them to real animals, talk about their proportions etc.  Mainly for learning something from such discussion and for having fun to find the differences or to define what is typical style of certain brands. So I think what we call "criticising" is perhaps more just "talking" about all points negative and positive, style and realism.  It's so nice to talk about these things, isn't it? Very Happy

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Bloodrayne



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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:24 am

First of all: Yes we are biased.
We think we know what we can expect from a brand and we expect the animal model to be to that standard.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:


As Jack Odell (part owner of Matchbox toy cars) once said in the 1960’s “collectors just get in the way with their demands”.

This intrigues me.

I'm from '69, but I would like to call myself an internet child.
Everything I need to find or need knowledge about or buy, I do on the internet. I don't know any better.
.....so, here my story starts.

When I started collecting animal figures, I wanted to collect real looking animal replicas = animal models.
So I did a internet search and the first animal toy companies I stumbled upon were Schleich, Bullyland, and Papo.
I loved the Papo animals a lot more, but they were almost always WAY more expensive. So most of the times I ended up with Schleich animals because they were cheaper and easier to get than Papo.
I never bought any Bullyland animals because they were not replicas (to me) but cheap looking children toy figures.

Also because of the internet, I found this wonderful site: STS forums.  cheers
It was a Walhalla for me.
So many pictures and photos and comparisons and discussions.
For many months I enjoyed myself looking at old threads, finding out about Kaiyodo and Kitan Club animals.
Such realistic looking animal models made in Asian countries, just for the price of a chocolate egg.
The beautiful realistic horses of Breyer (and too expensive for my taste). And AAA/ELC figures.
Only easily available in the USA at that time, so out of my reach.

Then...., all of a sudden, there was CollectA!
And then MOJO!
And things got quite overwhelming.
So many beautiful animal replicas.
Not toys! But replicas.

Some of the Schleich animals I purchased before, didn't look as realistic as the ColletA and MOJO ones.
So I had no problem replacing them for CollectA and Mojo figures, because they were more realistic.

And there is what I think the problem lies for some people.
Schleich was the brand to go to whenever you wanted a (realistic?) animal figure. You didn't really have no other choice.
They dominated the market for years. Until CollectA and MOJO showed up.
And now, with all these beautiful realistic animal replicas being availible, we start to discredit Schleich, because they are not keeping up with this standard of lifelike animal replicas.

While in the meanwhile, all Schleich wants to do is to sell "children's toys". Not the best "animal replica model".
That's not the market they are in for.
When it comes to children animal toys, Schleich still wins, I think.
With their cuteness, and braided hair, and big eyes.
They used to make good animal replicas in the old days.
Nowadays they make good children toys.

"collectors just get in the way with their demands”.

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Chris Sweetman



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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:59 am

Exactly Simone - Schleich is the market leader in animal replicas and their availability is second to none. As I stated in England Schleich are available in every toy shop and Toys ‘R Us stock them too. Note I said toy shops so Schleich know their customer base - children. Schleich also have a role for adult collectors of animal replicas in that an uncle or aunt may visit a toy shop to buy a present for their nephew or niece and end up liking these Schleich replicas so much they might start to collect them! cheers

Also we now have a phenomenon that wasn’t present in the 1960’s the 'nostalgia collector’. These people may have ‘collected’ animal replicas in their childhood and now are curious on what is available now. The start of their collection is possibly what they collected back then maybe - Schleich?

Now we have the internet and forums like STS, both phenomenon that did not exist even 15 years ago, and the world of other animal replica manufacturers becomes apparent.

Unfortunately, great companies can fall as we see in Matchbox (although the brand exists it isn’t owned by Lesney - the original owners) and Hauser (with their Elastolin brand) both failed in the mid - 1980’s. The original Elastolin moulds are now with Preiser. So we are lucky to have a range of Elastolin animal replicas available today. If one is looking for the Rolls-Royce of animal replicas then the ’new’ Elastolin range should be considered. However, it seems not many collectors of animal replicas on STS collect them. Maybe the price is to high or the poses reflect a different era and collectors have moved onto more realistic ‘wild life’ style animations.

One thing that has changed and that is scale. One of the positive areas of Britains zoo animals in an educational role was that they were all to 1:32nd scale and a youngster could see the relation between an elephant and a platypus. Elastolin animals were available in 70mm (1:22nd scale), 40mm (1:43rd scale) and in the international 54mm (1:32nd scale) so they too within these ranges had a relationship. Nowadays the animal replica companies seem to have a total disregard to scale which in IMHO is a backward step.

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:55 am

@Susanne wrote:
I was turning all the different opinions in my head...and put tooh paste on my hands instead of hand lotion
lol! lol! lol!


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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 4:22 am

Sorry if anyone disagrees with this, its just my opinion, and also if this isn't relevant. Anyways, I feel that there are some interesting comments in here. I'm not sure what I think exactly though. For me, I think every brand has good years and bad years and especially good models and bad models at any given time, regardless of "age." I "grew up" on Schleich, so I have a certain appreciation for their older figures that I own and played with and their charm (even if they aren't the most accurate, as discussed above) but I also find some figures to like in their modern lines (like the rattle snake). I personally don't have a favorite brand anymore, I've just come to expect that certain brands have specialties (like Papo big cats). I also think that everyone has biases, whether they recognize it or not, it may just be because its a childhood brand, or they like a certain style, or whatever. I guess what I'm saying though, is that we may not be cognizant of it, we all probably have biases.

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DaveScriv



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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:41 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:


One thing that has changed and that is scale. One of the positive areas of Britains zoo animals in an educational role was that they were all to 1:32nd scale and a youngster could see the relation between an elephant and a platypus. Elastolin animals were available in 70mm (1:22nd scale), 40mm (1:43rd scale) and in the international 54mm (1:32nd scale) so they too within these ranges had a relationship. Nowadays the animal replica companies seem to have a total disregard to scale which in IMHO is a backward step.

Scale is indeed an issue which can be discussed at length within this thread, and is also related to their original intended use.

Modern manufacturers have to comply with modern toy safety laws prohibiting very tiny toys or parts thereof, which is why (1) their tendency towards large scales and (2) why real life small animals are made larger, the "total disregard to scale" within ranges.

This was also seen in vintage brands, even with Britains who tried to get their ranges consistent 1:32, but had to make some concessions to the realities of toy manufacturing. Taking their old lead farm range as an example, their rabbits and cats look fine in 'the world of toy' compared to their cattle and horses, but they are still not really accurately consistent.
Other vintage brands always totally disregarded consistent scales, notably Charbens and JoHillCo wild/zoo animal ranges. I suspect that apart from small size safety issues, they were also thinking about manageable pricing policies and perceived value for money - remembering that they were often supplied to shops in mixed boxes (36 assorted small animal, 24 assorted medium animals & 12 assorted large animals or something like that) to be sold in the shop individually. Shopkeepers didn't want to be left with tiny animals they couldn't sell because most kids (apart from the geeky collecting kids) would think the tinies poor value for their precious few pennies of pocket money.

Then there is the issue of intended use by the kids who had them, which has always included elements of playing with them and collecting them. The switch from playing to collecting happens with much younger kids/teens now than it did decades ago.
Larger scale figures are played with in relatively small numbers by younger kids, and then are displayed on shelves as they get a little (or a lot!) older.
Smaller scale figures were always intended to be played with and/or displayed in much larger numbers to make a whole farm or zoo scene, plus as Britains and the others made toy soldiers, knights, wild west, etc. figures as well, their animals were often included in those kids play or adult diorama roles too - especially farm horses and cattle, and zoo bison in the wild west.
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Kikimalou
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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:41 am

First of all, I want to assure you I've read (with great pleasure Wink ) all your posts. If i didn't answer to some, it is mainly because it would be a Hercule's task Laughing .

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Now, when I see an animal, I just look at that animal. Pose, paintjob, rarity of the animal in the wild, and numbers and family members in my collection. But I catch myself upon seeing only at my favorite brands. Bullyland and Safari LTD aren't even on my WL. Why? Quality and realism.

It is fun to see how we are and how we can be biased by brands or other things  Laughing . What I appreciate with Safari Ltd toys is their realistic sculpting, alas often ruined in my eyes by a bad painting.

I have the same feeling with the old Britains and I guess it is because I am a 50 years old French macaque. monkey

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
This years new additions from brands was the first time I am completely honest of myself choosing only the best IMO for my collection. Seeing all the people judging certain brands, it makes me wonder about some animals sometimes. Examples are the new Schleich Cobra and male tiger, I think they are beautiful, even by a Schleich... See I did it... Even by a Schleich... Schleich is not a bad brand, although they sell for a different reason IMO. I giggled by the photo of the Mojo Ring tailed lemur with the Schleich logo on it.  won't buy the animal, because I don't collect apes/monkey and lemurs. But i think it if it was a Schleich, it would have been criticized more. Simply because Schleich has been in a direction many questioned.

I think the Schleich cobra and male tiger are very welcomed by the STS community and I think the Ring-tailed lemur would be more loved, more criticized and more comments if it was a Schleich. Why ? because the Schleich section is still the biggest of STS.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
But the main thing about such topic as this one, is valuable information from collectors that major brands can use... although I doubt major brands will ever listen to us collectors.

I can’t agree with you Karin. I think it is exactly the ”heart” of Scott feelings about STS. Schleich has a special place on STS because this brand have a special place in the Animal toy’s history. CollectA and Mojo have a special place on STS because these brands are listening and discussing with our community. More than that, i think all the Majors have a look at DTF, ATF and STS.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
But I think the reason is also I just try to learn more about proportions and anatomy and maybe that's why I also see more mistakes in these models now. I wouldn't noticed them in the past probably. I have read many critique comments about this brand on this forum and I think it opened my eyes for some issues. But we can find these or other mistakes in all other brands as well.

So I think critique is usually a lesson (well, sometimes it isn't, in case if it's only emotional expression "I don't like it because I don't like it") but in most cases it's is a good thing. We shouldn't think that criticising a brand is a personal thing against the brand, it's rather kind of lesson for us to see more details and be more observant.  Very Happy

I think we all improve our knowledge about toys and animals and that is a STS tribute and I agree it is a very good thing, even if the models are more criticized and if we are more hard to please.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I'm surprised to hear the voices that some of the figures would be more criticised if it was Schlech product. I never considered this brand as the most disliked one, definitely no. I would say it's the brand that got most comments, so good and bad ones. If Mojo or CollectA get less critique it's mainly because these new brands get less comments in general.

Mainly but not only.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I see that perhaps some of us like this or that brand more, I don't think it's a bad thing to have favourites. My recent favourite brand when it comes to realism and manufacturing quality is Kitan Club, some of the Kaiyodos, and many of the handmade, 3D designed or customised animals made by members of this forum and some other artists. I love also Lineol and many vintage brands. In general I try to search either very decent realism or interesting style (let's call it vintage style, but it will look different in let's say Lineol and different in Clairet or Marx or Dinamização).

In fact in a modern toy brands very decent realism is a rare thing actually, no wonder we have much to criticise in all of the brands. We will find many quite realistic and good enough models, and that's fine too! I think it's a good thing to "play" finding the mistakes in this or that model because it teach us to be more observant etc. But I understand it may be hard sometimes to not take it personally when someone really likes certain brand?  study

We are all collectors and we all have favorites and it is not a problem indeed. I'm a Clairet lover and of course I want to share this love affair with all of you. Of course, speaking about the Clairet's realism is not my goal n°1  Laughing  I prefer talking about art déco style  Wink   Laughing
I'm also a Lineol addict and I must admit some critics from younger members are a bit painful for me "Lineol zebra? Piece of S..."  Rolling Eyes  so I can understand it is hard sometimes for a Schleich lover. We need to  educate ourselves to accept constructive critics and to make also constructive critics. Most of the time it is the STS mood I guess  Very Happy

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Using the Britains example above Schleich currently are in the same position. There is also another similarity between the old Britains company and Schleich - they are designed for children! Animal figures today have to undertake a far more severe testing procedure than they ever did in the 1960’s!

Unfortunately, for collectors, Schleich (and the old Britains company) exist/ed to provide for the needs of children and their products have to relate to this market.

As Jack Odell (part owner of Matchbox toy cars) once said in the 1960’s “collectors just get in the way with their demands”. Just like then toy animal figure manufacturers first priority is for children and their products have to comply with health and safety legislation and to the needs of children at play.

Finally, going back to the original question: "Are we biased by brand when judging a model?”

If one is using the above the answer is: Yes - our first love is the one we remember forever! Very Happy

However, how many of us are objective in our views? Do we need to be? Should we judge a figure by what some else has written? Most of the reviews here on STS are of animal figures I have never seen before and possibly never will. I feel it is good that STS has a range of collectors and they express their personal preferences and somewhere there is a happy medium.

This is not only true for Britains and Schleich. This is true for all the companies and they have all their own style. Starlux were made for children, Lineol were made for children and it is the same for CollectA or Mojo... And despite they are all different, as a Toy collector, I don't feel unfortunate about this  cheers

Of course we are not always objective in our choice and ideas, nevertheless the good thing about critics is we can see things with eyes of other collectors and this magnified all of us.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Just to point out folks that a similar discussion might have taken place between collectors 50+ years ago regarding (now vintage) brands.

For many then (& quite a lot now!) it was all Britains, Britains, Britains, with other brands (just looking at the UK for the present) such as Charbens, Cherilea, Crescent and JoHillCo being regarded as decidedly downmarket.
In reality, whilst Britains products were mostly of a good average quality, they did produce some duds, whilst some of the other companies designed some real gems along with some truly dreadful items.  

For British people of course Wink

50+years ago in France, for many then (& quite a lot now!)  it was all Starlux and for a lot it was Clairet... Britains ? C'est quoi Britains ? Laughing

In Germany, for many then (& quite a lot now!) it was all Lineol or Hausser... Starlux ? Was ist Starlux ? Wink

Regarding France and Germany - of course. I had thought of those, but didn't want to make the post overly long and complicated.

I used this example to show that Britains and Schleich have a very different place in the Animal toys world. Despite their great qualities, despite the place they have in vintage collectors' shelves and heart, Britains, Lineol or Starlux are "Regional" big number ones.
Even now, we just need to have a look on eBay.uk, eBay.de or eBay.fr to verify this. Schleich is the first nearly international brand and it is easy to see this also on eBay.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Are we biased by brand when judging a model?

More thoughts here - what is a model? Is there a difference between a model and a toy?
In short if we are being biased by brand when judging a model we need to first establish the market the said figure is aimed at.

I understand Chris but IMHO models "is not exactly" a British word. Like all community STS is building its own language and our international village use the word model to describe an animal item, toy or not. It's the same for "Major brand", it is our convention.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
This topic is so interesting cheers
I was turning all the different opinions in my head...and put tooh paste on my hands instead of hand lotion geek Laughing

Yes, I even ate my French fries with hand lotion mayonnaise and I asked for a plate of toothpasta with mushrooms  Laughing

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[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
In my view such criticism should be aimed at manufacturers that produce models of animal figures.

Sure some products from Schleich can be described as cute and cuddly but we must remember the market this animal figure is aimed at!

I have never seen any CollectorA models in the flesh but assume due to the name the company has selected that they have aimed their products at a collector. Therefore, their products need to be realistic and move away from the cute and cuddly to being a realistic representation of the animal modelled.

In short if we are being biased by brand when judging a model we need to first establish the market the said figure is aimed at.

Again, I think we can look for realism in all brand. Perhaps we should not be negative if toy brands are not very much realistic but we can compare them to real animals, talk about their proportions etc.  Mainly for learning something from such discussion and for having fun to find the differences or to define what is typical style of certain brands. So I think what we call "criticising" is perhaps more just "talking" about all points negative and positive, style and realism.  It's so nice to talk about these things, isn't it? Very Happy

Yes it is nice and so sweet Anna Very Happy

Again Chris, CollectA is a Toy manufacturer and its main goal is to sell their toys to parents for their childs. CollectA wants to have a wide (the widest ?) range asStarlux in the past and to be realistic as Britains but it is a toy maker.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
First of all: Yes we are biased.
We think we know what we can expect from a brand and we expect the animal model to be to that standard.

...Also because of the internet, I found this wonderful site: STS forums.  cheers
It was a Walhalla for me.
So many pictures and photos and comparisons and discussions.
For many months I enjoyed myself looking at old threads, finding out about Kaiyodo and Kitan Club animals.
Such realistic looking animal models made in Asian countries, just for the price of a chocolate egg.
The beautiful realistic horses of Breyer (and too expensive for my taste). And AAA/ELC figures.
Only easily available in the USA at that time, so out of my reach...

So many pictures and photos and comparisons and discussions cheers This is exactly wht I love in our forum drunken

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DaveScriv



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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:27 pm

I think one detail is interesting regarding Britains and its 'regional'/UK v worldwide status which goes right back to the 1930s, is with wild/zoo animals in the US. There were very few US made wild/zoo animals, yet they had world class (real life) zoos with busy souvenir shops too - yet US manufacturers seem to have never even tried to go for this market, and left it to UK manufacturers Britains and Taylor & Barrett (with their modestly priced little boxed sets of chimps tea party, elephant ride, llama cart ride and camel ride sets, which Britains either didn't do, or did do but were very expensive).
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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:34 pm

In the 1930's even Blancherie Freres were sold in the US for the same reasons and in the 1950's Marx used Clairet models to make their standard animal line, it doesn't mean Clairet and Blancherie Freres were International brands.
I'm sure the Britains and T&B adventures in US are discussed among Britains and T&B collectors as BF and Clairet adventures are discussed among the French vintage collectors...
Nevertheless, Schleich is discussed everywhere and has no Internatonal competitor, Schleich Gasher's book is known everywhere in the collector's world and it would be uneasy to find a good book about Britains or Lineol in France, i know it would be the same for you for Starlux or Quiralu.
I don't know which "regional" brand was the biggest "regional" brand, I know Schleich have a different place.
I'm not a Schleich collector, my first mainstream collection was the old French animal toys but I know that STS is a reality because some international toy collectors met in a playmobil forum with a small section for Schleich items. I guess STS would never came to life without the Schleich impulse and so Schleich made things none made before: Schleich collectors have the chance here to discover other modern brands from all over the world, they can discover vintage brands and have a view on their hobby's whole history. Vintage collectors can enjoy the future vintage toys and we can discuss about our "great regional" beloved brands as it never really happened before, a place where Lineol, Britains, Starlux and all the old stuff can live together. If there is only one reason to thanks Schleich it is this one cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:09 pm

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This years new additions from brands was the first time I am completely honest of myself choosing only the best IMO for my collection. Seeing all the people judging certain brands, it makes me wonder about some animals sometimes. Examples are the new Schleich Cobra and male tiger, I think they are beautiful, even by a Schleich... See I did it... Even by a Schleich... Schleich is not a bad brand, although they sell for a different reason IMO. I giggled by the photo of the Mojo Ring tailed lemur with the Schleich logo on it.  won't buy the animal, because I don't collect apes/monkey and lemurs. But i think it if it was a Schleich, it would have been criticized more. Simply because Schleich has been in a direction many questioned.

I think the Schleich cobra and male tiger are very welcomed by the STS community and I think the Ring-tailed lemur would be more loved, more criticized and more comments if it was a Schleich. Why ? because the Schleich section is still the biggest of STS.

Yes, I think the same Christophe Smile


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But I think the reason is also I just try to learn more about proportions and anatomy and maybe that's why I also see more mistakes in these models now. I wouldn't noticed them in the past probably. I have read many critique comments about this brand on this forum and I think it opened my eyes for some issues. But we can find these or other mistakes in all other brands as well.

So I think critique is usually a lesson (well, sometimes it isn't, in case if it's only emotional expression "I don't like it because I don't like it") but in most cases it's is a good thing. We shouldn't think that criticising a brand is a personal thing against the brand, it's rather kind of lesson for us to see more details and be more observant.  Very Happy

I think we all improve our knowledge about toys and animals and that is a STS tribute and I agree it is a very good thing, even if the models are more criticized and if we are more hard to please.

cheers  cheers  cheers


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I see that perhaps some of us like this or that brand more, I don't think it's a bad thing to have favourites. My recent favourite brand when it comes to realism and manufacturing quality is Kitan Club, some of the Kaiyodos, and many of the handmade, 3D designed or customised animals made by members of this forum and some other artists. I love also Lineol and many vintage brands. In general I try to search either very decent realism or interesting style (let's call it vintage style, but it will look different in let's say Lineol and different in Clairet or Marx or Dinamização).

In fact in a modern toy brands very decent realism is a rare thing actually, no wonder we have much to criticise in all of the brands. We will find many quite realistic and good enough models, and that's fine too! I think it's a good thing to "play" finding the mistakes in this or that model because it teach us to be more observant etc. But I understand it may be hard sometimes to not take it personally when someone really likes certain brand?  study


We are all collectors and we all have favorites and it is not a problem indeed. I'm a Clairet lover and of course I want to share this love affair with all of you. Of course, speaking about the Clairet's realism is not my goal n°1  Laughing  I prefer talking about art déco style  Wink   Laughing
I'm also a Lineol addict and I must admit some critics from younger members are a bit painful for me "Lineol zebra? Piece of S..."  Rolling Eyes  so I can understand it is hard sometimes for a Schleich lover. We need to  educate ourselves to accept constructive critics and to make also constructive critics. Most of the time it is the STS mood I guess  Very Happy


Yes, this is exactly the way of criticising that is  not constructive, additionally almost rude and of course it can be painful to read. If it was just comment in this style: I don't like paint job and style and whatever I guess it would be much more acceptable and no one would have reason to feel bad about it probably?

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In my view such criticism should be aimed at manufacturers that produce models of animal figures.

Sure some products from Schleich can be described as cute and cuddly but we must remember the market this animal figure is aimed at!

I have never seen any CollectorA models in the flesh but assume due to the name the company has selected that they have aimed their products at a collector. Therefore, their products need to be realistic and move away from the cute and cuddly to being a realistic representation of the animal modelled.

In short if we are being biased by brand when judging a model we need to first establish the market the said figure is aimed at.

Again, I think we can look for realism in all brand. Perhaps we should not be negative if toy brands are not very much realistic but we can compare them to real animals, talk about their proportions etc.  Mainly for learning something from such discussion and for having fun to find the differences or to define what is typical style of certain brands. So I think what we call "criticising" is perhaps more just "talking" about all points negative and positive, style and realism.  It's so nice to talk about these things, isn't it? Very Happy

Yes it is nice and so sweet Anna  Very Happy

Again Chris, CollectA is a Toy manufacturer and its main goal is to sell their toys to parents for their childs. CollectA wants to have a wide (the widest ?) range asStarlux in the past and to be realistic as Britains but it is a toy maker.

Yes, I agree with Kikimalou, I think CollectA, Mojo, Safari, Schleich and most brands described on this forum including Japanese brands all are made as toys, some probably are specially designed for younger kids and some are a bit more serious but still toys.  Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Fri Jan 02, 2015 2:16 pm

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Unfortunately, great companies can fall as we see in Matchbox (although the brand exists it isn’t owned by Lesney - the original owners) and Hauser (with their Elastolin brand) both failed in the mid - 1980’s. The original Elastolin moulds are now with Preiser. So we are lucky to have a range of Elastolin animal replicas available today. If one is looking for the Rolls-Royce of animal replicas then the ’new’ Elastolin range should be considered. However, it seems not many collectors of animal replicas on STS collect them. Maybe the price is to high or the poses reflect a different era and collectors have moved onto more realistic ‘wild life’ style animations.


I acquired few animals from Preiser and I'm quite happy with them Very Happy The only problem for me is they are very hard to get. I ordered several more of them but I wait for the info from the supplier already almost two years and none of the pre ordered animals arrived to the shop yet. If they were easily available I would probably buy much more of them, maybe whole line, they are really lovely and in scale to each other Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Sat Jan 03, 2015 8:21 pm

Brands tend to play an important role in my collecting. I don't outright buy with brand bias in mind most of the time, but the differences between different brands means I end up buying lots of certain ones and almost none of other ones. For example I enjoy many of the Wild Safari figures and buy many of those, while I generally don't like the CollectA figures so I only have a few of those. I rarely look for completion of a brand - I only do this with Kaiyodo Dinotales and Battat dinosaurs because these lines as a whole appeal very strongly to my personal tastes.

The only brand I outright dislike is Schleich. Now before everyone gets up in arms, this is because I am primarily an extinct animal collector. To me 95% Schleich's prehistoric animals (and almost all of their current line) are absolutely atrocious - they are both highly inaccurate and aesthetically unappealing, and it is clear that the people behind the line really do not care much for these factors. When combined with the fact that their aggressive marketing tactics push out other brands like Safari and CollectA that do in fact take the time and effort to make accurate figures that the collector community wants, I cannot help but dislike Schleich. I recognize that their extant animals tend to be quite good, but unfortunately that does not help us dinosaur collectors.
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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:36 am

I am more biased about airplane manufacture companies than figures honestly. Razz

I show enmity to Airbus while I love Boeing. Very Happy xD Laughing

I boycott Airbus by choosing Boeing-run flights when I fly places. Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:00 am

I don't really have so much of a bias when it comes to brands really. All brands have their strengths in some areas.For instance,Papo is practically untouchable when it comes to it's big cats (like the snow leopard among many others for example) while Safari Ltd. has in it's prehistoric lines (The Carnegie Museum of Natural History Ichthyosaurus,2011 Carnotaurus ect. and Wild Safari Prehistoric World Dimorphodon,Yutyrannus ect.) some of the best dinosaurs and other prehistoric animal models ever made in my opinion. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:34 pm

My least favorite brands personally are bullyland and mojo fun,bullyland for the weird rubbery material that they use (some of their sculpts are derpy looking also) and mojo for the dull paint work. Some like the wolves are excellent in Mojo's case. So I will still buy a few from them.

Safari and Schleich are hit or miss,I actually like the newest version of the Schleich dogs because they are small and cute. The new wolf is terrible but I will get it eventually just because it is a wolf,not because of the brand. I love the arctic wolf though. Alot of newer safari animals are beautiful. The 2013 Elk is one of my favorite figures from any brand.

I like papo and collectA but they can only be bought online. Both have older models that are eh but most of their newer models are really nice.

I have some brands that I like more than others but I will not go more harshly against one brand over the other.

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:51 pm

I fully agree with Anna.
I never looked at brand, I just learned brand's names and try to buy those figurines, which I can find localy. So I grew up with Schleich and Papo.
For me it doesn't matter what brand is figurine that I can see on the shelf of any shop. I always, from very-very young age, was trying to find the most realistic models. So I always look st the figurine as biologist. If it is really good, I'll buy it, even it would be «made in China».
A bit different situation is with wolves.

Stop abuse the new Schleich growling wolf! I was on of the first who get him, I'm learning wolf anatomy since 2009 and so I can see he has almost perfect anatomy. BUT NOT PAINTING. It is the only one real lack in him, but if you can draw, you always can to repaint him. THIS is the solution.

Wolves are my passion, and so I have more than 50 wolves already. Ones are almost perfect, others not good, some not beautiful. I can see all of their lacks and I never stop find new ones, but I like all my wolves, in to a greater or lesser extent. But I haven't only one favorite. Each of them has its own advantages and lacks. So, as a biologist, I can pick out some wolves: almost all of Schleich (except wolf from 1990), Safari Polar Wolf, Fame Master, Marvel and etc.

Not long time ago I couldn't decide what brand is my favorite. After I thought it's Schleich, but when Papo started to fast developpe, I more liked Papo, which is my favorite for now. I was SO glad when I saw promo-photo of Papo Howling Wolf. But later you know, what's happened. I smash Papo to smithereens with their canids at all.

Well, enough of wolves. I think all brands have a good and bad models. You can remember Schleich Arabian Mare 2014 and compare her to older one. I like Safari ltd very much, especialy new 2015 figurines, I like Mojö with Anna's sculptures and etc.
Actually, it doesn't matter what brand are figurines, it's important that you, guys, like it. Each of us has his/her own taste, and no one can change it. But for me the most important, main, criterion: anatomy. Not even painting (just imagine how much each brand make new figurines per day, I'm sorry for paint workers), but only anatomy.

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PostSubject: Re: Are we biased by brand when judging a model ?   Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:15 pm

I think there is obviously some bias, but how much is a certain thing we look for: color, variety, accuracy, scale , availability, a certain species, durability / material, and how much is a brand loyalty is a bit ambiguous.

I know my collection has a bias to schleich, but that's mostly an availability issue - most local stores have particularly slim offerings other than schleich.

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