Here's a little walkaround of the secret/set-only Capsule Q Museum Animals of Japan part 5 - Lake Biwa set 11 'Noro' water flea (Leptodora kindtii
) released by Kaiyodo in 2014. Its slip gives it the alternate identification of Animatales #289, too. It was sculpted by Shinobu Matsumura. At 6,5cm long (scaled roughly at 1:0.3) it is the largest animal gashapon Kaiyodo have done as I understand it, and it is a fine one indeed.
The factory slip that comes with the model:[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
The species represented is the predatory water flea Leptodora kindtii
found, according to Wikipedia, in temperate lakes across the Northern hemisphere. It is the largest planktonic cladoceran, probably the only cladoceran ever to make an appearance in a newspaper (see [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
), and is apparently known for its difficult laboratory cultivation and extremely transparent construction. This latter feature allows it to camouflage itself against the sky so as to avoid being eaten by fish. According to researcher anecdotes, the camouflage works so well also when viewed from above that often it is only possible for a human to locate the animal in a pool of water by the shadow it casts on the bottom.
Kaiyodo have represented this transparency of the animal very well, and I've in turn tried to do those efforts justice in the following photos, which is why they differ in their lighting somewhat from the more usual diffused-light studio photos I do. Here's the creature:
For comparisons and general intrigue, [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
is a link to Google hits on pictures of the real animal. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
on a useful Zooplankton site by the University of New Hampshire you can view additional information and two video clips of the creature, too.
As you probably notice, Kaiyodo have taken great care to accurately represent not just the animal's topography with its six setose (brush-tipped, if you will) prehensile legs and long, segmented body form, but also the animal's innards
. The staring black dot of the compound eye is present inside the plastic, as are faintly tan-coloured organs, which are moulded inside the carapace.
Despite its gracile construction and many appendages, the figurine has been engineered so it snaps together without difficulty or significant confusion, and feels relatively solid once assembled. The different parts fit together by small nubs and holes, virtually none of which remain visible on the model once assembled. No seams can be felt on my copy of the model; some inevitably show up against the light in certain orientations. There is no base, which I found a bummer, but then again the model does stand securely and reasonably gracefully in a tripod stance.
All in all, it's a very well made model of an exceedingly cool little subject; I highly recommend it.