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 Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)

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bmathison1972

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PostSubject: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:56 am

Review of the complete set of Insect Collection, by K&M International, Wild Republic Polybags. I have actually been meaning to do a review of this set for a while but it took me a while to finally get the butterfly (the others were all bought individually in a toy store in Tucson, AZ back in 2000...).

There are 10 figures, all solid-piece PVC. They are large, comparable to Safari LTD Incredible Creatures or Hidden Kingdom Insects figures. Some are specific, some are generic, and some are 'Frankenstein' (sculpted like one species, painted like another).

For what it's worth, you can buy sets of 4 unpainted figures (stink bug, butterfly, rhino beetle, and I forget the fourth) if you wanted to paint yours to look like a specific species.

K&M has a good history of making interesting taxa and a variety of species--too bad that does not seem to be the case anymore.

One to the critters, in no particular order. Names and identifications are mine, or credited to Andre (brontodocus) via private conversations:

1. Ground beetle, Carabidae: Carabini: Carabus (or related).
This is one of the 'Frankenstein' figures; the morphology of the sculpt clearly looks like a carabine beetle, but the color look like an emerald weevil in the genus Eupholus. In fact, I considered mine an emerald weevil for years before Andre pointed me in the right direction!

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2. Mantis, gen. sp. (presumably a praying mantis, Mantis religiosa).
This is one of the nice figures in the set, although it is essentially another bin-style green mantid. Under 'Bug of the Day' I currently have it with the praying mantis.

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3. Grasshopper, gen. sp.
To me, this is another generic green grasshopper (GGG), although Andre suggested Tropidacris collaris. Personally I do not think there were any species-level attempts when this was made.

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4. Stink bug: Hemiptera: Pentatomidae, gen. sp.
This is my favorite in the set! Not only because terrestrial hemipterans other than cicadas are RARELY made but also because it's a darn cool figure. I am not a specialist on this group enough to know if this was painted to look like something specific.

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5. Japanese rhinoceros beetle, Allomyrina dichotoma.
This is an easy one, easily recognizable (and not just because it is one of 37 representative of this species I have in my collection!).

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6. Monarch, Danaus plexippus.
Based on the color, there is no real other choice for this, although Andre has pointed out the wing shape is not consistent with the danaines. I have seen this figure marketed online as a viceroy, but that species should have a black band across the hind wings that this figure clearly does not have.

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7. Blow fly, Diptera: Calliphoridae, gen. sp.
I like this one a lot too. Looks to be modeled after a Lucilia species. The wing venation, while not 100% accurate, is at least along the lines of what a calliphorid's would look like!

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8. Carpenter ant, Camponotus species.
Fairly generic at the genus level, but appears to be a carpenter ant. Other species in the genus include C. japonicus by Epoch and C. texanus by Club Earth.

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9. Beetle, gen. sp.
This is the oddest of the group. For years I bounced this around families from Melyridae to Lampyridae! It was not until Andre repainted his (http://animaltoyforum.com/index.php?topic=1301.msg10591#msg10591) that it became clear to me that morphologically it looks like a carrion beetle (Silphidae), although the paint job is nothing like a silphid (at least none I am familiar with). I have this among Silphidae in Bug of the Day.

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10. Stag beetle, Prosopocoilus astacoides.
While this is generic, I think there is enough morphological evidence to place it in the genus Prosopocoilus. For a long time, I considered it P. inclinatus, but I like Andre's suggestion of astacoides better, especially with regards to head armature. I have edited Bug of the Day to accommadate this change (and hey, it gives me a new species for my collection!)

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Bowhead Whale

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:20 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Review of the complete set of Insect Collection, by K&M International, Wild Republic Polybags. I have actually been meaning to do a review of this set for a while but it took me a while to finally get the butterfly (the others were all bought individually in a toy store in Tucson, AZ back in 2000...).

There are 10 figures, all solid-piece PVC. They are large, comparable to Safari LTD Incredible Creatures or Hidden Kingdom Insects figures. Some are specific, some are generic, and some are 'Frankenstein' (sculpted like one species, painted like another).

For what it's worth, you can buy sets of 4 unpainted figures (stink bug, butterfly, rhino beetle, and I forget the fourth) if you wanted to paint yours to look like a specific species.

K&M has a good history of making interesting taxa and a variety of species--too bad that does not seem to be the case anymore.

One to the critters, in no particular order. Names and identifications are mine, or credited to Andre (brontodocus) via private conversations:


6. Monarch, Danaus plexippus.
Based on the color, there is no real other choice for this, although Andre has pointed out the wing shape is not consistent with the danaines. I have seen this figure marketed online as a viceroy, but that species should have a black band across the hind wings that this figure clearly does not have.

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Maybe the person who created the paint scheme of this piece DIDN'T KNOW the exact shape of the Monarch's wings. So, if this butterfly seems to be a monarch, then the artist must have meant to represent a monarch, especially when we know how popular this species is among people. Let me explain.

Blaine, you are obviously a very experienced enthomologist, probably the best here in the forum. Your observations of the markings and the shapes of each insect are incredibly sharp and I'm sure that, if you were a toy maker, your toy insects would be extremely close to the real ones, if not 100% perfect.

However, I also see that you seem to lack a little experience when it comes to "read" a work of art; in this case: insect replicas. In other words, you seem to think that everyone, including toy makers, know as much about insects as you do. And that sometimes blocks you when it comes to identify insect replicas artists make (artists that may know a little about insects, but not enough to make EXACT copies of them). To your enthomologist's eyes, it seems that, if a mistake occurs in a replica, than the replica automatically represents an imaginary species. But my experience tells me that this conclusion is far from being often right, following the cases (I worked as an art teacher during a few years, and I have an extra bachelor's degree not in Enthomology, but in Fine Arts). In fact, many insect toys that you assumed were "imaginary species", actually visually represented Something precise in the artist's mind. But because the artist didn't know everything about the actual animal, his/her representation shows flaws. In this case, THE MONARCH WITH A WEIRD SHAPE OF WINGS.

To me, the same phenomenon happens also in the case of a few Toy Major butterflies...


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bmathison1972

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:22 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Review of the complete set of Insect Collection, by K&M International, [b]Wild
Maybe the person who created the paint scheme of this piece DIDN'T KNOW the exact shape of the Monarch's wings. So, if this butterfly seems to be a monarch, then the artist must have meant to represent a monarch, especially when we know how popular this species is among people. Let me explain.

Blaine, you are obviously a very experienced enthomologist, probably the best here in the forum. Your observations of the markings and the shapes of each insect are incredibly sharp and I'm sure that, if you were a toy maker, your toy insects would be extremely close to the real ones, if not 100% perfect.

However, I also see that you seem to lack a little experience when it comes to "read" a work of art; in this case: insect replicas. In other words, you seem to think that everyone, including toy makers, know as much about insects as you do. And that sometimes blocks you when it comes to identify insect replicas artists make (artists that may know a little about insects, but not enough to make EXACT copies of them). To your enthomologist's eyes, it seems that, if a mistake occurs in a replica, than the replica automatically represents an imaginary species. But my experience tells me that this conclusion is far from being often right, following the cases (I worked as an art teacher during a few years, and I have an extra bachelor's degree not in Enthomology, but in Fine Arts). In fact, many insect toys that you assumed were "imaginary species", actually visually represented Something precise in the artist's mind. But because the artist didn't know everything about the actual animal, his/her representation shows flaws. In this case, THE MONARCH WITH A WEIRD SHAPE OF WINGS.

To me, the same phenomenon happens also in the case of a few Toy Major butterflies...



More experience than you realize as I am also very well trained in the fine arts, and was offered a full ride scholarship to major in the fine arts after winning a few art shows. I stuck with science in the long run.

I do not know why you keep belittling my identifications. If you do not agree with them, that's fine I don't care. If you want to offer alternate identifications, that's great. You can call your figures/models whatever you want. But do not treat me like I do not know what I am talking about. I am a very accomplished entomologist AND artist.
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widukind

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:17 pm

Your presentation is excellent :)

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landrover

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:08 pm


This polybag of insects, is marvellous.

Good colors,and variety. cheers

Thanks for sharing.

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Bowhead Whale

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:11 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:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Review of the complete set of Insect Collection, by K&M International, Wild
Maybe the person who created the paint scheme of this piece DIDN'T KNOW the exact shape of the Monarch's wings. So, if this butterfly seems to be a monarch, then the artist must have meant to represent a monarch, especially when we know how popular this species is among people. Let me explain.

Blaine, you are obviously a very experienced enthomologist, probably the best here in the forum. Your observations of the markings and the shapes of each insect are incredibly sharp and I'm sure that, if you were a toy maker, your toy insects would be extremely close to the real ones, if not 100% perfect.

However, I also see that you seem to lack a little experience when it comes to "read" a work of art; in this case: insect replicas. In other words, you seem to think that everyone, including toy makers, know as much about insects as you do. And that sometimes blocks you when it comes to identify insect replicas artists make (artists that may know a little about insects, but not enough to make EXACT copies of them). To your enthomologist's eyes, it seems that, if a mistake occurs in a replica, than the replica automatically represents an imaginary species. But my experience tells me that this conclusion is far from being often right, following the cases (I worked as an art teacher during a few years, and I have an extra bachelor's degree not in Enthomology, but in Fine Arts). In fact, many insect toys that you assumed were "imaginary species", actually visually represented Something precise in the artist's mind. But because the artist didn't know everything about the actual animal, his/her representation shows flaws. In this case, THE MONARCH WITH A WEIRD SHAPE OF WINGS.

To me, the same phenomenon happens also in the case of a few Toy Major butterflies...






More experience than you realize as I am also very well trained in the fine arts, and was offered a full ride scholarship to major in the fine arts after winning a few art shows. I stuck with science in the long run.

I do not know why you keep belittling my identifications. If you do not agree with them, that's fine I don't care. If you want to offer alternate identifications, that's great. You can call your figures/models whatever you want. But do not treat me like I do not know what I am talking about. I am a very accomplished entomologist AND artist.


I never said you didn't know what you were talking about. I just said toy makers may not know as much about insects as you do; and though they had Something precise in mind, their représentations may show flaws that could mislead an insect specialist. In the industry of toy making, the PAINTER  and the SCULPTOR are TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE. Remember that Toy Major Mandrill painted and identified as a chimpanzee? The same thing happened here with that weird-looking Monarch! And that phenomenon happens all the time! Especially in toy making! I, personnally, have seen zebra sculpts being used for onagre toys and I have seen bottlenose dolphins painted as killer whales! Do you understand what I'm trying to tell you?[/b]
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bmathison1972

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:23 am

Your exact words: "However, I also see that you seem to lack a little experience when it comes to "read" a work of art; in this case: insect replicas." This cannot be farther from the truth.
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Bowhead Whale

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:20 pm

That is because I saw that you doubted of the identification of the monarch, regarding the shape of the mold; to me, you forgot to think that the painter of the toy may not have known that particular detail. And that type of ignorance, from an artist, is not that rare. And that is what you did not seem to be aware of. See what I mean?
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bmathison1972

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:24 pm

I was not doubting the identification, I simply mentioned that the shape was unusual for the corresponding paint job (and actually it was someone else, if you read carefully, that pointed out the wing shape is odd).

I never try to get into the heads of either the sculptor nor the painter, and frankly mistakes with either don't really bother me. All I am doing in my reviews, is offering plausible identifications so members of the toy animal community can assign names to their figures if they want. If something is abnormal, in this case the color vs. the shape, I like to point it out for information sake only.
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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:40 pm

Oh! I see. Well, in my case, when something shows abnormality, I often try tofind the cause of the mistake. You see, in my art course, we were trained to read works of art and, by that, we needed to reconstruct the thinking of the artist. I will try to explain with an example. Giacometti often made very long and thin human figures, with ruff texture. Well, Giacometti explained his style with two facts: first, in 1920, he witnessed an old man passing away before his own eyes. Second, when he was transporting a huge bronze sculpture called The Walking Man (by Rodin), he ound that sculpture extremely heavy. And he thought to himself "a walking man is never that heavy, he barely feels his own weight". So, those clues helped us art students to understand his work. And it went on and on, studying many artists as well as art currents. In other words, I am TRAINED to recontruct the thinking of the artist, looking at a work of art.

So, when I help fellow members identifying species represented as toys, not only I look at the features of the species represented (shape, color, number of legs, motifs), I also reconstruct mentally what the painter AND the sculptor (often two different people in toy buisiness), noticed about the animal. And this is how I work. And I identified quite a few toys using this method. Sometimes with mistakes, but often with success also.
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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:58 am

Blaine, it is wonderful that you get some relatively cheap looking figures and that you make such an interesting review. I think it is quite appreciated among STS members. Very Happy
I also enjoy the discussions where people try to assign a species to a certain figure, even if shows to be quite generic or not accurate.
I enjoy your knowledgeable imput about the subject and it is a honour to have your reviews here. It is also a big bonus to have Valérie's point of views. If Andre was also active here, it could be even better. Very Happy
As I don't have your enthomologic knowledge, neither the artistic sensibility of Valérie. My perception is much simpler.
These polybag figures, are usually already designed and available from a manufacturer to be sold to other companies. Molds are selected by these companies and often, painting layout is of the choice of these companies.
Wild Republic just requested a certain butterfly mould from that manufacturer and wanted it painted like a monarch once it is surely the most popular species in USA, main market of the company.
That's the reason, why we find an European badger included in the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ... Eurasian badgers are commoner in toy shape than American badgers. It explains why it was available from manufacturer's range. Wild Republic found it similar enough to the American badger and included it in their North American polybag. I rather think of it then to think that such an experient company with animal figures just ignored the obvious differences.
I think what we all agree, is that Wild Republic range have a much lower quality than in the past.
By the way, I included the monarch butterfly picture on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] once it was the only figure missing there. Very Happy

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Bowhead Whale

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sun Aug 27, 2017 9:14 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Blaine, it is wonderful that you get some relatively cheap looking figures and that you make such an interesting review. I think it is quite appreciated among STS members. Very Happy
I also enjoy the discussions where people try to assign a species to a certain figure, even if shows to be quite generic or not accurate.
I enjoy your knowledgeable imput about the subject and it is a honour to have your reviews here. It is also a big bonus to have Valérie's point of views. If Andre was also active here, it could be even better. Very Happy
As I don't have your enthomologic knowledge, neither the artistic sensibility of Valérie. My perception is much simpler.
These polybag figures, are usually already designed and available from a manufacturer to be sold to other companies. Molds are selected by these companies and often, painting layout is of the choice of these companies.
Wild Republic just requested a certain butterfly mould from that manufacturer and wanted it painted like a monarch once it is surely the most popular species in USA, main market of the company.
That's the reason, why we find an European badger included in the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ... Eurasian badgers are commoner in toy shape than American badgers. It explains why it was available from manufacturer's range. Wild Republic found it similar enough to the American badger and included it in their North American polybag. I rather think of it then to think that such an experient company with animal figures just ignored the obvious differences.
I think what we all agree, is that Wild Republic range have a much lower quality than in the past.
By the way, I included the monarch butterfly picture on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] once it was the only figure missing there. Very Happy

Roger, do you remember the Toy Major Mandrill that had the word "chimpanzee" printed on it? This figure made everyone laugh to hick-ups. Laughing Not only that, but at home, I own a wonderful Ceratosaurus toy made by a true dinosaur specialist. It even has its four fingers! Unfortunately, when I bought it, there was the name "Oviraptor" printed on its tail. This toy was available in Dollarama. Well, as soon as I brought this phenomenon toy home, I scratched off that silly "Oviraptor" name. And I found myself with one of the most wonderful Ceratosaurus figure you could ever find. And that is not all: I have seen bottlenose dolphin models painted as killer whales in stores!!! Shocked Those mistakes happen all the time. Even Safari ltd made a Manticore with a lion's face... pale
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Roger
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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:32 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Blaine, it is wonderful that you get some relatively cheap looking figures and that you make such an interesting review. I think it is quite appreciated among STS members. Very Happy
I also enjoy the discussions where people try to assign a species to a certain figure, even if shows to be quite generic or not accurate.
I enjoy your knowledgeable imput about the subject and it is a honour to have your reviews here. It is also a big bonus to have Valérie's point of views. If Andre was also active here, it could be even better. Very Happy
As I don't have your enthomologic knowledge, neither the artistic sensibility of Valérie. My perception is much simpler.
These polybag figures, are usually already designed and available from a manufacturer to be sold to other companies. Molds are selected by these companies and often, painting layout is of the choice of these companies.
Wild Republic just requested a certain butterfly mould from that manufacturer and wanted it painted like a monarch once it is surely the most popular species in USA, main market of the company.
That's the reason, why we find an European badger included in the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ... Eurasian badgers are commoner in toy shape than American badgers. It explains why it was available from manufacturer's range. Wild Republic found it similar enough to the American badger and included it in their North American polybag. I rather think of it then to think that such an experient company with animal figures just ignored the obvious differences.
I think what we all agree, is that Wild Republic range have a much lower quality than in the past.
By the way, I included the monarch butterfly picture on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] once it was the only figure missing there. Very Happy

Roger, do you remember the Toy Major Mandrill that had the word "chimpanzee" printed on it? This figure made everyone laugh to hick-ups. Laughing Not only that, but at home, I own a wonderful Ceratosaurus toy made by a true dinosaur specialist. It even has its four fingers! Unfortunately, when I bought it, there was the name "Oviraptor" printed on its tail. This toy was available in Dollarama. Well, as soon as I brought this phenomenon toy home, I scratched off that silly "Oviraptor" name. And I found myself with one of the most wonderful Ceratosaurus figure you could ever find. And that is not all: I have seen bottlenose dolphin models painted as killer whales in stores!!! Shocked Those mistakes happen all the time. Even Safari ltd made a Manticore with a lion's face... pale

Sorry for taking so long to reply. Yes, I do remember that chimp/mandril, actually I find it all so interesting and I even suggested for next SUY, a topic dedicated to these mislabeled figures. If we share all we know about them, I believe it will make a very interesting thread. Very Happy

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Bowhead Whale

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:30 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Review of the complete set of Insect Collection, by K&M International, Wild Republic Polybags. I have actually been meaning to do a review of this set for a while but it took me a while to finally get the butterfly (the others were all bought individually in a toy store in Tucson, AZ back in 2000...).

There are 10 figures, all solid-piece PVC. They are large, comparable to Safari LTD Incredible Creatures or Hidden Kingdom Insects figures. Some are specific, some are generic, and some are 'Frankenstein' (sculpted like one species, painted like another).

For what it's worth, you can buy sets of 4 unpainted figures (stink bug, butterfly, rhino beetle, and I forget the fourth) if you wanted to paint yours to look like a specific species.

K&M has a good history of making interesting taxa and a variety of species--too bad that does not seem to be the case anymore.

One to the critters, in no particular order. Names and identifications are mine, or credited to Andre (brontodocus) via private conversations:

1. Ground beetle, Carabidae: Carabini: Carabus (or related).
This is one of the 'Frankenstein' figures; the morphology of the sculpt clearly looks like a carabine beetle, but the color look like an emerald weevil in the genus Eupholus. In fact, I considered mine an emerald weevil for years before Andre pointed me in the right direction!

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The reason why I am bringing in this example is because I am wondering if the carab Blaine is showing us has not been painted as a complete diferent animal; in this case, the Blue Weevil...
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Bowhead Whale

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:15 pm

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Or, could it be a MELOIDAE? You know, those "Polyphaga" coleoptera insects that look like metallic blue carabs?
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bmathison1972

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:58 am

[quote="Bowhead Whale"]
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:

1. Ground beetle, Carabidae: Carabini: Carabus (or related).
This is one of the 'Frankenstein' figures; the morphology of the sculpt clearly looks like a carabine beetle, but the color look like an emerald weevil in the genus Eupholus. In fact, I considered mine an emerald weevil for years before Andre pointed me in the right direction!

The reason why I am bringing in this example is because I am wondering if the carab Blaine is showing us has not been painted as a complete diferent animal; in this case, the Blue Weevil...

Modeled after a carabid (the morphology is sound), painted as an emerald weevil. Yes, that was already established in the original post. I actually had this figure as an emerald weevil for years before brontodocus noted the carabid morphology.
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Bowhead Whale

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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:46 pm

So, it is a Carabeidae blueweevilus. An interesting case of hybridation. Other cases include Papilio lunamothus, beautifully represented by Toy Major and Delphinus Killerwhalus observed in a dollar store. Toy Major represented another case of hybridation, Mandrillae Chimpanzus.
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PostSubject: Re: Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)   

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Review: Insect Collection (K&M International - Wild Republic Polybags)
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