Shortly after I started this site I posted about Diener Mythological Creatures, a set of figures that was released by the Diener company around the same time as or shortly after Diener Space Creatures in the early 1980s, but not as well known as those. While the Space Creatures were based on weirdos from old sci-fi properties, these were focused on "real" monsters pulled from mythology and folklore--sort of like a modest precursor to Monster in My Pocket.
Because I took nicer photos since that first post as well as the fact that I have a weakness for Diener figures, I thought I'd revisit the line in more detail.
As far as I'm aware, there were only six different figures in this set: a centaur, a garuda/birdman, a unicorn, a minotaur, a gorgon/Medusa, and a dragon. Let's take a closer look at them all:
|Centaur & Garuda|
Garuda: It's kind of strange that they decided to make a Garuda/birdman for this set, considering there were only six figures and there are many more commonly-referenced mythical creatures that would have been more likely candidates for inclusion. But a birdman was also included in the Dragons N Monsters line of the same era, so maybe they were all the rage in the early '80s, or something. Like the centaur, this is a pretty simple sculpt, but not a bad looking figure. I like how he's got gigantic wings that are as tall as his entire body.
|Unicorn & Minotaur|
Minotaur: I don't know exactly why, but for some reason I find this minotaur a bit goofy-looking. And I kinda love it for that. His body just looks so normal and non-beastlike, but then he's got the huge bull head. I think this one is my second favorite of the set.
|Medusa & Dragon|
Dragon: I don't know whether this is supposed to be a specific monster or just a generic dragon. I am guessing just a generic dragon. In keeping with the rest of these figures it's a pretty simple and straightforward, but still a cool little sculpt.
While the Diener Mythological Creatures might not be as iconic to collectors as the Space Creatures, it's a fun set that would be worthwhile to many mini figure and monster toy collectors. They were produced in a couple different materials: firmer plastic, like the versions shown above, as well as a softer eraser-like texture. There seems to be an ongoing demand for these types of Diener toys, but they appear frequently in eBay lots so it shouldn't be all that difficult for anyone to put a set together.