Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oritet fantasy mini figures: Russian fairy tale creatures


I've discovered many amazing toys on FantasyToySoldiers.blogspot.com, an excellent site run by a collector friend of mine. One of the coolest things I learned about on that site is a series of fantasy-themed mini figure sets produced by a Russian company called Oritet (spelled оритет in Russian). One Oritet release in particular immediately caught my eye--a set consisting of six different creatures found in Russian fairy tales and folklore. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to hunt them down.

The bad news is that these figures are not easy to find. Having been a Russia-only release (in the early '00s, from what I've read), you pretty much have to find a Russian collector who has them to sell/trade, or who can help you track them down. For a while I only managed to get my hands on two figures from the set, so I was very happy and grateful when my friend Shaun of Fantasy Toy Soldiers recently had the opportunity to get a full set in a trade and offered to do so for me. They are really fantastic figures and very much worth the challenge of locating.

Here are some basics:
  • The six creatures inlcuded are Baba Yaga, Domovoi, Kikimora, Wood Goblin, Water Spirit (Vodyanoy) and Koschei the Deathless. More on each of them later
  • The figures are made of hard plastic and range from about 1.5 to 3.5 inches tall (if you count their weapons, such as the Water Spirit's trident)
  • They came sold together in a box featuring artwork of the characters (pictured to the right)
  • Sets seem to have been available in a few different colors, including metallic green, metallic red and glow-in-the-dark white. There may or may not have been additional colors--these are just the three I've seen personally
  • Oritet produced many other great sets in addition to these, all done in a similar style. They are mainly fantasy-themed, but there are a couple that expand beyond that, like a ninjas set and a caveman set. You can see them in the Oritet post at Fantasy Toy Soldiers 


    Here's a closer look at all six figures:



    BABA YAGA:  This was the one creature I recognized right away. I've been familiar with Baba Yaga ever since I was a kid, thanks to her being included as part of the first series of Monster in My Pocket. While this menacing hag--who flies through the air in a mortar--was depicted in a more bizarre, gruesome way as part of the MIMP line, Oritet gave her the appearance of a more traditional witch. Both are really nice sculpts, and it's always cool to see how the same character is interpreted by different designers and sculptors. I just love the fact that at least two Baba Yaga mini figures exist. Who knew?


    KOSCHEI THE DEATHLESS:  I had to do some research on the rest of the creatures, including this skeletal baddie. Apparently, in Russian folklore Koschei is an antagonist known for abducting wives and being a pain in the ass to defeat, considering his soul exists separate from his body inside a needle, which is inside an egg, which is inside a duck, which is inside a hare, which is inside an iron chest, which is buried under a tree, which is on an island in the ocean (thanks, Wikipedia).


    WOOD GOBLIN:  This is possibly my favorite figure of the set. There's just something about the sculpt of this weirdo tree creature that speaks to me. Maybe it's the giant head and mouth, which appears to be filled with worms or something. It's just bizarre-looking, which I love. Makes a nice complement to the Dryad figure from Monster in My Pocket.


    DOMOVOI:  The Domovoi is pretty much the Russian equivalent of a Brownie--a spirit that hangs out in peoples' houses, acting as either a helpful or malicious presence. Basically, they can assist with household chores and field work and warn of impending danger, but if you piss them off they can get nasty and start going poltergeist on you. Fun little figure.


    KIKIMORA:  This one is another Russian house spirit, but a female version. The role of a house's Kikimora is typically juxtaposed with that of a Domovoi, in that one of them is the bad spirit and one of them is the good spirit (again, thanks Wikipedia). This lady definitely appears more sinister than the Domovoi figure, so I guess she'd be the baddie. When I first saw this figure, I thought of Rumpelstiltskin for some reason (yeah yeah, I know that's not Russian).


    WATER SPIRIT (VODYANOY): So, this dude looks like King Triton. But apparently he's a Vodyanoy, which Wikipedia says appears as a "naked old man with a frog-like face, greenish beard, and long hair, with his body covered in algae and muck, usually covered in black fish scales." I don't see any frog-like face here, but whatever. This is an awesome figure. I really love all the different textures, especially the scales. Just to do justice in showing off the level of detail and texture all these figures have, here's a back view:


    And that's the set! These guys instantly became some of my favorite pieces in my collection. I'm a sucker for any toys that are mythology and fantasy related, especially when they look this cool. It's a shame Oritet's figures weren't available more widely because they're really well done and worthy of more attention.

    What do you think of them?

    18 comments:

    1. Excellent post on some great figures!

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    2. Salt in the wound! I ache for these.

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      1. Haha sorry! I couldn't resist showing them off.

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    3. I love Shaun's site and I'm really sad I missed out on his book! This figures look amazing, what a guy!

      I think the Wood Goblin is my favorite as well. He has a GPK look to him.

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      1. I didn't think about GPK but you're right. His face has a definite GPK look.

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    4. These figures look awesome! I think I like Koreschi the deathless. I never heard the one about the Baba Yagas inside mortars, I always heard the one where they lived in the house with Chicken legs.

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      1. I believe both are true of the story. She lived in a hut with chicken legs but also went out flying around in a mortar.

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    5. Great post. Thanks for going the extra mile with the detail on each character.

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      1. Thanks, Shaun! It took me a while to figure out what creatures most of them are supposed to be since I had to work from the Russian text.

        And thanks again for your help.

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    6. BTW The purple and green shoots sprouting from the soil make an outstanding background for the pictures. Very nice choice.

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    7. I have them in blue metallic HDPE. Tougher than the old LDPE of my 1950s-60s boyhood.

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      1. You managed to get a set, too? Very nice. And yeah, I do like the plastic they used. Very sturdy.

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    8. These are fantastic. Koschei is one of my favourite myths (and it's hinted in Doctor Who novels that he was actually the Master, which is all kinds of wonderful). Not familiar with Kikimora, but that's a fantastic sculpt and I've learned a new monster.

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      1. Had no idea there was a Doctor Who connection. I wasn't familiar with Kikimora before finding this set, either!

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    9. Replies
      1. Unfortunately these are no longer produced. Your best chance would be looking for Russian collectors who might have them or be able to find them.

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