Hey Hey Thursday #04 – Tips for first time buyers of figures

Tips for first time figure buyers

I got my first articulated toy on a whim. We were attending a local con early 2009 and there it was, a cute Haruhi in bunny costume smiling at me. She was cheap and she’s I think the last piece so I went ahead and bought her. She’s a Revoltech, the man selling a bunch of various other toys tells me. I don’t even have an idea what it was, and I don’t even care. I got a cute girl action figure in bunny costume with a nice looking guitar to take home with me. I’m good with that. Lol.

When I got home, I excitedly opened her box. I was happy with Revoltech Haruhi but after a while, that joint of her won’t budge and suddenly I’m not liking her articulated parts very much. And that stand included in the package was rather unyielding, obtrusive, stubborn. Her guitar kept on falling off her arms. I’m still okay with the Haruhi purchase, her endearing expressions and the quality of material that Kaiyodo Revoltech used somewhat made up for my list of complaints about her.

I think I started a bit late in the toy collecting scene. I’m not an expert and I don’t have a huge collection but I guess what I can advise first time buyers is to research a bit first before buying something so you’ll know what to expect. This hobby is shared by a lot of people today so access to information like reviews, photos of figs is easier and more extensive. Be mindful and have a discerning eye so you’ll know if it’s the real deal. I was also eyeing some scale figs that day but I decided to hold-off a bit since I’m not really sure which one to get and which manufacturer will meet my expectation. I also knew there were bootlegs during that con, I guess it’s quite easy to tell the genuine apart from the fakes. Just look closely and if your gut tells you something’s wrong, then walk away.

I also wrote about how to spot fake nendoroids and other figures before and HHT 03 was all about shopping for figures online, any other tips to first time buyers and new toy collectors that you’d like to add?

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18 Responses to “Hey Hey Thursday #04 – Tips for first time buyers of figures”


  1. Hoshiko says:

    My first figure was a bootleg MegaHouse Kurosaki Ichigo. Not intentional cuz I didn’t know it was a bootleg. After a few months, the figure keep falling flat on its face. It’s annoying so I stored it away. So yeah, I agree it’s really important to do some research and get familiar with the market before purchasing the first figure.

    1. xine says:

      I guess a bit of research would go a long way. Bootleggers nowadays are getting better so we should be more careful.

  2. Nopy says:

    Those are some good tips. I always tell people to avoid buying from stores that other figure collectors don’t frequent. Unless you know what a bootleg looks like, it’s safer to buy from trusted stores.

    1. xine says:

      They should also have an idea about the retail prices of the figs so they wouldn’t be tricked or anything like that.

  3. Wieselhead says:

    Luckily I never bought a bootleg figure in my collectors history, well even though I was careless in choosing the shops were I’ve ordered my first figures ^^

    In general it’s better to wait for reviews before you buy your first figure. I bought my first figure, UJ-14 from Beagle after looking at a nice review of her.

    Unfortunately, nowadays it might happen that the figure is sold out before release date, so there isn’t always time to wait.

    1. xine says:

      Good for you! Perhaps others who were careless aren’t as lucky as you.

      Yeah, manufacturers churn out new figures pretty quickly and it’s easy to get excited on which ones to get. Waiting for reviews could cost your chance to get the figure that you wanted. If that happens, I guess all you could do is hope/wait for a re-release.

  4. Nightmare says:

    Always refreshing with articles like these. It’s understandable that we all have our own budgets but it’s equally important realizing that figure collecting is an expensive hobby.

    Nopy is spot on. The safest bet is probably to go with the major retailers in Asia; AmiAmi, HLJ or HobbySearch. There are other reliable alternatives but these are surefire bets.

    If you rather buy your figures nationally it’s pretty obvious that the selling price should be equal or near equal to the retail price + shipping cost from Asian retailers. Many people stare blindly at the price instead of making proper research of a retailer ensuring satisfaction. This include sellers on eBay.

    Some countries also have harsh customs and massive taxes to boot so it’s understandable why people would avoid buying figures from abroad.

    1. xine says:

      Hi Nightmare. Thanks for stopping by.

      Indeed it is an expensive hobby and nobody wants to get a cheap knockoff for the full price of the original. 0_o It’s good that there are reputable online sellers but as you’ve mentioned harsh customs and taxes is another thing to worry about so sometimes there’s a need to wait for the figures to arrive locally.

  5. Aya says:

    I am sure my first action figure was super hero stuff
    I like buy from stores especially when hunting old stuff at least I know differences between Bootlegs and the authentic one :D for Japanese figures the best way is see their eyes for nendoroid the bootlegs are so shinny LOL at least most stores(place and online) I visit sell bootlegs for cheap and some mention they are bootlegs I always wish figures bootleggers proudly put their own brand like what model kit bootleggers did……

    1. xine says:

      Really? They indicate that they sell bootlegs? That’s a shame. And I guess some people are buying them so there’s a market for bootleggers.

  6. BioToxic says:

    My first anime figure was a full cast-off one. Talk about diving into the deep end. I decided I wanted a figure of Chouun Shiryuu after watching the first season of Koihime Musou but the only one out there was by Pleasant Angels. After that purchase I’ve been hooked.

    I’d say I’ve been lucky missing out on bootlegs during my early collecting ignorance. Most of my initial figure purchases were from eBay. I even managed to dodge the sea of fake Yuki Nagato bunny girls.

    Now I tend to buy from reputable online retailers or proxy services for exclusives.

    Hmm tips, I can only really comment on anime figures so, get your pre-orders in early. Some figures can be a nightmare to find in the after-sales market. And set some sort of budget so you don’t end up blowing all your money in a few months. I tend to only buy figures I instantly like. If I’m on the fence I’ll walk away until something convinces me I should have picked it up.

    1. xine says:

      Cast-off you say? ^^

      I’ve heard stories of eBay sellers posting photos of original figures then sending fake ones. Scary, right? At least you managed to avoid them.

      IKR? It’s a shame when you really, really wanted a figure but then it’s sold out. And yes, setting a budget is crucial so you’ll still have plenty more left for your other needs.

  7. It’s always a shame when you anxiously pre-order a figure based on some preview shots and then find out that she just doesn’t measure up in person. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of the hobby, I suppose. Since a lot of figures sell out quickly, if you don’t pre-order you may miss out entirely so you can’t always wait for reviews :(
    On the flipside, sometimes you thought you weren’t interested in a figure and then you see reviews by other fans and you realize you messed up and that figure would have been perfect! I hate it when that happens even more than buying a dud!
    I guess it’s just a tough hobby! xD

    1. xine says:

      Decision making is super important for this hobby I guess. It could sometimes get frustrating and tough so aside from being financially prepared, emotional side of it should be considered too. Haha.

  8. duqs says:

    Hahaha yeah the cons in our country has a bunch of con’d figs, but i do hope they start selling bootleg figures for a cheaper price since i’m eyeing on modding them XD.

    My first figure was a Hatsune Miku wonfes ver figma. My friends taught me where to buy and what to look for. Heck i was even exposed to ‘paint smell’ since the smell of paint is different from a bootleg XD. Knowing where to buy is the first best step i think if you are without friends that do the hobby.

    1. xine says:

      If you buy bootlegs even for the purpose that you mentioned, I think it’s unfair for the artist/manufacturer who did the original. :(

      I didn’t know the difference between bootleg paint and original paint because I turn away as soon as I felt that it’s a fake. Haha. So you could actually smell a fake? :D

  9. slangards says:

    Hey, you should post this over at geekout.ph :) I don’t think we’ve got any Anime addicts among the contributors there.

    1. xine says:

      Hey slangards, thanks for the suggestion, will check geekout.ph.


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