Shopping for Figures


Since I was recently asked for advice on how to buy PVC figures and what to look for, I thought it would be nice to focus my thoughts about this in a post.

I only started collecting figures this year and I somewhat regret not starting sooner because of the current prices on some older out of print figures. Remember that my advice just follows my own preferences and opinions!

First off, where do I get news about new figures so I know what to look forward to? There are many such sites that I check including Wcloudx (kumo)’s Blog and the official sites of the manufacturers such as Good Smile Company.

When looking at individual figures, the maker has a major impact on my decisions. Seeing Good Smile Company, Max Factory, Alter, or Kotobukiya already prompts me to think to myself, “That’s legit.” Other makers that I have seen high quality figures from include Megahouse, Orchid Seed, and Alpha x Omega (joint between Alter and Megahouse). For the rest of the makers, look at photos of the figure in question and compare it to photos of high quality figures from the top tier makers like GSC. Then decide if you still want it.

Once the maker barrier has been passed, I look at the figure. Do I like the character? The series? Do I like the actual representation of the character as a figure? It mostly comes down to your own judgment and tastes. A great resource is where you can search through a database of figures and see reviews, comments, and ratings about specific figures.

Now it’s time to actually order your desired figure. If it’s rare and out of stock elsewhere, I turn to my good friend eBay where you can buy anything as long as you have the money. When looking at auctions, remember to read and re-read the descriptions carefully and look at the seller’s feedback. For figures, if I see that the seller is located in Hong Kong – I usually stop looking at that auction due to the large number of bootlegs that come out of there.

As for online stores, the best place to buy figures for people in the United States would probably be Figure Haven (shameless self-promotion ^^;). Other good places to buy figures from would be Hobbyfan and Kid Nemo. Now if you can’t wait for the short delay it takes our wholesale distributors to obtain licenses for North America, then you can buy from online stores located in Japan. My choices are Hobby Search and HobbyLink Japan, but remember that EMS (the good) shipping is around $20~ USD. So I usually don’t purchase figures from Japan. However, it seems like HobbyLink Japan has a free shipping promotion until September 28th. (found out about it at zone otaku)

That’s about it. I think I covered all the important aspects of shopping for figures. So if you’re an aspiring collector that is unsure about what steps to take or a veteran with a closet full of figures – I hope that this helped!

Image Source: pixiv

6 Comments to “Shopping for Figures”

  1. Koji Oe says:

    Wish I still had a job to buy more merchandise.


  2. Brett says:

    Ah thank you very much, just what I needed! 😀


  3. kodomut says:

    I buy figures which I think I’ll have a blast shooting. Never bothered where the character comes from ^^


  4. Reltair says:

    @Koji Oe: I’m looking for a part-time job at the moment. Need money!

    @Brett: No problem!

    @kodomut: Yeah, I’m starting to care less where the character is from and instead if I just like its appearance.


  5. phossil says:

    Sometimes after deciding what figure you want to buy, you look for the price and find out that may be is out for your wallet.

    In this case, stay tuned and visit for clearance inventory or special offers, where sometimes the price goes down to 20% or similar.


    Reltair Reply:

    Good advice! But remember some figures might never end up as clearance inventory or the like (e.g. GSC’s Saber Lily). ^^;


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