ReinierReinier a.k.a the Wise Silver Wolf

About

I have been watching anime since I was 10 years old and first started collecting figures back in 2002. The first figures that I owned were small sega prize figures about 5-8 inches tall from Evangelion. I started to collect larger figures in 09/2010 and now exclusively collect figures that are 8 inches or taller because I feel they have more detail than smaller figures.

I have only been collecting scaled figures since 09-2010 but I have learned alot of money saving tips since collecting scaled figures is quite an expensive hobby.

My tips for people just starting to collect anime figures are:

1) Check Mandarake often, sometimes you can find really good deals on there and even come across really rare figures. Rare figures usually sell out within hours of being posted.

2) Make sure that you read very carefully the condition of the item before making your purchase on Mandarake because they dont allow more than 2-3 cancellations for the lifetime on an account. Cancelling orders more than 2-3 times will get your account permanently banned from Mandarake.

3) Make sure to tick the "Cancel the order if this item is out of stock" box if you no longer want your Mandarake order to be processed if one of the items from the order is sold out. Canceling the order later on through email request will count as a hard cancellation and will get your account banned.

4) Never buy anything from eBay unless you absolutely have to as a last resort. Check AmiAmi, Big in Japan, Nippon-Yasan, Hobby Search, HLJ, Mandarake, Jungle and Y! auctions first. eBay is infested with many fake figures from Hong Kong.

5) Check both the English and Japanese Mandarake sites when looking for items on Mandarake because they post up stuff on the Japanese site that isnt posted on their English site.

6) Dont pick EMS when buying only a single figure unless its Polystone or Polyresin. Try to bundle EMS shipments with at least 5 other items you want so that you will save money on shipping. SAL takes 2-5 weeks and it will usually cost alot less than EMS for single figure orders. Registered SAL cost only ¥410 more and gives SAL tracking numbers and a small amount of insurance.

7) When purchasing 1/4 scale or larger figures EMS will be required, try to make the most of it by buying at least 5 other figures from the same store.

8) Dont use SAL during December, it will take 30+ days for you to receive your package because of the holidays.

9) Dont bundle heavy books together with figures to try to save on shipping, the heavy books will end up increasing shipping cost instead of saving money on shipping. Shipping the books separate allows you to use international media mail which gives discounted shipping rates on books but if you combine shipping with a figure the shipment wont qualify.

10) EMS only covers damage to the actual figure, not the figure box so try to pick registered sal when possible to save money on shipping.


Useful Sites:

Riuva <--- Whats PVC,Polystone, Coldcast, and ABS?

Fig instock.com <--- Emails you when figures come back in stock at your favorite sites.

Keepa <--- A firefox addon that adds a price history graph to all Amazon product pages, it works on all Amazon websites from all countries.

Mobile Barcoder <--- A firefox addon that lets you create scannable barcodes that you can scan with your mobile phone. This app is useful for scanning tracking numbers and easily adding them to a tracking app on your phone.

Package Buddy <--- A free android app that lets you keep track of all your packages easily from your phone and notifies you when the shipping status changes.

Shipping Calculator <--- Lets you calculate how much shipping will cost depending on the weight of the items and shipping method.

Historical Conversion Rates <--- A website that tells you what the conversion rates were for each day. This is useful for calculating conversion rates of combined figure orders.

Rainlendar <--- A Free desktop calendar that lets you add events and reminders to a calendar on your desktop. I use it to post my weekly schedule and when Y! auctions will end in my local time.

Mandarake <--- Sells second hand figures for low prices compared to their real value.

From Japan.co.jp <--- My Favorite Y! middlemen service, they charge a 10% comission fee + ¥200 handling fee. FromJapan lets you bid in realtime or sniper bid. The company lets you cancel sniper bids and withdraw deposits at any time that you want, deposits are automatically refunded after 20 days if not used within that period of time.


Figure Shop Mini Reviews:

Nippon-Yasan: (9/10) Nipppon-Yasan usually has among the lowest prices out of all the figure stores and I havent had any problems with them yet during my time on this site but I have heard of other users who experienced poor customer service from them or received suspicious stock for items that were rumored to be bootleg. I myself havent had any issues with them and they always answer my questions quickly so I gave them a good score.

Big in Japan: (7/10) Big in Japan is among the most economical figure stores out there, most of the time they arent as low priced as Nippon-Yasan but they still beat out all the other retailers in price. They have a very strict cancellation policy, even 1 pre-order cancellation will result in your account getting banned. Recently they added a forwarding service which allows you to forward shipments to them for ¥500 which is useful if you want to buy items from other websites but dont have a Japanese mailing address. The reason I gave them a 7/10 is because their customer support isnt so great when something goes wrong for example I had an item that arrived defective and they asked me to send the defective piece back in an envelope and they will send me a replacement part but when I sent it to them I waited over 2 months and they said that they never received the defective part from the figure so I got stuck with an incomplete figure where other retailers just mailed the replacement part to customers who got the defective piece and had the customer pay for shipping without having to send the defective part back. Sometimes I ask them a question via email and they wont respond at all which is another reason I took off points from their score.

AmiAmi: (7/10) Quick shipment, they charge you what shipping cost them to send out packages. The benefit of using their shop is that you dont have to pre-pay items and they allow you to combine monthly orders into a single EMS shipment. Most of the time shipping will be cheaper if you use Registered SAL and have each item sent out individually but if your ordering a fragile item it might be worth it to bundle everything together in one EMS shipment. AmiAmi usually sells out really quick on popular figures since their a popular shop. Customer service usually uses scripted responses when you write them a message and they dont take ownership for poor packing jobs so you will have to file a claim with the post office if something goes wrong. The way that they pack their shipments is still some of the most sturdy in the industry though and their the only company that has boxes with a big red "fragile, handle with care" sign on them which is why I gave them a decent score. The poor customer support, scripted responses, and failure to take ownership is what hurt their score.

Figure Haven: (9/10) I have ordered two figures from this shop so far, prices are pretty high sometimes but shipping is a flat $5 for U.S customers. The items I ordered arrived 2-3 days after sending payment and were very well packed with bubble paper, packing paper, and the figures box was wrapped in protective paper as well.

HobbyLink Japan: (7/10) HLJ usually takes 2-3 days to send a payment request and up to a week to ship out items after receiving payment. Their packing is pretty standard, most of the time they will use some inflatable cushions around the items box and place a plastic bag over the figure box to protect it from damage.

Hobby Search: (9/10) I have purchased several items so far from this shop. The items all arrived in a timely manner with packing paper wrapped around the box and packing paper to fill the box so the item wouldnt move around. I gave this shop a 9/10 because their great but usually more expensive than AmiAmi or BiJ.

Jungle: (10/10) I have made 5+ purchases with this store so far, every time the item was sent out on the same day that I paid or the next. Questions are usually answered within 1 day if you email them. The prices of their items are a little higher than on Mandarake and they charge a 5% handling fee on orders but their extremely professional and quick. Packing is pretty standard with packing paper to fill the box and a plastic wrap around the items box.

Kirinhobby.com: (7/10) A U.S shop that gets their figures from AAA distribution. This shop sells authentic figures but their prices tend to be a little on the high side sometimes.

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