*Okay, this may be crossing the boundary between tutorials and diary, but I sort of feel obligated to put this under "Tutorials" since this is the first installment to a series that is mainly meant to give advice to the very new.
How I personally got started
It'd be hard to talk about anime figures without talking about anime. But of course, as the actual series aren't the focus of MFC, I'll make this as short a bio as possible.
I got into anime quite recently as well, around 2 years ago when I ran out of good animated movies and cartoons to watch. That being said, I love anime movies (and arts and crafts, which really works out in the figure collecting world). Generally, I like slice-of-life/school anime with some plot or some other aspect to it, like sci-fi, mystery, or romance/drama. Whenever I watch anime, I set rules for myself (much like in figure collecting). One of my biggest rules is that I try to watch all the OVAs, specials, seasons, and even alternate settings (in a later post you'll see how that relates to how I buy figures).
I have always been a cheapo and a DIY freak, so before actually buying figures, I actually tried sculpting a few of my own. I tried some different types of clays, from stoneware kiln-fired clay (I had been taking pottery lessons for a few years, so I thought, why not), to polymer clay (not good, different thicknesses caused clay to bubble and burn in some areas), to air-dry clay (still trying this one out).
View spoilerHide spoiler[Pictures of attempts to be inserted, but I thought I'd get a good camera and save my post first]
My first figure was a Haruhi figure (ITEM #2929), simply because I loved the series so much. I got a friend to buy it for me off ebay so I wouldn't have to explain the weird shipment that would arrive at my house. It was $10 with shipping included. (That was my first limit: I won't buy a figure over $10. Yeah right!)
A few weeks later, I went to my first anime convention where I got ITEM #32490, and the phone charm I currently use (ITEM #32398) from a Railgun-themed grab bag, which I was too cheap for, so I split with a friend. I also got ITEM #5702 for $12 (notice: limit already broken), which, turned out to be bootleg. The umbrella broke on me the first day, and the base was much too small. Before buying it, I thought I had done enough research on figures and bootlegs (though I had not yet understood why bootlegs were so bad), but once the umbrella broke on me, I vowed to avoid bootlegs at all costs, and conduct extensive research from then on.
After joining MFC
Skip a year and a half. I've joined this site after lurking for a long time, not buying anything because I was deathly afraid of bootlegs (see article on trust that will come later). After getting a basic sense of prices and identifying bootlegs, I tried my luck again, but this time on ebay. I had a friend who was doing an order for printer ink on ebay, so she was wondering whether I wanted to get anything, since she wanted some cash (and I was still nervous about explaining the arrival of random packages). We made a deal. I ended up ordering 7 figures at once after prowling ebay for hours to get best prices and negotiating with sellers.
Random thing I learned: If I really like a series, I should buy (and actually wait for) sets of two! The prices are often much better, and I save a lot of time looking for individual characters. Ebay and Plamoya are great for this.
Why I am writing a tutorial series
As you can see, I'm only a few weeks further ahead. Readers must be thinking:
How big of an ego must I have to already be writing a tutorial?
But I've learned much more in the process, so I wanted to jot it all down to help future newbies before I grow old and weathered in the figure world, before I forget all this. All the mistakes I've already made, the dilemmas I've been in right from the beginning of the journey. All the experiences brand-new people might encounter. And of course, someday, I can't wait to look back upon all this and laugh.
NAVIGATION: Back to index, On to 2. Numbers