FAQs and troubleshooting

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FAQ & troubleshooting

You can’t find the figure you want

Check Mandarake or Suruga-ya. Most of the time you’ll have to wait until they have the fig you want. Be sure to buy it as soon as you can because others may buy it too. Even if you are able to place an order on an item you want, someone may have already bought it in the physical stores in Japan which means you might not get it if there aren’t any more, so be quick.

Yahoo! Auction Japan can be a great place to find older, discontinued, and even new figures. However, bar knowing a friend in Japan, you pretty much have to use a proxy service (see above) to bid. The upside is, even including proxy fees, it’s usually much cheaper than buying the same (quality) figure on Amazon or eBay. Additionally, the elevens value a figure’s box and it’s condition very highly, so you can find some unopened figures with a slightly damaged box for reasonable prices. Figures removed from their box drop in price significantly, and can be a bargain; be wary of hot glue and damage though!

eBay and Amazon are a last resort.

Why is this old figure so damn expensive?

Compared to the original retail price at least.

Figures, by nature, are limited. Even if they aren’t released as limited or exclusive, once they sell out it’s rare for them to be re-released. So naturally, the price to skyrockets once they are sold out, which often happens in the initial days after the official release date.

Preorders are closed on most sites and I really want that figure

Wait for the release date, there’s a good chance you can grab it at the big 3 without spending copious amounts in other sites. Guys tend to cancel some of their preorders and those figures become available after the release date, usually the day after the release up to one week later. New batches may become available after the initial preorder date and the big 3 tend to reopen preorders then. Also set a notification on FiginStock or monitor the MFC comments.

I want to buy an exclusive figure, where can I order it

The first option is the manufacturer’s site, some of them like GSC and Native do ship to some countries overseas. If the manufacturer doesn’t ship outside Japan then you are either stuck with using a proxy service or waiting for some reseller sites to list them, some of them include Big In Japan, Mio Boutique, Nippon Yasan and Yokatta.

I placed a preorder for a figure but I don’t want it anymore

And this is why you think about it twice before buying a figure, if you don’t want it because you don’t like it anymore you have serious issues and should work on your self control and moderation.

Now, if you do it because something unexpected came up:

Try cancelling it, most sites don’t like cancellations and if you do so repeatedly you can get your ass banned from them. Amiami is especially picky regarding cancellations and while they might not instantly ban you, you are playing with fire. They are more lenient with frequent customers but even then, try to not upset them or you’ll get an angry email saying they will ban your baka gaijin ass.

Another option is trying to pass the order to some other guy; this is frequently done in MFC and sometimes /a/.

Statues are great but, why are they so expensive?

Most of them involve a really detailed modeling process for the prototyping stage, and even when tools like 3D printers and modeling software are common nowadays, their use is still limited. For said modeling process, check the following video series.

On top of that, even after initial prototypes are finished, much of the detailing is done by hand since machines can’t replicate some details. The majority of figures are mostly hand painted and assembled for both detail purposes and because Chinese sweatshops are cheaper.

For more insight, check the following posts at Mikatan’s site:

The previously mentioned series, building a figure from scratch: Part 1. Danny Choo tours GSC’s offices: video

Mikatan’s Factory Field Trip part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, finale

1/8 Senjougahara Hitagi part 3, part 4

1/8 Millhiore F. Biscotti and 3DCG sculpting

Nendoroid Super Sonico tiger hoodie ver. part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

About the duplication process (Japanese only) part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Mikatan paints a Nendoroid expression part 1part 2part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, finale

GSC and 3D sculpting

Why is EVERYTHING so expensive?

That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Realistically, anime and related is a niche hobby, and manufacturers have found that they profit more by pricing higher and appealing to “high taste” collectors rather than selling for what you’d think to be more reasonable prices to attract normalfags.

ANN and the anime economy (Yes it’s >ANN but do give it a read, it applies to you) Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Why doesn’t character X have a figure?

Lots of reasons. One thing that should be clear if you’ve made it this far is that there are lots of company relations behind the scenes. Figure companies have to license properties from the copyright holders before figures can be made. For this reason, multimedia companies like Bandai and Square Enix will almost only produce figures from copyrights they hold already (Gundam and Code Geass for Bandai, Final Fantasy and Kuroshitsuji for SE and so on).

Check the company credits when you watch OP’s and ED’s. Sometimes you’ll see merchandise companies listed, and you can bet your ass you’ll get figures from them in the future, such as Good Smile Company on Symphogear.

Is there a chance of a re-release?

Probably not. Only popular figures get occasional re-releases when there is a special occasion (new season, new game, etc.). Look on the secondhand market.

The release date says “Early/Mid-/Late [month]”, what does that mean?

Early: 1-10 Mid-: 11-20 Late: 21-28/29/30/31 (Is this some East Asian concept that westerners don’t teach?)

I paid for a shipment, but I don’t see the money taken from my bank. In fact, the package has already arrived! D-Did I totally just get a free figure?

You most likely paid by card and the charge will show up in your next billing cycle or in about 2 weeks. Don’t believe for a moment that you somehow got lucky or outsmarted the store.

My package got caught by customs and they are trying to tax me.

Pay, the knowledge of local laws and customs duties is your responsibility. We give you some tips on avoiding them as much as possible but shit can happen. Check the Undervalue section next time.

My package was damaged, what can I do?

If it’s uninsured, nothing. However if it was insured make sure you don’t sign for the package before you take a pic, you’ll need to fill a claim to your local post office and inform the seller of the damage for him/them to fill a similar complaint on their end. That way you may get refunded for up to the amount your package was insured for.

The tracking shows that my package is “In Retention”, what does that mean?

Check your country’s postal system, it usually means picking up your package at your local postal office and depending on your country it might also mean that you are getting taxed.

Is it safe to buy from MFC?

This depends on how much information you get from the seller and how careful you are. Ask for a lot of photographs and make sure there are no hidden spots where damage could be hidden. Do not send your money as a gift. Make sure to check all feedback that user has had and it is probably a bad idea to buy from a new account. Prices will probably be higher than usual, check all other sources first.

I want something that's only sold as part of a set, but I don't want to buy the whole set. What do I do?

There's a group on MFC that organizes group orders and box splits. You need an account that's older than 3 months to join.

What camera should I buy for figure photography?

Go to /p/'s sticky for this. In particular, this section.

In summary though, we don't know. You will need to do your own research on this, there is no single best camera.

I'm worried about my packages being stolen if I'm not home to receive it. What do I do?

You have a couple of options.

  • Use express mail.
  • Get your package registered.
  • Add restricted delivery (allows you to specify who can sign for your package).
  • Get a PO box.
  • Have it sent to your office/workplace.
  • Send it to a local friend or family member you trust.
  • Tell your post office you're going out of town for a while and ask them to hold packages/mail for you.
  • Leave a note for your mailman to put the packages behind the house or something
  • Move to a more secure neighborhood.

Is there any merchandise/figures of X? Does X series have any figures?

MyFigureCollection - MFC has a very large and comprehensive database of figures, tradable figures, and action figures. Figures are searchable by series, artists, type, subject, manufacturer, and more. They have a smaller database of artbooks, plushies, and merchandise (keychains, mugs, towels, etc.) Search here for figures/merchandise of your waifu. People there are fanatic and often update popular items very quickly.

Is X illegal to import/own in my country?

Possibly. The Undervalue section has some guidelines on whether or not porn/loli is illegal, however there may be mistakes. For your own peace of mind, research your country's laws and find out.

How do I get an item from X event that isn't available online?

You have two options; you can either wait until it appears online or you can pay someone to get it from the event for you.

The item has a possibility of showing up on secondhand stores such as:

Yahoo! Japan Auctions - This will require a proxy or forwarder. After an event there is a chance for it to appear on Y!AJ, the first few auctions will have a very high price which will drop if more are sold after the initial hype. Unfortunately, those initial items may be the only copies of it which are sold so there is a risk in waiting for the price to drop.

Suruga-ya - This will require a proxy or forwarder Here is a guide for using BiJ with Suruga-ya.

Mandarake

The second option is to pay someone to go to the event for you and get them to buy it. This will be very expensive and it can be difficult to find someone willing to do this. Most people who use such a service are not willing to tell you who they are using in case you do something to ruin it or because they do not want them to become so popular that they are unavailable in the future. Your best bet will be to search on MFC before the event because occasionally someone will post that they are going to an event and are taking orders or that they have a proxy that has an empty space. This will usually only be for big events such as Wonfes.

I have a question not answered here or anywhere on the wiki

Google it. Search for it on MFC. Put effort in and if that fails, then that's when you ask in the thread. Once you get your answer, put it in a suitable place.

Tips

General

  • Some stores allow delayed merchandise to be combined and result in one huge order. For example, if one item in the same release month bundle is delayed to the next month, all of the items in the bundle follow it to the next month, where the bundle can be combined with that month’s orders as well. This event can repeat itself until it forms a massive order.
  • When all else fails, use ‘that’.

Store-Specific

  • AmiAmi

If you must cancel something, send them a concise e-mail with something like “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but please cancel item [number] from Order [number]. Thank you.” They do not want to hear the story of how your car got totaled or how you have no sense of budgeting. The number of times you can do this without AmiAmi banning your account is up to them, but it’s far better to give AmiAmi a heads-up instead of letting invoices expire.

You technically have 2 weeks to pay for an order despite the site saying 1 week, but don’t kill their goodwill.

If you want to combine any orders (whether in-stock or not), both items must be part of a shipment in the same month. Have fun getting orders split up when Alter decides to push that figure back -again-.

There is no point in asking in the buyfag thread whether or not you will be banned for cancelling after X amount of orders. We do not know so the answer will always be possibly.

  • CDJapan

CDJapan gives a 300 yen coupon upon sign-up and a 300 yen coupon on the first day of your birthday month, so you can easily register for new accounts and set your birthdate to the month you need the coupon for, so come time you’ll have 600 yen sitting in your account. A lot of smaller items like keychains and single CDs/LNs ship for 500 yen via SAL on CDJapan, so you can practically get free shipping and then some discount by purchasing them with the 600 yen’s worth of coupon. You will NOT receive the birth month special coupon immediately, so if you set it to the current month, you won’t see it until next year.

  • Amazon Japan

Amazon Japan has an aggressive discount policy for items that are overstocked or not moving. They generally put things into the bargain bin long before stores like AmiAmi do. The discount is calculated by an algorithm that mainly takes into account the # of units left in stock and the pace of the orders. The price of the item is updated around 6PM JST daily.

Examples: Nendoroid Yuzuriha Inori, GSC ⅛ Ultimate Madoka

The ‘bottom’ price varies, but has ranged from 30% to 80% off original price. The discounts usually come around a few weeks to months after the item’s initial release, but it’s not guaranteed for all items.

  • Big in Japan

BiJ sometimes lets you cancel if preorders for the item are not closed yet. If you ignore a payment request, they will ban you.