Posted on February 14, 2015 by CC
I have spent many hours agonizing over where to preorder a figure from, making spreadsheets, and choosing between shipment times. That was one of the main reasons for starting this site, if I was already making a spreadsheet for each figure I was interested in, why not just throw it all in a database and then others could use it too.
As figure collecting is an expensive hobby, the ones with the lowest price usually win the where should I buy from fight. But then you have to think about shipping and what type of shipping you would like. And then theres the issue of when the item is released and when you actually get the item. It quickly gets complicated!
The stores I talk about below are ones I have personally preordered/bought figures from. These stores are not the only options as there are more out there I haven't used. Here is a quick summary of my order history.
|Store||Total Orders||Average Spent||Average Shipping||Average Time to Ship|
|Good Smile Company||3||Y12000||Y2000||1 week|
|Hobby Search||2||Y13819||Y4300||4-5 days|
|Hobby Link||1||Y2405||Y1380||4-5 days|
|Tokyo Otaku Mode||1||$30||Free||1 week|
|Amazon||3||$35||Free||based on the seller|
Being the manufacturer, they sometimes have exclusive items, such as an extra faceplate for the Mako nendoroid or usually some small accessory. But also being the manufacturer, you are going to pay full price. They also take your payment information upfront and then just charge it whenever the items come into stock. (This is my experience with the Winter Wonfes 2014 items). The items then shipped a couple of weeks later. You also cannot combine orders.
Shipping from the Goodsmile Online Shop is a flat rate Y2000 for EMS. If you are only buying one item this will probably be more than other EMS options. If you are buying multiple items the flat rate EMS could be a great deal. I ran into this situation when I was preordering figma horse which was an exclusive to their shop, so I figured why not get Nendoroid Suzuya too since the shipping was flat rate.
There are also the Wonfes exclusives they have, usually four figures at a time. They are in their own special shop so you cannot combine with other orders from the normal GSC shop. They do sometimes run a promotion where if you spend over Y1000 the shipping is free.
You are going to pay full price for a figure from the Good Smile Online Shop. They also take your payment information upfront and then just charge it whenever the items come into stock. (This is my experience with the Winter Wonfes 2014 items). The items then shipped a couple of weeks later. You also cannot combine orders.
If you really want the exclusive item or are preordering a bunch of figures from them at once, this would be the best choice. They are also the only place to preorder Wonfes Exclusives.
AmiAmi usually has the best prices for preorders. They also allow you to combine orders so if another figure is released for preorder you can combine it to a figure you have ordered if they come out in the same month. They also have a large used figure section where you can find some pretty good deals.
I use Amiami for almost all my purchases so for me there really aren't any cons.
Once the figures for your order are all in stock, they will email asking to submit payment within a week. Once your payment is acknowelged, they will ship it out in the next few days.
I usually choose EMS from AmiAmi because I like the speed and tracking of it. I'm in Colorado and shipments usually get here within 4-5 days of being shipped.
You want a preorder and want to pay the lowest price. Also if you want the ability to add on used figures to your preorders or just combine orders in general.
I have only preordered two figures from Hobby Search but both arrived quickly and in good packaging. They have discounts on figures like AmiAmi does and sometimes have special deals on shipping (I got my Godoka from Hobby Search and they had a half price shipping special going on).
They also have a point system like AmiAmi so if you choose one or the other and become loyal to them it could pay off if you build up a lot of points.
When your item comes in stock they will automatically charge your payment that you selected when you preordered the figure.
I have only made one purchase here and it was during one of their annual sales. I was able to get a Kuroko no Basuke Midoriami scale for like $8 and some Bandai Chibi arts for $6. Basically impulse buys but they are all pretty good for under $10 each.
For figure buyers in the US, I was excited when Crunchyroll started selling figures as I wasn’t aware of other domestic options at the time. If you are a member you get about $3 off of each figure and they have sale items as well as free shipping on orders over $75. If you can get the planets to align you can get a really good deal combining all these.
(One example is I got this Mihawk http://www.crunchyroll.com/store/p/32970/PortraitOfPirates-One-Piece-series-NEO-DX-Hawk-Eyes-Juraquille-Mihawk-Ver2-18-Scale for $67 with free shipping. Update: this preorder was then cancelled on me as they didn’t get enough stock, so I had to get him used of AmiAmi for around $70)
Crunchyroll does have the main drawback of shipping out items at least one month or more after they come out in Japan. I had my Tsukiko Tsutsukushi Nendoroid delayed 4 months on me once too.
Another thing that can happen with Crunchyroll is that they can cancel preorders. I have only had this happen to one preorder out of the 10 or so I have from them (it was the Volcaloid Nendoroid Petite blind box). They did fully refund my order though as soon as the item was cancelled.
I have heard of this happening with some scale figures though so I wouldn’t recommend using them if you 100% need a figure. Still with all these cons I still have a bunch of preorders with them as free shipping really is nice.
This is a store I just found and have only preordered one figure from so far. They had a new customer coupon as well as referral coupons that allowed me to get $10 off with free shipping. They ship everything EMS from Japan so the free shipping is saving you at least $15.
I have seen most new preorders on their site have free shipping for the first day or so then it seems to go away. Random figures will still continue to have it though. The prices are a bit more than AmiAmi though so in the end the prices come out about even, but if you are looking to pay upfront and with USD Tokyo Otaku Mode is a good choice.
I have only ordered three figures from Amazon. Leaving the main figure retailers opens you up to possibly buying a bootleg. The figures I got from Amazon were legitimate but I have bought bootleg pokemon plushies from there before. Basically if the price is too good to be true, it is, and its probably a bootleg.