Collecting action figures is no child’s play. It’s isn’t a cheap hobby because it takes time, dedication and money to be able to get quality products that will last a lifetime. One common mistake among beginners is that they tend to buy without researching only to discover that some pieces in their collection are fakes.
Spotting the Fakes
The first thing you should consider is to buy only quality and licensed action figures. But even this can be tricky. There are many stories from long-time collectors who have been victims of seemingly good deals only to find out that the items were bootlegs. It’s also easy to make mistakes when purchasing online, the only viable source for some items including anime merchandise. Collectors know you can’t find these items in just any toy store. So how do you spot the real from the fakes?
1. Buy only those you are familiar with. You must like the characters and not just collect them because they’re popular. It’s easy to spot fakes if you know what the character is supposed to look like. You should know what the colors, facial features and costumes should look like. Pay attention to details in the costume, hairstyle, and weapons or handhelds.
2. Research about the manufacturers. Most legitimate action figure manufacturers have websites you can check out. You will be able to see the kind of products they sell. You can also look at guides online to see the differences between authentic figures and bootlegs.
3. Find out which are the licensed manufacturers of your favorite franchise. It’s not uncommon for some video games, anime and movie series to sign with an exclusive manufacturer for their merchandise. This is often the case with items from Japan. Use only legitimate websites to purchase online (as is the case for some licensed anime and Japanese video games).
4. Be cautious when dealing with sellers online especially when you’re buying second-hand items. Others sell legitimate items, but it’s not uncommon to hear disappointing stories. Talk to the seller directly and ask where, when and how much the item was bought for. Always ask for photos too.
5. Research about the manufacturer. It’s better to buy from reputed companies that license their products. It will be difficult to spot fakes online, but as long as you know which legitimate sites to go to, you won’t be ripped off. The figure must have a trademark, usually on the soles of the feet.
6. Check the paint job, box art and text, and the sculpt material. Action figures that portray specific characters should be as accurate as possible. Sub-par paint jobs look sloppy and will be obvious even when you don’t look closely. Examine the box art for details. Check the logos, bar code, seals and trademarks. Authentic figures should always come in boxes and are rarely sold in sets.
7. Missing parts, broken items and figures that don’t match the description and photos on the website and box art should be red flags.