Comic Book heroes are back on the rise with recent movie successes bringing in a new wave of fans. Over the last few years the popularity of popularity of superheroes – and superhero merchandise – has skyrocketed.
As such movies gain popularity, supply and demand for good, high-quality figurines will also increase. Hot Toys has capitalised on the recent successes of the ‘Captain America’ and ‘The Avengers’ franchises by creating all new lifelike figurines in a stunning amount of detail to sell to fans.
So you’ve been a fan for a long time – whether it is of Batman, Iron Man, Black Widow or all of the above – and now finally you have the opportunity to buy a Hot Toy of your favourite character. Take a step back and make sure you are thinking clearly. It is important that you take your time in choosing and buying a figure so that you are not caught out in ordering one of the many forgeries already circulating the Internet.
Tips to Spot Fake Figures
Buy from a Reputable Seller/Official Stockist
Everyone has his or her preferred shopping centre or particular games store, so why should the online marketplace be any different? Sites that stock and sell Hot Toys should be officially registered businesses or registered stockists of Hot Toys themselves. They should be able to provide accurate and detailed information regarding the figures and should be able to swiftly respond to any questions you have about the product. If you ever have any doubts about the validity of the seller; or if you seem to be having trouble getting a straight answer from them – take your money elsewhere.
Never buy from China or eBay!
While ‘Made in China’ is something more often than not seen on most of our toys, figurines and even household goods, Hot Toys themselves aren’t from China. Hot Toys are actually manufactured and painted in South Korea. If you’re trying to ‘shop smart’ by buying from a Chinese seller on eBay, or through another online store such as AliExpress, it is more than likely that you will be receiving a fake. Shopping online can be confusing, particularly if you are looking for something valuable, so it is essential that you are able to properly communicate with your seller – just in case anything goes wrong.
Likewise with eBay, while you can message a seller directly, sellers can choose to ignore messages or questions sent. Adding to that the review system is unclear and not often specific to the item you want to buy. There are security measures in place on eBay if you receive an item that was not as described, but this can be a lengthy process and it is simply not worth it when you can buy from a legitimate store.
Check the Quantity
Hot Toys take a long time to make. They are hand crafted and hand painted using dozens of reference pictures of the characters themselves in order to make them as true to the character as possible. If your seller has more than nine or ten of one figure in stock, count this as a warning sign. Hot Toys are made to be collectable, unique items. If your seller seems to have a good quantity of that figure, chances are it is not going to be of a particularly high quality.
The Price is Right
Unfortunately; the Hot Toys brand of toys is one type of toy where you can’t skimp out on the price. Consider that Hot Toys normally sell for between £200 ($266) and upwards of £500 ($665) depending on the level of detail in the figure, the size of the figure and the accessories or interchangeable features provided (facial expressions, clenched fists etc.). If you find a figure on sale for around £60-£80 ($80-$105) for example, where it would normally retail for around £250 ($465), expect to find something wrong with the figure itself.
Remember that you get what you pay for with Hot Toys and some individual sellers can make a small fortune simply from re-selling certain parts of the figure themselves – there is actually quite a large market for just the heads of Hot Toys, for example. Check and double check the item description if the price seems to be a little on the low side and if in doubt, don’t buy. If you’re going to go for a Hot Toy, go all out and remove all doubt by purchasing from an official seller.
The Devil is In the Detail
Hot Toys are popular for being extremely life-like, and professional Korean artists conduct research for months to make sure that they get everything right, down to the sweat sheen on Captain America’s forehead or the individual strands of hair that make up Tony Stark’s beard. They are experts in what they do and the same time and care simply doesn’t go into a fake.
Forgeries are created to make money, therefore, why should they waste money making a good, detailed product? While Hot Toys themselves are far more expensive than a run-of-the-mill Warner Bros figurine, the sheer amount of effort and detail put into each one ensures that they are worth every penny.
When you want to take your hobby to the next level and you feel that investing in a Hot Toy is what you need, make sure you do your research before going out and buying the first ‘Hot Toys’ branded product you see. There are countless fakes and forgeries floating around out there, and unfortunately, sometimes it is better just to shell out the full price of a figure in order to avoid getting ripped off.
You might also want to read: Get Ready for Kirk and Spock Action Figures from Quantum Mechanix
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer and huge fan of hot toys – working together on this piece with MovieMania UK, an England-based DVD, Game & Hot Toy Stockist.