Where to Buy X-Plus Vinyl Figures
If you a new X-Plus collector then you already know that your choices are limited when it comes to purchasing these vinyl figures. So here, for you, is my list of dealers who can satisfy your X-Plus cravings and get your fix.
Note: I’m in the U.S. so my sources are biased in that regard. If you know of a good online retailer not mentioned here, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list!
Pre-ordering X-Plus Vinyl Figures on their initial run
There’s no better time to buy an X-Plus vinyl Godzilla or Gamera figure than by pre-ordering it before it’s even released. If you don’t pre-order, then you’re in for bloated prices in the after market; and soon you may not even be able to find kaiju you’re looking for very easily. There are a few sites I know of that let you pre-order. If you know of any not listed here, please add a comment!
Standard Version Figures from Hobby Link Japan www.hlj.com
Hobby Link Japan is located in Japan. They take and ship international orders. They really have their act together and their warehouse is HUGE. And they sell X-Plus preorders! They do an awesome job of packing using their own sturdy shipping boxes. Sometimes, they will have a very small selection of X-Plus figures a few months after they’ve been released. But you should consider this store mostly as a place to get pre-orders.
Standard Version Figures from Hobby Search www.1999.co.jp/eng/
Hobby Search is in Tokyo, Japan. They take and ship international orders. They have a habit of displaying a ton of old X-Plus products that have long been sold out. To filter this out make sure you click on “List New Products” by “Availability”. I can’t comment on the experience of shopping there but my next five X-Plus pre-orders are set up through them. I’ll post an update after I’m albe to comment their service.
Ric Boy Exclusive Versions from the X-Plus Online Store www.ric-toy.ne.jp/shop/
If you don’t live in Japan then you really need to jump through hoops to order from this site. You might ask why you should even bother when there are excellent alternatives available. The reason is, as far as I know, it’s the only place where you can pre-order the X-Plus Ric Boy Exclusive versions. At a higher price tag, you can get an exclusive “extra” which usually takes the form of an additional “mini” figure related to main figure. Examples of past exclusives are a tiny SY-3 Rocket which came with the 25cm Anguirus and a mini rose form Biollante which came with the 25cm Godzilla 1989. Exclusive may also come in the form of a light gimmick. Lately Ultraman figures have had battery-powered lights. There was also a 25cm Baragon with a light-up horn, 25cm Gigan with light-up visor, etc. I’m not going to get into how you can order from the X-Plus Ric-Toy Store here as it’s beyond the scope of this list. Watch for a special article on just that.
Where to Buy Ric Boy Versions
X-Plus figures usually come in two flavors. Standard Versions are made available from retailers like Hobby Search. But the Ric Boy Versions (figures which come with an extra feature such as interchangeable limbs or companion mini figures) are sold only directly from X-Plus’ web shop – http://www.ric-toy.ne.jp/shop/.
You can also reach this shop by visiting the X-Plus Ric Boy main site here: http://www.ric-toy.ne.jp/ and then clicking on the WEB SHOP button in the top header, or by clicking the blinking button on each individual figure page (but only while the figure is still up for preorder.
Buying directly from X-Plus isn’t very straightforward. The site is completely in Japanese and so creating an account can involve a lot of work. Try using the Chrome web browser to help you translate automatically.
The difficulties don’t end there, though. X-Plus will NOT ship overseas. To make this work, you will need a Forwarding Service like Tenso.com. Tenso will receive your box from X-Plus and then they ship it to you for a small fee. Signing up with Tenso is relatively easy since they have an English version of their site. They will then give you a special Tenso address to use in place of your own address when creating accounts on Japanese sites which don’t ship overseas.
Where to Buy Ric Boy Versions, Without the Headaches
Mike is a collector in league with a toy shop in Japan. You can reach him through email or Facebook PM. Rich Eso has an informative post with details on How To Order From Mike Johnson.
Finding older X-Plus Vinyl Figures in the Aftermarket
This is a great place to start. There are a lot of X-Plus kaiju waiting for you there from U.S. sellers and also from Japanese dealers who are willing to ship internationally. Of all the X-Plus sources that I know of, Ebay has the most X-Plus Godzilla, Gamera and Ultraman vinyl figures than any other site. Beware bloated prices!: 1. Ebay dealers tend to wildly bloat the prices on X-Plus vinyls if they are even slightly rare which basically means a few months after they’re initially released. Beware (Some) Free Shipping: I often have shipping issues from dealers in Hong Kong who offer free shipping. It’s my guess they use the Free Shipping! deal as an incentive but then send your package using slug mail. This doesn’t always happen. But it does happen often. And a final word of caution: shipping from Japan to the U.S. could go as high as $60! But they are some of the best and friendliest dealers around. When searching on Ebay.com try not to use just “X-Plus” as a search term as you’ll be presented with all manner of plus-sized women’s clothing… and nothing could be further from what you were really looking for! Instead start off with “X-Plus Godzilla”. Keep in mind some Ebay sellers neglect to put ‘Godzilla’ in the title if they are selling a kaiju so refine your next search with “X-Plus Baragon”, “X-Plus Rodan”, “X-Plus Ultraman”, etc. After you become aware of what’s currently being offered on Ebay, start using the Sort By Newly Listed filter at the top to see them in the order of their appearance. That way you can keep up with what’s being added faster. A super rare 25cm Baragon recently showed up on Ebay and I didn’t even have a chance to see it before it sold because there are collectors out there checking every day.
There are far fewer X-Plus options on Amazon, but the prices are often better than can be found on Ebay. Use the same search tips listed in the Ebay section above.
The Japanese Amazon site has a good selection. The site has a button to convert everything to English. But English search terms don’t really turn up much X-Plus. (See the section on Japanese Search Terms for help). Amazon.co.jp lets you register and they can take your money. However, as far as toys and figures go, they will not ship outside of Japan. You’ll need the help of a forward service. These companies allow you to use their address to have your Amazon.co.jp purchases shipped to. And then they, in turn, ship it to you after they receive it. You basically pay shipping twice this way. Once to have it sent to the forwarding service and again to have it shipped to you. But the shipping is usually inexpensive for the first one. The forwarding service that I use is called Tenso. It’s easy to start an account there. The trickiest thing to accomplish is making sure you enter their Japanese address properly into your Amazon.co.jp account. You can also use forwarding services for other retail sites in Japan as well.
Ebay has left Japan, but there is Yahoo Auctions – a very popular site there. And they often have lots of older X-Plus figures. I’ve never signed up with Yahoo Auctions Japan directly so I can’t tell you how possible/difficult it is to get stuff from there. What I do is bid there through another company called Buyee (buyee.jp). It’s owned by Tenso and it lets you bid on Yahoo Auctions items through them. And the great part is, if you win, the item gets sent directly to Buyee who then ships it to you. It’s very easy to set up an account at Buyee. And it makes it very possible and even convenient for you to buy X-Plus from Yahoo Auctions. All you do is find a figure on Yahoo Auctions, copy the URL, go to Buyee and paste in the url in a special field. Buyee translates all of the auction details for you and lets you bid on it right from there. Suh-weet.
X-PLUS SEARCH TERMS ON JAPANESE SITES
Searching for X-Plus figures on Amazon.co.jp or Yahoo Auctions while using English search terms will bring you very limited results, if any. For starters, the English term “X-Plus” means little to these sites. The Japanese you should be using is “エクスプラス”. But that alone isn’t enough. X-Plus is a big company and they sell a lot more than just Godzilla figures. So let’s add Japanese for Godzilla (“ゴジラ”). Now combine the two and you can search for “X-Plus Godzilla”… or “エクスプラス ゴジラ”. Use that and you will get the results you want. “X-Plus Ultraman” is “エクスプラス ウルトラマン”. If you want to find an X-Plus Baragon, Gamera or Gyango, first search for it by name in English on Google. In the search results you’ll usually find a Wikipedia entry for that monster and they will usually provide the Japanese katakana or hiragana for that monster in Japanese. You’ll usually see it in the summary in the search results. So combine the Japanese for “X-Plus” given above followed by a space and then paste in the Japanese from Wikipedia. Easy peezy.
X-Plus Re-issues Licensed for the U.S. and Canada (Diamond Distributors)
Diamond Distributors is a supplier for comic book stores in the United States and Canada. Recently they came to an arrangement with X-Plus to distribute these vinyls in the west. Currently the offerings from Diamond are technically re-issues since they’ve all come out before in Japan. There’s a possibility that, if things go well, X-Plus and Diamond will be releasing totally new sculpts. There’s also the possibility that Diamond releases may actually sync up with the new first-run releases in Japan. For now, though, Diamond will be making available figures that have already come out. This is great news for collectors who missed out on the first run and don’t want to pay super expensive aftermarket prices. Diamond will distribute two figures from the X-Plus back catalog every three months. (Click here to read my article on X-Plus Re-Issues from Diamond for more info.) Here’s a list of online stores offering X-Plus via Diamond Distributors.
• Flossie’s Gifts and Collectibles – Shameless plug: Flossie is my mother and I’m the one who coaxed her into selling X-Plus. I’m also the one who places the orders, cares for the stock in the warehouse and keeps in touch with customers.
• Anime Island
• Big Bad Toy Store
• Entertainment Earth
• X-Plus Godzilla Vinyls at Flossie’s Gifts – My store! I’ll take care of ya!
• Foxprowl Collectibles
• Midtown Comics
• Things From Another World
And the list goes on. No, I’m not finished yet. Check back soon for more places to get your X-Plus fix!