How To Spot Fake Hot ToysJoseph
One of the most appealing aspects of being a sixth scale figure collector is the thrill of the hunt and finding that particular figure or piece “in the wild” that you have been lusting over for weeks, months or even years in some cases. The satisfaction of completing one section or aspect of your collection (like a complete line-up or team of characters) could almost be described as a high. Especially if you find that special new pick-up at a lower than average market price.
When is the price too good to be true, though? While low priced listings for Hot Toys or other figures might be enticing you need to be weary of knock-offs (commonly referred to as KO by collectors) floating around. Mistakenly purchasing any knock-off collectible unintentionally can be a disappointing experience for anyone and it’s important to stay vigilant in your hunt.
How can you protect yourself from getting suckered into buying a knock-off?
When purchasing Hot Toys or other similarly priced sixth scale figures and high-end collectibles you should try to avoid buying from websites based in China. While there are a number of sites based in this region that are reputable and sell legitimate products there are equally as many shops from China that exclusively sell knock-off products. While not every product that comes from China is a knock-off it would seem that most counterfeit items originate from this region. With the tools available and the desire for easy money sourcing legitimate items from non-verified sellers can be risky business. Unfortunately this also includes eBay sellers from the same location.
Abnormally low pricing is usually the first red flag that the listing you are viewing might be counterfeit. For example, If you find a Hot Toys figure that has a retail MSRP (manufacturer suggested retail price) of $400 and see it listed for $99 chances are it’s probably a knock off. Some sellers might say that the figure is listed cheap because it’s missing the box or other accessories. Typically items without boxes or original packaging are more likely to be knock-off because manufacturers cannot produce the packaging to an accuracy that would be passable to most collectors. Basically, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Do your research. Make sure you know what comes with the figure you are purchasing and ensure those same extras or accessories are included with the item you are looking at. Check the details with the figure that you are supposed to be getting and be familiar with the material types used and how they both look and feel. A number of knock off artists will add an accessory or two to try to off-set the poorer quality of their figure or sweeten the pot for customers to draw them away from other legitimate listings. A lot of times when a figure is recast or copied the quality ends up decreasing and this can be visible to the trained eye so it’s important to do your homework prior to purchase on any Hot Toys figure and visually be aware of the signs.
The absolute best and most fool proof way to get genuine Hot Toys figures is to buy from licensed Hot Toys sellers and partners who have a proven track record of delivering. These are companies that buy direct from Hot Toys or a licensed partner and are authorized to sell to collectors. You may end up spending retail price in many cases but you are guaranteed a legitimate product and, should you need it, have someone that can help with warranty or exchange if necessary. Getting warranty from a sketchy eBay seller a world away is very difficult and in many cases you may get stuck with a defective item that you paid full price for.
Over the years as a Hot Toys collector I have come to learn that it is better to spend retail pricing to get the figure I want and to not have any issues with it than to save some money and potentially end up with a knock-off item or an item you cannot get support on if it arrives damaged or broken. Hopefully by reading this there’s at least one collector out there who can avoid the disappoint of purchasing knock-off items with their hard earned cash. If you are looking to save some cash be sure to check out our Tips for Hot Toys Collectors on A Budget for some insight!