Things to know when buying 3rd Party products

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by Alucard77, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    Posts:
    17,634
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    242
    Likes:
    +14
    OK, so I have seen a couple of threads complaining about items in the 3rd Party world. Now complaining is just part of the way things work here, however, I figure I would start this thread in hopes of educating new consumers on what occurs with most 3rd Party products. This is just what I have learned in my short time, so if I miss something, please post here and I will try to add it to the list. The hope is that this will get stickied and future collectors can learn from us.

    1- Figures for 3rd Party companies are almost always delayed. If they say June 2012, expect in early 2013. Better yet, don't expect it at all. It will be better when it actually comes out.

    We all get excited for new stuff and our "we want it now" comes out, but just be prepared to wait, and wait and wait.

    2- Don't buy directly from a 3rd Party company if you can. The one exception is Fans Project at this moment. Also Crazy Devy has a pretty good (but expensive) track record.

    A lot of the time, you will be shelling out money up front and you won't see that money for a long time (check point 1). So if that matters to you at all, go with companies that don't make you pay for the figure until it comes in stock.

    The only problem is, those companies tend to charge you a surplus for this. So it is up to you if you want to pay 9 months early and forget about the money, or if you want to pay when it comes out and pay a 10%-20% mark up.

    So think about what type of person you are and if you mind having hundreds of dollars invested in something you won't see for months or even a year, or even longer. Patience is rare amongst some collectors.

    3- 3rd party toys will have Quality Assurance issues. Yes, they almost all do. So if you are about to buy a 3rd Party product, be prepared to do some work to fix it or to wait for a fix.

    If Hasbro cannot get it right on their MPs (Rodimus anyone?), then don't expect the third party companies to get it right either.

    The other point to make about QA is that buying from a reseller like BBTS, TFSource, Captured Prey, etc is actually better then buying from the third party company themselves. There is people still waiting for items from iGear and not seeing any e-mails back on their issues. This is the nature of the beast. Paying a surplus guarantees you better service and positive turn around on these figures.

    4- This bears repeating since it is in 2 separate points. BUY FROM A RESELLER. Yes, your paying more for these things, but you are getting peace of mind. As already mentioned, you get replacement parts from the reseller. You also can wait till they are released before you have to pay for them. The surplus you pay gives you something.

    If you want to save, go with Captured Prey. As this is being written, they are the cheapest on many 3rd Party items and they take care of their customers. The negative is that you need to pay now and wait for your figure. But I much rather go with Captured Prey then to go with iGear.

    5- These things are expensive.
    There are some that believe 3rd party should be cheaply priced (along Hasbro's price range), they feel the plastic should be up to snuff in comparison, & they feel that paying triple digits for some 3rd party items is ridiculous. Part of that is opinion, but they should realize that these are NOT mass produced, at least in the way that HasTakTomy product is. These are produced in finite quantities (usually) & the costs of design, engineering, materials, parts, time, & even distribution have to me taken into consideration. To put it bluntly, these items have more in common with kitbashes & customs than actual retail product. These are, in a way, custom figures that aren't mass produced, but produced with enough number to cover most of the people that are interested. These companies do not have unlimited funds, they work hard for the products they release, & some feel they should offer the products for little or nothing. Now I know we'd all LOVE to see these things at retail prices, but unless they are snatched up by HasTakTomy & put to work, we'll have to pay the extra to own these awesome toys.

    They will always be expensive, but they have come down in price. When you see something like MMC Cyclops at $160, you can tell prices have come down. So just know this going in. No amount of complaining will make these cheaper, but we can hope they will be cheaper.

    If you don't feel comfortable with the price, don't buy it. You will only be more pissed off when it is delayed and comes with a piece broken.

    6- New 3rd Party Toys rarely if ever sell out on preorder. Let me repeat that, they rarely if ever sell out on preorder. What does this mean? It means that you can wait, in many cases at least 1 week after it is released before it is sold out.

    Why is this important? Well, you can see reviews of the product and see if you really like it, and if there are any issues with it. If you don't have to be the first to own it, maybe you can learn something in the process.

    One word of warning. Don't wait to long. Many times the original release is the cheapest release. So if it came in stock, and the reviews rave about it, hit the add to cart button now. In 6 months, the thing will be more expensive. Even in 2 months, the thing will be more expensive.

    6a- Be careful with rereleases though. FansProject rereleases of items sell out on Pre Order in minutes, if not hours, even with tremendous mark ups. So don't sleep on something when it is rereleased. You may miss it all together.
    6b- Know how to check stock level. Just like life, things don't stay constant. Out of the hundreds of items, some will sell out on Preorder. Fansprojects exclusive are very likely to do so. Also, when buying combiners, if you begin the orders, finish them off. If you liked the first 4 figures, your already invested. Go buy the rest on preorder or you'll quickly learn how expensive buying 3rd party in the after market can be. So how do you check stock levels? Easy, add the item to your cart and change the inventory to 9999, then click update cart. The number in your cart will now represent the stock the store has.

    7- Do homework on the third party company you are buying from. Some companies have shit reputations but make awesome toys. Here is just some quick starter notes: (These are based off of what I have read or experieced personally with a vendor. Your experiences may vary, but I think this represents the norm. If I get enough people saying x,y and z company is great, then this will change).
    iGear:
    - Company best know for filling in G1 Classics and MP voids in your collection
    - They have a bad rep in the business.
    - They use to KO figures, if you care about that stuff (I don't).
    - They never meet release deadlines. Be prepared to WAIT.
    - They have the same amount of issues with their toys as any other 3rd Party company.
    - They don't respond to e-mails if you have an issue with your product
    - Their toys look amazing in many cases

    CrazyDevy:
    - Company best know for add on parts for G1 figures and combiners
    - Good quality stuff
    - Products have been known to damage original figure when not handled with care
    - EXPENSIVE
    - Good client support

    TFC:
    - COmpany has been around a while, but now is best known for Hercules and the upcoming Uranus combiner
    - Awesome looking toys
    - Good client support (a little bit delayed sometimes, but strong support)
    - Have been known to have issues with their figures
    - Delayed like everyone else

    Toyworld:
    - New company that did a great first toy with Hegemon (Most accurate classics scale G1 Megatron to date)
    - Toy had some issues out of the box
    - Delays were not huge, but still delayed like everyone else.
    - Amazing looking toys

    Master Mind Creations:
    - Relatively new company that has started out well and best known for making Hearts of Steal (comic) figures
    - Amazing looking toys so far
    - Support is excellent
    - Figures have problems when first released but the 2nd release fixes issues with first release most of the time.

    FansProject:
    - Considered by many as being the best of the best when it comes to 3rd Party Toys. Known for making fillers to the classics line. Now make completely original toys as well.
    - Safe to order directly from their site
    - Toys have the least amount of defects, but still have them
    - Customer support is stellar
    - Toys look great as well

    Maketoys:
    - People believe they are the same company as FansProject but that is rumor. The company is relatively new and had a strong start with "The Giant" and "Battle Tanker" both of which were positively reviewed toys.
    - Figures have issues, which are corrected
    - Figures look great
    - Customer support is average, not as good as FP

    Impossible Toys:
    - Best known for making G1 and Classics fillers.
    - Make pretty crappy toys
    - Figures break relatively easily
    - Price can be high for what they are
    - Support is lacking

    Perfect Effect
    - Another top notch company known for making Classics fillers. Now they have made completely original transformers.
    - Make really cool toys
    - toys also have some issues, but tend to be minor
    - Good Support

    BTS:
    - Know for making Sonicron (Soundwave) and his tapes.
    - Items had some QA issues
    - Client support unknown
    - Items more affordable then most, but it could have to do with the aesthetics of their toys.

    Justitoys
    -so far have been completing the G1 WST line
    -also did parts for MP Prime and Megs
    -very accurately recreate and at times subtly and tastefully improve the original design
    -always late, sometimes up to a year (the TF Source stocking stuffer campaign must have caused TF Source employees much stress!)
    -infrequent communication and updates, so-so website
    -I've not run into QC issues or needed support so I'm not sure how they handle this
    -a must for WST fans

    Headrobots:
    - Known for their headmasters.
    - Items had no outstanding QA issues
    - Client support unknown

    8- Do your homework on vendors and decide what vendor suite you best. This is my experience with some of the vendors out there, and also some stuff I read. Also, when comparing prices between companies, do what you want, but it is only fair to compare prices for US vs foriegn companies by adding the shipping to the figure price and then comparing the prices.
    Big Bad Toy Store (BBTS):
    - Biggest online toy retailer of the bunch
    - Considered over priced, but good deals can still be found
    - Considered to have excellent client service
    - Is in the US so apply above mentioned pricing rules
    - Pay for Pre Order when the figure arrives
    - Has a Pile of Loot system where you can order many things and decide when you want to ship. Great if you want to order a couple of figures now and ship when your preorder arrives.

    TFSource:
    - Huge TFer retailer. Unlike BBTS, focuses mainly on TFers
    - When a figure is first released, they always try to undercut BBTS prices to get business. They do raise their prices soon after that period is complete. So prices on par with BBTS
    - Client service is considered very good. I have heard some bad, but for the most part very good
    - US based company
    - Pay for Pre Order when the figure arrives, but if you cancel, prepare yourself for an angry e-mail
    - Has Pile of Loot system like BBTS
    - Credit Cards have been compromised twice on TFSource, so it is recommended you use PayPal.

    Robot Kingdom:
    - Another great big retailer of TFers and other toys
    - Pricing is considered excellent, but the company is not in the US, so you will pay a lot more on shipping
    - Company is not US based, as mentioned above
    - Customer support is excellent, but you need to wait to get the missing part, etc from another country
    - You may have issues with customs on imports. This is just a gamble you take when importing anything. The company is not to blame though.
    - You pay via paypal when you put in the order. If you order anything else with the pre-order item, none of it will ship until all items are in stock.
    - Availability will say "in stock" as long as the pre-order isn't sold out. Look for "Pre-Order" in the item name. For pre-order items, IN STOCK does not mean they actually have it in their warehouse ready to ship.

    Captured Prey:
    - Smaller company that gives you a great personal touch.
    - Owner is a member here and regularly communicates and posts on these forums which says how good Customer service is
    - Best prices on figures
    - Company is based in the US
    - Offers a Pre Order system, but you need to pay for the figure now not when it comes in
    - Has gotten in 3rd Party products others have not sold

    AcesToyStore:
    - Another smaller company that gives a personal touch
    - Owner is a member here and regularly communicates and posts on these forums which says how good Customer service is
    - Great prices on figures and he will work with you
    - Based in the US
    - A lot less stock then other companies, but great with KOs as well as 3rd Party items
    - Offers pre order system, but not sure how it works. I only ordered from him when the figures were already in

    You can also check the banner on this site, other sites like Hobby Link Japan, Toy Arena, etc are also reputable companies but they are not talked about as often at least on this site.

    9- This rule is the most important. Have fun, this is a hobby. Don't let it stress you or piss you off. That is not why we have hobbies. We have hobbies to get away from things that piss us off.

    Don't let 3rd Party things piss you off. Hopefully this can serve to educate those of you who plan to buy 3rd Party items in the future.
     
  2. Tiller

    Tiller I don't know nothin'

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Posts:
    4,527
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    202
    Likes:
    +149
    Ebay:
    In this thread: Igear.

    Also point 5 is kind of wrong considering some Third Party stuff goes through the roof nowadays like the Colossus parts. Steel Core broke rule 7 by being sold out of preorders before shipping out. Then again FP is really the exception rather than the rule for whatever reason. Yellow Giant looks like it's going to go for stupid prices and any other limited run third party stuff will shoot up sporadically.
     
  3. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    Posts:
    17,634
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    242
    Likes:
    +14
    Yup, changed it to NEW 3rd Party products and put a warning about rereleases. Fans Project is always tricky, especially with their subscription service. We don't know what the norm is on that at this point. They may be making less since it is a subscription service and can only be bought through them.

    Hopefully their second batch is not more expensive then their first batch.

    So I think I will leave it as is for the time being. 1 out of 100 is not really a good base to change that rule. I know 1 out of 100 cause wide spread panic here, but I think the rule is still pretty sound for the time being anyway.
     
  4. dwong1207

    dwong1207 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2011
    Posts:
    2,668
    Trophy Points:
    202
    Likes:
    +122
    In terms of another good reseller I like Robotkingdom. All the TFC Hercules figures were about $22 cheaper than most US resellers like BBTS and TFSource. The shipping is more since it is overseas, but overall you still pay less. I haven't tried Captured Prey yet, but the prices seem to balance with RK.
     
  5. Valkysas

    Valkysas Attack Buffalo

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Posts:
    20,808
    News Credits:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    317
    Likes:
    +28
    Maketoys Yellow Giant set C sold out on TFsource, and possibly BBTS as well while it was still in the preorder stage. I'm not sure about BBTS, but I'm positive about TFsource, since I saw it was sold out just days after I placed my preorder.
     
  6. BraveMax

    BraveMax Used to speak Japanese

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Posts:
    1,921
    News Credits:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    187
    Likes:
    +28
    Perfect Effect.

    Also, the whole "MakeToys/Fansproject" thing is hearsay at best...
     
  7. Hellbot

    Hellbot Jaeger

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Posts:
    559
    Trophy Points:
    101
    Likes:
    +1
    I don't think this thread was meant to be interpreted as fact but rather helpful advice from someone who has experience. I know this information will be very helpful to a lot of people.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. Sully

    Sully Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Posts:
    672
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    117
    Likes:
    +13
    It's not always the case that "New 3rd Party Toys never sell out on preorder". The 3rd boxset of the Yellow Giant from Maketoys went from Pre-Order to sold out on TFSource. Thankfully I pre-ordered that one based on what I saw on the forum here.

    The price for a Yellow Giant at the moment on ebay is US $599.99 buy it now.

    Now that I aggree is an exception to the rule, the first set of two figures didn't sell out that well. But it's worth pointing out if you're buying a Comnbiner look out for the last parts of the set to sell out quicker to the first parts (more people holding off seeing that the first sets are good and that the likes of TJ has took great pics showing the new figures off tends to do that!).

    TFC you didn't get this problem as TFC are good at keeping up protuction levels while Maketoys said the Yellow Giant was a limited run.

    Overall though this is a great post of yours, and it is something people should read before deciding to buy a 3rd Party toy, more so pre-order one. Prepare to wait!
     
  9. iron maniac

    iron maniac Help Uncle Sixshot, Help!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Posts:
    2,568
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Location:
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    Likes:
    +192
    Ebay:
    Facebook:
    FansProject City Commander not only sold out on pre-order but sold out in a couple of days if memory serves.
     
  10. Pun-3X

    Pun-3X Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Posts:
    5,045
    Trophy Points:
    267
    Likes:
    +135
    Um...I'm not so sure about City Commander selling out, OR selling out in the first couple of days. Maybe at some spots, but I'm certain City Commander didn't sell out in preorder everywhere. I totally forget where I bought mine, but two weeks or so before the item was supposed to hit they dropped his price $10 to try and sell off their remaining preorder spots, and that's when I jumped. Now, they may have sold out after that (I couldn't account for that at all), but I always felt like CC was that first "big" third-party item that really broke the whole thing out. People were mixed on it being a must-have and just not sure how the quality would be because we'd never really had something of that scope before. Of course, we all found out how that resulted. :)  But I remember a couple places towards the end still had preorder spots open.
     
  11. iron maniac

    iron maniac Help Uncle Sixshot, Help!

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2007
    Posts:
    2,568
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Location:
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    Likes:
    +192
    Ebay:
    Facebook:
    It was at BBTS. I even remember someone on here commenting "well that didn't take long". Maybe BBTS increased their order after that? I don't know, I just remember it being pre-sold out right after I pre-ordered.
     
  12. TigerBlade

    TigerBlade Prepare for extermination

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Posts:
    22,412
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    327
    Likes:
    +6,243
    How long ago was that tho? Things have/are ramping up and with them becoming more popular it isn't as big a risk to make more on first run as it used to be.
     
  13. Cheem The Rup

    Cheem The Rup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Posts:
    6,018
    News Credits:
    407
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Location:
    Transformers Italia
    Likes:
    +8,099
    Awesome topic man !! I'll translate for our FB group as well :) 
     
  14. Alucard77

    Alucard77 Kaon Gladiator Champion

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2010
    Posts:
    17,634
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    242
    Likes:
    +14
    Yeah, I bet the CC sell out was on the rerelease.

    The only other one I recall was Shadow Scythe, but that was an exclusive. Also, not sure if it sold out during preorder or shortly after.

    Just changed this up a bit:
    - Added reseller information
    - Fixed the never sells out on pre order
    - Added how to check stock
     
  15. Hothouse Prime

    Hothouse Prime Not old... Just older.

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Posts:
    801
    Trophy Points:
    147
    Location:
    OTPNE
    Likes:
    +186
    This is all great info. I know that upon first getting into 3P products, I found the wait time and the prices rather frustrating. How I wish someone had "taught me the ropes" before I jumped in. Anyone who is a 3P rookie should read and re-read these guidelines at regular intervals, especially when the waiting... and waiting... AND WAITING... becomes too much to bear. Kudos.
     
  16. Astronut

    Astronut Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Posts:
    2,955
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Likes:
    +2
    about robotkingdom's pre-order system:
    You pay via paypal when you put in the order. If you order anything else with the pre-order item, none of it will ship until all items are in stock.
    Availability will say "in stock" as long as the pre-order isn't sold out. Look for "Pre-Order" in the item name.
    For pre-order items, IN STOCK does not mean they actually have it in their warehouse ready to ship.

    Also, I've never had issues with customs from them. You can ask them to mark it down, and as gift.
     
  17. Transbot90210

    Transbot90210 Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    Posts:
    14,849
    News Credits:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Likes:
    +7
    Al, WOW great fan service brother. This was an awesome read and will be extremely helpful to 3P rookies.

    Kudos to you brother.
     
  18. Timesynch

    Timesynch Go For Broke! TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Posts:
    18,733
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    332
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Likes:
    +2,546
    Great write up, and succinctly summarizes all the basics of diving into the deep end of the 3P pool. And when someone starts an obnoxious rant about this that or the other 3P, I can just copypasta this thread and be done with it.

    Someone sticky this please!
     
  19. Transbot90210

    Transbot90210 Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    Posts:
    14,849
    News Credits:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Likes:
    +7
    WRONG it is a lot more than hear say. In the least they are loosely affiliated, at most they are sister or the same company.
     
  20. Cax6ton

    Cax6ton Insufferable Smartass

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Posts:
    4,595
    News Credits:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    237
    Location:
    DFW, TX, US
    Likes:
    +112
    Ebay:
    Twitter:
    Instagram:
    YouTube:
    Tumblr:
    Pinterest:
    #3 and #5 go hand in hand - if you're new to third party products, you really have to adjust your expectations on price and understand what you're paying for. You're not getting a masterpiece one of a kind toy that's hand-crafted and individually numbered, you're getting a mass-produced item that's a lot more expensive. Just because you're spending $100+ doesn't automatically mean you're going to get fantastically better product/QA - this isn't NECA/Hot Toys/Whatever. At the end of the day, the product may not be better than what Hasbro/Takara are putting out, it's just something different than what they would do.

    It's understandable to want everything to go right when you're spending that kind of money, but it's more important to look at how the companies handle problems versus judging them based on the problems that occur.
     

Share This Page