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For Beginner Figure Collectors #04: Prize Figures

To All,

If you remember, we were talking about scale figures earlier this month. And with regards to scales, I have highlighted that people have two main issues with it - their price and their posability.

So today, I'll like to offer an alternative to tackle the shortcoming of scale figures (price) which I have highlighted. If prices are an issue, you might want to consider Prize figures instead.

So what are prize figures? Essentially, they are cheaper alternatives -- and much cheaper, mind you (about 1000 yen as opposed to 8000 yen for scale figures) -- to scale figures. Usually, they can be won from UFO catchers in Japan or they are often given off at Ichiban Kuji as Prizes A, B or Last One Prize. They are often around 16 to 20 centimeters in height, though smaller and larger variations do exist.

One Piece Banpresto Ichiban Kuji

I'm sure most would have heard of Ichiban Kuji, with its increasing popularity in Singapore lately, but in case you don't, it's some sort of a "lucky draw" where you pay a fixed amount to buy a ticket then open it to see what prize you have won. The figures in each kuji round tend to be worth more than how much the ticket originally costs (some can triple in price later). 

Other common kuji items include Chibi-kyuns, cups, rubber straps, acrylic keychains, plushies, and occasionally shikishi (autograph board).

Mini shikishi are so adorable when you line them up on your wall and large shikishi are just so visually appealing!

Kuji are also done by other companies other than Banpresto, such as Minna no Kuji and Taito Kuji. Though the way each kuji is carried out might be different, the basic underlying idea remains the same. And the good thing about Kuji is that, you'll always win something!

However, with prize figures, the catch is that you can't really be sure you would get the items since they are localized in Japan and are usually for locals (and the occasional foreigners in the area) to try. They are not exactly catered to the overseas audience like you and me.

There are fundamentally two ways to acquire prize figures.

The first is to pre-order it through sites where they take orders for prize figures, like Big in Japan and HobbyLink Japan. You would have to pay a little more (800~1000 yen per figure, or more, as opposed to the 300~600 yen for playing the game directly). But in a way, you'll save your plane ticket and be sure that you'll definitely get the figure you want instead of just simply counting on luck.

The second would be to stalk second-hand websites like Mandarake and Suruga-ya to see if there's any of your desired prize figures listed, and grab them when you see them. This method is much more tedious, and there's no guarantees that you'll be able to find the figure you want, especially if the character is popular or the figure turns out to be really well-made! Sometimes, they might even fetch a high price -- example: Oikawa Tooru's DxF going for nearly 5000 yen per copy soon after the kuji for him just ended.

Anyway, I would be covering the sites to order figures in a later post in this series so let's move back to the main topic at hand! Prize figures are mostly done by Banpresto, Sega, Furyu and Taito.

As I've mentioned before, the quality of prize figures would usually be less visually appealing than scale figures, in the sense that their paint jobs might be of (slightly) lower quality. However, it's not as if all scales have great quality control either and if quality is the factor holding you back from getting prize figures, I'd say cast away that prejudice and go get one of them! You'd be amazed by how much prize figure companies have been improving by leaps.

In fact, many people do actually collect prize figures in addition to scale figures as the collectors really love the poses in those prizes which were not used in the scale figures they own!

As a collector, I do own several prize figures too, and while their quality is definitely not on par to the scales I own, they aren't too bad either. One of the best Banpresto prize lines would be the Haikyuu!! DxF line because the quality for them exceeded expectations for prizes. The only shortcoming I can think of would be the shading on the skin is a little too orange for my liking, but that's not a big issue.

Don't prize figures look very good all lined up together?
And if you want a photo of Banpresto's Haikyuu!! DxF line without that much photoshop, here it is!

And here's the closest line of figures Haikyuu!! has that can be considered scales. I don't know about you but I definitely prefer the quality of the prize figure instead!

Of course, it might have been a little unfair of me to compare it to a lower-end scale figure, but the point I'm trying to make is that prize figures aren't all-bad and some of them can look better than scales! (Please don't quote me on this when comparing to higher-end companies like Alter and/or Max Factory, etc.)

In any case, you can consider prize figures as an alternative to scale figures if you're tight on cash this month; and even if you aren't, you can consider them in order to increase the variety of your figures!

Trust me, prize figures are absolutely essential when you intend to build a shrine of your favorite character. They make the shrines look more impressive while being more affordable.

Choose wisely!

From Your Fellow Collector,

Written by Reina-rin

- Where to get second hand figures?
- What to do if you have issues with your item or receive a damaged box?
- Storage of Figures
- Storage of Figure Boxes
- Maintenance of Figures
- Bootlegs- Sale of your figures

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