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Monthly Archives: November 2008

It’s been awhile since i’ve updated but i guess it’s because there wasn’t anything really interesting to write about until now stay tuned…………

Figu Hunting in Hong Kong

Mongkok Area

Hunting for figures while in Hong Kong is actually quite simple, as places selling them are usually grouped pretty closely together, and you can hop to each location within minutes if your familiar with each location, which I will try to explain as best as I can in this guide.

Also depending where your hotel/accommodation is located you can choose which site to hit first.

First up Sino Centre:

How to get there:

Take MTR Exit E2, turn left of right and head backwards onto Nathan road. Turn left and follow Nathan road down. After about 5 – 10mins of walking you should find Sino centre.

What to expect:

Sino Centre is big think of CSC (For all you Singaporeans reading) only with at least 6 more floors, narrower walkways and not all stalls selling the exact same items.

Probably start of in the basement and work your way up, to about 3 floors off the ground level, there are also shops hidden away on the office floors of the building so take the elevators up to the 9th and 10th floors. Do note that I have been told that there are other floors with shops but I have check them and they weren’t there anymore so do take note that your experience on the upper floors might differ from mine but all the same do remember to check them out you never know what you might fine.

Who will like this place:

Basically all otakus will get a kick out of this place from tiny gashapons to anime related merchandises e.g key chains, cospa tees etc. But be careful while shopping here this is bootleg heaven so be sure to check your planned purchase before actually buying it. But also don’t wreck yourself with worries either shops are nice enough to sell bootleg stuff at bootleg prices so most of the time you will be able to tell.

Next up CTMA:

How to get there:

Assuming you went to Sino Centre first, all you have to do to get to CTMA is to head back out onto Nathan road, and continue along the same direction downwards on Nathan Road. You will arrive at Dundas Street, do not cross the street but turn left up Dundas Street instead and go round the corner to Sai Yeung Choi Street. (Sounds confusing but bring a map and it should help lots.)

Just incase you don’t see the Dundas Street sign board (I didn’t see it too), once you exit Sino Centre Dundas Street is the first crossing you encounter.

Once you turn left on Dundas you should see this sign above you means your near just turn the next corner and you will see

Above the ground floor of a shop CTMA is just directly opposite of Animate.

What to expect:

CTMA will probably be the nicest figure shopping spot you will encounter in your hunt. Well lighted walk-ways and good air-conditioning system (you don’t know how important that is in the summer time), Like Sino Centre hit the basement first there are 2 basement floors so don’t forget to explore all the nooks and crannies of the place. The basement probably has the most concentration of figure stores in the whole building. After your done with the basement you can explore the other 7 floors of CTMA, but don’t go jumping for joy yet, the upper floors probably have like 3 figu stores per floor max so in the end Sino Centre can be considered to be bigger. Also do note that the 6th and 7th floors of CTMA were empty the last time I visited the place so nothing to see there, but time changes things so who knows there could be a few stores there when you visit.

Probably start of in the basement and work your way up, to about 3 floors off the ground level, there are also shops hidden away on the office floors of the building so take the elevators up to the 9th and 10th floors. Do note that I have been told that there are other floors with shops but I have check them and they weren’t there anymore so do take note that your experience on the upper floors might differ from mine but all the same do remember to check them out you never know what you might fine.

Who will like this place:

CTMA is stocked with Blythe dolls almost every store has at least one doll I mean it just makes the whole place kinda creep those big eyes staring at you silently judging ………., but honestly its one of the better place to look for doll things and accessories. There’s also a store called Superman Toys that deals in 12 inch American action figures, that should be checked out if your into those kind of toys.

Next up Animate:

How to get there:

Simple its just opposite of CTMA can’t really miss it.

For those who don’t know this is the entrance to Animate just walk to the end of the corridor and climb up the stairs.

What to expect:

Animate is basically an up to date place so if there’s a figure that you forgot to pre or just couldn’t make the pre-order deadline you can come to animate to pick up your lost chance. Assuming it’s out that month of course. Also if your looking for a limited figure this is a good place to find it for a price of course.

Who will like this place:

Figure collectors mainly there are some gunpla and chougokins but not enough to celebrate anything, and of course the limited nut will like it here.

Next up Ray Hobby:

How to get there:

It’s right next to Animate, hard to miss. Once your done with animate and need your gunpla fix, exit the place and turn right look up you should be able to see “Angel’s” sign board, the place sells Disney soft toys so I didn’t bother with the place climb up to the 3rd floor and you will find “Ray Hobbies”.

Angel’s billboard

Entrance to “Angel’s”

As you climb you will see Ray Hobbies adverts.

What to expect:

Ray Hobbies is small and even then its an understatement it’s more like a hole in the wall with some walking space, but the modeler in there does excellent work, probably nothing to get hot and sweaty over if you’ve seen some decent models but still a good place to come.

Who will like this place:

Gunpla modelers and no one else as that’s the only thing they deal in.

Next up In’s Point:

How to get there:

I don’t know why but people call the place Wan Chai, making me miss the building on the first outing maybe because it used to be called that but has recently changed its name. Anyways head back to Nathan Road and continue downwards crossing Dundas Street this time and also Pitt Street if I recall right In’s Point should be the near the next crossing, it’s also hard to miss since the entrance is brightly lighted up with neon lightings.

What to expect:

In’s Point in many sense is like a mini Sino Centre both in items and bootlegs. Stores here tend to sell older stuff so happy hunting if you need something release 4 years ago with no reissue. There are a few stalls here selling almost only trading cards so look out for them if you’re into them.

Who will like this place:

People who like Sino should visit here variety is the key.

Next up Richmond Plaza:

How to get there:

Take MTR Exit D2, cross the road, turn right and walk up Argyle Street passing 2 street crossings, before getting to Richmond plaza. There’s a ton of stuff, modelling and toys and gashapon, in the Richmond plaza so check out all floors including the basement.

Entrance to Richmond Plaza

What to expect:

Richmond was so far my favorite place to visit mainly because there were loads of scaled PVCs to gawk at, among other interesting things there’s also a very good doujinshi shop you can visit to buy some ahmm ahmm comics. Like with Sino and CTMA visit the basement first and work your way up, note the basement has the highest PVC contend in the building so you can spend quite awhile there, if your into scaled PVCs.

Who will like this place:

People who like PVC figurines, and also gashapons and trading figures there were some really hard to get sets on sale when I was there.

Causeway Bay Area

Figure shopping in Causeway Bay is simple only about 2 to 3 stops and nothing else that I have heard of if anyone knows anything more about Causeway Bay please to inform. Basically I knocked out the shopping areas in less then 3 hours so it wasn’t the best but do read on there are some places of interest.

Next up Sogo:

How to get there:

Take a train to Causeway Bay and use the MTR exit D3, which leads to Sogo departmental store. The toy floor in sogo is on the 6th floor, and used to be decent from what people say, now its just the same as Takashimaya or other large departmental store, but do visit as there are some cool HK only gadgets.

What to expect:

Well if I were to describe this Sogo, it would be “clone of Takashimaya Singapore or vice verse” nothing much really just a common departmental store.

Who will like this place:

Probably not anyone of “us”.

Next up Windsor House:

How to get there:

Assuming you visited Sogo or used the MTR exit to Sogo head out of the main entrance to Great George Street turn right and head up to Windsor House.

What to expect:

When I was there the 2nd to 4th floors were being renovated and United models was housed on the 2nd floor  so I was pretty much out of luck. If anyone does happen to know where United Models relocated to please do inform. Other then that you have Toys “R” Us to content yourself with.

Who will like this place:

Only Toys ‘R’ Us is left here so probably scratch this place off the list.

Next up Causeway Bay Center::

How to get there:

Exit Windsor House and back onto Great George Street turn right and turn right again at the corner of Windsor House you will be on Sugar Street now. Walk a little further up and you should be able to see the Causeway Bay Centre sign board.

Entrance to Causeway Bay Centre

What to expect:

From reports I gathered that there used to be a lot more stores at Causeway Bay Centre but when I was there, there was probably less the 6 stores selling figurines. But interestingly enough I found another Animate in the basement, its not much on figures but there was choke full of art books and magazines both old and new. Also another point of interest, there was a store selling anime LDs, very retro stuff.

Who will like this place:

Retro anime collectors maybe???

Next up Toyzone:

How to get there:

Exit Causeway Bay Centre and continue walking on Sugar Street, the tip of for me was the GDX Gaiking box left on a chair as a sales pitch. But if you don’t see something similar there should be a newspaper vendor on the right of you. The name of the building is Causeway Bay Commercial Building and Toyzone is on the 16th floor of the building. You really can’t miss it once you have found the building cause when you do get to the 16th the first thing you see once the elevator doors open are rows of toy boxes stacked in front of you.

Causeway Bay Commercial Building entrance.

This was what tipped me off.

What to expect:

What can I say Toyzone is massive, probably the biggest toy store in HK (not run by a massive corporation that is) It was even bigger then the Toys “R” Us in Windsor House. Inside Toyzone you will be greeted with rows of shelves about 2 meters high all fully stacked with toys and other collectables. Items are not properly categorized so you will have to slowly look through the shelves to find the thing you want (could take awhile). Basically what they have house in this warehouse like store are mostly American figures anything from cheap action figures to 12 inch dolls. As for Japanese stuff there are Blythe dolls (oh the horror) some PVCs but not up to date, and loads of very old gunpla model kits. Basically you will have to see this place to know what I’m talking about.

Who will like this place:

For this place retro collectors will get a kick out of not so much PVCs but u never know you could get lucky and find something you want among the rows of shelves, old Lego collectors will love it here too.

On a side note I missed visiting a place called 188 Centre here are directions on how to get there.

“Come back out to Johnston road again, turn right, past the MTR exit A3 you walked out of and up Johnston road, you should come to a massive junction. If you go past Southorn playground with the basketball courts and football pitch, you’ve gone in the wrong direction. At the junction, you need to cross and follow Wan Chai road. You’ll find yourself going up a small slope and it should be impossible to miss the famous 188 Centre, where some toys are still sold, and the building next door with McDonalds and Delifrance.”

Helpful Shopping Tips:

Bring cash only. As very few people will take cards.

Unless you are buying multiple items (more then 5 probably, do not even try and negotiate the prices down. In proper shops, they do not do discounts (like in Singapore). Less formal places may give a discount. But a good knowledge of Cantonese will be needed.

Do not wander around talking loudly in English and attracting attention.

Do not take pictures of the displays unless you have asked permission from the store owners beforehand.

It takes a few hours to cover places like Sino and CTMA together, and that’s only with quick glances at things, be sure to allow 2-3 days of figure shopping and do your shopping in small busts as there is a lot of walking involved it can really drain your stamina.

Do not go toy shopping in Hong Kong, unless it’s a big department store or a shop like TRU, before 3pm, shops tend to start opening at 3pm and all shops should be open at 5pm, stores will start closing at 9pm to 10pm and most if not all will be close by 11:30pm.

If you are able to choose the dates in which to do your shopping, make sure you do it on either Monday or Tuesday. Towards the end of the week, it’s always more crowded. If you think you know what crowded means. Think again, because Hong Kong will redefine your idea of crowded. I’ve tried shopping on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And have seen the incremental rate of people shopping on those different dates. On Tuesday its nice and quite allowing you to leisurely shop, on Wednesday its starting to get crowded, some queuing is needed but mostly all good, on Thursday it starts to get insane stores are usually packed with people and walkways are hard to squeeze through. I dread to think what Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are like.

Do not be afraid to squeeze into a shop to ask about something. If you play nice and wait for people to clear the store your going to be at it for a long time.

Most stores attendants can speak Mandarin (older store keepers will have some trouble), and a few can speak limited English, but of course it will be best if you can speak Cantonese. If not a picture of the item your looking for (I store my pictures in my PSP (god I love my PSP)), and a calculator to show the price you are will to pay if you want to try for a discount.

Well I think that’s about all I have to impart if anyone finds anything new or if anyone has any corrections to make to this FAQ please do post and I will update the FAQ.

Version History:

Version 1: FAQ written Nov 11 2008