Modeler T's accomplishments (Spring '04 to September '07)
Please pay attention because I'm about to blow your socks off with this post.
But first, a 'little' history.
Since May 2007, I've been using Shopping Mall Japan for all my GK buying needs. While commission fees are totally acceptable, there are a lot of additional hidden costs that most deputy service users don't really consider beforehand. Internal shipping (Seller -> JP warehouse -> US warehouse) + external shipping (US warehouse -> buyer) + custom fees means that you're paying for shipping 3 times on top of hefty custom charges (2 times if you live outside North America; customs I'm pretty sure everyone has to deal with). I plan to do an in-depth post (soon) on my most recent purchases through SMJ to give you an idea of what I'm actually paying in the end.
So to get around this, I've tried dealing directly a few times with the sellers on YJA. On occasion you get the seller who will accept PayPal and that is super sweet. You just need to set up a YJA account to bid (Paying the seller once the auction is over is always the hardest part because a) YJA Easy Pay doesn't accept foreign credit cards/addresses and b) most sellers prefer local bank-to-bank transfers as far as payment goes). These sellers will usually also know a modicum of English which makes for a smoother transaction.
Unfortunately, I haven't had the luxury of dealing with such sellers before (I only know *of* them); as such, I have had to grab bank drafts in yen to send via snail mail (while deciphering their e-mail messages and then attempting to write semi-legible replies). Now that I think about that, it was a huge hassle and I didn't even save all that much what with the conversation rate, bank draft fees and the fees that a seller has to pay to deposit a foreign bank draft (Oh they will ask you for it; it's like 4,000 yen). There's also the risk of sellers ripping you off because you're a foreigner who likely cannot file a complaint in Japanese (got gypped once actually as the seller never sent my kit even though I sent her the bank draft + the extra 4,000 yen required to deposit it). Due to the stated reasons, I've mostly stuck with deputy agents after all this time. It's pricey, but it's safe and hassle-free.
Thanks to the recent economic recession and the worsening Canadian dollars, however, I've started to look for alternatives again. Soon I became aware of the trend where more and more sculptors are selling their original (design) kits on their website. And of those, a select few sculptors will actually deal with foreigners! Save on middleman fees AND support the sculptors directly? Fuck yeah where do I sign up is what you should be thinking.
This "Super Sculptors Series" that I'll be doing from now on will be a tribute of sorts to these wonderful sculptors. In it, I will also provide instructions on how to order kits from the featured sculptor.
So without *further* ado, I present to you "Cream Roll Fairy" by Modeler T:
Sculptor: Modeler T
Series: None (Design by Max Yasuhiro)
Character Name: Cream Roll Fairy
Price: 5,000 yen
Scale: 1/8 (19 cm tall)
First Appearance: WF2007 Winter
Comments: I purchased this kit on the 2nd of December, and it was sent via surface airlift (SAL) for 800 yen. It arrived today (Just under 2 weeks). I found her floating around YJA awhile back, so curiosity prompted a search to find out the original convention price. As luck would have it I found that the sculptor was still selling it. The YJA item was going for 1,200 yen at the time however, so it was another case of "A True Fan's dilemma".
But unlike last time, the differences between the sculptor's price and the winning price on YJA were so minuscule (The winning price for this kit on YJA ended at 3,100 yen) I felt showing support was 100% warranted. Plus, even though the kit cost me 1,900 yen more, I definitely saved money since I didn't have to pay internal shipping x 2 + customs (The man was even nice enough to downplay the total declared value so I didn't have to pay custom fees; and I didn't even ask).
I know that most people are held back from dealing directly with sculptors because of language issues or just plain don't like to use online translators such as Google Language Tools or Nifty, so get this: the man speaks perfect English. On top of that, he accepts foreign credit cards! How often do you come across a sculptor like that? :o)
Cream Roll Fairy, along with Rudy (Original design by Yamashita Shunya) below, are both still available from Modeler T's website. Be sure to provide the following information when you send him your order through e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org):
- Item(s) name(s)
- Quantity for each item
- Your name
- Your address + zip/postal code
- Your phone number
- Additional comments
You are doing the GK modeling world a huge disservice if you purchase any of these two kits elsewhere.
Sculptor: Modeler T
Series: None (Design by Yamashita Shunya)
Character Name: Rudy
Price: 7,000 yen
Scale: 1/7 (24 cm tall)
First Appearance: WF2007 Summer
Comments: I like Yamashita Shunya's art, but there are so few GK renditions that actually captures his unique style (Noel comes to mind, since it was love at first sight when I saw her; sadly she's not a garage kit). Hence, I didn't grab this GK.
I will also be assigning marks out of 100 for various categories for each Super Sculptor Series:
- Ease of ordering: 80 (Ordering information on web page is all in Japanese so you have to translate a few things; but layout is very simple to figure out)
- Ease of payment: 100 (Accepts foreign credit cards)
- Ease of correspondence: 100 (Speaks perfect English dude)
- Correspondence Speed: 50 (Takes him 2-3 days on average per reply; maybe he gets a lot I don't know, but this is my main gripe)
- Overall satisfaction with sculptor: 85 (Not an average of the top 4; some categories have more weight so this is just a mark that popped into my head after some reflection)
Oh right, his main site is here. Click on the picture to the top left that says "もでらーT" to access his blog and his latest work.
Lastly, I'm not affiliated with this sculptor in any way. I just want to share the wealth, is all.