Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hong Kong: Mission Report


 
    So I'm back from HK, the next-best destination after Japan in the world for modellers and toy fans, and while this isn't my first time there, I must say it was the most fruitful one, cos I managed to actually stop and take some pictures, note down details and hunt down some obscure gems and outta-da-way shops, wootwoot. Newbies, if you're thinking of heading there, don't bother hitting the shops until after 3pm, cos that's mostly when most of them open. I'm suspecting it's cos they stay open till late - 10pm or more, and also some of the owners have full-time day-jobs. Sorry if images are blurred cos for some reason, a lot of shops prohibit cameras so I had to snap off the fly (I'm guessing it's just price competition, and also the copyright issue of third-party products based on TF toys...). Otherwise, sit back, whip out your pencil and start taking notes, fellas, here's the lowdown field report -

MONGKOK
Nearest MTR station: Mongkok or Yau Ma Tei (depending on which side of the area you wanna see)
Wazup: The mecca of toystoystoys in HK and possibly Southeast Asia. You'll need more than a day to fully take in every single shop in this district. And even after you've been to them, you'll wanna make another round just in case you missed anything or new stock comes in LOL. To find your way around the hordes of shoppers (trust me when I say 'HORDES'! lol) just align yourself to two main arteries that meet perpendicular to each other - Argyle Street and Nathan Road. There is no way I can list all the Mongkok shops here, but they mostly cluster in buildings or a specific area, so let's break it down like this.

RICHMOND SHOPPING ARCADE 皆旺商場
107-111 Argyle StMong KokHong KongHong Kong


    This one is easy to miss because it's a narrow building with 3 floors and a basement chock-a-block full of shit. I mean the shit that turns you on - TOYS! lol. Escalators lead you up, while you'll have to take the stairway coming down. The shops here don't really specialise in model kits, although if you bother to look you will find some gems at awesome prices. For everything else - Playarts, Hot Toys, Enterbay, Marvel/ DC figurines, Transformers, Jap toys (tamashi nation, robot spirits, revoltech etc), it's all here. Don't miss the basement as well, which is a stairwell on the right (in pic), leading down to one claustrophobic floor stacked with toystoystoys.





    Modellers - If you're facing Richmond like in the pic above, turn right and walk a little further down, then turn left round the block and plow straight on (see map above). You'll see one or two other model shops along this stretch that sell all kinds of model kits. I missed out on photos for these, and the shop-owners were way too vigilant for me to snap any pics once inside so words are all I have for now, sorry. If I head back again, I'll update this portion of the post.


IN'S POINT
(Yau Ma Tei station side, along Nathan Road)
Wing Kiu Bldg, 530 Nathan RdYau Ma TeiHong KongHong Kong

    This hangout is my favourite among all the Mongkok clusters based on sheer bulk - THREE floors brimming with toys and kits that will make your head spin just trying to decide what you wanna buy, and which shop has the best price. Oh man. 



Transformers fans, I highly recommend you check out Unit 217 here, which sells a lot of Hasbro, Takara Tomy and third party stuff at the best price you can get in HK. Obviously, no photos allowed so this is all I managed LOL. 

The sad thing is that Singapore's not big on NBA. (For some reason we're all transfixed by the EPL...I duno why), so Enterbay kits like this Kobe Bryant one, and a big-ass half-court scale model set can't be found back home. Only in HK.....Wow. Imagine this in my living room. 





SINO CENTRE 信和中心
(Mongkok Station exit E2, along Nathan Road)
582-592 Nathan Rd
This place boasts three floors of toy and gaming goodies. The toy shops are not as stacked as those in In's Point or Richmond, and they are interspersed among gaming shops which I have no interest in (thankfuly for the wallet LOL). But they don't lose out in variety and price as well.

    HOLY MOTHER. That's a third party rendition of TF's Omega Supreme, based on the Fall of Cybertron game, out only in Feb so this is a prototype display. It's as tall, and bulkier than a PG gundam! Weep.

    Take note fellas, there is a third floor accessible by lift where two shops worth checking out reside. One is Naughty Boy. Sounds like it sells sex stuff, but sorry to disappointment it's toys and toys again, with some rare Jap stuff I didn't see anywhere else in the other Mongkok shops. The other one is Hobby Base, selling all things Transformers, including third party products. Check them out. 



CTMA CENTRE
(Mongkok station, behind Sino Centre)
1N Sai Yeung Choi St S (at Dundas St), Mong Kok
    I used to frequent this place a lot cos it's the closest to the hotel I usually stay at, but I'm disappointed this time to find that a lot of the toy shops here have closed down and up in their place are more lifestyle shops selling girlie knickknacks. There also used to be a shop in the opposite building on the second floor called Animate, which is no longer there. Awww man! Still, it's worth a stopover. Second to third floors, and basement.


YAN ON BUILDING (Ground Flr Alley)
Yan On Bldg, 1 Kwong Wa StMong Kok
    This is a must-go stretch for all modellers, simply because the one or two shops touting model kits are BIG, and there are resin displays and kits to make you jizz in ya pants LOL. They are all clustered along one indoor alley on the ground floor of a building, so it might be tricky to find. 

ENTERBAY
    One of the shops along here is the Enterbay store, the sleekest of the lot which sells all their 1/6 figurines that rival Hot Toys. There was a queue here of guys waiting to collect their orders for some Terminator set (i think). 



NEW-G Product Design & trading Co. (G-SYSTEM)
    Just outside Yan On building (look out for it behind the vegetable stalls along the street) is this obscure shop that's definitely worth a look-see even if you're not intending to buy anything. Most of it is high-end resin, and they have really awesome displays. THIS is what gundams and mechas should look like, ladies and gents. Some of the resin kits come in ginormous scales too - 1/35. They aren't cheap, needless to say, and the shop opens daily only from 6-9pm. Don't ask me how he makes his money. LOL.




MONGKOK AREA General Map:


WANCHAI
    From Mongkok, we move on to Hong Kong island side where Wanchai is. Take a train to the Wanchai station (Exit A3). It's about a 20 minute ride. Shops here are not as clustered as those in Mongkok, so you gotta know where to find em. 

ORIENTAL 188 SHOPPING CENTRE
188 Wanchai Rd


This place is similar to Sino Centre, with even more gaming stuff, although there are a few toy shops scattered among them that are worth a look. Three stories of geekiness. There doesn't seem to be as many toy shops though as the last time I was here. I would still say it's worth a look if you're in the Wanchai area.


TAI YUEN STREET

    This is known as "Toy Street", although I think the name is overhyped since Mongkok clearly has more LOL. Nevertheless, it's a quaint find cos you wouldnt expect to come across collectors' toys sold in a street market like this would you? There are about three or four shops here (look behind the market stalls). Most of the model kits are stacked up behind, out of reach of the kiddos, probably. I'm not sure about the prices (some of them seem to be even more expensive than elsewhere), but it's worth a look if you're searching for something you haven't found anywhere else.



Hmmmm...which one to get? WHICH ONE???????


WAILE MODEL CENTRE
221 Wanchai Road


Just uphill a little further down from 188 Centre is Waile Model Centre, a shop piled high with mecha, military kits and what not. Prices are good here, so if you're hoping to stock up on stuff, you might wanna open your wallet to them lol. 

WANCHAI General Map: 


WAREHOUSES
    This is my favourite part of the trip - The WAREHOUSES! Not exactly the sexiest of places to be, as they are located in industrial areas, but if you manage to find them, there are treasure troves of stuff to be discovered. I only had time to check out the main two - Toy-Wave and Toyzone. Both retail and supply toys wholesale, so scope them out if you want to go straight to the source.

Toy-Wave
(Diamond Hill MTR station, Exit A2)
UNIT C 1 ON 9TH FLOOR
VICTORIOUS FACTORY BUILDING
NOS.33A-37A TSEUK LUK STREET
NOS.16-20 SAM CHUK STREET
SAN PO KONG, KLN, HK. 
Tel: 29976001
    Yeah, you can't even tell there are toys here huh? LOL. It's a dingy warehouse type factory area, but actually, it isn't hard to find. The owner who goes by the moniker Toyman, is a jolly fella called Ken, who used to be a Singapore PR but gave it up to come back to HK and start his toy business. Really nice guy. Replies emails promptly too. They import mostly Japanese toys. I don't think they have a lot of Gundams though. They also didn't have a lot of stock the day I went, but holy shit they had just the item was hoping to find and could not find anywhere else in HK! Old Zoids!! JACKPOT. Hehe. Man am I glad I found this place. If you're into Zoids, old or new, you might wanna check them out. I can't guarantee that there's always stuff, so check out their website or make sure you call or email before going down. They open 10am - 5pm on weekdays only, and on Mondays, come only after 11am, cos they have meetings.






    They also have Koto Zoids kits at really good prices - I think they are $20-$30 less than those in Singapore, provided you can even FIND them in Singapore lol. Problem is with that size - how many are you gonna be able to carry back? Bring along a partner to help carry the load LOL.


    Man, I have not seen these babies in a while or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The old Tomy Zoids are literally extinct, which makes it all the more worthwhile if you come across them! I yelped for joy (they must have thought I was nuts lol) when I saw he actually had a few boxes of the Death Saurer, which I got for a steal at S$80. (On eBay, you either can't even find these, or they're going for some ridiculous price like US$200+) Most people think the old Zoids are kiddy and primitive, but if you're a modeller, you'll know that with some mods, bashes and a paintjob, they can look friggin' awesome! 



TOYZONE
RM B, 4/F, WAH HA FACTORY BLDG
8 SHIPYARD LANE, TAI KOO, HK
(Tai Koo MTR Exit A1/A2)
Tel(852) 2882 6850

    Toyzone recently moved to this location, also in an industrial area, and it is HUGE. There must be like over 10 rows of shelves, spanning everything from model kits to Jap collectibles and Marvel DC, Star Wars shit. You'll need at least 45 mins to an hour here. Leave the girlfriend in town, or make sure she has something to occupy herself with while you go into a toy coma LOL. The stuff is all over the place, but I think this makes it more fun cos you never know when something might jump out at you. Price-wise, I'm not sure if they are any cheaper than elsewhere, but I think their strength is in sheer variety. They have possibly the highest concentration of toys in one unit in HK. Definitely a must-go. They open 12pm to 9pm every day, even weekends. Screw maps. Just follow their excellent Youtube vid showing you how to get there! 



Dang!! This is the first time I've came across the Perfect Zeong, and it's almost as big as the Dendro!! Wowza. Er...Maybe on my next trip? lol




CAUSEWAY BAY
(19 Sugar Street, Causeway Bay Centre)
    I found this little street at the last minute. Word of advice - don't come here on a Sunday cos it's packed full of Indonesian maids on their offday, and you won't have any space to walk around LOL. There isn't a lot here after Toyzone moved out (they used to be from here), but there are two stalls at the basement of Causeway Bay Commercial Centre worth checking out - Toy City and Metro Comics, that sell figurines and Marvel/DC products. I think Animate from Mongkok might be here as well but I'm not sure and didn't confirm it...Bear in mind this is also Causeway Bay, so if you're here with family or spouse, Sogo and the glitzy shopping areas are just opposite. You can most definitely sneak off for some geek time here LOL.





THE OTHER STUFF...
    All I can say is - am I GLAD Singapore is near to HK, and I can understand a smattering of their language LOL. I see myself coming back many times, and hopefully unearthing new gems to report. I don't think this is the be-all end-all of toy shopping in HK for sure. I know there are a few more in the Sham Shui Po area which I have visited before on previous trips, but I didn't have time on this one. I recommend this post. Any of you guys know of any other place, clusters or better yet, WAREHOUSE, lemme know yeah? Hope you've enjoyed the report and it's of some use the next time you head on down there. Let's end on a crazy note. Some of the wacky stuff I saw --

SLAM DUNK!! I actually have this figure. It's not too bad, given that it's a third party product. I think they are coming up with Liu Chuan, the cool dude soon. The Manga cutesy head doesn't work for me of course lol.


Saw this at Toyzone. Seriously? An Adolf Hitler figure????? Toys are toys but I mean...seriously?? HITLER?? What next? Osama???

Not as good as the real thing, but good enough lol.

What's HK without crazy batshit eats like this eh? Some kinda flying lizard for medicinal purposes. Think I just lost my appetite...

Zoids, ASSEMBLE!!! 
















10 comments:

HobbyOwYeah said...

Nice recon! I'll use this guide when I got the chance to visit HK. Thanks!

Mr. Gav said...

Excellent post! Thanks for all the info!

LEon said...

thanks for sharing. SOme like warehouse I will never never know. LOL

Waylander said...

Ur welcome fellas! Happy hunting ;D

lone white prince said...

hey,interested in deathsaurer n gojulas giga?selling both each @ s$70

Waylander said...

Haha Thanks Bro But I Already Got Both. Unless Yours Is The Bloody Death Saurer. The Red One.

RON NAMZA said...

Super excellent post dude!!!...thanks for sharing.Which area can get anime dvd/bluray boxset?...cheers.

Glen said...

bookmarked for reference in 26 day's time ! :D

Katherine Luna said...

awesome post!! bookmarked it. i will use your guide on october. do you think toyzone is still in that location??

eldoan leovan said...

Do u ever see minichamps motogp Valentino rossi thing in Hongkong dude?
Need your advice, thx

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