Q: Why do you sell your custom figures instead of keeping them all for yourself?
A: Because I need the practice and can make a copy of a figure should I ever want to keep one for myself. Also I would run out of room pretty quick with a hundred different Iceman customs sitting everywhere. I do have a 'personal collection' of my own tho and sometimes you'll see a figure from that pop up in my auctions when I get tired of a figure or replace it.
Q: Why don’t you use enamel paints?
A: I find that it’s difficult (and sometimes impossible) to use techniques like blending and paint washes with enamels. Enamels will also react with softer pvc plastic on the figure (Marvel Legends, GI Joe, Halo, etc) and remain sticky forever. I do use super durable Tamiya Spray Lacquer/Testors One Coat Lacquer for base colors when I can and it provides an excellent base. I seal figures with a gloss/satin/mate Model Color acrylic varnish to protect against wear.
Q: But aren’t enamels durable?
A: Not really, they're the weakest of the paints available in the USA. Strongest being PVC factory paints from china (you can't get these in the USA, sorry, they're super toxic in liquid form), then Lacquers, Acrylics, and finally enamels. The paints I use are Tamiya Lacquers, Testors Model Master, and Formula P3 paints. These are durable hobby paints, not the cheaper Apple Barrel/Folk Art acrylic paints you get at Walmart.
Q: Can’t we buy the same figures on the shelf from say, Toys R Us or Walmart?
A: You can buy a Wolverine figure anywhere but he won’t have as detailed a paint job or have metal claws like mine. You can buy a Transformers Barricade at WalMart, but he won’t come with flashing lights and a ball jointed head that can look around.
Q: So you’re just making existing figures better?
A: Sometimes. Other times I take an existing figure and turn it into another character entirely. Like when I turn a Sigma 6 figure into a Master Chief from Halo by sculpting new parts and adding weaponry. It all depends on what the custom us.
Q: How come you don't offer refunds or returns? What if I hate the custom?
A: My auction pictures offer up exactly what you are getting and are taken in proper lighting at high resolution. The custom will look the same or BETTER once you have it in your hands. Just look through my feedback and you'll see everyone has great things to say.
Q: Why are your US shipping costs so much lower than most other sellers? Everyone else charges $12 or more. What's the catch?
A: I keep my shipping costs low a couple of ways. I ship through USPS Priority so I get free boxes. I buy a lot of figures online so I reuse packing material, also getting my bubble wrap and tape at the dollar store. All that shaves off a considerable amount of shipping. $8.00 is usually my range.
Q: Why is International shipping insanely expensive?!
A: Paypal and Ebay require me to make sure you can track your package all the way to your front door. While this works easily in the USA, once a package crosses the borders our tracking numbers stop working. Right now it costs an EXTRA $12.95 for the Registered Mail option just to add tracking outside of the USA. That's on top the cheapest air-mail way of sending it. I must protect both myself and my buyers by using a tracking system that works in other countries as per Ebay/Paypal's rules. So it's gonna be kinda pricy, even more if you want it sent priority or express international. Sorry about that.
Q: Hey, how come it says you wait two days to ship my stuff? You're holding it for ransom aren't you!
A: It's just safer for both of us to make sure nothing gets held up on PayPal's end. Waiting two days lets them confirm no credit cards have been declined or bank accounts denied should there not be enough in the buyer's existing balance. I also have to wait until an E-check clears to ship but everything else goes out promptly the second or third morning after payment.
Q: I know it says to ship to my confirmed PayPal address but I really want it shipped here to my other house. Can you just ignore all that confirmed address stuff?
A: Sorry, but no. Whatever address is listed on you PayPal account at the time of your payment is where the package -must- be shipped. This protects me and you from any misunderstandings and keeps kids from ordering something to have it shipped elsewhere without their parent's knowledge.
Q: Why don’t you allow 0 feedback bidders? I just signed up on EBay and want to bid!
A: I’m really sorry about that. I use to allow 0 feedback bidders but people started abusing the fact they could whip up an EBay account and win my auctions without paying. I’d report and block them but they would just make another account and do the same thing next week. All the time the honest buyers had their time wasted and were cheated out of a winning bid. So now I only allow bids from people with some sort of feedback and without a lot of negatives.
Q: Your auctions sometime end for hundreds of dollars. Are you cheating?
A: Nope, I have never, nor will ever bid-shill my auctions. I start every auction out at a penny and the people who want the custom the most decide the final price. A wide range of people bid on my auctions from the CEOs of major companies, national magazine editors, to regular and hardcore collectors. Thank you all for keeping a roof over my head. Friends and Family are prohibited from bidding on my auctions though, sorry!
Q: What's with all the x**y names that are suddenly bidding?! They're all robots! ROBOTS I SAY!!
A: Not robots, that's Ebay's new 'Bid Safely' anonymous system. They change all the bidders names to protect them from scammers, harassment, etc. You can read it here. I have no control over this and everyone's auctions has this feature activated. Rest assured I can still see the bidders from my end and kick out troublemakers.
Q: Someone emailed me saying they're the creator of this figure, and they'll sell it to me right now! What the hell?
A: This is a SCAM. I will -never- offer to sell my customs direct or end my auctions early. If you get an email like that be assured it's not coming from me. You should forward that to firstname.lastname@example.org and ignore it. In the event the winning bidder doesn't pay I may send you a second-chance-offer if a winning bidder doesn't pay one week but only through ebay so you know it's legit.
Q: How come I can't see the picture and the auction still has bids?
A: Sometimes when I set up auctions to automatically list I screw up the image source. Other times I'll take down the picture because I want to tweak the custom and re-take the pictures or I'm waiting for a sealer to dry before transforming a figure. Either way just wait a day or so and it'll come back up. Also you can check my site, Facebook, Twitter, or deviantArt page for pictures. Just google my name.
Q: Aw come on, if you end your auction early if I'll give you $300. I have PayPal, c'mon, I'll pay you right now.
A: Sorry but I cannot be bribed. I run honest auctions and once they're listed I won't end them for any amount. In the rare occasion I screw up on the title (which as of yet cannot be changed if a bid has been placed, ugh) I may have to end the auction and re-list it with corrections. But I will never undemine my bidders so please don't ask me to.
Q: Do you have a website so I can see all your other stuff?
A: Yes but you’ll have to Google ‘Jin Saotome’s Dangerous Toys’ to find it. EBay doesn’t allow anything that links or even implies that you should go elsewhere from one of their pages. But with a little detective work you can find my site from any search engine on the net. I also have a lot of guides, tutorials, and links about customizing.
Q: I want a custom of Ego the Living Planet. Why won’t you make one for me? I emailed you five times.
A: I really wish I could but unfortunately there’s only one of me and millions of you. Each week I get hundreds of requests for commissioned figures and there’s just no way I could make all of them. People would be in a waiting line for years. So I make what I can and offer up a few figures each week. Feel free to suggest a figure I should make and you might see it show up on my site to be auctioned off.
Q: Who the heck are you anyway?
A: Just a regular guy who likes working with his hands and creating things. I've been putting together models/dioramas since I was a little kid and expanded it into the realm of action figures. I also enjoy teaching other people how to expand their skills in the customizing hobby. And that’s the end of the FAQ folks!
Q: Wait wait, one more question, how can I contact you?
A: Drop me a line using EBay's message system or google my name for my site and an email link. I'm all ears!