How to Differentiate Real and Fake Figures

July 11, 2018

How to Differentiate Real and Fake Figures

It can be extremely frustrating and disappointing when you receive that new figure and find that it’s not what you thought it was, turning out to be a cheap knock-off when you thought you had paid for a rare, authentic collectible. However, it may not always be easy to identify a fake figure, but here is a guide to help you differentiate real and fake figures.

Steps to Take Before Ordering

Research the Product

If you’re looking for a specific figure and are considering buying it, it’s important to do some research beforehand so you know what you’re getting. In many cases, you will be able to find resources detailing the differences between authentic and bootleg figures. You can often see what fake figures look like simply by searching the name of the figure with “fake” attached to the term, and images will likely appear if others have spotted these inauthentic figures. Many shops will also provide side-by-side photos of bootleg figures with images of the authentic ones. Shops may also provide written instructions that detail what to look for in a bootleg figure.

Know What the Character Looks Like

Another way to spot a fake is to have a good understanding of what the character you’re getting a figure of looks like, down to the smallest details. Authentic figures will take the time to get every detail right, including facial features, hair, and the clothes they wear. Anything that’s off and different from the original character design is likely inauthentic.

Make Sure Shipments Are from Japan

Official video game and anime figures are almost always from Japan. Most shops will ship figures from this country, but if for any reason you find that shipments are coming from somewhere else, it may be best to look elsewhere.

Ways to Spot Fake Figures

Sometimes the images of the figures themselves on the shop will give you a clear indication of authenticity. In these cases, you can look for discrepancies such as: 

Poor Paint Jobs

Bad paint jobs are frequently identifiable in certain ways, with smudging, paint drips, scratches, or coloring that’s off. One of the most obvious ways to spot a fake is the paint job on the face, as bootleg figures are notorious for having faces that don’t look like the original character’s.

Bad Box Art

The box is another key to spotting a fake. Oftentimes bootlegged box art will have grammatical mistakes or wording that doesn’t make any sense, such as saying that a character has a “leg accessory.” Inauthentic box art may also neglect to include barcodes and ISBN numbers, or have weak or unofficial-looking fonts, no trademarking, no manufacturer stickers, or inaccurate logos.

Sculpture Materials

The materials that are used to make figures can also signify fakes. In some cases, the poor design may be obvious, with swords or other straight objects bending because they’re made of soft, low-quality materials. Look for products made with firm plastic.

Other Ways to Tell the Difference

In addition to these, you can also determine if a figure is fake if it: 

  • Is missing parts such as accessories that should always come with the character
  • Is sold in lots with other figures
  • Is sold at a price that looks too good to be true
  • Comes with broken limbs, even before opening the box
  • Has no trademark
  • Has an incorrect facial expression
  • Has a bad stench as opposed to a fresh plastic smell upon opening 

Taking these steps can help you avoid wasting your time and money on purchasing fake figurines. You’ll understand how to spot an inauthentic figure quickly and know when to take your business elsewhere.



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