Buying new Minimates to use as custom fodder can get very expensive. Today I wanted to share a few places you can look for fodder that will save you a few bucks.
This is probably the most obvious one, so let’s get it out of the way first. Several minimate auctions end every hour of the day on Ebay. If you know what you are looking for, and you are determined to find it, you can get some great deals. The first thing to remember is that some sellers list them as a “Minimate”, while others use the plural form “Minimates”. Ebay uses the ‘*’ character as a wild card, so make sure to always search for Minimate* as a key word, as it will search both of these terms.
The most effective way to find cheap Minimates on Ebay is also the most time-consuming: search for Minimate* and look at every single auction. Then repeat the search every few hours and only look at the newly listed items. If you are lacking the time for this type of intensive search, I recommend search for terms like Minimate* lot or Minimate* loose. This will help to refine your search, although you may miss out on some noteworthy auctions.
To get the best deals, look for several loose Minimates together in one auction. I would aim for a price point of $1-$2 each after shipping. As with any Ebay auction, make sure to read the seller’s description, terms, and conditions before bidding.
There are numerous toy-related message boards online with sections for members to trade with each other. Your best bet for Minimates is the Minimate Multiverse, but I suggest keeping an eye on other toy sites as well. Some boards have set up their own feedback system, so you can check up on sellers before contacting them. Make sure to read the trading guidelines at each message board, and contact a longtime board member if you have questions.
If you are buying several Minimates from one individual you could try asking for a discount, especially if the post advertising the items has been stagnant for some time. On some boards you can also post a list of the Minimates you are looking for, along with what you are willing to pay. Outside of simple cash transactions, trading Minimates for other Minimates is a great way to get the parts you need.
Comic shops and online retailers routinely have clearance sales to get rid of some of their old stock. Occasionally you will find Minimates among these items, and it is possible to get a better deal on these new packaged figures than buying loose ones on Ebay. Many online stores have an e-mail newsletter that will keep you informed of upcoming sales. Some stores are even on Facebook and Twitter, giving you up-to-the-minute reports.
Thrift Stores / Secondhand Stores
You wouldn’t expect to find Minimates at thrift stores or secondhand stores, but I have had good luck twice at these locations. Each time it was a small bag of Minimates that only cost a few bucks. You can also look for compatible parts from other toy lines such as legos.
With Minimates being back at Toys R Us, there are potentially thousands of fickle children out there that might get sick of their Minimates when the next big thing comes along. These unwanted Minimates can drift along to all sorts of places, including thrift stores.
What are some other places that you search for custom fodder?