A flashy slideshow filled with Japanese animation style figures is likely the first thing a new visitor to the HOBBY SEARCH website will notice. The company seems to specialize in these figures, most of which are modelled after popular anime characters. The website is colorful and eye-catching, but is somewhat difficult to navigate. For anime and manga themed models, HOBBY SEARCH is great, but they also carry some other model kits as well (just not as many as some of our higher-rated model kits stores).
HOBBY SEARCH says that they are one of the most comprehensive online hobby shops in Japan. One is tempted to take their word for it after spending some time on their website. The home page is virtually covered top to bottom, side to side with anime figurines, but when you click on another of the categories in which they stock items, you can’t help but notice that they carry a wide variety of remote control models, military models and hobby tools.
As mentioned in the “Variety” section, HOBBY SEARCH features a full selection of hobby tools and gives them their own category section on the website. You can search by genre, bargain priced items, or material. HOBBY SEARCH places full color photographs of each product along with the description so the customer knows exactly what they are purchasing.
As a Web-only company operating without a physical retail store, HOBBY SEARCH’s Tokyo business address should not concern you in regards to how long it will take to get your order. However, you should be aware that the EMS of the Japan Post Office is the only shipment method available through HOBBY SHOP. The company says that it’s normally a week or two from the time you place an order until the items reach you.
HOBBY SEARCH’s only method of payment available to customers is via credit card. They accept Visa, MasterCard and JCB. Customers are charged for their order when it is ready for shipping, not when it’s placed.
HOBBY SEARCH has a FAQ tab that serves as its main help and customer service or support portal. On this page, customers can find out the different ways to order products, change their order, pay their bill, cancel their order and much more. They also have buttons at the top of the page which give the user the ability to change the site’s language. They have nine different languages from which to choose, including Japanese, Italian and French.
It is on the aforementioned FAQ page that customers can search for answers to their questions about return policies, what to do in the event of a problem with an item and how to pre-order items that are to be released.
Overall, HOBBY SEARCH has a website that is colorful and takes full advantage of the technology available on the Web. They are an online-only company, so it stands to reason that their narrowed focus would make them a savvy Internet organization. They have an impressive variety of products and additional supplies in their inventory and their customer service options are extensive and easy to find. HOBBY SEARCH also has a step-by-step buying procedure guide on their “First Time” page.
There are better online model kit stores, but if you're into Japanese models, HOBBY SEARCH is a great place to look.