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Overdrive vs. Hobby Link Japan


Cyclone Trooper
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As I have mentioned in a few other posts, I had ordered an OD Tomahawk Destroid from Overdrive last Friday. It's the first time I've ever placed an order with Overdrive, but the prices on Yamato Macross items are significantly cheaper than HLJ, especially the "older" stuff like the Destroids, the first-run "shoulder-cracked" Valkyries, the Q-Raus, etc. Based on several positive posts about Overdrive and the fact that it apparently has a sweet arrangement with Yamato to get spare parts at a discount for your Yammies, I figured I'd bite the bullet and give them a try...

I gotta say that Overdrive is aptly named...

My Destroid is sitting at my local post office as of 1:24am this morning (Wednesday). Because I placed my order on a Friday afternoon, EST, it wasn't even processed until Monday. But it was shipped out the same day that it was processed via EMS and it took only two days to get to the US. It came from Japan to New York, and then straight to Maryland, where I live. I'm absolutely amazed at how fast this whole order was pushed through! I wasn't even expecting to see the damned thing until the end of the week or possible next Monday!

Hobby Link Japan has an awesome customer service staff (very polite and courteous), but I had a bad experience where I paid for EMS shipping and got my very first version 2 Valkyrie shipped SAL instead. It wasn't the end of the world or anything because the Valk eventually arrived, and HLJ did reimburse me for the shipping mixup. But it was just kind of frustrating that I paid for the faster shipping and someone pushed it through with basic shipping instead. I understand that mistakes happen and people are only human, but first impressions are everything, y'know?

I think I'll be sticking with Overdrive from now on when I find myself needing a Macross fix. ^_^

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I think that it really depends upon how reliably EMS works for you as opposed to where you buy it from :p. Sometimes I've had the magical 2 day turn around, but others I've waited for up to 2 weeks.

As for the retailers, I personally prefer Hobby Search. Their inventory and restock is not as good as HLJ but after several orders I've noticed they are much faster at sending stuff to you. The problem with HLJ is their totally borked ordering system - I suspect there is a lot of manual input going on behind the scenes. The whole process whereby I place an order today and you manually enter the order into your system the next day is so 20th century.

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I mix and match between the two. Both have been good to me, Overdrive seem to have the edge on seamlessness/turnaround times.

I have noticed that Overdrive are charging me $39 USD to EMS to Australia which is up from $33 a few months ago. This is a little disappointing since the newer Yammys seem to be running with slimmer packaging (see VT-1).

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I recently ordered my first package from overdrive. 1/60 roy and the strike pack. It's sooo much cheaper than anywhere else. Even cheaper than HLJ with their free shipping offer. I'm a bit worried about shoulder crack but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

I placed the order on september 23. However, I just got an e-mail on monday telling me that my order was now being processed.

All this is making me regret not buying a whack load when I was living in hong kong.

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I think that it really depends upon how reliably EMS works for you as opposed to where you buy it from :p. Sometimes I've had the magical 2 day turn around, but others I've waited for up to 2 weeks.

As for the retailers, I personally prefer Hobby Search. Their inventory and restock is not as good as HLJ but after several orders I've noticed they are much faster at sending stuff to you. The problem with HLJ is their totally borked ordering system - I suspect there is a lot of manual input going on behind the scenes. The whole process whereby I place an order today and you manually enter the order into your system the next day is so 20th century.

I agree, with the difference in shipping (on single regular Valks) Hobby Search has a slightly cheaper price (where I live anyway.) My Low Vis shipped Sunday, though Sunday in Japan is still conceivably Saturday in New Mexico, and was at my house Tuesday morning. That's a fast turnaround. Especially considering the shipment went out over the weekend.

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The problem with HLJ is their totally borked ordering system - I suspect there is a lot of manual input going on behind the scenes. The whole process whereby I place an order today and you manually enter the order into your system the next day is so 20th century.

I'm thinking (hoping) that may be changing soon - at least with the new PayPal Billing Agreement thing they have. I ordered the upcoming VF-19 yesterday evening and got the 'processing' email within an hour whereas it used to take a day or longer to get that email. So far I really like their new PayPal billing agreement, which automatically deducts the payment from your PayPal account when the item is available, doing away with the whole shabby payment request email process.

HLJ & EMS is usually really fast for me. In fact, for the last few months I've gotten orders processed and delivered faster from HLJ than from BBTS. And I basically live right across the river from BBTS. :|

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I'll sum up my experiences with the 4 websites I use. Note: I don't compare shipping times as living in the middle of Canada it's pretty much 2 weeks no matter what.

Overdrive

- Decent customer service. I only find the customer service wanting on the Macross replacement parts. They take forever to get back to you if they ever do. I am still waiting for confirmation for a replacement cockpit on my VF-1D as it shipped with a broken landing gear bay door. Conversly the order for my VF-1S replacement arms worked without a hitch..... <_<

- Usually the cheapest

- Good selection on new items.

- Don't always have items in stock after PreOder is done.

- They charge your credit card when you make the order not when they ship it.

- Never pay duty.

- Not the best website as it's a bit slow sometimes.

HobbyLink

- Good customer service

- Not always the cheapest but their shipping is usually cheaper so it pays to compare with shipping costs added on.

- Will ship SAL but most Macross items that I buy are usually over the SAL limit so I end up paying EMS anyways.

- Good selection and will have stuff in stock even when the preorder is over.

- Do not charge you till the item ships.

- Used to pay duty but didn't on my last couple of orders.

- Website needs work. I have to use search all the time to find Macross items.

HobbySearch

- Good customer service.

- Never the cheapest but they do have a points system that you can use to give yourself discounts latter. Like all point systems though your not really gaining anything in the end as they are usually more expensive than HobbyLink or Over-drive.

- They allow you to combine orders "after ordering" to save shipping. As long as it has not shipped yet you can usually combine it with another order.

- Great selection but they sometimes do not carry a stock of a product to much past the preoder stage.

- Have never paid duty.

- Great website. By far my favorite as they provide ALLOT of photos.

Angolz

- Never the cheapest

- Customer service is lacking. They can take a few days to respond to your emails.

- Good Website.

- Hit and miss whether you pay duty.

- shipping is not the fastest.

- They have the best sales sometimes. I got my YF-21 at $75 off which put it into the barely affordable range.

Edited by logos
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I tried using Overdrive Once. During this Email us to Paypal Situation. I emailed them about the problem. They tell they can do it manually if I want. I say I do want that and they never contact me back. To me that is pretty crappy customer service. An item has to be on sale for me to consider ever trying them again.

I've used Hobby Link Japan several times. I wouldn't say they are topic notch but are fairly reliable.

Hobby Search seems I'm always paying the MSRP with them but they are fast.

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I've ordered from all 3 and had good experiences with all of them (so far). To be fair, I've had few issues with any of them so I've never had to contact customer service about any orders.

I like how Overdrive is a smaller company, so they seem to be more customer service oriented. They have special items such as the Ichiban Kuji merchandise. HLJ has a wide variety of merchandise beyond toys, such as the Cospa and the CCP merchandise. Angolz has some good sales on merchandise from time to time.

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I've used Hobbylink almost since they started, and literally have never had a single problem... and I order a lot of stuff. Granted, I always pay the extra for EMS, which might help. But, never any problems with an order.

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Well good thing about paying up front with pre-order is if your currency goes down when the stuff comes out you actually saved some money..!

Btw have anyone bought henkai skywarp when it was on special at $17.5 ? :p

Edited by ntsan
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I love Overdrive and use them nearly exclusively. The only exceptions I make are for items they end up not carrying like some of the CMs Mospeada products.

+1

Take a single V2 for example:

OD

89.99 + 39 EMS = 128.99

HLJ

106 + 35 EMS = 141

106 + 16 SAL = 122

For a couple bucks more, I'd rather pay OD for EMS shipping, and I do admit that OD has raised their EMS shipping charges. Some of the V2 on OD even priced at 73.99.... :lol:

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Good experiences with both HLJ and Over-Drive and both have good customer service. OD ships faster but that's not a major point for me as the customs and Dutch mail may slow things down. Worst experience I had was an EMS shipment delayed by 103 days, so few days difference in Japan doesn't concern me. Differences:

1) HLJ wins on price after shipping due to their SAL option. EMS always get caught by customs, and the mail service here adds a hefty charge for the expres service. VAT is calculated over combined shipping and purchasing cost. SAL is faster and a lot cheaper for me.

2) Over -Drive writes down a lower price on the package so gets hit for less at customs. Especially for expensive orders that require EMS shipping they have an advantage.

3) HLJ doesn't charge pre-orders immediately, OD does.

Other then these two I have good experiences with HW Japan. Their order system is terrible and the selection isnt that large, however they package things nicely, have a SAL option and are usually cheaper then the other two.

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I've always used HLJ because their stock seems to be a bit better-endowed than Over-Drive's.

I'm so pissed off because they had a sale until the 28th of last month where paying through PayPal meant free shipping, which can get as high as $55 for one item. (Perfect Grade raggle-fraggle!)

But, I always find what I want on HLJ at MSRP with usually cheap and very reliable shipping. I ordered my two 1/48s at Christmas time and I got them in days.

It's a matter of preference, I guess, and mine's HLJ, simple as that.

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Overdrive is great! Wonderful people, nothing better than dealing with good mates and close friends. : )

HLJ.com is a fantastic company as well, oh i can't fathom how much i have bought from them over the years, their system is great too.

For me it all boils down to personel service, and friendship, anyone can order somewhere and get a few bucks cheaper, but loyalty to customers

an that extra effort in service will always win, Overdrive I thank you for being here when Macross fandom and collecting is absolutely exploding.

Overdrive IS for Macross Fans! Essential for this Macross Fanatic. :D

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On the rare occasions I need to order a toy from Japan, I will stick with Overdrive. Found them to be fast, efficient and reliable with both pre and post sales communication and shipping.

HLJ annoys the heck out of me as even if you chose a more expensive shipping option like EMS, they are ofter very slow to actually get the goods packed and posted. Several times I've wanted an item quickly, only to be caught out by the snail-like slowness of HLJ.

Graham

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My experience:

HLJ: Multiple orders with SAL and EMS.

Pro: Package their stuff very well. Well stocked and very large selection of almost anything. Pre-orders are not charged until shipping, and you may cancel them easily. Good sale price. Good web site.

Con: Highest regular price. Failed me once with the new VF-1 book - pre-ordered but they couldn't get it and canceled it.

HWJapan: Multiple orders with SAL and EMS.

Pro: Package their stuff very well. Well stocked scale models and tools at great price - 20% to 30% off with Bandai and Tamiya. Pre-orders are not charged until shipping.

Con: Ugly but functional web site. Poor stock and selection with toys.

Angolz: One order with air parcel.

Pro: Good price on sale item. Carry limited and hard to find items.

Con: Slow at processing order. Search return non-sense matches.

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I only find the customer service wanting on the Macross replacement parts. They take forever to get back to you if they ever do. I am still waiting for confirmation for a replacement cockpit on my VF-1D as it shipped with a broken landing gear bay door. Conversly the order for my VF-1S replacement arms worked without a hitch..... <_<

So can you let all of us know what free services HLJ and Hobby Seach offer, so that you can at least validate your opinion on this free service. Anybody who bitches about how they handle their replacement parts should just be thankful there is a "possibility" they can get the parts they need.

I've told them they should only offer the parts service to people who have actually purchased from them, but they do it for anybody who sends in a request. If you want a more timely responses from them then maybe they should at lest make money off the service? HLJ can get you the parts, but it cost my friend $30 to get a VF-1s head and hands and that does not include shipping.

Regardless of who anybody likes more in this day and age you can get what you want, and that is all that matters.

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I haven't really had any issues with HLJ. I think they've actually gotten a lot better with shipping their orders quickly compared to how they were many years ago. Back then I waited a couple weeks or longer to get an in stock item shipped. Now, unless there's a holiday, they usually ship within 1-3 days.

That said, I prefer Overdrive. The biggest advantage for me is that they charge in USD rather than yen. I have a pre-order with HLJ which I think I'm going to have to cancel with how quickly the value of the dollar has been sinking (and still dropping). I'd have to pay $20 more already than at the time I placed my pre-order and I expect that difference to still increase more by the time the item is actually released. I'll just have to hope that OD will have some left over or just do without. OD's prices also tend to be very good often times still being cheaper than HLJ's prices even with the early bird discount. Its biggest advantage is also the biggest con, however, since they have to charge at the time you place your order instead of when the item is ready to be shipped.

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So far I've exclusively purchased from HLJ and found every straightforward, as for their customer service??? I've only ever sent them two emails to find out about future items, meaning their normal service has always been enough and never needed to contact them. Which is a plus in my book.

It normally takes about 8 days total from ordering to it showing up at my door EMS. SAL used to be 16 days like clockwork, then a couple of packages went though France for some reason; those took over 5 weeks and haven't used SAL since then. That's a postal system problem not HLJ's.

Since HLJ's Free Postage + Japanese Holiday a couple of items have been slow to ship, which is understandable as I expect a lot of people took advantage of the offer and they're just been very busy. But up till then an order took about 1 or 2 days, mostly 2 day, to ship if in-stock.

Edited by wizartar
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I like both HLJ & OD.

OD suffers from server problems that have seemed frequent this yr.

This stops me from buying from them alot now, as I look for other online stores before going back to them...the kiss of death for OD if their customers continually encounter their website problems,every newsletter I,ve gotten from them for awhile now still explains the problems they,re having.

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Overdrive to me is alot like Valkyrie-Exchange, i bought a few things from Kevin over time and for the fact he is a huge Macross fan

this gave me more incentive to support him, loved his service and store, it's just extra icing on the cake! Shopping needs to be fun,

online shopping can be a shallow experience sometimes, but when you know who you are buying off and can relate to them in a way

i think that's cool. heh heh There is even a YF-21 fan who is just as rabid as i am about the 21/22 who's at Overdrive, win!

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HLJ can get you the parts, but it cost my friend $30 to get a VF-1s head and hands and that does not include shipping.

That's strange, because every time I've had to deal with HLJ to get replacement parts for things that broke in shipping or were wrong in the box it cost me nothing. They ask for a picture, you send the picture, they order the replacement parts, and the parts are shipped free of charge (and you don't pay for shipping either).

So I guess your friend asked for additional parts, not replacement parts.

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I just bought my Ex-Gear and SV-51 from Over-drive and there was a problem at the checkout. They didn't contact me, I had to contact them to confirm if they'd received my order. They did but ever since I haven't heard from them at all. I've sent them an e-mail last night about whether they'd sent it and tracking, no response. It's been a week since I first ordered.

I'm a pretty patient guy but at the least they should give me a status update. Not too satisfied atm

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I can respect the shipping thing as being in Canada I know how expensive it can get, at the same time cutting deals on shipping with Macross toys is definitely a big incentive. One thing that will hold me back from making online Macross buys is finding out I have to pay $50+ in shipping.

As far as Overdrive VS HLJ goes I currently have a SV-51 Nora on the way from them so we'll see, I love fast shipping but I'm hoping I dont get hit up with customs charges (again Canada and all). HLJ wile reliable can get expensive with shipping, and I get slightly annoyed with them as it takes a week to process and ship most orders so it's almost 2 weeks for delivery from them. And again I've been hit up pretty bad with them with customs charges so the overall cost of dealing with HLJ gets pretty crazy.

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HLJ is super slow. Even for in-stock items I've waited as long as two weeks between the time I put in an order to the item actually shipping out. I really only use HLJ as a last resort when I can't find something elsewhere.

Apaprently HLJ is so slow they can even retroactively cancel shipped orders. The week before I ordered a bunch of clearcoat aerosols from them to take advantage of their free shipping offer. I received a shipping confirmation with an EMS tracking number letting me know my stuff was on the way. Five days later I received an email stating they could no longer ship such materials and then canceled my order. WTF?

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