I recently received this new roadway - basically a giant mousepad. I found this on Taobao, an extremely addictive e-commerce site that is basically the Chinese version of eBay/Amazon.

Want your own? You can find one here, for roughly $6.50. Note that shopping on Taobao is an adventure. If you don’t speak Chinese, you’ll need to use Google Translate. You can purchase some items from Taobao directly, but I’ve found it’s easier to use an agent like Superbuy. You paste the item’s URL into the buying agent’s website, pay for your items with PayPal, and everything is shipped to the agent’s warehouse. When your items arrive in the warehouse, the agent takes photos (so you can inspect/reject the items), and if you’re satisfied, you pay for shipment. The agent packages your items and ships them to you.

While Taobao prices may seem very affordable, shipping costs add up quickly, and most buying services charge a modest service fee and/or profit from less than favorable currency conversion rates. I can’t easily estimate shipping on this item, since I shipped it with a few other things. You’ll also need to wait a few days for your items to arrive at your agent’s warehouse, in addition to shipping times from China (3-5 days for EMS, which is the most expensive; 8-15+ for slower, cheaper options).

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The collection of cars in these photos includes some of my favorites - TLV, vintage Matchbox, Kyosho, customs, HW/Matchbox mainlines, Greenlight, M2...and an RLC that I promptly liberated from its plastic shell because it’s so cool!

A couple of these cars came from Taobao - the Kyosho Subaru Alcyone (SVX) and the Tomica Premium NSX. Counterfeit products are all over Taobao, but I’m pretty confident that the NSX is genuine. The Alcyone might be a factory reject - it has some flaws in the paint.

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It’s difficult to see in my photos, but the paint is a bit bubbly.

As the in-person diecast shopping options dwindle (my local stores have a poor selection of anything but fantasy HW, and RIP Toys-R-Us), online shopping is my primary source. Where are you shopping these days? Share your most obscure finds and convoluted shopping methods!