Where to Buy

First and foremost, downtheblocks is not a store. We are not owned by any sellers as well. When a blog post contains watermarks or store labels, they are simply for showcasing the products and not the stores themselves; if there are unmarked photos of previews, then we use those instead.

Second, try and get the official TLG sets if available. TLG always provides the best quality and reliability. If there's no other choice, then bootlego is there.

Most collectors buy their share of alternate bricks/figs from aliexpress.com. I can not personally make a comprehensive and therefore helpful guide for buying from the site because I do not buy my hauls online. Instead, I will refer you to a fellow blogger's AliExpress buying guide:
BatsieBlock's AliExpress Buying Guide

As an alternative to aliexpress, also try searching your local ebay sites. Usually sellers sell at a higher price there but perhaps the ebay seller will be less hassle to deal with, more reliable, and may be better at English [or the local language where you and the seller are at].

Private Online Stores
Private online stores, meaning stores that don't sell in hosting sites but have their own sites. They're kinda just like Ebay I guess, the biggest disadvantage would be the possible lack of feedback system within their private online sites. It might be good to build a relationship with them though. A UK seller I know of is https://boardercollectables.blogspot.co.uk/ but I have no experience with the store so buy at your own risk!

Taobao and 1688 are Chinese websites where you can buy minifigs and sets, along with other consumer items. The biggest problem here is that the sites are in Chinese. A solution would be to use Superbuy or other similar websites that translate the site into English, and I believe it also helps you order to your own country. I'm not really certain about these because I've never tried this so please do your own research before putting a lot of money into it. Again, always be careful and buy at your own risk!
Facebook groups
Another option is searching for local Facebook buy and sell groups for collectors. I personally get the older and rarer minifigs from fellow collectors from the local scene; you will also get to meet people you share your interests with!

Local/Physical Stores
Of course, the most preferred way of buying, at least for me would be buying from local stores. Not all countries may have local stores though.

As for us at downtheblocks, we're from Metro Manila, Philippines and we usually get our haul from AngeloMarcus at Shoppesville Plus, Greenhills.

The great thing about local stores, and in effect AngeloMarcus, is that you get to see your minifigs before you buy them; basically you can see if your minifigs have misprints or missing parts and ask for replacements (before opening the bag and if they still have stocks of course). The people in AngeloMarcus are also so much nicer and are very easy to approach; they also know the characters + the item codes if you yourself don't know the characters. They also have some "exclusives" sometimes and get their products early, maybe a few days after [or even before] they're previewed online.

In conclusion, always be careful when buying your things, both online and offline! Both have their own pros and cons, but for buying alternate or Chinese branded bricks/figs, then these are some of the popular options.

Feel free to share your thoughts below!

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