A Pocket Guide: Intermediate Usuki Doll Collection
USUKILAND - They are a sight to behold – these Usukis. A myriad of colours, patterns, textures bringing together the perfect Usuki. Each and every one of them speaking of intricacy and craftsmanship that can rival (and even win over) the best and most well-thought of Battledome weapons. Well, of course, they appeal to a different crowd – most of the time, that is. One can only guess the number of secret Usuki Doll Collectors who periodically peer into the depths of the Secret Deposit Box and admire the gleaming beauty of each and every Usuki - each button, each thread of its detailed clothing, each strand of its well-combed hair. Well, I for one cannot blame them for this fantastical obsession! I have my own stash of Usukis in my Safety Deposit Box, and for a moment in time, I found it hard to pull myself out of investing more in these precious gems. I have since spent more than 1 million neopoints on this obsession, and yes, I am as of now a qualified Usuki collector. And in this pocket guide, I will be guiding you through the Art of Usuki Doll collection (from scratch).
#1: The Beginning: To begin a collection, you would have to have a sizeable amount of neopoints, depending on the grade of collection (1 being a Poor collection, 3 being Average, 10 being Spectacular) you wish to achieve. Below states a rough estimate of neopoints you should have as starting capital. The amounts stated below only pertains to the amount that you are about to spend on the Usuki collection alone and does not include other expenditures like medicine, Battledome items, food items, quest items, etc. Please take note of that.
Grade 1 – Poor: ~ 20000 Neopoints
Grade 2 – Unprivileged: ~28000 Neopoints
Grade 3 – Average: ~42000-55000 Neopoints
Grade 4 – Passable: ~57500-65000 Neopoints
Grade 5 – Moderate: ~72000 Neopoints
Grade 6 – Fine: ~72000-100000 Neopoints
Grade 7 – Good: ~150000-525000 Neopoints
Grade 8 – Superior: ~675000-1 mil Neopoints
Grade 9 – Superb: ~1.2 – 1.8 mil Neoponts
Grade 10 – Spectacular: At least 2 mil+ Neopoints
As you can see, an Usuki collection may not be the cheapest a collector could ask for, but it will definitely be a rewarding and outstanding gallery at the end of the day when your efforts pay off. Higher-end Usukis are so rare that only a few of them sit in the Trading Post, and the rest of them, proudly in their collectors’ galleries, so be prepared to fork a bomb for them (usually 450000-650000 Neopoints per piece, not so commonly 1 million upward). However, you must take note of the price of the Usuki you are paying for; it NEVER hurts to ask around and do some market survey first before finally settling down to buy - I have personally seen cases of buyers being victims to over-inflated prices by nasty sellers, paying up to 3 million Neopoints for an usuki worth only about 300000 Neopoints. So therefore, you must be cautious at all times when proceeding to purchase an Usuki. And this goes for all other items as well.
#2: Starting out now: As in every collection of any type of item, a base collection is usually added as a filler to begin a collection but more often than not, it is optional. When I say base, I mean a collection of the commonly found items that are subsets of your collection group. For example, in the collection of plushies, a base collection would refer to a few full set collections of species plushies in the four basic colours (red, blue, green and yellow). Within Usuki Doll collections, you may choose to add the following as your base collection:
1. Magical Hair Usuki (Rarity 40)
2. Fun in the Sun Usuki (Rarity 45)
3. Flight Attendant Usuki (Rarity 55)
4. Hula Girl Usuki (Rarity 60)
5. Tyrannian Usuki (Rarity 72)
6. Usuki Singing Star #1 (Rarity 89)
7. Usuki Singing Star #2 (Rarity 87)
8. Usuki Singing Star #3 (Rarity 85)
9. Woodland Elf Usuki (Rarity 79)
These are some of the most commonly-found Usukis and they range from 300 Neopoints to about 7200 Neopoints. Not too cheap, but not too expensive either. And they act as great fillers to any gallery. They are not exactly anything to be proud of, but do not forget, size matters (no double entendre intended here) in a gallery. I mean, especially if your goal is to reach a full and complete gallery, something which I may add is extremely difficult to achieve, then you definitely have to add the above Usukis into your collection. If you are cash-strapped or a beginner at the moment, the above Usukis are great too, if you wish to begin your journey toward becoming a great Usuki Doll collector. Always remember, start small and build upward, that is how all great and inspiring collections are made!
#3: Building upward: Whether you proceeded with Step #2 by including a base collection or not, Step #3 is the most vital part of your collection. This is the main body of your collection. Usukis at this level are mostly, if not always, above the minimum Rarity of at least 90. As you probably have found out, it is rather difficult to find Usuki dolls of low rarities. Most Usuki dolls have a rarity of about high 80s onward. In fact, it is not too difficult to spot Usuki dolls with Rarity 95+ around Neopia. The bulk of your collection should be built around these dolls. No only do they look pleasing, with their detailed and special designs, they are also rare and valuable, and this would definitely separate the serious collector from the fickle hobbyist. Some of my favourite Usukis at this level are:
Geisha Girl Usuki (R90): 23000+ Neopoints
This hauntingly beautiful Usuki doll comes complete with a red satin kimono.
The description says it best. This is absolutely one of my favourite Usukis as a budding collector, due to its relatively cheap price for such a lovely design. The colour and concept of the Geisha Girl Usuki is a fantastic addition to any gallery, as it denotes vibrancy and elegance. An absolute classic and a must have!
Shop Wizard Usuki (R90): 25000+ Neopoints.
Complete with wizard hat and matching cloak, this Usuki will search out the biggest bargains, just for you.
I love when Usukis dress up as other Neopian characters like how this one dons the wizard hat and matching cloak as the Shop Wizard. There is something quizzically humorous and parody-like about this, and it makes for an absolutely interesting addition to any collection. A steal at only 25000 neopoints.
Battle Faerie Usuki (R93): 200000 Neopoints
This delightful Usuki Doll is dressed just the Battle Faerie.
Things get a little serious here and you have to have a slightly bigger budget (well, *cough* more than slightly, but still...) At 200000 Neopoints, this Battle Faerie Usuki surely is not a steal. However, who can resist such a wonderful doll, made to tempt even the truest Battledomer. Dressed in the same shade of emerald as the Battle Faerie herself, the Usuki version sure packs some huge pizzazz. Definitely a must for any serious Usuki collector.
Gardener Girl Usuki (R97): 300000 Neopoints
This Usuki is all prepared to make her garden green. Comes with spade and 4 packets of seeds.
Ahhh... the good ol’ simple life. This cute Usuki is said to come with 4 packets of seeds for good measure. Of course you do not get to see the seeds, but that is another matter altogether. This plain-looking Usuki comes at a price tag not to be scoffed at, though. Be prepared to save up a bit! Otherwise, restock a bit more.
#4 Getting Them: Well, to collect these dolls, there are obviously few ways of doing so. The most convenient but not the most cost-effective would be to hang out at the Trading Post chat boards, where restockers post their latest catch for a hefty sum. Now be prepared to cough up a hefty sum if you are willing to buy Usukis from these people at the Trading Post chat boards. Remember always to do a price check first at the Trading Post itself, so as not to be cheated by a scheming reseller (Yes, such people exist, duh).
The second way would be to lurk in the Auctions and snipe a good deal. Usually items sold here are cheaper than usually sold in the Trading Post, and sometimes, a great bargain may pop up that is much lower than Trading Post prices; therefore, sniping Usukis here would save you a bundle as a collector. Competitors exist here in fair numbers and are rather experienced, though.
The third way, and the most cost-effective way, would be to wait at the Usuki Shop itself and wait for a restock to come. You would be buying it at distributor prices, which are EXTREMELY low compared to reseller prices. However, you could spend an entire day before the rare Usuki you want pops up, and even then, you would be competing with fellow restockers for that rare Usuki. (Extreme competition here - Just think a rare slab of meat thrown in the centre of many hungry vultures.) So if you wish to go with the third way, you would have to be very lucky, very quick, or have a lot of time on your hands to just sit and wait around for your lucky break to come. Choose whichever way suits you.
Well, there you have it, the steps of starting your own Usuki collection! Very soon you’d be on your way to read Advanced Usuki Doll Collection Theory. But that’s another article for another time. Till that, earn more, stay safe, play fair, and have fun, people.
(P.S. I’m selected! Yippee! Thanks)