Location: No. 60號, Nanning Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City
I am in Taipei on the last leg of my trek through this area of Asia. This is my first time here and I like Taipei very much. The people here are polite and welcoming. It is much like Hong Kong where this modern city has a mix of old buildings with historical values mixed in with new buildings as the old slowly gets washed away. I find everything is cheaper here, but even more so when compared to Japan. The food here, in my opinion, is tastier than Hong Kong. A few nights ago, I had the best ever Chinese Hot Pot and I can’t wait to eat it again tonight: God, it was so freaking good that even Hong Kong cannot beat it. But besides eating and sightseeing, a hardcore modeller like me has to get my fix, even on vacation.
Within the “older” area of town, just 20 minutes walk from my hotel at Ximen (西門) MTR Station is the small hobby shop call Ji Xin, located right on Nanning Road and the intersection of Heping West Road Section 3.
It is a small shop, as typical of Ma & Pa shops in Asia, but still able to cram in enough variety of kits for ships, armour, sci-fi, aircraft, tools, and a limited selection of aftermarket resin/PE stuff. It’s so small I didn’t even bother to take photographs of the inside as I don’t have a fisheye lens to do it properly. I saw kits from Kinetics, Academy, Tamiya, Hasegawa, and AFV are available there. Not a large selection but the more recently issued kits are available. That’s not the big draw for me in my opinion: the prices are generally lower than what I’ve seen in Japan – I don’t even need to compare to the prices I have to pay in Canada. For example, from memory I recall
Kinetics 1:48 CF-18 Bug Hornet is selling for $1150 TWD ($50 Cdn),
Tamiya 1:48 F-14A selling for $1700 TWD ($72 Cdn) !!!!!. In Japan last week, I saw it selling for ¥7020 ($81 Cdn). In Canada, this kit is around $135 Cdn.
Tamiya 1:48 F-14D selling for $1880 TWD ($81 Cdn) !!!!
This again confirmed what I’ve been saying all along: When in Asia, do not buy kits in Japan unless you have a hard-on for the kit and must have it, or, you’re not going to be in Hong Kong or Taiwan, or, you can’t find it anywhere else. Take a trip to Taiwan and go on a crazy shopping binge. Oh yeah, be sure to bring an extra bag or just purchase another luggage for your haul. Then again, air travel is not like it used to be as extra luggage will be charged.