Spotted the 1st toy pitstop, Wan Nian Commercial Building, on the first night at Taipei. It sits at the intersection of Xi Ning South Road (sometimes indicated as Si Ning S Rd on maps) and Emei Street (actually pronounced as Er Mei Street) in the popular Xi Men Ding area.
For the uninitiated in Mandarin, ‘road’ is called ‘lu’, ‘street’ is called ‘jie’ and south is ‘nan’. So foreigners can ask, “Where is Er Mei Jie and Xi Ning Nan Lu?” if they require directions to Wan Nian Commercial Building. For the Mandarin pronunciation of the building, please see the title of this post. ‘Wan Nian’ is sufficient since this was how I noticed the locals refer to it. Ok, now on to the pitstop!
Heading into the building, the building directory gives an indication of where the toy shops are probably located – 1F to 4F. To be precise, the toys shops are scattered from 2F to 4F. B1 is a good place to head to for food after all that walking around.
Heading up to 4F by means of the escalator, I was most excited to see a big display shelf filled with Gundams in it. “Hit the jackpot! Let the hunt begin!”, I thought to myself. 4F probably has the most toy shops. However, most caters to model kits(e.g. Gundam, planes, ships, tanks, etc.)… and model cars. The later are a rather beautiful lot. What would be of some interest to me are probably chogokins. Unfortunately, no 1/6 stuff in sight. It’s Michael Bay Transformers season so Hasbro Transformers toys from the movie are displayed at the front of most shops but not in large quantities though.
3F has fewer toy shops. The only shop here that I’ve heard of is the Gway Gway Gun Shop. It’s a replica firearm shop. Pretty good arsenal of replica weapons line the display shelves on both sides of the shop’s walls. And… this is the shop with the most quantity of 1/6 figures for sale. And it is not a lot. And the selection isn’t great. It’s rather poor. No Medicom, Hot Toys, Enterbay or Sideshow here. Just some old Dragon figures. The selection is a small fraction of what I have seen in Hong Kong’s UML hobby stores. But do visit Guay Guay for the guns!
2F has 2 shops that are of interest – Hot Dog Toyz and an unnamed shop. This particular branch of Hot Dog Toyz carries a small number of Medicom 1/6. The latest of Medicom figures I spotted was the Enter the Dragon Bruce Lee. There was 1 Medicom Stormtrooper. The remaining are the older Medicom 1/6 figures. Other stuff that can be found here are chogokins, super sentai, Saint Seiya, anime stuff and the venerable Gundam. My advice would be to visit its other branch as highlighted in this post.
The Unnamed Shop carries more Sideshow and Hasbro Star Wars stuff. I spotted a Leia Boussh 1/6 figure here. A minimal number of Master Replica stuff are on display here as well. Happy to see something familiar but honestly nothing spectacular.
Wan Nian as a toy hunt location really pales in comparison to Hong Kong’s CTMA Centre. For the 1/6 hunter, there’s not much here worth buying to cart home in your luggage. Prices reveal no real bargains. The closest to something rare in the 1/6 aspect would probably be found in Hot Dog Toyz. Gundam kits, however, are aplenty and if these are overpriced in your country, this may be the place to get it. Prices for kits are cheaper… similar to the Hong Kong Gundam kit scene. If you are a fan of model cars (e.g. lambo, porshe, F1, AE86, WRX, etc.), the shops here seem well stocked.
What Wan Nian excels though is its numerous fashion clothes shops. The fashion hunter will win the day here anytime. The selection range is good. The toy hunter will not have a problem dropping off the lady here to go find toys in peace. They will be lost longer than you can look at toys. So set a time to meet to prevent the tables turned on you! The food level in Basement 1 is also home to many savory food. Remember to check it out.
And oh, there’s an Internet cafe at the top level of Wan Nian should you need access. Pretty hard to find Internet services in the city.