Recasts: 3 reasons why we need to avoid illegal or unauthorized miniature copies

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It’s common knowledge, but still kind of a secret. Everyone knows about them. We are talking about recasts: illegal copies of miniatures. No well known miniature company is safe from this practice. These illegal copies are either found in the second hand market or directly by those looking for a 70% discount or more. Copies from recasters, most of the time from China, are at first glance an option to acquire otherwise expensive miniatures at affordable prices. However, by doing so we are ignoring the damage that this does to the industry behind this hobby of ours. Believe it or not, this industry grows out of passion and love, the same we pour on every project on our workbench.

It’s not difficult to find recasts, or at least, know where to look for them. Famous search engines of Chinese products show easily references of companies like Andrea Miniatures, Nocturna Models, Young Miniatures, Knight Models, and many others. Even so, I think this issue began with Chinese copies of Forgeworld references. Here in Spain we call it ‘Chinoforge’, the one that pretty much everyone has heard of.
They were available on the ebay site of the Chinese network named ‘Taobao’. Without remorse, there was a supplier that recasted the catalog of Games Workshop and Forgeworld reselling it at a ridiculous price. It didn’t take long for GW to take action, and after a while it became nearly impossible to find these copies online.

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Despite every measure taken, with the evolution of websites and social networks, recasting has become nearly unstoppable. Illegal sellers proliferate on second-hand portals, ebay, e-mail contacts and even mobile aplications for peer to peer trading. It’s come to a point that, as I said before, this damage can only be prevented by us, the consumers.
It’s very easy to make an illegal copy of a miniature, especially if the country where it’s made has bad labour policies. The difficult thing is to develop a miniature from scratch, starting with an idea that begins with just a few pencil strokes on paper. All that artistic work, ranging from concept, development, sculpting, marketing or quality control, has a price. That is the price of any original model.
We basically pay to perpetuate the work of each and every one of the artists involved in the birth of this miniature. We pay for quality in finishes and materials, and the most important of all:
We pay so that the company we like so much is able to surprise us again in the future with yet another piece to continue enjoying our hobby.

COMPARISON

There is no better way to understand the lousy quality of these recasts than by putting them in front of their originals. For the sake of this report, we have acquired a couple of Chinese illegal recasts as well as their respective originals, and we are going to show you in detail why there is no point at all in buying these pieces of bad plastic.

The models chosen are both from Forgeworld, the ‘Elysian Tauros Venator’ and the classic ‘Lietpold the Black’.

Although you will see the very evident differences, during this comparison you will find the original piece on the left pictures and the recast to the right.

For a better comparison, I have cleaned all the copies of excess resin and plastic. This had to be done because it was nearly impossible to identify many of the pieces that came attached to large blobs of resin. Also, the resin used for the recasts is a very smelly material, with a very weak and brittle body, and you have to be careful with it at all times. In addition, as you will see later, the casting is not good and irregular surfaces of material are very evident. There are sticky areas and others that are shiny showing where the resin has not properly cured because of a bad preparation mixture.

LIETPOLD THE BLACK

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As expected, the pieces to assemble are the same as the original. They are very complicated to clean, and with a lot of burrs. Obviously, as you will see now, the original copy has very good quality in every detail. It’s material has still some margin for manipulation, as opposed to the one in the recast copy.

At a glance, recasts appear quite similar, but when looked at closely, important flaws become evident. The surfaces are very rough, have lots of pores and bubbles, there are important burr steps or details covered by extra resin. A lot of resin has to be removed, rectified and even replaced with putty. Even so, this work is not enough to come even close to the original. Judge yourselves.

ELYSIAN TAUROS VENATOR

In the case of this piece, originally from Forgeworld, I had a small problem with the recasters. Despite asking them to send me the fake ‘Venator’ model, they sent me the normal fake ‘Tauros’ model, a shorter version than the one I requested. However, basically it’s the same piece, without any add-ons, so it works to do the comparison. Both have exactly the same parts.

Just as with Lietpold, the amount of resin and burrs it has is endless, making it especially difficult to find out what belongs to the model and what is left over. In addition to this, the flat parts are not flat by any (ANY) means. They are bent or folded, transparent and rough surfaced.

As you see, this is nightmarish no matter how you look at it. Also, these fake copies come without any instructions (as opposed to, of course, the original Forgeworld copy).

CONCLUSIONS

After evaluating each and every aspect that could lead us to look for a cheaper product, we see that getting the original product will undoubtedly make our experience with the miniature hobby much better. We see three key points to avoid these false copies:

  1. Mainly because it is ILLEGAL. These ‘companies’ do not pay any IP rights. Salaries of their ’employees’ are probably atrocious and, above all, they undermine the business of proper companies endangering their countinuity.
  2. For the good health of our hobby. Because without these proper companies, our industry would never evolve and improve, and we would probably go back to painting flat detail-less DIY miniature soldiers (with all my respects towards them).
  3. Because even considering the amount of money saved, it does not make up for the atrocious quality received. Seriously, if you received the package and looked at it carefully, you would understand what we are talking about. And we wouldn’t want you to go through that.

And if after reading this article you want to do something positive about this, it’s quite easy actually. If you happen to know of any second hand recast seller, or on-line store selling these fake products, we encourage you to contact the corresponding company affected so they can take proper measures against it. Only we can act effectively against miniature recasting!

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Unconditionally passionate about our hobby, Norberto Álvarez has been in love with figures and static modeling since he was 11 years old. Nor is an active and enterprising collaborator of many projects related to our community, contributing with ideas, work on social networks and the Internet. A regular in national events wherever they are, huge advocate of hobbying with good beer and friends ;)

30 COMMENTS

  1. You’re obviously not using a good recaster, also you haven’t mentioned the cheap cost of resin and how much profit is made on resin models.

    Recasting is a side effect of greedy companies or individuals that take hobby members for granted.

    All of my recasts are better quality that forgeworkd or other manufacturers.

    I’ll never buy legitimate versions now with the re casts being so good from where I get them from.

    • Greedy company?
      You have not idea about, a totally ignorant. Try to pay a good concept designer, a good sculptor, a good painter for box art, than doing promotion, pay tax, location, bills and what else and don’t forget you need to have profit for time and risk you took. The cost of your model is not only resin, but a sum of the voice, buy from a recaster and you are a thief like the recaster itself. A model is too expensive in your opinion and don’t worth the money? OK, rightful, don’t buy it, but if you buy from a recast is like steal the model.
      I perfectly understood is time wasted, but something in me hope you understood the type of scum you and your friend are.

      • Totally agree with you, it’s morons like them who are putting a nail in the coffin of our hobby, I bought a recast by mistake off eBay, I thought I was buying a genuine Pegaso figure, when it arrived I knew instantly of the mistake I’d made, everything that is bad in a casting was plain to see, the main thing being it should have been cast in white metal and was instead a poor resin cast instead, thankfully eBay took action and swiftly booted this pirate off.
        The people who are buying the recasts are ruining the hobby for the simple reason they are are robbing the people who bring these sculptures to life for us, without out these creative people this hobby won’t survive, so are slowly killing it, why would companies carry on if someone is going to rip them off, a lot of these companies are small industries they can not take the financial hit, they are entitled to make an honest living by buying off the pirates, you are steeling money from the people you admire, else why would you be buying the figure in the first place, no doubt the scum who buy these are the same who don’t pay for their music and probably have a stash of rip off DVDs too, stop being cheap skates support the talent or loose it.

      • Some companies sell their original 28mm figures for less than £1.50 yet other companies sell theirs for £8. The first company produces models that are far better sculpts and casts than the second. How can anyone claim the second company is not greedy, and yes the second company gets targeted by pirates and the first doesn’t. I dont buy recasts, and I don’t buy from companies that charge more than I think is reasonable.

        • Exactly so. Recasting gives these filthy companies a taste of their own medicine. “They’re entitled to make a profit’ sure and I’m entitled to shop around. There wouldn’t BE re-castes is the prices were reasonable in the first place. The elitism of GW is a prime example; They go so far as not allowing official models in their store tourneys, even when a reasonable counts-as. Reap what you sow. If you plan on punishing players (and I mean PUNISH them) when you compare what you offer for what other reasonable vendors offer, you find re-castes are a result of your own actions.

    • Its about supporting companies that support your interests by creating models and figures you enjoy.

      Now, companies like Games Workshop are a ethical grey-area for myself, because their business practices/efforts are not in consideration of the gamer (in my opinion). But, from my experience, smaller manufactures like Andrea, and Pegaso, and Scibor, and Blacksmith, etc. are doing this with the intention to create a well costed, and quality product. Their heart is closer to their craft, and I could not justify owning their product while paying someone else for it. That’s despicable. I say choose wisely and ALWAYS go with the origin of the art if possible.

  2. Adding on to what Shane Rozzell have said and more direct. that is a crap attitude, and glad I don’t know you and have anything to do with you. But good way to name and shame yourself, although I doubt there is any shame there. as you seem to be proud of the fact you steal form these companies.

  3. Just out of curiosity, what about recasts of long out of print miniatures, or miniatures from defunct companies? Many RPG fans turn a blind eye to PDFs from defunct publishers, but studiously pay for legitimate PDFs from current publishers seeing the former as “preserving the history of the hobby.” As in “I’d pay the IP holder for this if a legit copy was available, but since the company is gone/author is dead/etc. I’ll just download the PDF for free…”

  4. Greg Smith, omg, really ? clearly you have no idea about running a business… you think that when you buy a model you pay just for resin ? What about sculptors that, due to their skill got pay really good money, what about shopfloor operatives, what about other staff, customer service bills etc. Man, either you are some kid, troll or just an idiot with no capacity to think logically.

  5. @Greg. You aren’t using a recaster, he is using you.
    The cheap cost of resin you mention would only be associated with recasters. For legit business there is high quality resin, concept art, sculpting fees, box art, advertising and labour, please don’t minimise this with a flipant statement.
    Recasting isn’t a side effect of greedy companies, I have known some companies unable to meet rent and worse still some have gone out of business. They take all the financial risk to give a miniature its origin, why shouldnt they be entitled to make an honest living?
    If you are honestly trying to peddle such nonsense as recast being better than originals you are either seriously deluded or an outright liar!
    Finally, are you sure you aren’t a recaster?

  6. I´m not into recasting but what I find ridiculous is Games Workshop’s prices. Many other companies offer products as good as theirs or even better for a lower price.

  7. @Greg smith : Everyone before me has already said what is correct. You are stealing. Plain and simple. You’ll argue “but I haven’t taken anything and the owner of the IP still has their product.” But here’s the kicker…

    (tldr; THIEF!)

    You stole the right to use that miniature in your games, to paint it and to present it to your friends IRL or on social media. You stole it. You’re a thief. You stole the rights to that model. You stole the profits from a miniature company that puts food on their table, heats their homes, takes their kids to sports events/cinema (more on this in a min)/etc. I bet you steal music and movies. You give that profit to someone that doesn’t pay tax in this country. Did you complain about the Starbucks/Amazons/other tax dodgers?

    This really rips ma knitting this! It is the same, in my opinion, as downloading movies and music that you haven’t paid for the right to see. You know what happens? Prices go up. The price of the cinema these days is ridiculous. It’s partly to do with inflation, but mostly due to the declining numbers of people going. And people have stopped going because why spend £20 on a family trip to the cinema (10 years ago) when you can get the movie for free. Now we have to spend £40 on a family trip to the cinema. DVD prices haven’t gone down. We haven’t got a global Netflix style service with all movies available. And I firmly put the blame into the hands of piracy aka stealing. Things like Kodi make it seem harmless – oh you clicked a few buttons and bingo it is there without any effort, so it must be harmless. No it is killing the cinema. And it’s not Hollywood that is getting killed. (and here I come back the argument) it’s the small independent places that can no longer get the movies into big cinema chains because they won’t bring in the numbers to cover the costs.

    And that’s what will happen if recasts become a thing.

    Games Workshop won’t disappear. But some of our niche names might disappear over night. Look at Rackham from 10 years ago. They had major financial crisis, had to take crazy decisions… Gone! They were producing beautiful miniatures (crazy complicated game) but they were cut the margins too thinly. Because there truly is no real money in the miniatures business. It’s all for love. So recast companies will push this margin further and further. Recast companies will be making more profit than the small indies as they don’t have any other costs. Soon they will be 3D scanning and 3D printing and mass producing making more profit.

    So the person being greedy here is you. Not the original miniature companies.

  8. @Italeri Games Workshop prices are high, but they are not massively greater than companies like Knight Models. GW also has a massive network of stores. How many of us would not be hobbyists if it wasn’t for our local GW?

  9. Ive loved games workshops products for over 20 years now but im finding it harder and harder to justify spending so much on their products…especially after they tried so hard to stop us here in australia finding cheaper prices overseas, ill continue to support gw by buying genuine products but im not going to pay the crazy prices they want is to pay here

  10. Big mistake to highlight just one country for recasting. This scourge of the hobby is a worldwide problem.
    Anyone reading this would be excused from thinking that any cheap kits from a country other than china are OK.
    Recasting can come out of any country, I can think of at least seven countries from which recasters regularly produce illegal copies.

  11. I’ve never bought a re-cast and never will. It is wrong but it is also stupid. The resin used is crap, brittle, with a lot of detail being lost and probably it is even toxic. I wouldn’t take a recast even if someone gives it to me for free.

  12. It looks all of you here have enough money to afford 300 pounds a month to spend on models. Sorry, I do not. And I do not buy the excuse ” hey, this is an expensive hobby”. Bollocks. I have been here buying from my local store from the past 25 years.

    After what number model those artists are paid ? I mean, yes, you have to pay sculpting, designing, producing…But after a certain amount of models sold, the rest is profit.

    If I had to choose between paying my electricity bill or having a dread saurian , its crystal clear. That does not mean I only buy from a recast seller , but expensive and big models worth of the discount .

  13. I have no remorse whatsoever for GW. Those are the nice guys who brought us age of sigmar, which made great armys obsolete and huge investmenst of time and money into them void. And don’t forget about the spacedwarfs aka squats. Another army made unplayable. They should suffer! Suffer in the worst way possible.

  14. Nice article, only preaching to converted. As evidenced with comments, for a lot of folk price is the issue and they will choose alternative, albeit poor quality. Right now, a few companies simply stopped selling to Russia as their figures instantly get listed on pirated stores. There are precedents in Russia where local manufacturers took re casters to court and won damages, so it isn’t an issue of legal vacuum in those countries, its inability or non willingness to pursue action. Ok fair enough, our companies are small and action costs. But if they got a fund together and I am sure there are enough lawyers between hobbyists that can support it pro bono. If that was to happen then there is a chance of changing something. Appealing to modelers if futile in my opinion, there is not enough power in that argument to change buying habits. And when issues of copyright are at stake, it fascinates me how Nuts planets are ripping off HBO with game of thrones piracy, yet they are the most in vogue celebrated manufacturer. Cant have it both ways, either strict on piracy or not.

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