I'm writing today about the subject of counterfeit/recast Forgeworld miniatures and my experience with one that I purchased.
A little while back I saw a link from one of my Facebook contacts to a site where you could get EXTREMELY cheap recasts of popular Forgeworld sculpts, direct from China. The price for a Blood Slaughterer was low enough to get one just to see what it was like (it was also the only model they offered that I already had) so I placed my order and after a whole heap of comically nonsensical emails I had one in the post.
I'll just say before we get any further, that I had no intention at any stage of switching my purchasing from Forgeworld to this website(They had a lot of World Eaters stuff that I could have bought up on sight) as I am a big fan of the Forgeworld as a company, the customer service of the staff and the ORIGINAL designs that these great sculptors create. I just wanted to see what the recast was like and to be able to do a comparison to the legit items.
Ok, here we go.. Most of us have purchased from Forgeworld and know the deal, occasionally you get the odd malformed piece but they are always very quick to remedy the situation by sending you the new component you require OR, by sending you a complete new set of what you just ordered. The quality of the models has always been great for me and I have never had any bubbles or holes, the mold lines are nonexistent or very minor and the detail is exceptional.
With that said I might as well just get into the pros and cons of the counterfeit Blood Slaughterer I purchased. Starting with the Cons:
Packaging - The kit came wrapped in brown butchers paper with no bubble wrap. While nothing was broken it could have been a recipe for disaster! My Forgeworld orders have always come in a box/bubble wrap combo that well protects the contents.
Instructions - The recast had no instructions in the bag. The Blood Slaughterer instructions I got from Forgeworld were pretty basic on an A4 sheet but they gave me a decent enough understanding to figure out where the parts went and in the case of the extremely poseable Blood Slaughterer model, which joints were for which legs. Had I not already built one of these I might have ended up with some of the legs incorrectly built.
Assembly - The kit was not made of a friendly resin. I have no idea about this sort of thing chemistry wise but I know that when I was cutting into it or filing back some of the parts, extremely dangerous smelling fumes were coming off the model, even through my t-shirt (dodgey-brothers). This is never present with FW resin, I am assuming they use a higher quality grade or safer resin in their miniatures.
The other thing about my kit is they had only cast up one side of the feet(A pair for each leg), which meant I ended up with all lefties and had to cut and modify the feet to get them to mate with the leg.
The kit ended up taking twice as long to construct to a priming level due to the amount of work I had to do to get it to a similar, though not as good, level as my legit Blood Slaughterer.
Detailing - Lack of detail in the miniatures, I guess it's like photocopying a photocopy, it only gets worse each time you make a duplicate. There were also a lot of mold lines present and seams down some of the limbs. There were bubbles in the end of the ball joints and broken edges where there might have been an airbubble and it had then collapsed.
Conscience - I knew it was wrong, building it made me feel like I was stealing directly from Phil Stutcinskas, who other than being an incredible miniatures designer and painter (He made the original Blood Slaughterer), is also a top bloke. Even just for the purpose of a positive comparison in the favour of Forgeworld on almost all accounts.
And now for the Pros (Strap in, this is a long list!):
Price - This is literally the ONLY redeeming feature of the kit, at around half the price when you weigh up shipping costs to the real thing, the recast Blood Slaughterer is way out infront of the Forgeworld item, or is it...?
How much would I say that the following were worth:
Piece of mind about my purchase not ripping off a designer that I'm a fan of,
Instructions for assembly,
An odourous inclination of danger in the materials(My spoodle might now have lung cancer!),
The time it took to build and repair the kit (double that of the legit one),
The fact that there is no warranty support with the duplicated feet components,
The lack of detail over the legitimate one that it is sitting next to.
$30? Yes. That was the difference and as with most of you, for me time is money. That extra hour alone that it took to do the repairs on the kit is nearly worth $30, let alone the list of the other cons of the recast vs. the legit miniature.
Would I buy another recast to round out my trio of Slaughterers in the squadron? Not on your life. At a time were money is tough for most of us I would actually rather wait a while, save my pennies and buy the real thing than get the recast now and deal with the same dramas again.
I also strongly believe that the support for a company that copies anothers products then undercuts them will eventually lead to the death of the fantastic sculpts from Forgeworld, or it will at the very least slow the rate at which they are released.
Will I game with it and keep it in my army? Yes, but it will always be tainted.
I have no doubt it will always roll a '1' to hit with that impaler cannon and at some time in the future will crawl it's way off the display shelf and smash itself to pieces in an attempt to undo the heresy created by its existence. At such time I'll probably have to call the poisons information centre and admit myself and the family to hospital due to the fumes created by the explosion.
What do you think about counterfeit miniatures? Do they sing a Siren song to your sense of entitlement/cheap-bastardness?
Some pics, they don't really show much in the way of poor quality but it will give you an idea of the models I am talking about:
Gladly reporting that 'they' don't seem to be offerening the recast items anymore at last check,
Edit: Two of the other boys have a piece to add on the same subject so this post is now part 1 of a trilogy.