Thursday, February 9, 2012

[Adept Zero] Counterfeit miniatures review, Part II

Not a single one of these is from Apple.
The upside is that no one committed suicide while making these.
As an addendum to RedScorps' review of knockoff Chinese recasts, I'd like to share my own take on it.

What I will NOT go over is the basic moral, legal and ethical issues surrounding counterfeit and knockoff goods. This has been discussed ad nauseum in many posts all over the Net. I will not share my personal beliefs on the issue because 1) no one cares and 2) REALLY no one cares.
I will only be discussing the items in hand and my experiences in acquiring them.

First, let me just state for the record that while I assumed that large scale recasting existed, I was sure that because Games Workshop is a fairly niche manufacturer in an equally niche hobby, the number of well-organized counterfeiters would be few and far between. I believe I was correct in that assertion. The only "large" scale Chinese operation I've ever discovered is the same one used by RedCorps for his review, and it's also the same one that BoLS mentioned in their "expose". In fact, I found the URL by copying and pasting a grammatically incorrect sentence that was quoted from the site into Google.

The broken English made it a little difficult to navigate the site, and the fact that the site was a template (in some places, they have not removed the placeholder text from the origial files) did not inspire confidence. Despite those dubious initial observations, I ordered about 20 dollars worth of bits...enough to do an evaluation, but not enough to freak out over if the company turned out to be fly-by-night.

It took about 15 days for the items to arrive, which was impressive considering their stated "up to 20 day" average delivery time and the fact that the delivery fell across Chinese New Year. It arrived as registered mail and it was packed very well, but the box was definitely recycled from another application, so I imagine the boxes are hit or miss.

I ordered a set of Blood Angel Rhino doors, Deathwing shoulder pads, SM command squad torsos and SM command squad backpacks. I may have been a bit under the influence when deciding on the torso/backpack combo; I had some plan in mind, but it has escaped me.So let's have a look, shall we?

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There's not really a lot to say about these. They are well-cast for the most part (two notable exceptions in the next section).  You can see in the image above that there is some flash at the edges of the doors, but it's not much more than FW products.

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The resin is hard but not brittle and does not suffer from the very strong odor that Redscorps guess is that his Blood Slaughterer was a newer pour, so the fumes had yet to dissipate.

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The torsos are one-piece, but they don't show the typical artifacts indicative of copying a copy. On a side note, I'm getting really annoyed by the fact that I cannot remember why I got these!

Not all was perfect, however.

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These Deathwing shoulder pads (pauldrons?) look OK from a distance, but some of them show some slight distortion. It's not a huge deal, but if you are a perfectionist...well, I guess if you are a perfectionist,  you probably wouldn't order from a shady counterfeiter anyway.

It's not as much of an issue for the tiny pieces, but the flat Rhino parts had some inconsistencies in thickness. You can see it with this backlit shot:
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I doubt that it will be noticeable after painting, but I imagine that other large flat pieces will suffer from the same variances.

There really isn't a lot more to say about these. They are a cheap, tolerable set of bits. No bubbles, no outright miscasts, and apart from the two things listed above, no issues.

Will I order from them again. No, but that again stems from my personal set of ethics. I would never dream of trying to dictate or judge other people's behavior, especially in this age of complete relativism. But let me leave you with this:

You can debate the pricing strategy of GW and FW.
You can deny the efficacy of international copyright law.
You can self-justify just about any action by saying you're "sticking it to the Man".
But buying anything when the ip owner is not compensated IS stealing by any definition, be it Rhino bits from China, a bootleg version of Army Builder from a torrent site, or copying a DVD.. How you come to terms with that is each individual's unique methodology. More power to you.

I will be writing a more personal take on this at my blog shortly. Peace out.


  1. what's the url?
    I think it's a great story. good job running through it all!

  2. I had the same issue with thickness on a piece from Forgeword, on and Ultramarine Rhino front piece. So it is not just because it is a counterfeit. There are also a couple Russian copy cats that are pretty big as well. Can find them on Ebay a lot.

  3. While I totally agree with the overall post, I think copying is just not stealing. You can't steal an idea. When you steal something, the original is not there anymore, when you copy something, you have it twice. Now, you could argue that by copying an idea you are stealing a competitive advantage of the other.

    That's not to say that copying is right. That is a somewhat subjective moral question. But copying is not the same as stealing.

  4. I have acquired a few of these. I have never seen a great piece that was worth the money. It does work for scenery on the cheap though