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When it comes to copyright infringement, China's manufacturers sit in the corner humming loudly with their fingers in their ears. Being able to widely ignore the patents and copyright law of the West has caused an ever growing industry of ‘copycats’. This has resulted in a deluge of cheaper, and usually poorer quality, products, all of which have become widely available and easily accessible online. Even Games Workshop has been unable to avoid the attention of these Chinese manufacturers as more and more of its products are being recast and sold for discount prices.

So what is the stance on this subject? Is it outright immoral to fund these cheap copies or is it on Games Workshop to provide a more economical product? In this article I hope to explore both sides of the argument and find out if there really is a right or wrong when it comes to recasts.


Before I begin to explore the moral maze of recasts I thought it would be best to actually take a look at one of these miniatures myself. So I headed over to the website Yoymart.com (before it was shut down by GW) and picked up a Death Korps of Krieg Commissar for roughly a third of price of its Forge World equivalent. Fast forward to roughly a week later (surprisingly fast from China) and my
recast arrives.

Opening the box I was greeted with a resin Commissar who, at first glance, looked to be of a pretty good quality. While there were some slight smoothing over of details, once painted it would be hard to tell it apart from its legitimate counterparts. The resin was however, of a noticeably poorer quality. The surface had a slightly mottled texture and was much more brittle than Forge Worlds material. It appears though that I was pretty lucky with my choice as I have read of others having problems with their recasts. Most notably with larger kits where parts didn't quite fit together as well as they should have. So from a purely objective view, we get a much cheaper product at the expense of a poorer quality material and less sharp detail definition. 

Price

So why do people By far the biggest, and the most obvious, advantage to these recasts is the price. If you can overlook the minor flaws getting models for between a half and a third of the RRP is extremely lucrative. This is especially true for the Forge World miniatures which are even more costly than their Games Workshop cousins. For someone on a budget being able to pick up the same miniatures for a fraction of a price makes places like Yoymart worth considering.

Availability

Another, less obvious advantage of recasts is that you can often get your hands on limited edition or out of production minis. Alternatively you could head over to eBay, the home of inflated prices on hard to get Warhammer. But if you don’t mind not having the genuine article there is always the cheaper Chinese option.

Quality

If you decide against the genuine article then you're going to end up with a poorer quality miniature both in its material and level of detail. While my own experience wasn't too bad I have seen copied miniatures which misaligned casts, air bubbles and warped features. Were you to have these problems with genuine GW or FW products then chances are you could get them sorted out pretty easily. The same cannot be said for these third party sellers.

Morality

While this may not bother some people as much as it does others there is always the morality of knowingly purchasing a copy. Instead of putting money in the pockets of the people who put the
effort into making the original miniature, you are simply giving it to someone who is making money off someone else's hard work. I would propose that this mentality has seen an increase in recent years what with the growing number of people who torrent music, videos and software.

Summary

When it comes to this subject I think there are two main sides to the argument. One is that it is outright immoral to purchase recasts of miniatures regardless of their price or legality. On the other hand you will have people who believe that were the original items not so overly expensive then they wouldn't have to rely on copies. However I personally, would side with the former argument.

While I wouldn't think any less of people who choose to buy most of their models from the recast market I don't agree with doing it myself. My first (and only) purchase from Yoymart left me feeling like I was cheating. It might seem to be a strange idea but I think that most of all its unfair to everyone else who pays for the official products and keeps companies like Games Workshop in business. While I can understand that Warhammer and wargaming in general can be quite expensive its part and parcel of the overall experience. Yes you may have forked out $25 for a single plastic miniature but so has everyone else. It is an expensive hobby but I don't think that is a good enough reason to fund those who leech off other companies work,









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