Recently I have seen several people (mostly on Dannychoo.com) showing off their very first painted resin kit projects and have met others who are genuinely interested in trying one for themselves.
I think it’s great that others are trying this rather niche hobby out but one thing which props up quite regularly is the question of recasts.

For those who don’t know, recasts are basically bootlegs. Someone, somewhere will get their hands on an original resin kit from events like wonderfestival, create molds from the parts and then produce duplicates of the kit. That is basically what a recast is. I know that some members of the painting community frown quite heavily on the practice but I’m not one to judge. Heck, I have a couple too! Having said that, I do try my hardest to get an original and I hope that this post will educate new builders about the difference between the 2 so they can make their own informed choices on whether or not to buy them.

But first, a quick quiz. Below are the main head and body parts of 3 figures. 2 are recasts and one is a genuine original. Can you figure out which one is the original?

Answer: The one in the middle is the original.

For those interested, the one of the left is a kit of Asagi from Taimanin Asagi, An eroge turn H anime. Not for the squeemish as it’s pretty brutal. The original kit is of fate Testarossa in Twin Zanber form from Nanoha StrikerS. The one on the right is Takamichi Nanoha from StrikerS. Can’t have Fate without Nanoha now can we?
Both Asagi and Nanoha were purchased from E2046. Expect to see all 3 in the future.

Asagi was present in the summer wonderfestal this year while Nanoha was first seen in the Winter. Unfortunately, I took too long in organising myself this year so all the kits were sold before I could try nabbing them via Yahoo! Japan Auctions. Hence why I went for a recast.

The first thing you will probably notice is that the colours on each kit is different. This is due to the different quality of the resin used to make the kit. Fate has a somewhat cream colour as it’s the highest quality resin of the 3. Those of you who remember my early shirly pic may remember that she was pure white.
Asagi and Nanoha, on the other hand, are not so lucky. Nanoha is distinctly more yellow and Asagi, strangely, has a red tint to her.

Luckily the impurities don’t seem to have affected the kits too badly, I have heard of horror stories regarding recasts from Thailand and Korea which were very poor quality and broke easily. Asagi felt a little harder when I was removing some of the flash for the parts check while Nanoha felt very soft. That may become an issue when I start sanding down the parts.

Another stroke of luck involves the parts fit for the 3. Generally speaking, Originals have better fits than recasts, for obvious reasons. But even they can sometimes have gaps in some areas. The parts for Fate and Asagi in these examples are very good, with very few problems in the test fitting I quickly performed. Nanoha, on the other hand, was not so lucky. Several parts look like they are going to give me trouble when I put her together although that may also be due in part to the poor molding process used on her.

The shot above is of the lower half of Nanoha. You can clearly see the Flash on the right hand side. This one is particualrly bad as it’s also bonded to the connector part which will help hold the upper body in place. My guess is that the seal for the part wasn’t too great in this batch, which is why this troublesome flash managed to get in. I’m sooo not looking forward to the preparation of this kit…

and therein lies the main reason why I tend to go the extra mile and fork out the (considerable) extra funds for an original instead of settling for a much cheaper recast.
With originals, there is a certain level of quality which is always met. The resin is always of good quality, parts fits are usually good and the cleanup is easier, with fewer problem bits. There’s also the prestige of owning an original but a decent kit builder can hide all the problems of the recast and make them look as good as the originals (provided there are no fundamental flaws in the recast). It just takes more time and effort. They may be more expensive and harder to get in general, but you can be sure about the quality!

Recasts, on the other hand, are always a gamble. You can never be sure if the kit parts will be correct, how much extra work will be needed, etc. I personally, like to do away with that. E2046 are good in that respect as their kits are of a sound quality and don’t have any glaring issues, even if the overall quality still falls short of the originals.

But for new starters, the prospect of forking out £70 (roughly $120) on a single kit to start out may seem like a daunting prospect so i can understand why they would go for recasts on their first attempt. I did too.

The question is what about afterwards? while I won’t condemn those who paint exclusively recasts, I do hope that those who do continue and paint more kits will try to obtain originals if only to support the sculptors and entice them to make more but even i don’t use that reasoning. I just like the feeling of owning an original and not settling for something else until I have exhausted my options.

In any case, I hope that at least some of this was informative to new kit builders and made them more informed about their choices. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask away and I will try as best I can to answer them.

And for those who are curious about the status of Shirley, she WAS complete, but I wasn;t satisfied by some parts of the last effect so I decided to redo it. But it shouldn’t be much longer now…
I still have ages before the E2046 competition deadline anyway.