Now, I use mostly genuine kits if able. But there have been times where I was forced to purchase recast kits.
Strictly speaking most, if not all, recast kits are illegal. Those that do recasts, they simply do not have either proper rights or licenses to produce those recast kits. Then why is it allowed? Well, it’s not exactly allowed per se. The overall market for it is so small that it’s not worth lawsuits.
When it comes to garage kits, you always battle with availability and price gouging. As for availability, you need to know that you do not purchase Japanese garage kits from online/regular shops. They are almost always sold on events. Middlemen (aka Scalpers) put them for sale online. Or in some rare cases, legit buyers sell theirs for some extra dough.
Now, if you are living in Japan, acquiring such garage kits can’t be too hard. You just need to attend such events. But, as a foreigner in a Canada, getting those garage kits firsthand is high fantasy.
For me, the only way to acquire such kits is frequently visiting Yahoo auction, Mandrake, Amazon Japan, and some other obscure sites that deal with second hand goods. Then use a proxy service to get them delivered although some sites do ship internationally directly such as Mandrake and Volks store.
So, what makes me to purchase recast kits? There are some conditions. If the kit in question is not available at all anywhere for a prolonged period and if there is a recast kit available, then I go for it.
Another case is extreme price gouging. I will point such a case to T’s system Maho garage kit. The original price of that kit is around 10,000yen. The available price on the net by a scrapper was around 33,000yen. You can tell when something is sold by a scalper when a price tag is pretty high.
Well, I went off topic a bit. The main point of this entry is comparing a genuine garage kit with a recast kit of the same kind. Yes, I purchased a genuine kit and also purchase a recast kit of that exact same model.
I am sure that you can tell which is the recast kit. The model is GuP Anchovy 1/20 scale garage kit by Poly-Toys. The recsat it is by GK Taiwan. The availability of Poly-Toy kits is very low because the club sells their kits only via events. There are some for sale on sites but generally their kits are hard to find.
Additionally, for what you get, the price tags for Poly-Toy kits are expensive. A small 1/20 kit like above will cost around 50 ~ 70 USD. A recast kit is available for half of that price range.
Now, the most important part. The common conception is that a recast kit is always inferior when compared to its original kit. Logically, that sounds obvious because a recast kit is cast from its original kit.
To explain it differently, a recast kit manufacturer does not have an access to the original mold. He is casting it from a kit he has acquired.
So, in a nutshell, it works like this.
The original mold 🡆 A genuine kit 🡆 A recast kit.
Objectively, I can tell that the genuine part (right) has a smoother surface. However, it is a really faint difference. From a distance, you won’t be able to distinguish.
Again, objectively, I can tell that the recast part (left) has a rougher surface, but it’s really minor.
And actually the genuine part has a tiny hole which isn’t a big deal because you can simply fill it or let paint cover it. It is, regardless, a fault. The recast part has what appears to be the same fault but covered up by resin flow.
What it means is that the fault on the genuine part is a fault on the original mold.
And yet again; the recast parts have rougher surfaces. Other than that, the difference is virtually nil.
The rougher surface may not matter because it’s only very slightly rougher which, once covered by primer/paint, won’t be seen at all.
These ones, I cannot tell any difference at all.
There are some factors to consider.
First of all, GK Taiwan is one of better, if not the best, recast groups. They do this on a professional level. Therefore, it is understandable why their recast kits are almost on par with original kits.
There is another recast group that do it professionally which is E2046. I have yet to purchase anything from them, but the words on streets are their recasts parts are worse quality than GK Taiwan.
Secondly, the kits I’ve compared are 1/20 scale. They are basically tiny. If there is something bigger to compare …. Actually, scratch that. I will point to T’s system Maho recast kit. It is, by far, the best recast resin kit I’ve ever handled. The quality is on par with Volks resin kits. I am quite convinced that that specific recast kit is better than its original counterpart even though I’ve not handled the original kit.
I reach that conclusion because I’ve, so far, handled 30+ genuine garage kits. None of those genuine kits reaches the quality that Volks bring. Therefore, based on my sample size, I am convinced that GK Taiwan recasts kits are on par with its original kits.
Am I recommending recast kits then? Not exactly. The point of this entry is to see whether the conception of recast kits being worse than its original kits is true or false.
The short answer is true. Recast kits are worse quality.
The long answer is that the difference is so tiny that, in the end, it doesn’t matter.
Well, until next time.