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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Clones and Recasts

These two terms are often used to describe copies of figures and they are sometimes used interchangeably. But is a clone always a recast? Is a recast always a clone? Perhaps it is clear to most of you what the difference is, but when I first started collecting figures I thought they meant the same thing. So what is a recast? A recast is a newly produced figure made using the original mold. Recasts might vary in color and even plastic type from the original figures, but they are pretty much the same in terms of detail. A clone is also a newly produced figure, but made with a mold that was derived from an existing figure. Because the molds are made using liquid rubber, the resulting mold shrinks a bit once the rubber cures and the figure is removed, resulting in a smaller figure and less detail. Sometimes the mold is produced using a figure that is already a clone, which makes the figure have even less detail. The pictures below illustrate the difference in size and quality of the resulting figures.

The picture above shows a recent recast of a 1970's Japanese Airfix figure to the right of the original figure. Note that while the color and even type of plastic is a bit different, the level of detail remains constant. You can also tell that the same molds were used because the injection points and the seams -where the two halves of the mold meet- are in the same place.

Here we have a clone on the right side of the original figure. Very noticeable difference in size although the level of detail is still fairly acceptable. The injection points and the mold seams are clearly different.

Above we have two clones side by side. The one on the left comes from China. The one on the right comes from Mexico. As you can see, not all clones are created equal. The one on the left has lost a lot of detail. It looks like they even had to add back or resculpt the rifle and the hands. What seems strange is that the one on the right is smaller even though it has apparently gone through fewer copies. It might even be a first generation clone based on the level of detail, but perhaps the rubber they used for the molds had a greater shrink factor. The other possibility is that the clone on the left is not a clone derived from an original figure but a low quality resculpting job insipired by the original, with its own new mold.

Here we have all four figures next to each other. One last thing to note is how the clone manufacturers trim back the size of the base. They must be trying to save as much as they can on material costs.
Click here to see pictures of Japanese Infantry in action.

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