Every once in a while, I sell some of my prop or costume replicas. The object is to occasionally let go of one or two pieces in order to help pay for the materials to make more stuff.
If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you would've read about the weeks-long processes involved in building the prototype versions of my pieces as well as the days and dollars spent making the molds and castings. By the time it's done, the few dollars I make selling copies is barely enough to cover the costs involved in making them. Mostly I'm just trying to fund my projects while sharing the hobby with someone who perhaps doesn't have the time or the space to build their own prop or costume replicas on the same scale as I do.
Unfortunately, someone who knows how to make molds could very well take one of my pieces, make a mold of their own, and sell copies for profit. I've been lucky in that it hasn't happened to any of my work. Until now.
Back in March I sold one of my HALO helmets on eBay to a woman in Guadalajara, Spain by the name of Beatriz Alvarez de Lucas. Less than a month after buying my helmet, she had built a mold and started selling knock-offs. So far you can see her recasts of my work for sale under her ebay username "beamoviesculpt" as well as the name "etexillo." Click here for an example.
While recasting things like this may not be strictly illegal, it is definitely unsavory. I sent her a message asking her to stop selling copies of my work. The reply she sent me included thinly-veiled, vague legal threats, but the most offensive part was as follows:
"...I don´t need your permission to sell a helmet that I buy on Ebay. IfIn essence, this woman has taken my work and started selling copies of it without asking permission or giving me credit of any kind. When I asked her to stop she said, in essence, that people steal her work all the time, so it's okay for her to steal my work as well. Now she's trying to flood the market with cheap copies of my helmets. That's why it's bad for me.
you are sculptor, you have to know that anyone can buy this helmet and
casting after. Many of my sculpts are casted after selling and relist too.
But I can´t do anything. If you are not in agreement, I´ll ask to Ebay for
Here's why it's bad for you: If you decide to start a project like this, you may choose to get yourself a raw cast replica to paint up and display in your game room or office. When you start looking around for a suitable piece to start with, you find two listings of seemingly comparable helmets; mine and hers. You can buy hers for ten dollars less after shipping, but that's where the good deal ends.
When you buy from a hobbyist like me, you get a product from someone who cares about what they're doing, someone who is genuinely concerned about the quality and appearance of the finished product, someone making something because they love it. Conversely, when you buy from a recaster, you're buying from someone motivated solely by profit. What you'll be getting is going to be a lightweight, fragile casting made with the bare minimum of materials. The mold will have been made by cutting corners and skimping on materials too, leaving dents or waves in the surface of the copies.
It's worth mentioning that there are plenty of capable, competent makers out there who are making high-quality replicas. If you decide to buy from me, great, but if not, try to find one of those folks who is making things for the joy of making things and not simply trying to make a fast buck. If you can't tell the difference, ask a potential supplier to show you progress pictures of the original build or explain the provenance of the part they're replicating. You'll be glad you took a moment to find out who you're dealing with.
In short: boycott recasters, stick to folks who build things they'd want to own.