Max Factory recast Guyver 0 Kit
To be fair, I must say that these comparison photos are a bit unfair. The white casting was difficult to photograph to show contrast detail (even with angular lighting), so I sprayed it with gray primer after applying a dark wash. Primer always softens detail, but it's pretty much a given if you're going to paint the thing. Anyway, try not to be influenced by the blotchy coloration and focus on the detail (or lack of it).

The bottom picture shows it pretty well, especially with the striations at the neck and around the silver ball thingie. The recasting also looks slightly out of focus (which it may be), but the lack of definition at the chin is simply because there isn't much definition there for the light to create a strong shadow. The pictures show some other obvious casting flaws, like the dimple in the other metal ball thingie, but there are things that the camera doesn't show very well that you notice in person (with magnifiers). Again, to be fair, this is a small part with extremely fine detail that might pass a casual examination by unfussy persons.

Max Factory recast Guyver 0 Kit
This was a bigger piece and easier to photograph, so I left it in its original white vinyl casting. It's many times actual size, so that tends to show flaws that you'd hardly notice at actual size (have you ever looked at your skin under magnification? Ick!) It's clearly a better casting from a less worn mold, with the striation detail intact.

 

Max Factory recast Guyver 0 Kit
The amazing shrinking vinyl. Since I didn't build the recast kit, I can't show you a full figure size comparison, but you could probably extrapolate the cumulative effect from the shrinkage ratios shown here. (The Max Factory kit is 18.9 cm to the tip of his horn, minus 1.5 cm to the tip of his head (since the recast's horn isn't as straight)). Guyver 0 is one of the taller Guyver kits, so the shortie might be appropriate for conversion into a Sho Fukamachi or female Guyver. (On the other hand, the kit Guyvers are smaller than the articulated ones, so they might look odd displayed together.)

 

MONDO GUYVER 3

02/04/2010- Recasting be bad!!! Well, I'll try to steer clear of the moral issues here, except to say that if you're an artist of any sort and trying to make a living off of the stuff you create, know that humans are generally slippery weasels whose moral compasses are conveniently situational. If you want to beat 'em, take up home-building or something else that can't be easily cloned. Personally, I don't have an owner's stake in the battle since I don't sell the stuff I make. Nyah, nyah!

Back to the "recasting be bad!!!" lead-in: I'm actually referring to the issue of quality... but that's not always necessarily so. In this case I'm talking about a Siamese recast Guyver 0 kit I purchased at eBay. Yikes!!! I know that being an enabler has its own moral issues, but I bought it because I was curious, and because I thought I might use the head casting for a female Guyver mod (being uncertain that my eyesight would be adequate to sculpt the fine detail) and because the sucker was dirt cheap. Generally speaking, the original prepainted Max Factory kits from the early '90s are rather difficult to come by nowadays, especially if you're looking for something specific. The Guyver 0 head is close to the female Guyver 2's, but I wasn't willing to sacrifice my Max Factory Guyver 0's head. I also didn't want to spend on moldmaking and casting supplies for this small thing (the supplies have a limited shelf life-- use 'em or lose 'em). Like I said, the ethics can be awfully situational for us slippery weasels, and we love rationalizations...

The quality of castings and recastings isn't necessarily or intrinsically bad. With the right tools, supplies and good technique, a casting can be virtually indistinguishable from the original to the naked eye. Molding and casting supplies can capture extremely fine detail, down to tiny pores in flesh. Recasting's reputation for poor quality probably comes from the fact that anyone can do it and recasters can't stop at just one casting. To recoup costs of the supplies and make a profit, they cast many, many copies from the molds, sometimes using them far past the point where they've deteriorated and need to be replaced. Each casting takes its toll on a mold, particularly if it's made from a soft and flexible elastomer that makes it possible to cast undercut detail. Another factor is that anyone can do it, including folks that don't have good technique, equipment for degassing the chemicals, and don't care about the chemicals' shelf life. The result of all these factors are what recasting's fairly well known for: Bubbles, pinholes, "sweating" castings, and soft detail. Of course, if you're only in it for the money, that's irrelevant since cutting corners means more short-term profit. On the slippery slope scale of morality, I think it's a better path than taking money at gunpoint (of course, nothing says that you can't do both).

Besides the issue of quality, another interesting feature of the recast parts is that they're noticeably smaller than the original parts. These castings are made of vinyl, and I'm not familiar with the stuff or the process, but I do know that standard polyurethane resin (the rigid stuff) doesn't have anywhere near this magnitude of shrinkage. There are mold-making materials that advertise this as a feature; doing it from the casting side could have some useful creative applications. For straight recasting though, I wouldn't consider this a good thing.

If you're a die-hard collector of Guyver stuff and missed Max Factory's kits and Bio Fighter Wars figures during the first go-rounds, the cheap recast kits on eBay may seem like a very attractive alternative. Although it's possible to produce a very faithful kit with undiscernable shrinkage and excellent detail capture, my gut feeling is that you won't find that on eBay for under $20. However, if you're a reasonably-skilled modeler, the kits may be an acceptable framework for building your own custom creation, as long as you're willing to do the resculpting.

 

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