Thursday, June 16, 2016
Recasts in Strange Places
Apparently the term "recast" isn't limited to dolls and bootleg toys.
A year or so ago I dived (hey, a pun!) into the world of mermaiding. It got me in shape and soon I began to research upgrades to my fabric tail. I soon learned there are people making molds of existing artists flukes and selling recast, literally recast, silicone mermaid tails.
Many of these were made with substandard materials that could literally kill you- by poisoning or drowning.
A mermaid tail of the silicone variety costs a minimum of $800 worth of materials to make. Factor in sculpting time, artist wage, etc and you're looking at upwards of $1300 for a tail depending on upgrades.
In this hobby, recast is even more tempting than dolls, but it literally directly hurts these small one or two woman/man studios and could potentially kill you.
Fast forward a bit, I'm hunting for a storm trooper armor kit for next year. Apparently recast armor is actually a thing! They literally buy a suit from a small company. No, Lucas Arts and Disney are not making 501st grade armor, so scrap that big companies don't get hurt bullshit. After they've made molds from the armor they then sell inferior copies.
These copies are again made of substandard materials. They crack, the don't hold up to sanding and painting, they aren't tough enough for trooping in. They lack detail, which often means the difference in getting a 501st acceptance.
These are not just boot leg copies, like a MLP fake. A cheap version of storm trooper armor isn't going to kill you, but it's not going to hold up. It's substandard and you won't get in.
Storm trooper armor is made by small companies often with few employees. Each piece is hand sculpted before cast and processed through vacuforming. These aren't made in big factories in assembly lines. In fact, you just receive an unfinished kit and have to sand and assemble it yourself!
This truly makes me question the materials recast dolls are made of. My recast always yellowed faster, always ended up with cracks and breaks and weak spots. We know that early recasts were made with inferior and possibly more toxic than usual materials. But overtime they did seem to improve. This doesn't take away from the impact they have on the individual artists and small companies.
The more aware of recasting I've become the more I see it everywhere and the greater the impact it really seems to have. No, dolls aren't going to kill you unless this a modern version of the Puppet Master, but it's very clear how much artists depend on your business in these niche hobbies to survive.
Not much point to this post, but just something I noticed.