Monday, January 25, 2016

Genuine Parts? The Question of Fakery?

On we continue with the catch ups.  I've been looking to rationalise my Orcs and Goblins of late for Kings of War, and this has meant buying additional figures to get units up to size.

I've gathered a group of mainly plastic Orcs to make another horde of sword and shield warriors, but I found myself a couple short of the full forty, and fancied the idea of some classic metal models to lead them.  Of course trawling around ebay for classic metal miniatures is a business that's normally a major risk to your wallet; so it was with a degree of suspicion I clicked buy on a set of Orc Big Un commanders for a mere £2.50!

Am I going to get shafted in some way I thought, are these ever going to appear, or will the vague listing turn out to only be for one of the three models?  In fact neither of these happened; but when the Items arrived I did postulate one other reason for the price being so low...

Big(ish) uns
Something about the models did not ring true, the casting detail looked a little bit soft, and the metal itself was certainly not the contemporary white metal - lacking that 'clink' sound or brittler texture of newer models.  It is possible that as models dated 1996 they pre-date the change, but then again, this doesn't look like twenty year old metal.  Add to that the fact that the seller has the same set of models up for sale again, along with a selection of other remarkably cheap Citadel miniatures, and the suspicions are overwhelming.

In principle, forgery is, I guess, criminal.  And of course if these are fakes someone is profiteering from the IP of another business.  But to play devils advocate for a moment, GW will never make these models again.  It is possible the moulds are worn out or even destroyed anyway.  If you want them now you have two real choices: buying often extortionately priced pieces from an ever diminishing supply, or taking your chances with knock-offs.  Now if a figure company keeps product in manufacture, forgeries are unacceptable, of course; if a manufacturer sells its' licences or designs on, fine.  We all know this is not how Games Workshop plays of course; and this is what leads to a black market for fakes.

Would I personally go looking for fakes? no.  You are only going to get inferior product one way or another; but sometimes inferior is not substandard enough to throw away on sight.  I would always prefer to know I was paying for the real thing.  But, if these are fakes they are good copies, if they are genuine, they're not GW's best, and the seller doesn't understand their worth.  It's a compromise either way.

It'll make me look more carefully at 'too good to be true' deals online, but if occasionally I get a dubious bargain, I'll just have to tolerate it.  After all I can't know if I haven't ended up with the odd fake in the past and not even spotted it.

Can I?

Any opinions yourselves?


  1. If I was as suspicious as yourself about these or any other models I would ditch them, preferably to someone who can recast the metal legally. (I have done this already with several tens of figures)

    If they were a recast of a manufacturer that I knew personally I would give them the figures and also the seller information.

    I would not want to encourage a younger wargamer (possibly one of my kids) to accept that forgery is acceptable.

  2. PS

    If you really need a few more 'big uns' let me rummage through my lead mountain, I may have some somewhere. Not sure if I have officer types.

  3. Pretty much the same as you... I'm of a generation that read Featherstone's "Military Modelling" and immediately went off and started making metal copies of Airfix figures.... truly execrable copies to be honest... I wouldn't choose to buy copies, but if I ended up with some I'd not necessarily lose sleep...

  4. I've been caught out myself in past with a selection of Rogue Trader models! It really irks me as I just don't like having fakes in my armies; it's not a moral thing I just resent it! I know what you mean about the metal not feeling right on recasts.

  5. The only comment I'd make -

    Was the seller retailing these as actual GW minis eg did he list them as "GW Orc/Goblins [or something similiar]?

    If he was attempting to mislead buyers into thinking they were buying geniune GW figures (and from what you've said that sounds like it may well be the case) then I'd suggest that's fraud which is a criminal offence rather than infringing someone's copyright (which is a civil offense).

    My own suspicions are that a lot of this goes on with Foundry and Perry minis. Not only are these flavour of the month (well, years now actually...) but there's an awful lot of these that are sold "new" but loose as opposed to still being in the blister. You may draw your own conclusions... O.o

  6. A fake is a fake. If someone else is profiteering off the back of another persons hard work it is at the very least morally wrong. We can't pick and chose which parts of the forgery business we like and dislike - either it is acceptable to produce "knock offs" or it isn't. for me it isn't.