Le Recast / contrefaçon
"The Recast", what is it ?
This word RECAST, is being heard everywhere right now in the BJD community. It is at the heart of lively debates, and it controvert between those who advocate it, those who fight against it, and those who wish not to take part.
The word “Recast” means “re-mold”. It therefore generally refers to resin dolls made of counterfeit, by reference to their creation process.
In order to fully understand the ins and outs of the problem, we need to look at the process to create a BJD.
1- Resin BJD creation
Here are, in a schematic and simplified way, the stages of creating a resin BJD by a small creative craftsman.
It starts with an idea, a project that is developed on paper.
Then we create the object in 3D. We can opt for different methods: Sculpture, 3d printing, mixed technique...
Then begins a long modification phase, adaptation, correction in order to improve the parts.
The joints must be shaped to be functional, to allow natural poses, while combining the aesthetic and practical aspect.
When the model looks good, it is sanded to have a smooth and clean surface.
Then we assemble the parts to check and test that everything works as expected.
Obviously, not everything works at first, and these three steps can be repeated several times until the prototype is finally validated.
This work is long and tedious, and plays a big role, it is at this moment the doll you will have in your hands takes life.
Once the prototype is complete, it must be prepared for serial reproduction: moulding
We create a box and insert each piece to mold into a half plasticine imprint. Then we cast the silicone that will constitute the mold.
We proceed twice (at least) to obtain a mold that can be opened and be reused to edit the doll in several copies.
When the moulds of all the parts are ready, the resin must be casted inside to obtain a copy of the prototype.
Once the parts are casted, they must be carefully removed from the mould.
We cut, we clean, we sand all the molding traces to have a smooth and aesthetic doll.
We string it, that is to say it is assembled with an elastic band to finally take its final form.
We can then make up the doll, decorate her to add charm and life.
The creator takes photos in order to share his creation with the community.
It is only after all these steps, a long process that can take several years, that you can finally acquire you dreamdoll.
2- The "Recast"
I am not an expert in this field because I have never had it in hand, but there are many blogs and forums to learn more about how to recognize «recasts».
So, the RE-CAST is the process used by malicious people to take a doll created by someone else, to free themselves from the stage of conception/creation, to make a counterfeit copy by directly re-making a mold. This mold is obviously intended to produce in large quantities the doll stolen from the artist to sell it fraudulently.
They can get the original doll in many ways, by stealing it, buying it, getting it from another buyer for services....
As you will have understood, the «recast» is COUNTERFEIT, it is a malicious action from someone who wants to STEAL the work of another and make PROFIT by selling ILLEGAL copies.
This raises several problems for the various community players:
3- Recast companies
For them the goal is simple, select potential dolls and sell them illegally to the largest number.
One purpose in mind: MONEY !
They don't care about the consequences of their market, their only goal is to make profit on the backs of creators.
For this, they have a very wide choice of potential targets, in all countries of the world, big company or small artist, everyone is targeted, the more they copy dolls and the more customers they will have.
Their assets: UNCONTROLLED sales platforms, VERY ATTRACTIVE PRICES.
These companies act on many internet platforms such as Ebay, Amazon, Taobao, and also have very well web referenced shop sites.
Someone little awared in the middle, or a novice relative who would try to make you a nice gift, can easily be scammed.
If you see a BJD on sale at an unreasonably low price, beware, it’s probably a fake!
The fact is that the BJD community is international and the laws on counterfeiting vary from country to country. Above all, it is very difficult to file a complaint for wrongdoing that took place abroad. These fraudsters take advantage of a complex situation to not be worried and take advantage of the vast and fuzzy internet.
It is very difficult to make your voice heard because to do so you would have to file and patent all your creations, despite that, they are only protected in countries that respect patents. If you’re not happy, you have to get a lawyer, who is going to cost you a lot of money, and go through a long process, without being sure it will be successful, to fight a stranger on the other side of the earth.
Imagine that big names like CHANEL or LOUIS VUITTON, who have means, lawyers and an international existence, cannot fight against counterfeits. How can small craftsmen win?
Counterfeits are ILLEGAL.
And we get to the heart of the matter. PRICES. If some people make the VOLUNTARY choice to buy a counterfeit it is in the first place because its price is considerably lower than the original.
It is very difficult for a buyer to understand the value of the desired good, it is normal, the one who buys does not make, he therefore does not realize the object cost.
The BJDs are sometimes very expensive collection objects, and it is obvious that in a «aliexpress» and «discounter» society we systematically try to spend less.
They are expensive because they are expensive to produce, and the creator also needs to feed himself at the end of the month, so he must take into account the time of work provided.
In an original BJD you pay so :
- The litres of silicone that were used to produce your doll
- The litres of resin that make it up, but also those that have gone to the trash in debris, casting frames, missed pieces, pieces with bubbles, bottom of cups, etc.
- Small materials, elastic, wire, magnets, paint, etc.
- The designer’s investment to provide you with a quality object: vacuum, sander, compressor, small tools (pliers, consumables, etc.)
- The creator’s working time, which amounts to hundreds of hours. If the creator charged the real spent time on his dolls, no one could buy them, but he adapted to his market to find a reasonable balance.
- Charges and state taxes because your craftsman is declared and therefore pays operating costs.
It’s true that in the end it may no longer be in line with your wallet, and the Recastor knows it!
He sells a BJD:
- Stolen, so no work time to charge for creation.
- Produced in factory in very large quantity which allows him to amortize the costs on a very large number.
(Don’t worry about the investment costs in the factory, they were funded by the thefts decades already passed)
- Made thanks to underpaid and mistreated labour (often in China or Taiwan…)
- Which costs him little in raw material because he uses lower quality materials, even very toxic and dangerous for health.
YES HE WILL SELL A LESS EXPENSIVE COPY, it is a fact. It is then up to you, buyers, to know what you want to finance, support, and why.
It’s very simple to close your eyes and say, “Never mind, I’m just a drop in the bucket and I’m not going to change anything by myself.”
Many see only the end result, their bank account. And I can understand. Why spend a lot of money for something you can have at a low price.
Yet the craftsman could not pay his raw material cheaper, he does his best to live from his passion in his country and has no choice.
THE BUYER HAS THE CHOICE, this is his greatest strength.
*He has the choice to buy a copy that will not cost him, so he can buy without feeling guilty about his expense, buy more things, spend without frustration AND fund a network of crooks knowing that it is robbing a creator when purchasing an object of questionable quality or dangerous to health. This object will be considered an illegal shame, it can never be appreciated by the community and will therefore be admired in secret only by its owner, or placed on a shelf, without any possibility of resale, it is a trash object. The profit made by the recastor will be used to finance the theft of another creation, and then the buyer is no longer a drop of water.
*He has the choice to buy an original doll, called «legit», which he will wait to buy a little longer because he will have to save money, he will have an object of value that he will be able to share with all, and to resell later when his tastes have evolved. He will have been a link in the virtuous chain by financing a creator, who, thanks to him, will be able to create other things, to lower his prices and he will have participated in de-clogging the market with the copies pollution.
Many dolls can be accessible at low cost in second hand, it remains original dolls, some owners lower prices to finance another project quickly, it is then a great opportunity, and it restores confidence in the market where currently we distrust everyone and everything and where we must prove the origin of the dolls, because of the recast and the fear it generates with the buyers.
We have to realize that recastors kill creators, steal their creations, their potential customers, and dry up the source because creators disappear for lack of sale, they no longer create, the recastors must go and harass other creators who are less and less numerous. It’s simple if they saw the branch they’re sitting on and just change the branch as they change the stolen creator. Maybe one day they will have killed all the creators and there will be no more creators and nothing to steal...
In the meantime, creators rely on the buyer community support to survive, grow, and fight. There will probably always be people to buy counterfeits because it is easier to blame others and to consume without thinking. But if you want to support the virtuous cycle of our market, you will know that the purchase of original BJD allows to finance the existence of creators, so allows them to create new things, to live from their passion and to energize the BJD community.
For an artist it is very painful to be copied. Yes counterfeiting is illegal, blah blah blah… but WHY?
Imagine you go shopping.
On your return a family of strangers settled in your house, their dog is trashing your garden, the family is eating your favorite cereal in the kitchen asking you what you do at their home! Not only do they steal your house, they destroy it and respect nothing, but they also claim ownership of this property.
Imagine what you would feel; desolation, anger, frustration, sadness, sense of being dispossessed of your good but also of the sentimental value it has for you, the feeling of being a stranger at home and the distress of not knowing how to enforce your right, fear and insecurity because your house has been stolen…
Well the comparison is not at all exaggerated, it is exactly what we feel when we are robbed of a creation that we have put all our heart to do, which has a hidden personal history, which represents time and investment.
SO PLEASE if you have empathy and respect for others, act with full conscience.
SUPPORT THE CREATORS, PROMOTE THE LEGIT BJD <3
Discussions about recast in the BJD community are often very violent, angry and incomprehensible. This discourse is frequently stirred up by events that scandalize the community.
We need to differentiate between substance and form and to think intelligently about what we say.
First we must state a fact, in the official community, we do not tolerate recast because everyone understood that it is the beginning of the death of our passion if no one creates BJD anymore.
There is obviously a community for the recast, including people who only see the financial aspect and people who have been violently rejected by the official community which has tipped their choice to the dark side. I’m sorry for those people who didn’t see the fight behind the words.
I am not a pacifist on this subject, and I am not going to endorse the recast being myself on the creators side.
BUT I vigorously refuse to martyr others. That is the purpose of this article. Explain, make understand the ins and outs of the subject so that everyone is finally able to choose in his soul and conscience. Some will always choose the wallet, others will choose to support us. For those who didn’t know, you now have the elements to choose, you can’t “not choose”.
Sometimes you own a recast by chance/mistake, a gift made by someone who didn’t know, or a purchase made when you’re not familiar with the hobby…
For those, kindly, I advise you to inquire, to talk to those who can teach you not to make the same mistakes again.
As for those who choose to finance the counterfeiting industry, YOU KNOW, you are hurting artists who fight day after day to create the originals of the copies you buy. It’s sad but everyone is free to choose, the only wise advice I can give you is not to praise for it, you made your choice, let others doing theirs.
BJD : Doll
Recast: Counterfeiting, illegal copy
Pro-artist: supporting artists/creators
Pro-recast: Who supports counterfeiting
Legit: Original, authorized model, legitimate
Community: People connected by their passion
String: Soft with elastic