checking the ol' moral compass


Master Member

this is to check to see if im kicking off the new year being a good boy, or if im gonna be on santas naughty list this year.

please note, this is COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL. i lack the molding/casting skills god gave a retarded monkey with tourettes.

4 scenarios. opinions wanted on all 4, and just be bluntly honest about feelings, etc. this is not only to check me and my morals, but to sort of be a moral compass for any newbies to the hobby. sort of a "good/bad prop/resin karma with bitchslap you FAST in this hobby" warning.

on to the fun.

1: i bought a thingy on ebay. this thingy is awesome. i love this thingy. the only problem with this thingy is it would be WAY cooler if it had lights and sound. therefore i want shiny new thingy with lights and sound.

do i
a: contact the seller, say "yo dude, im like totally dropping this in silicone and im making some spare copies for me, cause i wanna make it light up and make noise. never planning to sell em, just wanted to say thanks for an awesome replica", then proceed in dunking in RTV regaardless of "ok" email by seller, and then using said copies as beta tests till i get my awesome new shiny light up and noise making thingy, chunk the beta test castings, and tear the mold up.

b: not tell the seller, cause he might freak, but make a few copies for me, and then proceed to use said copies until i manage to get one working. keep the mold since i worked this out, and in case my new shiny light up thingie breaks or snaps, i can cast up a replacement for me.

c: pester the seller to make one with the shiny light up and noise making stuff, and if they say no, just feel bad and move on with my life, and not make or own the shiny light up and noise making version?

story 2. little easier, just a 2 option answer :). i am digging around in my greeblie/prop whatsis box (as any collector/kitbasher has a box of misc stuff too neat to throw away, but too weird to really warrant using RIGHT NOW). i come across a mystery doohickey. its made of resin, but i have no idea where i got this thingie from. the idea i have for a project will involve 5 of these things and i have only 1. since this is for a personal display thingie that i dont plan to sell, i decide to just lob it into silicone, make a quick and dirty mold, and finish up my costume. take pics, hang out with chicks cause my costumes cool, then set the thing up on the shelf. 5 months later i decide to sell this to pay rent or buy food or just get rid of something thats dusty.

a: do i post pics up and say "here is my costume thingiemabob. it is awesome in its pure sheer awesomeness. bid often and leave me rolling in the dough." and proceed to make money off the costume i wont wear again. the detail pieces are tiny anyway, and who cares. its freakin little tiny doohickey that i didnt even remember owning. could have had it for years, or at least months.

b: post up an auction, but NOT include the piece that i had recast, since i have no idea of the origins, and just say "hey, i recast this from a thingie i found. no idea where i got it, but it wouldnt be honest to sell it with these things. ill give you the measurements to make your own though", and if the maker of said items comes upfront about it, pass the info on to the person or get his ok to give the parts to the guy with the costume.

and story 3. i have a prop. no idea where it came from, just spawned from the pike of "to do's" that anyone has in this hobby. could be 5 years old, could be a year old, no idea. big dusty box. its neat, but i know i want a set of em. i mean one is awesome, but 2 really makes the display.

a: recast the one i have (minimal shrinkage due to first gen casting), and make my display set. dont bother anyone with pics or trying to track down someone across 15 diff boards and at least 3 years. if you sell it, sell the set.

b: try a few boards, and hope for some luck and a decent price on the second one. if you dont get a bite or a nibble after a few months, plop it in the silicone and make a display. if you sell display, make sure to either include the spare at no cost or just chunk it in the trash bin

story 4. kids birthday party (like 6 or 7 years old), something completely non prop related. say a star wars theme. you have an old luke ESB resin saber from god knows where, never finished up and just sitting there. you think the kids are gonna go completely apepoopy over the lightsabers. only a few days till the party though.. hmm....

a: ok to recast resin kit into a kids playtoy without asking who made it and getting permission.

b: go to the store and buy toy lightsabers, not as cool, but since you dont know the maker and you are in a crunch, itll have to do.

my personal answers on these are as follows.
1: c
2: b
3: b
4: a... only because its virtually impossible for a kid to get one of these, know what it is, recast it, and start selling em on ebay. you can substitute harry potter wands and a lathe and measurements taken from an existing wand in the collection, and use those instead of the star wars theme. same diff. its purely there as a situational thing, not a "i have one on the workbench." thing. something somewhat hobby related but not really enough to care about. a kid, and a toy.

anyone wanna chime in on em, decide your own answers and post em, and the reasons behind em?

note, this is NOT a bash someone thread, or a pick a fight with someone thread. its a public way of saying what you think about recasting and what you would do in the given situations. i think my compass is set right, but im open to debate as well. plus, as i said, lots of new guys to the hobby, and ive yet to see a thread pop up that starts out with "recasting is bad" unless theres something involved with that person and thier prop being recast.

so..... any takers on the quiz?
Oh, my.

Read the C.O.C. and make your judgment, but IMHO, if you dip your 'what-ca-ma-call-it' into RTV, and the part is not, say, obsolete military surplus, then you just recast it.
Too much reading, Chris.;)

ON the board, I'd say people generally still frown upon recasting (without permission) of ANY kind. Make sure to always ask first, and if you don't know the source, try and find it out as best you can. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. If someone had simply asked me, I'd have said yes. But since they didn't, I was pissed about being stabbed in the back.

OFF the board..................THIS one anyway................the gray area seems to be moving further into the direction of tolerating recasting and actually PROTECTING recasters. There are some boards that protect their own members like a brotherhood of recasters, and if you accuse them, they give you the old "don't come in here accusing a well respected member" line. Because, of course, they're all buds, usually from the same group, and next in line for one of the props the guy is selling.

....................Or ABOUT to sell, but since they like to mince words, they're "not selling". :lol Sad, really, when those people are the mods/admins themselves. :rolleyes

These same people accuse the RPF- which seems to be the only place frowning on recasting anymore- of being "Recaster Nazis". Go figure. And this is why it's becoming more common.
Don't know how much help I might be - I re-cast my moral compass years ago and flooded e-bay with the things. ;)

I have almost no casting experience, but to me, if you've got a cast 'greeblie' and need more for a single, personal project, go ahead and cast them. I bought a clear-cast TOS P1 that didn't include the front emitter box. I took my 24th Century Pistol kit, found the needed piece, pressed it carefully in to a small piece of Sculpy (my mold), then mixed up some 5-minute Epoxy (clear), thinned it with denatured alcohol, and filled the mold. It took a couple of tries to get the mold correct and the right mix of Epoxy : Alcohol (gets rubbery with too much alcohol), but end result I had a clear copy of the frame, attached it to the phaser, and it looks great. The mold has been recycled, and test pieces thrown away. The Phaser will never leave my collection. End Result IMO: No one lost revenue, or got hurt in any way.

An possible alternative for the kids party: IMO you could make up four or five sink-pipe hilts in the time it would take to cast and finish as many resin hilts. Use 1.25" pipe instead of 1.5" so it fits the kids hands better. 1/4" insulation for the handgrips. The 'clamp' can be made by getting a section of sink-pipe with a connector end. This end allows another 1.25" sink-pipe to slide on to the first. Cut a clamp-size length and slide it on your hilt pipe. Glue in place. Activator box can be made from plastic, wood, anything handy. An old PC card with an edge connector makes for a fine activator plate. 'ears' can be made from thin sheet metal. A pop can would work. The red buttons could be made from two sections of wood dowel. That's most everything.

Originally posted by Rodann@Jan 2 2006, 01:50 PM

OFF the board..................THIS one anyway................the gray area seems to be moving further into the direction of tolerating recasting and actually PROTECTING recasters.  There are some boards that protect their own members like a brotherhood of recasters, and if you accuse them, they give you the old "don't come in here accusing a well respected member" line.  Because, of course, they're all buds, usually from the same group, and next in line for one of the props the guy is selling. 

....................Or ABOUT to sell, but since they like to mince words, they're "not selling". :lol  Sad, really, when those people are the mods/admins themselves. :rolleyes

These same people accuse the RPF- which seems to be the only place frowning on recasting anymore- of being "Recaster Nazis".  Go figure.  And this is why it's becoming more common.

You know, I have been silent on the recast thing, but watching it unfold. I agree with the above that I notice a greying of the line between morally right and wrong. I look at it like this...I didn't sculpt it. I didn't do the leg work involved in sculpting it. I see it as wrong to RTV any of the things I own, even if my friends find them cool baubles. I would rather take the money, buy from the original creator of said "cool" item and give the item to the interested friend. I don't mind playing intermediary to get someone else into the hobby.

That said, it does seem a few of the newer members are thinking along that grey line of "well, I did buy it, it should not matter I do with it". I love the stuff I get. I love the crafters for doing the crafting and show my love for it by giving them my hard earned money in exchange for their hard work.

Hydin, some of those are indeed tough points to ponder. I like the resin saber one, myself. That said, I would get more enjoyment from giving it away and letting that kid get a thrill out of it. I can always find another, especially from here. That kid or whoever may not have the same avenue to this (really really)expensive hobby.

I may be an ass, but sharing is caring.:)
Originally posted by Qui-Gonzalez@Jan 2 2006, 01:41 PM
That said, it does seem a few of the newer members are thinking along that grey line of "well, I did buy it, it should not matter I do with it".

Exactly. Especially if they get it on ebay, and claim not to know the source. Because they now OWN it, they rationalize that they're recasting their property. :unsure I can actually understand where they're coming from, but that's why it's a gray area.

I know of at least one well known recaster that tried to get something he bought off ebay recast by a prop shop (in a medium he was unfamiliar with), and when they asked for the source, he couldn't supply one. When they refused to recast it, he resorted to threats. :lol His reasoning seems to be that HE's been recast, so it's OK for him to do it. :rolleyes
1: a/b. I think this is sort-of all right to recast a prop for your own personal use, if that is the only way to improve on an item. But the recast should replace the original in your personal collection only. It is not OK to recast to make multiple props for yourself in any way, not for doing multiple versions, not for doing "a set", not for one on the shelf and one to wear to conventions etc.. You should also tear up the molds when you feel that you are done, preferrably also the original.
Of course, It is not OK to sell a recast (you or somebody else have cast) unless you have the original maker's permission, even if you have modified it. It is also not OK to keep a recast and sell the original.

2: b. But you could do some research before selling and I think chances are that you would get an OK from the maker, if you asked. Do a search on this board about similiar items. Find which people post in threads discussing similiar items, and ask them personally. If that fails, post a thread with a photo of the original item.

3: b, but not quite. In general, I don't think it is OK to recast an item to get multiple copies for yourself. I can understand your point if it is something really hard to find where the original maker or copyright holder has left the hobby/gone out of business, died or whatever. Even then, if you sell the original, do not sell the recast.

4. b. Kids toys/grown-ups' toys, does not matter. And kids have parents...
You don't want to get into an argument with a prop-collecting parent at your kid's birthday party ;)

Resin is awfully smelly and dusty to work with anyway.. so why bother with it in the first place? :p
I am in agreement with ro'dann as well.

A lot of other boards i sort of "ghost" through have a very very easygoing attitude towards recasting.

the problem is, there is "good" recasting, and there is "bad" recasting.

having been on the board as long as i have, i know the diff between "good" and "bad". "good" being a studio or in movie prop, "bad" being someone elses work.

i tried to mix it up a bit with the questions to have em actually make you think a bit. everyone, regardless of what they say, will buy and sell something eventually. i seriously doubt i will have something in my collection until the day i die.

the kids thing was just one of the better "think about" ones :). kids are gonna love lightsabers, and a quick and dirty afternoon of casting can net you enough to give the kids at the party something to play with. hell, an afternoon at a wood lathe and some spare dowel rods have you with some harry potter wands.

recasting is a "grey" area, and that does suck. its not as black and white as it seems, but overall the general idea is ask the maker if its ok, if you can. if you cant find the maker after making a serious effort (not a 1 post on some board no one frequents effort), then recast but dont sell.

i find the lax attitude of recasting in the hobby to be a bit unnerving, and somewhat disrepectful. i havent had anything recast personally, but i have only had maybe 3 project runs, and even then, most of it was hardware/found items :)

but, if you can get someone to think about something, and try to teach em the right way to go about things, there is hope for the hobby yet :D

A very enjoyable read :). Very good scenarios because they involve some interest in doing good as well. Here is a bit of an off the cuff response if you don't mind....

If you obtain something from someone you know, it's obvious to ask before recast. If you don't know them, it may not be appropriate to ask or they simply don't care. OR they will respond with a NO. You could insist that you are only making X copies for yourself. One for the living room, one for the basement, and one for safe keeping in case the kids destroy the other two while the parents are away :). This is not unlike burning CDs or DVDs for yourself. It is unlawful to sell copies of DVDs or CDs. Presumably it is also unlawful to make a copy of a CD, even so you can take it with you in your car...just in case it gets stolen or scratched (what if it's an import you can't buy anymore?). Or is it unlawful? I can photograph a rare painting I purchased for insurance purposes. But could I make a photocopy of the painting? That would be a reproduction which is a no-no.

If you cut down a tree in the forest and no one is around and it is a protected forest do you tell anyone that the tree fell? :confused The question is...who owns the forest? Let's say it is the biggest tree and it took you a long time to find it. Does that give everyone the same right to cut it down? Cutting it down has it's own moral/legal issue, but once you have the tree, and it is a special, collectible tree, then you can take it's seeds to make more trees or cut up the tree to sell as kindling. The owner of the forest probably won't be happy his prize tree was felled, but the deed is done, it came into your possession through hard work, and so you have no right to it as a collector of nice trees? What if a seedling falls off your tree and someone picks it up and grows their own tree like it without asking you? They could think that the seed came by me so I picked it up and grew my own tree. Nothing wrong with that you say? BUT, what if that person who picked up the seed KNEW that the tree and therefore the seedling belonged to someone else? That's where the honor among collectors of trees comes into play here. Not between the collectors and the owner of the forest but between the collectors themselves.

If you recast something you purchased but keep the copy to yourself is that a bad thing? By recast I mean copy without permission which is I assume the definition we use here.

Recently the concept of the studio having final rights to an object has been used to justify the blatant recasting of items obtained by members indirectly through the studio. If one of us here "collects" one of these studio pieces or a copy of a studio piece, doesn't that collector have some right to the piece AS A COLLECTOR? It's like....I found this so it's mine to do with as I please. But if someone takes that piece from the collector and copies it for themselves without permission, that would be recasting and that is a collector going against a collector. Permit that to happen, and the hobby breaks down. Are all props or replicas obtained through legitimate sources? Probably more often not than yay. Do we question the legitimacy of sources for props? Well we can question the authenticity but I don't see the kind of soul searching that goes on regarding the original source of props or replicas versus the behavior of collectors here toward each other. There is an honor system at work among collectors, written or unwritten and it is based on trust. If you get something from the source (that is there is no one else that could have purview above your immediate contact) then your decision to make copies of something without asking the source places the trust between source and collector in question. Is that the same or different from the trust between a collector and another collector? The problem can be where the source is defined by one collector so that the other has to assume there are some collector rights involved...those rights can be real or fabricated. But then the bottom line is that one collector will have the item FIRST. Just as in the gold-rush of yore, the first to stake a claim gets the prize. How the claim was staked can be a matter of some debate. But if you reduce it down to its simplest equation, if collector A takes item X from collector B and makes a copy without permission, that is recasting. If he asks collector A if he can make a couple of extra copies for himself, and collector A says YES...then is that still recasting? Technically it is as far as making a copy but if definied by permission only then, no. So the problem here is with definition. Is recasting the process of making a copy or is it the copying of something without permission? These two possible definitions have been used interchangably leading to some confusion here IMHO....

anyway enough of my rambling...


sithlord, you pretty much nailed a good point of mine on the head.

we, in the hobby, need to come up with a better word than "recast" for the PERMITTED CASTINGS made off an original or a replica.

recast can be good, or bad.

i can say "oh, wakal gave me permission to recast his mummy scarab so i can finish my book, my other one i bought from him got stepped on" and its ok.

me taking said mold and selling hundreds of the lil buggers on ebay is NOT ok.

there is a big bold diff between the two, one good and ok and accepted by the hobby, and one bad, not ok, and should be swatted down pretty quick.

to take it with another example, if guntahkelah (sp? sorry man, dont remember anything past the G, normally shorten you to GK) had given me permission to recast his ranger medals to give to orphans at my next hospital visit, thats ok, and the pieces are recasts. its a good recast though.

what happened to him, where some jackass just basically ripped off and copied his work rather blatantly is also recast material and is very very wrong.

this general same term, and the "grey" area that it falls into, seem to me to be the biggest problem causes in the whole "recast" arena with newbies and us old dinosaurs.

terrific post :)
Lets not forget the gray area of board members purchasing screen used items, and producing recasts of stunt and hero props for sale.

In some cases they are doing this with the permission and participation of the props creators. Other times, not.
i think if its a studio (i.e. original movie) prop, its ok.

mainly because... well, no ones making em cept the prop company for the movie, and by the time the movie is out, they arent making em for that anymore.

i guess it depends on the prop in question to be honest. look at the trooper armor debates that run through the board like @#$%. through a goose. its best to have the "off movie" armor, but yet its bad if its from this guy, but ok from another, but not ok if its a custom sculpt cause its not good enough, etc.

not a gray area.. thats more like a gray country :)

Very good thread and an important topic.

Here's another scenario that has been spooking in my head recently, totally fictional of course:

Let's say I got a resin cast replica and I know it's a first-gen casting of the screen-used prop. Now, what I wanna do is NOT to recast it (for whatever purpose), but to SCRATCHBUILD it using the measurements from said first-gen casting. Let's assume I have some skill in scratchbuilding and I keep comparing my model with the real thing etc... Bottom line is: My scratchbuilt replica of the first-gen casting looks dead on. You really can't tell the difference. If you were to see both items side by side, look very closely and measure them with a caliper, you could determine some minor differences in measurement. Other than that, they are virtually identical.

I proceed and drop my master into RTV and sell it as my work. I of course don't sell it as a 100% accurate piece but state that it was scratch-built by me using accurate measurements.

Now, would that be considered recasting? :confused
I would consider that to be recasting as well. Someone elses leg work got those measurements and credit should be given to that person. If they did not share those measurements openly then they have their reasons.

Similar circumstance.....I saw board member Jack Bauers pics on another site for these awesome looking modified stormtrooper helmets. I wanted to attempt to bring this picture to life by building one of the versions he drew. 2D object being converted to 3D object.I thought about it and said to myself...basically it's his design, I will ask.
He gave me the okay to attempt this project. Sadly, its one of many projects that now sit on my worktable waiting for me to get back to it.

I like that old saying...... *Bill Cosby voice* "Never dip your stick in someone elses pudding".
Live by that and you'll never go many areas. :D
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