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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:13 pm 
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I just read through this whole beast of thread, good discussion, lots of passionate thoughts on both sides.

Part of me thinks this thread should somehow be front and center for every new member to read, and for nearly anyone who stumbles upon this website. It’s taken me a few months to find it, and so glad I did.

Speaking of which, nearly anyone doing an online search for Vader and Stormtrooper Helmets, StarWarsHelmets.com shows up in the google search - typically ranked pretty high. If you’re passionate about recasters, Jez, perhaps a statement (make it strong?) regarding recasters on your website will help bring awareness.


There were several other thoughts I had as I was going through all of this.

I’ve loosely mentioned this a few times with a couple of members, can’t remember if I actually mentioned on this forum. I’ve had my photography stolen and used to sell another photographer, and by a few wedding/event venders and publications without asking my permission. I never received any photography credit in those instances. That’s a HUGE no-no! BIG! problem.

It really does come down to courtesy and business ethics. If the wedding/event venders and publications would have simply asked to use the photos, I’d have gladly given them the photos provided the used proper photography credit.

In the case of the other photographer, it’s a matter of business ethics. They were flat out lying to their potential clients and marketplace by suggesting they created the photography. I have a good lawyer, and she loves writing letters to these people. Hysterically, when these thieving photographers get caught, they blame everyone else but themselves. They even get to the point they blame and start threatening the photographer they stole from. It's wild, and it happens all the time. I have no idea what how their minds work.

So when it comes to recasting someone else’s work? I tend to fall on the iron fisted side. The original prop makers put in the time and effort to purchase originals (RS Prop Masters for example), research (MacClaren and Bookface as an example), mold/cast/create their pieces to the best of their abilities. It’s their blood, sweat and tears.

There are collectors who recognize and respect these craftsmen and women. They understand the significance of these pieces, and that it’s a privilege to own them. Some own a LOT. Some only want a few beautiful piece for their small collection of nostalgia. I personally fall into the latter category.

This is where I get a little sticky. :)

I have no aspiration to troop or join the 501st, so I’m sure I don’t truly understand them. …But that’s never stopped me from taking a crack. With that, I think I’ll lump the young “troopers” in with the “young collectors”.

As a reference, I’ve been participating and following in the Anovos Stormtrooper Build FB Group, and it’s been a little eye opening. I’ve also participated in a few Star Wars Props threads on the RPF, and ended up getting pulled into what I’d consider an “Entitlement” argument over the new EFX Injection molded Vader Helmet. So with that, IMO, it comes (kind of) down to this…

Entitlement - the term I used above. There are people who feel entitled. Why do I get the feeling this entitled group of collectors/cosplayers are of a younger generation? LOL They believe everything should be given to them on the cheap, and on a silver platter. These people feel you should be privileged to receive their ‘hard’ earned money.

They don’t understand the concept of the investment and work involved in making these pieces come to life. I did take sculpture and ceramics in college - I sucked. Because of that, I have this appreciation for people who not only cast from an original piece they found, but also modify/sculpt their work, and piece these things together.

Perhaps (over) using the term Replica within in the collecting and prop industry might be perpetuating this a bit.

REPLICA:

an exact copy or model of something, especially one on a smaller scale.
"a replica of the Empire State Building"
synonyms:
copy, carbon copy, model, duplicate, reproduction, replication; More
dummy, imitation, facsimile;
informalknockoff
"is it real or a replica?"
perfect likeness, double, look-alike, mirror image, living image, picture, twin, clone, doppelgänger;
informalspitting image, dead ringer, ringer
"a replica of her mother"
◦ a duplicate of an original artistic work.

Heck, we have the “Replica Prop Forum”.

Also, when you have a company like Anovos offering their TK kits for $350 for the full armor plus a completed helmet, it reinforces the nature of “affordable”. As in, trooping and collecting is an “affordable” hobby.

I believe people think a “replica” is easily produced, and thus should be offered on the cheap - like Anovos did with their OT TK armor. And really, for the price, there’s nothing out there that can touch it. The 501st is approving Stormtroopers left and right - at least that’s the way it’s appearing on that FB page.

So as I read through this thread, there certain comments that stuck out - actually, TONS and TONS. But I only pulled a few with some the comments.


No Humor Man wrote:
but hey... if LFL delivered…


I know I’m taking this out of context a bit, :) …But if LFL “actually delivered” a highly accurate and detailed Vader Helmet, it would be priced at $10,000+ a copy. Never underestimate the greed of LFL and Disney.


Star Wars Helmets wrote:
TBH I dont know whats worse. Recasters, or people who really dont see a problem with it!


My answer: the people who really don’t see a problem with it. Without them, recasters don’t have a market for selling.


Maia wrote:
Frankly, neither the 501st nor the general prop community has the ability or power to effectively police recasting.


Yes. The 501st definitely has the ability and power to effectively police the recasting within it’s group. If you wish to join the 501st, not only do you need to submit your armor/costume for approval, you should also be required to submit a proof of purchase of the items in your costume (helmets, armor, blasters, etc). For example, if you bought a Quasimodo Helmet from Bookface, then you must submit your receipt or some proof of purchase.

If there are knowing recasters in the community, create and put them on a “black list”. If someone buys from a known recaster, or can’t show proof of your purchase from reputable provide, then you’re SOL. You’re not allowed to join the 501st.

The gray area might come from buying second-hand from people unloading a helmet or armor, etc, on the RPF or Prop Den as they acquire another. So require that seller to provide a copy of their receipt.

This might sound excessive, but if the organization “WANTS” to foster an ethical relationship with the prop makers, where the good/legit prop suppliers aren’t getting cut off at the knees from recasters. And why wouldn’t they, there really wouldn’t be a 501st without the prop producers other than the few people who prefer to build/sculpt from scratch.

There’s also something the prop makers can do to police the problem. If the majority of the recasters are stemming and selling to the 501st members, before you sell your products, ask what they’re going to use the props for. If the 501st comes up, “Say no”. They need to realize it’s a privilege to own your products, it’s not a “right”.

****

The worst thing about this is, it could be entirely avoidable. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’d hate for the best collectible pieces out there disappear from true fans/collectors who really appreciate what these things mean to us.

I really never thought how visceral these items could be until I bought and received my RS ANH Helmet. It’s as close as I’ll ever get to owning a real screen used ANH helmet. When I look up at my helmet, as I can do while I’m keying this in, it just brings a smile to my face. It does the same thing to my kids. They kinda see the Stormtroopers as being “real. LOL

I didn’t buy my RS for trooping. I bought it to reconnect to my childhood. To connect to a significant piece of cinematic history. They connect us to the original sculptors, Brian Muir and Liz Moore. The people who pulled and produced the final screen used props. It just goes on an on and on all the way to the people who are “reproducing” them today. Every now and then, I put my TK helmet on, and you kind of get to see through the eyes of the stunt people who brought these Stormtroopers to life on the big screen. My wife thought I was nuts when I bought it, but now, even she understands a little bit - she is a Star Wars fan. :)

If we lose these accurate pieces, we lose a piece of history. We lose a piece of our childhood. We lose the tangible excitement and mystique of these movies.

So because of the fear of losing something so significant, I’m not opposed to people creating casts of movie props if they own the original movie prop, or were given permission to cast from someone else’s work.

Is that a double standard? I don’t think so. I think it’s very different if someone grabbed the Quasimodo V2 ESB, and began recasting and selling at a reduced fee to fans who don’t really appreciate what MacClaren and Bookface are doing. It’s taking money out of their pockets. It’s devaluing the entire hobby, which is actually a business for some.

It’s funny how this parallels to wedding photography. It’s just staggering to see you guys going through the same things other creative professionals are going through.

If a wedding couple doesn’t see the value in what I (and my photography) bring to them and their families, then I don’t work with them. I don’t sell to them. There are other less expensive options, and you get what you pay for. Believe me, I get people bitching at me for my higher fees. They just assume they “deserve” the best of everything, they shouldn’t have to pay for it, when really, the only thing they deserve is going to the courthouse and having a judge sign a piece of paper - BOOM! You’re married. Everything else is a privilege.

For the people who don’t get what the significance of these Star Wars pieces are, are they deserving buyers? Definitely not, and I think EFX may have just done many of you Vader helmet producers a HUGE favor when it comes to recasting. That injection molded helmet is going to be a boon for the trooping crowd. And from what I understand, though I could be mistaken, that helmet doesn’t have a limited run like the fiberglass helmets. And yes, there are still people bitching about the $300-$330 USD price point. LOL

Maybe it’ll even put a dent in the recasters, as there’s now something less expensive than the people on Ebay or Portumac. Recasters are NOT going to want to put in any time for less and less money. Ever for them there is point of “diminishing returns”. :)

I have no idea how far off track I got here through my ramblings - this really turned into a stream of consciousness. :)

Cheers, my hats off to all the people who do this the right way and providing bits and pieces of history to us appreciate fans,

C

PS. Oh hell no, I’m not proofing this. Yikes!

PPS. If you made it through all that, thank you for reading. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:12 am 
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Nice reply.

I don't remember when I made that comment you quoted, but I think it was before eFX did their stuff. Though idealized it's still a heck of a lot closer to the originals than other companies have done. Just a damn shame they had that stupid issue with their Vader domes, which I assume the replacements completely tore out the bottom of their profit to use for other projects. They should have re-used the poor quality domes and cast new face masks to create a quick and dirty version compared to limited and Legend to get some quick cash back into the company.

The DP CA was a $120 vinyl injection molded helmet. The Rubies Supreme was an ABS injection molded helmet at $150. Basically marrying those two - the detail preservation on the DP CA and the material used for the Rubies Supreme would have made the perfect Vader helmet for trooping. eFX with their multiple piece construction that creates some issues as well as their two-tone paint job instead of just letting it be raw gloss black ABS drives up the cost unnecessarily. With shipping and import duty for anyone outside the US the helmet will go up to what it basically costs some to buy a fiberglass helmet, so I understand their complaints. Also, many of the complaints are due to the free gift helmet eFX offers to buyers of the Scout helmet - where anyone outside the US will be hit with shipping and import fees for a free gift while they are already waiting on something they've already paid for. That's not a gift, that's an extra financial burden and eFX should have acknowledged this issue as they should surely know how things work in the world. That's the two main complaints I hear. It's a nice helmet, sure... but eFX seems to make things more difficult for themselves than they need to.

But hey... I don't know anything about running a business or much about injection molding... so maybe I'm dead wrong.


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:54 pm 
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Understandably agree regards to the added fees of shipping across seas. But if you're a trooper, that weight savings vs. a fiber glass helmet would have to be a pretty good pull. Plus the accuracy. Unless you can find some of those older helmets you mentioned, EFX, especially in the US, has hit a sweet spot with this thing. ...and I'm not even remotely interested in this thing. Not remotely interested in buying anything from Efx (for a couple of reasons). But I still appreciate what this plastic helmet is and what it can be for the people trooping in the 501st.

I'm not familiar with the Vader dome issues - I'm a newb. But if it was as bad as you suggest, I agreed they should have used the "bad domes" for a third set of helmets. ...if they have the TK PCR helmet for less than $200 USD on their website, which has been tweaked to being idealized, they could have made due with a tweaked Vader helmet to salvage some cashflow.


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2016 2:40 pm 
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Would be good required reading.
I would like to add that of all of the recast products I've seen, they almost always end up leaving the buyer with a side of buyers remorse, even if said buyer feels no regret towards the actual act. Let's call it Karma or whatever, but that shit comes back to you.
I've stuck to the guys that offered it initially if they are still around, and have always been glad I spent more money for an item that is built to last and look the part.


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 4:36 pm 
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Just for arguments sake (but in a friendly way)
Craigjohn, you make some great points. If we're talking ethics, shouldn't all the people making money be giving a huge chunk of it to the original maker such as Brian Muir? He put his blood sweat and tears into creating the most iconic villain of all time, yet there are some people making a fortune off his work and he's not getting any of it. So you could make the argument that anyone not giving Brian Muir royalties is stealing from him. Just a thought.


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 6:42 pm 
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While I empathize with your thoughts about compensation for Mr Muir the answer to your fundamental question is NO.

We're not stealing from Brian Muir. He was compensated by Fox/Lucasfilm when he was hired as a journeyman artist in 1976. I'm sure others can speak more cogently to the subject of residuals but, as I understand it, if he did not retain any rights contractually he is not entitled to any. It's the nature of the job.

Additionally, Vader's physical appearance was the combined effort of Ralph McQuarrie, John Mollo, John Barry, and to a certain extent George Lucas (who approved design elements or requested changes), without whom Mr Muir wouldn't have had a design to sculpt. So we'll need to start a collection for them too ;-)

I'm thrilled that Mr Muir's contributions to the creation of Darth Vader have been recognized and are celebrated. This doesn't happen that often in his profession. I truly hope I get to meet him some day.


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 7:11 pm 
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dcarty wrote:
While I empathize with your thoughts about compensation for Mr Muir the answer to your fundamental question is NO.

We're not stealing from Brian Muir. He was compensated by Fox/Lucasfilm when he was hired as a journeyman artist in 1976. I'm sure others can speak more cogently to the subject of residuals but, as I understand it, if he did not retain any rights contractually he is not entitled to any. It's the nature of the job.

Additionally, Vader's physical appearance was the combined effort of Ralph McQuarrie, John Mollo, John Barry, and to a certain extent George Lucas (who approved design elements or requested changes), without whom Mr Muir wouldn't have had a design to sculpt. So we'll need to start a collection for them too ;-)

I'm thrilled that Mr Muir's contributions to the creation of Darth Vader have been recognized and are celebrated. This doesn't happen that often in his profession. I truly hope I get to meet him some day.


Great point but I'm speaking ethical (for an artist) not legal. Legally speaking anyone producing merchandise without a license is stealing, that includes myself back when I was making such items.


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 7:40 pm 
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I get that and I think my answer still stands. It's the nature of the job and you take the job knowing that up front. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 8:59 pm 
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dcarty wrote:
I get that and I think my answer still stands. It's the nature of the job and you take the job knowing that up front. :-)

:thumbsup


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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 2:25 pm 
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jedijeffrey wrote:
dcarty wrote:
While I empathize with your thoughts about compensation for Mr Muir the answer to your fundamental question is NO.

We're not stealing from Brian Muir. He was compensated by Fox/Lucasfilm when he was hired as a journeyman artist in 1976. I'm sure others can speak more cogently to the subject of residuals but, as I understand it, if he did not retain any rights contractually he is not entitled to any. It's the nature of the job.

Additionally, Vader's physical appearance was the combined effort of Ralph McQuarrie, John Mollo, John Barry, and to a certain extent George Lucas (who approved design elements or requested changes), without whom Mr Muir wouldn't have had a design to sculpt. So we'll need to start a collection for them too ;-)

I'm thrilled that Mr Muir's contributions to the creation of Darth Vader have been recognized and are celebrated. This doesn't happen that often in his profession. I truly hope I get to meet him some day.


Great point but I'm speaking ethical (for an artist) not legal. Legally speaking anyone producing merchandise without a license is stealing, that includes myself back when I was making such items.



Technically, if you want to look at it like this, which I don't, we'd be stealing from Lucas/Disney, not Brian - as Lucas (Lucasfilm) owned the copyright. Unless Brian says otherwise, I'm fairly confident he was contracted to work under LucasFilm/Lucas. So the answer would be no.

A lot of creatives work as a "contractor" for other companies. Photographers, writers, illustrators, etc. The company owns the copyright of their work.

There are other creatives who offer a "usage license" for their work. I don't believe this was the case for Vader or anything else produced for the Star Wars films. Lucas/Disney is going to own the rights to everything created for their movies. They're not about to let a merchandising opportunity slip away. :)


Last edited by craigjohn on Tue May 31, 2016 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Recasting - Good or Bad?
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 11:59 pm 
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While Mr. Muir may not receive royalties with respect to his original Star Wars scuptures, he has benefitted and continues to benefit from it indirectly. While I believe he would have been quite successful in the movie industry without, it's not a bad thing to list first on your resume that you sculpted the original Darth Vader! And it likely has made him one of more sought-after (i.e. more highly compensated) movie sculptors / set designers throughout his career. Not to mention the fees from convention appearances where Vader nuts would flock to see him and talk to him. And I regret that I discovered after the fact that he was at a convention a few months ago in my city. I would have loved to have met him in person. Doh!


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