Everyone starts somewhere in this hobby. The most common way to start in on Garage Kits for most of the English speaking fans is the same way I began. You find a cool figure on eBay and think “wow, I need to own that! It’s from my favourite series and looks amazing!” Only to find out that it’s something called an unfinished, unpainted Garage Kit and not the action figures or PVC statues you’re more familiar with. After a little more research you find out “oh wait I have to pay someone to paint this but I’m not independantly wealthy and there’s a ton of these figures that look awesome!” Then from there, perhaps you do what I did. You buy a couple figures that usually ship from Thailand, Hong Kong or some other exotic locale and panic when it arrives. “How am I going to DO this?” Never fear, brave adventurer! Many have come before you.
Everything you see in this post are my very first garage kits. I don’t own most of them anymore and they were an embarrassment compared to the work I can complete now, but you have to learn and grow in any artistic persuasion. If you keep at it, eventually you may find out that those figures from Thailand and Hong Kong are generally recasts of original works sold in Japan (or the US or Europe, let’s not forget the great sculpting talents that create kits based on western properties) and what you have in your hand may pale in comparison quality-wise to those mysterious things called “Original Kits”. Some people never discover that or are content with paying the bootleggers cheaper prices to obtain the things they want. It happens in every hobby.
Heck, sometimes the figures are so rare that Recasts may feel like the only option. This Eva-01 vs Lilith figure was originally made by Musashiya and at 2 feet tall, was so expensive that it excluded most buyers and wasn’t made in very large numbers. What few made it into the recast arena suffered from the same problem (I don’t even want to tell you how much this recast cost, it still makes me sick to think about it). Still others are only available at one day events due to licensing restrictions and are unavailable to foreign buyers unless you brave an import company and the oft-intimidating Yahoo Auctions Japanese site.
That shows the real level of devotion to any hobby, doesn’t it? What lengths are you willing to go to to get the rarest and best things out there? Are you going to shell out for the album of your favourite German underground techno band, or will you just give up and download the MP3s available? Piracy arguments aside (I’ve heard both sides of every argument, at length… just trust me) there’s just more feeling of accomplishment when you obtain that rare thing, that “holy grail” of your personal collection.
That is my goal with this site, dear reader. To show you how obtainable originals can be, or how approachable the hobby can really be without resorting to the seemingly easier but ultimately less fulfilling recast market. I intend to not just highlight the anime or comic that a figure came from, but bring you the sculptors and companies behind these figures. In some small way I’d like to get you more excited about the process behind these statues that are so widespread in fandom. Maybe you’ll agree with everything I say, although you probably won’t. But if you’ve learned something then I’ll have accomplished what I set out to do.
Regardless, I hope you stick with me and enjoy the ride! Look around, don’t be afraid to ask questions. We’ve all been in your position, no matter what level you are in the hobby. We all had someone to answer our questions and guide us, or we wouldn’t have kept with it and developed the love of resin dust and paint fumes we have. And if you do buy recasts, I’m not here to judge. I just want everyone to know that while the original kits and sculptors may not have a convenient online store that ships anywhere in the world; there are still ways to get the best version of that figure you just gotta have, and they’re easier than you think.
And anime fangirls: There is hope out there! They make male kits that aren’t muscular superheroes or from a series that somehow involves a robot. Stick around!