I’ve wanted to build this kit ever since I first saw it back when it was new. I’m a huge fan of PenPen and this is one of the best figure representations of him, in my opinion. The sculptor, Nakamura Manabu did a wonderful job in getting all the details from the original illustration spot on and evoking a warm feeling that while out of character for Rei is still a welcome change. There was just one problem: whoever designed Rei’s outfit in the original illustration must have been color blind, because it was absolutely a hideous mixture of Salmon, Orange and Yellow. I decided straight away if I ever built this kit I would change that.
I purchased the kit off a private seller who believed it was an original, due to it having a printed box and being told so by the person she bought it off of. In my naivete at the time, I took her word for it and thus became one of the reasons I began my research that eventually turned into this website. It turned out to be a recast designed to fool people into thinking it was an original, and unfortunately a poor quality one at that. To make matters worse, the original owner had already worked on the kit and assembled it with epoxy glue then decided to take it apart, causing some damage to the kit and certain areas that just would not come apart no matter what I tried.
Frustrated yet determined to finish this kit I’d waited so long to obtain, I decided to work on it anyway in its damaged, half-assembled state. It turned out to be a valuable learning experience in prep work and detail painting in the end. Sometimes the struggle to complete something you care about can make it even more special in the end.
No matter how frustrating a garage kit can seem at times; whether you ended up with a Thai recast that breaks if you look at it wrong or an original, hand poured kit with seam lines and air bubbles as far as the eye can see; working and seeing it through to the end will make you a better craftsman. Take pride in the process and work that much harder to make something you’ll treasure.
Also, if someone sells you a kit claiming it’s an original and you’re not sure: do your research! Check if it’s listed on here, ask around, email me, or just know what to look for when you’re buying originals! If you’re buying a western produced kit, many sculptors will be happy to sell to you directly if they can and are more approachable than you think. I’ve heard tales of people dusting off moulds and making a new round of casts just because a customer was interested in their project and got a few more people involved.
I try very hard not to be judgemental about recasts here and to make an environment where everyone can get excited about garage kits and the talent behind their creation, so I’m just going to say this about it.
Seeking out that original kit not only can be more fulfilling and easier to build: chances are you’re helping the person who created that kit have money to eat dinner, or buy more clay to create another kit you’ll be obsessed with, giving them motivation to continue their efforts and the possibility of you having another cool figure to strive toward owning. Even if you buy that original kit from a reseller, you’re creating demand for a work that someone has put their blood, sweat and tears into creating. When you buy a recasted (let’s be honest, pirated) kit, all you’re doing is giving that money to someone else whose only goal is to make a profit off of someone else’s hard work and ingenuity, and getting a poor quality imitation of that original work in return.
There are arguments for and against this in certain circumstances and no situation is ever completely black and white, but that’s what this industry boils down to. If you like a sculpt enough to own it, then the sculptor deserves to know about it and benefit from it. Obviously they’re talented enough to grab your interest and your limited disposable income, and perhaps with more encouragement they can reach even more people and make a living off of their gift for sculpting.
Thanks for checking out my work!