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Thoughts From the Caster Couch

Thoughts From the Caster Couch

Once upon a time, our only recourse was to chop up a perfectly good figure to obtain the pieces we required, but fortunately a small group of entrepreneurial hobbyists have stepped in to assist us customizers with a wide selection of parts, weapons and gear cast in plastic resin.

Molding and casting in resin is not a new technique; resin model kits have been around for years.  From model cars, tanks and aircraft, to more esoteric fare such as Japanese and European adult film actresses, resin casting has enabled many “garage kit” makers to produce subjects that the larger model companies ignore.  It has also enabled action figure customizers to carve a niche for themselves by producing multiples of the parts we hobbyists always seem to need.


Some of these stores, like The AngelForge for instance, offer original creations which allow us to put a personal stamp on our custom figures.  As DarkWynter of The AngelForge says, “We pay for sculpts and have professional artists sculpting the pieces. We also try to support the community by promoting new artists and talent within the community. We are not a repro store at all, but rather an art studio who happens to manufacture in cast resin.”

Admittedly, a lot of other stores sell copies of commercial figure parts, such as heads, backpacks, headgear, etc (in addition to their own original sculpts), but they are by no means “ready to use”, often needing to be cleaned, sanded and painted, and in all cases require the purchase of a base figure to modify.

“I’m one of only a few guys out here who do full figure kits,” says Dennis of Vortious Custom Accessories, “…and [are made from] retired molds, or from companies that no longer exist. However I think that due to the fact that most of my kits require the parts from the licensed toy company’s figures [available] in stores and online, [the big toy companies] might almost see me as an asset rather than a problem.”

DarkWynter continues, “Some big companies know that the custom hobbyists support them and allow them this outlet.”

I daresay all of these casters started out as customizers who saw the need to replicate the parts they required or make multiples of parts they’d created themselves.

However it does come at a price – the casters I spoke with all agreed that it does take away from family time and personal hobby time.

“You have to try to schedule things in such a way as to try to not be an absentee dad who’s at the house, but not available,” continues Vortious, “Easier to do with older kids who you can include in the process, but the littler ones want to get their hands on all of your toys.  Nine times out of ten it’s that one super ultra rare figure you just got in, and just took out of the package, 3 or 4 seconds before they walk into the room.”

“For me, it’s a full time business, and my only source of income,” says Dave from StarWarsGeek, “so it does get to a point where it’s no longer fun and becomes a serious thing.  But at the same time, it’s what I do all day – sit in my studio, run molds and casts thru my pressure pot, and sit around painting and playing with toys.  All day.  Every day.

The appeal is evident: ready access to the parts you need, as well as unique or hard to find sculpts, and I’m sure other casters would agree with Vortious when he says “You have the pride you feel when you see a part that you know a customizer could only have gotten from your store, on a really awesome custom, and you’re just sitting at your screen thinking how cool it is to see your art out there as part of someone else’s work of art.”


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I’d like to give thanks to DarkWynter from The AngelForge, Dave from StarWarsGeek, and Dennis from Vortious Custom Accessories – without their input this editorial would not have been possible.

The custom casts in the above photo were supplied by Raginspoon, Stocos28, and TofuJesse.

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Other casters to whom I reached out were unable to reply before the deadline.

Unless specified otherwise, the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of the Fighting 1:18th.

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About Chris Navarro

Chris is from Australia, where everything is trying to kill you. Maybe even this post.

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