Forgeworld on the Cheap – Chinese Counterfeiting

In my Frugal Gaming 2012 documentation for April, I noted that I’d purchased “Forgeworld Nurgle Arms, Miotic Sacs,  & spare resin bits.”  Though I don’t always go into great detail on everything on the Frugal list, I was intentionally vague on these particular items because I suspected there might be some copyright infringement.

The first reason to suspect it, is because I got the name of the company from this BoLS article about Chinese counterfeitingof Forgeworld products.  Now, I don’t frequent BoLS on a daily basis (or even a weekly basis most of the time), so it did take me a while to find this article, and when I did, I sat on it before doing anything.  By the time I got around to checking it out, the article had been scrubbed of all references to the actual site name (presumably to avoid the wrath of GW), but with a little elbow grease (and digging on BoLS’ forum), I was able to discern the site in question was

Yes, that’s the GW logo over Chinese characters

Sure enough, the site looked legitimate enough, carrying a full line of models (not exclusively forgeworld products), and they only claimed to have a limited stock of each.  So, it’s theoretically possible that they were legitimate—but as they were in Hong Kong (and have since been shut down), I’m guessing they weren’t.

The products I’d purchased were:

  • 1 x FW-08 MIEOTIC SPORE SACKS x 3 (FW-08) = $13.00
  • 2 x AT-07 28mm Scale Resin kit human skull x 15 (AT-07) = $3.00
  • 1 x AT-03 28mm Scale Resin kit banners x 3 (AT-03) = $2.50
  • 2 x AT-01 28mm Scale Resin kit human skull x 20 (AT-01) = $3.00
  • 2 x AT-08 28mm Scale Resin kit human skull x 10 (AT-08) = $3.00

The first four line items are all forgeworld (or equivalents) products, while the last are various basing bits (though they could just as well be casts of models from other companies).  The real question is what was the cost savings to go with the Chinese company.

Quality Example

Forgeworld Prices:

  • Mieotic Spore Sacs: £13.00 ($20.22) = $20.22
  • Ultramarines Terminator Shoulders £8.50 ($13.22) x 2 = 26.44
  • Death Guard Dreadnought Arms:  £7.50 ($11.66) x4 = 46.64

Total Forgeworld Price: $93.30.  Total China Price: $42.20.  So roughly, half price (including free shipping).

Realistically, I thought it was actually cheaper than that.  At these rates, it really wasn’t worth the risk of farming out a purchase to China (which can be quite a game sometimes), or supporting the violation of GW’s IP.

For those that were interested, the quality of the models was surprisingly high (on par with stuff I’ve received from Forgeworld), but is 50% off worth it?  Obviously, I must’ve thought so originally (as did enough other people to attract GW’s attention in order to get them shut down), but in hindsight, I’m not so sure.

What do you think?


16 comments on “Forgeworld on the Cheap – Chinese Counterfeiting

  1. Well, there are other companies out there casting resin parts for GW models. The difference, I’m assuming here, is that the other companies do not mention the GW products by name and they are casting their own material, IE: not a re-cast of an existing GW product.

    I’d buy from those legit companies I’m mentioning, those who aren’t in jeopardy of GW’s wrath, but I would not from some place that just re-casts GW product. I suppose it’s just a morality thing.

    • I think the moral high-road is the right way to go. I was weak and thought I was getting a great deal, but after the fact, I don’t think I’d do it again for the same reasons you’ve stated.

  2. I cannot condone re-casters. That’s downright shady, and it’s quite possible that the knock-off resin they’re using contains some unpleasant carcinogens due to poor quality control.

    I’m a huge proponent of companies who make their own resin add-ons for GW models, or create stand-ins for models that GW hasn’t yet made (Chapterhouse, MaxMini, Anvil Industries, Ramshackle Games, etc.). On the other hand, buying from re-casters is poor form, in my opinion. You’re not “sticking it to the man”, you’re simply giving a bunch of no-talent thieves money. Very poor form indeed.

  3. Yeah, recasting for sale is shady and I lean away from it, as a player. Yeah, some stuff is overpriced, but for the most part you get what you pay for really. Trust me, when FW and GW say they use top-notch resin…they aren’t lying. Their resin is top of the line, but also doesn’t cause cancer (as most resins require you to wear a respirator while sanding or filing).

    • I haven’t done any research into the cancer thing, though I’ve heard wisps of it myself. Whether or not it does, I make sure to wear a mask no matter what resins I’m working with–just to be safe.

  4. I also once tried out such a site. (which is still active btw.)
    The quality was quite good. Hell, the Absorber swarms had a better quality than the ones from FW.
    As for the material used: Yeah, the miniatures smelled… Terrible. :E

    I simply bought stuff I wouldn’t have bought otherwise due to abnormal prices. (Like Capillary Towers),
    so I haven’t used their services for one/two years or so.

    But even with the cheaper prices, as long as I can afford it,
    I’m going to buy from FW, as the Chinese don’t sculpt miniatures yet
    and I want more Tyranid stuff. 😉

  5. I’ll be the bad guy here.

    Does GW deserve to get paid for what they do? Absolutely. They have great figures, decent rules, and it’s a popular enough niche game that allows me to find a game just about anywhere I go in the world.

    That’s where my warm and fuzzys for GW end though. Their pricing is OUT OF CONTROL and at the end of the day pricing is where it all starts and ends for me. After this last price increase, I told Rob that I’ve finally been priced out of my Blood Angels, and to this day I haven’t purchased a single unit that wasn’t second hand. I started this game just under 5 years ago around the dawn of 5th edition. My first Vindicator was $35. Just a few years later, they are $58! A 60% increase in less than 5 years? Amazing. I’m not actually interested in whatever factors there are that lead to such an astounding price increase. It truly doesn’t matter to me. At the end of the day, it’s about how much product X is truly worth to me.

    What it will boil down to, far beyond the counterfeit market, is the future availability of 3D Printing to the mass market.

    • I’m with you that the pricing seems nuts–but the fact is that people are still out there buying it for retail prices (for the record, I consider 20% off to be retail, since it’s so easy to find this stuff at that price, but I’m sure a fair number of people still pay full price as well–how else does Bosco’s keep a full stock of product?). If consumers (albeit not you and I) are willing to pay for it, are the prices actually that nuts?

      I wondered during the last price hike if 40k was dead, as the prices seemed to creep over the “absurd” line, but with the release of 6th edition, it seems the internet is ablaze with excitement–I’m sure that translates into model sales.

      • i did for a couple of models as they were less than half price (but ssh) not bad quality casts actually, bit more brittle than the genuine article but its not like you throw them about so shouldnt be an issue. personally though i think i would buy the real thing in future for larger more detailed peices just incase there is an issue and you can go back to FW with it for a replacement, something yoymart doesnt do

  6. I’ve bought recasts on purpose. Once because the model is always sold out on the FW site (waited 6 months they never had any in stock ever). And I plan to do it again for my wifes Carnifex Devourer arms she doesn’t want to greenstuff them herself and doesn’t want to use the warrior ones as they are much smaller. I can’t blame her there. We’ve tried e-bay and many other places and we just can’t find em. So I’m looking at recasts now.

  7. Forgeworld is sooooooo expensive. I live in Aus so after changing pounds to dollars in looking at $90 for three miniatures! Yipes. The alternative companies (not re-casters) are great and not as expensive but they don’t have all the best bits I want haha. I’ve got to admit I am tempted by the knock offs but as I work in an industry where my company produces original items it would be hypocritical of me to buy imitations.

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