Greetings and salutations, my collector comrades! Have you guys ever heard of the term “garage kit” figures or just simply GK figures amongst the community? I mean, we’ve heard of the terms like the premium scaled figures and the affordable prize figures being thrown around here and there a lot, but this is rarely spoken. Well, after about a day of research on the internet and scouring the depths of reddit, I’ve finally come know what these figures are, what I’ve learnt surprised me, honestly.
Basically, garage kit figurines are fan-made creations of popular characters from movies, video games, and anime made with Polyurethane Resin instead of the industry standard of injection-molded PVC. If we’re to go further, GK figures encompass a much wider range of subjects like horror-movie monsters, pulpy science fiction scenarios, and nothing seems to be taboo as even lewd figures are fair game.
While the originators of garage kit figures were predominately done by fans- or rather by hobbyist who posses the skills and the means to create totally new ones. Garage kits can be as simple as one-piece figure, or as complex with over a hundred intricate and ornate parts. As their popularity grew in the convention circuits, this created a market for collectors to search out such figurines.
These figures are not without its drawbacks either, one such example is that they are very labor-intensive to make thus making them more expensive compared to mold-injection figures. Second, since they’re already difficult to make to begin with, garage kit figures are often produced in limited quantities or made to order only, and can get expensive. Furthermore, as the name would imply, they are kits first and figure second, meaning you may have to assemble and paint them yourself. This begs the question, is it worth all the trouble?
Like I said earlier, garage kit figures can either be done a one-piece model or in separate parts- some assembly is required. You are given an instruction manual and product images of the finished product for reference.
Fortunately, for the average collector, companies who specialized in making these GK figures do provide the option of a pre-made or pre-painted ones as well. Take the website aptly named gkfigure.com, providing the service of selling these original fan-made creations. Offering in a wide range of scales from the industry standard of 1/8, 1/7, and 1/6 to much larger one such as 1/4 to 1/3 with a higher price point.
Now to address the elephant in the room, are garage kits legal? The short answer: NO. While they are original creations, but they are using likenesses of a copyrighted character to which they do not have the license to. Many sellers would use generic names on their listings as means to circumvent the authorities.
Japan however has made some effort into legalizing garage kit figure production and sales. While not common, license holders would issue a “single day license” where for a one day, the makers of the garage kit figure are allowed to sell and make profit. These types of deal often take place during events and conventions by the organizers. Before the license can be given, the event organizers would need to issue out and application form and must wait for approval. Despite all this, applications can still be rejected.
So, whether you decide to buy one of these beautiful creations or stick to the trusted industry standard, the choice is always yours. And with that, I hope this post has been (somewhat) informative, and that you’ve learned something new about figurines. With that, see ya next time!