My place to share lots of photographs of my random crafty, makery, bakery and cookery projects, as well as random thoughts that might strike me and are too long for Twitter...

Sunday, 1 February 2015

This Is NOT The Mould You're Looking For...

One thing you need when you're making things to sell or give to other people, is confidence in your tools and materials. I haven't had too many issues with fake or sub-standard items fortunately, though I know plenty of people who have. Recently though, I landed on something that I thought I would use to illustrate some of the shadier things available out there!

I was looking for a Han Solo mould, for resin crafting. I'd seen them at collector fairs, etc, and they were always sold out of the smaller size (though if anyone wants to pay me to make a cake-pan-sized Han Solo in carbonate for an iPad cover or something...I'm there). So I found one on eBay instead. Looked the same (ironically, the listing proudly proclaimed "Please inspect pictures carefully"), and a quick search on Amazon revealed the exact same image but with more expensive postage, so eBay won out.

Screen grab from the listing
(seller ID covered, to be fair he had very little negative feedback and this could have been a one-off iffy listing).
What arrived was NOT the item in the image I had so carefully inspected at the seller's request, which was blatantly a stock image poached from the internet. I will not use the word "fake" because frankly I don't know where I stand legally doing that. But see for yourself below and make your own decision.

The mould was so thin in places that light shone through it. The "carbonite" area of the mould was practically smooth, compared to the highly textured example in the photograph. The face looked like a smooth, almost featureless "Scream" mask. The hands were just ridiculous.

Immediately I emailed the seller to complain and request a refund. I pointed out that I had, in fact, studied the image very carefully (unlike whoever made the mould), and had been sent a different, much lower-quality, item. I also pointed out the lack of definition on the clothes and carbonite, the lack of facial features, the oddly-shaped "shoe spaces" that look nothing like the image, the Muppet hands and the fact that certain areas let light through. I was thorough.

Spot the difference between the Amazon listing image and the one used on the listing I purchased.
Besides the eBay listing having their ID Photoshopped across the bottom of the image...

In fairness I did get a reply within a couple of hours, and of course my returns request was accepted. But not before it was pointed out to me (and I quote) "Just checked my picture with my mould and i honestly don't see any difference whatsoever." As if I was just being overly pedantic by calling them out on their shoddy item. If you click the stock images above to get the full-size version, just compare it to the lower items in the pairs below, and feel good that you are better at spotting differences than that guy.

So, I thought I would do a quick comparison. To the one I bought (bottom), and the real one I replaced the initial purchase with (top) which came from Great Gear Store via eBay (the above image with the ice cube also features in their listing photograph as well, so I am going to presume that it is the same item as also featured on Amazon, and supposedly the item in the original listing). All of the detail photographs are of the inside of the moulds. The lighting makes some of the top pics look "inside out", but it's just me trying to get the hang of my new lights!

You can't tell from that picture, but the top packaging also has a hanging strip to display in store. The bottom one does not.


No contest really, is it? But supposedly, the bottom one is no less detailed than the top one. 
10/10 for a blind guy managing to use eBay though...That would explain not noticing that the bottom Han Solo has NO EYES.

A friend and I decided that the closest description we could find to the hands from the original mould was "Muppet Fingers". Now, I know Disney own both Star Wars and The Muppets, but really, this is not a cross-over I wanted.

Are you a maaaaaaaan...Or are you a Muppet? Going on those bottom hands, Muppet! So undefined.
You can also see how abysmal/absent the texture is on the clothing.

Replacement (L) vs Original (R). you can see how crisp the edges are on the replacement.

Carbonite Texture

Again, supposedly this was exactly the same as the one pictured...


It looks like the bottom picture is blurry. I've come to the conclusion that is because the whole mould appears to have been made in soft focus. You can see that the top has double lines, whereas the bottom just has a rough single edge. Also in the top image, Han looks like Voldemort. I assure you he DOES have a nose. It's just the angle.

Small Moulds

Yup. No difference at all... </sarcasm>

Obviously I wouldn't use the mould that I wanted to return, but the quality difference is visible. Especially when held up to the light...

I'm willing to bet it wouldn't take too many uses/cleanings before that super-thin facial area split.

I cannot recommend the awesome The Great Gear Store highly enough, the item arrived the next day so my error didn't cost me anything time-wise, it was well packaged, and obviously as you can see is the real genuine article. I've since looked at their website, which is bound to cost me a fortune in the future as I seem to need pretty much everything they sell. Great gear, great service. 

Thanks Great Gear Store! :)

January Favourites

Remember when I was going to do these every month? Yeah, me too. Ironically, I found the June '14 post, congratulating myself for managing a "Favourites Of The Month" post for two months in a row...Languishing in the "Drafts" section still un-posted. So...that went well.

Start as I mean to go on, on with January Favourites!

Photo: Holland & Barrett

Dr Organic deodorant (£5.49, Holland & Barrett). This was originally on the June '14 post, but I can now tell you that it did survive the summer, and it does really work! For a while when I was younger I used a crystal deodorant (literally, a rock crystal that you wet). They work surprisingly well, for a rock, but some do still contain some of the nasties I was trying to avoid getting all up in my glands and stuff. Yuck! My favourite Dr Organics scent so far has to be the pomegranate one, though the tea tree one is lovely and cooling, an added benefit for the summer! After many sniff tests (sorry husband/sniffing guinea pig...Needs must!), I think they work just as well if not better than the one I was using before (Dove roll-on), and without all the nasty chemicals! Of course it's only seen a few scattered scorching days since I started using it, but that's a pretty accurate test period for England!

Photo: blog.pne.ca

Miracle Shammy Synthetic chamois cloth. I found this at Autosport International, which I go to every year with my Dad. The cheesy (sorry dude) salesman was doing his shopping channel spiel demo (you can see the US version here), and part of it was showing how these cloths soak up a 2l bottle of pop (or something similar...Maybe not the full 2l, it was really cheesy and I may not have paid 100% attention), and would dry a car in two swipes, or some such advertising, blah blah blah. However I saw it soak up all that liquid and thought "Hey! Microfiber hair towel!" I was eyeing wonder-towels on the internet before Christmas at around £20ish each. So I figured at £10 for four (plus two polish cloths, which are very good for glasses/watches, etc) I'd give these a shot instead. I told the guy he was missing a trick by not selling them as hair towels, and he laughed in my face. So, your loss my arrogant friend. They are AWESOME hair towels. I can cut my drying time by 50-75% by squeezing out my hair with one of these things first and they have no loops to snag and drag at the hair cuticles so it seems to dry smoother too.

Photo: Lush.co.uk

While we're on hair care, item #3 for January is the "New" shampoo bar from Lush (£5.75). I'd tried shampoo bars in the past and to be honest I wasn't that impressed. Turns out I just tried the wrong ones! New is full of cinnamon, clove and peppermint so it smells divine (and more than a little Christmassy), and supposedly boosts blood flow to stimulate the scalp. The shampoo bars last 60-80 washes, which for me is almost a year's worth of shampoo, for £5.75.

Read my full review here on my nail art blog.

OPI Sheer Tint top coats. Oh myyyyyy. I am in LOVE with these polishes. There are four in the range, all transparent, in pink, yellow, blue and purple. They are amazing. I can't wait to try out more manis with these!

I've also spent January busying away behind the scenes on another little project I've had running. If you have a moment to spare, please head over to my new Facebook group and Etsy shop, where I will be sharing my crafts and selling my wares.