Pirated 18mm Eureka SYW figures on eBay: update

Pirated figure (left), genuine Eureka figure (right)

Pirated figure (left), genuine Eureka figure (right)

As Fighting 15s recently posted, a Hong Kong based eBay user is selling painted, pirated versions of Eureka’s 18mm Seven Years War range. I have now taken a pirated figures off its base to see if there is a vestige of either the EUREKA or the MBD (Mike Broadbent Designs) stamp that features on the underside of many bases across the range. The stamp is deep and cannot be ground off without seriously thinning the base; on genuine Eureka figures the stamp is sometimes not complete because of cleaning up in the generational process of producing master figures and production masters.

Even though the pirated grenzer figure shown above has a different feed, and the base of the figure has been trimmed, the URE of the EUREKA stamp are still distinctive enough, as well as marks from the original feed to the figure through the top of the E, which also indicates the original parting line in the mould. Please note that the clipped base is not indicative of piracy: Eureka’s pre-production SYW figures started with circular bases, but have since been clipped on pretty much all but the grenzers to use less metal and to make basing easier.

The pirated figure is thinner, being about 4.9mm thick at its deepest point measured by Vernier calipers, compared with 5.5mm on the genuine figure or about 89% the thickness of the original.

In short, Eureka Miniatures and Fighting 15s do not provide figures to China and Hong Kong in the quantities that are being made available from this eBay user. This is as true of 15mm AB Figures as it is for Eureka Miniatures.

The figures made available by this seller are substantially thinner but have original brand markings and are therefore counterfeits.

The eBay seller is imfadcom (painting service CHYT). If you buy painted 15mm SYW figures from them, you risk buying pirated Eureka Miniatures of poor quality. Please don’t regard this as an advert to go and buy cheap pirated figures: think of it as an opportunity to defend and support what are small, full-time wargames businesses against piracy.

If you have recently bought figures from this eBay user, please do the comparisons necessary when rebasing (look for the letters – you’ll need magnifiers) or compare with genuine Eureka Miniatures of the same type to be sure they are fake (use ours or Eureka’s website pictures), and then report the item as counterfeit and get your money back.

Above all when buying from any eBay user in Hong Kong or China who is selling painted and based figures, please think before buying. Some may be genuine – unlike Eureka and Fighting 15s, other miniatures businesses may well supply these countries in quantity – but China has no concept of copyright laws. Do the comparison work. And if you buy and discover the figures are thinner than genuine figures (please do an actual comparison, don’t just guess), report them.

Note that in 2010, Nike sued the buyer of a pair of fake Nike shoes for trade mark infringement and won. Nike did not go for the importer or the retailer, but the private individual who bought them. The individual’s defence that he did not know they were counterfeit was no defence. The court ruled that “the defendant’s defence that he did not know the shoes were counterfeit had no real chance of succeeding at trial. The language of the Trademarks Act makes it clear that ‘[W]hether or not the defendant believed the goods were authentic is irrelevant to the question of trade mark infringement.”

Nike won.

So if you buy counterfeit figures, unwittingly or not, in the UK you can be sued. But it would take a special kind of  company with very bored lawyers to stoop that low…

Keep me, Nic in Oz, and Rob in the US, and every small business in this hobby happy: buy from trustworthy sources.

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