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Phantom Phakes


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Last week, a couple customers of mine wrote asking ‘had I sold my masters for my 1/32 F-5A conversion to Phantom Phreaks’. I went looking and found that the new Phantom Phreaks conversion, produced in collaboration with Sprue Brothers, looked a lot like my product; nearly identical, in fact. Except for the solid fuselage (mine  is in two halves) and the inclusion of burner cans, it appears to be a part-for-part copy of Belcher Bits set BB-19, which I have been selling since 2004.

I wrote Sprue Brothers, requesting that they drop this from their list. They forwarded my request on to Phantom Phreaks who responded, denying that this was a copy.  I am attaching photos from Phantom Phreaks site as well as mine, so people can see for themselves how similar the sets are.

The proprietor of PP mentioned a couple of times how this was a small amount of money, and not worth fighting about. I note that the PP copy sells for 2.5 times what I sell my conversion for http://www.belcherbits.com/lines/148conv/bb19.htm

I cannot force Phantom Phreaks or Sprue Brothers to drop this item; I have asked politely but am not hopeful. I am writing this here to advise all readers of the situation, let them judge for themselves and decide not to reward unethical behaviour. 

Mike Belcher, Belcher Bits

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Let me throw this question out there.  Since it is a conversion of the same subject to fit the same kit, just how is one supposed to make it “different” than yours?  Not trying to take sides here, but the F-5A is an F-5A.  I see several differences in what appears to be the tabs on the air brake doors? as well.  I also see similarities like the intakes laid out the same in casting form. 
Have you ordered a set and put digital calipers on them to verify?  This might be a dead giveaway. Or try swapping around your parts for their parts to see if they mate up?


Years ago I remember a thread coming up about Rhino and DMold Phantom intakes were the same.  I ordered both sets and did a test fit.  To the naked eye, they looked identical. But I could see the difference once I started fitting them to the plastic parts. 

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Similar, possibly but not identical to such an extent. Even what I can distinguish about surface details look identical. Keep also in mind that the fact two resin parts looking identical cannot be fitted identically to a plastic part does not demonstrate they are not copies of the same master! The rubber retraction sometimes creates huge size differences between two identical parts from a single resin manufacturer. So, from two companies using different rubber and resin a size discrepancy is NOT an evidence. Parts design and even more the hand-made surface details are typically the best proof of a copy. Anyone who creates masters and casts resin will confirm that. Alas, this is a far too common case in our world. 

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I’m still trying to figure why a company named Phantom Phreaks would market a conversion kit for something that is not even remotely a Phantom. Wouldn’t it be more accurate if they called themselves F-4&5 Fanciers or something like that?  But back to the issue at hand: Belcher’s, uh, bits seem to be the better deal with more of them and even decals.  There.  Problem solved.

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Phantom Phreaks is operated by the same person that ripped off parts of the Teknics F-14 cockpit to use in the CAM F-14 set when he 'owned' CAM. This is also the same person that was caught entering models in contests that he didn't build. While I haven't seen the parts in person, it wouldn't surprise me if these are in fact copies of your parts.

 

Sadly, another aftermarket producer is selling resin copies of Koster sets on Ebay.

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15 hours ago, ScottsGT said:

Let me throw this question out there.  Since it is a conversion of the same subject to fit the same kit, just how is one supposed to make it “different” than yours?  Not trying to take sides here, but the F-5A is an F-5A.  I see several differences in what appears to be the tabs on the air brake doors? as well.  I also see similarities like the intakes laid out the same in casting form. 
Have you ordered a set and put digital calipers on them to verify?  This might be a dead giveaway. Or try swapping around your parts for their parts to see if they mate up?


Years ago I remember a thread coming up about Rhino and DMold Phantom intakes were the same.  I ordered both sets and did a test fit.  To the naked eye, they looked identical. But I could see the difference once I started fitting them to the plastic parts. 

Very good point. I also remember the whole intake scandal. I guess you’re not allowed to produce a correct conversion of something if someone else does one. 

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13 minutes ago, 305 swag said:

Very good point. I also remember the whole intake scandal. I guess you’re not allowed to produce a correct conversion of something if someone else does one. 

 

No, this is over the top. Nobody prevents someone else to take a similar approach to release a comparable product. There is quite a freedom margin between that and ripping-off bluntly the work of someone else.

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I cannot tell from the pictures only but if that is the case they are only fool enough, if nothing else, to think that this will go unnoticed in today's world where everyone can easily be aware of what others are doing.

Edited by Violator1991
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22 hours ago, Oldbaldguy said:

I’m still trying to figure why a company named Phantom Phreaks would market a conversion kit for something that is not even remotely a Phantom. Wouldn’t it be more accurate if they called themselves F-4&5 Fanciers or something like that?  But back to the issue at hand: Belcher’s, uh, bits seem to be the better deal with more of them and even decals.  There.  Problem solved.

I agree.  I thought they were exclusively doing F-4 Phantom related kits and decals.  Maybe their entire line of 1/32 phantoms is costing a lot more than planned and they need some quick cash.

 

Greg

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5 minutes ago, 32scalelover said:

I agree.  I thought they were exclusively doing F-4 Phantom related kits and decals.  Maybe their entire line of 1/32 phantoms is costing a lot more than planned and they need some quick cash.

 

Greg


To be honest, I don’t see them making much cash this way.  At over twice the price of the BB set, plus quality looking not as good from what I can see in the pictures, I’m not sure this will be a big seller.  Their RF-4 nose was also expensive and seemed to just be basically a copy of the Black Box RF-4 nose, with some putty slapped onto the bottom to reshape it into the round nose.

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I agree.  I hope if and when they issue their 1/32 F-4B it will actually be a new mold and not a conglomeration of other peoples conversion sets.  Their prices have been sky high, so it may not matter as I will not pay $300 for a 1/32 F-4.

 

Greg

Edited by 32scalelover
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