Garage kits are the origin of the current statue market.
Garage kits are amateur-produced model kits. The term originated with dedicated hobbyists frustrated with being unable to find model kits of subjects they wanted on the market and so started producing kits of their own. As the processes of sculpting, casting and painting produce dust and fumes, most of the sculptors used their garages as their workshops, hence the name. Originally these kits were sold and traded between hobbyists at conventions, such as WonderFestival, but they have since gained popularity and now there are a number of companies, including Federation Models, Volks, WAVE/Be-J, Kaiyodo, Kotobukiya, and B-Club, producing these kinds of kits professionally.
Because of such changes, some kit builders now distinguish "true" garage kits, those manufactured by amateur sculptors, and those manufactured by companies professionally by referring the former as "garage kits" and latter as "resin kits".
Garage kits can be as simple as a one piece figure, or as complex as kits with well over one hundred parts fabricated of such diverse substances as "white metal", a type of lead alloy, resin, soft vinyl, and fabric.
Most visible subjects are of female anime characters, sometimes in lurid poses or as pornographic depictions, but also includes male characters, mecha, and monsters, as well as upgrade and conversion kits for existing models and airsoft guns. Kits are usually cast as separate parts and come in either a box (for most professionally manufactured kits) or plastic bag (for amateur-produced kits sold at conventions) with instructions and sometimes photographs of the final product. Due to the labor intensive nature of the manufacturing process and low market demand relative to traditional injection-molded plastic kits, garage kits are generally produced in very small quantities from the tens to a few hundred copies, as opposed to injection-molded plastic kits that are produced in many thousands. Typically a room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) mold is good for about 20 castings, or "pulls". Due to aggressive nature of most compounds used for casting and the high temperature of their exothermic reaction, the mold gradually degrades and loses the sharp details expected by casters.
The scale of figure kits varies, but currently 1/8 seems to be predominant. Prior to 1990 the dominant scale was 1/6. This scale shrink coincided with rise in material, labor, and licensing costs. Other scales, such as 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, 1/7 also exist, but are less common. Larger kits (1/3, 1/4, etc.) generally command higher prices due to the greater amounts of material required to produce them.