September 13th, 2010
Review -AE Bounty Starter Set Models
The AE Bounty the skimish game doesn't require that you to use their models exclusively with their game. However, they do offer a variety of their own models for it. The AE Bounty Starter Set is a box containing five models, and five scenic metal base-plates.
Darkson Designs claims these are 28mm scale models. What makes these models unique, is that they're all a different alien species. These aren't scary, or intimidating looking aliens, instead they remind me a lot of what you might find in movies like the Men in Black series, or sitting in the background of the Mos Eisley cantina scene in the original Star Wars movie. They have an almost mischievous-like look about them, as they have B-movie aliens written all over them, and that's a good thing.
While there are no specific names mentioned for each of these models, I'll do my best to describe them separately. First up is the one I call one-eye. He's a cyclops alien, wearing what looks like a Star-Trek-ish Starfleet-like, form fitting one piece uniform. It's funny too, because he's a little round in the belly, and this suit is skin tight.
While he has no weapon visually speaking, it does look like he's wearing some boxing glove-like gauntlets (either that or his hands are thick). He just looks a lot like the stereotypical bruiser type. I really like the facial detail too, but the mouth detail is really faint, and it took a lot for me to bring it out during painting. I noticed this right out of the box, and I even used brush on primer to be extra careful not to obscure any facial detail, and still I'm left wishing the facial details were more pronounced.
Next up is the tall and thin Mr. Pistolazzz. He definitely has some Boba Fett/Madalorian influence in him, with the T shaped helmet visor, and the same T shaped symbols repeated on his shoulder pads. He's wearing what looks like a tactical stealth-like skintight suit, and he's wielding dual pistols. He could be played off as human since he's wearing a helmet, and his hands look normal too.
Now there's this other little fella who really reminds of a character from that animated Chris Rock movie with Bill Murray called Osmosis Jones. He's wearing a simple shirt, a jacket and some pants and a pair of boots. He's definitely not going for the GQ look, and if anything as incognito as he looks, I'd say he's probably meant to be a Mercenary type. He's also armed with a single pistol.
The problem I have with this model is that the facial features aren't pronounced enough. I even used brush on primer on him too, and when painting the face I used many thin coats to be careful not to obscure the detail, and it's still really hard to see the eyes and mouth on this guy. I like the model, but I think they might need to make a new mold or something for this model, because right out of the package this guys facial details are just too faint.
The next model I call bucket-head, because he has a welder's mask-like helmet, and he has more of a post apocalyptic look about him, than that of a high-tech alien bounty hunter or mercenary. Although that does leave the pirates, and I think he'd probably be best suited as a space pirate now that I think about it. He has a rather large cannon he's holding with both hands, and he looks like he's ready to kick some butt. While he is helmeted, his long dual fingered hand give away that he's probably some sort of alien underneath the helmet, which I thought was a nice touch.
Lastly we have lizard-boy, who sports a really long almost HR Gieger-like Alien head on his shoulders, set upon on a rather skinny humanoid frame, with what appear to be alien hands. The pistol this guy is holding is rather cool too, it has that 50s retro ray-gun look about it. He's a fun piece, and he fits in quite well with the rest of the models in this set.
These are all single piece models, so there's nothing to assemble, other than the models to their scenic metal base-plates, and then the base-plates to the bases. Clean up wasn't very involved either, as for the most part these were nice clean models, with a mold line or two to tend to here and there, but nothing show stopping.
The base-plates are also a really nice touch. Granted these are rather average sculpted space-ship deck-plating-looking scenic base-plates, also made of white metal just like the models. However they're better than having no base plates, and I like how they add that starship interior look. The only problem I foresee with these is that you will need a pin-vise, and some brass rod (or thin paperclips), unless you just want to chance it and snip the slots off the models feet, and glue them directly to the plates without pinning.
I wouldn't recommend that route, because the feet are really quite thin on most of these models, and the plates are quite smooth, so I don't think CA glue alone will hold these to the base-plates for the long haul. I used really thin brass rod from the Privateer Press Pin Vice set, and drilled a tiny hole into one of the feet on each of the models, and then a tiny hole into the plates, and then glued them all together that way. Each of the base-plates also fit nicely in the space provided via the 30mm round lipped and slotted display bases included.
Now this is one of the first single models you can get from the AE Bounty line, as he doesn't come in the Starter Set assortment. He's a rather thin alien, with a long neck, and a small flat head. He carries a big gun though, so don't let those two little buck teeth fool you, this guy means business. I like this guys space/tactical suit too, it's pretty B-movie-esq.
He is also a single piece model, so there's nothing to assemble, other than him to his 30mm slotted and lipped display base. He makes a nice addition to the line, plus he's one of the alien races listed in the rulebook. My only gripe about this guy is he doesn't come with a deck-plate base insert like the models in the Starter Set.
Okay there's no denying it, this guy is totally a Mon Calimari rip off, which is the race that Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars is. He has the same big fish-head and all, only it's a wee bit longer to the point. Honestly, I don't have a problem with that, because he still looks really cool. This guy even has a little goatee.
He's also packing some heavy firepower, with what looks like a pretty impressive heavy blaster rifle of some sort. The outfit is also pretty slick, making him yet another nice piece, which fits right in with the rest of the line seamlessly. Although the only problem with this model, is that like Graffi, he too doesn't come with a scenic deck-plate base insert like the Starter Set models do.
I think this is a really nice set of 28mm alien models. I like that it's not just another set of Grays, or another rip off from the Alien or Predator movies, but instead it's an entire set of unique and fun looking models, at a reasonable price. I've seen the Starter Set selling for a little less than $25 via various online retailers, and it's $32.99 direct from the Darkson Designs/Cipher Studios store.
The single models run roughly $6 via various online retailers, and $7.99 each via the Darkson Designs/Cipher Studios store direct, and my only gripe about the single models is that they lack the nice scenic deck-plate base inserts which come standard with the Starter Set models.
Scale wise, while they claim these are 28mm scale, they look a bit short, and thin when put next to other 28mm models like those from Pig Iron Productions, MERCS Minis, Mongoose Judge Dredd and the Wargames Factory Shock Troopers. This is more of an observation than a complaint though, because I'm not a scale purist. People in the real world are all different shapes and sizes, and personally, I prefer my models to be that way too.
All of them are a lot of fun to paint too, because they don't look or feel like some dark and gritty aliens. You can really let loose and try some fun and interesting colorful paint schemes, without them looking out of place when you're done. I look forward to seeing what else they come up with. If you're looking for some fun sci-fi aliens, you just might want to check the Darkson Designs AE Bounty line of models out.
The game itself was just released in July 2010, so it's quite new yet. There's definitely more models to come from them, as these are just the first few models available. There's also quite a few other models shown in the AE Bounty rulebook, all of which are quite nice looking as well, which are yet to be released.
Also be sure not to miss the in-depth WarGameGuru review of the game of AE Bounty for more on it in general.