Monday 1 April 2013

Review - Darkest Star Minis Spec-Sec Drive Armors

By Eli

Darby over at Darkest Star Games sent over some samples of his new Spec-Sec line of minis. Many of you may already be familiar with the Colony 15 stuff that has been shown here but the Spec-Sec is a range of minis along an entirely different path.

Darkest Star's Spec-Sec range is modeled after the cyberpunk style Japanese animation and comics style that you find in titles such as Ghost in The Shell, Appleseed, Bubblegum Crisis, and many others where smaller robots and mecha vehicles work along with police against hi-tech criminals, terrorists, and other hostiles.

While Darby sent over everything that's been released for Spec-Sec, I thought I'd start by reviewing the Drive Armors which are my favorite parts of the range. The Drive Armors are based after the multi-legged, "spider walkers" from Ghost in the Shell but while they are inspired by those machines, they are not copies and present new designs that evoke those classic machines. The Drive Armors come in three variations and sizes (from smallest to biggest) - Vantage, Mastiff, and Scorpios.

The Vantage is a small, police/security unit and it looks perfect for its role. From the narrow body (good for alleys and urban sprawl) to the light bar on top of the body it looks every bit the law enforcement rig. Weapons on the model are rather subtle and include a pair of light MGs in the arms inside the claws and a pair of riot grenade launchers.

This is the main Drive Armor of the Spec-Sec and used for their paramilitary operations against terrorists and military threats. Optimized for all-terrain it uses a variety of modular weapon pods, a chin-mounted gun, and claw-mounted guns.

In Darby's universe the Scorpios is a walking tank. Armed with anti-personnel, and anti-armor weapons it's high mobility legs allow it to traverse a wide variety of terrain. It comes with missiles, a cannon, arm guns and  a few features that could be interpreted as grenade launchers.

These models were incredibly clean and the parts had minimal if any flash on them. All the legs and weapons are on sprues and clip cleanly from them with no difficulty. Each part is set up with a socket and and either a ball or peg so that you can anchor them nicely. The legs are one piece but their ball joint attachment allows you to position them low or high (my Scoprios is mounted high). Both the Scorpios and the Mastiff come with weapon options which are also interchangeable between them.

The only sticky part of the designs is their legs. While they are wonderful in their flexibility, it did take some fiddling before i mastered the curve on how to get them to stay. Again, this is a very minor issue and once i got the hang of it it went smoothly. My second Mastiff went together in a third the time of my first.

Not only are these models clean and neat and well-designed, but I also found myself conjuring up conversion ideas for them quite easily enough, making them even more versatile beyond their original forms. They stack up nicely against other forms of armor and walkers out there.

Scorpios with two Dream Pod 9 Walkers.

Some great painted Drive Armors can be found in the Darkest Star gallery (bottom of the page). These were painted by fellow blogger Mark Kinsey from Daddy's Little Men.

Thanks for reading,



  1. Nice review. Thanks for the shout out homie!

    1. Thanks. Right now you've got the best painted examples out there, so it was a natural choice to link to your stuff.


    2. Someday someone will post a painted example of theirs and then mine will be second best. Really really looking forward to more stuff from Darkest Star Games.