So, I know I've been crowing a lot recently about Counterblast, and some of the models in the line. Well, this is one you gotta see to believe. In all my years in the hobby, I've never seen a Jetbike this well designed.
Alright, so were do we start? Let's begin with piece count and materials.
You're going to get a 40mm round lipped base, a flight stand- black, same material as the base, and designed to fit into the slot for ease of play. You get a rocketbike fuselage, and two engine pods- designed to be reversible left/right so you can't botch that up. The rider comes in two parts, bisected at the belt line. The bike components are all made of hard resin, while the rider is metal. You know how I generally hate metal components right? This time the metal makes it work. I'll get to that in a minute.
The rocketbike goes together no problems. The engine pods and ailerons attach by a simple tongue and groove method- a quick line of superglue and you have primary assembly completed. This is a sleek looking bike! Really smooth lines as you can see. I can't help but notice it has a little more than a passing resemblance to an old school original Battlestar Galactica Viper... which since that one one of my favorite shows as a kid really doesn't hurt its chances of vaulting to the front of my "to paint" list. As Ali put it, "that thing looks like it might actually be able to fly."
Now, here's where the inspired genius comes in. As any experienced crotch rocket assembler will tell you, the hardest part is getting the rider and bike to sync up well. Generally, this is a design issue surrounding the handlebars- either you have to get arm pieces to line up with the shoulders and handlebars, to the handlebars are attached to the arms and you need to get them to line up with the torso and bike. If you'll notice in the picture above, there's a small depression right where you'd expect the handlebars to be, and the grips are in the hands of the metal torso piece. All you have to do is gently pry the hands apart a little bit to get them to fit over the console, then compress them- the metal will bend just enough to allow it in both directions.
The legs? Well, they go on exactly the same way, into two small depressions right where the footpads should be. Now you've got a pair of swinging gates: one upper body, one lower body. Where are they going to meet up? Well, right at the waist. That means, if there's any gappage due to warped parts, the gap will occur at the small of the rider's back, between the jacket and the pants- exactly where it's most likely to occur in real life! I haven't had any problems with the two I've worked with thus far, but if you do, a little bit of putty- if anything- and you're in business.
And there you have it: one completely assembled rocketbike in under two minutes. The only existing complaint about the model is that there's only one rider available, and I know I'm gonna have like four of these boyos, so that's gonna be a little bit of rough converting there as the head in tucked into a ruffled aviator jacket. For painting reasons, I'd recommend not putting the rider on until after you've finished painting both the rider and bike- there's some nice detailing on the torso and console that will be ridiculously hard to complete if there's someone in the saddle already. How the one I have painted, I went with a black primer on three components- the completed bike, and the still sawed in half rider.
For paint schemes, I wanted to stick to 50's muscle car colors. Mostly because the other great period concept for jetbikes- P51 Mustangs- I'm already using on my Warzone: Resurrection jetbikes. And if you're gonna start with muscle car colors, there's only one place for your first go at it. Metallic candy apple red. First the bright metal areas were dry brushed metallics. Then come four coats of 50/50 mix of Army Painter Pure Red and Vallejo Metallic Medium, followed by four coats of Tamiya Translucent Red. For a final highlight, a bright metal is added to chrome parts, and some brass color is added into the engine nodes for a little mixed metal. I'm probably not done adding accent color into those bits, but wanted to be able to show you just a fairly finished piece as quickly as possible.
Why the rush? Because until the end of the month, Airlock Games/Bombshell Miniatures (I can never tell where one starts and the other stops) has this beauty on sale for 20% off. So, if you're looking for some sexy, easy to assemble jetbikes either for Counterblast or any other 28mm futuristic skirmish games, this is a great option and right now at an amazing price. Do yourself a favor and pick up a couple of these bad boys- your futuristic biker gang will thank you.
See you on the other side of the table,
The Second Class Elitist.