The awesome science-fiction universe of Paizo’s Starfinder role-playing game is getting its own full miniatures expansion set from WizKids! For those of you who may not be familiar with it, Starfinder is an original RPG setting that’s based on the global mega-hit fantasy game Pathfinder. After the Distant Worlds campaign setting in that game introduced some sci-fi elements on the planet of Golarion, Paizo unleashed the full Starfinder science fantasy game in 2017. Starfinder is really interesting because it takes not only the rules system from Pathfinder, but also the actual solar system, species, magic, and more! That’s right, you can play elves, dwarves, and more in space settings while casting spells and wielding futuristic versions of archaic weapons alongside blasters and more. Starfinder takes place in Pathfinder’s distant future (although notably, the planet Golarion has vanished in the meantime (so that events in one game won’t directly impact the other, and characters can be brought from one setting to the other and vice versa. Basically, it’s a super fun sci-fi sandbox with tons of great fantasy elements mixed into it. And now, you can pick up a bunch of cool miniatures for it with WizKids Games’ Starfinder Battles Planets of Peril and Docking Bay Premium Set!
Starfinder has had a few supporting miniatures releases in the past, a few items from another company along with the initial launch and more recently a couple of figure packs from WizKids. Starfinder Battles Planets of Peril, on the other hand, is a familiar blind-booster, brick expansion along the lines of what we’ve seen for Pathfinder Battles. Each Planets of Peril booster contains three random figures, while the set is comprised of 32 miniatures. There’s also an accompanying Premium Set, the Docking Bay, which I’ll talk about a little later on in this review.
The characters, aliens, monsters, and more of Planets of Peril are pulled directly from the Starfinder RPG, and in many cases reference specific artwork from the core rulebook, the Alien Archive series (incredible sourcebooks with a staggering array of creatures to populate your games, both as challenges and as playable options), and other books. These range from small to large and intelligent aliens to monstrous creatures… and there are even some spaceship miniatures in the set! Yeah, I was pretty excited to see those. Spaceship combat is one of the most unique things about the Starfinder setting and rules, and these ships are iconic vessels in the game. For this preview we were sent a specific selection of figures, so I can’t offer a look into booster pulls specifically, and your results will vary.
Here’s the Planets of Peril lineup:
- 1 Jinsul Warrior
- 2 Nihili
- 3 Electrovore
- 4 SRO [MEDIUM]
- 5 Skittermander
- 6 SRO [SMALL]
- 7 Swarm Corrovox
- 8 Bantrid
- 9 Formian Warrior
- 10 Tashtari
- 11 Khizar
- 12 Osharu Headteacher
- 13 Pahtra Stalker
- 14 Stridermander
- 15 Barathu
- 16 Uplifted Bear Avenger
- 17 Dragonkin
- 18 Ksarik
- 19 Sarcesian Sniper
- 20 Shobhad
- 21 Golem, Cybernetic
- 22 Garaggakal
- 23 Swarm Mindreaper
- 24 Orocoran
- 25 BMC Mauler
- 26 Norikama Dropship
- 27 Vindicas Tyrant
- 28 Drake
- 29 Pegasus
- 30 Sharpwing
- 31 Swarm Thresher Lord
- 32 Vracinea
Okay, if you’re not already playing Starfinder that’s going to look like a long list of crazy sci-fi names. What are we really dealing with, here? Let’s take a closer look. Size categories are a game mechanic that’s also reflected in the sizes of the minis’ bases, so it’s as good a place as any to talk about the figures. We’ve got four Small figures with an eclectic mix of personalities. They include the flying magical serpentine beast known as the Electrovore, the weird aberration Bantrid (a sentient species that recently appeared), a small example of an SRO (Sentient Robotic Organism), and the Skittermander, a furry little six-armed beast that has become an iconic staple of the Starfinder universe.
Most player character species, and many aliens and monsters, fall into the Medium size classification. The playable types here include the felinoid Pahtra Stalker, slug-like mystic Osharu Headteacher, a medium SRO, the plant-like Khizar with its vine body and bulbous yellow head, and the termite-like insectoid Formian Warrior wielding an energy rifle. Two animals appear in this size category, the horrifying Orocoran that resembles nothing more than a gigantic wingless mosquito and the canine Tashtari with its colorful coat. Beware monsters in space like the animalistic offshoot of the Skittermander race the fearsome Stridermander, the armored walking purple octopus wielding a gun known as the Jinsul Warrior, the undead Nihili created by a humanoid’s death by vacuum, and the Mi-Go like extraplanar Garaggakal sailing through the stars on its translucent wings. Lastly, there’s a sub-theme of the voracious Swarm in this set, with Medium representatives in the yellow Gremlin-like Mindreaper and bio weapon-wielding Corrovox.
Put simply, the Large figures get weird, and it’s in all sorts of fun sci-fi ways. One of my instant favorite figures in this set is the Uplifted Bear Avenger which is, as you guessed, a sci-fi armored humanoid bear wielding a massive energized hammer. It’s just awesome. Other playable species figures include the four-armed Shobhad in its colorful armor, the void-adapted Sarcesian Sniper with its lanky body and translucent yellow energy wings, the jellyfish-like Barathu, and the Dragonkin, which for all intents and purposes looks like a fantasy white dragon standing on its hind legs with an energy cannon, bandolier, and axe! There’s a really creepy Cybernetic Golem to terrorize your players, and the Swarm gets its biggest brute with the magnificent and nightmarish Thresher Lord. Finally, there are monsters that look cosmic horror-inspired in the Sharpwing, a dinosaur covered in eyes, the wildly colored quadrupedal Ksarik plant monster, and, last but certainly not least, the truly bizarre Vracinea with its foliage body, stingers, and leech-like mouth tentacles.
Finally, there are the ships! Again, Starfinder has an entire spaceship combat rules system, with rules and fleshed out lore for all sorts of space-faring vessels fielded by different species and factions. The spaceships here belong to two such factions. First, you can find a Drake and a Pegasus, two small ships used by the heroic Starfinder Society (and many player characters). The other three, green and militaristic vessels belong to the belligerent Veskarium interplanetary empire. These are the BMC Mauler fightercraft, the Norikama Dropship transport, and the massive Vindicas Tyrant dreadnought.
As you can tell from the photos, these figures are right on par with other miniatures from WizKids like those found in the recently released Pathfinder Battles set Darklands Rising. The sculpts I see here are really nice, with lots of detail work differentiating the unique alien skin, fur, chitin, and more, as well as different armors and even energy effects. Just a few of the sculpts that I really like include the creeping zombie astronaut Nihili, both of the fun robotic SROs, the Formian Warrior stalking into battle on its multiple legs, the vicious Stridermander with a head like a mask and a creepy tentacle coming out of its torso, the thin-limbed Sarcesian Sniper fluttering in space while preparing a kill shot, the Shobhad with its incredibly complicated armor and outfit, the Cybernetic Golem with both wrinkled skin and detailed cybernetic components, the monstrous insectoid Thresher Lord, and the Vracinea, which is just wild as I described above. There are some fun textures to be appreciated in this set too, with things like the Jinsul Warrior’s armor-covered skin, the Corrovox’s exoskeleton, the plant-like limbs and faceted head of the Khizar, the Uplifted Bear Avenger’s fur and armor, the Dragonkin’s scaly body, and the Vracinea’s foliage.
Sometimes space settings can end up a little light on its color palette, with a couple iconic colors for different factions, a lot of grayish ships, etc. Not so in Starfinder, where the species are incredibly varied in coloration as well as shapes and sizes. This transfers nicely to the Planets of Peril set which has all sorts of fun colors! Some of the coolest examples of good painting I’ve found here are the multi-layered Jinsul Warrior in various shades of purple, the medium size SRO with different colored panels on its robot body, the pretty blue Tashtari, the Barathu with its bright orange and more subtle purple, the eye-watering garishness of the striped Ksarik, the Sarcesian Sniper’s detailed outfit and good face paint, all of the picked out tech and cloth bits on the Shobhad, the mechanical horror of the Cybernetic Golem’s exposed parts, some really cool bright spots on the overall dark chitin of the Thresher Lord, and of course the Vracinea with its different colors on its varied parts and the cool white teeth in the black leech mouths. There are lots of metallic paints used in this set on armor and weapons as well as the robot bodies of the SROs, chitin on the Corrovox and Formian Warrior, etc. Similarly, there is translucent plastic for energy and flying effects and more.
Lastly on this point I want to talk about my absolute favorite minis from this set, which I somehow managed to narrow down to four. In no particular order they start with the Osharu Headteacher. This little guy just oozes character, from his casual walking pose to the gentle wave as he espouses his philosophies. He has great detail on his slug head, and the paint work on his shirt and robe are fantastic. Seriously, this mini makes me want to play an Osharu so this can be my PC.
Next up is the Pahtra Stalker, an understated beauty that looks incredible in person. This mini has a very complex operator’s outfit covered in armored panels and accessories, with the rifle held in a casual pose. And again, excellent paint application on the Pahtra’s face.
On the larger side is the Uplifted Bear Avenger, which I can’t praise enough. The armor is fantastic, complete with realistic “articulation” and pneumatic devices, spinal support, and more, and the hammer matches perfectly. And then there’s the Dragonkin, which again, is a dragon armed with a tactical magnetar rifle and thunderhead dragonglaive! Just super cool and fun.
A quick note on the ships! They can get a little bit lost among all the rad (and mostly much larger) figures, but they’re super cool too. In this set there are two great Player Character vessels with the Starfinder Society transports Drake and Pegasus; there’s a good chance you’ve played a game or campaign using one of these. The ships are relatively blunt and blocky, perfect for mass produced transports, the Pegasus looking a bit more warlike with its tapering fuselage and finned wings. On the other hand, you’ve got the full lineup of the green Veskarium interplanetary empire fleet with options for an NPC fighter, transport, and capital ship depending on what you need to throw at your players.
But, as they say, that’s not all. Alongside the Planets of Peril booster set WizKids is releasing the Docking Bay Premium Set! This is the perfect pack for adding realism and appropriate scenery for your Starfinder games. The box gives you a ton of parts: Cargo Hauler, Flatbed Trailer, 2 2×2 Shipping Crates, 2 1×2 Shipping Crates, 4 1×1 Containers, and a Bench. All of these will come in handy, though obviously they’re absolutely perfect for places like docking bays, cargo holds and storage areas, manufacturing centers and warehouses, and more. Of course, you don’t have to use all of the parts at once, and individual pieces will work just about everywhere. Let’s take a closer look at what’s in the set.
The big 2×2 Shipping Crates are really big, not to mention heavy! I assumed these would be hollow and lightweight, but they’re really hefty. At 2×2 they could reasonably contain four medium sized humanoids with room to spare, to give you a sense of how much stuff you could cram into them. Maybe your players need to steal (liberate?) some of these, or they’re just using them as cover in a running gun battle. The drab gray and black crates are reinforced with an outer “metal” frame and one crossbar per side. There is a bottom panel that lacks the bumps on the crossbar and has a copyright stamp.
The 1×2 Shipping Crates are an entirely different animal, appearing much more high tech and futuristic. They’re like trunks, with handles on either side and lots of sculpted details on every side. Do they contain treasure? Artifacts? Medical equipment? Who knows! They’re a greenish-blue with bronze frames and white and black accents.
The smallest containers are the 1x1s, and again are a very different shape. These are more like flat-bottomed jugs or barrels. They’re heavily reinforced with frames, a bottom ring, a heavy sealant at the top, and even a couple small offset buttons or activators. Their main bodies are a dark gunmetal gray with bright orange or green tops.
Probably the element of the Docking Bay set that most people will be most excited about is the Cargo Hauler along with the Flatbed Trailer. The style of the rig is angular and rugged, reminding me of something out of something like the Halo universe. The hauler is about 3×2 with an engine block in the front and a small trunk area behind the two seats. The green, gray, and black exterior is highly angular and decorated with tons of details from reinforcements to lights, grilles and vents, and more. There’s even a steering wheel, and the wheels are covered in segmented metal plates. Best of all, in my opinion, is the built-in gap under the seats that allows you to place standard sized miniatures in the hauler! The rear of the vehicle has a ring mount to connect to the trailer, a bit over 2×2 in size with similar stylings and colors. The wheels are identical while the flat top consists of black slats reinforced by silver rivets. You can easily place shipping crates, miniatures, or other items there, and the trailer has another ring at the back so you can attach more of them if you have multiple Docking Bay sets.
And then there’s the true star of the show, the Bench! You might think I’m joking, but I genuinely love down to earth terrain and scenery elements like this. It’s straightforward but detailed with angular cutouts and inscribed panels, all painted in a bright metallic silver. Miniatures can’t exactly interact with it, though it has clearance enough for a base that a mini can stand right up against it. The bench can fit in tons of different environments and settings, adding verisimilitude to a real world that’s not populated only by things to shoot, steal, or hide behind.
The Starfinder Battles Planets of Peril miniatures set and the Docking Bay Premium Set are simply must-haves for anyone playing in a futuristic RPG setting. The miniatures are beautiful and perfectly bring to life the unique species, creatures, and monsters of Starfinder, giving you endless options for player character pieces as well as a huge host of NPCs and opponents. You will find these minis in three-figure blind boosters ($14.99), or $119.92 for a brick of eight boosters. And while the characters look awesome on their own or placed on a map from Paizo, you can create really effective and compelling scenes with the Docking Bay Premium Set, $59.99 for a whole collection of useful pieces. Starfinder Battles miniatures are super versatile too, with lots of crossover potential to be used in Pathfinder (as crossover characters or strange monsters), or for other games altogether. Planets of Peril will be in stores March 17th, so make sure you get your pre-orders in now!
Review and photos by Scott Rubin.
Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games.
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