The Alien Bee's have a stepless slider for output control, the "5 stops" refers to the number of stops adjustment range as in F stop, not positions on a switch. The plastic used in the cases is GE's Lexan, the same tough plastic used for cases of high dollar portable radios the cops carry. Takes a lickin', keeps on tickin'.
BTW, Alien Bee's is a spinoff of Paul C. Bluff. The accessories are pretty good stuff. The softbox is a challenge to assemble the first few times, there are a couple of tricks that make it easier.
I'm pretty sure Alien Bee's use the same remote control as the White Lightnings.
Accessories attach via the speedring. If you are buying accessories which won't fit White Lightning/Balcar... maybe you ought to rethink the accessory.
One important consideration; you can upgrade the Alien Bee's. Say you buy a 400 and find that you really need the extra zap of an 800. You can send it back and get it changed to an 800 for a very nomimal fee.
Funny name, quirky ads, good price, excellent service, reliable. Buy da Bee's.
Shot with an Alien Bee 400 in a 30 by 40 inch Bee softbox,