In answer to your question about my 3-D modeling tools, Zeo, I use Daz because it’s free and because Poser looked a little too complex and daunting for my basic purposes. Be warned that any 3-D modeling program requires lots of practice; just as a beginning kitbasher won’t instantly create repaints worthy of the Japanese customizers and outfits worthy of an42, so the beginning modeler needs to learn the basics, like morphing characters and sticking clothes on them, before moving on to more exciting things like making custom textures [skins] and props. After two months, I’ve finally hit an intermediate skill level with Daz, but that’s because I’ve spent almost all my free time on it.
In terms of models, I use primarily Victoria 3 and Michael 3, both made by Daz. Frankly, they are not particularly cheap — I’d say $100 to get the base figures and morphs — but, on the plus side, they are the most widely supported, so free clothing and textures [skins] can be acquired widely. They’re not the latest and greatest, but they work very well for my purposes.
To be honest, I haven’t investigated Apollo Maximus. By the time I heard about him, I was already ensconced with V3 and M3. I thought that Apollo was solely a male character, and models that cannot represent the full complement of human shapes do not interest me. However, I notice that Apollo’s morphs include parameters for female body parts, so you can probably harass him into yielding a female fig. In any case, I would highly recommend him for free experimentation since he has a good base package and great customizability. [I also note that the linked page contains a free James Marsters/Spike morph for Apollo, if you’re interested in that sort of thing… :p]
Incidentally, it seems as if you are already familiar with 3-D modeling of a sense through the Sims. Depending on what you want to do with custom 3-D characters and sets, the Sims may be sufficient for your interests. From what I can tell, the Sims automates lots of tedious and frustrating things [lighting, animation, expressions] that one does by hand in Daz and Poser. Of course, if you like pushing your characters’ mouths around for hours, attempting to achieve the perfect smirk, Daz may be the alternative for you….