Painted Sabretooth, Apex Predator

This is Sabretooth, Apex Predator for Marvel Crisis Protocol. He comes in the same box as the updated version of Wolverine and has a separate in-game existence from the original release of Sabretooth. This one goes down to a shorter move and loses his ability to counter attack, but gains a very welcome throw (possibly the only character-only throw in the game?) and a pounce ability to close the gap to where he can do horrible things to people. I’ve really enjoyed this Sabretooth; he can get where he needs, displace people or daze them as required. My big problem with him is keeping him topped up with power as he just has so many cool things to spend it on. Defensively he is no slouch either, with reasonable stats, a beefy pool of wounds and Rapid Healing which of course gives the option to use X-Ceptional Healing.

Just like Wolverine, Sabretooth comes in his civilian clothes here which I quite like as I think that all of this is meant to be set before the X-Men and other costumed heroes became a thing. The box also comes with a cool bunker that I’ve given to a friend to paint but I assume is supposed to represent part of the Alkali Lake complex. Sabretooth’s mini here would fit quite nicely into an RPG if you filed down his claws a bit; he’d just look like a rather muscular gentleman out for a walk in the snow. He was fun to paint; the mini is quite large (fittingly of course, as Sabretooth is meant to be huge) considering that it’s only on a 35mm base. He was a lot of fun to paint, perhaps partly because I find Sabretooth quite an interesting character in modern comics. In the new(ish) runs in which all the mutants have retreated to live on Krakoa, and in which even the full blown baddies like Apocalypse get a seat at the council, everyone decided that Sabretooth was still too unhinged and dangerous to be allowed to run about the place and was therefore immediately thrown in whatever passes for prison there. What a naughty boy!

Next on the painting table: Nick Fury Jr.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 9 Comments

Painted Viper

This is Viper, a Hydra assassin in Marvel Crisis Protocol. Her superpowers are mainly around mobility; she is a long mover, has a personal teleport effect and one of her attacks places her within range one of her victim. In principle this should make Viper really good for snatching lightly defended objective and scoring them, but she doesn’t really hit that hard and, even more frustratingly, is extremely easy to daze. So my limited experience with her is that she does a load of cool tricks to get somewhere, then achieves nothing on arrival and immediately gets bodied by whoever is waiting for her. It doesn’t help that she’s kind of themed around poison, which is one of the weaker status conditions. Probably her natural home is with Baron Strucker in Hydra but even there I’m not sure that she would make the cut in a competitive roster.

The card art for Viper is all about various shades of green and I wanted to lean into that while still keeping her with a distinctive costume. Having green hair is certainly unusual and it makes me wonder if she dyes it to match her costume or if it’s green because of whatever her evil origin story is. Like Psylocke, I took the rare decision to give her lipstick like in the artwork. There is a reason that green lipstick isn’t fashionable in the real world – it looks awful, at least on terrifying super-ninjas. I’ve left it on as it was a bit of a pain to apply and I didn’t want to undo my neat work, but I think if I had my time again I wouldn’t have bothered. Viper is another character I’m not particularly familiar with, though I do vaguely recall that she was in one of the rubbish stand-alone Wolverine films that were getting churned out in the wake of X-Men’s success.

Next on the painting table: Sabretooth, Apex Predator.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 16 Comments

Marvel Crisis Protocol team tournament report: Crisis in Caledonia 20May2023

Another month, another Marvel Crisis Protocol event! This was the long awaited teams event at Common Ground Games where we set up in teams of three. Our team, Underpowered Scoundrels Form Mediocre Syndicate (apologies to whoever came up with this first as I’m sure I saw it somewhere and then stole it) comprised of me, my long-time friend and gaming sparring partner Gareth and my son Scott. There were some restrictions in roster selection to avoid duplicates of characters and cards but with the number of options available and only needing 3 rosters this wasn’t a huge issue.

My roster is basically the same Criminal Syndicate roster I’ve been playing for a few months, but without Patch Up as Gareth wanted that. I put in Indomitable instead as my main game plan on Secures is to sit on the objectives like a bunch of potatoes and not get moved off them. Gareth played a slight variation on Web Warriors and Scott was using Weapon X with an option to flex into X-Force if he felt like it. Tales of Crisis did a fun podcast reviewing the rosters which you can find here. Our team did briefly chat about which match-up we’d like to get and avoid, but in the end the pairing process doesn’t really allow you to do anything more than just avoid one specific opponent with one of your rosters so it’s barely more than random.

Characters: (10)
—Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) Threat: 4
—Shadowland Daredevil (Matt Murdock) Threat: 4
Rhino (Aleksei Sytsevich) Threat: 4
Ulik (Ulik) Threat: 5
Black Cat (Felica Hardy) Threat: 3
Hood (Parker Robbins) Threat: 3
Bullseye (Benjamin Poindexter) Threat: 2
Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) Threat: 2
Toad (Mortimer Toynbee) Threat: 2
Juggernaut (Cain Marko) Threat: 5

Tactics: (10)
All According To Plan
Shadow Organization
Brace for Impact
Do You Know Who I Am?
Hood’s Gang
This Is A Robbery
Mission Objective
Eyes on the Prize
Versatile Strategy

Secure Crisis: (3)
Cosmic Invasion! Black Order Descends on Earth (Threat: 16)
Super-Powered Scoundrels Form Sinister Syndicate! (Threat: 20)
Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0 (Threat: 17)

Extract Crisis: (3)
Deadly Legacy Virus Cured? (Threat: 19)
Struggle for the Cube Continues (Threat: 17)
Spider-Infected Invade Manhattan (Threat: 17)

Game 1: Ross playing X-Men

Our first round is against Brotherhood Without Manners and I get paired into Ross’s X-Men. I normally hate the X-Men vs Criminal Syndicate match-up as both sides really want to play on their own Secures and it feels like there is a big advantage in just winning the roll for priority. However in Ross’s case he’s not playing pay-to-flip options so that suits me just fine. Ross wins priority and chooses his Extractions, I choose the higher threat value as I wanted to include both Bullseye and Toad and it’s more awkward to do so at 18 threat. Normally I would be expecting some X-men trickery to take a 3 – 1 lead on the Hammers but I think that Ross is not likely to take that approach. Therefore my plan is basically to end the first round with 2 Hammers and sitting on at least three Secures, and then ride out the game from there.

Extraction: Fear Grips World As ‘Worthy’ Terrorise Cities
Secure: Superpowered Scoundrels Form Sinister Syndicate
Threat: 19
My team: Kingpin, Bullseye, Black Cat, Rhino, Ulik, Toad
My cards: All According To Plan, Brace For Impact, Indomitable, Mission Objective, This Is A Robbery
Ross’s team: Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Psylocke, Rogue
Ross’s cards: Children Of The Atom, First Class, Pardon Me Sugah, Patch Up, Psionic Constructs

Round 1: Ross plays First Class. Storm takes the left Hammer and Ulik takes the one on the right. Jean collects the rear Hammer and strolls over to the back left Secure, where honestly I’ll be quite happy if she stays all game. Toad pushes Storm further away from my left Secure and Cyclops takes a desultory shot at Ulik from the comfort of the rear right Secure. Rhino takes the final Hammer and ends up on the central point along with Rogue and Kingpin. Bullseye and Psylocke take short walks onto their nearest Secure points while Black Cat takes a rather over optimistic run across the board to sit next to Jean Grey. She might live through Jean’s attacks and then can run away with her Hammer. The score is 6 – 3 to me.

Round 2: Apart from possibly relieving Jean or Storm of a Hammer with either Rhino or Black Cat as required, my plan this turn is just to keep scoring the central and near Secures. Rogue punches Kingpin and he hits her back and throws her into Jean Grey. My hopes of Black Cat doing something cheeky into Jean Grey are dashed when the latter completely obliterates her! Sadly for Ross those are basically the last good dice he’ll get all game, as is demonstrated when Bullseye dazes Psylocke in one go. Cyclops again bounces off Ulik who leaps over and pushes the poor chap across the board to where Rhino can use him as a jumping off point en route to Jean. Storm tickles Toad who pushes her away again. Finally Rhino dazes Cyclops, attacks Jean Grey and then punts her away with This Is A Robbery so he can collect her Hammer. The score is 14 – 4 now.

Round 3: I think it’s basically impossible for Ross to overhaul me from here, but I suppose I ought to make it certain. I play All According To Plan and Rhino leaps over to Storm (dazing her to add insult) and legs it for the corner with her Hammer added to his collection. With his 3 points out of Ross’s reach it’s definitely over now. Rogue hurts Black Cat but Jean somehow fails to finish her off, while on the other side of the board Ulik KOs Cyclops. Not surprisingly, Ross has had enough of his dice and we agree to call it there with a 22 – 5 result.

Thanks to Ross for playing but unfortunately the dice made it not even a game. His team was definitely picked with fun In mind rather than being really competitive so between that and the gap in our experience it would perhaps have been a bit of an uphill struggle for him anyway; I flatter myself that I could have beaten Ross here even without the stupid dice. Gareth also got the win against Kai while Scott, who we’d ‘thrown under the bus’ was overcome by Stu. So as a team we take the win by 2 – 1.

Game 2: Sam playing Guardians of the Galaxy

Next up is my pick for expected winners, Warlords of the Nine Realms and I get paired into Sam’s Guardians. This is where the match-up process works for us as I don’t particularly want to play into Martin’s X-Men so we take advantage of the system to make sure to avoid that; I actually think that the reverse is probably true too, so Martin may have been pleased to dodge me. Sam wins priority and chooses his Extractions, I choose the lower threat value this time as Black Cat fits more neatly at 16 than 17. For once I don’t take All According To Plan as I’m expecting to be taller than Sam’s team; instead I pick Shadow Organisation to reduce the impact of some of the Guardians’ long range attacks for a round. Losing priority is a bit annoying in this match up as I’m sure that Sam will do the Eyes On The Prize safe extract with Beta Ray Bill, while if I have priority I would get to do that with Ulik and then sit on my points while making Sam do all the running. As it is I’ll have to cross the board and try to relieve him of at least one Book.

Extraction: The Montesi Formula Found
Secure: Cosmic Invasion! Black Order Descends On Earth
Threat: 16
My team: Kingpin, Black Cat, Rhino, Ulik
My cards: Brace For Impact, Indomitable, Mission Objective, Shadow Organisation, This Is A Robbery
Sam’s team: Star Lord, Agent Venom, Beta Ray Bill, Groot, Rocket Raccoon
Sam’s cards: Crew Of The Milano, Eyes On The Prize, Foreign Assignment, Lovable Misfits, Mission Objective

Round 1: I think that I’ll need to hang Rhino out in the middle here at the end of the turn as he’ll be needed to take one of Sam’s Books. Agent Venom, Groot and Rocket get Winging It tokens. Predictably Bill gets us underway by playing Eyes On The Prize, collecting the central Book and retreating to safety. Ulik moves over to the right. Star Lord and Black Cat pick up the remaining Books and sit on the rear points. Groot and Rocket go on the left with Kingpin while Rhino ends up mid-board, kind of hanging out in the middle of nowhere. Venom puts Incinerate on him and I use Aggressive to get to the Portal on the far side of the board. The score is 3 – 3.

Round 2: I think that Sam might have left me a small opening here on the left as Rocket is vulnerable to Kingpin if I can throw Groot away. If I can make that work I might possibly just retreat with Rhino and take a small but safe lead on the Secures. Beta Ray Bill, Groot and Rocket get Winging It tokens. Kingpin throws Groot down the board but then fails to hurt Rocket at all; dazing him (which I think is quite likely) really changes this game. I make a bit of a mistake and push him clear of the building so he has a shot at Rhino; I should actually have sent him into the building so he has no choice but to shoot Kingpin. Groot moves back to the point. Rhino can’t play This Is A Robbery as Mission Objective turns it off, so he Stampedes and eventually dazes Star Lord with a throw and is able to collect his book. Credit to Sam here too – I initially misplaced Rhino after one of his attacks and Sam kindly let me reposition him to a less silly place. Sam plays Lovable Misfits which ends up not doing much apart from putting Stun on Kingpin (which admittedly is quite annoying) and then plays Crew Of The Milano to remove Stun from his team. Rocket shoots Rhino and moves back to the Secure with Groot. I move Black Cat over to the left to score that point; I’m not sure if that was the right move or not; I figure that at least it got her to be relevant. Bill dazes Rhino then Ulik leaps over and achieves nothing whatsoever – I was hoping to generate power to move to pick up that fallen Book. Venom tickles Ulik right back then collects the Book. The score is 6 – 5 to me.

Round 3: Rhino is powered right up so I should expect to him to KO Star Lord here and then throw Bill away with This Is A Robbery once there is no-one left to Mission Objective it to. On the left, I can probably take my time with Kingpin as the same move is online again and it’s not likely that Rocket or Groot can take him out in one go; in addition they both want to go after him to recover from any displacement. Agent Venom, Beta Ray Bill and Star Lord get Winging It tokens. Rhino throws a size 3 at Star Lord, dropping a couple of wound off him, then Stampedes and attacks twice. Annoyingly my dice totally fail me here and I manage just two successes off both attacks which isn’t enough to finish off the legendary outlaw. He does at least use This Is A Robbery on Bill. That’s annoying, but even worse Star Lord rolls like a hero and dazes Ulik in one go. Kingpin throws Groot into Bill and dazes Rocket before Venom and Bill combine to KO Rhino. Black Cat moves into the fray and Groot gives up on Rocket and collects Rhino’s book. The score goes to 8 – 7 to me, but that turn has broken my effort and it’ll take an absolute miracle for me to come back from here.

Round 4: There’s not much that I can do here that will actually impact the game so I just make some spite attacks. Agent Venom, Beta Ray Bill and Groot get Winging It tokens. Ulik continues my dice from last turn by failing to do even a single point of damage to Bill, though he does at least finally polish off Star Lord by throwing something at him. Groot one-shots Black Cat. Agent Venom and Rocket just run for the various Secures to guarantee that I’ll never get them next turn; the score is now 13 – 9 to Sam.  I think that the below photo is from after we did the Cosmic Portal pushes.

Round 5: For the second turn in the game Ulik fails to even put a single point of damage into Bill. Bill leaves Black Cat on a single point of health and she relieves him of his Book and runs away. Kingpin moves to my near objective and throws Rocket just to deny that single point and we finish up at 17 – 12 in Sam’s favour.

I love playing MCP with Sam, he’s such a lovely fun opponent and he’s really good. I have to apologise to him here as I think that I was very moany about my dice, especially in round 3, and I’m sorry that he had to listen to my frustration. I will admit that this defeat hurts though; I really felt that I had a decent chance to take this game either through dealing with Rocket in round 2 or by KOing Star Lord in round 3 but my dice just said ‘no’. Star Lord was especially annoying as not only did he survive but he also put down Ulik with some really brutal dice rolls that made it impossible to recover from. In retrospect I wonder if I could have just played on the three nearer objectives and let Sam have his home one with the two Books and just seen out the game 4 – 3 each round. At least that way he’s the one who has to do all the running. I don’t want to take anything away from Sam though – he played a very tight game (especially denying me This Is A Robbery in round 2) and was a total gentleman throughout. In the other games Gareth had a nice win against the always-excellent Martin while Scott and Thomas played out surely the most brutal game ever seen – the only piece left was Thomas’s Malekith with a single remaining wound. Well done to the Warlords of the Nine Realms for beating us 2 -1 and also eventually winning the whole event.

Game 3: Stevie playing X-Force

For our final game we’re up against one of the Glasgow-based teams in Team Gambit. We’re both out of the running to win and our team composition is quite similar in that we both have a Criminal Syndicate, Web Warriors and X-people rosters (though the rosters themselves aren’t very alike) so we agree to forgo the proper pairing process and just set up games that aren’t tedious mirror matches. I end up last with Stevie’s X-Force. I win priority this time and pick my Secures as I don’t really hate any of Stevie’s Extraction cards and Stevie chooses the higher threat level so, as he put it, ‘we can have more toys.’ With no normal Extractions in play I feel that Rhino is less useful so I replace him with Daredevil as the Ninjas can be quite annoying on the Research Station. I haven’t put Black Widow in this list for ages so I gave her a run out just for a sense of completeness more than anything else, though being able to cheaply sit and score an edge point should be quite useful. With 3 of my cards being specific to Extractions I was running a bit short on options so for the first time in a long time I had to include Versatile Strategy.

Extraction: Research Station Attacked!
Secure: Riots Spark Over Extremis 3.0
Threat: 17
My team: Kingpin, Bullseye, Shadowland Daredevil, Ulik, Black Widow
My cards: All According To Plan, Brace For Impact, Indomitable, Shadow Organisation, Versatile Strategy
Stevie’s team: Cable, Domino, Psylocke, Magik, Toad
Stevie’s cards: Cat And Mouse, Disarm, Indomitable, Journey Through Limbo, One-Two Punch

Round 1: Thanks to the Ninjas I have an extra body to work with on the Researcher so my plan is to get out wide and score those points while leveraging Kingpin’s leadership so I don’t have to commit so hard to the centre. Psylocke starts us out with Cat and Mouse on the left; the photo above was taken after this was played. Bullseye goes on the back point, where he plans to sit and be annoying for the whole game. Domino goes in the middle and the Ninjas join her while Daredevil takes the right Secure. Toad drops the Ninjas then Black Widow goes to hide on the left point and Magik joins Domino in the centre, where Ulik and Kingpin will eventually score this for me. My dice let me know that their run from the previous game isn’t over as Psylocke one-shots Black Widow and Cable pumps a five damage into Ulik with a single shot. The score is 4 – 2 to me.

Round 2: I’m never really sure what to do with the Researcher now that the scoring for getting her to the far side is less generous so I just move it a bit back towards my team to make Stevie do the running. I need to clear out the centre here as unbelievably I’m way down on attrition and I haven’t even made a single attack yet. Ulik gives Domino an Activated token with Shatter Mountains, Shatter Bones (note that I think that I incorrectly played it that she got the Stagger token as well when it should be instead – sorry Stevie!) and dazes Magik. Psylocke KOs Black Widow with a single attack. Cable Body Slides into the action and throws terrain at Ulik which I have to use Brace For Impact on, then dazes him anyway and pays to Disarm Kingpin. Toad delivers a nasty hit to Kingpin who pushes Cable away and throws Domino into Toad. The score goes to 8 – 4 in my favour.

Round 3: I need to get try to displace some of Stevie’s team away from the Researcher so I can keep scoring it but it’s proving hard with the speed at which my team is being beaten up. I play All According To Plan to get back priority. Ulik leaps to the far point and dazes Toad but still can’t finish off Domino, leaving her on one. I will note at this point that I felt in good company as the next table over was Adam from Midlife Crisis Protocol whose catchphrase might as well be ‘so I’ll leave them on one.’ Magik does Journey Through Limbo to send Kingpin away from the action, she then Limbo steps forward and one-shots Bullseye. Daredevil leaves Cable on one and gets dazed in two attacks in return before Cable goes down to Bleed. Kingpin throws Domino and it’s blocked with Indomitable and the Psylocke drops him from full health. The score is now 8 – 7 to me.

Round 4: I’ll be lucky to end this game without getting tabled at this rate! I play Versatile Strategy as Kingpin’s leadership no longer provides my benefits. Kingpin uses Hail To The King to keep Psylocke out of my face and then KOs Magik, while over on the other side of the board Ulik survives a round of shooting from Domino before finally dazing her and giving Toad an Activated token (though with only 3 health on his injured side I was really looking to KO him and get him out of my hair). Psylocke comes back into the action and heals off the objective which means that, of course, Bullseye leaves her on one wound. Good play by Stevie there to see that opportunity. Daredevil bounces off Cable but at least the Ninjas do some work by scampering over to tie us up on the Researcher and buy me a bit of time. We go to 9 – 8 to me.

Round 5: Psylocke drops Bullseye in one and hurts Kingpin. Ulik KOs Domino in return but Toad, still on one wound, manages to dodge the only piece of terrain around to throw at him, a size 1 lamppost. Cable finishes Kingpin and Daredevil does another single point of damage to him while the Ninjas also fail to deal the one remaining point of damage to Psylocke. Toad flails about a bit with Ulik; this activation also marks the first time that Stevie hasn’t converted a miss into a success with the X-Force reroll. Everything is a tie so we stay at 9 – 8!

Round 6: I’m in the hands of the dice now – basically if the Ninjas can deal one damage to Psylocke then I probably win, otherwise I almost certainly lose. Fortunately they do finally manage a point of damage (on the fourth attempt, with a reroll each time) and Daredevil wakes up and KOs Cable at least. Toad has an absolutely insane turn against Ulik, leaving him on a single wound left before the return swing does the remaining one damage to finish the mutant. The final score is 14 – 9.

Many thanks again to Stevie for being a wonderful opponent and, just like Sam before him, having to put up with my moaning about awful dice. Perhaps my expectation of what ‘normal’ looks like for MCP dice needs some adjustment? As mentioned above I also think I cheated him in round 2 by having Ulik give both Stagger and Activated to Domino – sorry Stevie! Luckily there was nothing riding on this game, not only because we were both midtable anyway but also because Adam and Ben had defeated Gareth and Scott respectively. In general I think that my strategy was broadly OK at the start; I thought that Black Widow facing off against Psylocke would last a bit longer as she counts blanks against energy (admittedly only with two dice) and had a tolerable 3 dice against mystic attacks. Even just not going down to a single shot in round 1 would have score me one more point and Stevie one less! Possibly I would have been better off with Daredevil in the middle and Ulik on the right in round 1 as the latter can reposition much more effectively; Daredevil ended up with not a lot to do on round 2. I also wonder if I was relying too much on displacement from Kingpin and Ulik as none of my other characters brought much other than damage.

When the final scores come in we’re in 5th place out of the 8 teams which I think is perhaps a little better than I expected considering how the games all shook out. Overall I have much to ponder, probably mainly about my own attitude and how much fun I’m making the game for my friends. All three games the dice were a far bigger factor than I felt that they ought to be and it was just as unsatisfactory to have a total non-game against Ross due to my amazing rolls as it was to be on the wrong end of it against Sam and Stevie. Many thanks to Gareth and Scott for being fun team-mates, Ross, Sam and Stevie for fun games (and/or putting up with me!) and of course to Allan for doing all the work to run the whole thing. I did enjoy myself a lot, and I’ll be back… but not for a few months as I’m busy for at least the next two events. Criminal Syndicate are going back in the box for now and I’m going to play around with some of the factions I haven’t used in a while.

Categories: Battle reports, Marvel Crisis Protocol, Tournaments | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Painted Atalan Jackals

These are Atalan Jackals, a fast attack choice for my Genestealer Cults army in Warhammer 40,000. Strictly speaking, the little buggy is a Wolfquad and not a Jackal but it is still part of the unit and effectively acts as a heavy weapon choice in the squad. As you might expect from a team of Mad Max Warboys, the Jackals are all about living fast and dying young; I’ve had most success with them screening out parts of the board and then throwing sticks of dynamite around. My preference has been to use the stratagem which maximises the number of hits from the Demo Charge attack at the risk (a near certainty in my experience) of blowing up the wielder which seems fitting all round. The Wolfquad has a Mining Laser strapped on; I don’t think that this synergises especially well with the role of the team but I like the way it looks. Because Jackals have the Core keyword they can be brought back to life by the Iconward, which is quite a nice treat if you can manage to resurrect the four-wound Wolfquad.

Atalan Jackals are the main reason I picked up any Genestealer Cults minis in the first place, I just love the dirt bike post-apocalypse look they have going on. I tried to learn from my mistake with the Ridgerunner and have a bit less yellow on the bikes themselves which I think looks quite nice, though I’ll admit that I found painting all the yellow trim on the armour a bit painful working around the bikes. I could probably have done better by keeping the riders separate from the bikes but I prefer to play with the minis over painting them and they did me proud for many games in their grey plastic camouflage!

Initially I thought that this team represented the final minis for my Genestealer Cult but I then found a pair of Familiars for the cult wizards. They’re pretty small minis so I’ll get them dealt with shortly and then call this good.

I enjoyed these so much that I felt that they deserved their own individual pictures, so enjoy.

Next on the painting table: Viper.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer 40000 | Tags: , | 10 Comments

Painted Psylocke

Here is Psylocke, another member of the X-Men for Marvel Crisis Protocol. I’m very much enjoying Psylocke on the tabletop; she has a very efficient set of rules to allow her to do one thing well – move around the board and stab things. Psylocke has ‘move and attack’ action, a long range attack with a trigger to make a move afterwards, re-rolls on attack and defence and finally that beautiful combination of Stealth and Martial Arts to ensure that she’s a pain to attack except in a very specific range band. She feels really dynamic in play with so many options to move to different places as the game goes on; even the ones where she gets downed early she has an impact. On the other hand, I’m also a bit sore because Allan’s Psylocke one-shot my Rogue twice in a row last time we played!

Psylocke is probably one of the worst sufferers (at least among the X-Men) of all the early artists being men and I’m a bit surprised that her sculpt here is the original (?) one where she’s not wearing a lot more than a swimming costume and a few ribbons. That said, that’s the exact costume that she was lumbered with in the Apocalypse film so what do I know?! Painting Psylocke was a very quick experience since she’s basically only three different colours; it probably took me about as long to do the Sentinel foot she’s standing on for the base. I decided to push myself a little bit and paint on the lipstick. Long time readers will have read my thoughts before about the weirdness of prettying oneself up with make-up / heels / etc before battle but there was something about the tie in between Psylocke’s hair and lip colour that tempted me to do it. I’m quite pleased with the outcome after all that!

Next on the painting table: Atalan Jackals.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 9 Comments

Painted Beta Ray Bill

This is Beta Ray Bill for Marvel Crisis Protocol. I have to admit that I’m not at all familiar with this character, though he seems popular based on chats with various local gamers. It seems that someone wanted to know the answer to the question: ‘what if Thor was also a horse?’ On the tabletop he’s effectively a slightly lower budget version of Thor and brings many of the same tools but toned down a little. Having a size 4 character throw is very handy and his medium base does give him a little more mobility than Thor. Everyone else seems to think Bill is amazing (and to be clear, I find him just fine) so I suppose he’s going to be one of those characters like Baron Zemo who every player except me absolutely loves. I’ve tried Bill in both Asgard and Guardians of the Galaxy and he does perfectly fine in either team without really lighting the world on fire. In that regard, I guess he’s a perfect release – not useless, but also not hopelessly overpowered.

My first thinking when painting Beta Ray Bill was to try to make him look as much like Thor as possible, hence the bright red cloak billowing out behind him. I did very much enjoy working on the miniature but I think that part of the result is defined by what I didn’t do – specifically, anything substantial with the pairs of circles on his shirt which I assume are the equivalent of Superman’s ‘S’ logo. Partly this was because I couldn’t really find any consistent art for what they looked like, but mainly because of his pose no-one would ever see them anyway! Painting the lightning coming off his hammer was a lot of fun, though it’s definitely an effect that works better at longer distance and without the benefit of modern photography…

Finally, I ask a question: ‘Thor-se’ or ‘T-horse’?

Next on the painting table: Psylocke.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 11 Comments

Painted Logan, The Wolverine

This is Logan, The Wolverine for Marvel Crisis Protocol. He’s another one of the characters with multiple versions in the game so isn’t to be confused with the original Wolverine release. This one is honestly much better on the tabletop than his predecessor, bringing rerolls to increase his reliability (a huge improvement on the other Wolverine) and some lovely mobility as he places within range one of whoever he attacks. Logan still brings Healing Factor 2 and therefore access to the X-Ceptional Healing card so while bringing him down isn’t impossible, it is certainly quite annoying. I’ve really enjoyed playing Logan as he feels very dynamic and fitting for the character – grumpily pouncing across the board and making *snikt* noises.

This version of Logan is dressed in civilian clothes which makes a bit of a change from all the spandex suits I’ve been painting lately. I will admit that I prefer my comic characters to be at least a bit silly but I did really enjoy painting a someone who, if not for the claws coming out of his hands, could just be a normal person going about their business. The base is different from the majority of the MCP minis as it is meant to be a part of a diorama set in which Wolverine and Sabretooth (another new version, more about him later) grimace at each other atop a bunker entrance at Alkali Lake. I was a bit worried about the snow but in the end I came upon a very simple approach – a base coat of my palest blue, then top it with a few very thin coats of white. I’m really pleased with the way that this has come out.

Next on the painting table: Beta Ray Bill.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 15 Comments

Painted Primus

This chap is a (or possibly the?) Primus for my Genestealer Cults army in Warhammer 40K. He’s sort of the budget combat leader for if you don’t want to go full xeno with the Patriarch in charge, but the Primus is more focussed on improving the rest of your army. In play this seems to mainly involve him sitting behind whichever unit you want to shoot things with and trying to avoid anyone just blowing him up randomly… which now I think about it is largely the same place as many of the other Cult hero options.

Painting the Primus was where I really noticed my folly in trying to link the blue tunics of the more human-looking cultists with the blue chitin of the less human ones. It works fine when those two parts don’t come together but, as here, it makes the sleeve and arm look a bit weird. Otherwise I quite enjoyed painting this evil alien cult leader as he got done very smoothly and without any hiccups. Of course, the colours remain broadly matching the rest of the cult. I now just have one unit to paint up and I can call this project complete.

Next on the painting table: Logan, The Wolverine.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer 40000 | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Painted Rhino

This is Rhino, one of Spider-Man’s classic baddies from the cartoons, as portrayed for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Not surprisingly, he’s in the Spider-Foes affiliation plus my favoured Criminal Syndicate which I think is probably his better home. I love playing Rhino! He’s somewhat hard to kill and gains extra power when attacked which makes him an unappealing target (unless you’re Allan, who one-shot him twice in a row last time we played) unless you bring in a really big hitter. But more amusingly he has a push and must place next to anyone he attacks which means that, if his targets were positioned suitably, he could cross the board in one activation. Rhino has been a key part of my Criminal Syndicate rosters lately, not just because he’s really fun on the tabletop but also because his Tactics card (This Is A Robbery) is a very effective way to take Extract tokens off people which has long been a weakness of my game with this affiliation.

I was worried that painting Rhino might be quite dull – after all, he’s basically all grey and my basing for MCP is also all grey. But actually it turned out to be quite fun to mess around with the different shades. Probably Rhino’s scaly hide could have done with bit more work highlighting but ultimately I’m pleased with he outcome. The little bits of rubbish on his base that come with the MCP bases also help to give a bit of colour.

Next on the painting table: Primus.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 18 Comments

Marvel Crisis Protocol video battle report: Brotherhood of Mutants vs S.H.I.E.L.D

This is another game of Marvel Crisis Protocol via my friend Allan’s excellent YouTube channel, Midlife Crisis Protocol. This game features his S.H.I.E.L.D up against my Brotherhood with Mystique leading. The game was filmed ages ago but only posted now according to whatever schedule Allan has for his channel – it does include a classic match-up between Hulk and Hulkbuster. Enjoy!

Categories: Battle reports, Marvel Crisis Protocol | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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