This is Thor, another character for use in Marvel Crisis Protocol. He’s rather like She-Hulk and Black Panther in that he is the leader for his own affiliation (Asgard in this case) while also being a member of the Avengers. Of course, everyone who’s anyone has been an Avenger at some point. At a mighty 5 threat, Thor is a huge beatstick, able to throw people around and eventually charge up to a really cool area attack where he zaps everyone nearby with lightning. So far I’ve only played against Thor so I need to find some time to use him myself, either in Asgard (although I’d need to get some more Asgardians to keep him company if I do), Avengers or as an unaffiliated splash to another team; I theorise that he’d quite like the power gain from A-Force for example.
Thor has appeared in a great many costumes over the years, ranging from the truly silly days of golden-era comics to the fairly silly costumes of the MCU. His clothes are probably notable for having a higher combusting point than the metal used to make Stormbreaker in the Infinity War film. For the miniature, I went with the card art which is probably about middle of the road for how silly Thor has ever looked; I like the contrast between the brightness of the cape and the drabness of the rest of his clothes. All in all I very much enjoyed painting Thor; the miniature really looks like his comic book appearances. I tried the most basic possible interpretation of non-metallic-metal technique on the clasps (?) on Thor’s shirt in that I painted them using greys rather than metallic paints and I’m quite satisfied with the result.
Next on the painting table: Stannis Brocker.
This is Ghost-Spider, another character for Marvel Crisis Protocol. I have to admit that I’d always thought of her as Spider-Gwen before picking up this box so it was quite nice to find out that she has a proper superhero name. Like most of the other Web Warrior, Ghost-Spider is really mobile and can move other characters around. In her case, she can pull friendlies out of range of attacks using her Life Saver superpower. Although she is affiliated with Web Warriors (and at the moment I think I would have her and Spider-Miles in any Web Warriors team) she fits really nicely into a lot of other rosters as an unaffiliated option; the additional control that Ghost-Spider offers is pretty unusual in the game.
I tried to keep the white on Ghost-Spider’s costume cleaner than usual but I couldn’t quite get it as smooth as I’d hoped. Not that I’m unhappy with the result as I think that the final miniature looks more than good enough for gaming purposes, but rather I feel that I could learn to go a bit further with the white. The pink webbing on the blue part of her arms was exactly as painful to paint as it looks; after several frustrating attempts I got as far as ‘that’ll do’ and actually I hope that the worst of the mistakes are on the lower side where they’re not so obvious.
Next on the painting table: Thor
Here is Spider-Man for Marvel Crisis Protocol. This one is Miles Morales (the core box Spider-Man is Peter Parker) and so, due to the way that roster-building works in MCP I could have both Spider-Mans (Spider-Men?) in the same team as they have different ‘real’ names. Spider-Man is really dynamic and the rules fit the character well. He can move a long way, has a web-swinging superpower to move further, and does more damage on his builder attack if he moves first as he uses his momentum to smash into baddies. Unusually, Spider-Man has an ability to make enemies drop mission tokens using his spender attack; normally this can only be done by dazing or KOing them. Finally, Spider-Man is one of the leaders of the Web Warriors affiliation which gives him an extra role when it comes to team building.
I have to admit that I thought I’d hate painting Spider-Man as the webs on his suit are really fiddly to work with. But I resigned myself to doing it very slowly and patiently and in the end I’m really pleased with the result. There is certainly something very cool about the black and red costume. I think that the box he’s very athletically vaulting is a newspaper dispenser of a kind that doesn’t really exist in my country. I assume that it isn’t normally found in the middle of roads but I’m limited by the bases provided and ultimately in a game of magic people throwing each other into cars I don’t bother too much about what looks realistic.
I had not been aware of Miles Morales as a character until I took my son to see Into The Spider-Verse a few years ago and was delighted by the character and indeed the whole film. I loved that Miles has similar anxieties about growing up to Peter Parker but without just being the same person. And the ‘leap of faith’ scene is one of my favourite superhero film moments.
Next on the painting table: Ghost-Spider.
This is Venom, another character for Marvel Crisis Protocol. He’s a pretty effective tank, having a Tactic Card that allows him to take a hit for a friendly character, a superpower to punch someone back after they’ve hit him, and the ability to heal wounds with his spender attack. I haven’t played enough games yet with Venom to have a good feel for his best use case but I rather suspect that positioning is going to be critical. Venom also has very weak energy defence so he needs to be bit choosy in his match-ups, though usually it just means he takes maybe 1 extra damage from energy attacks so it’s not exactly unplayable.
Venom, like quite a few other superhero characters, is mostly just one colour. I spent a fair bit of time highlighting his black suit (or, perhaps, highlighting Venom itself since Eddie is just somewhere in the middle there) with purple before hitting it with a black wash and I’m quite satisfied with the results. The big pink tongue provides a nice spot colour to make Venom a bit more interesting visually.
I’d always thought of Venom as one of Spider-Man’s baddies, but somewhere in the recent past he seems to have crossed over to be more of an anti-hero rather than a straight-up villain. I’m pretty sure that 20 years ago I never would have thought that Venom would have his own series of films, at least not ones that don’t just involve Spider-Man foiling all his nefarious plans and/or throwing him off buildings.
Next on the painting table: Spider-Man.
This is Black Dwarf, another member of the Black Order for Marvel Crisis Protocol. He’s a bit of a big slow lummox, although you certainly don’t want to be on the end of that axe when he swings it. In my few games using him with Thanos I haven’t been super-impressed; the Black Order in general are pretty hard to kill so adding a huge brutish bodyguard isn’t particularly helpful. More importantly, Black Dwarf is rather slow so it’s quite frustrating trying to get him into positions where he can contribute to the game and where he can’t just be pushed away into irrelevancy. I haven’t tried it yet but I theorise that Black Dwarf would make quite an effective member of the X-Men under Storm’s leadership as she could then place him into the thick of the action earlier and force the other team to deal with him.
I very much enjoyed painting Black Dwarf but it took me ages to settle on a suitable colour for his skin. The card art has fairly orangey skin whereas many of the minis I’ve seen painted by other hobbyists and in particular in the Infinity War film he’s more of a drab brown colour. In the end I’ve tried to go with a fairly light brown skin which is broken up by those horny growths that he has all over the place… probably ought to see a doctor about that. Black Dwarf is another massive mini (about the same size as the Hulk) which let me spend a bit more time on the muscle definition, though I’m not super impressed with the results of my work. Anyway, he’s good enough for the tabletop so I’m satisfied.
Black Dwarf is another character who suffers in the MCU by being no more than a punching bag for the goodies to show off against. I don’t even recall if he has any lines. In the Hickman Infinity comic Black Dwarf gets a bit more ‘screen’ time and is in some ways the most interesting of the Black Order. Most of the others are just following along with Thanos to achieve their own nefarious goals whereas Black Dwarf is more nihilistic and appears to actually value Thanos’s various plans to Kill All The Things on the basis that he (Black Dwarf) will also die.
Next on the painting table: Venom.
This, of course, is the Hulk for Marvel Crisis Protocol. An instantly recognisable figure in modern pop culture, though personally I don’t find him as engaging or loveable as the rest of the world seems to. The Crisis Protocol version is clearly from before the part of the story where Bruce Banner gets to control the Hulk; this one is pure rage monster. Still, rampaging around the board smashing people is both fun and effective, and of course part of the charm of Crisis Protocol is putting your favourite characters on the board. Hulk suffers a lot against enemies that can control him, or against the relatively small number that can just cut his massive pool of hit points down quickly enough.
Painting Hulk was quite an unusual experience in that he’s pretty much composed entirely of three colours. I put more effort than usual into his skin, since there is so much of it, and I think that this has worked out pretty well. As might be expected from the character, Hulk’s sculpt is… er… sculpted, which gave me a lot of opportunity to bring out the muscle striations with the brush. All in all, a lot of fun and a quick job too.
To give an idea of just how huge Hulk is, here he is standing next to Baron Zemo, a more or less normal human.
Next on the painting table: Black Dwarf.
This is Ebony Maw for Marvel Crisis Protocol. He’s one of Thanos’s lieutenants and in the MCU he’s the only one who gets to be more than a punching bag for the goodies. In game, he’s a powerhouse when he can use his abilities but has more of them to use than his power generation allows. I haven’t tried it yet but I theorise that he’d be a good Avenger since Steve Rogers’ leadership would benefit his power usage immensely and make him a complete pain to take down. Ebony Maw also brings the option of the tactics card Shhh which can just turn off an enemy superpower at a key moment; playing this at the right time could win the game for you.
Ebony Maw was a lot of fun to paint. I went for a slightly more blue scheme than the card art (which is more predominantly black in accordance with his name I suppose) as the darker shade just wasn’t working for me with the yellow and white on his tabard. I did spend a lot of time frustratingly correcting my errors staying in the lines of the stripey bits of his clothes and I suspect that this still doesn’t really bear up to close scrutiny but it’s good enough for me at tabletop distance. Also unusually for me, I painted the Maw’s eyes – I felt that they really added to the creepy otherworldliness he has going on.
Next on the painting table: Hulk.
Captain America probably needs no introduction but here he is for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Steve Rogers is the last mini from the starter box but has been languishing half-painted for over a year since my daughter wanted to paint him up (she also painted Black Widow and Red Skull) but lost interest partway through. She finally told me that I could finish him of so here he is. Not surprisingly, Captain America is one of the leaders of the Avengers affiliation and he plays a lot like he does in the comics; mainly orchestrating other people to do the flashy stuff while protecting his team. Captain America is one of a minority of characters who gets slightly different rules on his injured side, picking up I Can Do This All Day to count blanks in defence. This makes him ridiculously hard to drop and means that he gets a lot of stuff scenery thrown at him since a dodge roll isn’t a defence roll.
Like most of the Crisis Protocol figures I made an effort to stick with Captain America’s card art while painting him. In this case I also tried to keep as true to my daughter’s painting as possible – I wanted to finish her work rather than start again. I’m quite pleased with the final result here; the miniature, like the character, isn’t flashy but it’s very iconic and likeable.
Next on the painting table: Ebony Maw.
Here is Kingpin, another hero (well, villain) for Marvel Crisis Protocol. One of the many things I love about Crisis Protocol is how often the characters play like they ‘should’ based on their comic appearances. So Kingpin is a slow, durable bruiser who can absolutely mess people up if they dare to get close to him He’s also immune to damage from collisions with other characters (but not scenery) which is both thematic and effective on tabletop as it removes one common path for applying damage. Kingpin has the leadership ability for Criminal Syndicate, allowing friendly models on their healthy side to count twice for determining who controls objectives. This also strikes me as quite thematic and really pushes Criminal Syndicate towards Crises where this can be effective. He’s a ton of fun to play, at least when he finally trudges into the fray.
Kingpin is an absolutely lovely model to paint; I enjoyed almost every minute of it. I spent most of the time trying to get the suit looking smooth; this met with limited success though it’s fair to say that the camera picks up a lot more flaws than my naked eye. I also tried to put eyebrows on (which I normally don’t bother with) as Kingpin’s bald head looked weirdly empty without them. I’m not completely satisfied with the outcome here but they are at least less hilariously prominent than my first attempts.
Most characters in Crisis Protocol come with some tactical rubbish to stand on. In the main these are various piles of rocks or whatever but occasionally there is something very clever done. The photo angle doesn’t really afford a great view here but Kingpin is standing on the sign from Daredevil’s law firm.
Next on the painting table: Captain America.
Here is Killmonger, another character from Marvel Crisis Protocol. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Killmonger is entirely about offense; having a super-power to close the distance before attacking and various other rules that make him a pain to defend against. Uniquely in the game, he has a specific Tactics Card which gives bonuses against the most expensive enemy character and yields victory points if he can take them down during his activation. In our games so far, that card working or not has tended to be an important swing moment and I feel like Killmonger is a character that really thrives or fails based on how well his first couple of attacks go.
Killmonger is slightly uncommon within Crisis Protocol in that he’s more or less a normal human, albeit one who is an absolute badass. I had a great time painting his skin as he has a very well sculpted torso… in both senses of that word. It’s become a bit of a joke that many miniatures in the game come with a tactical rock or equivalent to stand on and liven their pose up a bit; needless to say Killmonger is the only one with a tactical panther statue. I initially tried a bit of a camo pattern on Killmonger’s trousers but I wasn’t satisfied with the results so reverted to plain green which I think allows the upper portion of the miniature to be the focal point.
I wasn’t really aware of Killmonger until the Black Panther film was released, and while I think that Michael B Jordan’s portrayal of him is good I suppose it helped that I didn’t have any prior feelings about how the character should have been played. One interesting aside that I found out is that early iterations of the character had his real name as ‘Erik Killmonger’, so whenever he disappoints in the game we joke about him having to say ‘Muuu-um! I told you not to call me Erik in front of my friends!’ I don’t know if Mrs Killmonger ever appeared in a comic but I dream that she did.
Next on the painting table: Kingpin.