Here, probably needing no introduction in this MCU world, is the mighty Thanos. His incarnation in Marvel Crisis Protocol comes with the epithet ‘The Mad Titan’ in the normal two player mode but there is an alternate play mode in which two players team up against a procedurally driven (and vastly more powerful) Thanos at which point he gets a different name, presumably to differentiate the cards clearly. At 6 threat, even the ‘normal’ Thanos is a bit of a beast; interestingly I find that he’s best as a support and control piece rather than a direct damage dealer. His main draw is being able to take as many Infinity Gems as he likes and not having to pay power to use them. My favourite is to use the Mind Gem to either walk victims toward their doom (specifically, usually in the form of Corvus Glaive – more about him later) or away from scenario points, though the Time Gem for an extra action is also pretty amazing if you can afford it.
Thanos was an absolute joy to paint. Like the other big Crisis Protocol miniatures such as Hulk, Thanos has very nicely sculpted musculature which makes the painting so satisfactory even for a painter of my limited skills. I’ve used the colour scheme of the card art pretty much as it comes, right down to the rather weird metallic pants that Thanos seems to favour. I guess Titan has some odd fashions… or maybe that’s why they call Thanos ‘the mad’. Thanos does also come with a terrain piece to represent his throne but I passed that to a friend for painting in exchange for a couple of beers.
I very much enjoy Thanos as a baddy in the comics as, unlike so many others, he doesn’t come up with plans that can be defeated trivially and he’s rarely just depicted as a buffoon / punching-bag. Thanos gets to be the centre of a story line and it usually takes a lot of heroes (and in some cases, more than heroes) working together to defeat whatever his nefarious plans are.
Next on the painting table: Primaris Outriders.
This is Valkyrie, another Asgardian for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Valkyrie is a bit of an all round fighter and seems to be among the best for pure damage output in her threat cost. She has good power efficiency, a throw, a charge and her Dragon Fang spender attack is absolutely brutal to be on the wrong end of. Valkyrie is in both the Asgard and A-Force affiliations and, at least locally, shows up a lot as an out-of-affiliation pick as she just doesn’t need a lot of help to do what she does well.
Valkyrie is probably the character where my painting has deviated most from the card art. In all the MCP art Valkyrie is depicted more-or-less as she appears in her earliest comics, whereas I’ve tried to roughly follow how she looks in the film Thor: Ragnarök. Valkyrie is supposed to be stepping (as usual) on a tactical rock but helpfully her lead foot is raised by the right amount to use the kerb on the standard base so I did that instead. It’s not quite a perfect look due to the way the ankle is shaped but it works well enough for tabletop purposes. I’m really pleased with the final result on Valkyrie and I’m looking forward to using her fully-painted shortly.
Next on the painting table: Thanos, The Mad Titan.
Here is Stannis Brocker, a solo for my Mercenaries army for Warmachine. Stannis is thematically a leader of the Steelhead corps and this is represented in game as he has Tactician (Steelhead), allowing models with the Steelhead tag to freely move through each other. Needless to say, this is extremely handy in a theme force that utilises swarms of Steelhead Halberdiers to body block the other force. To be honest, he’s otherwise not particularly inspiring in the modern game and if he wasn’t a free option in the Soldiers of Fortune theme force I’d be hard pressed to consider him at his current cost.
Painting Stannis was a remarkably quick and easy process; now that I’ve painted a lot of Steelheads I feel like I have the process down quite nicely. Assembling him, on the other hand, was a long and tedious experience! It became apparent very early that he was going to have a huge gap at his waist where the legs and torso attach and he languished for quite a long time until I got round to dealing with the necessary gap-filling. By the time that was done I’d rather lost interest in playing Warmachine in general and Mercenaries in particular so Stannis was not really a priority. In the end I got sick of his puppy-dog eyes looking longingly at me from my Pile of Shame and decided to get some paint on him just in the interests of ticking him off the ‘to do’ list. I’m glad that I did as I really enjoyed painting Stannis and I’m happy with the end result.
Next on the painting table: Valkyrie.
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