This is Deadpool, another superhero for Crisis Protocol. Deadpool is part of the X-Force and Avengers affiliations, and my friend Gareth has been playing him very effectively in the latter. His main draw, apart from amusingly named abilities like ‘bang’ for his handguns, is that Deadpool counts as healthy even on his injured side. This ability, combined with his healing abilities, makes me theorise that he could be very effective in a Criminal Syndicate team focussed around sitting on Secure points and racking up VPs while plugging away at attrition; however I haven’t tried this out yet. Most of Deadpool’s other kit is probably more cute than actually great, but he has some fun little quirks like not being moved by Mystic attacks due to his general craziness. In this regard, I guess he fits the general pattern within MCP of playing the way you would expect from the comics.
Deadpool was quite simple to paint; being largely comprised of black and red (actually I hadn’t realised until I picked him up how similar his costume is to Ant Man’s!) but was somehow highly satisfying to paint despite or perhaps because of this simplicity. Long-time readers of this blog will note the surprising lack of a tactical thingy for Deadpool to stand on; this is because he comes with a comedy rocket, complete with ‘Adam West Batman style’ Fwoosh wording and I just couldn’t get it to look good. In the end, I think that Deadpool looks quite nice enough just prancing happily on the pavement.
Next on the painting table: Bob, Agent of Hydra.
Here is Beast, my first X-Men miniature for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Of course Beast is also affiliated as an Avenger and an Inhuman, not to mention that team building in MCP is very permissive, but I like the X-Men and so it’s very cool that they’re in the game. He’s really fun and dynamic within the game; Beast’s attacks both have options for movement as part of them and he has a really cheap throw available. In fact, he continues the tendency of heroes in MCP playing like I feel that they should based on their comic book appearances.
I had a grand time painting Beast. He’s a classic X-Man from the cartoons of my childhood and the sculpt really reflects his character. In fact, there was also an alternate head with glasses and hand holding a book for him to read just like in the intro to the 90s cartoon, but I decided not to go that way. I did deviate slightly from Beast’s usual appearance by giving him black hair as when I initially painted it blue like the rest of his fur it just didn’t look right.
Next on the painting table: Deadpool.
This is a squad of Reivers, a Primaris unit for the Adeptus Astartes (Space Marines) within Warhammer 40,000. Rules-wise, Reivers a bit of an oddity. They can deep-strike and have various rules around affecting morale of enemies nearby; however they’re not particularly good at fighting and morale has been hilariously ineffective in every game I’ve played of 40K. I suspect that there is some value in a big game to taking the smallest and cheapest squad of these ladies, parachuting them in late game and scoring a few VP doing actions in a quiet corner. Reivers can also be added to Spectrus Kill Teams in Death Watch, but doing so makes the rest of the team lose most of their cool special rules so I’m not really sure why I would want to do so.
The Reivers were painted in the same white, green and black scheme as their sister Space Marines. I actually assembled this unit first when I was testing out the alternative heads, though I somehow failed to make any further progress with the painting for almost a year! The heads are a fractionally bigger scale than the ones I’ve ended up using for the rest of the Space Marines, which I think makes it look more like they are big warriors in normal sized armour instead of being normal sized warriors in big armour. I find with these squads of Space Marines that I get about halfway through the painting and find it a bit of a grind, then somehow turn a corner (usually when I apply the main Nuln Oil wash!) after which it becomes a joy once more.
Next on the painting table: Beast.
Here is Doctor Strange, another character for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Doctor Strange is the leader of the Defenders affiliation, and, as you can probably imagine from someone who is literally a wizard in a world filled with people who don’t believe in magic, is very much a king of jank. Foremost among his amusing plays is the ability to use a Tactics card to create a portal from your deployment zone out to the middle of the board. This opens up all sorts of entertaining scenario plays, but those who know me know that I tend toward a very aggressive and attritional playstyle and therefore the funniest use of this Portal is to send Hulk through it to beat people up more effectively. I also love the cinematic element of Hulk falling through a magical portal onto some hapless fool. Doctor Strange also brings a fairly rare healing option, can protect himself and others with a superpower and attacks using the usually-desirable Mystic attack typing. He’s a lot of fun to play.
I painted Doctor Strange in accordance with the box art, and therefore the comic art as usual. I did make a few unusual choices around painting his face though. Firstly, Doctor Strange is usually depicted with grey temples but after a few rounds with the paint brush I couldn’t get this to look right so I just went with boring old black hair. The mini is sculpted with a moustache and goatee and painting them made it look weird not to have coloured eyebrows. The painted eyebrows in turn made it look odd without painted eyes, so I reluctantly dove back into those. I’m not entirely happy with the way that his face has come out but at tabletop distance it’s fine. Doctor Strange is also one of the minis that has most changed my mind from assembly to painting. When I assembled the mini I was a bit dismayed by the static pose, but as I painted him I really started to enjoy that supercilious floating hand gesture thing that he has going on. By the time I finished him I really enjoyed the effort of painting him.
Next on the painting table: Reivers.
This is Mystique, the shape-shifting mutant from Marvel Crisis Protocol, although for all I know all other small-based MCP minis I’ve painted have also been her. Mystique’s main draw in the game is that reactive superpowers and cards can’t be used during her activation. So no Bodyguard from Okoye, no Age of Ultron from Ultron (obviously), no Vibranium Shield from Captain America. This makes her a pretty good assassin as most of the tricks to keep characters alive on a couple of wounds remaining are either reactive superpowers or cards. Mystique also has a character-specific Tactics card that forces an enemy character to approach her; this has numerous applications, notably moving someone into range to be beaten up by the rest of my team or getting them off a scoring point.
With her blue skin, Mystique was rather a different painting prospect than most of the heroes in MCP. I tried to keep the skin tone light as per the comics and card art though I note that in the various film appearances she tends to have much darker blue skin. I particularly enjoy the way that the blue skin, red hair and white clothes contrast with each other. It’s not very easy to tell in a photo but Mystique’s tactical junk on her base is a damaged sign for the Xavier school, which I think it quite a nice touch.
Mystique is a great example of why I love the X-Men so much. In many other series, she would just be a straight-up villain or at least antagonist. But the way that the X-Men is generally written, characters have often the same agenda (i.e. to improve the lot of Mutants, either specifically or in general) and their personalities define how they go about it. This allows the goodie and baddie teams to endlessly swap members as the short-term tactics and long-terms goals of the cast evolve.
Next on the painting table: Dr Strange.
This is Wong, another hero for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Wong is a cheap hero mainly likely to show up with Doctor Strange; however I think that team building in MCP is tight enough that it’s a really hard ask to squeeze in a hero who only contributes a bit of support. On the one hand, Wong is the joint cheapest hero in the game at two Threat, but on the other hand he’s really easy to kill and contributes nothing offensively or for control. So his main use case would be to stand on a home objective if it was hidden behind a massive piece of scenery (perhaps not too likely in actual play) and hope to do a little healing where power allows. Being two Threat and in-affiliation for Defenders does also give him a bit of extra value to make particular threat levels which I guess is worth something. Time will tell if I’m missing something cool that he can do.
For all that I’ve criticised Wong’s role on the tabletop, I did really enjoy painting him. I stuck with the card art for his colour scheme which is why he’s wearing a bright green suit; it would look a bit odd walking to Tesco but it fits right in with the other crazy attire that the superheroes are wearing. I’m not sure why Wong is standing on a (magical?) fire; a tactical fire certainly makes a change from the usual tactical rocks.
Wong is one of the characters who I like a lot more when portrayed in the MCU compared to the comics. In the latter, he never really seems to do much apart from hang around in the library and occasionally bring Doctor Strange’s lunch. Meanwhile on film Benedict Wong makes Wong a very sympathetic character with a wry sense of humour and a competent sorcerer in his own right; he treats Doctor Strange much the way one would treated a much-loved but mischievous child.
Next on the painting table: Mystique.
Here is a Malignant Plaguecaster, another Death Guard mini from Warhammer 40,000. Unlike the Lord of Contagion who, I suppose, is this guy’s boss, the Plaguecaster is a psyker (i.e. a space wizard) who specialises in making his own side harder to kill while doling out occasional wounds to his enemies.
Also unlike the Lord of Contagion, I actively disliked painting the Plaguecaster. The mini is really busy but somehow not in a way that comes together nicely; rather it just feel like a lot of needless bling cluttering up the sculpt. In addition, the pose just looks really unnatural, although I will admit that I don’t really know what a 10,000-year-old space wizard would look like when he’s walking around. Finally, and this one is definitely on me, I tried to use the same paint scheme as the Lord of Contagion and while this mostly worked, it had one unfortunate side effect. Trying to keep the ‘magical green fire’ look on the Plaguecaster makes it look like he’s a balloon artist trying to inflate a giant piece of broccoli. Still, I’m glad that he’s done and I did learn a few things about colour choices which will hopefully help me in the future.
Next on the painting table: Wong.