Since I’ve now painted all the miniatures released for the Black Order in Marcel Crisis Protocol (Black Dwarf, Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight and Thanos), I decided that it would be nice to have family photo. This shows off one of the things that I like about the miniatures for this game – they all look unique in size, pose, and colour scheme. In theory AMG might release Supergiant and/or Black Swan in which case I may expand this team but for now this is as complete a project as one will get in this wonderful hobby. I really enjoyed working on these on the painting table, and now I’m enjoying putting them on the tabletop.
I’m also not going to be doing group photos for many of the other affiliations since most of the others are huge (the Avengers and A-Force probably have 20ish models in-affiliation each already) or include minis that I’m not particularly interested in; plus the range is expanding faster than I care to purchase and paint already and I’m no completionist.
Here is Corvus Glaive, the last mini currently released for the Black Order in Marvel Crisis Protocol. Corvus is an absolute blending machine when he gets revved up with power; his spender attack has a Wild result to allow him to make a ‘free’ builder attack so it’s possible with a bit of luck to smite something with his spender, trigger a builder attack and then generate enough power to do it again. Indeed, I did once live the dream of KOing four enemies in a single activation; admittedly this was in the late game when they were already quite beaten up but it did feel satisfying. I pretty much always give Corvus the Reality Gem which allows him to treat a single Skull result as a Critical whenever he rolls dice; obviously this is amazing when he’s attacking but it’s handy in defence and also works on some of the ‘roll to flip’ objectives. The final piece of the puzzle is the superpower he shares with Proxima Midnight which allows them to chain activate; not only does this mean that you can get two uninterrupted activations to fight the other team before they can do anything about it but it is also key to retaining Priority so that you can do it all again next turn.
Painting Corvus was really enjoyable; he’s just a lovely thematic sculpt and very crisply designed. The only part I found a bit awkward was distinguishing the tone of the black cloak from the black armour; I ended up giving the former a grey highlight and the latter a blue one before hitting it all up with the magic of Nuln Oil. I mostly painted Corvus according to the card art but I did paint his loin cloth (?) blue, partly to link him to Proxima and partly to give a bit more colour to an otherwise rather monochrome miniature.
Here is the happy couple: Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive. I really like that the comics play up their surprisingly sweet romance and love for each other; it makes a great counterpoint to the fact that they are otherwise unmitigated villains.
Next on the painting table: Void Archon.
This is a Lord of Contagion, part of the Death Guard for Warhammer 40,000. He’s a leader with a melee focus, and therefore I suppose will spend his time just slightly behind something big and scary ready to counter-charge.
I don’t have any specific plans to actually play a Death Guard army any time soon but I wanted to test myself by painting one of the big minis in this range and decided that a few test / practice miniatures would be useful. The crimson and bronze colours I’ve picked are thematically linked with another group in the lore (specifically, followers of Khorne and the World Eater chapter of Chaos Space Marines) but I felt that they would fit in well with this miniature. And even if he’s a follower of Nurgle, that huge chain-axe the Lord is wielding will still spill plenty of blood. The mini is really busy and I found that he didn’t really come together until the end as there are just so many little bits of detail from the Nurglings underfoot (tactical Nurglings!) to the smoking tripartite trophy rack atop his armour. To contrast with the crimson armour I went with what I hoped would be a noxious and mystical looking green flame effect on the stuff coming off the censers and trophies; I’m a bit torn on whether this actually looks good in itself but it does at least stand out nicely.
Next on the painting table: Corvus Glaive.
Here is a Void Archon, both a Mercenary and a Minion for Warmachine and Hordes respectively. Since Archons came into the game they’ve been a bit of a by-word for being hilariously over-powered and, while I think that a recent rules update has reigned them in a bit, they’ve contributed a little to our reduced desire to play much of WarmaHordes lately. Notwithstanding any recent changes, the Void Archon hits hard (and can reduce nearby enemy armour for its friends too) turns off healing abilities such as Tough in a wide area and is exceptionally mobile. Needless to say, I played the maximum Field Allowance in my games where they fit the army!
Notwithstanding the rules of the Void Archon, I do really like the sculpt of a clockwork angel swirling out of nothingness. I wanted to have a contrast between the metallics of the actual Archon and the chromatic swirly bit which informed my colour choices. Then, for the Archon body I used a nice contrast between silver and bronze colours on the armour and I’m very happy with the results.
Next on the painting table: Lord of Contagion.
This is Proxima Midnight, another member of the Black Order for Marvel Crisis Protocol. She’s a highly mobile assassin in the game with a long move and the ability to place next to her victims with a fairly long ranged attack. I often use her to skirmish around the edge of the main battle picking up objective tokens if possible as, while she’s quite resilient, she’s nowhere near as tough as Thanos and the rest of the crew. She’s also excellent for setting up kills for Corvus Glaive (more about him later) as they can chain-activate thanks to their husband and wife rules.
Painting Proxima was one of those times when everything just worked exactly as I had hoped – the colours I picked matched what I was looking for without having to spend ages messing with them, the white on her chest and arms came out smooth without having to apply millions of layers and even the little glow in the end of Proxima’s spear looked fine with little effort. I stuck with the card art for colour and I’m very happy with the result.
Proxima Midnight, like the rest of the Black Order, fares considerably better in the comics than she does in the MCU. In Hickman’s Infinity War, for example, she leads a successful invasion of first Atlantis and then Wakanda before the heroes get their act together and send her packing again; I like it when the baddies require a bit of work to deal with. Having criticised Avengers: Infinity War a bit for having rather lackluster villains (apart from Thanos himself), I will note that I love the scene in the film where Proxima and Corvus fight Vision and Scarlet Witch in Edinburgh. As my home city, the attention to detail is excellent and I especially enjoyed that the geography of the fight is consistent with how that part of Edinburgh is actually laid out.
Next on the painting table: Void Archon.
Here are a trio of Outriders, a unit for my slowly-ongoing Adeptus Astartes (or Space Marines, if you’re old-fashioned like me) force for Warhammer 40K. As you might expect from a team of motorbiking, sword-wielding post-humans, this lot are a highly mobile unit mainly focused on close-quarters fighting. Sadly, because of a combination of me being awful at the game and my constant poor choice of potential victims for the Outriders, the usual game proceeds with them zooming around a bit and shooting quite ineffectually, then charging into melee and being blended out of existence without achieving a great deal of anything. The standard unit size is three, but in Death Watch they can be added to Fortis Kill Teams and ride around in a group of up to five if they feel like it.
The Outriders were a unit that felt like a bit of a slog right until the last few touches of paint were applied when suddenly everything came together beautifully, and in the end I’m very pleased with the outcome. The riders were painted in the same white, black and green scheme as the rest of my Astartes. I eventually decided to make the bikes green; this would tie them into the Chapter colour scheme, keep them distinct from the predominantly white armour of the Space Marines and also not blur into the black of the tires.
Next on the painting table: Proxima Midnight.
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.