Painting and modelling

Painted Cable

This is Cable, leader of X-Force (at least in Marvel Crisis Protocol) and sometime Avenger and X-Men member. I don’t really remember him ever having had much to do with the Avengers but there are millions of comics out there that I’ve never read and to be honest just about everyone has been in the Avengers at some point. Cable leans more toward support and utility rather than pure damage output considering his high cost and I don’t always play him very well as a result. I think that he also suffers a bit within X-Men in that he wants to occupy the same board space as Storm in order to get good value out of his huge weapon range; since I’m always going to take Storm (she’s got the Leadership ability for X-Men) it’s a harder proposition to include Cable. That said, Cable has a lot of cool tricks for mobility and defence not to mention that he has a great throw available. I haven’t actually tried him in X-Force but perhaps he’d do better there as he would then not be competing with Storm and of course could bring his own Leadership ability.

I tried to make Cable’s blue suit a bit different from Cyclops’ by using a darker blue and I think that works out. I also wanted to give him a slightly dirtier look than the very clean lines of the classic X-Men and the ragged cloak plays into that. The force field he’s standing behind was quite interesting to paint; I wanted to give the impression that it was somewhat translucent without (of course) actually being able to do that with a piece of opaque plastic. In the end I think that the illusion works tolerably; I probably could have spent an eternity on highlights without ever getting the final result that I had in my head – plus in the end it’s pretty much just a piece of scenic basing. Now that I look at the miniature through the harsh lens of the camera I slightly wish that I’d spent more time on Cable’s facial scar and perhaps I’ll revisit that some day; for now I’m happy with the way he looks at tabletop distance.

Next on the painting table: Primaris Outriders (again).

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 5 Comments

Painted Ancient One

Here is the Ancient One for Marvel Crisis Protocol. She represents a bit of an oddity within the game sculpts in that she (and Mordo, about whom more later) are clearly based on their appearance within the MCU films rather than their various comic book appearances. I actually love Tilda Swinton in general and her character in the Doctor Strange film in particular so this is a positive move as far as I’m concerned, but I’m sure that there are plenty of comic fans who would prefer a more ‘old school’ interpretation. The Ancient One brings a nice suite of control abilities and defensive tech along with some very tasty Mystic attacks. I’ve quite enjoyed her as part of a Web Warriors roster where Miles’ Leadership improves her defences still further and her Mystic attack typing is a very welcome option.

I think that the hardest part of painting the Ancient One was picking her colour scheme. The card art (and movie appearance for that matter) tends very much towards saffron robes all the time and I was far from confident that I could make that work at this scale. So I went for a more vibrant orange on some of her robes and also picked out a sash and her trousers in black to improve the contrast and I really like the outcome. I spent quite a lot of effort putting highlights on the Ancient One’s head but my photography skills are not really showing them very effectively. Unlike most MCP figures the Ancient One is simply standing on the floor with no tactical rubbish under her feet and I really loved the understated pose. I went back and forth on whether to include the little swathes of magic around her feet, regretted adding them for the entire painting process and finally came around to enjoying the touch of red that they bring to the miniature right at the end. Overall I loved painting the Ancient One and I’m looking forward to her calmly putting arrogant fools back in their place with regularity on the tabletop.

Next on the painting table: Cable.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 12 Comments

Painted Storm

This is Storm, iconic member of the X-Men and probably one of the most visually memorable superheroes in any comic book. I’ve long been a fan of the X-Men in general and Storm gets lots of good lines and action in their stories. The casting of Halle Berry in the X-Men films was just one of an inspired series of choices of actors that, for me, has rarely been surpassed when translating from comic page to screen. Storm is one of the two leaders of the X-Men affiliation and since she’s the only one with a good leadership ability she’s going to be the one seen first in every X-Men team. Apart from the leadership (which is excellent, giving both mobility and survivability), I’ve struggled to get the best of Storm and I think it’s been mainly because of how I’ve set up the rest of the team. Storm is best when she can keep the other team at arm’s length between her own long range attacks and her even-better-than-Stealth ability. However, I’ve also played her lately with Cable who also wants to stand off and use his superior range; since Cable is a bit stronger at range than Storm that tends to mean that I have to commit Storm to forward scenario elements, and that almost invariably means that she gets beaten up. So in this case, I think it’s fair to say that the error is currently mine. I also played a fun game lately in which Storm, Goddess of Storms, faced off against Thor, God of Thunder. That didn’t go well for Ororo!

I painted Storm according to her classic look with white hair streaming and dark clothing. I was a bit surprised not to see an alternative head come in the kit with a mohawk but I do really like the way that the hair shows the impression of swirling winds as Storm rises into the air. The hardest part was painting the lightning; I just couldn’t get a satisfactory look for it. In the end, I’ve gone with a very light blue and pure white highlighting on the basis that it looks good against Storms black costume rather than worrying about whether it actually looks like lightning. While I do really like the way that Storm is raised up on the lightning, it does give the mini a very worrying wobbliness and I’m sure that at some point I’ll be gluing her back together.

Next on the painting table: the Ancient One.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 12 Comments

Painted Domino

Here is Domino for Marvel Crisis Protocol; a member of the X-Men, X-Force and A-Force at least until more affiliations are created. Domino is a classic character that performs way better on the tabletop than she looks like she ought to on paper. Her main superpowers are that enemy Critical rolls against her don’t ‘explode’ (i.e. roll a further die) when attacking or defending with her, and that she can pay power to turn Skulls into Critical rolls. I like the way that this represents her luck superpowers but in game terms it makes her punch somewhat above her weight and also has considerable reliability. I’ve really enjoyed her as part of a core of X-Men along with Storm and Beast.

Slightly to my disappointment, the mini did not come with an alternative head to make Domino look like she does in the Deadpool 2 film. I looked to see if there were any 3rd party or 3D prints available and even briefly tried a bit of greenstuff sculpting work before realising that would just make a mess of the mini; so the kit is painted just as it comes from the sprue. I was a little nervous about the painting process for Domino for two reasons: firstly, she’s almost entirely black and white and secondly because she (like Amazing Spider-Man) has a tactical explosion for her base and I’m not confident on my skills for either part. For the explosion, I’m not quite as happy as I was with Amazing Spider-Man but it’s definitely good enough. I spent quite a bit of time highlighting in different shades of not-quite-black on Domino’s clothes and hair and I’m actually more than satisfied with the results. The ‘domino pip’ over her left eye was another potential pitfall but again I’m happy with the outcome. I feel like we all spend so much time and effort on these tiny details that will never be noticed on the tabletop!

Next on the painting table: Storm.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

Painted Amazing Spider-Man

This is Amazing Spider-Man for Crisis Protocol. He gets the title of ‘Amazing’ to clarify that he gets a different card from the other Peter Parker Spider-Man; the idea is that the ‘original’ Spider-Man represents Peter at the start of his superhero journey while this Amazing one is when he’s mastered his powers. As a result, Amazing Spider-Man is chock full of fun rules; he’s extraordinarily mobile even by the standards of the Web Warriors, his attacks have various cool riders to allow him to throw people around or move after the attack. He even has a Witty Banter superpower to make attackers re-roll their attack dice.

When I first picked up the mini for Amazing Spider-Man I felt that the mini was too busy and had moved way beyond having a tactical rock to stand on, instead having a full scenic base. But as I painted him, I really fell in love with the story of the base, and the sheer dynamism of the sculpt that fits the character perfectly. Painting Spider-Man himself was comparatively easy, albeit rather time consuming with the black lines on his suit. The explosion took a lot longer; I had no real idea how best to achieve the look of smoke and debris being expelled from a central explosive force. In the end I painted the bulk of it in grey apart from lines of yellow (deepest recesses) orange and finally black (further from the yellow) and gave the whole lot a wash with some orange ink. I then went over the grey and black parts with a thin coat of grey again, trying not to fully cover the orange tint. And finally I went back and reapplied the yellow in the recesses as it had been overpowered by the orange ink. The final result is still far from perfect, especially when magnified in these unflattering remorseless photos; however, it’s more than serviceable at tabletop range. I’m very pleased with the outcome here and I learned a lot working on Amazing Spider-Man.

Next on the painting table: Domino.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 10 Comments

Painted Shokkjump Dragsta

This is the last Shokkjump Dragsta for my Warhammer 40,000 Ork force. It’s been sitting painted for a while but I had no base available as I got the kit second hand and the base size is apparently not available for any normal ordering. Luckily a friend with a 3D printer was able to help out to get one with the appropriate size and shape. By sheer luck, the Ork buggies appear to be overpowered in their current rules and I got a few free wins against Gareth before we realised that I hadn’t suddenly stopped being rubbish at 40K. There has been a recent change in their rules limiting any force to just three of each type; luckily I don’t exceed that so if I need my ego to be stroked I can get out my army with almost no changes and play it again.

I made a few very minor changes to the construction of this Dragsta; the main noticeable one is switching the positions of the Rokkits and the main gun but I did also remove a couple of extraneous bits and pieces from the chassis to give a slightly more stripped-down look. The Dragsta retains the blue main colour that I used for the Speed Freeks but I’ve used yellow this time as a secondary colour which I think works pretty well. As with all the other buggies I painted this one in sub-assemblies; it’s effective in terms of the final result but I have to admit that it means that the painting process feels like a long succession of ‘not finishing anything meaningful’ until you get to the final step and glue it all together. Nonetheless, I’m really pleased with the final result here.

Now I just need to think of a good way to get photos of the whole force of Speed Freeks as their huge bases mean that there is no way I’ll get the entire force in my lightbox.

Next on the painting table: Amazing Spider-Man.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer 40000 | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Painted Cyclops

Here is Cyclops, another part of the classic X-Men line-up. Alongside Storm, he has one of the leadership abilities for the X-Men affiliation; however I don’t like his leadership at all as it doesn’t actually solve any of the issues that I have with the X-Men, namely that they have loads of cool superpowers and rarely enough power to use on them. Other than that, I really like Cyclops; he has a good ranged builder, an absolutely amazing spender attack called Optic Devastation and some cool mobility tricks for his team. My issue with him is the same as Storm – all the X-Men I actually own really want to play a stand-off game and use their ranged firepower without reprisals; however the game needs heroes to go and stand on Secure tokens to score. So I need to get some more brawlers than just Beast; there are some more being released in due course and of course I can use unaffiliated options. My next try will be with Black Dwarf, who I theorise will synergise very nicely with Storm’s leadership and give the X-Men some much needed short ranged punch.

I’m aware that Cyclops has been drawn in various costumes over the years but there was no question whatsoever that I was going to be painting him in classic blue and yellow. The yellow ended up taking a few layers to get a smooth look on but in the end I think that he looks great. I’m particularly pleased that I was able to get the red in his visor without my usual endless painting and repainting!

Next on the painting table: Shokkjump Dragsta (yet again).

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 13 Comments

Painted Foetid Blight Drone

This is a Foetid Blight Drone, part of my Death Guard army for Warhammer 40K. Perhaps appropriately for an army of diseased stubborn trench-fighters, the Death Guard are not blessed with an abundance of mobile elements and the Blight Drone fills that role quite nicely. In the lore it’s sort of a cross between an attack helicopter and a demon which is why it looks like a vehicle from the front and slug from the back. This particular miniature is armed with double Plaguespitters which are short-ranged autohitting horde-clearing guns. In play I’ve preferred to use the Fleshmower (yes, it does exactly what it sounds like) to make my Plague Drone a serious melee threat; the idea is to jam it down the other side’s throat as soon as possible in order to neuter their (probable) advantage in mobility while I slog the rest of my army across the board.

Painting the Foetid Blight Drone was a lot of fun; it’s quite like painting two separate miniatures. On the front there is the armour plating which I really enjoyed used red and bronze to bring out. Meanwhile the back is the demon / slug / blob thing which takes a very different texture to the mechanical parts. The Daemon-Engines for the various Chaos factions in 40K are always a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed the way that the horror of this magical hybrid is brought to life as a miniature.

Next on the painting table: Cyclops.

Categories: Painting and modelling, Warhammer 40000 | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Painted Black Cat

Here is Black Cat for Marvel Crisis Protocol, a clear homage to DC’s Catwoman, right down to being a sometime foe and sometime ally for the main character of the comics (Spider-Man in this case) while wearing a leather cat suit. Black Cat is a thief (more specifically, of course, she’s a cat burglar) and this is reflected in-game with her signature ability to steal Extract tokens off people. Since she can also move very fast and separately has a superpower to move even further, this can be a game changing move to pinch some Extracts and then run away and hide. Indeed, I lost a recent game against my friend Lewis when his Black Cat stole some Cube fragments off my Domino and then ran away laughing.

I really enjoyed painting Black Cat. Her pose is ludicrously over the top in a very fitting way for a superhero game and I think that her tactical girder really adds to the story it tells. I gave the cat suit a coat of brown ink rather than a wash as I specifically wanted to bring out the shininess. I’m quite pleased with the effect and in particular I think it contrasts well with the furry bits for a different texture.

Next on the painting table: Foetid Bloat Drone.

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

Painted Bob, Agent of Hydra

This is Bob, Agent of Hydra, another ‘hero’ for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Bob is probably about as close to a generic goon as we’re likely to get in the game, though I understand that he’s a specific character and not just a goon as such. I’ll admit that Bob is one of the characters I’d never heard of until his appearance in Crisis Protocol; apparently he appears in some of Deadpool’s stories. Bob’s main draw is his huge rocket launcher (the entertainingly named Excessive Violence attack), though it’s hard to imagine that he’ll get to use it more than one time per game as reloading it takes a whopping 8 power. Of course, some affiliations such as A-Force could speed up his power generation but I’d probably rather take a another option who can use the excess power. Bob is only two threat though, so I guess he would be a fine option to just sit on a back point and passively score.

I painted Bob in his yellow and green colours as per the card art. I can’t remember the last time I read a comic with generic Hydra goons so presumably this is their uniform. He was quite a fun little distraction; I wouldn’t have picked him up on his own but the painting was quite enjoyable.

Bob probably represents the best (or most cynical) packaging in Crisis Protocol. He’s hardly a well-known or popular character so I imagine that demand for him would have been quite low without giving him over-powered rules. Instead Bob is packaged with Deadpool, so lots of players (including me) have him simply because we wanted to have Deadpool.

Next on the painting table: Black Cat.

Categories: Marvel Crisis Protocol, Painting and modelling | Tags: | 13 Comments

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