This is Sabretooth, Apex Predator for Marvel Crisis Protocol. He comes in the same box as the updated version of Wolverine and has a separate in-game existence from the original release of Sabretooth. This one goes down to a shorter move and loses his ability to counter attack, but gains a very welcome throw (possibly the only character-only throw in the game?) and a pounce ability to close the gap to where he can do horrible things to people. I’ve really enjoyed this Sabretooth; he can get where he needs, displace people or daze them as required. My big problem with him is keeping him topped up with power as he just has so many cool things to spend it on. Defensively he is no slouch either, with reasonable stats, a beefy pool of wounds and Rapid Healing which of course gives the option to use X-Ceptional Healing.
Just like Wolverine, Sabretooth comes in his civilian clothes here which I quite like as I think that all of this is meant to be set before the X-Men and other costumed heroes became a thing. The box also comes with a cool bunker that I’ve given to a friend to paint but I assume is supposed to represent part of the Alkali Lake complex. Sabretooth’s mini here would fit quite nicely into an RPG if you filed down his claws a bit; he’d just look like a rather muscular gentleman out for a walk in the snow. He was fun to paint; the mini is quite large (fittingly of course, as Sabretooth is meant to be huge) considering that it’s only on a 35mm base. He was a lot of fun to paint, perhaps partly because I find Sabretooth quite an interesting character in modern comics. In the new(ish) runs in which all the mutants have retreated to live on Krakoa, and in which even the full blown baddies like Apocalypse get a seat at the council, everyone decided that Sabretooth was still too unhinged and dangerous to be allowed to run about the place and was therefore immediately thrown in whatever passes for prison there. What a naughty boy!
Next on the painting table: Nick Fury Jr.
This is Viper, a Hydra assassin in Marvel Crisis Protocol. Her superpowers are mainly around mobility; she is a long mover, has a personal teleport effect and one of her attacks places her within range one of her victim. In principle this should make Viper really good for snatching lightly defended objective and scoring them, but she doesn’t really hit that hard and, even more frustratingly, is extremely easy to daze. So my limited experience with her is that she does a load of cool tricks to get somewhere, then achieves nothing on arrival and immediately gets bodied by whoever is waiting for her. It doesn’t help that she’s kind of themed around poison, which is one of the weaker status conditions. Probably her natural home is with Baron Strucker in Hydra but even there I’m not sure that she would make the cut in a competitive roster.
The card art for Viper is all about various shades of green and I wanted to lean into that while still keeping her with a distinctive costume. Having green hair is certainly unusual and it makes me wonder if she dyes it to match her costume or if it’s green because of whatever her evil origin story is. Like Psylocke, I took the rare decision to give her lipstick like in the artwork. There is a reason that green lipstick isn’t fashionable in the real world – it looks awful, at least on terrifying super-ninjas. I’ve left it on as it was a bit of a pain to apply and I didn’t want to undo my neat work, but I think if I had my time again I wouldn’t have bothered. Viper is another character I’m not particularly familiar with, though I do vaguely recall that she was in one of the rubbish stand-alone Wolverine films that were getting churned out in the wake of X-Men’s success.
Next on the painting table: Sabretooth, Apex Predator.
These are Atalan Jackals, a fast attack choice for my Genestealer Cults army in Warhammer 40,000. Strictly speaking, the little buggy is a Wolfquad and not a Jackal but it is still part of the unit and effectively acts as a heavy weapon choice in the squad. As you might expect from a team of Mad Max Warboys, the Jackals are all about living fast and dying young; I’ve had most success with them screening out parts of the board and then throwing sticks of dynamite around. My preference has been to use the stratagem which maximises the number of hits from the Demo Charge attack at the risk (a near certainty in my experience) of blowing up the wielder which seems fitting all round. The Wolfquad has a Mining Laser strapped on; I don’t think that this synergises especially well with the role of the team but I like the way it looks. Because Jackals have the Core keyword they can be brought back to life by the Iconward, which is quite a nice treat if you can manage to resurrect the four-wound Wolfquad.
Atalan Jackals are the main reason I picked up any Genestealer Cults minis in the first place, I just love the dirt bike post-apocalypse look they have going on. I tried to learn from my mistake with the Ridgerunner and have a bit less yellow on the bikes themselves which I think looks quite nice, though I’ll admit that I found painting all the yellow trim on the armour a bit painful working around the bikes. I could probably have done better by keeping the riders separate from the bikes but I prefer to play with the minis over painting them and they did me proud for many games in their grey plastic camouflage!
Initially I thought that this team represented the final minis for my Genestealer Cult but I then found a pair of Familiars for the cult wizards. They’re pretty small minis so I’ll get them dealt with shortly and then call this good.
I enjoyed these so much that I felt that they deserved their own individual pictures, so enjoy.
Next on the painting table: Viper.
Here is Psylocke, another member of the X-Men for Marvel Crisis Protocol. I’m very much enjoying Psylocke on the tabletop; she has a very efficient set of rules to allow her to do one thing well – move around the board and stab things. Psylocke has ‘move and attack’ action, a long range attack with a trigger to make a move afterwards, re-rolls on attack and defence and finally that beautiful combination of Stealth and Martial Arts to ensure that she’s a pain to attack except in a very specific range band. She feels really dynamic in play with so many options to move to different places as the game goes on; even the ones where she gets downed early she has an impact. On the other hand, I’m also a bit sore because Allan’s Psylocke one-shot my Rogue twice in a row last time we played!
Psylocke is probably one of the worst sufferers (at least among the X-Men) of all the early artists being men and I’m a bit surprised that her sculpt here is the original (?) one where she’s not wearing a lot more than a swimming costume and a few ribbons. That said, that’s the exact costume that she was lumbered with in the Apocalypse film so what do I know?! Painting Psylocke was a very quick experience since she’s basically only three different colours; it probably took me about as long to do the Sentinel foot she’s standing on for the base. I decided to push myself a little bit and paint on the lipstick. Long time readers will have read my thoughts before about the weirdness of prettying oneself up with make-up / heels / etc before battle but there was something about the tie in between Psylocke’s hair and lip colour that tempted me to do it. I’m quite pleased with the outcome after all that!
Next on the painting table: Atalan Jackals.
This is Beta Ray Bill for Marvel Crisis Protocol. I have to admit that I’m not at all familiar with this character, though he seems popular based on chats with various local gamers. It seems that someone wanted to know the answer to the question: ‘what if Thor was also a horse?’ On the tabletop he’s effectively a slightly lower budget version of Thor and brings many of the same tools but toned down a little. Having a size 4 character throw is very handy and his medium base does give him a little more mobility than Thor. Everyone else seems to think Bill is amazing (and to be clear, I find him just fine) so I suppose he’s going to be one of those characters like Baron Zemo who every player except me absolutely loves. I’ve tried Bill in both Asgard and Guardians of the Galaxy and he does perfectly fine in either team without really lighting the world on fire. In that regard, I guess he’s a perfect release – not useless, but also not hopelessly overpowered.
My first thinking when painting Beta Ray Bill was to try to make him look as much like Thor as possible, hence the bright red cloak billowing out behind him. I did very much enjoy working on the miniature but I think that part of the result is defined by what I didn’t do – specifically, anything substantial with the pairs of circles on his shirt which I assume are the equivalent of Superman’s ‘S’ logo. Partly this was because I couldn’t really find any consistent art for what they looked like, but mainly because of his pose no-one would ever see them anyway! Painting the lightning coming off his hammer was a lot of fun, though it’s definitely an effect that works better at longer distance and without the benefit of modern photography…
Finally, I ask a question: ‘Thor-se’ or ‘T-horse’?
Next on the painting table: Psylocke.
This is Logan, The Wolverine for Marvel Crisis Protocol. He’s another one of the characters with multiple versions in the game so isn’t to be confused with the original Wolverine release. This one is honestly much better on the tabletop than his predecessor, bringing rerolls to increase his reliability (a huge improvement on the other Wolverine) and some lovely mobility as he places within range one of whoever he attacks. Logan still brings Healing Factor 2 and therefore access to the X-Ceptional Healing card so while bringing him down isn’t impossible, it is certainly quite annoying. I’ve really enjoyed playing Logan as he feels very dynamic and fitting for the character – grumpily pouncing across the board and making *snikt* noises.
This version of Logan is dressed in civilian clothes which makes a bit of a change from all the spandex suits I’ve been painting lately. I will admit that I prefer my comic characters to be at least a bit silly but I did really enjoy painting a someone who, if not for the claws coming out of his hands, could just be a normal person going about their business. The base is different from the majority of the MCP minis as it is meant to be a part of a diorama set in which Wolverine and Sabretooth (another new version, more about him later) grimace at each other atop a bunker entrance at Alkali Lake. I was a bit worried about the snow but in the end I came upon a very simple approach – a base coat of my palest blue, then top it with a few very thin coats of white. I’m really pleased with the way that this has come out.
Next on the painting table: Beta Ray Bill.
This chap is a (or possibly the?) Primus for my Genestealer Cults army in Warhammer 40K. He’s sort of the budget combat leader for if you don’t want to go full xeno with the Patriarch in charge, but the Primus is more focussed on improving the rest of your army. In play this seems to mainly involve him sitting behind whichever unit you want to shoot things with and trying to avoid anyone just blowing him up randomly… which now I think about it is largely the same place as many of the other Cult hero options.
Painting the Primus was where I really noticed my folly in trying to link the blue tunics of the more human-looking cultists with the blue chitin of the less human ones. It works fine when those two parts don’t come together but, as here, it makes the sleeve and arm look a bit weird. Otherwise I quite enjoyed painting this evil alien cult leader as he got done very smoothly and without any hiccups. Of course, the colours remain broadly matching the rest of the cult. I now just have one unit to paint up and I can call this project complete.
Next on the painting table: Logan, The Wolverine.
This is Rhino, one of Spider-Man’s classic baddies from the cartoons, as portrayed for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Not surprisingly, he’s in the Spider-Foes affiliation plus my favoured Criminal Syndicate which I think is probably his better home. I love playing Rhino! He’s somewhat hard to kill and gains extra power when attacked which makes him an unappealing target (unless you’re Allan, who one-shot him twice in a row last time we played) unless you bring in a really big hitter. But more amusingly he has a push and must place next to anyone he attacks which means that, if his targets were positioned suitably, he could cross the board in one activation. Rhino has been a key part of my Criminal Syndicate rosters lately, not just because he’s really fun on the tabletop but also because his Tactics card (This Is A Robbery) is a very effective way to take Extract tokens off people which has long been a weakness of my game with this affiliation.
I was worried that painting Rhino might be quite dull – after all, he’s basically all grey and my basing for MCP is also all grey. But actually it turned out to be quite fun to mess around with the different shades. Probably Rhino’s scaly hide could have done with bit more work highlighting but ultimately I’m pleased with he outcome. The little bits of rubbish on his base that come with the MCP bases also help to give a bit of colour.
Next on the painting table: Primus.
Here are the S.H.I.E.L.D Agents for Marvel Crisis Protocol. They’re Grunts rather than proper characters, just like the Hand Ninjas, though these are linked to Nick Fury Jr (more about him later). The Agents are amazing at the Extract game as they can choose where to drop a carried Extract token when they inevitably get smashed by a supervillain which can give you a really fun way to get a leg up on Extract scenarios like Hammers where you can collect one each with the Agents and Fury, then let the Agents die and just place the fallen Hammer back in your own lines. Their attacks are pretty small fry which of course means that it’s really funny (or annoying, depending on who is using them) when they spike the dice and gun down some hero.
Quite unusually I painted these three separately from the base which made it much more practical to get my brush in about them – I wish I’d thought to do that with the Hand Ninjas! I wanted to keep a slightly darker colour which still using the classic blue jumpsuit look, so I went with a dark blue base coat and then hit the lot with the magic of Nuln Oil. As Grunts, I didn’t want to spend ages on the Agents but I’m quite satisfied with the final look.
Next on the painting table: Rhino.
Here are the final (for now) ten Neophyte Hyrbids for my Genestealer Cults force in Warhammer 40,000. They’re been a fun project to paint up, and I think that I have only half a dozen or so minis remaining before I’ve painted all of these that I have. Lately we’ve not played a lot of 40K and since there is a new edition being released in a few months I suspect that they’ll not see a tabletop again for some time.
Thirty of these little chaps is plenty for me to paint, but I’ve seen lists out there with over one hundred of them.
Next on the painting table: S.H.I.E.L.D Agents.