This is Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme. Don’t confuse him with just boring old normal Doctor Strange, this is a different character in game terms and represents them at different points in their career just like for Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man. Those of you familiar with Warmachine might liken it to the different iterations of their Warcasters. This version of Doctor Strange is much more direct than the other one’s support focus. He has a really sweet set of attacks which feel suitable for almost all occasions, including a very nice area attack as his main spender. Strange can also teleport friends or foes a really long way with his Scalpel of Strange ability and this is the one where I’ve really struggled – not because it’s not good (it’s amazing) but because I always slightly suspect that there is something even cooler that I could be doing with it.
I stuck with the box art for Doctor Strange’s costume, which is a fairly boring black and white. But because of the positioning, for me this mini is all about the head, the cape and the base. I deliberately tried to keep the case the same as the other version of Strange since it’s meant to be literally the same sentient clothing. I spent a lot more time than was really sensible on his face, trying to get the facial hair not to look like a joke shop disguise (mostly successful, I think, apart from maybe the eyebrows) and getting the trademark grey temples to look right. I’m pretty pleased with this. The base is just lovely and the sculpt for it gives this Strange mini an incredible dynamism; I spent quite a lot of effort messing about with the inside of the portal, only to realise that most of it is impossible to see when Strange himself is glued into place. Oh well, at least I know what it looks like! All in all, I’m really happy with my work here and I enjoyed the process too – an absolute favourite.
Next on the painting table: Black Widow, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Do you know who I am? Yes, this is the Juggernaut mini for Marvel Crisis Protocol. As I’ve remarked before, one of the many strengths of MCP is that the characters play the way you feel they ought to based on their comics. So Juggernaut has a lot of mobility, can push through and destroy terrain and is hard to kill. His damage output is OK but compared to others in his cost bracket I’m definitely not picking him to fight people. I actually think that his main use is on Extraction plays where he can get either the single objective (the Skrull or the Kree Power Core) and be hard to take it off, or even better in the Wakandan Herbs mission where his extraordinary movement tricks can give you a big head start on scoring.
Juggernaut is one character where I really struggled to pick a colour scheme. The card art has him in the classic brown suit, which I find quite boring. I’ve seen a lot of people give him the yellow prison suit from Deadpool 2, which is a pretty cool idea but I didn’t really care for it in practice. I searched through some google images and found a costume in shades of red which, admittedly, I also didn’t really love but felt that I could live with. However, when I actually got started applying paint to the big chap I found that I really liked the way that the dark red and light red worked together so I’m more than happy with the result.
I also am very pleased with the way that the traffic light Juggernaut is wielding has turned out.
Next on the painting table: Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme.
This is Lizard, one of the classic Spider-Man baddies for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Lizard’s attacks are surprisingly anaemic for someone who is basically a giant bipedal crocodile, but I’m not picking him for his damage output. Instead, Lizard brings the surprisingly rare combination of a medium move and medium base which enables him to make some very cheeky plays taking Extract objectives from the far side of the board. Combined with his considerable toughness and the place-after-being-damaged if I use him in Convocation (which is my current roster of choice) he can often score me a lot of points without even really making more than a trivial number of attacks.
Lizard himself was a joy to paint. His scaly skin came out a treat and I loved the way the dirty lab coat works with the green hide and ragged clothing. I was very nervous about painting his tactical water fountain, as cool as that idea is. I ended up going for a very deep blue on the water, picking out parts in a drab green and then touching the tips of the splashes with white to make them look like foam. I then hit the whole lot with a heavy blue wash to tie it all together. I’m still not convinced that it actually looks good, but it certainly now looks good enough and that’ll do for me.
Next on the painting table: Juggernaut.
This is Luke Cage for Marvel Crisis Protocol. In my experience, he is mainly played as rather an uncomplicated tank but he has some really cool attacks – a potential for Stagger on a five dice builder is nothing to sniff at consider Cage’s threat value. I think that the main thing keeping him from being a common sight locally is just the sheer number of other three threat characters competing for a spot in any roster; this is doubly true in Avengers (where he is affiliated) as I think that they could have a roster made up entirely of three threats if they so chose.
Painting Luke Cage was very simple as he’s made up almost entirely of just three colours. His yellow t-shirt is so iconic that it’s effectively part of his uniform and I really like the way that the colours work together for the whole miniature. It hardly took me any time at all to paint up Cage but I’m really pleased with how he’s turned out.
Next on the painting table: Lizard.
This is Clea, who I’ve painted up for my Convocation roster in Marvel Crisis Protocol, though she’s also affiliated in Defenders. Clea seems to be somewhat maligned by the wider MCP community. However, I think that she can be really good if you have a specific role in mind for her, and especially if that role doesn’t involve having to be attacked by anything significant. Clea’s attacks are long ranged so she’s a good candidate for sitting at the back quietly scoring points. She really comes into her own when you need some movement shenanigans as she has both a throw for displacing the other team and a teleport for moving your own team. Clea can even generate extra power just like Red Skull, though crucially since she has only five wounds she can theoretically daze herself with it from uninjured. You’d have to be pretty unlucky to do so, needing to roll five skulls off five dice.
I will admit that I had never heard of Clea before picking up this box but apparently she’s a fairly common fixture in Doctor Strange’s storylines; she also puts in a brief appearance in the new film The Multiverse of Madness. Not having any preconceptions about how she should look I had an easy choice to stick with the box art for her costume, though I made the suit more black than dark purple as I couldn’t get a satisfactory contrast with the lighter purple cape until I did so. I think that her hair is meant to be more like a platinum blonde but I think it looks good in white. I really enjoyed working on Clea.
Next on the painting table: Luke Cage.
Here is everyone’s favourite Marvel super-sarcastic animal, Rocket Raccoon for Crisis Protocol. Rocket is a very cheap option affiliated with the Guardians of the Galaxy who packs a lot of punch at range but is very easy to kill if you can get close enough. I quite often see Rocket paired with Groot since the pair of them only cost five threat. In my opinion this is a bit of a mixed bag – on the one hand Groot can bodyguard Rocket if they’re close enough (and he’s obviously much harder to drop) but on the other hand I don’t really think that they want to be in the same area of the board most of the time. Still, at that cost I can probably live with a bit of inefficiency.
I really enjoyed painting Rocket. I eschewed the card art for his markings, instead looking at a few pictures of actual raccoons, and tried to get the markings looking reasonably realistic. If I’m being harsh on myself I’d have to admit that some of the fur colour transitions are a bit starker than I’d hoped but overall I’m quite satisfied. Orange is another colour that I’ve struggled to get to work for me so I played around a bit with Rocket’s suit until I was happy enough; as usual it would have benefitted from some more layers but I think that it reached a stage where I’m ready to game with him.
Next on the painting table: Clea.
This is Magneto, iconic X-Men villain / anti-hero and leader of the Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants for Marvel Crisis Protocol. In game Magneto is one of the leaders of the Brotherhood affiliation and has surely the most fitting of all of leadership abilities – he and his team gain power when terrain is destroyed. Since Magneto is, I think, the only character in the game whose terrain throw isn’t limited to once per turn he can really generate a lot of power for the team very quickly. Magneto’s main weakness is his slow movement but timely use of the Asteroid M tactics card can get him quite easily to where he needs to be and from there it’s all pain for the other team. My main experience of Magneto has been Allan repeatedly crushing me with his Brotherhood and managing the Master of Magnetism is a big part of the game plan when I come up against them.
As befits such a classic character, Magneto has had a huge variety of costumes throughout the ages so as usual I went with the red and purple combination from the card art which is itself based on the 90s X-Men cartoon. I’m not completely satisfied here as the level of highlights don’t really pop enough considering the large areas for both suit and cape, but despite that I did really enjoy painting him. It was, in a small way, like bringing part of my childhood back to reality. To ensure that Magneto doesn’t run out of terrain to throw at his hapless victims, he is allowed to generate a Magnetic Construct each turn, represented by these two minis in the background. They’re meant to be just lumps of scrap metal so I didn’t spend much time working on them.
Next on the painting table: Rocket Raccoon.
This is Magik, another of the X-Men for Marvel Crisis Protocol. Although she is, strictly speaking, a professional wizard (she’s the Sorcerer Supreme of somewhere or other), Magik is a cost-effective beatstick who gets good use out of her mystic damage typing on her main attacks. I like her also for her mobility as she can pay to teleport into or out of trouble with Limbo Step, though I still have to work on when exactly to do this as leaving her in danger is a recipe for disaster since she has no cool defensive tricks unless her attacker is also using mystic damage.
Since Magik hails from much more recent stories than the lurid 90s X-Men cartoon (at least, I’d never heard of her back then) she gets to avoid a bright spandex costume. Instead, I stuck with the rather dull costume from the card art. Since Magik’s clothes are a sensible if boring black I spent a bit more time working on the blue for her tactical swirly thing and I have to say that I’m quite pleased with how it came out. Clearly wherever Magik is the Sorcerer Supreme of has a lot of gyms as she has quite the set of abs sculpted on her – I’m pretty sure than mine have never been so defined!
Next on the painting table: Magneto.
Here is Quicksilver for Marvel Crisis Protocol. As befits a character who flits between goodies and baddies he is affiliated both with Brotherhood and Avengers (and also Inhumans for some Inhuman-soap-opera reason that presumably appears in a comic that I haven’t read yet). He is very highly focussed on Extraction plays with his speed, a Superpower to move even further and a cool tactics card to relieve the other team of one of their objectives as he hurtles past them. I find him surprisingly hard to kill if he has power on him as he has a ‘run away when being targetted’ Superpower and some nice defensive re-rolls.
Quicksilver got his classic costume of light blue with white markings which I really think works well for him. In fact, I’m quite surprised not to have seen a load of 3d print alternative minis of Quicksilver dressed in fairly normal clothes as per his movie appearances. I’m not crazy about the sculpting decision to have him accelerating off a little tactical explosion but the pose is spot on for his character and painting Quicksilver was both fast (rather appropriately) and satisfying.
Next on the painting table: Magik.
Here is Groot for Marvel Crisis Protocol. One of many things I love about the game is that almost all the characters play like I feel they should based on their established powers in the comics. Hence, Groot is a slow moving tank who very occasionally generates enough power to let fly with his awesome spender attack, while mainly stopping people from attacking Rocket Raccoon.
Painting Groot was extremely quick and easy, as you might expect from a character that is almost entirely one colour. I did spend a bit of time going over him with various highlights and washes but ultimately he’s come out just exactly the way I expected and intended.
Next on the painting table: Quicksilver.