FALCON (Avengers)

Despite the fact that the sculpt is absolutely comic-accurate:

from "Ultimate Nightmare" #2.

…I’ve never liked it. And why would I? This is a character whose only power is flight and the sculpt is of him crouched on the floor…
…in mid-air.
Emboldened by my successful re-position of Danger Room Storm’s cape, I attempted a similar approach with this piece. Here’s my process used:
  • detached the wings off the extra-large flight base with exacto knife.
  • using the same knife, cut away the fight base until only the flight peg remained.
  • put figure in hot car to increase malleability.
  • resculpted in new position and run under cold water to set.
  • placed in freezer to fully set.
The problem, I found, was that the crouching position was the real issue, and no amount of hot car time would stretch those legs out. The result:
…this total “bleh” of a mod completed mid-2007. Well, they can’t all be resounding successes, and I’m not hiding the failures in this series!
Next: making a resounding success from a manufacturing error.

They’re looking down on me in contemptuous disappointment. (Except Venus. She’s laughing at me.)

Last time I wrote about this themed team, I fretted about feats. But in the new Modern Age format, feats (and battlefield conditions) are disallowed. Fortunately, the team still works fine — in theory — with just a few bystanders and Special Objects.

Jimmy Woo 46
M-11 59
Gorilla-Man 61
Namora 76
Marvel Boy (Hammer of Thor) 102
Venus 125
Thug (Avengers) 7
Thug (Avengers) 7
Thug (Avengers) 7
Thug (Avengers) 7
+ Yellow Lantern object 5
+ Indigo Lantern object 5
+ Tombstone 0

= 500 points. (Or so I thought.)

FIRST ROUND: As the odd player out, I took a bye round, facing the judge Thomas’s League of Assassins: Ra’s Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul (both from The Brave and the Bold), Merlyn, a Man-Bat Assassin and two each of League Assassin and League Elite. My first mistake was not caring which end of the Stealth-friendly Dawn of Time map I picked. Bad decision against a dangerous sniper like Merlyn. I crept behind blocking terrain to go after safer game until Thomas came after me.

Marvel Boy had to break away for his life while only a clutch Regen roll saved M-11 from the junkheap. Gorilla-Man went down swinging, and Namora finally got untied to deliver a key blow to KO Ra’s al Ghul.

I lost Gorilla-Man and a pair of Thugs but KOed Ra’s, an Elite and the Man-Bat Assassin for the win. 1-0.

SECOND ROUND: Young Brandon was my opponent. I picked the BPRD water map against his Lex Luthor and Brainiac, Kryptonite Man, BN Atom and Goodness & Mercy. I lost Marvel Boy but somehow got a win anyway by KOing Goodness & Mercy. And it was a win I didn’t deserve, because although the boy has picked up the game very quickly, he was still green enough to thoroughly forget to use the Superman Enemy team ability, which could have wreaked utter and absolute havoc on my team. 2-0.

CHAMP ROUND: It was the League of Assassins again, this time vs. Andy. He ran Bronze Tiger, The Sensei, BB Talia al Ghul, BB Ra’s al Ghul, Merlyn, a Man-Bat, and finally some Assassins and Elites. He picked the Graveyard and arranged his team in a solid defensive formation.

This game was fraught with FAILs.

  • Namora never made an attack due to my inability to get within Charge range of possible targets and my unwillingness to push her…positioning FAIL.
  • I completely forgot about Gorilla-Man in a late-game tag-team round that absolutely cost Namora her life…actions FAIL.
  • I wasted round after round Incapping an Elite with Venus instead of, say, Mind Controlling the guy (or picking a different target to do her bidding)…supreme power-use FAIL.

So while I KOed Ra’s and Merlyn, the loss of my pogs, Marvel Boy, M-11 and Namora were way too much to handle.

FINAL: 2-1. Despite the technically winning record, this wasn’t a good outing for this team at ALL. In addition to the FAIL-infested final round and the preying on Brandon’s inexperience/TA FAIL, I was hobbled by my chosen Special Objects. The Yellow Lantern, while great for M-11 when he took a hit and Marvel Boy’s late-dial, kept the robot from making some needed close attacks early on. The Indigo simply sat uselessly in a corner somewhere. Worst of all, the Tombstone deprived Namora of her much-needed heavy object boost, as she inevitably was the first targeted. She really needed the Kinetic Accelerator to be able to get into the fight earlier.

But, as I insinuated earlier in the team build, I inadvertently overbuilt by a 7-point pog. It didn’t end up making a difference, but I say it’s appropriate that I didn’t win the tourney. I’d be having to return a prize.

I’m determined to run Atlas again in Modern Age. Next time, I’ll use only the Yellow Lantern (it’s still quite useful; if M-11 gets hit off Super Strength and onto Psychic Blast, he actually gets an AV boost), the Accelerator and a normal heavy object to give Namora a real shot in the fight. And I’ll remember that Venus has Mind Control, and use the power, darnit.

In the meantime, I ran half the squad in a rare 200-point tourney:

Wouldja believe this is pretty much the only image of these three together alone?

Namora 76 + Warbound 5
M-11 59 + Warbound 5
Jimmy Woo 46 + Warbound 5 + Book of Destiny 4
+ Kinetic Accelerator, Eleha’al Vine and Generator.

= 200 points. I’d never used Book of Destiny before, and I never will again, because of the first round: my pal Lenny with a typically min/maxxed team of Captain America (Hammer of Thor)+ Contingency Plan, Iron Fist (Secret Invasion)+ Lunge, and R Mantis. He picked the Graveyard map and set up most of his team behind the wall. Namora failed her Accelerated Charge on Fist and she fell to his and Mantis’ combined assault when the following M-11 was forced to drop Lenny’s Shield Disruptor nearby after Cap knocked him off Super Strength.

  • In retrospect, I completely should have left the Disruptor where it was. Namora was well out of its range and it affected neither M-11 nor Woo. FAIL.
  • It was also foolhardy to make the Charge without enough Acceleration speed to take M-11 along and ensure the Warbound effect could continue unabated. Warbound FAIL.
  • Finally, I neglected to put Namora in adjacent water terrain during the Charge, where she may have had a chance to heal via her SP. Positioning FAIL.
  • Oh, and Book of Destiny, which I thought would negate Iron Fist’s Super Senses? Well, it does nothing of the sort, so I cursed myself for not putting Inside Information on Woo like I started to, which would have been incredibly useful against this enemy team of Martial Artists. Bonus Feat FAIL!
  • Bad as those gaffes were, though, the biggest FAIL here was my actually forgetting to use Woo’s Leadership, robbing him of an absolutely critical shot attempt on a weakened Iron Fist that may have saved Namora. (Seriously, I’m the type who rolls for Leadership when it’ll have no effect at all, just so I won’t forget it when it matters. And here, I forgot it when it mattered. The hell?!?) EPIC FREAKING FAIL.

It came down to Woo against a battered Mantis and full-health Cap; the latter just stood by nursing Contingency tokens while Mantis healed on the Vine from all the damage Woo dealt her (enough to KO her at least twice if not for that dang special object). Woo won the battle but Cap won the war. 0-1.

SECOND round was against young teenager Conrad, who, despite playing steadily, is still a bit reckless and careless. He ran a one-woman team of LE Nova (Critical Mass) who, despite her Power Cosmic team ability allowing her not to be completely outactioned or Outwitted, simply could not stand against the effectiveness of my Warbound combo. Nova dealt damage to Woo but was a relatively quick KO. 1-1.

THIRD, I faced veteran Paul’s bug team: Wasp (Infinity Challenge)+ Contingency Plan, Yellowjacket (Secret Invasion human) and LE Ant-Man. I won the roll and picked the water map. Scored a first strike on YJ, and though he was able to retaliate and take down Namora, M-11 caught up to finish the job. Then it was a matter of rolling high enough to get Ant-Man or Wasp (with their DVs of 20 and 19, respectively), who had to come to me to stand a chance of winning. Both fell.

FINAL: 2-1. I actually ended up winning the tournament, so it wasn’t completely full of FAIL. Still, the sheer number and severity of mental pratfalls in that first round leaves me unsatisfied. Atlas will rise again!

Rookie SHAZAM (Origin)

Mildly (or wildly) inappropriate joke-quote here.

People called this the NAMBLA sculpt. While I think those people are either a bit overreactive, it’s not hard to see why they might make such a comment. It is a little bit…disturbing.
More to the point for a comic book continuity nerd like myself is that Billy Batson the human boy doesn’t fly until he transforms into Captain Marvel, the “Shazam!” half of the sculpt. And it’s not like there wasn’t precedent for a proper sculpt.
Yeah. So here’s what I did to fix it for myself:
  • Used an exacto knife to cut Billy Batson off the sculpt at the feet.
  • Glued Billy to the dial base.

Now it's right.

Completed mid-2007.
Simple. Now when I play R Shazam, I don’t add the Shazam half of the sculpt until I push him to the powerful clicks. It’s more fun that way.
Next Monday, I attempt to make another character who flies actually look like he’s flying.

As with most changes to the game, the new Alternate Team Abilities mechanic produces some win/lose situations in HeroClix.
Keyword(s): Alpha Flight
Cost: 4
Once during each game, choose any team ability or opposing character. Each friendly character using this team ability modifies its attack value by +1 when attacking the chosen character or a character possessing the chosen team ability.
WHAT’S CHANGED: It’s gone from an alt. Avengers TA to an Alpha Flight-specific one. Its cost is also dramatically higher. Finally, since all current Alpha Flighters have the Avengers symbol, they don’t have to give up the free move TA.
WHO WINS? Wildcards can copy it, so adding a random Alpha Flight member may be useful for the whole team. Box is usable in Modern Age games (over 300 points, IMO…he’s too much of your team otherwise — though I think he might work in 200). 129 points for a decent brick and an AV boost for the team? Could work.
WHO LOSES? Avengers, obviously, who are now stuck with their own TA (horrors). Pure Alpha Flight teams are also wounded due to the cost increase killing feat optimization for a team that needs ’em.
BOTTOM LINE: For a mechanic shifting to thematic use, it’s not friendly to the theme. (Yet. Maybe the ubër-Wolverine we’re hoping the Web of Spider-Man versions to be will have an Alpha Flight keyword and change everything. But I’m not holding my breath. Wolvie’s never been a member of Alpha Flight.)
Keyword(s): Amazon
Cost: 4
Whenever a character using this team ability takes 2 or more damage from an opponent’s attack, put a Sisterhood token on this card. Before being given a non-free action, a friendly character using this team ability may remove any number of Sisterhood tokens from this card. Modify that character’s speed, attack, or range value by +1 for each token removed until that action is resolved.
WHAT’S CHANGED: It no longer overwrites existing TAs. Characters no longer have to possess the TA to benefit or contribute.
WHO WINS? Wildcards, again, thanks to it not being a feat and changes to the wording. Similarly, Amazons can get a boost thusly as part of a Warrior theme. Every Wonder Woman and most Wonder Girls with a natural TA also gets to keep hers now.
WHO LOSES? Nobody? Seriously, I don’t see a downside to this ATA shift at all.
BOTTOM LINE: Good for themers and powergamers alike. Rejoice for the Sisterhood!
Keyword(s): Checkmate
Cost: 6
Minion: Kings and Queens and Bishops. When another friendly character using this team ability and with a point value greater than 50 is within 8 squares, this character can be given a power action to use Perplex if it can’t already use Perplex.
WHAT’S CHANGED: It no longer is only equip-able on the Checkmate 50-points-or-less set and no longer is only usable by same. It also spares existing TAs.
WHO WINS? Wildcards, again, so long as the 50+ Checkmate “king/queen” is near enough to activate it. Definitely one for the cheaper WCs, though, or those with Willpower. Similarly, now the Kings and Queens can use the Perplex ability. The Willpower-using and generally-only-supporting-anyway Amanda Waller gets a big boost from this tweaked ATA. So, too, do the OMACs  and V Mr. Terrific in Golden Age versions of the team.
WHO LOSES? Pure Checkmate teams with a lot of generic fodder may find themselves entirely too weighted down by the cost of the ATA to field enough fighters. Many of the King/Queen pieces end up paying for a TA they’re not realistically going to use much, if at all.
BOTTOM LINE: This one can be useful for theme players, but it’ll take a powergamer’s savvy to properly leverage it. Meanwhile, it’s too unwieldy for most min/max players. Checkmate’s kind of a wash.
Keyword(s):Fantastic Four
Cost: 5
Characters using this team ability may replace their defense value with the unmodified defense value of an adjacent friendly character using this team ability.
WHAT’S CHANGED: It used to not require adjacency or the FF keyword (just the symbol) or add a cost (other than wiping out the real FF TA).
WHO WINS? Wildcards, who’d been banned from using the FF ATA feat version for the past couple of starter sets. The Fantastic Four keyword also benefits by getting to share DV AND get the healing effect if things go way south — or, more proactively, if players push members of Power Pack (or the Alicia Masters pog, in Golden Age) to get back some clicks lost to light damage or pushing.
WHO LOSES? Power Pack, big time. Lacking the keyword means their sad DV values get no boost anymore. LE Sue Storm is no longer the team-making cornerstone (literally. Her role was to hide in the corner and keep the DV up) she was.
BOTTOM LINE: Ultimately a needed change to a nearly broken ATA.
Keyword(s): Green Lantern Corps
Cost: 5
Whenever a character using this team ability attacks, modify their attack value by +1 for each other friendly character that attacked the same target this turn while using this team ability.
WHAT’S CHANGED: No longer requiring the GLC symbol or overwriting the TA granted by same, it also doesn’t require ownership of the new TA to gain the AV boost or ownership of the GLC symbol to activate said bonus. All this comes at a cost, though.
WHO WINS? Wildcards, hugely. A GL tank of SI Spider-Men could be an absolute deathmobile.
WHO LOSES? Ironically, the Green Lantern Corps itself. They still can’t use their natural TA, being all flyers (so far), so they are paying extra for an TA that, due to the high cost of the average GLC keyworded character (only 3 of a total 36 pieces cost less than 70 points — and well over half are 100 points and up) they just won’t get enough attacks to really benefit them.
BOTTOM LINE: Better for powergamers than for themers.
Keyword(s): Guardians of the Galaxy
Cost: 5
Powers possessed by characters using this team ability can’t be countered. This team ability can’t be used by wild cards.
WHAT’S CHANGED: It got a 1-point price bump in return for not overwriting Phyla-Vell’s characters’ existing TAs. It can be countered now, though.
WHO WINS? Phyla-Vell and the whole Guardians of the Galaxy keyword. They get to keep their natural Defenders TA, which is very good for Star-Lord, a lynchpin of the team with the weakest DV. And now Phyla-Vell no longer has to give up half her natural TA’s ability. Rita DeMara is also a potential winner, especially if she’s the only GotG on her force. Finally, Skrull Yellowjacket has a new target for his TA-busting SP.
WHO LOSES? Wildcards, for once. But not badly, since they get to use the Defenders TA now.
BOTTOM LINE: Totally theme-friendly and not bad for powergamers including a qualifying character on their cheeseball teams.
Keyword(s): Justice League Antarctica, Justice League Europe, or Justice League International
Cost: 3
Whenever a character using this team ability would be dealt damage, you can choose to reduce damage dealt by 1 if you deal 1 unavoidable damage to a friendly character using this team ability that is adjacent to this character.
WHAT’S CHANGED: Super Buddies are no longer among the keyword prereqs. Possession of this TA is no longer needed for its effects. It no longer overwrites the JLA TA. :)
WHO WINS? Wildcards need only be next to a JLI member to use the ATA.
WHO LOSES? Super Buddies who aren’t also JLI. Poor V Elongated Man, V CD Mary Marvel and V HT Blue Beetle.
BOTTOM LINE: I guess they won’t be handing out the Super Buddies keyword anymore. The TA still isn’t super-great.
Keyword(s): League of Assassins
Cost: 7
Lines of fire to a character using this team ability are blocked if this character is adjacent to a wall or blocking terrain.
WHAT’S CHANGED: They get to keep existing TAs.
WHO WINS? Wildcards can copy this, making it very useful for certain Martial Artist builds. LoA members with other TAs really benefit as well.
WHO LOSES? Pure LoA forces will sacrifice a lot of extra characters and feat room due to the extreme expense of this ATA. That 7 per character adds up quick with as many super-cheap characters this keyword can pack on!
BOTTOM LINE: Better for wildcard abuse than for theme players.
Keyword(s): Legion of Super Heroes
Cost: 2
Whenever the friendly character with the highest point value that’s using this team ability is KO’d, remove one action token from each other friendly character using this team ability.
WHAT’S CHANGED: It has a cost now in return for not wiping out their wildcard ability, and no longer requires the Legion symbol to use the ATA.
WHO WINS? An optimized Legion of Super-Heroes team under the Teen or Future theme with TAs to WC (provided you don’t field a Legionnaire significantly higher than the rest. Smart players may isolate and nerf that piece to concentrate on weaker ones that won’t trigger the mass token clear). Cheap LSH members rounding out a team (say, as tie-up and secondary fighters) can also gain a bit of extra usefulness in even while copying other TAs. And oh yeah, other wildcards can use this, too.
WHO LOSES? A pure LSH team, like the GLC, doesn’t gain anything from the change. Actually, they gain even less, since it only kicks in when you’re losing. But at least the cost is modest.
BOTTOM LINE: Probably best for teams where the Legionnaires are the wildcards abusing other TAs, assuming there’s no better ATA to have on the force.
Keyword(s): Injustice Society or Monster Society of Evil
Cost: 5
At the end of your turn, you may roll a d6 for each friendly character using this team ability. On a result of 5 or 6, deal 1 damage to each opposing character adjacent to that character that hasn’t already been dealt damage by this team ability this turn.
WHAT’S CHANGED: The Superman Enemy symbol isn’t the prereq anymore. It also doesn’t work at beginning of turn anymore. It doesn’t wipe out existing TAs anymore. And possession of the TA isn’t needed anymore. All this for a not-so-modest 5 points per piece instead of 0!
WHO WINS? Injustice League keyword and the very few actual Monster Society of Evil piecesif they have a powerset that lends them to basing or being based. Wildcards also get a boost.
WHO LOSES? It’s sad that solo Superman Enemies who lack the keywords needed for this ATA are saddled with a most expensive and utterly useless TA. There are also quite a few Calculators who won’t be able to copy this TA due to owning it outright…but is this really a loss?
BOTTOM LINE: Hurts a TA that needed the help, and only modestly improves its new targets. Not a fan.
Keyword(s): Gene Nation or Morlocks
Cost: 2* (0 if the character possesses the Morlocks team symbol)
Whenever a character using this team ability makes a close combat attack, modify its attack value by +1 for each other character using this team ability adjacent to both this character and the target.
WHAT’S CHANGED: Nothing, except an additional cost for the oodles and oodles of un-symbolized Morlocks made since Ultimates.
WHO WINS? Wildcards playing alongside V Marrow or Dark Beast. And yeah, I guess those two as well.
WHO LOSES? Characters who should have the TA (E XP Storm, maybe).
BOTTOM LINE: I suppose it’s enough to just have these morts back in the game!
Keyword(s): Runaways
Cost: 3
Whenever a character using this team ability attacks, modify their attack value by +1 for each other friendly character that dealt damage to an opposing character this turn while using this team ability.
WHAT’S CHANGED: Possession of the TA is no longer needed to activate or use the AV bonus, and it no longer wipes out existing TAs.
WHO WINS? You guessed it: Wildcards! But the Runaways also get a boost because many WCs have a better chance of landing damage on a foe than these kids do.
WHO LOSES? Pure Runaways teams. But whaddaya expect from a team whose battle cry is “Try not to die”? And they really only stay on the old status quo, so this really isn’t a loss.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s better for themers and powergamers.
Keyword(s): Serpent Society or Serpent Squad
Cost: 6* (0 if the character possesses the Serpent Society team symbol)
Characters using this team ability can use Phasing/Teleport.
WHAT’S CHANGED: Nothing, other than a not-so-modest cost for any potential Modern Age Serpent people we may see.
WHO WINS? Serpent Society is back, baby!
WHO LOSES? No one, because any new Serpent Society folk, if they don’t get this TA as a trait, Watchmen-set-style, will be costed for the addition of this ATA.
BOTTOM LINE: Serpent Society is back, baby!
Keyword(s): Secret Society of Super Villains or The Society
Cost: 3
Whenever a character using this team ability is targeted by Outwit, you roll a d6. On a result of 4-6, the opposing character that targeted your character cannot use Outwit to target that character this turn. This team ability cannot be used by wild cards.
WHAT’S CHANGED: The IL symbol is no longer the prereq, and unlike most of these post-feat ATAs, it’s not wildcardable. It also won’t override existing TAs and now adds a modest cost.
WHO WINS? The keyword prereqs, many of whom couldn’t use the former version of this ATA. Unfortunately, both were pretty sparingly given. Other DC villain themes loaded with wildcards only might finally have a piece or two that has some sort of TA (thinking of you, Rogues)!
WHO LOSES? Wildcards lacking the keyword, which includes a lot of Calculators. The IL symbol, too, is stuck with a natural TA that isn’t very good.
BOTTOM LINE: Another old ATA nerfed by the new era through no fault of its own.
Keyword(s): Squadron Sinister or Squadron Supreme
Cost: 5
While at least two friendly characters using this team ability are adjacent, one of them of your choice can use Mind Control. This team ability cannot be used by wild cards.
WHAT’S CHANGED: This ATA is purely for its namesake keywords now, not for all Defenders. It also doesn’t wipe out the Defenders TA if they’ve got it, and it allows them to swap who’s got Mind Control at the moment.
WHO WINS? The Squadrons alike, esp. the Sinister, who couldn’t use it before. This TA could work well combined with their natural Sinister Syndicate TA.
WHO LOSES? The rest of the Defenders, who probably weren’t using this ATA anyway.
BOTTOM LINE: A wash, but a good one, I think.
Keyword(s): Thunderbolts
Once at the beginning of the game, choose any one Marvel team ability other than an alternate team ability, a wild card team ability, or a team ability that can’t be used by wild cards. Characters using this team ability can use the chosen team ability if they can’t already.
WHAT’S CHANGED: No more DC abilities available. No Avengers symbol prereq — it’s actual keyworded Thunderbolts ONLY. No loss of natural TAs. And a significant price hike.
WHO WINS? Thunderbolts lacking the Avengers TA get quite the boost, especially the cheap ones who can act as a TA source for Wildcards, who also get their groove back re: T-Bolts. (R FF Songbird springs to mind.) V Bullseye just got way more awesome than LE Lester.
WHO LOSES? Pure Thunderbolts teams may find the cost of the TA too great. And, of course, Avengers are the huge losers.
BOTTOM LINE: This old ATA, more than any other factor, is what’s ushered in this whole change. I, for one, wished WizKids had let the old ATAs remain as feats (with immunity to the 10% cap) with all their TA-overwriting clauses intact, to give players a wider range of choice and to not render the B&B ATAs instantly obselete.
But something had to be done about Thunderbolts. It couldn’t remain as was and maintain real game balance. (Alt. FF, too, but it was only a hill compared to the mountain of TBolts.)
So I don’t blame WK for making a clean break the way they have, and hope this analysis (which took way longer than I anticipated) has helped put things into new perspective.

Experienced AQUAMAN (Icons)

After the success of my Emerald Eye of Ekron mod, I decided I now had the experience I needed to take the plunge into customizing this:

based on his then-current Vet incarnation.

into this costume from Aquaman’s 1990s pirate look:


As Icons Experienced version is the only Aquaman with the range representing that extendable harpoon, my inner continuity nerd compelled me to make the sculpt match. That Aquaman is one of my absolute favorite DC characters didn’t deter me, either. :)
Here’s what I did:
  • Cut off the blue hand.
  • Worked off the head of a Hypertime version of Aquaman (it’s a separate piece from the main body).
  • Used an exacto knife to shave the long hair from the Hypertime head so that I could put it on the Icons sculpt’s head like a wig.
  • Glued the “wig” onto the Icons head.
  • Cut off the harpoon from the Hypertime sculpt.
  • Glued the harpoon to the left arm stump.
At this point, the sculpt was looking pretty good! I only had to paint his torso in flesh and silver, and paint on his beard. But I shelved the whole thing for well over a year as I dealt with more pressing issues.
Then, as I was about to resume the project, a water pipe burst in my bathroom and spewed high-pressure water in my little house for hours on end, soaking my carpet, collapsing my ceiling and attic insulation and essentially rendering my home unlivable for the next several weeks.
The Aqua-mod was somewhere in that mess and was swept away by the cleanup crew.
(Ironic…Aquaman done in by water.)
So I had to start all over after I got the replacement equipment, long after things settled back to normal for me.
Here’s how I re-did it:
  • Used a black Sharpie to color in the dark part of his two-toned pants.
  • Cut off the blue hand.
  • Worked off the head this time. (It’s a separate piece from the main body.)
  • Worked off the head of the Hypertime version like before.
  • Used an exacto knife to shave down the neck peg so the Hypertime head would fit on the Icons torso.
  • Used a needle file to shave down the raised collar on his neckline.
  • Glued on the harpoon again. This time I inserted a bit of a straight pin to  strengthen the glue-job, a trick I learned doing a much later mod I’ll share well down the line.
  • Repainted the torso to a flesh color with acrylic paint.
  • Glued on the Hypertime head.
  • Painted on the gladiatorial half-armor using Testors silver enamel.
So, from a project begun in 2007, destroyed in 2008, restarted and completed in 2009, in 2010 I present:

Looks great. It would've been much, much simpler to just put the Hypertime Aquaman on this dial. No regrets, though.

Next week: a most simple fix to a most disturbing sculpt.

Left to right: Ant-Man, Valkyrie, Moon Knight, Beast, Nova, Steve Rogers, Black Widow. (Not pictured: Sharon Carter (

I love the Secret Avengers lineup and comic. It’s the best of Marvel’s Heroic Age Avengers launches. But I thus far cannot truly make the team work in HeroClix.
Part of the problem is that they’re not all made, yet. Ant-Man Eric O’Grady is a different guy from the five versions of Dr. Hank Pym as Ant-Man in the game. He’s decidedly not smart enough to rate even the Supernova Rookie’s single click of Outwit or the Experienced’s and Vet’s multiple Perplex clicks. (Maybe one. But not multiple clicks of it.) The old Stealth-heavy LE, on the other hand, could work as O’Grady, who’s a bit of a coward and would hide out until the battle’s done. But the points don’t quite work out. Consequently, I tried crossing universes to sub in The All-New Atom. The movement’s a little low, but he works for the character, right down to the surprising close combat ability.
(gallery or-figure-046)
(hoping the official heroclix.com script works here. If not, you know where to go to see the official dial.)
The other character who’s not quite right in his existing clix forms is Nova Prime. Whether of his Vet  Nova version or the LE Super-Nova, they simply don’t represent the character’s power level well at all.

This guy...

…does not equal…

...THIS guy. At ALL.

But looking over other figures with the Nova Corps keyword, I find that Air-Walker from Hammer of Thor is absolutely a match for the current character. He’ll work for builds of 800 or higher.
(gallery th-figure-044)
(In fact, I was inspired to make a Nova Prime mod to go on this dial. You’ll see it eventually in My Custom Mods feature, updated every Monday!)
Steve “Ex-Captain America” Rogers isn’t in the game, so one must substitute an existing Cap. The Hammer of Thor version is as good as any.
Here’s the base 800-point team I played, then:
Air-Walker 201 (as Nova Prime)
Valkyrie 145
HoT War Machine 137
M+M Beast 73
HoT Captain America 72
CL Black Widow 59
Sharon Carter 50
AV Moon Knight 38
R The All-New Atom 24 (as Ant-Man Eric O’Grady)
= 799 points. It went an anemic 1-2, due to multiple mental FAILures.
FIRST game, I picked the Space Map but faced a team of Kingdom Come Flash, Superman & Flash, and The Flashes that was able to first-strike me from clear across the board anyway. It cost me Valkyrie and Black Widow for a loss that even taking out SuperFlash couldn’t prevent. My main FAIL, besides giving up the alpha strike, was running Atom-as-Ant-Man well away from everything to tie-up The Flashes. Um, WHY? They’re Hypersonic. It worked a little bit, as he drew some attention and survived thanks to a Super Senses roll. But still…bad move, when he could have blocked some line of fire to bigger targets.
SECOND game was on the Junkyard against my bud Lenny. His team of Green Scar, OOTS Batman, BB Wizard Shazam, M+M Marvel Girl, Gamora and someone else I can’t recall was formiable but beatable. But I made two terrible FAILs that cost me everything:
  • Did not cover Air-Walker-as-Nova, giving OOTS Bats a free shot that killed his move+attack powers and blunted the cosmic hero’s effectiveness for the rest of the game.
  • Forgot that Green Scar had the Unstoppable feat and so did not use the 24-point Atom-as-Ant-Man to tie up the monster. Cost me Air-Walker and the game.
  • On top of that, every potential KO hit was Probability Controlled into a miss by The Wizard Shazam via his no-line-of-fire-needed Special Power.
THIRD was on the Graveyard against The Wizard Shazam AGAIN, SR Loki, and some other characters I can’t remember that gave my range-heavy team fits. My FAILs?
  • Moving Atom-Ant-Man first, leaving Valkyrie with no cover when I moved her last. The enemy Wiz got an improbable hit on her to immediately send her running for the Vine. Atom-Ant at least eventually tied up Loki to keep him out of the fight, but I truly lacked much opportunity to lay fire on the one guy I could safely attack.
  • Again getting Nova-Walker pasted early and often through careless positioning. A must-hit RCE shot (instead of a more conservative HSS run)negated by WizShazam left him open to multiple counterblasts taking him out in short order.
Other general FAILure:
  • Moon Knight was useless in these battles, as I thoroughly FAILed to use him as the Stealth wall or tie-up piece he is.
  • Really needed Outwit a time or two. FAILed to realize Beast has it on his 2nd click.
Disappointed by this outing of my newest favorite team. But I recently got a chance to make amends with a feated-up 900-point version!
Air-Walker 201 (as Nova Prime) + Elite Sniper 20
Valkyrie 145 + C.Plan 12 + Inside Info 4
HoT War Machine 137 + Warbound 5 (Soldier)
M+M Beast 73 + Lunge 5
HoT Captain America 72 + C.Plan 12 + Warbound 5 (Soldier)
CL Black Widow 59 + Opportunist 10
Sharon Carter 50
AV Moon Knight 38
+ Warbound 5 (Soldier)
LE Yellowjacket 41 (as Ant-Man Eric O’Grady) + Takedown 6
= 900 points (82 in feats).
FIRST game I beat the Asgardian team of Thor & Loki, the Warriors Three, and 2 each of Asgardian Warriors and HoT Valkyries I’d brought as a backup team(which the young host of the shebang played against me in this bye round). I picked the Prison map which helped me against the big duo’s range even though it hampered my Cap. Once Thor & Loki overextended, I was able to Charge with Valkyrie for big damage (using the Com Dish) and others got him to his final click. A final click Moon Knight pushed to use his self-damaging SP to KO the duo first for the margin of victory.
2nd match was on the Junkyard (my pick) against HoT Ronan the Accuser, Immortus, BN Wonder Woman, 2 Jason Bloods, Clark Kent and someone else I can’t recall. I dealt plenty of damage but no KO blows due up to 4 PC rolls per attack. We had a draw and I won the roll-off. My FAIL in this game was not pushing Beast to Outwit sooner to make sure more of my damage stuck (as Immortus did a lot of Masterminding to Ronan and/or PC’d my rolls) or attacking softer targets for easier points.
3rd and champ match was against veteran Paul’s Skrull team of Ms. Skrullvel, two Warskrulls, Capt. Skrull-Vell, Skrullojacket, and a passle of Skrull generics on his choice of the Lab map. My FAIL? “Nova” critmissing the game’s first attack, stranding him in full view of the enemy team and forcing me to drop his passenger Moon Knight in front as a sacrifice. It was only dumb luck that Nova didn’t take any damage after Moon Knight was gone. My next FAIL was jumbo-sized Valkyrie blocking what little line of fire I had after fairly clobbering Ms. Skrullvel with a key Charge, preventing my team from ganging up on her and enabling the impostor to break away and run just as the time ran out.
We played on, though, giving me still more opportunities to FAIL:
  • After successfully using Yellowjacket to tie up and block enemy Outwit, I got extra careless and gave a Warskrull a narrow view to counter Valkyrie’s defenses, enabling enemies to easily gang up on her and take her down. Ant-Man FAIL…AGAIN.
  • Earlier Outwit FAIL with Beast also contributed to that tragedy.
  • Feat FAIL. Because this tournament was at a slumber party full of mostly kids, I didn’t use the superior Trick Shot feat over the slightly less-useful Elite Sniper. But really, feat use is optional. I didn’t have to use it against the kids, and I needed it against Paul thanks to the Valkyrie-in-the-way FAIL.
  • More feat FAIL. I forgot to use Inside Information. It would have helped against the Warskrulls.
  • And MORE feat FAIL: Warbound kept Cap from taking more shots. Maybe if Moon Knight had been around to take a token for Cap…but no. FAILed to make that happen, even before the unfortunate loss of Moon Knight.
  • One more bit of feat FAIL: Similarly, building up Opportunist tokens kept Widow from making more of an impact. This team can’t afford the lost actions, it turns out.
In the end, I still won, getting Paul’s whole force. But all that FAILure troubles me.


Played by two stand-ins — The All-New Atom and LE Yellowjacket — he did fine as a tie-up piece and cheap blocker. When I actually used him as such. These games probably go a lot better if I were consistent in this tactic.
I used him as what he is — the team’s ONLY source of Perplex and Outwit. Trouble is, he really ought to offer more for his points while the cheapies  should fill his role. But they don’t. So inthe backfield he must remain.

"I'm not a cowardly lion...why must you treat me as one?"

Black Widow
She ought to be great. She really should. Anti-Stealth, Willpower, 3 damage and Incap…but she really only took damage early and often. Only the Opportunist feat, which held her back at first, made her worthy after taking the damage (since she retains the prerequisites most of her dial). I guess that’s something, but…

Oh, for--! Stop being so dramatic and GET UP!!!

Captain America
He invariably never seemed to get into the game until far too late. Was I being too conservative with him? But then, I’m forgetting that in at least half these games he was hampered by walls.
Moon Knight
He’s pretty much just a meat shield or diversion. He’s either a total non-factor or he’s 38 points given up.

This is what happens when you try to sneak up on armed criminals at night wearing all WHITE, boys and girls.

That’s what I want to say, anyhow. But he did land the KO blow on a piece 9.5 times his cost and saved Nova “Air-Walker” Prime from near-certain death in that last game. So he’s won a permanent spot on this team in my book.
Air-Walker was a huge bust. Best used for that opening HSS but unable to take so much as a critical miss or Mystics feedback, he’s way too fragile at over 200 points with 17 DV and Super Senses. On the other hand, he’s the 1st strike piece this range-heavy team kinda needs when faced with constricting maps and Stealth.

Hypersonic FACEPLANT.

Sharon Carter
Another cheap Stealth shield I could never quite leverage for anything ELSE. But that’s mainly due to Wizard Shazam (or just plain poor rolls) causing her SHIELD beneficiaries to miss whenever she made her damage-enhancing action. I wonder if I should push her more freely to get to her diet Perplex SP.
Ah, Brunnhilde. So versatile with both Charge and hit&run skills. So mighty. So fragile. The team fairly rises and falls with her. If she does fall, or can’t hit, they’re done. If she can land at least that one titanic hit while on her topdial, they’ll win.

Alas. It's all too often this.

War Machine
His reliance on range is a problem. He’s only been KOed in one game so far, but he hasn’t laid down the KOs he really ought to be, either.

I don't think I'm using him right.

Actually, that’s not it. It’s that these Secret Avengers lack a dedicated brick or two. (Compare to this Heroic Age team.) They need someone who can Charge a big ol’ rock into someone’s face and stay there to deliver continued beatdowns despite retaliation. War Machine could be that guy, if he weren’t such a Running Shooter. Valkyrie could do it, if only she weren’t stuck with Super Senses. Ditto for Air “Nova Prime” Walker.
The team is also short on support powers. (Again, compare to the Heroic Age Poster team). No PC. No starting Outwit…and to get it, you give up the only real Perplex. No Support. No TK. Val’s mid-dial Enhancement you hope you never see. And Sharon’s SHIELD ability is only good for range, which is not the S.Avengers’ weak point.
(Maybe I really should relent and use the Rookie Ant-Man anyway. Eric O’Grady’s not that stupid.)
Ah well. I love the comic so far, and I think the team still has what it takes to be competitive. Just need to watch out for those FAIL moments. Speaking of which…my next article looks to be about the Agents of Atlas. And yes…it’s also kinda full of FAIL. Keep an eye out.

EMERALD EYE OF EKRON (Collateral Damage)

Original look.

As the name indicates, this LE version of Emerald Empress represents the Eye itself and not the woman who wields it. I wanted the sculpt to represent that.
Here’s how I did it:
  • Cut the Eye off her hand.
  • Got a Green Flame/Fire figure from the same Collateral Damage set.
  • Cut Fire’s leg off at about mid-calf (in a “V” shape to give the Eye a better space to glue in).
  • Glued the Eye to the leg with modeler’s glue.
Completed mid-2006.
I have to be careful with this mod — it’s broken a few times. Perhaps I’ll use a more flexible glue to bond it together next time. Despite its fragility, this was the first major customization I ever did, multilating two figures to do it. I don’t regret it one bit — this is just cool, yo.
This also emboldened me to attempt an even more ambitious mod that I’ll highlight next time.