IRON MAN (Secret Invasion)

I’d like to say this mod was all my idea, but I can’t.
At all.
Here’s the original:

Also known as the Robert Downey Jr. sculpt.

Neat, unconventional sculpt. In fact, the sculptor revealed that he was under instructions from Marvel to specifically do an un-helmeted Iron Man sculpt.
But someone on thought it’d be neat to put his held helmet on instead of his head, and did. It looked simple enough to do, and I’d done more radical mods already, so here’s how I proceeded:
  • Cut Robert Downey Jr.’s head off with a hobby knife.
  • Carefully cut the Iron Man helmet from the left hand.
  • Used a heated push pin to poke a small hole in both the neck stump and the corresponding point on the helmet.
  • Stuck a straight pin in the hole, then cut it off about 1.5 mm above the neckline.
  • Glued down the new head and swiveled it to a new facing position.
  • Painted the left side of his head and left hand where they were once joined together.
  • Painted the eye slits, chest unibeam and palm repulsor in white.

Completed mid-2008. Photo by Antonio Cade.

Again, not even remotely original; there are probably a dozen other guys on HCRealms alone who did the same. But it’s among my mods, so here it is.

Next Monday, I bring another Marvel icon down to earth.

BATMAN & ROBIN (Justice League)

So the promo and official image looks like this:

See the yellow underside of Robin's cape?

But the production model’s Robin has an unpainted, black cape. So I:
  • Painted the underside of Robin’s cape with yellow acrylic paint.
  • Then I did it again, because it wasn’t thick enough and it looked a sickly green instead.
  • Then I added another layer.

Completed mid-2008.

OK, I guess. I learned that not all paints are equal to the task.
Next week’s wasn’t even my idea. But it’s one of my mods, and it worked well. Hope you’ll check it out!

GAMBIT (Mutations & Monsters)

Or, as I like to call him: GUMBO.

Of all the core X-Men, Gambit is possibly the last one to straight-up fight a Sentinel. That’s one reason I never really liked the humongous robot’s hand on this sculpt. I also hated the way it took up so much room in my tackle box. So here’s what I did instead:
  • Used a combination of a stout exacto knife and brute force to snap the hand off the base.
  • Worked Gambit off the hand.
  • Glued Gambit’s feet to the dial base.
  • Cut the excess centimeter or so of his quarterstaff so he’d sit flat on the table.
The results:

Completed mid-2008.

Svelte enough to fit my overstuffed ‘clix box and yet still somewhat acrobatic-looking.

Next week: I finish what WizKids left undone.

UGH! I knew I was forgetting something yesterday…my customary Monday modification article!
Lesson learned: To do lists are my friends. MAKE THEM!!! :)

GIANT-MAN (Mutations & Monsters)

Yet another version of the many-alter-ego’d Dr. Henry Pym in Heroclix, this one is an alternate-Earth Pym turned into a zombie.
I hate zombies on principle, pretty much. I don’t get what the fascination with them in certain circles is. But the fascination exists, and it has invaded HeroClix on numerous occasions.
This clix version has possibly the most gruesome sculpt in the game.

He's holding a dismembered hero in his arm and has one of those members in his mouth. That's just not even CLOSE to being right.

Hey. Black Panther is one of my favorite characters! I’d almost get rid of this figure just for that, but the dial is pretty playable. So here’s what I did instead:
  • Removed the arm from Giant-Man’s mouth.
  • Removed the BP figure.

Completed early-2008.

OK, so he’s got a gaping hole in his chest. So what? HE’S AN UNDEAD ZOMBIE. I’m over it. :)
Next Monday: Speaking of dismemberment, next mod features a “hand-ectomy.”

I open this article with a new philosophy on battle reports. I’ve spent many a column whining about various FAIL moments in this game. But an audiobook chapter of “The One-Minute Millionaire” persuaded me to stop brooding on my failures in the game or to blaming others, the dice, or even myself. No, instead, I simply treat every game, win or lose, as a learning experience and become a better player — and person — as a result.

Now. Let’s lock and load, ‘clixers!

For many months I shelved pretty much the entire Guardians line-up. (It’s not as though they’re underused or anything. :D) But with the revamped Alternate Team Abilities now in play, I thought it was time to see what the new Guardians of the Galaxy team ability could do for me.

  • At 5 points per character, it costs a bit more, making it harder to fit on the team.
  • But it no longer overrides their natural team abilities, making it a real boon to most of its members.
  • It can’t be wildcarded, so it’s better on pure GotG teams anyway.

Here’s the team I built:

Phyla-Vell 138
One-Who-Knows 123
Star-Lord 90
Rocket Raccoon 65
Yondu 53
R Aleta 51
Bug 44
+ Guardians of the Galaxy 35
= 599 points. (0 in feats). BFCs: Assembled, Wasteland.

I got to the venue early, so I tried this out against the judge in a friendly game. Well, “friendly” being a bit relative as Thomas fielded all three Batman figures from the Arkham Asylum set (the 208-point Sinestro Corps one, the 120-point “Lamppost” and 64-point “Batman Beyond” version), the Out of the Shadows Batman and the Crisis “AzBats” Batman. I won the map roll and picked the Space map and theme-cancelled Thomas’s Deep Shadows BFC.

The Space map’s unique rules would cut into Sinestro Batman’s Running Shot + 10 range advantage, and the lack of hindering terrain would leave the Bats little room to hide. Or, at least, that would have worked if not for Sinestro Batman’s free-action Smoke Cloud Special Power. With that, Thomas was able to thoroughly nullify the majority of my offensive ability, and every time I attempted to fight, he was able to concentrate multiple attacks per turn while I was limited usually to only one. Consequently, despite his rolling 2 0r 3 critical misses, he lost only AzBats and wiped my whole team out. 0-1.

It wasn’t quite as lopsided a game as it looked (and often felt) like, though. The new Guardians of the Galaxy team ability made the Outwit that four of the five Batmen wielded almost completely useless. And my team’s ability to chain defense values with Defenders TA helped them last a lot longer than they might’ve otherwise. If I hadn’t accidentally blocked the Telekinesis lane Aleta needed to move Phyla-Vell into a much-needed first strike up Sinestro Corps Batman…if I could have thus gotten rid of that free Smoke Cloud and thus opened up the Bats to the full firepower of the Guardians of the Galaxy…who knows what the end result may have been?

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t block my TK lanes!

Fortunately, that was only a bye-round match of the tournament, which officially began while Thomas and I finished our match. That meant I got a 0-point win and still retained my once-per-themed-team’s BFC cancel ability.

NEXT OPPONENT: Andy and his mighty Avengers:

Thor (Hammer of Thor), Thorbuster, War Machine (Hammer of Thor) and Captain America (Hammer of Thor). He picked the Graveyard map and tried to use the Disbanded BFC. Thankfully, I was able theme-cancel that team-killing card.

Things didn’t go well for him from the start, as his first-strike single-target Pulse Wave attempt on Bug critically failed. Thor landed a massive hit on Yondu way back in the starting area, but Aleta’s Barrier slowed down the coming assault, forcing War Machine to fly over the makeshift wall and deep into my territory to press the attack. Multiple uses of Probability Control (both natural and theme-team versions) made it a wasted attempt.

I concentrated all my efforts on Thor first with Star-Lord’s Galactic Marksman ability to deal 4+ damage when targeting multiple foes, eventually wearing the god of thunder down and out of the game. By the time Captain America made it into the fray, I was able to keep him tied down with Rocket Raccoon (who was well-defended with Super Senses). I then followed with a KO of War Machine and finally, a last attack on Thorbuster with Bug’s Exploit Weakness — the armored Avenger’s early miss on my cheapest character truly coming back to haunt. I lost no characters. 1-1 (2-0, officially)

LESSON LEARNED: I tried to use this map’s special “Open Graves” terrain, which blocks lines of fire to the character occupying it, to my advantage. But my opponent reminded me that ALL lines of fire, including friendly ones, are blocked, preventing a couple of attack opportunities. This could’ve been disastrous…and would be for certain opponents in future games.

FINAL OPPONENT: Zach and his Sinestro Corps

Superman Prime (borrowed from me, actually), Arkillo, Lyssa Drak and a Manhunter (Arkham Asylum).

The 11-year-old picked the Castle map, but I used my Wasteland BFC to turn much of it into rubble, leaving Prime nowhere to run and hide but also giving the Hypersonically Speedy, super-strong beast a very long “swing” range when coupled with Lyssa’s TK.

Fortunately, that first strike missed, and I was able to get Star-Lord into the fight properly by first using Galactic Marksman’s AV bonus to ping Superbrat off his Invincible click (which reduces all damage to 1) and then using it to lay down 4+ damage on the bruiser thereafter. Prime was sent running to the opposite end of the field.

Manhunter laid a critical hit on Star-Lord, but not enough to KO him, so he was able to help shoot down Arkillo (who’d Charged in on Bug and Rocket). One-Who-Knows tangled with Lyssa Drak and Phyla-Vell pursued Superman Prime, who got a perfect Regeneration roll to become a renewed threat.

In the end, though, the tide was too much against the Corps. I’d lost Bug but got the wipeout.

FINAL: 2-1 (3-0 officially)

LESSON LEARNED: Guardians of the Galaxy work best together when multiple pieces can make attacks each turn. Because there’s currently no starting or early Outwit on the team, they really have to dig through enemy defenses. That also means they’ve got to expose themselves to the enemy in turn.

This is why the new ATA is so excellent for them. Bug, Rocket Raccoon, Yondu and One-Who-Knows are much better when they don’t have to fret about their Super Senses or Energy Shield/Deflection being countered, and their ability to share their solid 17 DV helps the normally 16-or-less DV Star-Lord immensely. The big gun of the team, Phyla-Vell, can push freely as her Power Cosmic team ability allows — something she couldn’t do with the old GotG feat. And fragile little Aleta, who’s such a linchpin for this team due to her TK, holds up just a little better under fire.

My only regrets are that the ATA left absolutely no room for feats and that this build can’t be used in Modern Age. Perhaps the upcoming member Groot in the soon-to-be-released Web of Spider-Man set will help the team out!

DRAGON MAN (Avengers)

Anyone who’s ever played this figure knows what the problem was. The darn thing’s too top-heavy to stay upright and the flight peg, too under-manufactured to stay on the stand!
Because Dragon Man’s trade value is so low, I didn’t mind making a change:
  • Cut him off the oversized flight base.
  • Broke off the flight stand.
  • Glued his feet to the dial.

Completed late-2007.

Now, at least, he’ll stand up straight, even though I still never play the guy. But one day I will, just because of this comic. ‘Cause y’all know how much I like Power Pack.

Next Monday: The most eviscerating mod ever.

Next post: RELOAD.