Rookie MISTER MIRACLE (Origin)

This sculpt, different dial.

The REV set of Mr. Miracle was a good representation of Scott Free of the New Gods. But I would have preferred that the Rookie be  Scott’s Earth-born protegé Shilo Norman.
Here’s what I did:
  • Removed cape portion of sculpt (it seperates from the main body).
  • Filled in resultant gap in back with some hobby clay-like product I can’t recall. It wasn’t anything like Green Stuff or actual sculptor’s clay…I don’t recommend it. But it did this job.
  • Used a needle file to shave down details of Mister Miracle’s sculpt that are not reflected in the Shilo Norman version of the costume.
  • Painted in the new colors using acrylic paint.
Completed late-2008, in time for use in my Seven Soldiers team.
Next week: a big girl gets a makeover.
Next post: More DC cards from The Brave & the Bold with art.

Y’all know I love me some Guardians of the Galaxy. Great title that I apparently learned about almost too late (it’s now “on hiatus”— read as: “soft-cancelled” — as of May  2010’s issue #25) that I got interested in because they’d been made into HeroClix. But until Web of Spider-Man, the tallest member of the team had been missing:

He is Groot.

I haven’t actually quite acquired the big guy, but a pair of friends generously loaned him to me for a game, knowing I liked the character. So I tossed aside the all-Web of Spider-Man team I was considering and instead ran this:

Groot 152
Phyla-Vell 138
+ Protected 8
Star-Lord 90 + Contingency Plan 12
Rocket Raccoon 65
Rookie Aleta 51
Bug 44

+ Guardians of the Galaxy alternate team ability 30
= 590 points. This was a last-minute team build, so I didn’t have any clear idea of what the last 10 points ought to have been used for. I faced my friend (who loaned the Groot) using this team: Deadpool (Web of Spider-Man), Bullseye (Web of Spider-Man), Nightcrawler (Web of Spider-Man), Scarlet Spider (Web of Spider-Man), Peter Parker (Web of Spider-Man) and Solo on the new Bridge map in the set.

Key factors/moments of the game:

  • His team had a pair of 12 AV ranged shooters, each of whom could use Running Shot for good damage. So after landing a very solid first hit on Scarlet Spider, I retreated most of the team to avoid retaliation.
  • Unfortunately, I made a bit of a repeat of a FAIL moment (see my FAIL series from a while back) involving Bug and Phyla-Vell that again cost the heavy-hitting cosmic girl her life in this fight. Using Aleta’s TK, I pulled Bug back out of range (rather than push him to retreat) while leaving the pushed Phyla a few squares out, just in range of Nightcrawler.
  • Nightcrawler, in particular, has been the focus of much nerd rage due the figure’s unique ability to snatch enemy figures into the range of his teammates, and that’s exactly what happened here: Phyla was grabbed and then attacked until defeated by the end of the round despite having the Protected feat to absorb one of the blows. Lesson Learned (again): Don’t be so concerned about protecting Bug from attacks, especially at the expense of much, much costlier and important figures.
  • However, Nightcrawler is not without his own glass jaw. Despite his multiple layers of attack evasion (Stealth, Shape Change, high DV and Super Senses), he was the victim of a one-hit KO by Groot.

    "I AM GROOT!!!"

  • Sadly, my attack rolls with Star-Lord — normally my MVP — were all ice-cold and he simply couldn’t survive another turn himself. Lesson (re-)learned: Make sure Star-Lord stands in, directly in front of, or behind hindering terrain when he makes a move that will expose him to counterattack…that way I can use Stealth (if he’s hit hard enough) to be shielded from most followup shots (using Combat Reflexes to take knockback into the hindering if necessary).
  • Similarly, I mis-moved Groot somewhat, not immediately taking advantage of his Special Power allowing him to heal for free when occupying hindering or water terrain. And at the end of the game, he probably took a KO shot he shouldn’t have, since we all forgot that Earthbound/Neutralized giants lose giant status.
  • I didn’t mind so much, since he’d landed a near-KO punch on Bullseye a turn or two earlier. :)


In the end, Aleta was my last piece standing and, after she finished off Bullseye, my game was done. As evidenced by the Lessons Learned above, I could have played the team better, but it was going to be an uphill fight in any circumstance. More to the point of the article: does Groot enhance the Guardians of the Galaxy? What does he need from them?

  1. He’s got great defense. Now that the GotG ATA doesn’t wipe out their natural Defenders TA, he can chain his 18 DV with weaker members.
  2. He’s another taxi. Being a giant affords that. But…
  3. He’s terribly slow. Without Aleta’s TK or the speed boost of the Kinetic Accelerator special object, it takes him a looooong time to get in the fight. This game wouldn’t have gone half as well without either of them.

So it’s a bit tough to use him. He’s priced as a tentpole but is frankly better used as a backfield diversion for ranged shooters or a shield for lesser pals to hide behind. But if he gets stuck on his immovable clicks while too far away to attack, it could be disastrous. One must really carefully gauge the tempo of the fight when running Groot.

But then, isn’t that just good gameplay?

P.S.: one more rule of using this character: [Non-optional] At least once per game, you must shout, in your best Cookie Monster voice, “I AM GROOT!” when giving or resolving an action involving this character.

BROOD (Mutations & Monsters)

When the Crisis set did away with the Soaring mechanic in early 2008 and thus the need for flight stands, I jumped at the opportunity to make a slightly more compact version of this huge model:
  • Used a hobby knife to cut sculpt away from flight stand “pancake”.
  • Snapped off flight stand.
  • Glued sculpt to base.

Completed late-2008.

It’s actually barely any smaller than the original, though, and not really worth the effort.

Next week: one well worth the effort.
Next post: GROOT!

Apologies for the lateness of this update, readers. Although I’ve got a bunch of mod articles in the can, I seem to have forgotten to upload (or forgotten where I uploaded) two of the photos for this extra-large Skrull edition of My Custom Mods.
In Secret Invasion, a bunch of characters got both human and Skrull dials, but the sculpt itself was either human- or Skrull-looking, regardless of which dial it had. So, upon deciding I wanted to retain each figure, I decided to repaint their respective sculpts to fit the dials.
But, I soon found out, it was often a bit more involved than simply mixing in the right ratio of white, yellow, red and brown acrylic paint for the flesh tone I was seeking.

Human YELLOWJACKET (Secret Invasion)

Here’s what I did to make Yellowjacket human:
  • Used a needle file to shave down his big Skrully chin.
  • Painted his black mask a bit more (down to his upper lip), covering his eyes.
  • Painted the rest of his exposed face in a (human) flesh tone.
  • Painted in new white eyes on his mask just below the originals.
  • Painted in a new mouth.
  • Painted over the Skrulls team symbol on the dial base.

That's a human Pym, there.

Completed late 2008. Fixing him was more complicated than I anticipated!

Human MS. MARVEL (Secret Invasion)

  • Used a needle file to shave down her Skrull chin a little bitty bit.
  • Painted her exposed skin to a flesh color.
  • Painted in gritted teeth in her previously wide-open mouth.
  • Painted over the Skrulls team symbol.
Completed late-2008. Surprisingly simple to be so dramatically better-looking :).

Skrull DUM DUM DUGAN (Secret Invasion)

The lone human-appearing version of the Skrull sculpts, Dugan was the simplest of all to alter:
  • Painted his flesh green.
  • Painted over the SHIELD team symbol.

Completed late-2008.

Human ELEKTRA (Secret Invasion)

  • Used a needle file to shave down her big Skrully chin.
  • Painted her exposed skin to a flesh color.
  • Painted in eyes and red lips.
  • Painted over the Skrulls team symbol.

She's better this way. (Actually, I may have taken and uploaded this pic before painting in her lipstick.)

Human CAPTAIN MAR-VELL (Secret Invasion)

  • Used a needle file to shave down his big Skrully chin.
  • Filed down his pointy ears, but not completely.
  • Painted over the tops of the ears in yellow to match his hair.
  • Painted his exposed skin to a flesh color, including the bottom half of his ears.
  • Painted in white eyes on his mask.
  • Painted over the Skrulls team symbol.

Now THAT'S a human Mar-Vell — er, wait. He's actually NOT human.

Completed late-2008.
Next week: another alien made tackle-box friendly.

Since I’ve heard no news of the return of WizKids-printed checklists (as in the sets from Armor Wars through Crisis) in Web of Spider-Man, I’ve made my customary personal PDF version available. And this time I’ve also got slightly prettied-up versions of the ones I did for earlier set available as well. Just click the “Pix & Downloads” link in the header!

9-9-10 EDIT: Those who downloaded and printed the Web of Spider-Man checklist may have noticed it was teeny bit…unfinished. Now that I’ve gotten the actual names and set numbers of the Web and Webbed Person objects, that information is corrected and each has a check box now.

This week, the highly anticipated Web of Spider-Man expansion set releases, featuring a bunch of new Spidey-related pieces. It’s fitting, then, that this week’s featured mod is of the until-now-most-recent Marvel Universe version of the marquee character:

SPIDER-MAN  (Secret Invasion)

It's like a toy found in a "Happy Meal."

In fairness, this isn’t a bad sculpt. It’s inventive, even striking, and certainly outside the norm. It’s also widely derided as the “Happy Meal” Spider-Man for its super-bright colors, slightly oversized feet, head and hands (not dissimilar to this toy for the under-4 set).
Plus it’s cumbersome to fit “McSpidey” here into my over-stuffed clix box.
So here’s what I did:
  • Cut Spidey’s feet off the pole with a hobby knife.
  • Sawed the pole off the dial base with several knives. It was difficult.
  • Colored the cut mark on the dial black with a permanent marker.
  • Painted over the red parts of the costume with a heavily watered-down black acrylic paint wash. This would fill in the web design on his outfit with black and slightly darken the too-bright red. I used a Q-tip to sop up excess black paint.
  • Using super glue and modeler’s glue, I glued his feet to the dial.

Still a bit silly-looking, but it fits in my box now!

Completed mid-2008, this is a Spider-Man I’m not ashamed to field.

Next Monday: SKRULL INVASION!!!!!!!