The Joy of ‘Clix

So, having decided to take the plunge into superhero miniatures gaming, you’ve been on to eBay and scored a crapload of Heroclix figures for a very reasonable price. However, now that you’ve received them, they don’t match your expectations of what superhero figures should look like and you’re now wondering whether you should have just bitten the bullet and bought some Reaper Chronoscope figures instead…

Now, I know that some of the sculpts aren’t the greatest, especially from the Marvel Infinity Challenge set, but sometimes the paint job hides a particularly nice sculpt, that just requires a little effort on your part to turn a crappy figure into something rather special.

So, the purpose of this post is to show you what can be achieved with some paint, brushes and a modicum of talent for painting tiny plastic men. I’m no Marike Reimar, so don’t expect works of art, but I feel that I’ve manged to improve on the original paint job. I’m also going to show how very simple conversions can change an iconic recognisable figure into something else.

Our first example is Doc Samson from the Marvel Xplosion Challenge set. This is one of the first figures I ever got and this is what the original figure looks like:

This is what the Daredevil movie would have looked like if they’d cast Jean Claude Van Damme…

Anyway, if we look past the red outfit and repaint and re-imagine this figure, we get this:

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This is Aryan, the Third Reich’s attempt to create a super-soldier to match the United States’ Major Liberty. Unfortunately, whilst the experimental serum enhanced his existing physique, it also enhanced his existing paranoia, making him a powerful but potentially unstable force on the battlefield.

This figure would also make quite a good Doc Savage proxy, with a suitable paint job.

Our next example is the DC supervillain known as the Hyena, a foe of Firestorm (apparently), which comes from the DC Heroclix Legacy set. As with most early Heroclix figures, they didn’t really go to town on the paint job for this one, as you can see:

So, having looked past the universally brown paint job and researched what wolf fur actually looks like, after several different layers of dry-brushing, we get this:

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I was really happy with how this came out, but have unfortunately been unable to replicate it since. Currently, this figure is a generic werewolf, rather than a specific character, but that may change…

Next, we have Lobster Johnson, a character from the Hellboy comic, who was released as part of the Indy Heroclix range. This is what he looks like out of the box:

Not too bad, but with a little bit of paint and re-imagining, we get this:

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Doc Justice, hard-boiled, two-fisted scourge of the underworld, who delivers justice from the barrel of his gun! Okay, so my free-hand painting of the scales of justice isn’t the most “balanced”, but I’m happy with the way this one came out.

So, that’s repaints – let’s look at simple conversions. The easiest way to convert a Heroclix figure is to remove any extraneous parts, tidy up the figure and repaint it. My first example is Constrictor, from the Marvel Infinity Challenge set. Prior to me taking a craft knife to him, he looked like this:

However, after the removal of his coils and repainted in suitable colours, he becomes Blitz, the Third Reich’s human fighter plane. (Yes, I am aware that this is the second Nazi to appear in this gallery, but one of my factions/teams is made up entirely of super-powered Nazis, for Golden Age gaming).

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Slightly more work was converting the Hydra Operative, also from the Marvel Infinity Challenge set. As I only had one of these, rather than a whole squad, I decided to re-purpose him, as “if you cut off one head…” didn’t really apply in this case…

So, as I quite liked the pose, but felt the weaponry didn’t really suit the figure, I trimmed off the assault rifle, tidied up the arm and gave him a Games Workshop flamer pistol, transforming him into Flashpoint, arsonist for hire.

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Good thing he’s outside a fire station and there’s a handy hydrant to dampen his spirits…

Next we have the brussel sprout-headed version of the Leader, from the Marvel Xplosion set. As he has a pretty distinctive head, any conversion would require its removal…

So, one decapitation later and the addition of a Games Workshop plastic skeleton head, before they were known as ‘Skullz’, we have Halflife, a Russian scientist caught in a nuclear accident and changed into a crazed radioactive menace…

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Our final example is how you can take an iconic character, in this case the villainous Scorpion,also from the Marvel Xplosion set, and alter him almost beyond recognition. This is what the figure originally looked like:

However, remove the tail, make some holes in his back with a soldering iron and insert a couple of plastic wings culled from the Marvel Heroclix Wasp figure, slap some paint on and voila! I give you the Hornet, a particularly venomous villain with which to bedevil my heroes.

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So, as you can see, repainting or simple conversions can transform a mass-produced badly-painted figure into a unique character for your games.

I hope this has provided inspiration. Comments, as always, are appreciated.

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Major Threats

What do dinosaurs, trees, buildings, giant apes and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man have in common? The answer is a character I have dubbed Mark. Here he is:

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Now Mark is a 28mm (ish) scale Heroscape pre-painted figure, representing one of the Airborne Elite. He is actually about 33mm from the soles of his feet to the top of his head and he is my go-to figure when I want to do a size comparison between a “normal” sized gaming figure and anything else, hence his name – Mark being short for benchmark. He will prove very useful within this post, as it’s all very well posting pictures of miniatures, but unless you give an indication of how it compares size-wise, you could end up buying something that proves to be not as initially useful as you first thought.

Anyway, the purpose of this post, as you may have gathered from the title, is what I term Major Threats. By this I mean large miniatures, which when they appear on the table, give the players pause. Now the major problem with fielding these miniatures is the cost, as most large miniatures have a suitably large price tag. It might be the coolest representation of a world-destroying entity ever, but when it also destroys your bank balance, then this will give you pause.

Rather than direct you to various websites and manufacturers, as I have done in previous posts, what I will be doing is showcasing Major Threats from my own collection and discussing where they came from, how much they cost and, most importantly, what they are. It’s all very well showing pretty pictures, but if you don’t identify what the figure actually is, it can prove frustrating for viewers who want one for themselves.

First, let’s revisit the Heroclix range, as this is what initially started me on this topic. Whilst the Heroclix range does a wide variety of normal sized figures, they also do what they term Giant and Colossal figures. Giant figures are miniatures that appear in the normal blind box releases, representing larger heroes and villains, such as Atlas, Stature, the Awesome Android and Colossal Boy, and are generally about 90mm tall. Colossal figures, on the other hand, come in their own boxes and tend to represent massive characters, such as Starro, Apocalypse, Fin Fang Foom and Galactus and range from 100mm upwards. And these are the figures that are very, very expensive for what is, essentially, a big hunk of plastic.

However, returning to the Giant figures, as these tend to be more Common, you can get them for very reasonable prices. Below is the character Giganta, from the DC Heroclix Superman and the Legion of Superheroes set, which I picked up for a very reasonable £1.74.

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As you can see, she towers over Mark, being 3 times as tall as he is. As you can probably gather, I am currently in the process of re-basing her, but reached that point where you haven’t mixed quite enough Milliput and it’s getting late, so this is not entirely finished.

From the Marvel Heroclix Mutations and Monsters set, also purchased for £1.74, was Zzzax, a foe of the Hulk composed of Electricity.

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Zzzax is about 62mm tall and is made from transparent orange plastic, with red highlights. For a being supposedly composed of electricity, depicted in the comics as yellowy-white, he doesn’t really fit the bill. However, as an entity composed of living flame, he is spot on. If you wished to re-paint this figure, it could also make a good Bigfoot, although this would defeat the object of having a transparent figure in the first place. This one was popped off it’s Heroclix base and superglued to a circle of black plastic, which I believe was an expired gift card of some sort (a useful source of thin plastic for basing).

We next move on to the Dungeons and Dragons Miniature range, which has been going for a number of years now. This range is a good source for large inexpensive miniatures. I would suggest using the search terms ‘Golem’, ‘Giant’, ‘Titan’ or ‘Elemental’ to start with, but as you’ll see from the next two figures, you might have to search the whole range.

Our first figure is from the Legendary Evils set and represents the Chillfire Destroyer, which is apparently an ice elemental with a core of fire. As far as I’m concerned, that would result in a puddle, but that’s magic for you…

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The Chillfire Destroyer is made from transparent blue plastic, with red highlights to suggest the core of fire. As with all D&D Minitaures, it is cast with an integral matt black plastic base, 40mm round in this case. The figure is about 50mm tall and is a suitably imposing entity. Whilst it’s supposed to represent an ice elemental, I initially bought this figure to use a bloody huge ghost, so it will be doing double duty. He cost me £3.50, which I thought was very reasonable.

Next we have the Psychic Sentinel figure, also from the Legendary Evils set and also costing £3.50.

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The Psychic Sentinel figure is cast in transparent red plastic, with orange highlights on the eyes only and stands about 60mm tall. Same 40mm matt black integral base as the Chillfire Destroyer. After I’d bought this miniature, a small voice in the back of my mind was nagging at me, saying that I’d seen this character before in a comic book…

Being a bit of a Marvel geek, it didn’t take me long to place who this figure reminded me of:

That’s right, it’s Xorr the God-Jewel, from Thor #214. So, as Wizkids have yet to make this character, if you want a proxy, you know where to get one.

Next I want to discuss toys as a source for Major Threats. Most of us wargamers have wandered up and down the aisles at Toys-R-Us, looking for inexpensive die-cast cars or plastic dinosaurs. However, looking in shops that tailor to the younger child, such as Mothercare or the Early Learning Centre (in the UK) can also turn up some bargains.

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This hard rubber gorilla was bought from the Early Learning Centre for about £4.00 and is about 125mm tall, so does constitute a Major Threat. Multiple uses, as can be used in Pulp Gaming, as well as Superhero Gaming. In fact, can be used anywhere there is a need for a giant ape – and there’s always a need for a giant ape at some point.

Now, the next figure you might have difficulty tracking down, as I’ve had it for about 30 years, but they are available on eBay and if you’re in mind to play a specific type of game, it is worthwhile getting one.

“What did you DO, Ray?”

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“It’s the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.” Sorry, had to slip him in there, as it does show that toys can be used for wargaming quite successfully. Whilst not as big as he was in the film, at 180mm tall, I do believe that he’s quite big enough to give your players pause for thought.

Finally, and back on track, we move to Eaglemoss Collections, a British company who publish part-work magazines with associated models or parts of models. I was aware of this company and had previously suggested on The Miniatures Page that it might be worthwhile looking into using some of their pre-painted statuettes/figures in Superhero Gaming, but never actually got around to getting any. This changed recently, as I was bidding on an auction for a Heroclix Sentinel, Sinestro light armour colossal figure and Anti-Monitor which was on eBay for a remarkably low price for all three. I got outbid, so searched for ‘Anti-Monitor’, as this was the figure I was interested in, which led me to the Eaglemoss figure. I managed to get it for £4.00, plus £4.00 postage, which was actually cheaper than the RRP when it was first released at £9.99. I didn’t get the magazine, but as it was the figure I was after, I didn’t care.

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Yep, he’s huge. About 135mm tall and also very heavy, as I believe these figures are made from lead. Worth bearing in mind if you’re bidding on one of these figures, as you may initially think the shipping costs are rather high, but as he weighs just over 500g, I felt the costs were justified.

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Another picture to give a sense of scale.

So, that concludes my round-up of Major Threats from my collection and hopefully gives some ideas for alternative sources for large figures for your superhero gaming needs.

As an aside, the scenery used as a backdrop for all these pictures is a Plasticville Fire Station and the Mars Attacks Deluxe T-Junction Gaming mat from Mantic Games.

Thanks for reading!