Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making heroclix customs

I got into making custom figures for heroclix some years ago. I built myself a little "body" shop where I took extra figures to convert into variations and characters they hadn't made for the game yet. I have pics of many of my works, old and new, on my facebook page, but you can see some here. There is a small market for customs making on Ebay, but it's no where near what it was when I was making them more often.

To make my customs I used a dremel tool and cut off arms, legs and heads and re-matched them with other bodies to create the desired appearance. Super glue and paint would take care of the rest. I used a few other tricks too back then that were pretty effective. I like to think I'm not half bad at making customs, but have to say that there are others out there who make me look clumsy.

As for those tricks, check this out.

That's my custom Surtur, the Fire Giant from years ago before Heroclix went under for a while. I made him from the upper body of an original Hulk figure and the legs of some Mage Knight figure that I don't remember off hand. I drilled out the hand and inset the sword from some Warhammer 40K pieces I had laying around. The horns were tentacles from a Brainiac figure. The flames? This was the neat trick. They're made of toilet paper. Yep, toilet paper. The tissue was mixed with Elmer's glue and put on the figure with a little tricky manipulation. Once dry, I coated it a few times with brush on super glue to harden it. It's actually very effective.

I think I made him even before giant figures or right around the time that giants came out. I used the flight base to denote that he was a giant (house rule it) because I didn't have any cool dial making programs. I still don't.

Now this was my take on Strong Guy before he came out. I used a Mage Knight figure's upper body and arms along with a Hydra agents legs and head. I used my toilet paper trick for the little tuft of white hair on his forehead and the rest is repaint. There were a couple of hand sword things to sculpt off with the dremel tool, but that was no issue. I made him for several people before he finally came out in a set.

It's fun to look through the customs that people make. Some are really awesome and some, well, they aren't. But I have enjoyed it. The figure up top is one of my many duo figures I made, it's Thor and Lady Sif. Click on photos for larger view.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Heroclix Keywords

This is just my opinion and input on the keywords used in forming teams for Heroclix. Keywords are used to help form themed teams. If all the figures on your team share the same keyword they are considered "themed" and you get some bonuses for having them this way. It should be noted that bystander tokens do not count for keyword use.

The first notable bonus is a plus modifier to your opening dice roll for who picks map and goes first in the match. The bonus added to your die roll is equal to the number of characters on the team with that keyword. This benefit is very good, especially for the strategy of choosing the map to play on.

The next to mention is that this team gets to cancel a battlefield condition, but they don't have to. It's optional. I really don't like this benefit. For the most part, I think it makes battlefield conditions practically obsolete. Maybe they wanted to do that, I don't know. Ordinary day was already a threat to battlefield condition strategies, but now if everyone you face is using themes you can about count on your BFC getting tossed. I don't know about you, but just about everyone I face won't play anything they can't put into a themed team.

There is a house rule that our local store uses that I like much better. It's the idea that you have to play a themed team just to have a BFC. No canceling. It's kind of a reversal that I think makes more sense. Just my opinion though.

The third bonus to using themes is that you get a probability control roll for ever two figures on your force that share that keyword. In order to use the power, a figure can not have had an action that turn, must have clear line of fire to the reroll target and will have a token placed on them for use of the power. So, if you have ten figures on your team you get five uses of probability control.

You can still build your team however you like, but you may take a strategic minus for doing so.

Problems I have with theme teams:

Point heavy: some of my favorite themes simply cost too much in points. I would love to put together some of the teams I've seen in the comic books, but they also wind up point heavy and outside of what my local store plays. These include the Infinity Watch and Avengers. That, or you don't have enough points to cover the level of tournament you are playing in. For example, if there's only three people with a keyword you want to play and you have a 400 point game, it's problematic when you have 60 points left to fill and no one else with a keyword. You wind up feat card heavy and most places don't want you to use that many feats.

Too specific: Speaking of Avengers, some keywords are getting way too specified like Mighty Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Great Lakes Avengers, Dark Avengers. At least there are enough Dark Avengers to make a themed team, but they won't have much in support, I can hit that in a later post. The makers need to be careful no to toss in a keyword that's going to appear once, with only one or two figures and vanish. That's just frustrating to the players.

I will say, thanks to the new Thunderbolts card you can give someone a keyword/team ability and make them part of your theme. That helps but costs points.

Past that, I think building a good theme is a decent challenge and still fun. I think the benefits are a bit overpowered and too geared toward wiping out BFC's. Still, I enjoy playing heroclix and play themes to keep up with my fellow players. I can't play some of the team ups I would really like to see, maybe a feat called Marvel-Team up? That would be nice. Then I could team up Spider-man and Nightcrawler and actually have them themed.

Today's Photo: My conversion of duo figure, Aquaman and Aqualad, enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Web of Spiderman

The set called, Web of Spiderman, recently hit stores. As heroclix goes, it's an exciting set. We got our first brick (half a case equaling ten booster packs) and got some great pulls. This includes about the rarest piece in the whole set, Cosmic Spider-man.

I think, for a standard dial size figure, Cosmic Spidey has to be the most powerful piece ever made. His line of fire is never blocked. Not by walls, not by other figures, not by buildings, not by anything! If you are playing him and get to choose the map you play on, make it filled with obstacles and you've got Spidey's favorite playland for this piece. His points, I think, were purposely set at 319 to keep him out of standard 300 point play. But 400 points with a couple support pieces can still see him ruling the table. Having two team abilities is murderous too, but hard to get a good combo at his points without much higher point teams. Finally, look at his number stats. A 19 defense with impervious, 12 attack, and 14 movement with hypersonic speed and finally damages of 4 and 5 through the dial. That's just deadly.

Now, a friend of mine suggested that the ultimate response to Cosmic Spidey is another Web of figure called Bombastic Bag-man. It's based on another Spidey story where he had to wear a Fantastic Four uniform after losing the Symbiote, or giving it up, whatever. But the key to Bombastic is that any damage dealt to this figure is dealt right back to the attacking figure unavoidably. So if Cosmic hits him for 4 damage, Cosmic takes 4 damage regardless of defense powers. Then Cosmic's damage changes to 5. Hitting again will knock out Bombastic, but take Cosmic along too. Or not. The problem with that thought is that, as soon as Bombastic shows KO on his dial, he's no longer taking damage. The card says "damage taken" not "dealt". So after 4 is dealt, only ONE counts for ko'ing Bombastic! That leaves Cosmic Spidey still going strong. Well, he has two more clix left, but still decent numbers on the dial. Bombastic has some hilarious uses with his trait, but, according to the posters at HC Realms, damage from Mystics, Poison, Mastermind, Pulsewave and Forceblast still don't count. Pulsewave ignores all powers and TRAITS for defensive purposes or otherwise.

Now my favorite piece that I will use and abuse is Nightcrawler. His ability is awesome. First, his trait gives him permanent phasing with special wording. He's never stuck and can go where ever he wants always. So his trait doesn't count as a power action and can be used with his hypersonic speed attacks. That means he's just as mean on a map full of walls as Cosmic Spidey. He has the same movement and defense numbers to boot. He has a great ability to hit a target and then drag them back to his blades claws buddies that I dearly love. Yep, steal your opponents pieces, mean but effective.

So what do I not like about this set? Well, having all of Spidey's main foes as super rares is annoying. That could mean shelling out big bucks to get them all and I can't do that. I may find many in trade, but right now I only have one piece all my player friends are after. That's Cosmic Spidey. Not giving him up guys! The other thing that's annoying me is dial quality. They've slipped on this. Dials have a tendency to come apart when you are turning them. That can really be irksome in the middle of a tournament match when you have to be accurate in what you are doing.

Still, fabulous set, great pieces, and awesome traits. Pretty soon they are going to have to come up with ways to deal with traits just balance the power of the game. I'm sure they will however, in time.