I was pleased, the Marvel characters nail almost every category in this Theme Round: they feature in a gamut of Movies, Comic Books and TV Shows, a bastion of Western popular culture for decades (I'm at a loss for 'piece of music', though). Perfect for me too: few miniatures to paint, and lots of variety to keep me interested. And for MUMG, I'd chosen the X-Men Faction, a major reason being the 90s animated TV series that I grew up with, and loved. I really should watch it again, see how it's aged. At some point, I did notice that I'd never actually read any Uncanny X-Men comics ('The Strangest Heroes of all!') - since rectified.
Anyway, plans plans plans. But a few posts ago, I mentioned a spraying disaster hurting my Challenge output. You know which miniatures you don't really want to hit badly with spray primer? Yup, the notoriously softly detailed, eye-wateringly expensive Knight Models range. And yup, I did, on each of the models I'd picked up. A great deal of my hobby time in February was spent stripping them back, then re-prepping and basing them.
So I did want to have painted a host of X-Men for this Theme Round, hopefully even all seven that I'd picked up from Knight: Wolverine, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Gambit, Colossus, Jean Grey and Cyclops. Instead, I humbly managed just one. Where else to start but with their leader, Professor Xavier's right-hand man: he of equal parts bravery and self-doubt: Scott Summers, aka 'Cyclops'.
He's a decent miniature, in Knight Model's 35mm superhero scale. He's in classic Cyclops pose, unleashing his eye-blast mutant power. He was really nice to paint, and I went with the classic blue/yellow colour scheme. I ummed-and ahh-d over whether to go with a grittier look, like the films, or use the classic bright colours. I reckoned bright, comic-style would suit my high-contrast style.
The rest of them? Yeah, not great progress:
I was new to Knight Models, how's my experience been with their wares? Well, there's no hiding from it, these come with a premium, license-driven price tag. And while I like most of the sculpts, a few are a bit duff (of mine, Wolverine looks like he's having bowel problems), sometimes the details are soft in areas and the scaling is odd at times: Sabretooth dwarfs Colossus in height and bulk, but they should be pretty much on a par. I had casting issues on two of my seven, and had to ask for replacement parts, then chase up their customer service repeatedly before they sent any (in fairness, Knight seem to be good about replacing bad casts, just can be slow about it). Some of the female sculpts suffer from impossibly thin ankle syndrome: too thin to stand up to the rigours of painting, let alone gaming, and too thin to easily drop a pin in. For instance, I had to conduct major leg surgery on Rogue, a steel-rod-and-resculpt job:
Oh, and then after nearly six months of no new sculpts being released, Knight announced the other week they were dropping the Marvel line. The miniatures disappeared off their store overnight, and they pulled all of the character cards that you need for play for good measure. I gather some of the sculpts are pretty rare now. Which wasn't to be expected for a game that's only about a year old, with access to an incredibly popular licence. Most of the factions aren't really fleshed out enough for longevity with official sculpts, the line is disappearing from shops and communities will shrink rather than grow. But there'll be pockets of fans, converting models from other systems to expand the range. Which is probably what my brother and I will do. Or at the very least, I'll enjoy painting the models and getting all nostalgic.