-Review and photos by Scott Rubin
We’re back with some really exciting HeroClix reviews this week. Stay tuned for some cool DC stuff later, but today we’re going to dive back into the hobby side of miniatures with Wave 2 of the Marvel HeroClix Deep Cuts X-Men Unpainted Figures! WizKids’ unpainted minis (most of which fall under the heading of “Deep Cuts”) offer hobbyists, painters, and collectors unique ways to customize and personalize your display and game pieces. Best of all, they’re pre-primered and ready to paint right out of the package. In addition to fantasy creatures and characters, Star Trek ships, My Little Ponies, Transformers, and more, WizKids has added HeroClix to the mix, and started late last year with X-Men characters featuring sculpts first seen in the Regenesis Storyline Organized Play Event. Make sure to check out our review of that first wave of X-Men miniatures. Today we’re looking at Wave 2: Kitty Pryde, Beast, Gambit, Rachel Summers, Namor, Rogue, Colossus, Iceman, Hope Summers, Angel, and Danger!
For reference: “Regenesis” was an era of X-Men comics following the Schism in 2011. The differences in philosophies between Cyclops and Wolverine over the future of mutantkind came to blows and the X teams split, some following Scott to Utopia and others staying with Logan at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Last summer WizKids offered a Wolverine vs. Cyclops: X-Men Regenesis Storyline Organized Play Event with exclusive single-figure boosters (see our review of that set HERE). With new versions of favorite characters that set was very popular, and it featured a new mechanic with a boost to figures when they’re part of specific theme teams. Notably, the figures in that set also came on “SwitchClix” dials, meaning the figures could be removed from their bases. And that ties into these new Deep Cuts unpainted minis. Put simply, you can play these new figures (once you paint them, of course) as they come with their new dials, or you can use the models to replace the ones from the Regenesis set and use those dials (and vice versa).
After the first set of Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Emma Frost, Magneto, Cannonball, Magik, Warbird, and Psylocke, Wave 2 is bringing the rest of the Regenesis mutant heroes to your paint table with Kitty Pryde, Beast, Gambit, Rachel Summers, Namor, Rogue, Colossus, Iceman, Hope Summers, Angel, and Danger. This second round may not include the two headlining characters of the set, but it does have lots of great fan favorites, and like the previous wave covers characters who were originally all over the rarity map. Also, like Wave 1, these figures are all “SwitchClix” and so can take the place of the models on their Regenesis dials, use Regenesis models on these new dials, etc.
As we’ve talked about, the Regenesis set had some truly great sculpts and figures that highlighted the powers and iconic poses of these mutants. Wave 2 here follows that trend and gives you good canvases for your painting pleasure. And here you’ve got everything from Namor and Colossus charging into their enemies to the almost completely translucent Iceman, Kitty Pryde phasing up from the ground, high-flying Angel with his incredible wings, and more. And while Iceman exemplifies this, every single figure in the Regenesis main set includes some translucent plastic (whether that’s an energy blast, flight/motion effect, or other).
When it comes time to apply paint to your minis, you’re going to want a clear idea of what you want it to look like in the end. Are you going to mimic the exact look of the model from the painted Regenesis set? Replicate a different costume the character wore at some point? Or go for something totally unique – your own creation or an homage to a different look? WizKids is cool with any of that, with a message right on the packaging that says “Paint each character’s costume from your favorite era or come up with something completely original!”
Being pre-primered (and pre-built, of course) means you can skip some first big steps on the road to painting minis. Normally upon getting a miniature you’d clean it, assemble it, and then prime it, applying an even, solid color basecoat upon which your other paints will stick. WizKids Deep Cuts minis already have primer on them, so they come in a solid off-white color (except for any translucent parts which are left clear). Now, the only potential downside to pre-primered minis are mold lines. As an inevitable part of the production process figures come out with raised lines delineating where the molds were held together. On a pre-primered miniature, if you clean (cut) off the mold lines you’ll expose plastic that’s not primered. So, you can leave the minis as is, especially if the mold lines are not too bad or not noticeable, or clean them off and re-primer those areas with a paint on primer. The most extreme option is stripping the original primer, doing any mold clean up, and then re-primering the entire thing. As always, I do suggest washing your minis with a gentle detergent soap before painting them to get rid of any unwanted residue from the factory or packaging.
Note: In the review of Wave 1 of the unpainted X-Men miniatures I noted that the cool new Contrast paints from Games Workshop did not stick to the WizKids primer. However, Contrast does work on Wave 2!
If you’re new to painting miniatures you will need a few things: primer (you’re covered here), something to use a palette, paints (typically acrylic – Citadel/Games Workshop, Vallejo, Army Painter, generic, etc.), brushes, and water. You can get even more out of your minis with things like washes and glazes (recommended for use on the translucent parts of these models), technical paints, basing materials, and the like. Any and all of the above will make your Deep Cuts X-Men look awesome and bring your creations to life.
Once again, I recruited some of my highly talented friends and their paintbrushes to get a look at what these figures can become. We’ve got Danger by Jon Wong, Iceman by Tyler Ricotta, Gambit by Oscar Casasola, Hope Summers, Rachel Summers, and Namor by Roy McCarthy, and Kitty Pryde, Beast, and Rogue by Dennis Sambolin-Randolph. This time I around I took on Angel and Colossus!
Some notes from my painters:
- On Danger Jon used mostly Citadel paints, sticking with the tried and true washes and glazes for the translucent parts. He opted for an opaque look on the energy eruptions from the feet which took a lot of drying time. The metallic “skin” of the character gave Jon a challenge to bring it up to a mirror sheen, and I think his use of blues is a perfect counterpoint.
- Tyler used a combination of regular Citadel paint and Contrast on Iceman, mainly to differentiate the character from his ice slide. Check out the nice edge-highlighting on the shorts, and look closely for a perfectly done red “X” belt buckle!
- Roy is a master of Contrast and pioneered its use on these Wave 2 figures. His darker color choices on the translucent parts of Namor, Hope, and Rachel turned out great.
- Dennis used probably the widest range of paints on his trio, including Contrast and standard Citadel paints, Vallejo, and some Army Painter. Check out how much sculpted detail on Beast he was able to bring out with his painting compared to the original version! I also really like his little Lockheed – so cute.
- Oscar’s Gambit is 90s retro and totally rad. This painter rarely uses Contrast but found this a good experiment with it; he even went so far as to mask the base and re-primer the model with Wraithbone before painting. The cajun’s hair is Wildwood, cloak two thinned layers of Skeleton Hoard, Volupus Pink for the pink sections, bodysuit Black Templar, skin Guilliman Flesh, eye socket glow Volupus Pink, staff energy effect 4:1 mix of Contrast Medium and Volupus Pink to glaze it, and greaves and the upper chest piece undiluted Gryph-charger Grey, followed a by 3:1 glaze of Contrast Medium and Talasar Blue. Pretty neat!
As for me, I started work on Angel by thinking about what look I wanted. The character of Warren Worthington III has gone through many different costumes and looks over the years, and most of my favorite ones have been as his Archangel persona. So, it was definitely going to be blue skin, and for that I used Citadel Talassar Blue Contrast paint mixed with Contrast Medium. That came out a little darker than I wanted, so I lightened things up and added texture with some standard Citadel paints. For the wings, it was a couple of different Citadel metallic paints and Nuln Oil black wash to highlight the sculpted details. It was interesting to note that after just one base coat of Ironbreaker my wings looked identical to the painted version of Angel from Regenesis. The wash really gave depth to the sculpted details and made it look a lot better.
For Angel’s costume, I decided on a variation of his classic red, white, and yellow costume. Partially utilizing the sculpted lines on the miniature, I painted in the arms, legs, and sides of the torso with Blood Angels Red Contrast, then used Apothecary White to add detail to the central chest and back areas. The yellow boots and first pass at Angel’s hair were done with Iyanden Yellow Contrast, then accented variously with Casandora Yellow Shade and Phalanx Yellow paint. On this mini I decided NOT to color the clear flight effect, feeling it might take away from the strong color pattern of the figure.
Next up was the Russian mutant Colossus. I briefly considered going in a really crazy direction and giving him gold skin, but just couldn’t do it! It just had to the iconic silver, which like Angel’s wings above I accomplished with Citadel metallic paints and Nuln Oil wash. Notably that last one really brought out the bands in Colossus’ skin, a part of the sculpt that didn’t get the attention it deserved in the painted Regenesis model. Nearly all of Colossus’ costumes over the years have been some combination of red and silver or gold, but I wasn’t feeling it (especially having painted Angel’s red). So, I decided to create my own version of a classic dark blue and yellow X-Men outfit with Leviadon Blue and Iyanden Yellow Contrast paints. I added some Black Templar black on the kneepads and soles, then accented the leaping effect with Gryph-Hound Orange. Lastly, I never really liked the bald look so I painted in Colossus’ hair, and I think it looks great!
Unpainted X-Men figures can be used via the SwitchClix removable bases on your original Regenesis dials, or you can play them with their new versions! As with Wave 1, these HeroClix dials are iconic, straightforward, and fun to play, really highlighting what makes each character unique and interesting. They range from an ultra lean 30 point fast flying Angel and 35 point solid secondary attacker Kitty to beefy 125 point bricks in Colossus and Namor. Continuing the trend from Wave 1, each figure has either the Jean Grey “New School” or Utopia “Extinction Team” trait, and beyond that most has one additional trait or special power; Iceman has both, Kitty and Angel have none, Beast none but gets Improved Movement. Keyword options are also good with generally wide selections. Oh, and lastly, some of the artwork chosen for the back of the cards features evolutions of the characters’ looks and costumes over the years, perhaps giving you further inspiration on how to paint them!
See the rest of the dials in the image gallery below!
The Deep Cuts Unpainted X-Men HeroClix are pretty rad. They give you blank canvasses to bring your vision of favorite characters to life, new dials and new ways to play these characters, and more options for your HeroClix games via SwitchClix functionality and interchangeability with the original Regenesis set. Wave 2 will hit stores a little later this month, with individual figures retailing for $4.99 each. They’re also non-blind, so you can pick the exact mutants you want for your games or displays! I’m a big fan of these miniatures and everything you can do with them, and it’s been a blast painting them and seeing what my friends have done with theirs. Check with your local comic shop/game store (or wherever you buy your HeroClix) to make sure they’re stocking these Deep Cuts figures, and make sure to post pics of your unique X-Men!
Review and photos by Scott Rubin
Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games