MCP: Alternative Schemes

I remember walking into GenCon’s dealer hall and seeing Marvel Crisis Protocol directly through the doors. Atomic Mass Games had secured prime booth space and couldn’t be ignored: They were here to make a splash. For the record, they absolutely freaking did. While I was able to chat with the guys on and off over the course of the weekend, it wasn’t until Sunday that I was able to squeeze up to one of the demo tables and actually get to try the game. For the record, I played Red Skull. No foreshadowing.

Getting to chat with Dallas and Will, knowing their strengths with the paintbrush, it wasn’t long before discussion of paint schemes came up. We talked a little about how fun the models would be to paint, but the thing that was on my mind was that everyone would be basically inclined to paint the models with the traditional schemes we all know and love from the comics.

We’re all used to seeing Cap in red, white and blue. Tony’s red and gold armor. Widow in a black suit. Would the Green Goblin be the Green Goblin if he wasn’t green? Part of it is, I think, the fact that a lot of the game’s appeal is in putting characters on the table that many of us have known and loved for decades. We want to be able to write those stories and adventures in our heads as we play, and well, Hulk is iconically green and wears purple pants. Never mind that he’s been grey, that there’s been red and blue variants, our iconic Hulk is a green skinned behemoth and the idea of his not looking “right” takes us out of that experience. Hence, we paint him green (well, I did).

Dallas and Will were clear that they were excited to see people paint the models in alternate colour schemes, but an additional hurdle is that the sculpts themselves – fantastic reproductions – lend themselves to one particular scheme. Captain America’s sculpt, for example, does not immediately lend itself to the USAgent scheme, because the chest detail is different. Another example is Ghost Rider, who is clearly based on Johnny Blaze’s image, rather than Danny Ketch.

Don’t misunderstand me, I -love- the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider, and if we get Hercules, Iceman and Angel, you can bet I’ll be adding Black Widow to round out the 1975 Champions roster (damn, I’m old), but Ghost Rider’s history is long and storied, from the utterly amazing Trail of Tearsseries telling the story of how Zarathos came to the West, to the Cosmic Ghost Rider where Frank Castle is the Herald of Galactus. Everyone has their own favourite incarnation of the Spirit of Vengeance, so being able to translate the model into a personal vision through paint alone can be a challenge when the sculpt is very clear in its vision.

And then Will Shick posted this earlier in the week.

You can click the picture to watch the Twitch Stream.

The simple action of changing the colour of the flame has made a huge difference to the way the model presents. Even ignoring the skill level of the artist, it’s a great example of how you can make a model your own just by thinking a little outside of the comic panel.

I mean, I’ll still be painting my Ghost Rider in the traditional scheme when I get one, but I can definitely appreciate the value of Atomic Mass Games’ Twitch streams. Now, if only they aired when I wasn’t at work… 😉