The Super Mission Force Builds (The Angry Piper)

As I said a few posts back, I first encountered the Liberty Legion in an adventure for TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes RPG that was published in Dragon magazine #104. Although the adventure was pretty good, I was surprised by how low-powered the Legion was by “modern” standards. Even the other “big” WWII-era supers team, the Invaders (watch this space soon!) far outclassed the Liberty Legion in power level. Nonetheless, I sought out all the appearances (up until then, anyway) of the Liberty Legion in Marvel Premiere, Marvel Spotlight and The Invaders, and I became a fan.

Painting and converting the team for Forgotten Heroes has been a blast. As promised, true believers, I present some background and the SMF gaming statistics for the Liberty Legion!

With a couple of minor exceptions, these profiles and builds are based only on what I knew about the Legion as presented in the Dragon adventure. In other words, more “current” versions of these characters probably exist (see Carrion Crow’s explanation as to why Thing Man uses knives nowadays in the comments section of this post), but these are the versions I am familiar with (and would use if I was gaming with the Legion).

First up: Miss America. Madeline Joyce got struck by lightning while visiting a lighthouse. When she woke up, she found out her “powers” had awakened. After the War she and Whizzer got married and had a son, Nuklo. That didn’t turn out so well.

Red Raven’s parents were killed when their plane crashed into a floating city of Inhumans called the Bird People. (Don’t you hate when people just park their floating cities anywhere? You’d think Red’s parents would notice something as big as a city before they crashed into it, but perhaps they were the worst pilots in the world.) The Bird People raised him and gave him a bird costume. Then he joined the Liberty Legion. After the war, he placed himself and the Bird People in suspended animation. He woke up, fought the X-Men, went insane and committed suicide when he discovered the Bird People were all dead due to a malfunction in the life support. Ahhh, happy endings.

Patriot was a reporter for the Daily Bugle who quit his job to put on a costume and root out Nazi agents working in America. He had no super powers other than a good right hook. As his name suggests, he was quite patriotic and made stirring radio broadcasts to bolster the war effort. He was a founding member of the Liberty Legion. After the second Captain America fell in battle, Patriot took up the mantle.

Whizzer got bitten by a cobra when he was a boy. A mongoose killed the cobra (of course). Then, for no sound medical reason,  his scientist father injected Whizzer with some of the mongoose’s blood, which inexplicably gave Whizzer his super speed. Then his father died. He and Miss America joined the All-Winner’s squad and got married after the war.

Under Jack Frost’s background in the TSR adventure, it simply says: “Jack Frost’s personal history at this time is unknown to anyone.” Works for me. Anyway, his powers basically make him a much less cool (pardon the pun) version of Iceman.

Thin Man discovered a lost city in the Himalayas where people can flatten themselves as thin as paper. Why they do this is not really explained, but they gave him a chemical that let him do the same and also made him age so slowly he’s effectively immortal. Somewhere along the line he picked up a special plane that only he can pilot safely (presumably because the controls require flattening and stretching of the appendages in order to operate).

Blue Diamond, along with Pink Heart, Yellow Moon, Orange Star, Green Clover and (later) Purple Horseshoe, formed the ill-fated super team the Lucky Charms. Blue Diamond was the only survivor when a homicidal cannibalistic leprechaun slaughtered and ate the remaining members of his team. Actually, his true origin is almost as stupid as that. He was a normal guy standing next to a huge diamond when it suddenly exploded, embedding millions of diamond shards in his skin. This gave him super strength and durability, rather than shredding him to bits (which is the much more likely outcome when the human body is bombarded with diamond shards).

Like Patriot, Spirit of ’76 has no super powers and got his start fighting Nazi espionage at home. Unlike Patriot, Spirit of ’76 is a complete douchebag in a really stupid costume. Early in the war, he went to England and joined the Crusaders to fight the Nazis. He is an awkward and constant reminder of the American War of Independence (from the British), he has no super powers, and he wears a really stupid costume. How Union Jack didn’t constantly kick his ass is a mystery to me. He eventually becomes the second Captain America when the original Cap disappears (after being frozen in a block of ice).

Bucky needs no introduction. He’s Captain America’s sidekick! At least until he “died in an explosion” only to resurface as the Winter Soldier decades later.

Finally, Union Jack is Lord James Falsworth, a peer of the realm and brother to bloodsucking vampire Lord John Falsworth (Baron Blood). He was active during WWI, then resurfaced in WWII, offering his home to the Invaders to use as a base during the war. His brother threw a giant rock on him, effectively ending his career as Union Jack. Luckily, his son eventually took over. Union Jack is just a badass. He has no super powers, but packs a Webley. And his costume is cool.

Here are my Super Mission Force builds:

Miss America (Wild Card) Minor: Leaping, Super Strength, Enhanced Senses, Iron Will

(I really had to work to make a version of Miss America that (just barely) doesn’t suck. Her ONLY power in the TSR game was that she could levitate for up to 2 hours and she can make “controlled leaps”. She’s not even particularly good at fighting. In other words, Wonder Woman she ain’t. She should probably be a Street-Level archetype, but I pored over her pre-Marvel bio and found some minor, vague mentions of other powers possibly retconned out by the time she joined the Legion. It mentioned super strength, and the ability to “project X-Ray energy.” I guess this could be power blasts or enhanced senses. I chose the latter.)

Red Raven (Wild Card) Minor: Armor, Flight, Power Blasts, Reflection

Red Raven’s powers all come from his suit. He can shoot frikkin’ lasers out of his wings and use them as a shield.

Patriot (Brawler): Major: Scrapper, Minor: Clever, Melee Specialist

Patriot has no powers. He’s just good at hitting things.

Whizzer (Speedster): Major: Speed, Minor: Melee Specialist, Super Agility

Whizzer is really good at using his speed powers to their maximum potential in combat.

Jack Frost (Blaster) Major: Power Blasts, Minor: Armor, Entangle, Flight

Jack is a poor man’s Iceman. He can use his ice powers to travel on slides as a form of Flight.

Thin Man (Super) Major: Metamorph:Elasticity, Minor: Resistance, Savant, Immortal

A “super” archetype only because of game mechanics (i.e. power slots). Thin Man isn’t really that impressive.

Blue Diamond (Brick) Major: Super-Strength, Minor: Armor, Resistance

Blue Diamond is a tank, pure and simple.

Spirit of ’76 (Brawler) Major: Scrapper, Minor: Armor, Melee Specialist

About the only thing good about Spirit of ’76’s costume is that he has a bulletproof cape. This is unfortunate, as it protects him from getting shot.

Bucky (Brawler) Major: Scrapper, Minor: Power Blasts, Grenades

I thought about making Bucky a Wild Card or even a Street Level archetype, but then I remembered he was a soldier who was trained by Captain America.

Union Jack (Brawler) Major: Scrapper, Minor: Power Blasts, Melee Specialist.

Another non-powered ass-kicker, only British this time.

In the comics, the Liberty Legion often faced off against low-powered goons and tons of henchmen. This was ideal, as most members were also low-powered. This works for roleplaying games like the old TSR Marvel game, but in Super Mission Force the heroes can easily dispense with hordes of henchmen. They’re actually more powerful in SMF because the henchmen rules favor the heroes. Also, there are a lot of Brawlers in the Liberty Legion, and Scrapper is one of the best powers in the game (IMO). This means the Legion would probably do fairly well in Super Mission Force combat.

Black Tree Design is having a 50% off sale on WWII miniatures until July 4th and I’m tempted to splurge and buy a bunch or Wehrmacht. The only thing that’s stopping me is that I don’t game WWII, so I would only be buying them as henchmen for this team to face off against. I think some of the mechs and walkers from Dust Tactics and AT-43 might work as opposition, too…guess we’ll see if I take the plunge or not!

http://angrypiper.com/gaming/?p=1710

The Liberty Legion: The Conversions! (The Angry Piper)

Yesterday I posted the repainted members of the Liberty Legion. But of course, they don’t really count as far as Forgotten heroes is concerned…they’re just an added bonus! The remaining heroes, to my knowledge, have never been released in miniature form, and thus they required the conversions below.

Before we start, a big thanks to Russ Dunaway from Old Glory miniatures for very generously providing me with some 28mm heads wearing three-cornered hats. I thought I might use one in one of my conversions (see below), but it turns out they were a little too small to scale with Heroclix. Still, his kindness is most appreciated, so I say again: thank you, Russ!

Next, a couple of disclaimers. First, I am not a sculptor. I use green stuff to fill gaps, and I am in awe of anyone who can work with that substance without it sticking to their fingers and making a mess. Yes, I know enough to wet my hands and use color shapers, but I still suck at it. Second, I am (and have always been) terrible at painting anything freehand. Give me a design that’s sculpted onto a miniature and I’m good. Make me draw it with a paintbrush and nine times out of ten it’s going to look like complete ass. Please bear all this in mind and don’t judge my efforts too harshly!

First up, the Patriot!

For the Patriot’s body, I chose the Wrecker. He had the gloves I needed and his costume was such that it could easily serve for the Patriot with a quick repaint. Trimming away his crowbar gave him a two-fisted tough guy stance (tough for a guy with no superpowers). For his head I used one off of a Kree Warrior. The Kree helmet has a central fin similar to Patriot’s cowl, so it was a perfect fit!

The end result, though, is a bit disappointing. As I said above, I suck at painting anything freehand, and the chest eagle and little stars proved very difficult. Using the Wrecker’s body may have been a close fit for the costume, but it resulted in Patriot being a lot beefier than he normally is depicted. Someone’s been sneaking shots of the Super Soldier serum!

Patriot’s head is where I had the most problems.  I never strip Heroclix prior to repainting (it’s rarely necessary), but this is one occasion when I wish I had. The Kree Warrior is a first generation Infinity Challenge clix model, and they are notorious for being covered in gloopy paint. By the time I repainted his helmet into Patriot’s cowl, I found it difficult to maintain any level of detail. To me, it just looks like the model has way too many layers of paint. This is by far the conversion I am least happy with.

Next is Jack Frost!

Jack is another basic head swap conversion. I had an old Scorpion miniature laying around that somehow lost his tail, so I decided to use that as the body. I packed some green stuff around the hump on his back and filled in the hole where the tail used to be. I removed Scorpion’s head and used the head off a Quicksilver model, since it seemed a good match for Jack Frost’s wavy hair.

A quick prime of white paint, a wash of some ice-blue ink, a touch-up of white, and Jack Frost was done in about ten minutes, by far the easiest conversion and quickest paint job of all the Legionnaires. I’m not sure why I painted his gloves and boots (Jack is usually barefoot and gloveless), but I guess I could fix that pretty easily. I added some sea glass “ice” to his base and flocked it with snow. Done!

Next, arguably the most powerful member of the Liberty Legion: Blue Diamond!

Blue Diamond began as a DC Heroclix Hawk figure, from the Hypertime set. I trimmed away his tattered cape-thing, sanded him down a bit and rebased him before priming him black.

Once primed, I repainted him as shown. I had a tough time “drawing” the diamond on his chest with a paintbrush (my eyes aren’t what they used to be), but I guess I’ll just live with it. I think Hawk’s modified costume is a good match for Blue Diamond. What do you think?

And last but not least, another special guest star: Spirit of ’76! (Dear Lord, is this guy a tool or what?)

To make him, I used the body and cape of the Adam Warlock clix on top, combined with the legs and forearms of Doc Samson. I sculpted the gloves, buckles, cravat and hat (turns out it’s not really a three-corner hat after all) out of green stuff and rebased him before priming him black. I considered trying to sculpt his domino mask, but decided to quit while I was ahead. I’d just paint it on later.

Here is how he looks repainted. I’m pretty happy with the way he turned out, even though his face could be a lot better. Turns out painting that domino mask on wasn’t much easier, and I didn’t even attempt the little blue stars around his chest (I just painted little dots). He was the most challenging conversion by far. Like I said, I’m no sculptor.

Tomorrow: as promised, I will provide some background on the Liberty Legion members, as well as my Super Mission Force builds for each hero! Now that I’ve painted them, I need to use them in a game!

http://angrypiper.com/gaming/?p=1687

The Liberty Legion: The Repaints (The Angry Piper)

Sincere apologies to my fellow participants, but I have been unable to post an update to my Forgotten Heroes contribution until now. First up: the repaints. These are members of the Liberty Legion who already had a released miniature, and who required only a fresh coat of paint and a few minor adjustments to be ready:

Here’s what they looked like before repainting. All I did here was rebase them

And here’s how they look after my brushwork. From l-r, Miss America, Whizzer, and Thin Man! Miss America has an annoying habit of leaning back, which isn’t something I can seem to correct. I really hate the plastic “effects”, like Whizzer’s speed blur, on some of the newer clix, but this one’s pretty much impossible to remove.

For some reason unknown to me, Thin Man came equipped with a couple of knives and was sporting a handlebar moustache. Not the way I remember him. the Thin Man I remember was clean-shaven, had a different costume (this one is better!) and he didn’t have any knives. (After all, he can become almost completely two-dimensional, so if he had need of a knife, he could just make his hand into one.) Needless to say, I decided to remove the knives. The moustache was trickier and I opted not to remove it; rather I just painted over it in the hopes we could all pretend not to see it, much like Cesar Romero’s Joker ‘stache. (If he looks too shiny, it’s because I took the picture before I had a chance to give him a spray of Dullcote!)

Here’s a close up of Miss America. Note the annoying lean.

Red Raven began as an X-Men Angel miniature. His original yellow costume was ideally suited for Red Raven, and all I needed to do was paint him red! I really like the way he came out.

And finally, some special guest stars: Union Jack and Bucky! Bucky’s gun is bent and there’s no way to fix it short of giving him a new one. I don’t have a spare Thompson, but I may add some grenades or a knife to his belt (remember, Bucky was a soldier!). We’ll see.

Here’s a shot of all the repainted miniatures.

Tomorrow, the real Forgotten Heroes submissions. I mean full-blown conversions of the remaining members of the Liberty Legion: Jack Frost, Blue Diamond, and the Patriot! Plus a very special guest!

http://angrypiper.com/gaming/?p=1667

The Liberty Legion! (The Angry Piper)

My British pen pal and fellow supers-enthusiast Carrion Crow graciously invited me to take part in his annual “Forgotten Heroes” challenge. At first I didn’t see a way I could participate this year (too much real life), but the thought of not taking part in a challenge so ideally suited to me kept me up at night. I was too late to the party last year, and I missed out on the fun.

Fun is something that’s in short supply these days, so I begged and pleaded with the Crow to allow me into his challenge, even though I missed the start by some 5 days or so. In response, he asked me to pledge him my loyalty. I didn’t feel that was appropriate, and told him so. He seemed irritated, but he graciously allowed me to join the challenge anyway.

(Perhaps it didn’t happen exactly like that. Perhaps.)

I decided I could do that. But forget one character. Carrion Crow has inspired me to do a whole freakin’ team! From the battlefields of WWII, I bring you THE LIBERTY LEGION!!!!

Clockwise from the top in the picture above, I present: Miss America! The Patriot! Jack Frost! Blue Diamond! Bucky (not an official member)! Red Raven! The Whizzer ( weak bladder, apparently)! and finally, Thin Man!

I first became aware of the Liberty Legion through an (surprisingly good) adventure for TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes, published in Dragon Magazine #104. At the time, I read their statistics and thought, “Man, these guys SUCK!” And they sure do. They are all pretty low-powered, especially by modern standards. I’ll go into their powers and provide my Super Mission Force builds for them later in the month.

I have a fondness for WWII comics, especially ones featuring supers. The Liberty Legion fought the stinkin’ Ratzis alongside the Invaders and other Allied heroes like Union Jack. They were formed by Bucky to rescue the Invaders from the Red Skull. (Side note: I love the Invaders. Keep your eyes open. They’re soon to be shown here, too!).

Now, before all you naysayers inform me that there are Liberty Legion miniatures out there already, let me say “Yes, but not ALL the members have miniatures yet!” Currently, Miss America, Thin Man,  and Whizzer have Heroclix releases. All the rest don’t…which means they will require a conversion  of some kind or a complete repaint of another miniature in order to pass muster. And if you think I would convert and paint up half the team without at least repainting the awful factory jobs on the ones they DID release, well then you, sir (or madam), are clearly visiting Dead Dick’s Tavern for the first time!!!

I would love to adapt the TSR adventure for Super Mission Force, but I’m having some trouble. I doubt Heroclix will release the villains “Master Man and Warrior Woman”.  Master Man is a big, dumb Aryan poster boy with super strength; while Warrior Woman is a crazed Nazi dominatrix, also with super strength (and a whip).  Both have too many swastikas for commercial release. But perhaps I could work something out with the Red Skull and Baron Blood instead…hmmm…

Anyway, watch this space for the end results of my repainting/conversion efforts! Perhaps some special guests not mentioned may make an appearance by the end, too!

http://angrypiper.com/gaming/?p=1659