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Assembling the Avengers: 6 Tips for Your Marvel Crisis Protocol Minis

tabletop miniatures fighting game that players of games like Warhammer 40K Kill Team, Necromumda, or even the Song of Ice and Fire minis game will find familiar. I've been a fan of miniature war games for some time, and my wife Monica and I got sucked into trying this one when we found it for a good price from Chicagoland Games at this year's C2E2, and we are having a blast with it.

Marvel Crisis Protocol comes with 10 miniatures that represent popular Marvel Comics characters, and pieces of terrain, which this game turns into interactive items for super-powered characters to pick up and throw around--making this a pretty unique game as far as miniatures games go! But this game takes some effort to get started. The core set goes for under $100 these days, which is a great value for all the minis and terrain that it comes with. As well, there are optional expansion sets that you can add onto the game to add more minis (Black Panter, Shuri, Groot, Hulk, Vision, and more), terrain, and accessories. But much of this requires assembly.

Though this is a bit more of a lightweight game than something like Kill Team, with fewer rules and typically fewer minis, it requires some effort to put all of those minis together, prime them, prepare them, and paint them. It's definitely a game for hobbiests who are used to building models, but even then, some of those models can be fairly advanced. If you are interested in the game, though, don't let that scare you--because it really is a lot of fun to play. Here are some tips that I found helpful in putting together my Marvel Crisis Protocol team:

1. Finish each mini in one sitting if you can

Most of the minis in this game are not easy to assemble. I've been putting together models since I was a kid, and this set of minis was still a real challenge. There are a ton of tiny parts, and they're not always easy to put together. Make sure you give yourself enough time to assemble them and have the right materials on hand--otherwise, if you end up having to set a model aside for later, you might end up losing pieces. And some of these pieces are tiny! The fear of losing parts kept me up a few nights trying to finish things off before I ended up dropping something into the cracks of my hardwood floor! For example, take a look at Valyrie's head in the palm of my hand in the photo to the left. Try to make sure you have the time and materials to get everything put together in one sitting so that every part ends up glued to something by the end.

2. Look at the plans ahead of time before you start building

Some of these minis have some rather odd components. The expansion sets get even harder, it

seems. Among the toughest releases so far seem to be the smaller ones. Shuri, who has a braid that needs to be attached to her head, and panther-shaped gauntlets with very tiny

attachable jaws. Valkyrie was a nightmare, having hair that is attached at the part. Online forums are full of questions about how to attach Rocket Racoon's nose. Before you start assembling, make sure to go through the plans and get an idea of what each piece looks like. Then go through the sprue and find each individual piece. Luckily, these are numbered, so count them off and make sure that you have each piece that is labeled with a number. Be sure to take inventory before you start gluing.

3. Have the right tools

To remove the parts from the sprue, having a sharp exacto knife on hand is a big help. If you don't use one to remove the parts from the sprue, there's a chance you could end up breaking some of these tiny, intricate pieces. Use caution not to cut yourself, or nick the model. Also, tweezers might be a big help when you are handling those tiny pieces. When cutting pieces from the sprue, you might want to hold the pieces with the tweezers and cut with the knife to ensure that they don't go flying around the room.

4. Before you glue, fit the pieces together

These particular minis look amazing and are well-detailed, but it's not always clear how the parts go together. In particular, Thor was a challenge, who has somewhat awkward notches that his legs fit into, and has tiny wings that attach to his helmet. Okoye and Winter Soldier were also a bit awkward with hands and arms that require precision to look right holding their weapons. Before you glue anything, always pick up the pieces and fit them together with your hands. Most pieces will fit like a glove, even if they look a bit awkward--so move them around until they fit, and until you know exatly how they glue together. You'll be glad you did.

5. Consider using super glue

The best way to assemble your minis is to use Testor's model glue. This will bond your minis together at the joints by chemically melting the plastic together. It's great stuff. It's

also not what you want unless you're sure that you know what you are doing. If you're not sure, use superglue. Some of these minis are going to be really tough to put together. I had to take a few apart and reassemble them even after I thought they were right. If you use superglue, you'll have a chance of being able to pull apart things that were misglued, or using some acetone to get them apart. Using model glue will make that much harder--but model glue will keep your models together better. Keep this in mind when you build your models, especially if it looks like you're in for a challenge. There's nothing wrong with using modelling glue for things that need a tight bond, like Shuri's braids, but then using super glue for something that you might have to re-do, like Thor's legs.

6. Get some green stuff

Once your model is assembled, you might have a few cracks to fill in.These are some nicely constructed models, but not everything fits together perfectly. You'll probably have a few gaps in your models afterward that need to be filled in to be complete. I even had to fill in a gap in America's Ass when I was assembling Cap, as you can see to the right. Pick up some "green stuff", a modeling compound used to fill in gaps in models. You might even be able to use it to model some replacement pieces if you happen to lose anything, or maybe some terrain features for the base of the model.

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