Examining the Miniatures of Marvel: Crisis Protocol

Marvel: Crisis Protocol is more than a game that pits your favorite Marvel superheroes and supervillains against each other in high stakes battles - it's also an introduction to the tabletop miniatures hobby. Earlier this year, Atomic Mass Games announced Marvel: Crisis Protocol, a new game centered around incredibly detailed miniatures of classic Marvel heroes and villains. These miniatures are made of polystyrene, a high impact plastic that can even withstand being dropped on concrete. Players will need to assemble and paint their miniatures before getting them on the table, providing as much (or as little) color and detail as they'd like to their favorite heroes.

But how did Atomic Mass Games decide on what costumes and designs to give Marvel's iconic heroes? "We look at everybody and decide on what elements we like," said Dallas Kemp, the Sculpting Director of Atomic Mass Games. "Even though these costumes have been redesigned over the years, they always have an element, you know?"

"There's a lot of yelling involved," joked Atomic Mass Games Head of Studio Will Shick when asked how the design team picks from the countless costumes heroes like Iron Man or Captain America have worn over the decades. "One big thing that we have to consider is that when going from a printed page to a three dimensional sculpt, you'll find that things that look great in a drawing don't necessarily work in reality because there's another dimension that you have to factor in."

"A lot of it is like looking for the things that's going to make the miniature interesting," Shick continued. "Because you're talking about something that's 40 millimeters tall. If it's six feet tall in reality, it's only 40 millimeters tall in our game. So you need to add extra elements and certain things for the eye to be able to register stuff."

Atomic Mass Games worked with a variety of artists in order to bring the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe to life, including some who have worked for Marvel before. "The game itself has kind of an eclectic art style which we kind of leaned into. There's so many different artists and great renditions of styles and formats that we felt like we had the free reign to be able to dive in and really embrace that idea of artistic expression in the game."

Another goal of Marvel: Crisis Protocol is to introduce comics fans to the world of hobby miniatures. While players won't need to construct an entire army like they would in Warhammer 40,000, there's still a major painting and building element to the game. "A big part of it is the assembly and the painting," said Shick. "So you're going to take time and you're going to get to zen out and you're going to get to build your Iron Man or your Spider-Man."

While Shick noted that there's always an excitement about getting to pull something pre-built out of the box, there's a whole different experience to making something from start to finish. "Really, I think that's what makes people fall in love with the hobby, that's what makes it like nothing else, right?" Shick said.

"It's all about the little reward at the end," Kemp said of the hobby. "Because you don't have to build these miniatures, you get to build them. Ownership is the fun part of the hobby. You get to own a little bit of that Marvel experience when you put these miniatures together."

Shick noted that one of the best parts about building these miniatures is that they can even be customized or posed. "It's part of the joy, you get people who really just go all out and they can take a character or a frame or plastic parts and they can change it in a way that maintains the integrity of the original but it's something entirely new."

Atomic Mass Games even has a plan to support those who have never had the opportunity to build or paint a miniature. Not only does the Core Set come with step-by-step instructions on how to build each miniature, they're also going to do live streams and videos to showcase the hobby as well. "We'll be showing people some best practices that we've learned, engaging in dialogue, and we'll be posting hobby articles and how-to's on our website," said Shick. "Even showing people how do you build your own table. The big part is just teaching people how to enter the hobby and then to feel comfortable at navigating the different things that you need to enjoy the game."

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"What we want to do more than anything else is to show people and teach them how to experience the hobby and to really be rewarded by it," Shick said. "And then in turn, when they figure out something cool that we never even thought of, we learn from them and take that and put it in our toolbox. And that's one of the really cool things about these types of games is that they have this robust community where you get to go around, you get to share it and you can learn from people and just kind of grow."

Marvel: Crisis Protocol will be available later this year.