Lord Satanis

Action Comics 527 cover To a twelve year-old me, if a comic book character had no face and glowing eyes, he immediately became one of my favorites. Mostly because I loved drawing superheroes, and I sucked at faces. But two red dots inside a shadowy helmet…? Even awful artist me could handle that.

So, Lord Satanis. I was a Marvel-only fan when I spotted this issue of ACTION COMICS on the newsstand (I had yet to discover the Wolfman/Pérez TEEN TITANS, the series that made me fall in love with the DC Universe). But man, this Lord Satanis dude looked pretty slick. And if he could capture Superman, he had to be a rough dude. But 60¢…? That was a LOT of bread in 1982. I could either buy one of my tried-and-true Marvel comics, or roll the dice on a DC book. I couldn’t afford both. Screw it: Satanis had no face. I was IN!

Long story short: the issue itself wasn’t all that great (tho it was written by TITANS scribe Marv Wolfman). It did, however, provide me with another guy to draw on the cover of my school binder. Lord Satanis vs. Moon Knight FTW! It’s because of all those endless drawings I developed a soft spot for Satanis, a character who’s look a friend once described as “When did Magneto start selling ice cream?” Yeah, Satanis gets no respect, but I dig ‘em. So much in so, I made a custom Heroclix of him… Lord Satanis Heroclix As far as modding goes, this guy was fairly simple. The base figure is a Magneto from the Ultimates ‘Clix set, and most the iconic costume elements were already in place: big billowing cape, spooky helmet, macho stance. It needed only the most minor of customization… Lord Satanis Clix Using index card paper glued three sheets-thick, I cut and shaped Satanis’ skirt. I made it concave by gently bending the index card around a pencil, then used a few pinpricks of Elmer’s to hold it in place on the figure. Index paper one sheet thick was added and used for the trim. When happy with the skirt, I carefully dripped some Krazy Glue on it (as well as where it connected to the figure), and blotted the excess with a paper towel. The index card drank up the Krazy Glue, making it a kind of polymer.

Same ingredients went into that collar, which — when I look at it in these photos — could have been a little smaller. It’s a bit…much. Ah, screw it: he shops at the same store as Iron Fist.

The jewel on Satanis’ helmet was the tip of a Heroclix figure’s thumb (I forget which character donated it: it must have been a big monster-type guy, like the Hulk or something). The rounded belt buckle came courtesy of the top of a bald ‘Clix figure’s noggin.

Moving on, let’s take a look at the least impressive angle of this figure… Lord Satanis Cape It’s like a wad of white chewing gum.

Let’s check his stats… Lord Satanis Heroclix Dial Seeing how Lord Satanis is one of them all-powerful magic types, he has a loaded dial full of hocus-pocus. Phasing to teleport through time and space, mind control to break the will of others, probability control to make the game less fun for his opponents…he’s got it all, plus a range of ten and two lightning bolts for split attacks. A steal at 200 points.

But what about the fancy boxed powers on his first two clicks? Let’s flip the dial over to see what probably-broken power I gave this guy… Lord Satanis Dial Bottom Oh, hey….I forgot gave him Leadership. IMO, every figure that’s even a sort-of leader should have Leadership. It’s too good a power, every ‘Clix team should have a leader, and there should be hundreds of leaders to choose from. I have spoken. Make it so. Anyway, his box power: In addition to Poison, Lord Satanis can, as part of any move or combat action, cast a spell and encase enemy figures in a force field bubble (check those bubbles out here). What self-resepcting supervillain magic guy DOESN’T trap an opponent and force them to watch helplessly as he KO’s their teammate? Yeah, it’s kinda powerful, but he needs to be badass. Why…?

No face. Glowing eyes. Twelve year-old me demands it.

Superman vs Lord Satanis Lord Satanis Heroclix Figure

Heroclix Figure Storage

Avengers vs The Collector

Where to put all my crap.

Superheroes, Jedis, anti-terrorist soldiers with overly specific code names…doesn’t matter what you’re into, if you — like me — lack impulse control, cool displays quickly morph into an episode of Hoarders.

That’s how it got with my HeroClix collection, and here’s how I slew that combat-dialed dragon:

Heroclix Storage Container

Big honkin’ storage containers.

A trip to Target delivered what I was looking for: Tubs. To fit all my figures, I needed four tubs, two for for Marvel guys, two for the DC dudes. To avoid opening and closing each container to find what figures were in what box, I bought two purple tubs…

Heroclix Storage Box

… and two blues ones. Marvel was blue, DC was purple. Why was Marvel blue? I have no idea, don’t read into it.

To further help identify what was in each box, I busted out a Sharpie…

Heroclix Storage

…and tagged one of each color tub with a ‘V.

‘ V…for “VICTORY!”

Actually, no, I just love that old ’80s V TV show. The ‘V’ on the tub indicated which tub had the villains, and which had the heroes.

So let’s go inside one of these…

Heroclix Filing System

Before buying the big tubs, I measured the small boxes used to hold my individual ‘Clix figures (more on those smaller boxes in a minute). The larger tubs can hold four stacks of the smaller boxes side-by-side, with extra room on the side for a couple boxes stacked vertically.

In addition to the smaller figures, if you have one of those unwieldy big figs, like, say, this guy…

Heroclix Galactus Storage

…whoop, looks like Galactus just got his hair did.

Storing a big fig in its own container felt unwieldy, so by bubble-wrapping any delicate parts (like Galactus’ Mardi Gras helmet), he can slip into the tub without fear of breakage.

Now, as far as the smaller containers…

Heroclix Plastic Box

These were found in a local craft store, and were labeled “sewing storage” (needles and thread and stuff). I immediately bought out their inventory. Like sixty of ‘em. I get lots of weird questions when waiting on line at craft stores.

“You must really like sewing.”

“Nope, just need a place to keep my little plastic Taskmaster.”

[awkward silence]

Anyway, to quickly locate a figure, each box is labeled with its contents. Some boxes are alphabetical, but here’s where sh*t gets fancy…

Heroclix Figure Box

When a character is part of a team, that team gets its own box. Wanna play the Masters of Evil…? No need to hunt around three dozen boxes for each member (I’m looking at you, Norbert Ebersol): just grab the MoE box.

And check it: if a character is a member of different teams, that info is cross referenced. I don’t wanna brag, but this is some Dewey Decimal-level sh*t. [pops collar]

So what happens when the second-best rogues gallery* doesn’t fit in its own box…?

Heroclix Tupperware

Just break ‘em up into sub-categories. Easy peasey lemon squeezy.

(*And sorry about that “second-best” crack, Spidey. You’re the best fictional character ever created, but Batman’s got you beat when it comes to baddies. But hey, you’ve got an arch enemy made of bees. No one can ever take that away from you.)

One more quick thing about the labels…

Heroclix Label Assortment

While I prefer to keep a ‘Clix game relegated to a single comic universe, my gaming group is comprised of anarchists. Flash Rogues mixed with evil mutants, Hellboy teaming with the Avengers…it’s like CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS and SECRET WARS had a baby. Plus Conan.

Anyway, as a quick way to differentiate all the universes, and the good guys from the bad, each category gets its own color. Pink for non-Marvel/DC, yellow for Marvel heroes, green for Marvel villains, orange for…why the f*ck am I typing all this? The picture up there spells it out.

Let’s pop open one of those small containers, and see what’s lurking inside…

Heroclix Labels

That’s what I love about these boxes: the small compartments — everyone gets their own cubbyhole!

Heroclix Compartments

Different brands of containers have different setups: my favorites are those that feature customizable dividers. Got a tall figure like Giant Man, or those with larger bases like Mr. Whitman…? Pull out a divider, and sha-BOOM!, now they fit.

But what about those figures that are big through the hips, roomy…?

Heroclix Bin

Sometimes a slot needs to be wider instead of longer, so out come the wire cutters. Some snipping, and now I gots me a double-wide.

But hey, this is comics: what about giant robot dragon guys with huge wingspans…?

How to store Heroclix

SNIKT! Slice and dice until they fit.

And there you go: a blog post on how to replace your unsightly pile of ‘clix figures with an unsightly stack of storage containers.

You’re welcome.

 

Beast Boy

Ah, back in the heady days before he became red.

It was Beast Boy, along with the Wolfman/Pérez TEEN TITANS of the ’80s, that turned this diehard Marvel Comics fan into a diehard Marvel AND DC Comics fan. A cool character design and “God, I wish I could do that” powers were part of it, but it was the character, his personality, that made him one of my favorites. Lighthearted, wise-cracking, and he gave voice to what all us teenage comic fans were thinking: “Holy crap is Starfire hot.” Beast Boy — Gar Logan — was one of us, and the perfect fan surrogate into the impossible world of comic books.

So yeah, Beast Boy is awesome, and I’m picking him for my next ‘Clix team. I’m just gonna mod him a bit first…

“Come at me, bro!”

Our starting point: the human(ish) Beast Boy from the DC 75th Anniversary set — dynamic pose not included. I’ll never understand ‘Clix characters that are posed like they’re waiting for a bus. This is a fighting game, they should be doing something cool and attack-y, especially when the character’s powers lend themselves, like Beast Boy, to some type of berserk “in the heat of battle” battle pose. Ah well. You take the good ‘Clix with the bad.

For Mr. Gar Logan, I didn’t mod the figure beyond adding the elevated clear base to indicate he’s a flyer (he can shapeshift into any animal on earth: how can he not be flyer?). Then it came time to go on a drunken binge and muck with his stats…

Beast Boy’s powers are pretty straight-forward: stealth since Gar can get all cat-like and sneaky, energy deflection for when he turns into a mosquito, and alternating Perplex & Enhancement when he uses his eagle eyes to help a teammate.

As for those box stats, here’s the thing: my printer hates me, so when I make custom dials, any dark blue power — Plasticity, Psychic Blast, Mastermind and, in this case, Shape Shift — prints like mud. My “I can’t afford a new printer right now” solution: box stats. So yeah: Beast Boy has Shape Shift. (Also, my printer can suck it.)

Beast Boy’s got one more power, but to see what it is, we gotta flip this dial over…

Yep, this custom power allows Gar to *BAMF!*, turn into any…wait, that’s the wrong comic book sound effect. Let’s see — Gar can *POP!*, turn into a new animal at the start of any action. Just roll a 1d6 to see what new critter (with all-new powers!) that Beast Boy shifts into. The higher the roll, the more powerful the beastie.

But what’s gambling, even in the form of a friendly die roll, without risk? Some animals are…well, kind of sh*tty. The trick is to NOT make them unplayable sh*tty, just “Aw, man…” sh*tty.

First up…

ANIMAL #1: BIRD

Yay, a boid!

This sucker started life as one of the constructs from the Yellow Lantern Scarecrow ‘Clix, and for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve always wanted to eat it. Maybe it’s got a marzipan thing going on…? I dunno. I’ve inhaled a lot of paint fumes while modding over the years.

Anyway, each of the six animals has one click of stats. Birdie here has a speed of 8 (Charge + Leap/Climb), an attack of 8 (Incapacitate), a defense of 16 (Energy Deflection) and an attack of 0 (so sad).

So, if each Beast Boy animal has only one click of stats, does that mean Gar is KO’d and out of the game after taking just one point of damage? Nah, here’s the scoop on that…

If one of the animal forms takes damage, the first click KO’s the animal, and Beast Boy reverts to his humanoid form. You then continue delivering the damage to Gar. So if the Bird was hit for three clicks of damage, one is delivered to the bird, it clicks, it’s KO’d (and replaced on the board with Gar), and then Gar takes two more clicks of damage. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!

(ALSO: Each animal is labeled with its corresponding die-roll number. The bird is “1 of 6,” the next animal is “2 of 6,” etc.)

So what happens when you roll a #2 when shifting…?

ANIMAL #2: SNAKE

Oooo, snakes eat birds (sometimes), so snakes must be better! This huggable fellow started out as an Iron Cobra D&D Miniature. Speed: 6 (Charge + Plasticity), offense: 8 (Poison), defense: 16 (toughness), and damage: 2.

Better than a bird, but not great. Now here’s where creature rolls start taking an upturn…

ANIMAL #3: MOUNTAIN LION

Awwww, who’s up for belly rubs…? Kitty here is a repainted Hunting Cougar D&D Miniature. 10 sped (Charge + Leap/Climb), offense 8 (blades), defense 16 (Toughness + Agility) and damage: 1.

Roll higher than a 3? Here’s where your opponents start getting nervous…

ANIMAL #4: GO-REE-LUHZ!

So Beast Boy is basically running around naked while in animal form…? That’s fine when he’s a bird and his business is all tucked away out of sight. But when he’s a monkey, his junk would be on the display for all the world to see. SAUCY DEVIL BOY…!

Anyway, I took the Gorilla City Warrior from the DC 75th set, gave him a green paint job, BOOM, done. Speed: 8 (Charge + Leap/Climb), offense: 9 (super strength), defense: 16 (Toughness + Agility) and Damage: 3.

ANIMAL #5: BEAR

We’ll get to the bear in a second.

SIDEBAR: You know how in JURASSIC PARK we learn that some frogs can change sex when they need to? So, uh, could Beast Boy turn into one of those frogs, switch his sex to female, then turn back to humanoid form and be a female Gar Logan…? No one should ever write that story.

Anyway, this figure is the “Beast Boy: Bear Form” from the DC 75th ‘Clix set with a fresh coat of paint. Speed: 8 (Charge + Leap/Climb), offense: 9 (Claws + Super Strength), defense: 16 (Invulnerability) and damage: 3.

And finally, a lucky roll of 6 hits the jackpot…

ANIMAL #6: T-REX

The “Beast Boy: T-Rex Form” from the DC 75th ‘Clix set is pretty good, but I couldn’t track one down in time for a game. So I grabbed the Devil Dinosaur ‘Clix from the Mutations & Monsters set, cut off that filthy little Moon Boy, slapped on some green paint and sha-BAM!, minty fresh T-rex!

Rexy’s power stats will put the fear of God in your opponents — Speed: 12 (Charge), offense: 10 (Super Strength), defense: 17 (Impervious) and damage: 5 (Battle Fury).

Shortly after I was done with all the figures, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to stop at six different animals. There are eight-sided die, ten-sided die…I could have gone nuts with beast forms. I made a mental note to go back one day, to mod up a few more green animals (or just mix in the cool pterodactyl and dolphin Beast Boy forms from the Batman ‘clix set). It’s one more thing for my “to do” list.

So, well, there you go. ‘Clix is about rolling dice, and the uncertainty with playing Beast Boy makes him a fun figure. With every roll, all eyes are on that die: the gorilla? The bear? Maybe the T-rex…? Or will the die say “F-U,” and literally give you the bird?

Heroclix Map Storage

The above pic  baffles me.

How do you even start fixing a FUBAR like that? If I were the Captain on that ship, I’d promote the first mate on the spot,  jump in a life boat and paddle to Cuba. F*ck it, I’m a fry cook now.

Anyway, no custom figures or whatever in this blog entry. Like the photo above, this post is all about storing big, unwieldy things like 3-D HerClix maps. Specifically…

That’s one of the custom Heroclix maps I’ve whipped up (more on it here). When not getting splashed with beer by the goons I game with, it gets packed away so freeloading house pets can’t go all Godzilla-y on it.

Target, Walmart, Home Depot, big plastic storage bins like this are easy to find.

FUN FACT: If you buy duct tape, nylon rope and some free weights when you pick up one of these, the store manager will send the security video of you making your purchase to the local authorities.

I needed something large enough so the fragile parts of the map (like buildings), weren’t pressed up against the side of the plastic bin. That way the walls of the bin had some give without kiboshing the loot inside.

EGGS ON TOP! The top layer of the bins are all the super fragile junk, bottom layer has all the more durable elements of the map. Of the two bins it takes to store the map, one has all the board tiles on the bottom, the other has a Tetris-like stack of Tupperware containers…

These hold all the smaller map items: trees, telephone, cars, all that fun stuff. Aisle hunting in craft stores and supermarkets has led me to some great little containers. Take this box — small, handy, and some masking tape labels makes finding what I’m looking for a snap…

The stackable nature helps keep item-types separate so you don’t have to fish through a hundred small bits for that one piece you need. I had my fill of that when I was seven and looking for that one clear Lego brick. I JUST SAW IT, WHERE DID IT GO?!?

I had a rough childhood.

Back to storing Heroclix stuff:

Bubble wrap. A couple sheets line the bottom of the box and fold over the top. This keeps the items from banging against the container and chipping paint.

Also, get used to saying this to your gaming group: “STOP POPPING THE F*CKING BUBBLE WRAP!” No one else gets to have any fun until I find that goddam clear Lego brick.

Keep the receipts when you buy these containers. It’s not always easy to eyeball which will end up being just a hair too big/small for your needs. I’m sure there’s a way to mathematically figure out what size box you’ll need for a dozen miniature gaming trees, but it’s beyond my skill set.

The bubble wrap can also help map items from damaging each other. I needed a container to hold two different kinds of model trees…

“Dead” trees, with foliage-less plastic limbs that, for fun, were made so the branches are as sharp as needles. As entertaining as it it watching absent minded players impale their fingers, they also tend to tear the foliage off the “living trees.” A quick layer of bubble wrap under these bare branch buggers protects what lies beneath…

The friendly trees, those that don’t feed on human blood, form the bottom layer.

Paper towels work almost as well as a box liner.

As an aside, if I ever get pulled over on the way back from gaming, the above container is the one the cop would open. Those hindering terrain markers are some weird, medical marijuana looking sh*t. How do Heroclix players rank in prison society…? I’m not certain it’ll help, but I’ll be sure to question an inmate’s line-of-sight when he’s stabbing me in the shower.

For some of the heavier board pieces, like die cast cars and whatnot, I went with sturdier containers. More bubble wrap between layers of items keeps paint from scuffing and scratching.

Some map items, like the custom flight stands my buddy Davis built, needed special care. Those flight stands are a variety of odd sizes, and while sturdy enough, just the right amount of pressure and KRIK!, they be toast. The weird, flat Tupperware above, with a pillowy layer of bubble wrap, keeps ‘em all safe & sound.

And, well…that’s it. This whole post essentially boils down to “buy some boxes and bubble wrap.” But the real point is if you go to all the trouble of customizing stuff, spend the time & money to keep it safe.

For a list of blog posts on custom maps, click here. For custom barriers, click here. Flight stands, click here.

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