Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Heroclix Tarot

A few months ago, Tarot, my co-editor of this fine blog, asked me if I would like a figure of a superhero Tarot, which she would make for me? How could I possibly refuse a request like that? Simple, I couldn't! So, we chatted about the figure over a series of e-mails. One of the first things Tarot wanted to know was whether I wanted a good girl Tarot, a bad girl Tarot or a neutral version? Hmm, this was not so easy to answer. First choice was a bad girl Tarot. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised I wanted her as a heroic type and not a villain in any game I'd run, even though bad girls are so much fun! After much thinking I decided to go for the neutral version. This way, there is an air of mystery about her, which I very much want. In truth, I don't know Tarot that well, even though we've been good friends for a while now. So by choosing this option, her character could be whatever I wanted it to be without the restriction of labelling her good or evil.
That decided, Tarot set about searching for a suitable Heroclix figure to base her conversion on. I have no idea which figure she chose. There was a time, when Heroclix was in its infancy, that I could identify every figure they made. But that was many years ago. I lost track of the many expansion sets they brought out and whilst I am familiar with a lot of Marvel characters and some DC characters, there are still way too many of whom I have never heard of or whom I know so little about. No matter, I think she chose well.
Eventually, Tarot gave me a heads up to say that the figure was completed and was ready for posting. She even sent me the Heroclix stat card for the character, which you can see below. The figure duly arrived and I was blown away by just how incredible it was.
Superhero Tarot is at the far right of these two photos. She is dressed in skintight black leather, which I'm guessing is a nod to Selene, the vampire heroine from the Underworld films. Tarot and I both love her and the Underworld films. I was surprised to see the figure having red hair, as I was expecting it to be black. But Tarot reassured me that she has dyed her hair red before, so I'm cool with that. She also told me I could repaint it black if I wanted to and make any alterations I wanted, but truth be told, I'm perfectly happy with her as is. If you check out Tarot's belt buckle you can see that she is a member of the X-Men. Whilst this puts her firmly in the good guys' camp, the X-Men are not as popular as the Avengers or the Fantastic Four in the eyes of the general public. Mutant-kind are not universally accepted. I'll talk about her stats and abilities after I discuss the other two figures shown here.
I spend a lot of time browsing eBay auctions and have picked up many a bargain from there. I frequently check out what is available for Heroclix. There is a hell of a lot available for this game so it pays to check up on a regular basis. For me, that means at least once per week. Anyway, I came across a DC Heroclix figure whom I had never heard of - Madame Xanadu. She intrigued me because she reminded me of Tarot with her exotic looks. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Madame Xanadu was a fortune teller skilled in the art of tarot reading. Bingo! There was the connection I needed. I had to get this figure to create my own version of Tarot. Not that there was anything wrong with the version I already had. I hadn't planned on creating an alternative version but as soon as I saw the figure and researched her background I instantly saw a lot of possibilities for owning a second version. The red haired version could be the superhero Tarot as she appears when fighting the bad guys and the Madame Xanadu version could be Tarot as she appears in everyday life as a civilian.
Because the asking price for the figure was so cheap, I bought two of them - one to convert and one to keep as a Heroclix character on her clicky base. The conversion was very simple. I removed her from her oversized base (I do not like these large Oreo style Heroclix bases - they're far too big) and glued her to a 25mm diameter MDF base, which I textured with sand and gravel. After that, I just repainted her. The pink dress had to go. Black was a much more obvious choice. She does have more of an oriental look to her than real life Tarot, and I'm not sure if Tarot would wear a dress with as much cleavage on display as I know she is rather shy and demure. Still, this is not real life I'm emulating but a fantasy version and I'm happy with the way she has turned out.

One thing is blatantly obvious when you look at all three figures and that is the discrepancy in the  height of them. The two on the Heroclix bases are noticeably taller than my conversion on the MDF base. Heroclix Madame Xanadu is a full 1cm taller than my conversion!  In a recent post on this blog, Tarot made the decision to remove all of her Heroclix and Horrorclix figures from their bases and rebase them on much smaller bases. I was one of those who supported that decision and I am giving it very serious consideration for my own collection. Up till now, the only Heroclix and Horrorclix figures I have rebased have been swaps. I don't play as many games of Heroclix or Horrorclix as I used to and I know for certain that if I rebased them all, I'd get far more use out of them. It does seem to me, to be the way to go forward. Much as I love the figure that Tarot made for me, I'd struggle to use her in any other game but Heroclix and that just doesn't feel right to me. This is a figure I want to use in multiple games and settings. To limit its use to just one game because of the size of its base seems so unfair. You may ask, well does it really matter if she is on a bigger base than the other figures in your game? Yes, it would bother me. She'd stand out like a sore thumb and it would annoy me that she looked so out of place. I like ALL of the figures I use in a game to be compatible.
Shown above is the stat card that Tarot created for her alter ego. With a points value of 50 she is not a very powerful character but that is fine as she is not yet a fully established superhero. Tarot has made her superhero skilled in mental powers and all of her superpowers reflect that. I've only used her once in a game of Heroclix and I'm sorry to say she was soundly defeated by Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy ganging up on her. Ah well, better luck next time.

I must admit I love the idea of having figures to represent their players on the gaming table. I have two versions of myself - my Vampifan character that I use in my All Things Zombie campaign and more recently, my Chibi Vampifan, which Jez kindly made for me. I know that Jez is busy working on Chibi versions of Tarot, Steve and Hil and I can't wait to see how they turn out. Tarot has told me she is thinking of getting a figure to represent herself in her upcoming Blake's Seven campaign but I'll say no more than that, although I think it's a great idea. What I'd love to do is create figures of my fellow bloggers to use in a single game, something like ATZ for example, and through some means bring them together to form one super team. Such an idea was mooted on the Board of the Living Lead forum but seems unlikely to happen due to membership apathy. Perhaps I should instigate it myself. Memo to self - start looking for suitable contemporary figures to use for Steve, Hil, Andy, Jez, Simon and anyone else who wants to participate. Either of my two Tarot figures shown here would probably suffice, although I may seek for an armed version of her. If you have any ideas for suitable figures you'd like to see used for yourselves, please get in touch with me, either in private or in the comments section of this blog. The same applies for game ideas. I only chose ATZ as one possible example.

Bryan ©2016

35 comments:

  1. By all the gracious gods and goddesses, what an incredible surprise to wake up and `switch on` to. It is also rather an immense accolade: `me` the subject of my very own blog article, woweee!!

    In truth this all came about due to an intense interest in what other fellow game people were doing with their own collections. I found it so exciting seeing gamers sending each other gifts of themselves in miniature form to their on line buddies and friends. “What a sweet idea” I thought and set about doing something for Bryan, who had always been nothing short of super-humanly kind to me. I wanted him to have a little something for his games, from me.. and as we usually chat so much in private to one another, usually about forthcoming blog articles and so on, I knew (by getting to know him) exactly the type of small gift he would like. A figure he could use right away in his games, and a figure of a person he considered to be a friend would be extra special to him (I won’t mention much about his Christmas present, which {{when I send it}} will be a very own sculpt of himself in miniature for his games *shhhh*).

    I actually do read tarot cards, I almost considered doing so professionally for a while. I also use a crystal ball with which to scry, and rune stones; and I suppose you would call me a genuine real life pagan in my daily life. I knew the type of character Bryan would like for his games, and so set about making a mystical version of myself for him. If left as a Heroclix figure, I wanted her to be left fairly weak with room for improvement (another more `super-dooper` figure to send him later on, perhaps), and as I knew anyway, that there was a fair chance he would lift her gently off her Oreo base and onto a more suitable base for playing other sorts of games, it didn’t seem to matter so much about her HeroClix connections hehe. However, used in a HeroClix game, I figured I wanted `me` to be fairly hard to handle in a game, and certainly not all powerful. Actually she makes a great DPS, which the World of Warcraft people out there will know means, she is a back up ranged attack second line fighter, to be used in support of the main front line fighters in a team.

    I simply adore the Madame Xanadu mini in black and wish I had her in my collection. She looks like a sort of 007 version of myself hehe, and that appeals to my sensibilities. She even has a slight Arabian look about her. Based on me for real, she would probably be a sort of old school 1970`s Shirley MacLaine girl (spry and athletic, gymnast type character). I do so like this piece and am so jealous of you Bryan for discovering such a cool treasure.

    Paint tarot`s hair black if you like or leave her with red, or remove her from her base.. it’s all good. I`m for ever re-colouring my hair in any case. She is yours now and will no doubt comply to any cosmetic alteration without complaint lol.

    What a lovely sweet post Bryan. Bless you.

    T xx

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    1. Tarot, thank you so much for such a sweet and honest reply. I wasn't sure what you'd make of my Madame Xanadu conversion but I'm so glad you like her. I will be sending you your own Madame Xanadu figure, so you can leave her as is or do as I have and make your own Tarot version of her.

      Incidentally, on her stat cards, most of her superpowers are named after cards in the tarot deck, which I think is a nice touch. I kind of guessed that with a name like Tarot that you must be familiar with tarot cards. It is nice to have that confirmed. You are a woman of many talents!

      Tarot, I must tell you that in all the time I have been blogging I have never found a more friendly and generous group of people. The exchanging of gifts and presents goes back as long as I have been blogging and probably longer. We all like to share and spread a bit of happiness with our fellow bloggers, who frankly, are all very dear friends. Ours is a very friendly and happy community.

      You are right when you said your gift of this Tarot figure would be the perfect present for me. It was and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. Thank you so much, my dear.

      By not mentioning the Christmas present you have planned for me, you have definitely piqued my interest. I shall be a good boy and say nothing more, whilst waiting patiently and expectantly.

      More than likely I will remove your figure from its clicky base, as I do want to get maximum use out of her. I love the way you have painted her and you obviously had a good reason for giving her red hair, so I'm reluctant to change it. But if I did change it to black it would tie in so much better with my Madame Xanadu conversion. Hmm, what to do for the best? I'll ponder this and make a decision once I rebase her.

      Anyway, thanks once again for the lovely present and your kind words were a delight to read. Big hugs!

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    2. {{I will be sending you your own Madame Xanadu figure, so you can leave her as is or do as I have and make your own Tarot version of her.}}

      THANK YOUUuuuuu!!! You are so kind Mwuuuuah!!! This will be a real treat.

      Is for the hair, I think you should paint it raven to match the other one. Once you do the base conversion, it would be nice to have them matching wouldn’t it. I should have done that for you in the first place, when thinking about it, and knowing your liking for dark gothic-y hair. Red never takes on me for long (though I had it done for a show and needed it red for the two day duration). I have it back to dark brown now as its good to let it have a rest sometimes, but I often colour it jet black.

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    3. It was no problem getting a copy of Madame Xanadu for you, Tarot.

      I think I will repaint the red hair and make it black. As you say, it will help tie the two figures together. Even though my Heroclix Tarot is a unique figure, I'm still going to rebase her. This way, I'll get far more use out of her.

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    4. it all sounds good to me Bryan. Which even you think works best for you.

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  2. Well that's just to cute for words. Awwww I really think that's rather sweet.

    Very nice conversion (course I`ve seen you wear similar in real life, especially in that one piece bike leather catsuit you wear for that awful fast two wheel contraption you insist on tearing about the countryside astride of lol, AND the looks you get from the local boys ^^). Bryan would have loved receiving this, NOW I understand why you were busy closeted away that time.. I remember now lol, sneaky girl.

    The Madame X miniature is a nice find too, you must be very proud of that one, and complements the other perfectly. Very nicely done and I love the re-basing too.

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    1. Thanks so much, Hil. As soon as I received the figure that Tarot had sent me I asked her if I could show her off on either one of my blogs (this one seemed more appropriate) and she readily assented. I held back a while because I was so busy with other projects and I'm glad I did, because I later discovered the Madame Xanadu figure. Once I'd completed her very simple conversion I knew the time was right to showcase them together. Finding the Madame Xanadu figure was pure luck on my part but very fortuitous. I love both of my tarot figures and I look forward to using them in many games.

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  3. What an incredibly cool post. I enjoyed reading it from start to finish, and was smiling all the way through. awwww our very own little tar` immortalised in miniature and in article hehe. Actually, very nicely put together article Bryan mate, and I enjoyed seeing the three minis side by side.

    *claps loudly* Moreee, moreee, moreee.

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    1. Thank you kindly, Steve. Regarding your call for more of the same, I am sure that will happen... if not by others then certainly from me some time in the future.

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  4. {{In a recent post on this blog, Tarot made the decision to remove all of her Heroclix and Horrorclix figures from their bases and rebase them on much smaller bases. I was one of those who supported that decision and I am giving it very serious consideration for my own collection.... It does seem to me, to be the way to go forward. Much as I love the figure that Tarot made for me, I'd struggle to use her in any other game but Heroclix and that just doesn't feel right to me.}}

    I am still struggling with this Bryan. I know, and everyone has encouraged me “do it” and I know the plusses in favour of doing this thing are bountiful: yet still I am struggling. I watch Hil playing with her HorrorClix (with the lads at the club) and she has such amazing fun with them, and I see her designing her own super 3D terrain pieces for her Clix games and my heart goes out to the whole thing (and I get to thinking "if SHE can enjoy the game as it is, why am I so restless"). The advantages of taking them off their bases and re-fixing them onto 20mm roundels is immense. And still I look at my existing collection, as is, and I can’t quite help but love them still, as they are. I am still struggling and will do nothing rash until I am sure one way or the other. One thing is absolutely sure though: once I make a final decision it will be final, with no further sitting on the wall looking down at both sides.

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    1. Tarot, I can fully understand your hesitancy to make the change. I, too, feel conflicting emotions about rebasing my Heroclix and Horrorclix collection. For me, the biggest hurdle is this - once I rebase the figures could I still use them in Heroclix and/or Horrorclix? I know the clicky bases are an integral part of the game but if someone came up with a set of rules that ignored the Clix factor, whilst remaining true to the rest of the game that fear would be allayed and I'd go ahead and rebase the lot of them. More than likely I will end up rebasing the whole lot but for now I'm sitting on the fence and like you, weighing up the pros and cons. I know that everyone who replied to your post was in favour of you making the change, myself included, but it is a big decision and once you commit to change there can be no turning back. There are probably more good reasons than bad for making the change but at the same time, there are valid reasons for leaving well alone. It is not an easy decision to make. I know because it is something I've been considering for many years and thus far have resisted making the changeover. But it has to be said, I am so very tempted to make the change. It's a hard choice, isn't it?

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    2. {{but if someone came up with a set of rules that ignored the Clix factor, whilst remaining true to the rest of the game that fear would be allayed and I'd go ahead and rebase the lot of them}}

      That is very interesting. You know Stevie re-wrote the heroclix rules, and they were left in a workable but still very basic form? Well I have taken them and played with them (all that’s left for me to do is to give them a thorough once over and then format the finished book to look super hot). Stevie handed me the rights to do whatever I want with them long ago, and me being me, couldn’t let it go, and I have all but finished them in their entirety. THIS is my other dilemma you see. I believe I have made them work properly, the way Heroclix should always have played, but didn’t. The three who have seen and played a test run using them all loved the rewrite. But I swore them so secrecy until I felt they were ready. Even Stevie took a look two days ago and went “WOW” (haaving written so many himself, over 50... Stevie can read a set of rules and see them in action in his head, like a composer can hear music in his head just from reading the sheet music score). THIS is my main resistance Bryan.. I think I may have cracked the elusive secret to HeroLix.. just at the very moment I`m about to destroy all the figures.

      Combine this with the rather amazing homemade scenery Hil has been making lately, and my resolve to play model surgeon is dwindling fast.

      {{but it is a big decision and once you commit to change there can be no turning back. There are probably more good reasons than bad for making the change but at the same time, there are valid reasons for leaving well alone.}}

      Here is the other negative to the idea. You and I already have LOTS of figures from other collections. Do we really want to destroy these special ones just to add even MORE to our already massive collections of other things?

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    3. Obviously I can't comment on the rules you've devised but you do come up with a good counter argument for change. For my own part I'll adopt a wait and see policy. If you rebase your collection I will too. If you decide to keep them as is, then so will I. I'll be guided by whatever you think is best. Either way, I'll back you 100%.

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    4. Bless you.

      Hmmmm, I think I will have to write a BIG battle report which really put the new rules through their paces, send you a copy of the finished rules (and anyone else who emails me for freebie copy), and leave the game in your hands for a verdict.

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    5. when I say battle report, I mean I will write an article for `The Cupboard` which shows what the rules can do.

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    6. T, if its of any consolation I obviously re-base all my figures. But I also have their clicky base dial stats printed out in card as they are available from numerous websites. Then we simply mark which dial they should be on on the sheet and play that way; or keep the clicky base on the table-edge etc and just use it w/o the mini being on top of it.

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    7. Thank you for that Simon (actually a really good idea), but don't worry thogh: if `cut cut` is the direction I go, I will be keeping ALL the old bases so I can make some hasty `fix fix` should that need arise hehe.

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  5. HeroLix.. must be the adult version of the game. I hear it sells for high prices on eBay.

    ^^

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    1. oh crumbs!

      *blushes bright red*

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    2. I was being WAY too mature to reply to HeroLix....... **sniggers**

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  6. Great article Bryan and a great find. This group is awesome!!

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    1. Many thanks, Andy. Whether you mean this group of bloggers or this group of figures you're right in both cases. I'm lucky to be part of such a great team.

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    2. Bryan, you need a little biog from everyone like

      Name: Andy
      AKA: "da Gobbo"
      Age: let's just say mature.....
      Height: average
      Weight: whoa easy tiger! Er let's just go with husky or big boned....
      Occupation: EMT/student paramedic
      Special skills: martial arts, making stuff out of scrap, drinking unlimited quantities of tea...

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    3. What a great idea, Andy.

      Name: Bryan Scott
      AKA: Vampifan
      Age: 58
      Height: 5' 8"
      Weight: Overweight but not fat
      Occupation: Full time carer
      Special Skills: graphic designer, book illustrator, figure sculptor, teetotal
      Hobbies: boardgames, role playing games, figure painting, model making, comic collecting, reading crime fiction, horror fiction and sci-fi

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  7. Name: known by all as Tarot (real name: Aisher Safier)
    AKA: Tarot
    Age: nearly mid twenties
    Height: 5` 7``
    Weight: athletic, slim (but shapely: yaaay go me).
    Occupation: Pro Sculptor, semi-pro model painter, Graphic Designer, and Cosplay Glamour Model.
    Special Skills: costume designer, gymnastics, long distance runner, voluntary care worker for the mentally handicapped.
    Hobbies: Role Play Gaming, Table Gop Wargames and Boardgames, Lots of Crafts, Designing and helping the elderly to understand computers at Adult Education Classes. Cosplay Conventions, pole dancer.

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  8. Name: Stephen Gilbert
    AKA: TIT (nicknamed by Hil) “The Incredible Thing”
    Age: nearly fifty four... feel like a 21 year old... who doesn’t ^^
    Height: Average
    Weight: cuddly and extra pounds to love
    Occupation: Professional Writer, Stained Glass Worker, Glass Engraver, Craft Teacher at Adult Education College. Also Pro Musician and Music Teacher (formerly).
    Special skills: Crossbow Marksman, Lifelong Wargamer and Role Play Gamer. One time Shakespearian actor.
    Hobbies: Role Play Gaming, Table Gop Wargames and Boardgames, Cartographer. .... and drinker of copious mugs of tea.

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    1. Name: Hilary Gilbert
      AKA: Hil
      Age: nearly forty seven
      Height: 5` 5``
      Weight: once slender, now bodacious (I like that word).
      Occupation: Guild Registered Hypnotherapist, Private Counsellor, Voluntary Care Worker For the Handicapped and Mentally Handicapped. Fine Art Sculptor. College Lecturer for Post Grad Adult Students Hilly Hill, UEA, and CU.
      Special skills: Various Crafts, Flute in local Orchestra.
      Hobbies: Role Play Gaming, Gardening .... drinker of copious glasses of wine.

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  9. An excellent article Bryan. Wonderfully witty as it is generous. What a top gent you are, and what a terrific idea for a "Zombicide" BatRep - though I doubt I'd survive the first wave of walkers on account of you pushing me forwards yelling "See how far that DVD of 'World War Z' gets ya now!!!"...

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    1. You could fling them like shuriken Simon, could be your special skill...

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    2. You can have my copy to fling at them, Simon... with pleasure!
      And yes, I suspect I would say that, he, he, he!

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  10. but ... but.... but I like World War Z

    *small voice* I really do!!!!

    *sniff*

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  11. And here he is, late to the party...*sigh*

    Very nice post, Bryan. The joy of owning yourself in miniature, for whatever genre you game, cannot be adequately described until your experience it yourself. As I now have a Chibi Master Crow courtesy of Roger, a normal Master Crow currently being worked upon by myself and a Ghostbusters me also in progress, I guess I justt need a superheroic version of myself...and maybe a Chibi me...and a medieval knight version...and a timelord me... Curses! More work...

    Anyway, here's my biog:

    Name: Jeremy 'Jez' Winstanley
    AKA: Carrion Crow, Jezhog, and 'that grumpy bloke who swears at his computer'
    Age: 47
    Height: 5' 10"
    Weight: Surprisingly slim...
    Occupation: Financial Services (boring!!!!)
    Special Skills: A wide variety of creative skills that society has so far failed to stifle, despite numerous attempts and I'm a pretty good archer, despite no training.
    Hobbies: Wargaming and all that goes with it, tabletop roleplaying, writing fiction, watching movies and reading comics.

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  12. *waves to Jez* nice late call. I`m finding the `get to know your on line friends` bit really interesting.

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