• Robison Wells

Is Marvel Crisis Protocol Hard to Assemble?

I did it. I splurged and got Marvel Crisis Protocol even though it has nothing to do with any of my other gaming. I've got all the miniatures sitting here on my desk beside me and I'm intimidated by them because supersuits kinda have to be the perfect vibrant colors, right? It's not a soldier you can base, wash, drybrush and call it good. So I haven't painted them. But I have put them together.

But Marvel Crisis Protocol is getting some bad press for having models that are particularly hard to put together. I read Amazon reviews like this one:

Each miniature has pieces so small that it is almost impossible to hold let alone try to glue on to another piece. I had high hopes for this game but they were quickly dashed because of a poorly made product.

Or this one:

I've been playing table top games for over 20 years and this was by far the most frustrating experience I have ever had assembling minis in a starter box.... First the parts are poorly designed, often splitting an arm at each of the joints. That means you have to glue a 1/3" bicep to a 1/4" forearm to an 1/8" hand. This makes it really easy to over glue, leave prints or misalign parts. These arms could have easily been molded as a single part, and it baffles me when companies choose to do this.

Well, I took this as something of a challenge. I'm good at assembling models--I do it every single day. And aside from some Infinity metal miniatures, I have never had to give up on a figure because I was simply unable to get it right. So what's the verdict?

Is Marvel Crisis Protocol Hard to Put Together?

The short answer is yes. It is stupidly hard, by which I mean that the manufacturers have produced the molds in such an inexplicably stupid way that putting the miniatures together is maddening.

Let's look at an example: here are the instructions for the arms of Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel has a slight build and her arms are thin, and for some unknown reason, the mold makers split her arms into biceps and forearms.

Look, I've put together a lot of model kits, and I know, more or less, the limits of what can be done in the molding process. I know that you have to keep things relatively two dimensional with every piece. That does not apply here. These arms have no reason being in two pieces.

(Also, on the sprues the parts are all numbered, but as you can see, there are no numbers on the directions. That means that you have to spend a bit of time--not too much, but certainly more than you should--trying to figure out which bicep belongs to the right arm and which to the left. It is not intuitive, and I can see why this upset people.

However, I completed Captain Marvel, after a little fiddling with tiny pieces, and was pretty secure in thinking that this was going to be an achievable build.

But let's look at another example of a place where the instructions and mold making are incredibly poorly thought out. We'll look at Baron Zemo's sword.

The hand and the sword are one pieces. The forearm is one piece. And then, for some insane reason, the elbow patch is a separate piece. Three pieces to make a forearm holding a straight sword.

But I got Baron Zemo together. The elbow patch was fiddly but manageable. I was confident and I moved on. But then I got to Crossbones. Take a look at Crossbones' face.

Do you see that empty hole? That's the hole where a skull mask should go. A tiny, two millimeter wide skull mask that fits into the front of his head. And while I was assembling it, carefully, with tweezers and Tamilya Extra Thin Cement, the skull mask skittered away and onto the floor.

I searched. For half an hour I searched my carpet, looking for that tiny little mask. Now, the game manufacturers must have expected you to lose parts because they would occasionally include a spare part on each sprue. With Red Skull it was the hand holding the Tesseract. With Spider-man it was his head. But with Crossbones? Was it something important like HIS FACE? No, it was the small pouch he has attached to his waist, a pouch which no one would ever miss if you lost it. But the really maddening thing is that it didn't need to be this way. Look at the instructions for putting the face mask on Crossbones:

Now, I am not a mold maker, but I've been putting these models together for 31 years of my life. And I can think of no reason why this head and this mask had to be two separate pieces. They could have easily been molded together. And now, like one of the angry one-star reviews on Amazon said: there's nothing I can do to fix him because they don't sell the Starter Set minis independently. So I'm going to have to try to sculpt a skull mask out of green stuff.

The thing is, these miniatures look really good. I want to like this game. And I 90% like this game, because 9 out of 10 of my miniatures are assembled correctly.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little bitter. If you want to hear all of this over again but in video form, you can check out my YouTube channel today. In the meantime, I'm going to get started painting one of these guys. I think Doctor Octopus.

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