Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that work by projection of munitions far beyond the effective range of personal weapons. These engines include specialised devices which use some form of stored energy to work, whether mechanical, chemical, or electromagnetic. Originally designed to breach fortifications, they have evolved from nearly static installations intended to cut a single obstacle to highly mobile weapons of great flexibility in which now reposes the greater part of a modern army’s offensive capabilities.
Since cannon was developed, the word “artillery” in practice has largely meant cannon; in contemporary usage it usually refers to shell-firing guns, howitzers, mortars, and rockets.
However, in the world of superheroes, the term artillery may include the legendary (and awesome) Fast Ball Special. The Fastball Special is a popular tag-team move in superhero fiction. In a Fastball Special, a hero with superhuman strength literally throws a (usually) willing partner toward a target. The maneuver first appeared in the Marvel Comics series Uncanny X-Men #100, when Wolverine had Colossus hurl him in a battle. It quickly became a favorite tactic of the two heroes. It has also since been used by many superheroes, (i.e. Spider-Man and X-23 VS. Iron Maniac), some from companies other than Marvel.
The Fastball Special was perfected and is most commonly used by Colossus and Wolverine of the X-men. The attack allows Wolverine to reach speeds much faster than he ever could on his own, causing him to do much more damage when he enters the battlefield. It also allows him get to areas that he couldn’t before, such as extreme heights or distances. In the move, Colossus holds Wolverine in his hands and throws him with as much force as he can muster. Sometimes the throw is like a javelin and other times it looks like a baseball pitch, but the result is the same. The size difference between the two heroes involved makes this move easier than when it is tried with others. Colossus is very big so a small Wolverine fits right in his hand.
Heroclix makes a model of this, and it’s pretty damn cool. The problem is that it’s (of course) a rare model and usually costs around $24 which is a little more than I am willing to spend just to use a single model for casual games of Heroclix, Herscape, or Weird War games like Secrets of the Third Reich and Incursion.
Heroclix sells a Feat card for the Fastball special that usually costs under $1.00 if you’re interested. You can find it on eBay or at Troll & Toad for sure.
In Heroscape, GreyOwl has done all the work for us. The custom cards for Colossus and Wolverine are featured below, and I am fairly certain that G won’t mind me sharing his work. The Fast Ball Special is added to Colossus’s card as a Special Ability.
Here’s my best try at making the model for myself. WOLVIE is pinned to a brass rod that can be removed from the cork set into COLOSSUS’S base. That way I can use my other WOLVERINE figure for when Mr. Weapon X lands and starts slashing his enemies.
I was playing around with making a custom card for Wolverine and Colossus as an Artillery Team for Incursion. I’ll probably update the card now that Jim has given permission on the forums (and to me by email) to make custom cards for Incursion.
If you have any ideas of how to stat out Colossus and Wolverine as a team in Incursion and Secrets of the Third Reich, add a comment. I’m very interested in hearing your ideas.
Until then, Keep Rollin’ Sixes!