Wednesday, May 8, 2013

And So It Begins! - Starting A DreamForge Leviathan Crusader

I have finally cleaned off my workbench (at least of recent projects) and have gotten enough space cleared off that I can start on my Leviathan kit!  This plastic kit was the main showcase for the 2012 Kickstarter Campaign by DreamForge Games.  They added many other kits along the way, but this was always the centerpiece.  Leviathan’s are a bipedal, manned, fighting robot that constitute the elite weapons of the Iron Core Universe.  The written descriptions to date sort of reflect the Mechwarrior Dark Ages where these large machines are rare and greatly treasured.  DreamForge has stated that the Iron Core game (if and when it is released) will be built around using these models (and other leviathan kits) on the tabletop.  I’m a little dubious that DreamForge can pull that off, but even if it never comes to be, this will still be a pretty cool model.

I received my kit this March and while I have been marveling at it, I waited until now so I could really devote the time and attention it deserves.  There have been other very nice un-boxing reviews and video build-ups of the leviathan posted around the net.  I can’t add a whole lot to those so I’ll go down a different road and just walk through my progress as it happens.

One important note is that the printed instructions provided in the box are incorrect in a number of places and DreamForge have released an electronic version with the correction for wrong part numbers.  This is very important as you’ll end up scratching your head when parts don’t fit if you are using the old instructions.

Here's a link to the updated instructions:

Another important note is on the screwdriver.  Parts of this model are held together with small Philips head screws.  The kit provides a small screwdriver, but I found it to be severely inadequate.  First, the provided screwdriver is too small for the screws.  If you use it, you will start to strip out the inside of the screw head as it slips around.  Secondly, you need to apply a fair amount of torque to the screws to get them to tighten up.  The screwdriver provided is so small that it’s hard to get a good grip.  I just ditched it and used a larger screwdriver from my tool box.  It is also a little hard to find the point where the screws are tight enough to hold the joint stiff, but not so much that you strip out the plastic.  It takes quite a bit more force than you might think.  Luckily I managed to get all of the screws in the leg joints without problem.

The kit is designed in a very similar way to some of the fancier Gundam “Perfect Grade” kits that Bandai produces, in which there is an internal frame that articulates and an outer shell of armor parts.  I built one of those kits years back and I figure that assembling the leviathan the same way will work best.  To that end I have started with just the internal leg pieces.  From there I’ll work on the armor plates from the bottom up.  After I get the legs in good shape I’ll re-evaluate and see where to go next.

When I put together the legs, I assembled them without the hydraulic pistons on the back.  At first I was worried as the joints of the unpainted parts were not very stiff.  I was not sure that they would be able to hold up the rest of the model without sagging.  But Once I got the paint on, it stiffened up the joints considerably.  Next I added the pistons on the back, which stiffened up the joints even more.  I am now quite confident the joints will be able to take the load just fine. 

I kept the paint basic and went for a matte black primer coat and added a generous dry-brushing of boltgun metal.  My next plan is to give the legs a few light washes of black to grunge them up and then I’ll seal them before moving on the feet and leg armor.  It’s a shame, but most of these legs will be covered in armor plate and you won’t get to see much.

So far I am very pleased with the kit.  It is very well designed and cast.  It is a true joy to work with.  All of the joints move down to the pistons moving in and out.  The end result should be quite impressive.  Unfortunately, at the pace I’m working, this could be a three or four month project.

This thing will be a monster when complete as you can see by the scale of just the legs so far.  At over 10"  when complete it should be a site to behold.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful project! I think it is very well designed and seems to have good work because all of the joints move down to the pistons moving in and out.

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