TGN Review: Leviathan Mortis from DreamForge-Games
DreamForge-Games is still a growing company, and if they keep making kits like this, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with in the very near future. Putting together a Leviathan Crusader earlier this year left me with a feeling of being on top of the world. I felt like a spaceship was going to land and tell me I was The Last Starfighter. But I knew another challenge would come calling: The Leviathan Mortis. The yin to the Crusader’s yang… or is it hang to the Crusader’s yin? … Anyway, I knew it was coming and I was ready. But an extra challenge was thrown at me along the way. Would I survive? Would my sanity remain… intact isn’t the right word since I’m not totally here to begin with, but… now I’m rambling. Read-on and check out the assembly photos as I put my new Leviathan Mortis (named Monday, as he is the sworn enemy of Friday, the name of my Crusader) together.
As before, there’s a video down at the bottom showing off the movement capabilities of the model.
So let’s dive into another TGN review with assembly of the Leviathan Mortis from DreamForge-Games!
Looking over the instructions for the Mortis, I’m reminded of the Crusader’s instructions from before. I remember that my original Crusader box had a “first printing” of sorts and some steps were missing. Checking over this one, it seems that those have been added. So I should be good to go, there. Also, things look familiar. One thing I would have to do, however, was be vigilant about not thinking I know what the next step is and bulldoze ahead and miss a small detail… But twice I nearly fouled the whole thing up. I’ll mention those when I get there.
Anyway, like before, the instructions start at the bottom and work their way up. So first up are the ankle assemblies. The ankles are ball-and-socket joints, held together with screws. The screwdriver provided was better than the first one, but still far from perfect. I had to “fix” it by wrapping some foam from a blister pack around it to get a better grip. You really need to make sure all the connections are tight, otherwise the model won’t stand.
From there, you build your way up the leg, adding on pieces and creating the upper ankle, knee and hip joints.
One thing about these pieces and is sort of a continuous thing with the parts is you have to be very meticulous about cleaning them of sprue. As you can see in the photo below, the way some piece attach to the sprue goes onto the interior surface of the piece. The piece is an interior joint that has to be able to move freely, but still be tight or the model won’t stand. So be very cautious when cleaning.
Once those are cleaned, you can continue on. From there you have the pistons on the back of the leg to put in. Almost none of this actually gets glued as all of it is supposed to move. For the whole leg, you’ll use very little glue, actually. Despite being such a large model, overall, with so many pieces, you don’t have to worry about draining a whole bottle of glue on this guy.
With the legs assembled, it’s time to head back down to the feet. This is the first major place that the assembly differs from the Crusader. The Crusader had “boots” while the Mortis has “claws.” I’m actually almost surprised that the individual toes don’t move. But don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of time for extremities and movement later.
To say that this model “has detail” would be a bit of an understatement considering that the pads of the feet have extra pieces on them to give you more detail.
So next after the legs are done, it’s the pelvis that’s next. This is a rather crucial set of pieces as you have to be very careful to put them together in order.
This is where my “little bit of familiarity” got the best of me and I put one of the ball-and-socket joint balls onto the top of the spine before I should’ve. In my attempt to remove it, the whole thing snapped. So I had to pin it (using 3 pins, just to be safe). You’ll see those holes as time goes on in this article.
Like before, there are pistons going from the pelvis up into the upper torso. On the Crusader, the tops of these pistons would occasionally fall out of the space reserved for them. The Mortis has an upgraded design so that shouldn’t be a problem anymore, gluing the top of those pieces to a “floating” disc instead of an oval joint like before.
After the pelvis, the instructions take you to the arms, leaving the center, upper mass of the model for last. They head you to the right arm first with the scythe. The assembly is rather straight-forward, as much as anything is on this model, but I did have one complaint. The very long piston and sleeve are four pieces. Both the piston rod and the sleeve are two halves that you have to glue together. This is the only piston like that on the model and it just seemed… odd.
I must admit, it is nice to see the pistons move, as before. Can you spot the pistons that don’t move on this arm, though?
This brings me to the left hand. On the Crusader, it was a massive gatling gun. On the Mortis, it’s a claw. And… yeah… I was intimidated. Unless I miscount, it’s 39 pieces. Yes. 39. That’s more parts than I think is in my whole Dark Age force. And this is just a hand.
The photo shows everything still on the sprue because I didn’t want to mix anything up. To say I took my time here is an understatement. But my patience paid off. As you’ll see down in the video later, this thing’s got 12 points of movement on it. It’s awesome.
This is the point that I called it quits for the first day. I’d put Friday together in one day (which is the original inspiration for his name), but with what I had planned, I knew I still had a lot of hours ahead of me. But as I put away my tools for Day 1, I didn’t realize just how much more work I had ahead of me.
Relatively speaking, I did “very little” to the model on Day 2. I only really got the back plate and smokestacks done. Normally, that would only take maybe a half-hour or so. Just cut, clean, glue. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.
But here’s where my “extra part” of the project kicked in. I’d been given a starter light kit from PoweredPlay months ago. When I got it, I knew exactly what I wanted to use it on: Monday (what I would be calling my Mortis). Now it was time to put up or shut up. I wanted to put a light in the eye, one in the torso and two in the smokestacks (one in each). I’d prepared myself, or so I thought. I’d never used a light kit before, so it was going to be 100% learning experience as I went along. Thankfully, the lights I’d planned on using fit perfectly into the stacks. But, due to some size issues, I still had to drill very far down through those stacks. That… took time… lots of time.
The second went a little faster than the first, but I still had to drill holes through the back of the model, through the little connector pieces to the stacks and figure out how it all was going to be wired.
That took up the majority of the day, unfortunately. I then moved onto the torso proper. First was the shoulders. They were assembled just like the Crusader and, compared to spending what felt like a lifetime drilling out smokestack barrels, they went together quick. From there, it was getting the torso, itself, together. As before, I was going slow as not only did I not want to mess anything up, but I knew I needed to fit a 9V battery and a bunch of wires in this spot.
The pieces I put together on Day 2 ended with the head. It was a pretty simple thing. Just cut, file and glue.
Ok. That’s a small lie. I drilled out the eye and fitted my red LED there. Unfortunately, the hole I drilled ended up being too large. Hence the green stuff around the eye socket.
That brings me to Day 3. I was determined to get Monday done. Thankfully, with as far as I’d gotten already, it was just a matter of putting the last few pieces together. First, though, I had to make a little access hatch from the torso to the head and drill holes for the green lights that would be up underneath. The green lights were easy. The access port, though… I didn’t realize how thick that plastic was until I had to cut through it. I ended up drilling a bunch of holes through it, then cutting between the holes. Rather effective.
From there, I glued the back plate on and test-wired up everything to see if it would work. Thankfully, all the little lights came on.
To make an access panel so I could get to the pieces inside the body, I decided to use the top plate of the torso. To make this work, though, I had to cut about 1/4″ off both sides of the piece, as they went under the shoulder pads and would’ve kept me from taking the top off. To keep things in place, I drilled holes into the shoulder tops and placed a pair of magnets on either side. Adding magnets to the “lid” as well would make sure things stayed put.
Then it was just gluing the last few pieces on and fitting everything inside the cavity and voila!
But, of course, that photo only shows half the work…
Ah, there we go.
So… final thoughts…
This guy’s awesome!
I’ll admit, it was a street fight. The Crusader felt like a test. This was a knock-down, drag-out fight. Not because the kit was hard to put together. Far from that. It goes together like a cushioned dream. No, it was because I knew I had one shot to get this right and I was treading in unknown territory from Day 2 onward.
These kits seem to be custom-made for adding light kits to them. The torso has that huge cavity to play with. The smokestacks are already mostly-hollow. The top plate is easily modded to be removable.
I wish I had another starter kit and a new Crusader I could light up, but I doubt that’ll happen soon.
Seriously, though, if you want to stretch every aspect of your model-building repertoire, grab a Leviathan (either variety), go get a light kit from PoweredPlay, grab a ModFX magnet kit and make sure you’ve prepared yourself.