One of my first review projects ever for TGN is still one of my favorites. DreamForge-Games had recently come out with their Leviathan Crusader and I got one for my very own to assemble. I eventually named him Friday in honor of the day I put him together. Later on he would get an arch-nemesis in the form of Monday. Well, DreamForge hasn’t only made Leviathans, they’ve made other kits as well. Today I’m here to take a look at the Eisenkern ‘Keilerkopf’ APC.
So grab your hobby knife, it’s time to head into another TGN Review. This time it’s the Eisenkern APC kit from DreamForge-Games.
Back when I put together Friday and Monday I was constantly being amazed at how many points of articulation there were on the models. Just about everything could bend or twist in some way. All the joints you have, the miniature has, just about. I was very impressed by how Monday’s claw hand had 12 points of motion on it. So when I first opened up the Eisenkern APC and looked over the instructions, I was not surprised to see how many places this model would be able to move. The tires would spin. The doors would open. The top could come off so you could see inside (we’ll get to the amount of detail there is in there later on). And not only did the turret gun swivel, but it raised up and could pivot in several places. I was almost thinking I’d have to build an actual internal combustion engine and drop it down in there. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Let’s see what we got here.
Looking at these first couple shots, you can see what the instructions looked like, along with the various sprues still rubber-banded together as they come out of the box. The instructions are showing the “mostly-complete side” but you still get a look at what sort of detail we’ve got going on here. Like the Leviathans, there’s some hardware involved in the form of little screws you’ll use in various places on the model. There’s also the provided screwdriver. Unfortunately, also like the Leviathans, the screwdriver wasn’t the greatest, so I ended up using my own. I don’t overly-fault DreamForge for that. I assume buying bulk screwdrivers can get costly, and then that cost would be passed on to you. And besides, damn-near everyone has a screwdriver around the house, right? You can also see that the model comes with actual rubber tires.
The instructions start out with you making the dashboard and driving surfaces for the figure. You can already see the detail that’s going into this model. When completed, you really won’t be able to see these spots, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be detail there. I did have one question, though… why are the seats 2 pieces? Yeah. That chair is 2 pieces. The L-shape and the back cushion is one piece. The bottom cushion is another. Seemed a bit excessive. You can also see the amount of pieces that go into making the two drivers. They are basically full troopers that you put together. Looking ahead, I’d get very good at making these figures by the time I was done with the model.
Having placed the driving console in the right spot, the directions now move you to the back of the bus and you get to work on the squad compartment. This is an APC after all, so you need to have seating for the troops. Other APC minis just sort of have you imagine that the figures can fit back there. Not so here. This figure will be able to fit 10 guys back there, and they’re going to prove it to you. And not just chairs for the grunts, either. There’s safety bars for them to use as well. The bars aren’t glued in, so they can be raised and lowered as necessary.
With the crew compartment in place, it’s time to build the body around them. As I mentioned earlier, the doors for the figure will be able to open (be VERY careful where your glue goes or you might accidentally glue something shut. In this case, I would recommend using more gel-like glue as opposed to the really “watery” stuff that I tend to prefer. You get a bit more control with it) and the wheels will be able to turn. You can even lift up the hood and see the engine inside (though, thankfully, it’s just molded plastic. You don’t really build an engine). There’s blue-tinted semi-transparent plastic to use as the windows as well. The back hatch also had to be able to open. This one almost got me in trouble as I’d gotten glue on one of the door hinges. Thankfully, I’d noticed it before I assembled everything. Letting it dry and then some quick filing work and everything was fine.
You can see here how the pieces start fitting around the crew compartment. We’re finally getting to see what this model will really look like when it is finished.
Of course, this APC has wheels on it. So those would be next. There’s a lot of pieces to each wheel. This is also where the screws come in. This lets you put the tires in place and then lets them spin. The front tires, in particular, also must be able to turn side-to-side. So it’s a bit of working to get all the pieces together in the right place, but thankfully, the instructions are rather clear on how to do that.
After the tires are on, it’s back to more body and detail work. There’s fenders that go over the back tires. Then there’s grenade launchers that go on the back of the model.
The top plate, as you can see, has 4 hatches that open. I have to say, making sure no glue gets on those tiny pegs while assembling everything is a bit nerve-wracking, but I’m happy to say I got it right. Also on the top plate is the top turret. It used these odd white-plastic pieces. They were ever-so rubbery compared to everything else. You’d insert them into the appropriate spots and they created points of articulation. It was a nice alternative to more screws.
With all that done came putting together the squad that goes inside. Yes… the full squad that goes inside. Didn’t you know? As I mentioned, other APCs might have you just sort of “imagine” that a whole squad can fit in the back. DreamForge-Games PROVES that they’ll fit by actually giving you a full squad of guys’ worth of parts to go in the back. I counted them up. There’s 11 pieces per guy (2 legs, 2 torso pieces, 2 arms, 2 hands, 2 shoulder pads, and a head) and 10 guys. So there’s 110 pieces worth just sitting in the back of APC. And if you have the top on and all the doors closed, you’d never know they were there. That’s quite a lot of dedication to detail. It’s what can really make this mini a showpiece figure as much as it’s a piece to use in their (eventually coming) miniatures game.
The DreamForge-Game kits, I have found, are top-notch in quality. The plastic has very few mold lines or flash. And if it does have some, it’s very easy to cut or file. The pieces fit together very snugly, without lots of gaps or having to force things to fit. Considering the amount of pieces that go into the figures, this is quite a feat, and one I think deserves praise. The points of articulation only add to the awesomeness that is the kit. That being said, like with the Leviathans, this is an advanced-modelers-only kit. If you’re just starting out and you want a cool vehicle to put together, I’d suggest something simpler. But if you’re a seasoned veteran and want a cool Rolls-Royce-Esque way to carry around your troops, you can’t go wrong with the Eisenkern APC.