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[LEVIATHANS] Leviathans lives! (Part 2) Chronicling my airfleet buildup on the eve of war  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
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Made in au
Cocky Macross Mayor





Adelaide Australia

Greetings, all — especially those of you who share a love of flying battleships.

Do you remember Leviathans?



Leviathans was a big, boxed game released by Catalyst Game Studio back in 2012. Hex-based and utilising some unique dice mechanics, Leviathans come complete with eight assembled and painted plastic models of gravity-defying warships (known in-universe as Leviathans), for the British and French fleets.

Unfortunately, problems with production allied with some ill-tested mechanics to strip Leviathans of the exposure it otherwise deserved. For almost a decade, it has languished, the runt of the Catalyst litter.

That status might be about to change, however. Catalyst recently announced a new Kickstarter to enable the Germans to come out and play. A compilation of short stories set in the Leviathans universe has just been published. Things are looking up... maybe!



In hopeful anticipation of soon seeing gaming tables festooned with fantastical flying fleets, I have acquired a few copies of Leviathans, and have started tweaking, remodelling and repainting the models to my personal taste.

While I must admit that the Leviathans' rather — um — curvaceous hulls are not to the tastes of all, I have come to love them, and their rather silly steampunk brass fittings. (No goggles, pith helmets or cogs, at least!)

What I don't love are some of the very uninspiring fittings and weapons. The British ships, in particular, are ugly ducklings with apartment block superstructures and anaemic turrets that look like they were added as a mere afterthought. Also, none of the ships feature small boats (skyboats!) or other details which would do much to enhance the appeal of the models. Something must be done!

Fortunately, I recently did a deal with Elegoo to buy a pair of Mars 2 Pro 3D printers for my local Makerspace community centre to use. (These things are dangerous! I'm sure I had more free time before they came into my life!!) So, now I can produce all the fittings, masts, turrets and what-have-you that the ships need to complete their fitting out.

The first thing I sculpted was a bunch of new Turrets. Those of the French Leviathans are alright, but I thought the rounded rectangle (roundtangle?) of real French pre-dreadnoughts are more attractive. The British got Miyazaki-inspired half-dome designs to replace the hodgepodge of shapes that previously blighted their decks.



Also, I sculpted some replacements for the British cruisers' blocky bridges, plus some little skyboats for ferrying about Admirals, and their cousins and their aunts.

Here's HML Behemoth, the first of the British battlewagons with new turrets and new masts, too. This is a work-in-progress, as you'll no doubt realise from the big hole on her after deck... The colour scheme was inspired by postwar Fleet Air Arm aircraft colours.



Still have to print her skyboat contingent, and I'm debating if she should have a dorsal 'third bridge' a'la Space Battleship Yamato:

[img]https://www.collectiondx.com/gallery2/d/100166-5/P9110913.jpg?g2_GALLERYSID=83df62d7e540fe8c92f79d04186706e2
[/img]

Lastly, what's a game of pre-WW1 battleships — even flying ones — without their nemesis: Torpedo boats!

So, I sculpted one...





Looking forward to adding a squadron of this boat to my fleet. Although I'll need to design a ship card for this little thing before it takes to the skies.

That's all for this post, but I'll be back with more pretty soon. There's another seven Lev's in the dockyard right now, eager to get into action, so I'd better get cracking!

- Martin

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/05/03 12:15:01


Hobbies from Other Dimensions!
www.miniaturemartin.com 
   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

Love it!

I wanted to get into this game, but never managed to swing it.

I look forward to some battle reports from you!

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

 Macrossmartin wrote:
Greetings, all — especially those of you who share a love of flying battleships.

Do you remember Leviathans?


Yes, and I also remember love. I'm old enough that when I saw the post that the old Grendel fantasy miniatures game from the 90s first came to mind but then I remember that was singular (Leviathan) iirc.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Problems with production is a very generous way of describing what allegedly happened (namely China royally screwing over the company because of a clearly fictional alt history map of Taiwan). Regardless, I'm curious to see what you come up with!

I was somewhat looking forward to this hitting retail shelves after a premiere at gencon (where a close friend was raving about it) but it never did. The earlier set Dystopian wars just didn't do anything for me personally.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/04/21 17:23:38


 
   
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka





West Michigan, deep in Whitebread, USA

My buddy and I were really excited to get into Leviathans after playing the demos at Gencon all those years ago. The ones with the take-home ships were the best- I ended up playing enough to bring home a French battleship.

But then all the languishing started, the game kept getting delayed, and a great game with potential died practically as it (finally) came out. I never did get the boxed set and the two fleet boxes, and always regret it. Especially the ships. I loved them, and even later bought a different game that could have used such cool steampunk models.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/04/22 01:09:00




"By this point I'm convinced 100% that every single race in the 40k universe have somehow tapped into the ork ability to just have their tech work because they think it should."  
   
Made in au
Cocky Macross Mayor





Adelaide Australia

 warboss wrote:
 Macrossmartin wrote:


Do you remember Leviathans?


Yes, and I also remember love.



I see what you did there!


I hadn't heard that Leviathans went south due to the sensitivities of the Communist government, although I wouldn't consider it unlikely. My inside source told me Catalyst went in blind, and got done by good ol' Capitalist greed, when the company producing the models held the dies to ransom, demanding more money than agreed. Perhaps the whole story is somewhere in between.

Anyway, thank you all for your comments, I appreciate them. I just printed a few of the torp boats, and the French turrets, so more pics coming soon. Stay tuned!

Hobbies from Other Dimensions!
www.miniaturemartin.com 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

 Macrossmartin wrote:

I hadn't heard that Leviathans went south due to the sensitivities of the Communist government, although I wouldn't consider it unlikely. My inside source told me Catalyst went in blind, and got done by good ol' Capitalist greed, when the company producing the models held the dies to ransom, demanding more money than agreed. Perhaps the whole story is somewhere in between.


It could be both. There wasn't much officially said likely so as not to further endanger Catalyst future production there but the second hand info was that someone there (whether a government minder or company employee) objected to Taiwan not being included as part of China on a map in the printed materials in this obviously fictional version of 1910ish due to 2010ish political sensibilities. The simple fact that the real life Taiwan wasn't in that time period (it was occupied iirc by Japan for decades at that time) didn't seem to matter. Whether that was real or just the excuse to strongarm Catalyst into paying a lot more for a reprint while holding the models as collateral is anyone's guess. Most of what was said was "leaked" on various forums including TMP by people who claimed to get the scoop in person from employees at cons of the record. Add salt as needed.

   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

Chinese censorship with regards to Taiwan is very well known (even back then), I very much doubt that Catalyst would not have been aware of the fact going in. Even if they were, it doesn't entirely explain things - the censors confiscate and destroy the offending material, if it was just a rulebook then Catalyst would have been out the rulebooks, but that doesn't kill the entire product line - even if they couldn't afford to reprint the rulebooks to comply, they could have just made a PDF document available online with a notecard saying "we're sorry for the trouble" in every box. Now, mind you an overzealous censor could have destroyed the entire box set instead of just the rulebooks depending on when the issue was discovered and how they felt that day, etc.T

In any case, typically the factory making the models is different from the factory making the printed materials, so unless some collusion was involved there wouldn't be much room to hold stuff hostage.

I had heard that their miniatures manufacturer lost/stole some of the master molds and Catalyst was unable to repossess the remainder. I've heard that the rest also disappeared/were stolen, the manufacturer refused to surrender them (effectively stolen), and a few times I've heard people claim the manufacturer gave them up but then they were lost at sea while they were being shipped to the US or Europe (so either their container went overboard/the ship sank, or the manufacturer lied/never released them, etc). I've also heard that most of those issues were inconsequential (a lot of those issues are financially recoverable losses if you carry insurance, etc. so it would take time but they could have got the product line back up and running), and that there was some shady embezzlement type stuff going on in the office that drained the company of funds, etc. which is what actually killed the game as they couldn't afford to continue it.

This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

chaos0xomega wrote:

In any case, typically the factory making the models is different from the factory making the printed materials, so unless some collusion was involved there wouldn't be much room to hold stuff hostage.


Collusion, no. Business relationship/partnership, possible. I watched a tabletop gaming company who documented their experiences in China (good and bad) and typically model manufacturers have a related (whether preferred partner or wholey owned but separate company in some cases) paper component printer/manufacturer that they prefer to work with. Unfortunately that separate factory might be hundreds of miles away and you really have to get lucky that they actually protect your paper products when they ship them for final assembly (which didn't happen in the case I watched as it rained somewhere along the drive and their cardboard was warped). I think it was a kickstarter that went wrong but I don't recall the name or have the link so add whatever salt you need. Regardless, it's just an example and not necessarily what happened here.
   
Made in au
Cocky Macross Mayor





Adelaide Australia

Greetings again, all!

Pardon my coughing and sneezing throughout this new instalment in my Leviathans saga, but the flu' flew in last week leaving me bedridden much of the time. Before it hit, however, I managed to get some more parts sculpted and printed and daub some paint on a few more ships. So, let's take a look!

First up, you might recall me debating the addition of a Yamato-inspired '3rd Bridge' under the Battleships' hulls. That proved a pretty easy sculpt; A plug at the top fits into the hull's channel for the flightpeg, and the peg now fixes to the 3rd Bridge's underside.





I made it look submergible, because I envision the Leviathans resting in water between sorties, to reduce structural stress. Possibly they can do double-duty as surface-going warships too? (I'll leave it to someone else to saw their Lev's in half as waterline models, though!!)

And here' the print, in place under the Behemoth:



(Still got to detail and weather the ships, so looking a bit monotone down here...)

So, what's been painted? Well. Behemoth has been joined by her sister Giant, rushed back to home skies from the China Station with such haste that her crew hasn't had time to repaint her superstructure light ochre.



with them, the 1st Cruiser Squadron is almost ready to take to the skies. I discarded the rubbish, tiny tailplanes the British Cruiser comes with, and sculpted a new tail with twin rudders.



These also neatly hide some bloody silly 'ducted fans' sticking out either side of the stern. For those not in the know, these are supposed to be the means by which British Leviathans are propelled through the sky... sideways, one must presume, because these things thrust out at right angles to the direction of flight! I can't understand this. Maybe if they were swivelling nozzles or something... but, they're not. I'll have to sculpt something to get these ships moving forwards, won't I?

But that's for next time. Like the Battleships, the Cruisers had their skinny tripod masts replaced with monopole ones complete with fighting tops. I'm thinking the Cruisers also need '3rd Bridges' to round off their new look.



And to finish up, a quick squadron review:



I've also been tinkering with the rules, in an effort to add some flexibility and to make torpedoes actually feel like torpedoes. (Or damn huge air-to-air missiles, really.) A playtest just before I became unclean suggests I'm on the right track, so I'll post those here once they've had a polish.

More to come soon!

Hobbies from Other Dimensions!
www.miniaturemartin.com 
   
Made in au
Cocky Macross Mayor





Adelaide Australia

Jeune Ecole de l'air! The French reveal the Moineau class Torpedo Boat. (Coming to Wargaming3D for all Leviathans fans as soon as I can get some test prints done!)







Also: Here's a link to a PDF of my rules modifications in which I have a tilt at making torpedoes more... torpedoey. There's also a couple of optional rules rewarding big Breach Rolls and letting Crews move around their own ship, rather than leaving them superglued to their Location.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ov1cBXh0E_kACtkbW6GdmE3QCzBIxK9f/view?usp=sharing

All laid out in the same format as the original Leviathans rulebook on Letter size pages for you to print. I hope you give them a try!

A pondering: In a world in which getting airborne can be done in turbine-powered, steel-hulled vessels, would there be no incentive to develop flimsy, linen and wood aeroplanes? If not, then would craft like this torpedo boat evolve into the fighters and bombers of the future?

Hobbies from Other Dimensions!
www.miniaturemartin.com 
   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

There would be incentive still. Trying to get past point defenses and big guns to "deliver" the payload might be easier in smaller targets. Plus, it is easier to approach unseen in a smaller craft.

The biggest down side would be the "payload" of any weapon systems a canvas eagle could deliver compared to a torpedo boat, hence making both practical.

Do you like Free Wargames?
http://bloodandspectacles.blogspot.com/ 
   
 
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