Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Taking Stock and Planning Ahead


I've been ruminating over what I'm hoping to achieve with my Leviathan project and how to keep my interest going.

On the one hand, I've been posting lots of reference articles from the assorted publications of the time which feature Leviathan and I am also slowly working through my old notes to see about putting together a fan supplement to cover Earthpower (more on that later). I'm also looking to paint my way through the assorted gubbins I have kicking around and really showcase what Leviathan can look like.

My last attempt at army building from 2011

With this in mind, I've settled on putting together a small force for each of the races. Each force will initially be aimed towards about 750 points using the classic armylists and should feature a couple of infantry units, a cavalry unit and a smattering of monsters or warengines.

Dwarf Infantry

To keep things interesting, I will rotate my way through the armies and paint a unit here, a warbeast there with the aim of having the whole lot done for the end of June. This will give me four months to paint around about 50 or so infantry, nine or ten cavalry and eight to ten larger resin pieces.

While this sounds quite a big job, I'm finding myself relishing the prospect as the large resin pieces that make up the majority of the Leviathan range are an actual joy to paint and while the unpainted resin can be both a little uninspiring and daunting, they do look brilliant once done.

I have ordered some suitable bases from WARBASES and once they arrive, I'll be able to really crack on and paint my way through the gubbins I have before moving onto picking up the odds and ends I will need to round out the project.

Once I have these forces done, I hope to spend the rest of the year expanding each force by a unit or warbeast here or there and see how things go.

I've also been in touch with John Robertson, head honcho of Grendel back in the day and he's been a font of information about the game and is checking his contacts to see if any of the old Earthpower supplement is still in existence. Fingers crossed for more information but I've managed to recover one or two tidbits of information already which could make for a very interesting concept in game!

Once the bases arrive, I'll post some more pics of painters progress but until then, all the best!

Monday, 26 February 2018

Forge Magazine Articles 2


Issue two of Forge Magazine saw two articles on Leviathan featured. The first showcases two dragons and the cover artwork for the rulebook:

Leviathan Gubbins

On a personal note, I'm rather keen to pick up both the Red Dragon and Golden Wyvern for my collection in the coming months but it's great to see some painted samples of the big resin beasts. The Red Dragon would make a great addition to the Elven warhost while the Wyvern is just such a lovely looking beast!

Next up, they also feature a short story, The Battle of Axebite Pass alongside some more artwork for the game.

The Battle of Axebite Pass

The Battle between the Dwarven army and Orcish horde is really evocative, especially as the Axebite pass is one of the great strategic locations on Aeroth and is written by Bill King, the same chap who brought us Felix and Gotrek of Warhammer fame.

It's a great story and can be found in the Leviathan rulebook and is well worth a read to give a flavour of the world and its inhabitants as well as the way that two of the armies operate. The Dwarves are shown as a defensive force with emplaced artillery, stalwart infantry and the massed sounding of steam whistles as a challenge to the Orcs from their tanks is rather good.

Similarly, the Orcs are fleshed out in all their barbaric glory, their seemingly savage appearance and surprisingly advanced tactics. Their chanting of Gorath as they weather the fire of the Dwarven artillery is really fascinating to read as is the appearance of Dwarven suicide troops!

While the story can be seen in the rulebook as can most of the artwork, this guy is to my knowledge, only ever featured in this one article:

Necrosaur Harpoon

It's a Necrosaur featuring a bolt thrower or harpoon and gives a sense of the scale that Grendel was going for with the game. I find it fascinating to see the concepts of Leviathan taking shape and would have loved to see more of the games development. 

Next up, I'll cover the last two specifically Leviathan articles that can be found in Forge before covering some miniature reviews from the long defunct Arcane Magazine!

In the meantime, all the best!

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Setting the Scene

"Our world is a wasteland. The green fields of our forefathers are deserts. The mighty cities of our ancestors are tombs filled with the bones of millions. Everywhere we look we see only the bright glitter of blades, we hear only the ring of steel on steel, we smell only blood and decay. Our weapons are cold and hard in our fists. We take what bitter food we can find and it tastes like dust in our mouths. The ruddy skies are filled with carrion birds and hosts of winged monsters".

A view from the Axblades

"All the old races are locked in a death struggle. The Ironclad Legions of the Dwarves hold to their mountain fortresses. The decadent Elves unleash their Dragon Warriors from the sanctuary of the Obelisks. The clans of men skirmish endlessly with the brutal hordes of the Orc Khans. The spawn of Leviathan stalk the earth seeing to assuage their unending hunger for flesh. The Children of the Worm seek to grant the hideous gift of Death-In-Life to all who still breath. The Fallen lounge in the crumbling palaces of ancient kings and dream of ultimate conquest".

The Southern Desert

"The gates of Hell opened and Demon Gods entered our world. The continents trembled beneath the tread of monsters. The old civilisation was swept away leaving only barbarism and unending, savage warfare. The cities became charnel houses, their streets filled with putrefying corpses of merchants and mages. Fertile fields became wastelands of polychromatic salt and ash:.

Taken from The Druids Tale

The Elven Wastes

As you can see, the setting for Leviathan is a post apocalyptic one featuring a tortured landscape inhabited by savage races reduced to barbarism to survive the world they find themselves in. 

Having re-read the background, I am struck by how close it is to a more traditionally sci-fi or near future world as seen in the likes of Fallout and Mad Max. It's rather exciting and I've found myself wondering how I am going to represent such a setting.

In more typical Tolkienesque fantasy sets, everywhere tends to be a green and pleasant land (other than the evil doers domain which is inevitably a volcanic waste, usually hidden within a chain of mountains). With Leviathan, things are turned on their heads with only isolated islands of habitable land with the rest of the world choked with irradiated magical fallout, volcanic ash and ruins of once great cities.

Similarly, the typically good race of the Elves are bitter, twisted and degenerate while the Dwarves are more akin to survivalists who went to ground and are only now emerging to explore and are exploiting their technology to gain control of territory. The Orcs are much like the Mongol hordes with a surprising amount of savage culture whilst the Barbarians are a bit like the lawless crazies from Mad Max.

Diseased tree from 2010/11

Back in the day, I tried out a few ideas to represent the decaying wasteland but this time round I plan on really pushing my terrain building to showcase a fantastic world that's been warped by nature and magic into something rather more. 

Imagine dead forests, pools of toxic waste, jagged spires and ruined machinery. This is the sort of world that I'm going to have a bash at putting together. With this in mind, I'll need to collect some supplies before I get to building but I shall have to see what I can put together. 

In other news, I've been working on some Orcish cavalry and it's starting to look rather good but I'm badly in need of bases so will be placing a small order with Warbases to get suitable gubbins before I can show the finished models.

Hopefully said supplies will arrive in the next week!

Friday, 23 February 2018

Pictish War Bison Playtest Rules


I've got some playtest rules for the Pictish War Bison Riders from the Leviathan range!

Decidedly mercenary in nature, the Picts are a tribe of human barbarians who will work for anyone, even The Fallen if the price is right. Their light infantry and War Bisons make for a useful fast attack option to other forces.


I'm hoping to flesh out the Picts a bit so they are a more fully fleshed out force which can be added to the assorted factions of Leviathan. When combined with Barbarian Infantry, these guys make an interesting addition to any force!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Seeking Leviathan Histories


In my ongoing quest to chronicle all things Leviathan, I am trying to track down anyone who had anything to do with the creation of the game, it's setting or miniatures range!

Leviathan Diorama (Courtesy of Paint Splats)

I'm especially keen to find out if anyone knows anything about the planned supplement, Earthpower. Now the near mythical planned publication was supposed to cover things like flyers, magic and siege warfare as well as adding two new forces, The Knights of the Eternal Light, a grim and driven force of templars dedicated to the defeat of the Fallen and The Children of the Worm, one of the Fallen factions that was based around the Undead.

Sadly all the documents that Scotia Grendel received was lost when their old PC kicked the bucket and the last time I tried out my Leviathan project back in 2011, I was unable to trace any information on it's contents.

Hopefully this time I'll be able to improve on things and I'll be searching through the assorted forums and social media in the vague hope that I will be able to find the odd tidbit of information!

The original team

So if anyone out there has any Leviathan gubbins, I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Dwarf Mk2 War Golem Playtest Rules


I've been going through my old Leviathan files and have dredged up the playtest rules for two of the Mk2 Dwarf War Golems, namely the Gladiator and Nemesis.

The Gladiator is a close in fighter that is protected by it's reinforced shield and sports shoulder mounted launchers which give it an extra edge when charging.

 The Nemesis is an all rounder with a steam powered gatling gun and claw for close in work.

I've got a few more pdf's for the Grendel range kicking around which I will upload here. They are currently rough drafts and could do with some playtesting and reviewing to see if they need further tweaking and hopefully I'll get chance to give them a thorough shakedown in the coming months.

If anyone would like a copy of the PDF's I've got them uploaded on Scribd or I can email them out to folks.

Once I've got the whole lot put together I'll compile them all together into my fan supplement, Earthpower!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Forge Magazine Articles Part 1


Following the brief appearance of Leviathan preview articles in Anvil back in 1994, it's successor, Forge appeared soon after and over the next couple of posts I'll cover the assorted articles covering Grendel's Leviathan miniatures.

First off, there's some Black Orcs showcased as part of a painting guide:

Black Orcs

While the article is pretty straight forward, I do like the finish of these guys as their dark blue/grey/purple tinted skin is a nice departure from the more typical greens of the period. Interestingly, Leviathan's release saw the Orcish skin tone change to a rusty reddish brown.

Orc Warrior

Sculpted by Kev Adams, sadly the resin Orcs aren't available anymore which is a bit of a shame as they've got quite a lot of character and I'd love to add them to my collection if I can source them at some point in the future. 

Grendel also released a pack of Human Barbarians at the same time which I'll cover in a future article as the resin infantry are rather good and were an affordable way to build infantry units.

Here's a slightly dodgy pic of the unpainted Black Orcs (pulled from Lost Minis Wiki):

Bare Resin Orcs

I may use the darker skin tone for some of Gorath's Chosen and wouldn't mind exploring some other unusual skin tones for my Orcs, possibly by making use of warpaints and tattoos to give them a suitably dangerous and savage look!

I'll post up another article in the morning with some more Leviathan related goodness but in the meantime, All the best!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Alternative Leviathan


While this blog is going to cover all aspects of the classic 1995 edition of Leviathan as well as the suitable Grendel products that went along with it, I have a second blog which covers my own interpretation of Leviathan.

SOMEWHERE ON THE BORDER  is a bit of an alternative which explores Aeroth as I see it. The scale is different, the figures I've sculpted are different and indeed the technology levels are different and it concentrates on small warbands, skirmishes and some of the interesting denizens of a post apocalyptic fantasy world!

 Adventuring Party

Sadly it too has been neglected for far too long so I will be spending a bit of time over the next few weeks between both blogs to bring them up to date and new articles should start popping up on  a regular basis.

Technomancer and Golem bodyguard

I'm keen to keep the two seperate as while they both technically share the same setting, they are vastly different in content. I do plan on there being some crossover between, especially with some of the creatures and races as well as locations but if you are interested in having a bit of a peruse, do head over and take a peek at how my version of Aeroth evolved!

All the best!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Anvil Magazine Leviathan Previews


Way back in 1994, Anvil magazine ran a series of preview articles for Leviathan with a selection of short stories, concept art and background.

Orc Wartower

Looking at the cover, I'm struck by the style of the Orcish warbeast with it's mighty banner, trendy shade and the herd of tiny goblins trailing after it.

Next up, there's The Shaman's Tale, a short story that covers the world of Leviathan and the fate that befell the civilisations that once flourished in it.

I must admit that Anvil Magazine totally passed me by and it's only been recently that I've managed to source some copies of it myself. It's interesting to see that even at this early stage of it's development, Leviathan was very different from your typical fantasy fare.

Gone were the Tolkienesque Western European medieval setting and in its place is a grimy fascinating world where civilisation has failed and the apocalypse has come and gone and the survivors must fight to survive amongst the ruins of a world gone quite literally to hell.

Even the artwork was new and different, with ex GW artist Adrian Smith creating some really fantastic concepts with savage punk barbarians, vaguely oriental Goblins and steampunk Dwarves (decades before the style became the norm for the stunties).

Looking at the concept now, I find myself wondering what Leviathan could have been if the company that created it hadn't changed hands repeatedly and Leviathan disappeared into the mists of time.

I've tried to track down anyone who worked on the game to see if they have any memories of the development of the game or any of the concepts that they were working on for the supplement, Earthpower. Sadly, I've not had much luck as all the material they had was lost on an old PC but apparently the original concept for Leviathan was that it was going to be a skirmish game with small warbands with the odd monster rather than the mass battle game it became.

The second article to turn up in Anvil was a sketch gallery which also gives a sneak preview of what the game was going to be like.

Look at the Black Orc Khan! I love the style of the guy, with his bone armour and vague native American vibe which is really different from the typical Orc style, and indeed the final visuals that Grendel went with.

A two headed Orc Shaman and spiny Orc warrior also reinforces the post apocalyptic setting where magical pollution and a cataclysmic war has seen mutation and degeneration of the surviving populace.

The final piece of artwork previewed was the Goblins and some warbeasts:

Ironically, the Goblin artwork is rather closer to the more traditional view of Goblins than how the final release portrayed them. I'm more struck by the Orc and Goblin warbeasts, huge scaly lizards with lots of teeth and toting impressive howdahs and artillery pieces.

It almost feels like the game was trying to go in two directions at this stage with the infantry being really characterful and the background hinting towards small groups of warriors fighting for survival while the artwork for the warbeasts point towards something a bit more epic in scale.

I've always felt that Leviathan could have been split into two seperate games, one concentrating on small warbands and the other going for the grand spectacle with hordes of infantry and engines of destruction, possibly in a different scale.

Either which way, Leviathan came out in 1995 and was a bit of an amalgamation of the two ideas but I've yet to speak to anyone who actually played it which is a real shame.

My plan is to put together rules for all the stuff that Grendel created sculpts for such as the Warbisons, MK2 Wargolems, Vortex Spell Eaters and Fallen Lords to round out the game as well as putting together magic and flyer rules and finally retweak the original rules to cover the odds and ends that were missed out (Tail Spikes!).

I'll post up the first new units in the next day or so and hope to add some playtest rules too so watch this space!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Dwarf Infantry Sighted


Here's the first of my Dwarven infantry for my Leviathan project:

Dwarven Infantry

They are a selection of Citadel plastics, Marauder and Heartbreaker miniatures and I really enjoyed painting them in a non metallic style which seems to work rather well with these old sculpts. I will be using a similar technique on all my Leviathan stuff as I've found the results, while rather time consuming, to be really effective.

I decided to go for a rather more bright orange than the usual reds and blues for my Dwarves as the few pieces of Leviathan artwork that were produced show them in rather bright colours and I think it works rather well and it's going to be interesting to see what they look like alongside their battletanks and wargolems!

Looking in my bits box, I have enough for a decent sized unit of axemen as well as a handful of crossbows and spearmen. Once I have them all painted, I'll be placing a small order with Ral Partha Europe for some more of the Heartbreaker Dwarves to complete my infantry before moving onto some war engines.

Hopefully I'll be able to post another update in the next week or so but in the meantime, All the best!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Leviathan Update


I've been working through the assorted posts I wrote back in the day when I first reviewed a lot of Leviathan resin models.

Black Orc Khan

With a little bit of editing and reworking of images, they've been reposted and I will be adding to them with some more reviews in the next few weeks as I sort through my collection of unpainted resin and lead.

Assorted Gubbins

I'm currently painting my way through a batch of Dwarf infantry which will be getting a bit of a picture report once they are all finished and I'll be posting up some test rules for the assorted Grendel and Leviathan range that wasn't covered in the original releases.

I'm also going to post some ponderings on suitable proxies for Leviathan that are out there which should be fun too.

Hopefully my next post will have a full Dwarven unit to showcase so watch this space!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Leviathan Images

Morning folks!

I've been trawling through my old posts to put together some of the pics of the painted Leviathan stuff from my previous project to give people an idea of what the range actually looks like with a coat of paint.

First off, here's the mighty Titanosauer, the largest of the Orc Warbeasts:

Titanosaur Detail

Back in 2011, I had a fantastic time painting up the beast, which is absolutely massive and towers suitably over the lesser creatures the Horde.

Due to it's great size (and weight!) I had to paint him in several stages, concentrating on getting the huge warbeast done first before concentrating on the Howdah and finally the crew.
 Titanosaur Side View

I plan on getting this kit again as it really makes for a fantastic centrepiece to any Orc horde and us just the thing to allow ones Khan to ride around in style.

Titanosaur With Howdah

I converted this sculpt a bit to add Tail Spikes, an upgrade all Orc Warbeasts can take (annoyingly it doesn't actually say what they do in the book, something I am looking to resolve this time around!)

Similarly, the howdah itself has been bulked out a bit to allow for the four crew the beast is supposed to have as the original is a bit on the teeny side so I built two extra platforms for the archers to ride around in.

The Completed Beast, Minus Crew

The second large warbeast I got was a Necrosaur with Harpoon:

 Unpainted Necrosaur next to the Titanosaur

The second largest of the Warbeasts, the Necrosaur can either be fielded with a howdah full of Orcs or mounting a large harpoon which is one of only two artillery options for the Orcs.

 Mouth Detail

Like the Titanosaur, the Necrosaur was a pleasure to paint, with enough realistic skin details to make it look good without being too fussy.

 Necrosaur Gribble

Side by side, you can see how intimidating the two look and if you were to field a complete Orc horde with all the smaller warbeasts, one can start to imagine just how spectacular they would look!

Twin towers of Destruction!

I believe I still have the Orc Necrosaur in my collection somewhere and will need to dust him off and add a few tweaks to his paintjob to bring him up to date with my current paint style. As I don't currently have any crew for him so will need to find some Orcish artillery types who can get pressed into service.

Sadly the last of the Orc warbeasts I managed to paint last time round was a heavily converted Lesser Goblin Warbeast:

Lesser Goblin Wartower

This is about the only original warbeast I picked up from Macs Models back in the day for Leviathan, and I had originally painted it a naff green but due to a casting defect and my shoddy teenage painting skills, I had abandoned it in a box for over a decade before I finally fixed him. 

I actually still have this model, minus the back banner which broke during one of my house moves so he will get repaired and added back to my Leviathan collection soon!

Goblin, Orc, Carnosaur, Necrosaur, Titanosaur!

Looking back, I really wish I had persevered with this project rather than letting it lie fallow for so long as the visual spectacle of the vast warbeasts supported by hordes of infantry is pretty compelling.

I've also trawled the interwebs for pics of the elusive Leviathan range and have found some, including some that were originally featured in Forge Magazine, a short lived but fascinating gaming publication.

 Orc Warbeast Diorama

I find myself struck by the relatively few images of painted figures from the Leviathan range as there's some really interesting figures to be found amongst it but it appears that relatively few folks showed much interest in the game and a lack of support (I'm looking at you Earthpower!) seems to have left Leviathan as a bit of a forgotten game.

Twin Titanosaurs!

I doubt there's much I can do about this, other than to simply crack on with putting my collection together to be honest. The last time I tried this project, I got really disheartened by the lack of interest in the game and the fact that although it's still in production, there haven't really been any releases for it in about twenty years.

This time around, I am just going to concentrate on enjoying the experience of painting and converting the figures rather than wailing and gnashing my teeth about it and if it means I get some enjoyment out of my hobby, that's the main thing!

Assorted Pics of Leviathan Goodies (courtesy of various)

I am planning to put together a complete collection of the Leviathan range over the coming years as despite the somewhat odd proportions and limitations of the casts, I do like them and want to remember what was for me an inspirational game.

I must admit that I have no idea how long it will take to do but I plan on enjoying myself doing so and if I do get a game or two out of the experience, all the better!

 Orc Horde (courtesy of Die Platt)

At the same time, I do hope to add the odd addition to my collection from other ranges that have suitable figures. Companies such as Ramshackle Games produce quite a few pieces which would fit right in with the aesthetic and some of the old Heartbreaker figures that are still available from Ral Partha Europe will be supplying me with all manner of infantry to add to my collection.

Elementals (courtesy of Die Platt)

I am also interested in hearing from the original game developers or anyone who has painted some of the figures or shock horror, actually played a game so do get in touch if you are any of the above!

 Twin Titanosaur (courtesy of Die Platt)

In some ways it's a shame that Leviathan never really took off as it has some great concepts and the world is so rich for exploration. Imagine what using modern sculpting techniques could do for the range!

In hindsight, I do feel that Leviathan in 28mm scale is more suited to skirmishing with small infantry forces supported by the odd warbeast would have been the way to go. Look at Chronopia, the spiritual successor to Leviathan for example. It had much of the same creative team but concentrated on infantry combat over massed battles.

I suspect that a 15mm version would allow for all the detail but much more of a visual spectacle without needing a vast playing area but that ramble is for another day.

Wargolems (courtesy of Steve Blease)

I hope to add some new pictures in the coming week of newly painted additions to my collection as well as further explorations of the setting, its inhabitants and reviews too but in the meantime, All the best!