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Gordos (OJR and NAR) – Tilly's Zoids

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Gordos (OJR and NAR)

Gordos is one of those Zoids I tend to forget exists, but recognize as awesome when I do (which is usually when I read the UK comic again and see Gorgon in action). It's very old-school Republic, covered in detail and full of deliberate stompy motion, and it deserves far more recognition than it gets in this age of theropods.

I encountered my new release as a discount Hasbrotastic model from KB Toys, and have fond memories of dragging a huge bag of unloved Zoids all over the mall, plastic handles cutting off circulation to my hand and shoulder as I took great care in wandering through displays of fragile objects. I went in not knowing what to expect, and came out very impressed. It and Clear Horn are responsible for me getting into stompy Zoids.

OJR Gordos and its OER Gorgon counterpart stayed off my radar afterward, since mint in box ones fetched too much and I had yet to see its colors in person. But eBay came through with what I can only describe as an incredible deal, and I found myself with not only an OJR Gordos for less than a modern import would cost, but one that was mint in box.

Gordos comes from the era of the quickly-retconned blue-skinned Zoidian dudes (who, likely not coincidentally, look a bit like Zoidaryans), and the box not only includes variations on the back (like most OJR boxes in the Central Continent war era), but pilots to go with them. Sweeeeet. I am not ashamed to admit that the box influenced my purchase, or that I have a thing for 80s cheese. No. Sadly, the pictured dudes don't have names, so I guess they're meant to be Generic Pilots for their Zoid type. The Gordos themselves are forest and desert color types, designed for hiding nearly 200 tons of fat stegosaurus in different environments. I'm holding out for some dazzle camouflage Zoids, myself.

The other cool thing? OJR Gordos and Gorgon are identical, meaning that while I have the Japanese box with its variants-on-the-back, I can happily pretend my stegosaurus is Heller and company's ride of choice as well.

There's a reason the OER fans like Gorgon beyond that, and it's the colors. Gordos' new ones aren't bad at all, they're a nice practical forest green and grey. But man, does the old-school slightly bluish charcoal and grey combination look damn nice. It also sports a more yellow-orange cockpit, which goes better with the overall color scheme.

Regardless of which Gordos you're building, besides eight frames of parts (four in each color), the box includes a large motor of the clip-shut "takes two C batteries" breed, a pair of weights for the head and tail (though the Hasbro release omits the tail weight, possibly for safety reasons), two pilotmans, a whole bunch of black caps, the clear orange/yellow-orange cockpit...and instructions and stickers, as usual.

The plastic proved better on my OJR, same for the molding quality—while my new Gordos wasn't terrible, it wasn't anywhere near as tastily crisp and the green flaked a bit when trimmed. The OJR's motor, older than me, was still well-greased and ran smoothly...they just don't make plastic toys like they used to. Speaking of which, Gordos has the same motor as Zrk, Mammoth, and Gojulas, making for a big, bulky final result. I hear, however, that the axle offset is different between some (all?) of them, so if you're replacing/swapping motors you may have to take them apart and mess around with that if you want a smoothly-walking result.

Like many Zoids of its era, Gordos is deceptively simple, with a lot of clever mechanics worked into its low piece count. Old-school legs (as seen on Zrk and Mammoth, again) make a third appearance with their system of levers and minimal armor. (Such things are for the weak of heart and undergunned!). Shifting bits glom onto a lever on the motor to set its head swaying back and forth while the mouth opens and closes. (If you're restoring built Zoids, watch out for the neck clip, especially if the plastic is marked Made In Singapore—it's prone to breaking.) The back and tail are attached as huge additional bits, and they work far more smoothly than you'd expect for a body built around a frame shared with a longneck and a mammoth.

Finished and set free, Gordos will plod across floors with jaws slowly chomping/head moving, main guns shifting up and down, and its entire body swaying to the rhythm of its stomp. It's awesome, and it's mesmerizing. My OJR is smoother in motion, though this could just be a batch issue. About the only letdown is the tail doesn't move independently, but that's a fault shared by all the Zoids built around the Zrk-related framework.

Besides all that motion and the railguns, Gordos is packing the standard old Republic popguns frame, and a host of spines making up some of the most advanced radar and sensor systems ever...well, until Gorhecks came along. If you have guns and connectors to spare (or just an inventive streak), it'll happy carry CP-10 and other heavy guns without pause. Those old large-size motors are tough buggers, and Gojulas uses pretty much the same one while weighing a good deal more.

My recommendation? If you're into Zoids for the mechanics and/or like the vintage Republic aesthetic, Gordos will be right up your alley. It's not quite the masterpiece that is Salamander, but it's hella nice, and very impressive on a shelf. The best part, from a budget standpoint, is that you won't have to pay an arm and a leg to pick one up. I see them at sale prices even now (alas, unloved stegosaurs!). Don't hesitate to grab an old release at a price you consider affordable, either, because asddfdadsdfffff, those colors. Just, as mentioned, check for broken neck clips—Gorgon is most often seen in prebuilt condition.

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