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Kingliger – Tilly's Zoids

Tilly's Zoids

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Back in 2005, the Zoids rebirth of 1999 was many years in—and, in fact, fizzling. But it had done its job on the smaller Gradeups and their rarity, moving them from those weird one-piece-leg machines nobody wanted to "you want how much?" Kingliger had always bounced just out of my reach with its curious sleek lines, it and the (then even rarer, and now quite common) Lidier the only cat-types I didn't have in some form.

History tidbit: Kingliger was the first Zoids cat to do the blades thing, though it shares the "first bladed Zoid" title itself with its rival, Siegdober...well, there's that thing in Reddra's tail, which makes it more first ground Zoid with blades. For serious, how are you meant to use Reddra's? Butt slash attack?

Amusingly enough, I got mine right about the same time as Murasame Liger was first out. Not amusing was the price. Thanks to their apparently smaller production runs, old-school Gradeups were (and still are, for the ones not graced by Graphics/Rebirth Century reissues) quite tricky to find. Very few of them ever made of it out of Japan, but mine did, and had been sitting around all lonesome in a box since.

I freed it, of course. And I did it in England and in bad lighting, so you'll have to go elsewhere for build pictures!

A view of Kingliger slightly below and to the side, showing its guns and bladesThree-quarter view of Kingliger, taken with the camera tilted partially to the sideCloseup of Kingliger's hindquarters, showing off the Gradeup emblemKingliger's hindlegs and rear, including the strange handle on its arseKingliger from behind

The box contained the usual suspects of frames (in pure white, silver-grey, metal flake deep red, and chrome gold), instructions (larger and more booklet-like, no folding), caps (small, windup-sized black), and assorted bits. The assorted bits are the most interesting in an old Gradeup, in that they include the motor, various metal parts, and some gears.

In other words, you get to build your motor box, sticking little gear bits and motor bits and battery contact bits together, and giving you some insight into how the various spinny and metal things make your Zoid go. While some people picked on Hasbro prebuilding this for Battle Cougar (and later on Tomy for doing the same), I find it rather understandable, if disappointing. My motor box was easy to put together, but it was also cranky. One of the metal bits was a bit warped and wouldn't unwarp properly, necessitating a quick and slightly odd fix: wedging a piece of paper above the whole assembly so it'd be pushed down into place when I closed the top on the body. While fun for me, this and other issues with things slipping or escaping are not the sort of thing you want kids building your kits to have to do!

Gradeup Zoids also take flak for having relatively simple construction and one-piece legs. While this is true, I suspect part of the hate comes from prices they sell for now. People are expecting more engineering and bulk for their 60-plus dollars, but they're actually around the size of a large wind-up. Their original prices in the 1000-1500 yen range reflected this better. Kingliger hovers between the Command and Whitz Wolves in size, and is a little bigger and pokier than the once-plentiful (and now again rare, as Genesis gets scarce) Houndsoldier. Not small, but not very big either. Go in expecting simple windup at small battery-op size, and you'll have more fun. If you want actual engineering, go for Gungy or Orudios..or better yet, Gilvy or King G.

Kingliger with cockpit openA closeup of Kingliger's head with the cockpit still openKingliger's tailfins and gun

Back to Kingliger itself! Other than the motor, the build is simple as mentioned, the main difficulties being the cockpit bit with the eyes liking to escape until the white cover is on and the chrome blades being tricky to get entirely in. I can't speak for the rerelease, but the plastic quality on my old-school one was fantastic, as is the color scheme. I love the mix of colors, the deep metallic red...while red is a color one normally associates with the Empire, Kingliger sells its role as a Republic Zoid thanks to the gold chrome. If one wanted to do a faction-swap repaint, a bit of paint-stripping to make the gold silver and exchanging white for black or another red would make a very attractive Zenebas critter. Either way, Kingliger is best summed up with "classy", a sharp contrast to the awesome-tacky of its Kingbaron brother.

Closeup on the shield generator on Kingliger's front shoulder.Full side view of Kingliger on a white backgroundThe power connector port on Kingliger's backA view of Kingliger's rear and left flank on a white background

Walking brings up the one advantage to Kingliger's odd, stiff legs: its gait is straightforward, meaning no wobbling or heading off-course. You can stop it at any point in its walk cycle without it listing to one side.

Assuming you can actually track down a gradeup weapon, it'll also spin/move the additional upgrade bits of your choice. Gungy's pulse cannon is a particularly nice match, which makes it a pity you can't put the hyper CPC on Gungy without it. Another fun but more static option, in my opinion, is the Wind Dancers from the Genesis powerup line, which look nice stuck on the standard pegs below the front shoulders (via the little adapters you get in every early Blox kit). They clash horribly in the color department, but that's nothing a little paint won't fix.

Kingliger from the side, backlit by a window.  The camera is tilted partially to the side.Kingliger posed standing and seen from below.Side view of Kingliger wearing the Wind Dancer custom part, which is large purple and gold boosters attached to its front legs

Old-school Kingligers will run you at least a hundred (MIB, anyway), so I'm hesitant to recommend a vintage Kingliger to all but the most discerning of kitty Zoid collectors. The good news? Since I reviewed my OJR, Rebirth Century has rereleased it. And like the original release, it's not popular right now, meaning that you can pick one up for a very reasonable chunk of moneys. The only differences are the sadly par-for-the-course prebuilt motor box and a peg on Kingliger's head, part of the minor changes to the mold to make it Kingbaron back when. Count it as a chance to add more guns. So long as prices stay reasonable, Kingliger is quite worth picking up, both for its originality and for its wonderful colors.

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