Tilly's Zoids

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Berserk Fury

Renowned as one of the most complex models in the NJR, BF comes in an accordingly large box. Beyond differences in batch (the lavender varies, the eggbeaters may be less or more squishy, and some BFs seem more prone to falling on their arses regardless of country of origin) and a slightly modified sticker sheet, the models are the same whether you buy Tomy or Hasbro.

The BF's original name is the reason for the sticker edit: the original sheet has "Berserk Führer" visible in places. Yeah, Tomy, I don't know what you were thinking with that one. I'll call it BF—or BuF, if we're talking about the Buster Fury in Fuzors.

The box, once opened, amounts to the usual Zoid-y bits and a metric crapload of little pieces, most of which are fiddly and many of which are lavender. The frames go from A to U, and that's not counting the unlettered bits—this is a Zoid that will tear your fingernails to shreds if you use them to burnish pieces like I do. Aside from the lavender, the colors you'll be seeing are a pleasing very dark grey, some silver trim and blades, and ruby eyes. This is a Zoid of few colors, but it makes that look classy.

I make no secret of the fact I prefer mechanical motor-related goodness to fiddlycomplex, but BF delivers in both places. It starts off by irritating you with a very "wish I had three hands" moment: lining up clever moving bits in its neck while the two sides try to escape. But they're not there to look cool, they're there to let it move its neck down while extending the CPC barrel. The tail's inner moving bits are escape-prone too, and mine required their holes being widened to work smoothly—but because of them, BF can raise and lower every single piece of its tail armor. See where I'm going? The back legs are a world of pieces, and since every single detail in the armor wants to be a separate piece, you'll be forking stuff together long after they're functional. This is the one bit that bugs me—Gairyuuki does it better, having the same structure with simpler armor over it.

Like all Zoids that get their narrow frames from having external batteries, BF has to lug around a backpack, disguised as boosters and vents in this case. You assemble some other stuff to go on it, though: more boosters (very simple open and shut affairs with no popping-out pieces, alas) and the famous Buster Claws...aka the eggbeaters. These are formed by poking together a series of two-piece arms around and between connecting joints, which then hold a spinnable thing that the blades clip on to—quite clever, but also large enough that the entire construct likes to escape from BF's backpack if posed without care. Speaking of which: the claws and arms have plenty of articulation and can be folded, spread out, turned, and moved to face all sorts of directions and angles. You can do pretty much anything, though Death Raser's got the edge in rude hand gestures. The one bad point? The soft plastic often degrades, so your BF's claws may end up drooping in the end.

The resulting Zoid is a very pointy, very boxysleek construct that wouldn't look halfway as menacing white or grey or anything else but lavender. I preferred the Breaker looks-wise when I first built it and I still do, but BF is the superior model from a technical standpoint. BF's got a proper walk, though it's not the most interesting one: it stomps forward and wiggles its arms a bit while its tail swishes back and forth thanks to gravity. Its engineering shines on the second mode, however. Flip the switch on its backpack to position 2 and it stops, lowers its head, deploys its CPC barrel, and puffs out all its neck and tail armor. It stays that way for a bit, then reverses the process in an endless loop of mesmerizing armor go up, armor go down. Dude.

It's here I get to my one warning if you're after a BF (or, for that matter, a Gairyuuki). The motorbox has a very breakprone gear. It functions well for a while (usually), and then this little gear cracks, leaving BF clicking helplessly and unable to do its awesome thing. There doesn't seem to be any real way to tell if or when this will happen, but it's happened to lots of batches worth of BF variants, and it usually doesn't happen right away—so have fun finding a replacement for the whole motor D:. If I ever find a reliable source for replacement gears, I'll share it (with pictures). Anybody know of one?

Still, the BF is a classic among new-release Zoids, and to miss the experience of building one at some point would be a shame. While I prefer the later Gairyuuki take on the frame in looks and building, I wouldn't want to have only one or the other. They're very different in feel despite looking about the same when nekkid, and thus both worthy critters to keep in a collection.

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