Tilly's Zoids

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Helcat

While the Helcat was developed early on in the era of the central continent war, it runs at high speed on any kind of treacherous road with its general-purpose build, and is a high-performance Zoid offering a lot of military gain. Thanks to the silencing feature built into its legs and because it's equipped with an exhaust system to suppress thermal emissions to the max, it can close in on enemies without getting spotted.

I got my first Helcat on impulse some time ago. I seem to remember a Channel Zi photograph being partially to blame, which is a pretty good indicator of how long ago "some time" was. Retailing for ¥600 at the time, Helcats were still plentiful, and Hasbro's Atak Kats even more so.

The box is standard early NJR small windup: small with a flap and hanging-hole on, and sporting late-90s-era photoshoppery of Helcat stalking through a forest. Inside are four frames of parts in a medium charcoal-ish grey and equally medium red, cockpit halves and clear green window piece (Helcat is a clamshell windup, for all its helmetted ears), grey caps, blue pilot, motor, and stickers. It's the same color scheme you'll find on the NJR Iguan and Saicurtis, making for a bit of unity in early Guylos rereleases. All of those early Guylos critters are actually Zenebas in breed, mind, acquired by the Dark Army in a less than friendly takeover operation.

My original review for this guy left out most of the construction, so you can check out the Zoids Graphics rerelease for that. I still want to point out its clever use of hidden sliderbits and multiple body-pieces, though, which put the bits that drive the legs inside the body other than a few pegs and give it a sleeker appearance than windups that leave it all hanging out. This is actually common among early Zenebas windups, most of which weren't available when this guy was released, but it came as a pleasant surprise to the new-to-small-windups me.

In fact, my only real complaint back when was the back guns—the slidey piece they attach to was extremely escape-prone until I added a small piece of paper between piece and body to tighten it up. Not all Helcats have this problem, so it seems to be a batch deal.

The walk doesn't disappoint, either. It's standard four-legged critter wibble with no extras, but with how Helcat's legs are positioned it ends up creeping along with a steady, catlike bit bit bit bit. Most of mine go pretty far, too. I say "most of mine" because I've gradually ended up with a number of them over the years...the NJR was my first, though, and while it's my least favorite of the three available color schemes, I say this with no disrespect. It looks good no matter which one you have, and it's a solid little windup well worth getting in packs.

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