Tilly's Zoids

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Jäger Unit (original and chrome)

I have no progress pics of the regular unit, so please forgive the shiny bits in the build review. And yes, I know my regular Jaeger has one set of face fins upside-down. I've since fixed that ;p.

der Jäger

One of many reasons the Liger Zero became such an enduring fixture of the new Japanese line was no doubt its Changing Armor System: clever engineering and marketing in one. The base Zero can be stripped down to structure, various holes and connections waiting for one of many armors. You get a plain white one with the Zero, but if you want any of the future ones (and boy, are there a lot of them), you have to buy them separately. The first batch were the Schneider, Jäger, and Panzer, each with their own specialty...and the added star power of the lead role in Zoids /Zero.

The Jäger was the high-speed armor, furthering the natural abilities of the Zero in a series of sleeker bits in blue, many fins, and Very Large Boosters. Its only ranged weapons other than its generic shock cannon were some little vulcans, but when you can move at three hundred thirty kilometers per hour and maneuver at that speed, closing in on an enemy isn't going to be much of a problem. What is going to be a problem is finding a Jäger armor of your own, as it's been quite a whole since they were last produced. I remember when you could pick up CAS at just about any decent importer, but these days they've all but dropped off the face of the earth at most regular stores. I suggest looking at Mandarake rather than Yahoo Japan auctions, as you can avoid using a middleman service.

What do you get if you track down a Jäger Unit? Eight frames of navy, light blue, and medium grey pieces, and with a lot of prepainted light blue details. This was the height of the prepainted-happy era, and the Jäger has more painted bits than not! There's also a sheet of unique stickers, including a few large ones for the boosters, which is a nice step up from the generic warnings included with most custom parts.

The Jäger is mostly a custom part at heart, mind, and it assembles like one: most steps are very simple, and amount to sticking together a piece or two and then sticking them on the Liger. The leg and shoulder bits are slimmer than the base Zero's and covered in fins, with the ones over the rear hips even movable. The face is protected in a series of additional fins, the largest of which sweep back like antennae...which they are, in the sensor sense. But really, the main attraction here is the boosters. They're big, mounted on mobile grey bits attaching to a large light blue shoulder piece complete with its own little fin. The boosters themselves are composed of multiple pieces, including large posable side fins, and flip-up tops that fan out several grey pieces when opened.

The manual shows removing the regular armorLeg armor onThrusters onBooster assemblyBoosters on bodyFace bits

In case you hadn't guessed by now, the Jäger likes itself some fins. I've seen its aesthetics compared to a sports car in that it looks like it's in motion even when it's standing still, and this is very true. It looks fast beyond the numbers on the box, and the end result is a one hella nice blue zoomy cat (and my favorite of the CAS in terms of build). Anime fans will note it's a good deal darker and less saturated than Bit Cloud's ride of choice, but I think this works well with the off-white Zero.

Boosters openJaeger faceJumpingGeneric pose

der Chromjäger

This sucker was on my mental Zoids wants list pretty much since I first saw it on Zoids Tribute. Hands up, other people who found Zoids during the early NJR and remember the photos page and its shiny Zeros? To be honest, I'm not sure of their origins—I've heard both contest and convention limited, though Leoshop sold their own versions back in the day. And like everyone else, I assumed Leoshop's golden Zoids would be around forever. Whoops.

I make no secret of my thing for shiny blue (and red, but that's another matter). But I could never justify the prices the chrome CAS went for. Cue the Gungy shortage: Toywave got sent six when they ordered over two hundred. Not being one of the first six, I got the option of a cash refund or store credit + 10% off, and Ken had one of these in stock right at the right moment...

The box is bog stock other than the sticker, which notes it's a 限定メッキコーティングバージョン limited plated coating version, aka "chrome". If you ever see a sealed CAS box with one of these stickers on for a reasonable price, snap it up, 'cause those aren't ordinary Zero bits.

Box front with limited stickerBox pic

Something weird of note: My Jäger was cast in off-white plastic. It doesn't look to be "Ghost Zoid" GITD before some shiny-killin' smartarse tries it, but it's not the regular blue, and the bits that would have been painted aren't. This means it was cast with the express pupose of platingification. I'm quite curious if the Leoshop CAS are the same, as while their regular golden Zoids were aftermarket jobs, I'd heard rumors they were involved in the making of the original run of the plated CAS, and this could confirm or deny that. Even weirder? The chrome Schneider isn't clear white, it's part grey and part pale yellow.

Also of note: DEEP TEAL BLUE. IT EATS BRAINS. "Photos do not do it justice" may apply to many shiny objects, but it really applies to this thing's color. It's the most wonderful teal-tinged rich blue something, the only down point in its DEEP TEAL BLUE glory being that some of the pieces are rather undersprayed on one side. This mostly doesn't show.

Undersprayed bitsParts, on framesParts, trimmed

Speaking of down points, the unit shares the usual problems of chrome Zoids. All of 'em require touchup work and careful trimming plus a bit of shaving down, but this sucker's white underplastic meant I had to take a sky blue sharpie to it. I still don't have the shade right, but it's close enough to hide most of the horrid white marks. While a couple key points were pre-stripped (or never chromed), others still took sanding, shaving, and a lot of swearing. The worst were the booster covers, which required stripping some visible bits and wincing as I put more weight on them than I thought they could take. On the plus side, the boosters themselves can turn, as that hole was one of the not-chromed bits.

From aboveFrom the frontGeneric full passHeadshot

Frustrations aside, this thing is stunning built. It retains the Jäger posability in the mane, though I'd leave the antennae alone. Assuming you did a good job with trimming and stripping, the boosters and side thrusters can be moved and unfolded with care. And come on, it's one of the NJR's signature designs covered in sleek DEEP TEAL BLUE, how can you go wrong?

Conclusion

In a perfect, availability-neutral world, my end conclusion would be get the shiny one now. But in reality, it's Too Fecking Rare for me to recommend it to anyone but dedicated chrome/metalizing fans and Zero enthusiasts...even the regular armor will take some finding. This is a real pity, as it's my favorite of the CAS from a model standpoint. It suits the Liger's lines perfectly unlike the (non-KFM) Panzer, and doesn't have loosening-prone bits like the Schneider. If you can only get one armor set and like all three aesthetically, this is the one I'd turn to first.

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