Tilly's Zoids

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Gildragon

Almost every model fan knows Gilvader, if only by name. It's near-impossible not to if you hang out in the community or cruise the net, even for a little while. A monster-sized Grade-Up from hell, it snacked on Saly F2 and took on Mad Thunder, the ultimate tank of the time...and won. Its undoing as nigh-invincible came in the form of a pointy horse, but it would rather you didn't talk about that. Gilvader is even enough to get people remembering the name of the otherwise horribly obscure Störmer from the old battle story.

The problem? Gilvaders don't come cheap—or they didn't when Gildragon came out. Before the Rebirth Century rerelease and even more so before Gildragon, Gilvaders would set you back hundreds, and they'd often be missing a horn or two and/or their tailspikes if you got them built.

The solution? Gildragon, a Gilvader recolored to fit in the the Genesis dragon Zoid crew. And it comes in one heck of a of a box, with monster frames in classic giant stompy Zoid style—Gilvy is, after all, a stompy Zoid taken to flight. Expect to pay a lot for shipping, even in the states. Import you'll be looking at even more, but EMS means Gildy in your lap in scarce few days. Though you probably don't want something this big and pointy in your lap...

Gildy's boxme and a sprueme and another sprue

Regardless of what you think of the old colors (imo Gilvader did purple and black before those Geno and Sworder and Seismo wannabes, and it did it better), Gildragon's are pretty impressive. You start off with blue translucent bits and blue LIGHTS, which are far brighter than any LED-ish Zoid's. They're also still on separate batteries, so you can watch them merrily blink away without setting Gildy loose on the floor.

clear blue pieceslights

Aside from that, you have gold, a metal flake bronze similar to Liger Zero X, Prussian blue, and the main color: a sleek, pearly white. Some photos paint it as just gloss off-white, but it's not. It's metallic, it's shiny, and it rocks. Overall, it looks similar to the old Republic Mk.II color scheme, though not quite the same—next to each other, you can spot the difference immediately. Shield Liger will be happy to show you later on in the review. And you get a proper manual, no fold-out stuff! Also included are some various bits, Dragon Tridents (those funky-looking horns from the anime), and a white pilot. Not pearl, white. Okay.

Gildragon, as you have seen by now, comes with new horns. If you're like me and hate how Genesis aesthetics look slapped onto something so Guylos and can't stand anything but the old masers, you can sleep soundly knowing they're included on the frames as before. ZAP!

other bitsGildy's manualsprue with masers

The main fun in Gildy, though, is in the building. Many Zoids prebuild fun bits as part of the motor...not so here. Gildy's got what's essentially a Salamander motor with a spinny thing on top. You get to stick together all the cool spinny gears and all the interconnecting bits, starting with all the spinny grade-uppy stuff. The only thing prebuilt is the bit the lights are in that houses the grade-up ports, but I can forgive that, with it being electronic.

You move on to the tail-yes, the tail moves. It swishes up and down! I actually left the pokey spikes (either Rear Cutting Wings or Tail Slashers depending on if you ask Gilvy or Gildy) for last-they're fragile, as hunters of old built Gilvaders know all too well, and building a Gildy requires a lot of moving it around.

built Gildy tail

The wings are a treat, too. They're funfiddly to get together, not agonizing aughineedthreehands. They use a rather clever mechanism involving springs and little wibbly bits to attach to the Beam Smashers, all while also fitting lights inside. Whew. I wasn't quite expecting how solid the wings are, either-they've got some good bulk to them, enough that you can almost believe they can get this 333-ton monster off the ground and going Mach 4. Almost. (I still maintain they used that weight because it was half 666, which would have been even more ridiculously heavy.)

...I can't believe I didn't get a picture of that bit. aslkfjdksgjjkl;. Next the wings are attached to the body, a bit of a feat in itself if you've got small hands like me. Still, Gilvy is pretty easy to keep a grip on. They use a relatively simple attachment, too...aside from the bits that poke onto to our friends from before, the spinny gears. Remember those? They're gonna make those smashers SPIN!

Gildy, one wing donetwo wings doneBeam Smasher closeup

Now we get to my other favorite bit-the legs. Something about them struck a "this is COOL" chord in me. I'm not quite sure why. They go together, all elegant simplicity (the phrase of the day as far as Gildy is concerned), with no extra bits, no five million things to align...and yet they work very well. They're solid, they look cool...and they finish bringing the body together, connecting all this stuff that's been building into a decptively simple work of engineering.

The best bit about leaving the tailspikes off? You can leave Gildy lying upside-down while you work on each leg!

upside down GildyGildy, legs on

So all that's left now is the head and neck. The only thing that gave me any grief was the wires for the eye lights, and they're not too bad. And here's where you'll have to make your choice of horns...while they're swappable, it takes a bit of pressure, and pressure and translucent plastic make Tilly nervous. The other bits are sturdy, but the canopy requires a bit of care trimming. Once everything's lined up and poked together, and Gildy has its various bristly front guns, the poor pilot hanging out on the floor can finally find safe haven...

...or not, as my Gildy's cockpit has a low ceiling. It smacks him on the head every time, making a resounding TWACK of canopy hitting plastic cranium and throwing the poor bastard out of his seat. As a result, he's developed a penchant for jumping, either trying to do himself in or merely trying to escape. He makes me nervous...I just know he's going to team up with my shelf-jumping Storch.

But look, it's DONE!

complete Gildy

In motion, Gildy does a great number of things, and does them pretty well. The only fault is a bit of stagger as it lifts the wings...but it's working on a Saly-style motor and one double A, you have to cut it a bit of slack, right? Especially considering that it not only does the traditional walk and chomp jaws, it swishes its tail up and down, flaps its (rather heavy) wings, spins four sets of sawthings, plus three grade-up ports. I don't know who designed all this, but they were a genius.

Gildy went on to proclaim himself lord of the basement, wander around looking ominous (or perhaps just happy to be free), and run with scissors. Such a dangerous battle machine beast, he is.

Gildy towers over the basementglowy mouthGildy is biteymore glowy eyes

After being scolded for being so reckless (those safety scissor points could put out somebody's eye!), Gildy made his way upstairs to get photographed in the dying sunlight, since I figured getting a few full-body shots would be nice. Hah! Fitting a Gilvader in a chair is not an easy task, and it would take many future attempts on a later date to get some decent shots as seen below. Note the hindclaws: Gildy has four pointy bits per foot, not three as I'd thought.

Gildy in the chairGildy, blues onlyGildy on the piano benchGildy, rear viewGildy's legs

I took more pictures of the glowy bits too. Everybody loves glowy bits!

cockpit open, lights offcockpit open, lights onGildy laughsGildy at night

And then Shield Liger sat on him. Surprisingly, Gildy had no inclination to demonstrate a Beam Smasher's ability to chop a Shield Liger Mk.II in half lengthwise. Perhaps through all the rereleasing and time involved, the pair have calmed enough to get along. Or maybe Gildy's just glad I didn't stack Gunbluster on him for a color/size comparison.

Gildy with ShieldyShieldy sits on Gildy

Finally, the question came...where the hell do I put this thing? The solution? Fling some fleece on top of some boxes and claim it's a shelf. Gildy happily nestled in, eating a gashapon Orudios in celebration. He now lives out his life glowing ominously and playing piano, wearing a Zenebas logo I filched off a built Heldy. Don't ask me how it got on a Heldy or where it's from, because I don't know. Still, he seems to have mellowed from his Gilvader days, only once attempting to munch on my Salamander variants. (Those old stories are such a bad influence!)

Gildy with blue Zenebas logoGildy with blue Zenebas logo closeupGildy munches on BombvernGildy plays piano

Conclusion, after all that? The Gilvy mold has that certain...je ne sais quoi that makes a Zoid a Zoid to me, the embodiment of why they eat my brain and my money. The engineering, the design, those sleek sexy Guylos lines...I love it. And now that I have a reissue Gilvader to compare, I can safely say that, wonderful as Gilvader is, Gildragon has the superior color scheme.

If you like Zoids for the building and/or engineering, even just a little, get Gildragon and give it a try. I mean it, you want one. The only negative thing I can find to say is that it eats shelf space like nothing else on earth.

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