Tilly's Zoids

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Leogator (Hasbro Fuzors variant and NJR)

Leogator was one of three designs that were both Blox and motorized. This was a strange concept, considering the entire point of Blox was "static but posable Zoids you can take apart and put back together weird ways", and much of the era's regular motorized designs already integrated Blox to high degrees (see Seismosaurus, Liger Zero Phoenix/Falcon, and Gairyuuki for the most extreme example).

Its companions were the Brachio Zilla (an indeterminate breed of dinosaur with a two-legged and four-legged mode) and the Dimetro Ptera (a Dimetrodon/Pteranodon). As you may have guessed by their dual types, the motorized Blox brought their own gimmick: transformation. Their motor boxes consist of two plastic rectangles (stylized like Blox) with a foldy piece in the middle. Slip in one AAA battery and screw the end shut, and the whole assembly will operate either as one long stick or a taller but less lengthy rectangle. It's quite a clever little motor; I'm kinda sad very few people have built customs around its unique shape.

I sometimes wonder if the transforming Blox were Hasbro designs before Tomy, or at least a joint effort. While they're a little ugly, they're actually decently impressive for what could be early efforts. The transformations, while favoring one mode some, aren't death by kibble in the other, and all of them walk decently. I'd have liked to see more.

In Leogator's case, you take your pick of a Lion-type (built around the box) or an Alligator-type (built around the stick). Get tired of it? A disassembly, a motor-transforming, and some moving around of parts before reassembly, and you have the other. Don't expect a mode shift like Gungy or Gojulas Giga, this takes work. On the plus side, there's no extra pieces left over in either mode to lose.

Whichever mode you build it in (and damn, are the Japanese instructions on a large piece of paper for a Blox), Leogator builds like a Blox: stick bits together, stick bits onto body. They're not too hard to tell apart or figure out, so you're pretty safe just trimming the lot and sticking together the obvious components before picking kitty or gator. The results are about as articulated as a brick with a movable jaw (and moveable back gun, in the Gator's case), but when turned on (the switch is moved by the lower mane in the lion mode, and the head in the gator mode), they plod along dutifully with their stiff legs, taunting those who denounced all Blox as floppy, unmoving, and without caps.

Granted, it does neither Blox nor motorized Zoid as well as dedicated Zoids in either category, but it's a walking Blox, dammit, and it can be built as two different animals.

Now, release differences!

Both the Dimetroptera and Leogator saw Fuzors-style color schemes under Hasbro, and the Dimetro Ptera went by "Dimetra Ptera", perhaps because it's easier to say. The NJR released them in blue-and-grey color schemes suiting that era's Zoids and came up with some Blox fusions for them...and also priced them a bit high, at ¥1980 a head. They languished in discount-land afterward, as did Hasbro's gloriously orange Dimetra Pteras.

The Hasbro Leogator, on the other hand, appears to only have surfaced in the UK in 2005, as part of a large amount of unwanted Hasbro Zoids dumped on UK toy stores to sell instead—some of which never saw US release. Luckily, I was there at the time. Less luckily, I had trouble finding them even then and had to have someone else send me one. I got my Japanese one much, much later, thanks to Toywave having them on sale for five dollars.

Personally, I prefer the Hasbro, but both have their own color appeal:

Tomy: Periwinkle (suited to Gairyuuki, Evo Flyer, etc), black, navy, and silver-grey with dull orange caps. The motor is clear charcoal, and the cockpit glass orange.

Hasbro: Pearl white (similar to the later Gildragon, in fact), medium grey, and royal blue with red caps. The motor and cockpit seem identical to the Tomy ones.

The Tomy Leogator has a Fanbook Ex, which is disappointly more fluff than story, but does feature some interesting fusions: Evo Flyer and the Gator mode for Scissor Arm Gator, and Gairyuuki's Blox buddies and the Leo mode for Armored Leo. I am slightly surprised the latter didn't feature in Fuzors, given the pilots involved; maybe if Luke had gotten rescued faster it would have. And maybe if the Japanese marketing team didn't hate Luke (he's not mentioned on merchandise most of the time, even Buster Fury-related), we'd have gotten an all-pearl Japanese release of Hasbro's Fuzors-style Leogator. Bah.

Someday I may swap their legs, since I suspect dark blue would look badass with the pearl. But for now, Hasbro is in Lion mode, Tomy is in Gator mode, and neither have the ridiculous safety tip missile in their missile launcher. Worst tacked-on weapon ever, that thing is. Oh, call it a Z-Faust all you want, Tomy box, it looks silly.

Do you want a Leogator? Well, if you don't like the transforming gimmick and the neither-mode-perfect it brings, probably not. Same with if you dislike cats or alligators; and for those who just have a hate-on for cats ('cause hating the popular things makes you cool), the lion mode seems to have been the dominant one in the game of "which mode do we make look a bit more solid". But if you want one of the weirdest, most unique Blox designs, or just want a Blox with a motor, give it a try. Sadly, if you like the Fuzors Leogator colors, they've pretty much vanished these days...but the Tomy one's still kicking around, as are the also-worthy Dimetra Ptera.

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