Blue Command Wolf
Command Wolf is a Wolf Type Zoid that was first released by the Helic Republic. Command Wolves makes several appearances throughout the war, and have even been featured in other Zoids media such as comics, Anime and magna. The Command Wolf has assumed a small yet critical role for an archetypical character. One of the fastest Zoids of its size, it's speed gives the Command Wolf a great amount of flexibility. This increases it's adaptability to many different combat environments including but not limited to: search and rescue, scouting, and assault operations. Not unlike the white head Zoids of the past, Command Wolf has the ability to detach the rear mounted turret. The turret can then act as a separate, functioning vehicle.
The Command Wolf uses electron Bite Fangs as well as Strike Claws for it's basic weapons. Depending upon the unit, the main weapon changes, but the standard Command Wolf gun is a 50mm Double Barrel Beam Cannon. A pair of Smoke Discharges come standard, and can often be observed in use when viewing the Anime. With only one primary weapon Command Wolf can be viewed as considerably under-powered. The superior agility of the unit also comes with a sacrifice which is the unit's armor. The Command Wolf has sub-standard armor for it's size making it vulnerable to an array of attacks including basic Strike Claw and Bite Fang assaults.
Command Wolf made it's official appearance in the Original Battle Story, and was created to counter Empire Zoids like the Black Rhimos. Developed as a staple front line unit, the Command Wolf derives it's name from it's ability to lead smaller Zoids into battle. The unit was not very successful initially due to the lack of decent armor, as well as the under-powered weapons mentioned above. The Command Wolf, in it's standard version, would see a total of four long years in active duty before it was upgraded into it's MK II version. Known as the "Command Wolf MK II", this unit also had a short lifespan and was eventually replaced by the Zoid known as Hound Soldier approximately 7 years later.
After the meteor strike in ZAC 2056, the Republic re-introduced the Command Wolf design. This time all under developments were considered and the resulting product was the ninth Zoid to be produced in the Republic's new standard line up. New weapons systems were specifically developed for use by the Command Wolf, and the Command Wolf would finally be able to become properly utilized. In fact, this version worked so well that we would not see another Command Wolf for approximately 44 years at which time the Republic introduced "Command Wolf AC". Not only did Command Wolf AC get a CP-04 (Attack Cannon/Unit) standard, but it's combat, armor, and electronic systems were altered making it vastly surpass any other version. Consisting of a pair of 250mm Beam Cannons, the CP-04 had previously been used to boost fire power of smaller Zoids with great success. Along with the Beam Cannons, the CP-04 boasts a stabilizer unit that was implemented to help reduce the recoil and balance the massive (20 ton) weight of the CP. To make up for the additional weight of the CP, twin boosters were installed on the hind legs of Command Wolf AC. These boosters would compensate for the weight of the CP, and allow the Command Wolf AC to reach it's former top speed. At first, Command Wolf AC would be utilized only by an elite division of the Republic (The Flash Unit), but eventually these new units would become standard in many Republic troops.
Several other version of Command Wolf would be seen. From Blue to Red, all these variations featured enhanced performance systems tweaked just enough to make them unique. Almost all of the Command Wolves that were used during the war were destroyed by Prozen's attempted coup with his Bloody Death Saurer. Command Wolf plays a strong role in Zoids Anime. Appearing in every series, and piloted by a main character the Command Wolf has become an icon.
In Chaotic Century a Command Wolf modified to carry a long range rifle was piloted by one of the main, eye patched, protagonist characters known as "Irvine". Irvine and his Command Wolf would be seen regularly throughout the Anime, helping the forces of good triumph over Raven and his Geno Saurer. Although not specifically focused on, several other Command Wolves would be observed throughout the series. Eventually Irvine's Command Wolf is destroyed by Raven's Geno Breaker. In New Century Zero the Command Wolf is piloted by another protagonist by the name of "Brad Hunter". This Command Wolf would eventually be destroyed as well.
During Zoids Fuzors we are presented with a blue Command Wolf equipped with a Strike Claw System. Piloted by "Helmut", this Command Wolf would gain the ability to fuse with a Leo Striker, and through the fusion it's color would change from blue to white. This is the ONLY Command Wolf to ever survive an entire Anime. In Zoids Genesis, the Command Wolf would once again be used against Empire troops, this time facing Bio-Zoids. The Bio-Zoids made quick work of these Command Wolves, until one of the Command Wolf's pilots discovered how to effectively demolish the Bio-Zoids by shooting them in the jaws which effectively yielded one shot kills.
The Command Wolf is one of the more prolific Zoids model kits. There is nearly a small army to be amassed that could consist solely of unique releases. The Command Wolf was first released in Japan in 1986 as part of the OJR line, and is finished in white and grey with a smoke colored canopy. This was followed by the OER release known as "Zar Wolf". No changes were made to the model and only the packaging was different. Both of these version had gold chrome pilots. Depending upon you luck you could potentially catch one of these releases for under $40.00 US, but average range on these oldies is $40.00-$80.00 US.
In 1987 we saw Command Wolf MK II which was colored in white and blue color scheme. This version came with gold weapons, again there were no changes in the actual model. In 1999, we saw the most common version of Command Wolf released as part of the NJR line. Next we see an Anime tie in with Command Wolf Irvine. This unit was dull gray, red, and black. Command Wolf Irvine came with the long range rifle featured in the Anime, and also came with two versions of the actual character replacing the standard released pilots. These two version can still be picked up at a reasonable price from $14.00-$24.00 US. It was around this time when LeoShop started to issue gold and silver chromed Command Wolf kits. These chromed out versions are especially harder to locate now and can run up to $100.00 US.
Command Wolf AC was released next. This version is molded in metallic blue and black, and also carries the CP-04 unit as a standard part of the kit. The rose logo on the sticker sheet of Command Wolf AC is an unusual change that compliments the piece very nicely. In 2001, we saw the Hasbro release, which was identical to the NJR version, except for the packaging. Hasbro would also release Command Wolf Irvine in 2003. These versions are still available expect to pay around $25.00 US per unit.
Production began on some limited versions of the Command Wolf, and the first to be released accompanied the Game Boy Color game "Genobreaker's Story". Titled "Command Wolf EM", this kit was only released with the first batch of games. Produced in red and black, and adorned with blue caps and a green canopy. This Command Wolf was of Empire origin, and comes with the sticker sheet to reflect this. Command Wolf EM is better known as simply the "Red Command Wolf", and comes in a monochromatic red box. This version could set you back up to $70.00 US. The second run of the same game (Genobreakers Story), featured another limited Command Wolf. This time the version was a bit toned down and molded in a dull blue and black. This will set you back $30.00-$45.00 US.
In 2001 TOMY released another limited Blue Command Wolf. This came in a monotone blue colored box, and had a black body accented with gold trim. These can be found with ease at times, and wind up ending up at about $30.00-$50.00 US. In 2004, TOMY re-released the NJR Command Wolf and Command Wolf Irvine for the European market. No changes were made to the model itself, and only the packaging was different. It was this same year that TOMY released the Fuzors edition of the Command Wolf. This version is identical to the Command Wolf AC release save for the color which does not have as much metal flake as the NJR or Hasbro release. This Fuzors Command Wolf can still be located for around $30.00 US. Fuzors saw another Command Wolf release that was more "fitting" for the line. Known as "Command Striker" this was a Command Wolf packaged along with a Leo Striker, and connecting parts, both kits are a pearly white color. This version tends to go for a bit more than the standard Fuzors release at approximately $40.00 US per unit.
Not to be excluded from any special treatment, Command Wolf saw a limited Holotech release. This kit was black, red, and smokey grey. Although it did not come with the Command Wolf, a Holotech Leo Striker was released allowing the formation of a Holotech Command Striker. The Holotech Command Wolf is elusive, expect to fork over $50.00-$70.00 US for one.
The last release of Command Wolf was the Genesis version. There have been many complaints about the quality of this Genesis version, probably due to an exhausted mold. This version was tan and brown in color, and features a special sticker sheet. Known as "Command Wolf LC", this version used the Command Wolf Irvine mold, alas it did not come with special figures favoring a regular grey pilot instead.
Building a Command Wolf is always a satisfying experience. The engineering is unbelievable, and the kit packs a lot of punch for it's small size. The build is not complex, nor does it take a vast amount of time, but the kit presents well when finished. Part of the reason I hold the building of any Command Wolf unit very high is due to the fact that it incorporates a little bit of "everything", by touching on the basics of the classics. The legs are not overly complex yet still require building, the metal weight that resides in the neck gives it that good old school chogokin feel, and the head assembly is on par with anything near or larger than the Command Wolf itself. Running off of a wind up motor when activated, the Command Wolf can walk along at a steady pace. It's tail can be positioned, and it's head has two modes that can be switched between. The head can raise and lock into either an "up" or "down" position, allowing it to assume a variety of unique poses. The head also serves as a switch offering two speeds of movement. When the head drops, the neck engages the metal gear and effectively slows the unit down. With the head in it's standard position the Command Wolf is able to "run" and moves at a considerably faster pace. This is one of those kits where you think to yourself "I'll just get one" and, as if by magic, one quickly turns into two. Before you know it, you're on an exclusive Command Wolf hunt. Don't hesitate to add any of the variations to your collection.
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