When one thinks of Zoids it's probable that images of various Shield Ligers are conjured up in the mind. The Shield Liger is a lion type Zoid created by the Republic and used throughout the history of planet Zi. Central to many of the Zoids Battle stories, Shield Liger was designed using the basic frame of the Empire's Saber Tiger. The basic Shield Liger design has remained a very capable and versatile Zoid even though it has been exceeded in performance by more modern Zoids.
Being the very first Zoid to make use of an energy shield, Shield Liger derives it's name from this ability. The shield forms from the mane of the Liger and protects the front half of the Zoid in battle. This was a paramount advancement in technology and, at the time, and made the Zoid almost unmatchable. The energy shield or "E-Shield" would continue to be utilized on Zoids like Gojulas Giga. The energy shieldcan also be used to protect the Liger while it runs at full speed effectively turning the Liger into a battering ram. The energy shield was very effective until it crossed paths with a Death Saurer which rendered it useless. Shield Liger was one of the main character Zoids appearing in the Zoids Anime Chaotic Century. The Shield Liger was discovered in a desert and restored by Van's (the central protagonist) Organoid named Zeke. The Shield Liger fought many battles through approx. half of the series and was eventually destroyed by a Genosaurer. The Shield Liger would be resurrected later on as the variation known as "Blade Liger".
The standard Shield Liger is equipped with a large array of weapons. First are the claws, known as "Strike Claws" they are able to swipe and tear into enemy armor. Shield Liger also sports a pair of laser sabers along with an Anti-Zoid 3 barrel shock cannon mounted directly under its chest. The back of the unit harbors a pop-out missile pod, and the tail features a double barrel 20 mm Beam Cannon. This is all rounded out with a 30mm double barrel Beam Gun.
Shield Liger was first released as part of the OJR line and was known as "Shield Tiger" probably in reference to it's likeness to the Saber Tiger. This version was colored light blue and has white caps and a smoke colored canopy. The Robostrux release was the next version we saw, and there is some debate over this version as no complete piece has ever been found. Going by the name of "Fangz", this version was dull blue in color.
The basic version of Shield Liger was also released as part of the Zoids 2 line, and was named "Claw". This is a flashy colored version of the Liger finished in gold chrome, accented with neon green, and a majestic purple and black body. The Techno Zoids release was the same, and there is speculation that the Tehcno Zoids release is nothing more or less than a repackaged Zoids 2 Claw. The Zoids 2 and Techno Zoids Claw are hard to come by and demand high prices when successfully located. In 2004 the Desert Shield liger was released as a video game exclusive. If you were lucky enough to land a copy of the Japanese release of Zoids Versus II for the Nintendo gamecube, you were treated to this elusive best. This Shield Liger was colored sandy tan with orange caps.
The NJR and Hasbro release of the Shield Liger are the most abundant of all releases. This version saw a deeper blue color as well as an orange canopy. It is with this release that TOMY scaled down the battery compartment to fit only one double A battery instead of the usual two. The battery lid was also changed from a clip closure to a screw down closure. Shortly after this release Hasbro released a Holo Tech version of the Shield Liger. The body was a transparent blue and grey. This unit is seen in Canada, and is harder to locate. About a year ago a case of Holo Tech Shield ligers were discovered in the remnants of an old toy store. The founder has been supplying eBay with a steady stream of them since, and they seem to be getting sparse.
A very versatile unit, the basic Shield Liger design lacked potent long ranged weapons, and thus began the variations. The first variation was known as the Shield Liger MK II, which mounted a pair of Heavy Beam Cannons on the Liger's back. With these new cannons in place the Shield Liger now became a long ranged terror. The Heavy Beam Cannons set, also known as the CP-01 took the place of the normal missile pods on the Liger. These missile pods were not forsaken, and were added to the back of the unit further increasing it's firepower. The drawback to the addition of these large cannons was their heavy weight which decreased the speed at which the Liger could move. Originally released back in 1987 by TOMY, the Shield Liger MKII was brought back to life by Toys Dream Project in 2005 making it more available and less frustrating to locate.
The next variation was known as Shield Liger "DCS-J" or Double Cannon Special Jet. The unit is one of few Ligers to have an almost all black color scheme, and featured improved performance systems which made it harder to control. In 2006 we saw the most obscure release of the Shield Liger, known as the "Mystery Liger" this unit was only spotted in the UK. The Mystery Liger was identical in color to the Shield Liger MK II but lacked the cannons and also has a more yellow based sticker sheet.
The last Shield Liger released was another premium this time used to promote the strictly online Zoids game released only in Japan. Known as Shield Liger Commander SP, this version was a white box release and highly limited. The normal rate for one of these units as of this writing is around $200.00 US. This version included a Zoids Pilot card for use in the Zoids card game as well as an autograph from a Famous Japanese professional wrestler by the name of "Liger". Shield Liger Commander SP is finished a pearlescent red and equipped with the dual Heavy Beam Cannons.
Building the Shield Liger is an enjoyable experience. Some consider the legs to be tricky and this part of the build has been label as "TLL" or Tricky Liger Legs syndrome. The build is of medium length and is pretty straight forward, and once complete the unit walks forward with its jaws animated. Shield Liger should be a staple in any Zoids collection and the presence of one is not to be missed. Shield Liger is also the basis for the Blade Liger design.
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