Rich in both Zoids history and releases, the Redler is a Dragon type Zoid created by Zenebas Empire. The Redler was one of few units able to fight as well in the air as it did on land making it a multifunction Zoid. Redler was also one of the first Zoids to employ VTOL or Vertical Take Off and Landing, a flight technique in which an Zoid rises directly into the air and settles vertically onto the ground. The use of VTOL gave the Redler some distinct advantages over opposing Zoids of it's time which did not have the same capabilities.
Designed as a support or escort unit, the Redler was initially developed during Zenebas's exile on the Dark Continent of Nyx and dubbed as "Reddra". The Reddra is a sparsely armed unit, possessing only it's strike claws, a variable tail mounted laser blade, and only the most basic of equipment. Reddra did not have any long range capabilities, but pragmatic Zenebas engineers were known to equip long ranged weaponry. The Reddra's main focus was to escort the Death Saurer units along with the ground units known as Lidiers. This three way combination proved an effective combat strategy until advances in technology eventually enervated the Reddra's design. Released as part of the OJR line the Reddra or EHI-7 was released in Japan back in 1986. Reddra was colored in bright red and black and had translucent smoke colored wings and canopy. It was also released as "Zolkon" in 1988 as part of the Original European Release (or OER). Both Reddra and Zolkon had a silver chromed pilot figure.
Between 1988 and 1999 the Redler unit had two releases that were unrelated to any battle story. The first of which was under the Techno Zoid line under the name "Dragonfly", and the second was it's Zoids 2 appearance as the chromed "RedWing". The Dragon Fly was colored in a bright red and orange with translucent smoke colored wings and canopy. The Redwing was colored in a bright red chrome and black / gray variations we saw a steep variation with it's translucent deep orange colored wings and canopy. The RedWing's color scheme was said to inspire the appearance of a Redler seen in the Zoids Anime Chaotic Century and piloted by character "Viola".
We have decided that both Zoids 2 and TechnoZoids were released at about the same time, and there has even been talk that the two lines were just a re-packaging as opposed to two separate lines. Now the point of contention with the theory that Techno Zoids were/are re-packaged Zoids 2 (and vice versa) ends with Dragon Fly. I personally think this further differentiates both lines, and I have yet to actually see a Dragon Fly turn up for at auction. If anyone has one or (physical) proof one don't be afraid to write in and let me know about it. The Rew Wing is a flashy unit complete with the retro "computer" and "Celtic Tribal" stickers that are so oddly opposite that they work together in perfect harmony. I have found Red Wings to be very fragile units. The red chrome is accented well by the gold chrome on the stickers, and the red plastic (that's not chrome finished) has a translucent quality making it hard to actually peg down the shade of red it really is as it constantly changes depending upon the lighting. Red Wing can fluctuate in price, and is one of the more scarce versions of the Redler unit.
After the meteor incident in ZAC 2056 most of the "advanced" as well as airborne Zoids met their demise. Out of sheer need to be able to take to the skies the Reddra design was re-born under Guylos forces and with a new name: "Redler". The Redler would go on to become Guylos's prominent aerial based Zoid. Many Redler units properly mounted long range weaponry, usually the CP-9 ( or Booster Cannon) making them fiercely more formidable and allowing them to battle with Republic beasts like the Storm Sworder and Raynos. Redler would also pair up with Zabat making this duo a powerful air support team that was able to accompany both larger Zoids in combat and smaller Zoids on recognizance missions.
Now lets take a look at 1999 when Redler was part of the NJR line. Redler was formally introduced as "EZ-05" taking it's place in the letter/number designation system as being the fifth unit to be put into service for the Empire. This classic version of Redler is colored in purple and black with a pair of translucent smoke colored wings and canopy. Redler came with a blue pilot and retained the small wind up motor. Redler also retained this same color scheme for both it's Hasbro and New Pacific Release. It was also during this time that several unofficial chromed versions of Redler were produced by LeoSop.
A year later, in 2000, Redler was included with a Sony Playstation 2 Video Game. This version was colored red and gray and had translucent black wings. This piece is often referred to as the "Red Redler" due to it's color and the color of the box it comes in. The last two releases are highly elusive, not to mention expensive. In the same year (2000) the "Black Redler" was released as a convention exclusive. This Redler was finished in black and green and had translucent green wings making it very similar in appearance to the Dark Zoids. There is even some speculation that this was the third incarnation of the Redler in the battle story which could be in line with the battle story as it's content of origin was Nyx. It was said the Black Redler gained superior equipment and even had a cloaking system making the unit undetectable by even the most advanced radar systems.
The last Redler deemed the "Genesis Redler" was slated for release along with the other Genisis Zoids and was totally re-colored in white and bronze with translucent blue wings and canopy. This version also came with a new sticker sheet using the ancient Zoidian runes. There are a couple of different theories on why this piece did not see a formal release along with the rest of it's Genisis kin. The first being that the Redler was scheduled to be released near the end of the line, and with the line not selling well production ceased before it's official release. The second theory is that the actual Redler (Reddra) mold suffered irreparable damage. Whatever the reason for it's limited existence, we can safely assume the unit was limited to around 400 releases and may have been used for a Z-point campaign.
As for Zoids Anime appearances, the Redler was seen in Zoids: Chaotic Century and Guardian Force as mention above. Viola's Red Wing style Redler met it's match when it tangled with a GenoSaurer. Also, an NJR colored Redler acted as a transport vessel for Prince Rudolp. Black Redlers made their debut and, although significantly modified, posed a heated challenge for the story's main protagonist "Van" and his Blade Liger. Also spotted are several "fluff" Redlers that appeared to be defeated with ease. In Zoids: New Century Zero Dr. Tauros could be seen playing with a Black Redler model, and although the Redler was intended to appear in the Zoids: Genesis series, sadly we only heard it's name in dialogue.
Building a Redler is an excellent experience. Although lower on the difficulty and time consumption meter, the Redler quickly makes up for it by appearance and features. Built around a small wind up motor, when wound the Redler stomps along flapping its wings. The head can be positioned as can the laser blade housed inside the middle portion of the tail can be toggled. With so many variations, one could amass a large amount of both time and effort acquiring each and every release giving themselves a small but respectable exclusive Redler collection. A great starter kit, and a classic design withstanding the test of time. Do not miss the chance to add any version of Redler to your own personal collection.
Pictured below: Redler with arch nemesis Raynos.
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