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Zoids - Toys of the 90s

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Zoids - Toys of the 90s

 

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This multi-media model-kit-based franchise introduced by toy company Tomy (now Takara-Tomy); featured various model kit series, mechanically driven 1/72th scale mecha model kits that resemble a wide range of robotic dinosaurs, animals and creatures.

They are fictional mechanical life-forms, from the planet Zi. A Zoid is a mechanical animal formed around a techno-organic 'core' known as a Zoid Core, which serves as its heart and mind. The Core is considered to be 'alive', making the Zoid a living creature. Otherwise, its body is an artificial mechanical construct like any other mecha.

These robotic dinosaurs, animals and insects could be knocked off in a few hours; they included assembly instructions; and they did not require the use of glue. Moreover, unlike other model toys, once completed they could even walk, instead of just standing still on the shelf.

though now produced by various companies through licenses. The majority of the franchise is built around and focused on the various model kit series released, traditionally mechanically driven 1/72th scale mecha model kits that resemble a wide range of animals and creatures. In recent years, the franchise has expanded from strictly motorized model kits to highly detailed and posable model kits, action figures and even PVC figurines. The various anime series, comics, manga books and video games all serve as tie-in media products for the franchise, to expand both consumer base and franchise recognition.

Initially the line was released in Japan in the early 80s where it became a big hit, however when introduced in the United States things were quite different and by early 90s sales in Japan had declined too. But it was just a matter of time for them to hit the toys' hall of fame.

The Zoids came back to the toy and model scene, and aided by a cartoon series in Japan, they became a big hit in both the Japanese and Western markets.

Zoids come from the planet Zoid, which looks like the Earth but has a whole lot more exposed metal veins in the landscape. The animals, therefore, had high metal ion densities as they evolved, and so the creatures possessed metal cell structure.

There were humans on Zoid too, who were divided into the Republic and the Imperial sides, and they trained their robotic animals to fight.

There are different kind of Zoids; good and bad, some are warfare-ready, but some just want to eat, try not to be eaten, and take the occasional afternoon nap just like any animal.

By the late 90s Zoids had added weaponry, sleeker armor plating, cooler color schemes and names. They came in different sizes from the 4-inch wind-up Godos to the 12½-inch tall, 18-inch long Death Saurer, which required batteries.

Since they were, in essence, animal machines that were operated by humans, there were tiny pilot figures sitting in hidden gold cockpits. The assembly process was usually quick and easy compared to other models, but given the complex looks of finished models, they made other people think you required lots of days to finish them.

Lots of lines were released during the 90s, the toy company Kenner acquired the rights to release Zoids in North America, and launched the Technozoids (aka. TZ) line in 1995. They were all recolours of earlier Zoids released in the Original Japanese Release, although some were directly imported from the Zoids2 line. There were no distinct factions for the Zoids, and no backstory was given.

The Technozoids line was a failure, lasting less than a year before being discontinued. A number of Zoids were left unreleased at the end of the line.

Zoids 2 (aka Z2) were released by TOMY in 1996, the figures featured very bright colour schemes, with all the Zoids having at least some chromed parts; however they were soon discontinued

In 1999, TOMY relaunched the Zoids line in Japan. Initially, the line consisted of recoloured re-releases of older Zoids, but soon new designs were produced. They were divided into Helic and Guylos factions, with the Zenebas Empire returning later. The Original Japanese Release story was continued on this new line, with the Zoids Anime and Manga drawing on alternate versions of the New Battle Story's events. It was discontinued 2004.

During the 2000s several other lines were released.

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