Here’s Spotlight! Today’s focus is on yet another zoid from the series Zoids: Chaotic Century. This zoid is the Shield Liger – a zoid designed and built by the Helic Republic to counter the Guylos Empire’s Zaber Fang. Although the zoid is referred to as a Liger, which is the offspring of a male lion and female tiger, the Shield Liger is based solely on the lion. Unlike the Zaber Fang, the Shield Liger has a larger cockpit and can seat two people, one to pilot the zoid and the other to “fly RIO,” or act as a sort of Radar Intercept Officer.
During the first half of Chaotic Century, the Helic Republic and the Guylos Empire were locked in a fierce war (we never learn exactly what began the war, and some of us are not particularly inclined to care why it started). The Republic was fighting for its survival as a nation and, being the underdog in the war, its weapons were not of the same quality as the Empire’s. One character in the series, Moonbay, continually scorned the quality of Republican-made goods, particularly its ammunition.
Since the Empire had more wealth, it could afford better gear and weaponry for its soldiers, while the Republic had to make do with what it could build from scratch or buy from others. Undoubtedly, some of these merchants who sold the Republic goods for its war effort offered them technology that was substandard. Building stuff from scratch also means that some of the Republic’s equipment would not function well, and at times it was known to give out in the worst possible situations.
The Shield Liger is a zoid which is not quite as lithe as a Zaber Fang, but it is a high performance and maneuverable zoid nonetheless. Because the Republic had less wealth than the Empire, they had to make the most of the weapons they had. So the Shield Liger, unlike the Zaber Fang, comes equipped with two eight shot missile launchers that are folded against its sides when it is not in combat. When in a battle these missile launchers can be lowered and used to fire missiles at an enemy zoid (the above photo showcases the Shield Liger’s left missile launcher in action).
The only problem with the launchers is that they can only carry so many missiles. Not only that, the Shield Liger must remain still while it fires its missiles, making it vulnerable to attack if it is still firing at a rapidly approaching target (this was never seen in any series that I know of, but it is a possibility I have thought about). Also, if a particularly ruthless enemy pilot wanted to severely damage a Shield Liger, they could snap off one or both of the launchers when these were lowered (this was never shown in any zoids series that I can recall, but it was another prospect I considered).
The Republicans, ever practical with their limited supplies, also installed a two barrel cannon (it may have been a laser cannon, I never learned for sure) beneath a panel of armor on the zoid’s back. This panel is not shown in either of the attached photos, unfortunately.
This cannon would be an asset it close combat, because the Shield Liger pilot could extend the cannon and fire broadside at a rival zoid if it could get close enough. The three barrel cannon between the Shield Liger’s forelegs is another weapon that could be used to great effect in combat (the Zaber Fang, too, traditionally comes equipped with a similar cannon between its forelegs).
Perhaps the Shield Liger’s most impressive weapon is its energy shield (hence the name Shield Liger). Though it is not shown in either of the attached photos, the shield is a dome of white energy that is activated when a plate of armor under the zoid’s chin flips down at a roughly seventy degree angle and another plate of armor behind the cockpit flips up at the same position. This activates the Shield Liger’s energy shield, which covers the front half of the zoid.
The shield can be used defensively to protect the zoid from enemy fire, but it can also be used offensively. Ramming another zoid while the Liger has its shield engaged can either damage the other zoid or it can knock the opposing zoid down. But while the shield is a great asset and can block most conventional fire, a heavy duty enemy shell, a ram attack by another zoid, or a heavy bombardment can tax the zoid’s energy reserves to the point where the zoid cannot keep the shield up. Once the shield is down, the zoid is again conventionally vulnerable.
The shield can also be pierced by another zoid’s attack, not just enemy shells. Raven was able to penetrate the shield of Van’s Shield Liger with his Zaber Fang (Van is the protagonist of Chaotic Century). The maneuver destroyed Raven’s Zaber Fang but it also broke through the Liger’s shield. And there are zoids with capabilities that can destroy a Shield Liger very easily, but those will be discussed another day.
I have always had a preference for the Shield Liger, even when other, stronger zoids stepped onto the scene. It is a strong zoid when paired with a capable pilot, and I think that, if zoids were real, I would choose to pilot a Shield Liger. But that right now is a dream that has yet to see any chance of fruition.
Still, it’s fun to have a dream like this, I think.
The Mithril Guardian