The Merda (sometimes romanised as Marder or Marda, better known in the west as the Hellrunner) is a type of Zoid, a race of mechanical lifeforms from the fictional Zoids universe.
The Merda is an early Zoid, one of the first created by the Zenebas Empire. The Zoid was created for high-speed strikes and recon, and is the fastest purely land-based Zoid ever created. The Zoid can run at over 400 km/h, and with its high-maneuverability thrusters engaged, it can reach 500 km/h. At the time of its creation, no Zoid could come close to catching it; even by modern Zoid standards it is still very fast.
While the Zoid is fast, its armaments are rather limited. The Zoid either carries a beam cannon or small missile pod on its back. While it lacks melee weapons it can still land powerful kicks. Because its armor is rather weak it heavily relies on its high speed and agility for protection.
Battle Story Appearances
The Merda was one of the first Zoids created by the Zenebas Empire, appearing in the ZAC 1980s. Initially designed for rapid strike and recon duties, the Zoid proved to be capable as an infantry machine as well. The Zoid was more than a match for its opponents; it was nearly twice as fast as the Garius and far more agile. Despite this, its design made it rather limited; having little endurance and not performing well in situations where it couldn't keep moving.
With the arrival of the Iguan in ZAC 2030, the Merda was gradually phased out from frontline service. The newer Zoid was nowhere near as fast, but more than made up for it by being far more versatile. The Merda remained in service with the Zenebas Empire's forces, serving until its fall in ZAC 2039. Considered to be obsolete, the design is yet to be revived.
Merda's media appearances are limited to the electronic games, in particular the Game Boy Color game Jashin Fukkatsu! Geno Breaker Hen (Evil God Revived! Geno Breaker Story) and the Game Boy Advance Zoids Legacy.
Its appearance in the latter is odd, as it is one of only three Original Japanese Release Zoids to appear in the game, and the only one to appear as a regular opponent. (The other two, being the Gil Vader and King Gojulas, were "Easter eggs"). Oddly enough, in the English version of the game, the Zoid was called Hellrunner, its OER name.
UK Zoids comic
The Hellrunner was the most numerous Zoid type found in the Red mutant army and served as its main infantry units, and appeared throughout the comic's run. The Zoids made up for their relative weakness with sheer numbers, often swarming enemies in mass numbers.
The Merda was released in Japan as part of the Zoids (1983) line. Introduced in 1983, production continued until about 1987.
The Merda comes on three frames along with a small wind-up motor, a separate head piece, a clear canopy, six rubber caps a small chrome silver pilot and label sheets. The Merda is moulded in maroon and silver with a red canopy. The head was shared with several other Imperial Zoids, including the Malder and Molga.
The Zoid comes with two back weapons, whereas it only has the room for one of them; the weapons can be freely interchanged after the Zoid is completed. The Zoid uses a simple wind-up motor for its motion; once wound, the Zoid walks forwards at a reasonable pace. The Zoid's arms, legs and back weapon can all be manually positioned, and the canopy opened.
Spider-Man and Zoids
The Merda was released in Europe as part of the Spider-Man and Zoids line. Introduced in 1985-86, it bore the name Hellrunner. This version was identical to the 1983 version, except for the packaging.
The Merda was released in the US as a part of the Robo Strux line, under the name Runna. The Zoid was coloured in blue and teal, with a red canopy.
The Merda was released as a part of the Zoids 2 line, under the name Hellrunner. This version was recoloured in silver, chrome silver and black. Several variants exist, with black, silver or grey canopies.
Toy's Dream Project
The Merda was released in 2006 in the Toy's Dream Project Zenebas Memorial Box Set.
A limited edition kit as a part of the 25th anniversary line. This was the last model kit from the line. It was colored in Guylos Dark Army Colors, despite the zoid never being revived by the Guylos Empire, according to the Battle Story. It also included new parts for weapons. The new thing was also that this Zoid was battery operated and no longer wind-up, like Barigatior TS. No other changes were made to the model.