Zaber Fangs from the Zoids: New Century anime
Zenebas Empire/Guylos Empire
|Maximum Speed||240 km/h|
|Weapons||Killer Sabre (2), Strike Claws (4), AEZ 20 mm Beam Gun (2), Small-Bore Anti-Zoid Laser Machinegun, Anti-Zoid Three-Barrelled Shock Cannon, Anti-Zoid 30 mm Double-Barrelled Beam Cannon, SSM Pod, TEZ 20 mm Linear Laser Gun (2)|
|Equipment||Composite Sensor Unit, Infra-Red Laser Searcher|
The Zaber Fang (also known as the Saber Tiger [see bottom]) is a type of Zoid, a race of mechanical lifeforms from the fictional Zoids universe.
(NOTE: this article also includes the Proto Saber due to the similarity in design and appearance.)
The Zaber Fang was the first high-speed, large-scale Zoid ever constructed, as well as being the first of many feline-type Zoids. Its speed made it amongst the fastest Zoids of its time. While its weapons lacked capability when compared to other large Zoids, they were more than enough to deal with the numerous smaller Zoid types of its day.
While very fast and agile in its day, the Zaber Fang has since been surpassed by newer designs. Nevertheless, it is still considered to be a very capable and very dangerous opponent.
An improved version of the Zaber Fang was also developed, known as the Great Sabre. This version sported a large pack on its back that allowed it to leap and fly for short distances, as well as carrying additional weaponry.
Battle Story AppearancesEdit
The Zaber Fang was first deployed by the Zenebas army in the early ZAC 2030s, working alongside the Red Horn and other early Zoids. For a long time, it was considered to be a devastating opponent against smaller Helic Zoids; anything it couldn't out-fight it could easily out-run. The Zaber Fang was unmatched in its combination of speed and firepower. The Helic Republic did not possess a Zoid that could directly compete with the Zaber Fang until ZAC 2042, when the Shield Liger was introduced.
To address the Zaber Fang's lackluster ranged weapons, the Zenebas Empire developed a new variant known as the Strengthened Zaber Fang. This version replaced the main cannons with an Imperial Hyperbeam Launcher, giving the Zoid a potent long-range punch. In ZAC 2044, the Empire introduced another new model of Zaber Fang, known as the Great Sabre. The Great Sabre sported improved weapons, along with limited flight capabilities. The Great Sabre remained in service with the Zenebas forces until the Empire's fall in ZAC 2049.
Following the meteor strike of ZAC 2056, the Guylos Empire lost the ability to produce many of its advanced, high-performance Zoids. In response, the Guylos military began production of a new model of Zaber Fang for their forces. The new version served during the Western Continent war, where it often clashed with Helic Shield Ligers. However, the Zoid quickly found itself outpaced by the development of newer designs like the Blade Liger.
Media Appearances Edit
Chaotic Century and Guardian ForceEdit
The Zaber Fang first appeared in Zoids: Chaotic Century. In the first half of the series, Raven used a red Zaber Fang to destroy battalion after battalion of Republican Zoids, allowing the Imperial Army to enter Republican territory unhindered. He also faced off against Van's Shield Liger a total of four times, winning by his own skill the first time and calling on his Organoid Shadow to win the second time. He never got to finish his third battle due to Van running off, but Van managed to damage the Zaber Fang with his Liger's E-shield before leaving. By the fourth battle, due to ignoring the damage from the previous fight, Raven's recklessness and overconfidence caused him his loss when he attempted to rip Van's Energy Shield apart by ramming the Zaber Fang through it, destroying it in the process. Raven narrowly escaped using Shadow.
Raven also faced off against Irvine's Command Wolf in episode 14. Despite taking heavy damage from the temporary weapons Irvine used, and even losing one of the Zaber Fang's legs, Raven was able to overpower Irvine after fusing with Shadow (though Irvine managed to escape before Raven could deliver the final blow).
Numerous variants and customisations also appeared in the series, including a Royal Sabre owned by Prime Minister Homaleff (which Rudolph piloted for a brief period), a heavily customised model mounted with the Beam Gatling of a Red Horn piloted by Karl L. Schubaltz, and the holographic, three-headed Cerberus created by the 'Trinity Ghost'. Great Sabers also appear on occasion, most notably used by the veteran Imperial soldiers known as the "Three Guards" (though their Zoids were mentioned to be of an "older generation"), as well as a modified pink Great Saber piloted by Stinger, known as the "Stinger Special".
Raven's Zaber Fang notably had dark blue shoulder pads and a dark blue tail, a feature absent on the model kit.
The Zaber Fang also appeared in Zoids: New Century, most notably used by the Tigers Team, consisting of Kirkland, Omari, and Lineback. The three of them piloted bright yellow Zaber Fang that sported dark blue shoulder pads and tails like Raven's Zoid in Chaotic Century.
The Tigers Team was seen mounting various weapons on their Zoids. In the first episode, Lineback mounted the Long-range Cannon of a Command Wolf LC (similar to the ones Irvine and Brad used on their Command Wolves) to provide cover fire for his teammates (his Zoid had sustained damage previously from Leon Toros' Shield Liger). Later, all three Tigers mounted a combination dual-cannon/weather control device setup as part of a scheme with Dr. Laon to help them rise up the ranks. This scheme was largely successful, enabling them to achieve a 14-win streak, though they were eventually stopped by the Blitz Team.
Major Polta of the Backdraft Group also piloted a Zaber Fang. Polta's was equipped with optical stealth and had a large missile launcher mounted on its back (similar to the one Irvine used against Raven in Chaotic Century).
A single Zaber Fang bearing Raven's colour scheme (albeit slightly darker) would appear briefly in episode 3. This particular Zaber Fang would later have its Shock Cannon salvaged and modified by Bit Cloud to fit onto his Liger Zero, which lacked any form of ranged weaponry at that point (both Zoids' Shock Cannons are in fact very far apart in appearance and size, so how Bit modified it is unknown).
FuzorsEditA pair of episodes in Zoids: Fuzors featured a Holotech Zaber Fang piloted by a rogue Zi-Fighter named Keith. Keith's Zoid, utilising a special system called Hologram Technology, was able to turn invisible, as well as evade all sensor systems and even project holograms, allowing him to defeat Zoids that were far more powerful than his non-Fuzor Zoid would otherwise be. Using this Zoid, he went off on a rampage, destroying several Zoids including the Dark Assassins' Killer Spiner and a pair of Blade Ligers possibly belonging to the Black Impact Team. Keith also destroyed Sigma's Boldguard; however Sigma eventually defeated him with a Leostriker using special ammunition that allowed it find the Zaber Fang even when it was invisible. The series also featured several other Zaber Fangs in minor roles.
Keith's Zoid featured the same yellow colour scheme as the Tiger's Team's Zoids in New Century, whereas the standard Zaber Fangs seen sported the usual red colouration.
In one flashback, Graheme, Mach Storm's owner, was seen piloting a Zaber Fang in the standard red colour.
The Zaber Fang's original animation model lacked a lot of the smaller weapons that the model kit features. However, in Fuzors, the Zaber Fang's 3D animation model had been altered from the version used since Chaotic Century, with these weapons added. It appears, though, that the small machine gun which is normally placed under the Zoid's Shock Cannon on the model kit was animated to be mounted on the Zoid's back in the anime.
Zaber Fangs appear on several occasions in Zoids: Genesis, usually belonging to the various clans. One elite group was seen under the command of the Zuri officer, Teize, who personally piloted a Brastle Tiger.
While the above Zoids were primarily red in colour, other Zaber Fangs (from various other factions) would be seen with a new grey colour scheme.
The Genesis Zaber Fangs use a completely new animation model, with a larger head and back weapon, and shorter legs when compared to previous animation models and the model kits.
Comics and MangaEdit
UK Zoids ComicEdit
Zaber Fang's only appearance in the UK comics was limited to a promotional flyer of dubious canonicity. The first issue of the planned "Zoids Monthly" would have introduced the character, but it never reached publication.
Shortly after Van first encounters Zeke and Raven, a Zaber Fang begins to attack Van’s village. Raven explains that he has used Shadow to infect the Zoid with a virus, causing it to rampage. Van and Zeke are able to combine and defeat the Zaber Fang (it was mentioned here that the conduit of wires on the back of Zaber Fang's neck was its weak point), but as soon as it is disabled, Raven and Shadow merge with the Zoid, resurrecting it. Raven and Shadow, using the Zaber Fang, then face off against Van and Zeke (the Organoid) using Zeke (the Command Wolf belonging to Van's father), before Van finally uses the Command Wolf's 'Ragnarok Fang' attack and successfully defeats the Zaber Fang.
The Zaber Fang played a major role in both the Zoids Saga series and the Zoids VS series. Midway into Zoids Saga II, the player is given the chance to upgrade to a new Zoid, and can choose between a 'Liger Type' or a 'Tiger Type' Zoid. Selecting 'Tiger Type' will give the player a Zaber Fang, while opting for 'Liger Type' will present the player with a Shield Liger instead.
In Zoids VS II (Zoids Battle Legends), the player encounters Zaber Fangs in all three battle modes, and in multiple missions of both Republic and Empire Mission Mode. In the mission mode of Zoids: Battle Legends, the Zaber Fangs in the mission mode are referred as the Zaber Fang RT (which stands for Rottiger).
Both games feature many variations of the Zaber Fang. The standard units are the Zaber Fang Old, Zaber Fang, Zaber Fang AT, Zaber Fang SS, Zaber Fang RS, Zaber Fang TS, and Proto Saber. The use of the Zaber Fang and Zaber Fang Old is peculiar, the only difference (besides speed) being that the Zaber Fang Old has grey cockpit eyes, similar to the Zoid's OJR model kit, while the standard Zaber Fang has bright green cockpit eyes.
Zoids Saga featured a couple of variants that were not seen in any other game. The first was the Zaber Fang FT, a forest combat unit that lacked any form of weaponry apart from its fangs. The other was the Zaber Fang GS, piloted by enemy pilot "Gail" who used two or three customised Zoids throughout the game.
Zaber Fang Old: Speed 200km/h - Old Zenebas Zoid
Zaber Fang: Speed 240km/h - Guylos Empire, old
Zaber Fang AT: Speed 250km/h - Renovated Zoid, with higher mobility
Zaber Fang SS: Speed 240km/h - Schubaltz Special
Zaber Fang RS: Speed 240km/h - Raven Special
Zaber Fang TS: Speed 250km/h - Tigers Team custom Zoid
Proto Saber: Speed 245km/h - A prototype used for CAS research
Zaber Fang FT: Speed 240 km/h - A forest combat type with improved energy and defense
Zaber Fang GS: Speed 230 km/h. Gail Special. Twice the armour strength
Zaber Fang AT-G: Speed 250km/h - Assault Type Gold (Used by Three Tigers)
Zaber Fang AT-S: Speed 250km/h - Assault Type Silver (Used by Three Tigers)
A smilodon-type Zoid which bears a great resemblace to the Zaber Fang unit. Appearing in Zoids Cyberdrive, Zoids Saga (from the second version onwards), Zoids VS II and III, Zoids Infinity (all installments) and Dengeki Hobby Magazine, this heavily-armoured Zoid is best known for its involvement in CAS research. Before the Guylos Empire created the Liger Zero unit, the Proto Saber was tested with multiple interchangable weaponry and armoury units. These were the very first prototypes for the CAS system. Outfitted with Hyper Killer Fangs and a large head appropriately sized for the new weapons, the Proto Saber surpassed its predecessor in every way, much like the Republic's Blade Liger unit. In Zoids VS II and III, this is Kouki's main Zoid. It could be outfited with a Sniper Unit designed uniquely for the Proto Saber. This special weapon boasted more power than even the Konig Wolf's Dual Sniper Rifle, at a cost of greater recoil and fewer shots. Because it was used for testing multiple interchangeable weapons, the Proto Saber can be equipped for nearly any type of battle, and is capable of mounting weapons such as beam rifles, assault units, attack boosters, large canons, small lasers, gatling units, missile pods, smoke dischargers and flight units. Only the Shadow Fox rivals the range and variation of weapons this Zoid can mount, and even then the Proto Saber can support a far greater amount of weight and much larger weapons than the Shadow Fox can without hindering movement. Beyond its video game appearances, the Proto Saber was seen only on official Tomy Zoids websites, never as an official model. Dengeki Hobby magazine did treat the Proto Saber to a custom once and also featured the Proto Saber's Saga icon in the game section on sevral occassions.
The Zaber Fang was featured in two of the Zoids Trading Cards releases, the Original Battle Game and Zoids Card Colosseum. Zaber Fang Holotech was also featured in the Zoids Scramble release, and Zaber SS was available as part of the Empire Booster Packs for the Original Battle Game.
Original Japanese Release Edit
The Sabre Tiger (as it was originally known) kit comes on five frames (one of which is a weapons frame also shared with the Death Saurer, Dimetrodon and Red Horn), along with a battery-powered motor, a semi-transparent canopy cover, sixteen rubber caps, a small chromed pilot and label sheets. The Sabre Tiger is moulded in maroon and black, with silver weapons and smoke-coloured canopies. The motor and two of the frames would be later re-used by the Shield Liger.
The Sabre Tiger uses a single "AA" sized battery for motion. Once activated, the Zoid walks forwards with its jaws chomping. The Sabre Tiger's mechanisms were later copied by the Shield Liger and, by extension, the Blade Liger and Liger Zero.
Like several other Zoids of the time, the Sabre Tiger could use a number of different optional weapons that were included in the Empire Customise Set. The Sabre Tiger was released in 1984, and was produced up until about 1987.
Original European ReleaseEdit
The Sabre Tiger was released in the UK and Europe in 1987, with the name being changed to Zabre. The model was recoloured in black and light grey, with blue caps and a gold pilot. The label sheet was altered to give the Zoid Helic logos instead of Zenebas ones, to show its allegance with the Blue Guardians.
In 1987, TOMY introduced a new version of the Sabre Tiger, replacing the existing one in production. This version had a new colour scheme, with black armour and bright red structure in place of the original maroon and black, as well as a red canopy. It also featured new parts, with a large backpack, wings and missile launcher added to the Zoid's back which would later become the CP-02 in the NJR release. It is also included in the Old and New Imperial Customize Sets. It was meant to oppose the Shield Liger MKII.
A version of the Sabre Tiger was released in the Zoids 2 line, under the name Sabre, in the UK and Europe in the mid 90s. This version was coloured chrome purple, black and red.
A different version of the Zoids 2 Sabre was seen as Zoids 2 Sabre Version 2. It is coloured in dark green, dark grey, and red-orange with the weapons in gray, silver, and gold. The pilot is silver-chromed. No sticker sheet was included. This version did not reach mass production.
The Zoids 2 version of the Sabre Tiger, the Sabre, was also released in the US and Canada as a part of the Technozoids line, with no changes made to the product.
New Japanese ReleaseEdit
The Sabre Tiger was re-released as a part of the New Japanese Release in 1999. The new Saber Tiger (different in spelling from the OJR Sabre Tiger) incorporated several changes from the original version. The maroon is a darker colour compared to the OJR version. It comes with a standard blue pilot figure and a translucent green canopy. The battery lid was modified to have a screw-down cover, rather than the clip-down one of the original.
TOMY also released an upgrade kit for the Saber Tiger, the CP-02 Assault Unit. This unit is based on the flight unit that was released with the original Great Sabre.
Later production runs of the NJR Saber Tiger have somewhat blunted teeth, a hold-over from the New European Release version.
The Sabre Tiger was released as part of the first wave of Gachapon minis. The Great Sabre was also released as part of wave seven.
New American ReleaseEdit
The Saber Tiger was re-released in North America by Hasbro in 2001 now as the Zaber Fang. While based on the NJR version's mould, the Zoid was recoloured with bright yellow armour to match the Tigers Team's Zaber Fangs in the New Century anime. This version also sported painted shoulders and tail, a unique feature amongst Zaber Fang variants. The Zoid's colouring of the painted details has been known to be somewhat inconsistent and have been seen in several colour variations. Some Zaber Fangs have blue or even bluish-purple painted parts while others can be jet black.
The Zaber Fang was featured as part of the Hasbro Action Figures line. It had a Japanese red colour scheme, despite the fact that it was cast in yellow for the New American Release. A yellow version of the Zaber was released later on in the line.
The Zoid was also released in the New Pacific Release, in near-identical packaging. Additionally, the Zoid was released in Japan with American packaging and Japanese instructions. Leftover stock from the NPR was shipped to the UK to become a part of the NER line.
Holotech Zaber FangEdit
In 2003, Hasbro released a second version of the Zaber Fang. While similar in colour (and retaining the painted parts), the yellow frames were moulded in semi-transparent plastic.
The Zoid was also a part of the NPR. Leftover stock was shipped overseas from Australia and sold in the UK as a part of the NER line.
New European ReleaseEdit
TOMY released the Zaber Fang in the NER line in 2003. This version was identical in colouration to the NJR version. This version featured stubby, blunted teeth, apparently a moulding change to conform with UK safety laws. This change was carried over to subsequent production runs of the New Japanese Release version and all further releases.
NAR-Style (yellow) Zaber Fangs as well as the NAR Holotech Zaber Fangs were later released in the UK, most likely leftover Australian stock. These ones did not have blunted teeth.
Special Color VersionEdit
In 2004, TOMY released a limited edition Saber Tiger. Known as the Saber Tiger Special Color Version, this Zoid included the CP-02, and was moulded in gold, black and gunmetal. The model sports the same blunted teeth as earlier versions. This release has suffered from inconsistent mould quality, with some having noticeable defects and signs of wear.
Holotech Saber TigerEdit
Later in 2004, TOMY also released a version of the Holotech Zaber Fang. This version is distinguishable from the NAR version by the colour of its armour (being slightly more yellow) and also having the blunted teeth. This model is based off the Zoid that appeared in the Zoids: Fuzors anime. The Zoid was addressed by its NJR name rather than the NAR name.
Toy's Dream ProjectEdit
In 2005, Toy's Dream Project released the Great Sabre. This version had blunted teeth.
NER Holotech Zaber Fang Prototype Edit
Supposedly, a Holotech Zaber Fang was planned for the NER line. Unlike the Holotech Zaber Fang from the NAR and Holotech Sabre Tiger from the NJR lines, this Zoid would have been a clear red version of the original Zaber Fang to go along with the red Zaber Fang that was released during the NER, opposed to the NAR having the yellow Zaber Fang and yellow Zaber Fang Holotech. It is unknown if the Zoid ever reached production.
Kotobukiya's sixth release as a part of the HMM line. The Zoid has a red, black and grey colour scheme and has grey fangs and claws as well as black and grey weapons. In essence, due to the new articulation design, the whole Zoid is poseable.
As the ninth release in the line, a second version of the Zoid was done, but in black, red and grey with gold fangs and claws as well as black and grey weapons. This variant sported the same colour scheme as the one Karl L. Schubaltz had in the anime series. It also had new pre-painted details as well as extra parts, including a redesigned CP-03 Gattling Unit and CP-A1.
The Great Saber was released as of May, 2010. The Zoid is mostly coloured in black, dark gray, and dark red with a red canopy and white fangs and claws. It includes a redesigned CP-02. This is the first HMM Zoid to carry the old Zenebas emblem.
In 2011 a kit released as Saber Tiger Gold sports the redesigned CP-02, comes in the namesake metallic gold color and is finished with brown-tinted gunmetal. It also includes a pre-painted pilot of Prince Rudolph from the Zoids Battlestory, anime, and manga. This Zoid is not to be confused with the anime exclusive Saber Tigers used by the Three Gaurds, or the Royal Saber, (which Rudolph does pilot) both of which are from Chaotic Century. This Zoid is strictly based off of the Royal Saber that Rudolph uses in the Battle Story only. This Zoid is also based off of the SCV Saber Tiger model kit by TOMY, which is seen a few sections above.
A prototype of the earliest HMM Saber Tiger is shown on Kotobukiya's site. It is coloured in all white, most likely to display poseability in greyscale, as the Saber Tiger is still one of Kotobukiya's most articulate Zoid HMM kits.
This Zoid is fairly consistently named the "Saber Tiger" in Japanese media, and also fairly consistently named the "Zaber Fang" in written Western media. However, in the English dubs of the anime, both names are used interchangeably. The British spelling "Sabre" appears in the Zoids 2 release and in the OJR name "Sabre Tiger", but these appear to be the only times this variant was used. Due to this relative consistency, the English name (Zaber Fang), rather than the Japanese one (Saber Tiger), was used as the default name in this article.
It should be noted that in New Century, the name "Zaber Fang" was only used towards the end of the series, and even then it was used as the Tigers Team's new team name, not as the name of the Saber Tiger itself (the Zoid's then-main name).