Zaber Fangs from the Zoids: New Century anime
Zenebas Empire/Guylos Empire
|Maximum Speed||240 km/h (149 mph)|
|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 (EZ-016) (also known as the Saber Tiger / Sabre Tiger) is a Tiger Type of Zoid, and one of over 200 species of bio-mechanical lifeforms that form the Zoid race depicted in TOMY's Zoids Franchise.
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 at the time of its debut. While its weapons lacked sheer power compared to those of 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 prime, the Zaber Fang has since been surpassed by newer designs. Nevertheless, it is still considered to be a very capable and dangerous opponent.
An improved version of the Zaber Fang was also developed, known as the Great Sabre. This version mounted a large pack on its back that sported additional weaponry and allowed it to leap and fly for short distances.
Battle Story Appearances
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 a devastating opponent when pitted against smaller Helic Zoids; it could easily out-run anything it couldn't out-fight. 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 lacklustre 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 yet another 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.
Chaotic Century and Guardian Force
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. His Zaber Fang would clash with 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. Raven never got to finish his third battle due to Van running off, but Van managed to damage the Zaber Fang with his Liger's Energy Shield before leaving. Ignoring the damage, Raven's recklessness and overconfidence brought about his downfall in their fourth match when he attempted to rip Van's E-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 appear 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 armour 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 Fangs which sported dark blue shoulder armour 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 previously sustained damage 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).
A 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 him to find the Zaber Fang even in its invisible mode.
The series also featured several other Zaber Fangs in minor roles, which all sported the usual red colouration, while Keith's Zoid featured the same yellow colour scheme as the Tiger's Team's Zoids in New Century. In a flashback, Graheme, Mach Storm's original owner, was seen piloting a Zaber Fang in the standard red colour.
The Zaber Fang's original animation model in the previous series' 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 normally mounted under the Zoid's Shock Cannon on the model kit was animated on the Zoid's back in the anime).
Zaber Fangs appear on several occasions in Zoids: Genesis, belonging to various war factions. One elite group was seen under the command of the Zuri officer, Tize, who personally piloted a Brastle Tiger.
While the Zaber Fangs from Tize's faction were primarily red in colour, the Zaber Fangs from the factions led by Hou and Dinga would be seen with a new grey and blue 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 the model kits and previous animation models.
Comics and Manga
UK Zoids Comic
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 is finally prompted to use 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, the choice being either a "Liger Type" or "Tiger Type" Zoid. Selecting "Tiger Type" will grant 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 like the NJR model kit.
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, used by the 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 (second version onwards), Zoids VS II and III, Zoids Infinity (all installments) and Dengeki Hobby Magazine, this heavily-armored 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 is capable of supporting 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.
The Sabre Tiger (as it was originally known) was first released as part of the Zoids (1983) line. The 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 1986, and was produced up until about 1987.
Original European Release
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 1988, 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. 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. The decals on its face resemble that of which is found on the Zaber Fangs of the "Three Guards" from the Chaotic Century anime.
A different version of the Zoids 2 Sabre was seen as Zoids 2 Sabre Version 2. It is colored 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.
The Sabre Tiger was released as a part of the Zoids (1999) line, it was introduced in 1999. The new Saber Tiger (different in spelling from the original Sabre Tiger) incorporated several changes from the original version. The maroon is a darker colour. 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 Saber Tiger have somewhat blunted teeth.
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.
Zoids: Build Customize Mobilize
The Saber Tiger was released in the Zoids: Build Customize Mobilize line.
First released in North America by Hasbro in 2001, known as the Zaber Fang. The Zoid was recolored with bright yellow armor 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 coloring of the painted details has been known to be somewhat inconsistent and have been seen in several color variations. Some Zaber Fangs have blue or even bluish-purple painted parts while others can be jet black. The Zoid was also released in the Pacific, although the packing was TOMY-branded. The UK also saw TOMY-branded yellow-colour Zoids.
TOMY released the Zaber Fang in the Zoids: Build Customize Mobilize line in 2003. This version was identical in colouration to the Japanese version. This version featured stubby, blunted teeth. This change was carried over to subsequent production runs of the Japanese release and all further releases.
Hasbro Action Figures
The Zaber Fang was featured as part of the Hasbro Action Figures line. It had a Japanese red colour scheme. A yellow version of the Zaber was released later on in the line.
Holotech Zaber Fang
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. In Australia and the UK this was TOMY-branded.
Special Color Version
In 2003, 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 Tiger
Later in 2004, TOMY also released a version of the Holotech Zaber Fang. This version is distinguishable from the Hasbro version by the colour of its armour (being slightly more yellow) and also having the blunted teeth. This model is based on the Zoid that appeared in the Zoids: Fuzors anime. The Zoid was named "Saber Tiger".
Toy's Dream Project
In 2005, Toy's Dream Project released the Great Sabre. This version had blunted teeth.
High-end Master Model
Kotobukiya's sixth release in the HMM line, the HMM Zaber Fang has a red, black and grey colour scheme, with has grey fangs and claws as well as black and grey weapons. The entire Zoid is poseable due to the new articulation design. It was released in June 2008.
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 Chaotic Century. It also had new pre-painted details as well as extra parts, including a redesigned CP-03 Gatling Unit and CP-A1. It was released in January 2009.
The Great Saber was released in May 2010. The Zoid is mostly coloured in black, dark grey, and dark red with a red canopy and white fangs and claws. It includes a redesigned CP-02. It is the first HMM Zoid to bear the original Zenebas emblem.
In February 2011 a kit released as Saber Tiger Gold sports the redesigned CP-02, comes in the namesake metallic gold colour 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 Guards nor the Royal Saber (which Rudolph did pilot) from Chaotic Century; rather, it is strictly based off of the Royal Saber that Rudolph uses in the Battle Story. This Zoid is also based off of the SCV Saber Tiger model kit by TOMY (see 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 OJR and Zoids 2 releases, but these appear to be the only times this variant was used.
It should be noted that the name "Zaber Fang" actually originated in the English dub of New Century as the Tigers Team's new team name, not as the name of the Zoid itself (which was consistently called and referred to as the "Saber Tiger" throughout both the English and Japanese dubs). As New Century was the first series to be dubbed in English, the Zoid's "new" name "Zaber Fang" carried over to the English dubs of Chaotic Century and Fuzors, seeing use alongside the "original" name "Saber Tiger." Due to this relative consistency, the English name "Zaber Fang," rather than the Japanese name "Saber Tiger," was used as the default name in this article.
In much the same way, "Great Sabre" appears to refer to a standard Sabre Tiger with a CP-02 mounted on while "Zaber Fang AT" (presumably "Assault-Type") appears to refer to a standard Zaber Fang mounted with a CP-02.