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- Art Area Shield Liger Bang Spec. Review

 The Art Area Shield Liger is an unpainted resin kit, which was sold by Art Area at Wonder Festival 1999, licensed under both Tomy and ShoPro. It was one of the first articulated Zoids in the NJR era. Many people have seen this Zoid's box float around in the ethers of the internet, but very few have been completed, and all of those seem to be in the Japanese speaking community. So I'll be splitting this page up into two: One for the review, and one for instruction translations and the build process. This was my second custom, so there were many mistakes made along the way, but I hope I can demistify this kit for everyone else who opened the box, saw screws and hoses, and went "UUUUUUUUuuuuhhhhhhh........" before promptly sealing it again.

Name: Shield Liger Bang Spec. (ARTAREA シールドライガー バン仕様)
Maker: Art Area
Price: 14,800 Yen
Sold At: Wonder Festival 1999

 - Anime accurate proportions with good posability
 - Multiple cockpit assembly options, including single or double seater options
 - Wires and tubes used for articulating the tail and details
 - The rubber materials used have stood up well to time (they are 20 years old at the time of writing this)
 - Unconventional materials give this Zoid a unique look quite unlike other Shieldies

 - Back rear legs come apart easily because of insufficient surface space and weak pipes
 - Many thin connection points that make small parts, like tubes and leg armor pop off easily
 - Ball joints are nowhere near big enough, and cannot support its weight without doing serious coating
 - Thin connecting pegs on missile pods snap easily
 - Some separate parts are unnecessary and even interfere with the final look as a result of being separate

General Opinions:

 The Art Area Shield Liger is an amazing looking kit, and I personally love miniatures, so in spite of how much I messed up the paint in some areas, I'm super happy with this kit. However, opening the box is overwhelming, even to people who have a lot of experience building resin kits, because most kits are straight forward. This one doesn't look straight forward because of the unconventional tubes, screws, washers, etc. So, for what it's worth, for all you people out there staring apprehensively at your ligers, it's not as complicated as it seems.

 It is, however, extremely fragile in some places. You have to be really careful with the pipes, because they pop off easily while moving around the kit and they have some pieces that are difficult to trim. The kit in general has a lot of huge resin chunks that attach the parts to the sprue. It's also worth mentioning that the midsection of the back legs is woefully inadequate for the amount of stress that'll be placed on those parts. Even after drilling much deeper holes for the pipes, the pipes themselves are very weak, and break easily when trying to pose the leg. So watch out for those parts. Maybe build them a little loose, just to be sure. All in all though, as long as you're careful and patient, you'll be fine. Nothing on this kit is absurdly difficult, just tedious.

- Photos

- Gimmicks

- Cockpit

 The Shield Liger comes with two cockpit types, one that is flat, and one that has a notch on the end so that it can stand up, like an open cockpit. Because the kit is aiming for anime accuracy, there's no place for the hinge that wouldn't interfere with how the anime renders the nose of the liger. So, two cockpits was a decent option. It's also worth mentioning that my sealed cockpit chipped right in the middle (at the bottom) when trying to remove the large resin chunk attaching it to the sprue. So, if you're careful, you'll have a straight edge for the bottom.

 I personally found that the sealed cockpit was easy enough to remove without needing to glue it down. The cockpit also comes with a second pilot seat which can be optionally installed. I'm happy for this, because while I wanted to go with the one seater in the first place, one of the pieces I cut ricocheted the other seat into a different universe.

- Jaw

 The Jaw opens and closes, but can't close all the way because the width of it comes into contact with the sabers.

- Head and Neck

 The neck has a ball joint on each end, which allows both the neck and the head itself to move up and down. The neck is very thin, width wise, which is interesting. You won't notice because the mane covers it from above, but the thinness actually gives you more articulation, because the top of the neck can push the upper E-Shield Generator up so that it doesn't interfere with movement.

- Shield Generators

 Both the top and bottom Shield Generators flip open. The upper one is a bit finnicky. You have to custom carve the slot for it. It's recommended to do a track, instead of a perfectly fit hole, because otherwise the squareness of the front of the piece may conflict with the back of the head, preventing it from lifting. My track was sloped, though, which means mine sinks a little too far downwards when it's activated.

- Back Panel

 Shield Liger's back panel flips up to reveal the AMD 2-Barrelled 20mm Beam Gun. I found the pegs that this is supposed to slot onto way too short, and I didn't want to drill through the pretty blue armor. Layering it up with a clear coat or glue would work fine for making it snug. It just takes a few layers.

- AMD 2-Barrelled 20mm Beam Gun

 So, I'll confess that in my reviews I forgot to drill the peg for these! But, just like the model kit the arm is on a hinge joint at the bottom, and the top gun is on a ball joint so it can swivel in almost all directions. For some reason I have a heck of a time getting it to lay flat, though.

- Anti-Zoid 3-Barrelled Shock Cannon

 The chest gun is attached to a thick peg, allowing it to swivel left and right. This is an interesting change considering it's usually treated as a static weapon. It can move quite a ways depending on how the legs are posed.

- Legs

 Forgot to take pictures showing the range, but all four of Shield Liger's legs are attached to large ball joints. This means the legs can rotate 360, but also tilt quite a ways inwards or outwards. Perfect for those more complicated poses, like sitting down. The pipes and plate across the front of the leg come off very easily, though, so be careful not to apply pressure to these.

- Elbows

 Each mid-leg joint on the liger uses a screw as a stand-in peg. The elbow is no exception. You can bend it forwards and backwards, and because there's a gap between the 2 pipes on the front legs, the silver pipe actually doesn't interfere with it much at all.

- Toes

 Although the claws are meant to be glued in, they fit snug enough that I didn't find this necessary. So I left them loose, allowing the toes to move down a bit for better posing options.

- Feet

 The feet are on ball joints. Incredibly... tiny... ball joints. For what it's worth, though, I didn't notice any stress marks on these, and in spite of coating them up quite thick to be able to fit snug in the tube, none of them broke. It still creates a bit of a strange pinch point visual around the ankles, but allows them to rotate up, down, and swivel side to side. (The last photo is next to the Moto Shield Liger)

- Back Legs

 Unfortunately, the back left leg had many, many fitting issues that I struggled with, resulting in the paint being brutally murdered, so apologies for that. But, like the front leg, it attaches using a screw, which can rotate forwards and backwards. The range of motion isn't very much. The heel has a range of even less, due to the thick parts on the top and bottom. However, the most important thing of note here, is that the back leg pipes aren't quite sufficient to support the pressure of movement, meaning everything (starting at the heel) detaches under pressure.

- Mid Section

 The mid section is attached with a fairly long ball joint, but you can use one of the shorter ones to close that gap more if you prefer (there's one or two extra joints). It can rotate up and down, or side to side. Interestingly, the belly section that the gun attaches to is also split into 2 halves that are attached by a screw. This allows the belly to bend with the body, to an extent, helping to avoid part of that gap.

- Missile Pods

 The Missile Pods are another problem area. They attach on a single thin peg that's off to one side. This peg cannot withstand the force of twisting, so I had to supplement a hand made wooden peg to make them articulated. Even then, the missile pods had trouble folding up all the way. I've shown the better of the two. Like the other kits, though, they fold in or out.

- Tail

 Shieldy's tail uses a black rubber tube and a wire that goes through it. In spite of being 20 years old, there are no cracks in the tubing. It has held up amazingly well, and the articulation is nice. It also has the anime-accurate tail (which the HMM Shield Liger Bang Spec. calls a peeping tail).