We have three new lore updates for the HMM series! The Liger Zero Schneider, Psycho Geno Saurer, and Shadow Fox. Shadow Fox has the same lore (mostly) as the Fire Fox (which is the same but has a couple extra sentences.) As such, it does not depict the sketch pages at the moment. You can view the lore by visiting their model kit pages.
So, yesterday morning Kotobukiya held a livestream to introduce the upcoming HMM Guysack. The video is worth a watch because man, the articulation that they managed to squeeze into this tiny little bug is impressive. All of their recent kits have been, really. Aside from that, though, there was a lot of interesting discussion going on during the stream. This is all relying on machine translations, so please take with a huge grain of salt.
Exhibition! Kotobukiya will be holding an exhibition in Japan on February 12th, starting at 1pm. Here, they're showing off displays and all of the recent HMM artwork in beautiful quality. This comes one day after Wonder Festival.
Upcoming Releases! They've announced that the next two kit rereleases will be the Lightning Saix MPV and the Berserk Furher Repackage! As someone who hasn't picked up the standard Saix yet, this is tempting.
New Releases! Aside from that, Kotobukiya announced its intention to release the RMZ-012 Guysack, the original OJR! This is a nice surprise, as the OJR color schemes have always had a classic funkiness to them. Pre-orders are expected to open in July as a Kotobukiya Shop Exclusive with its final release planned sometime in Spring 2025. This kit will include clear colorless parts in addition to the orange pieces. If you want the red canopy pieces you'll need to pick up the upcoming Guysack (the first release) being released in July of this year. It's currently expected to be the same price.
Updates! The Salamander they hope to release sometime around or after Summer of next year. It's about the height of an Iron Kong, but has a huge wingspan.
Fun Facts! Apparently when they chose Guysack, they were choosing between it and Helcat, the top voted small Zoids.
Death Saurer scored the highest in the end-of-year survey this year! The hype surrounding the AZ is real.
Apparently Redler and Raynos have roughly tied in votes over the years
Economic Decisions For Small Zoids?
Kotobukiya took a few minutes of the stream to discuss the current economical climate of producing these kits. This weighs in especially hard with small kits like the Guysack. Small kits are harder to produce because the profit is quite small compared to something like a Liger kit. They still have to pay for brand new molds, which are quite expensive, but the kits sell for much less. This leaves Kotobukiya often asking themselves about the feasibility of continuing to release small Zoids. Like the Rev Raptor, they are calling for people to order the Guysack to help them determine if it is a worthwhile endeavor.
This conversation got pretty in depth. They mentioned that a major factor of current Zoid prices is that the average wage where the kits are produced has doubled in the past 10 years. The kits have been struggling to maintain their current production cost, and are finally reaching the point of inching upwards in price. We've seen this in kits like the Red Horn (6800 yen, tax not included) to the Red Horn MPV (9,240 yen, tax included) and Fire Fox (4800 yen) to MPV (6000 yen ish.) They threw out some calculations of what kits would cost to produce today. While some are reasonable (Command Wolf Repackage from 4800 > 6800 yen) others were surprising. Dark Horn, originally 6800, was estimated at 18000 yen if they had to start from scratch.
To Molga or to Molgas? This line of questioning brought up an interesting question. In the past, Kotobukiya released Molgas in a two pack, with different variations. These Zoids are small, they should be cheap, theoretically, but with production costs climbing, staff asked what people thought of releasing them in a different way. They estimated that the cost of producing the Molga & Molga Canory (formerly 4200 yen) would be around 6800 yen now without tax, so if it were released again, it would be released as an MPV at the new price.
This brought up the question of what people would think if the MPV were released as a single Molga (not a two set) with the weapons of all three variations included, like the Command Wolf Repackage? The full set would contain the Canory Unit, Anti-Air weapons, and Carrier equipment, and would shake out to roughly 6000 yen. There's still a lot of support for releasing the two Molga sets, even at the increased price, and Kotobukiya was clear that this didn't mean they wouldn't release the two-packs anymore. However, there are still many '1 Molga' releases we could have. Rokurou, what with the other web comic Zoids released over recent years, and the NJR color scheme to name a couple.
It was an interesting stream, with interesting questions and insights. These dilemmas are also why we haven't gotten Gilraptor yet, which was estimated to cost 20,000 yen to produce in the current climate. I look forward to seeing where Kotobukiya goes, and I hope they can continue to attract good sales through these difficult times.
The Liger Zero Phoenix has officially gone up for pre-order! This kit is scheduled to release in September for 17,600 yen (tax included.) It's now up on the TakaraTomy Mall and the usual sites, so be sure to check your favorite stores for an order page. They also introduced it with its own special preview (shown below), which exhibits the various weapons (well, most of them-) of the Fire Phoenix.
A new page has been added for Zi-Report, a small pamphlet that was given out with some of the NJR motorized model kits. You can find this under the Stories section of the Books page! Only the story segment is translated, as I'm not currently working on the game portion of the BCG stuff. From now on, pamphlets that include story segments (and not just lore blurbs) will also be copied to the stories section.
The Model Kits section is receiving some updates after a long time. The Yuji Kaida Fire Fox page has had all of the images updated and also gotten some minor tweaks to the review. I've wanted to do this for some of the older motos for a while now. Even after all these years, they're still my favorite kits.
A review has been added for the MPZ Shield Liger covering the plethora of motorized actions. Joining it is a review for the Tomy Blade Liger, featuring a pre-owned Bladey. Please note, that this review is for the MPZ Shield Liger released in 2016, NOT the upcoming Shield Liger, which features anime colors.
Two pages have been added under Action Figures in the Art Statues section. These include the Zoids Amusement Figures and the Zoids Genesis Figure Collection. The Bio Tyranno of the Figure Collection was already added, but mislabeled as an Amusement Figure. Its review has been redone entirely, including new, clearer photos.
We continue to receive updates on the Anniversary Zero Phoenix. First on the list is a image showing off the flapping wings. Apparently, when connected to the Liger, the Phoenix's wings will flap up and down. Second, the kit will come with adaptors to attach the Zero armor from the AZ-02 Liger Zero. This includes a white canopy part so that you can recreate RD's Liger Zero from Zoids Fuzors, which had white around the ears instead of black. Last but not least, the separated Fire Phoenix (which, by the way, is looking much snazzier in color) will be able to flap its wings when pressing a button on the neck. This is interesting, as we've not had any mechanical non-motorized features in a while.
Pre-orders for the HMM Guysack are now live! The kit is scheduled for release in July for 5,940 Yen. It's nice having these small kits, and Kotobukiya is urging people to pre-order, so that the company knows these small kits are worth producing.
A LABO Article has been posted going over the Guysack. For the first time ever, Kotobukiya is testing the waters for a photography backdrop as the Kotobukiya Direct bonus! They released a photo setup product a while back for a premium price, and it's interesting seeing these make their way into the kits as bonus items. The background will feature a desert theme. It's A2 size and measures 297 mm x 420 mm wide, which is large enough for Liger-sized Zoids.
In the LABO article linked above we also got our first look at the box art for the Redler BC! This one really snuck up on me. It's scheduled to be released this month for 8,030 yen (tax included.) The box art features the Second Full-Scale Battle, in which the Empire attacked Rob Base during a terrible storm. This battle made use of the Redler BC, which were the first Imperial Zoids to fight their way through the Republic's front lines.