Original Japanese Release Gil Vader
|Maximum Speed||Land: 80 km/h (49 mph), Air: Mach 4.0 ("4940km/h" or "3069 mph")|
|Weapons||Plasma Particle Cannon (4), Needle Gun (10), Gravity Cannon (4), Twin Maser (horns), Beam Smasher (4), Rear Cutting Wings(2) (tailblade), Titanium Claw (4)|
|Equipment||Radar Shield, Magnetic Vibration System, Fuel Tank, Wing Barrier(2)|
The Gil Vader (ギル・ベイダー sometimes stylized as Gilvader), also known as the Gil Dragon, is a Wyvern-type Zoid, one of over 200 species of biomechanical lifeforms depicted by TOMY's Zoids model, toy, and media franchise. First released in 1989, the Gil Vader is depicted as the one of the most powerful Zoids in the fictional universe associated with the franchise, and the original release is one of the most sought after model kits ever produced in the range.
The Gil Vader is very large, being the third longest Zoid ever, and the widest, with a wingspan of 36.7 metres. It has a long tail that makes up nearly half its length, as well as a long neck. Its body has a unique styling found on no other Zoid, giving it an almost fantasy-like appearance opposed to the more mechanical look of other Zoids.
Despite its sheer size, the Gil Vader is the fastest flying Zoid ever created (tied with the Storm Sworder FX) and is capable of exo-atmospheric flight. It carries a devastating array of weapons, the most powerful of which are its quad Gravity Cannons, which generate a localised high-gravity field, destroying opponents by crushing them. These are not the limit of its arsenal; the Zoid mounts a staggering array of both ranged and melee weapons, including Plasma Particle Cannons and Maser Horns. The Zoid's most unusual weapons are its Beam Smashers, a quartet of energized circular saws mounted in the wings and back. In addition to cutting and tearing through armour, the saws can be used to project potent energy blasts.
The Gil Vader also sports a trio of Power Connector Ports on its back. These ports allow the Zoid to mount additional weapons systems and equipment, further expanding its capabilities.
Battle Story Appearances
The Gil Vader made its debut in ZAC 2053 during the Helic Republic's invasion of the Dark Continent of Nyx, attacking the Madthunder division and proving near unstoppable afterwards, driving the Republic army back and crossing the ocean to bomb the capital. Committed to the war on the Dark Continent and unable to effectively counterattack, the Republic suffered heavy losses.
As further attempts to stop the Gil Vader force failed, the Republic Army tried one last desperate gambit: the Orudios, an experimental Pegasus-Type Zoid. Leading one Gil Vader away from the rest, its pilot managed to take both Zoids down in a suicide attack, and under false intelligence that the Republic had far more of this mysterious Zoid, Guylos halted the Gil Vaders' advance long enough for the Orudios to see mass production.
The Gil Vader continued to see service until ZAC 2056. All extant examples seem to have been wiped out in the meteor storm after a comet struck one of Zi's three moons.
In the Zoids Genesis battle story, the Gil Dragon is a powerful Zoid used by the Sky People, a group of humans who dwell in space above Zi. The Gil Dragon is capable of immense destruction, but despite this, it has not seen battle in many centuries. Although not totally unique, it appears to be a very rare Zoid, with only one known to still be functioning buried beneath Iron Rock town.
Despite only the Gil Dragon having a role in the storyline, a flashback did portray it in an epic battle with its counterpart, Gil Vader, suggesting that they are separate Zoids whom both exist in this universe.
In Zoids: Genesis, the Gil Vader can be seen in two forms. The original purple and black form would be seen only in flashbacks, with the Genesis blue and white variant would be seen in the actual series, under the name Gil Dragon.
The Gil Dragon was used prior to the "God's Fury" event as a transport Zoid to enable the inhabitants of Zi to colonize the upper atmosphere, and perhaps even space itself. However, this Zoid was not used only for peaceful purposes, and at least two armies clashed, each with a Gil Dragon as their flagship. This battle is speculated to have caused the apocalyptic "God's Fury". Either way, once the apocalypse had started, the people of Zi were forced to live in the flying citadel, Sora City in order to survive. To move between this floating city and the surface, the Gil Dragon was once again employed. One of these eventually fell into disrepair and sank below the sea, ending up under the city of Katou. Another would be sealed away by the people of what would later become Iron Rock.
This one was kept in working order, and was unsealed by Kotona and her sister for the use by the anti-Digald movement, once again as a transport vessel so that they could get to Sora City and retrieve Metal Zi bullets for use against Digald. But when they did this, Digald attacked Sora City and destroyed it. With it falling from the sky, the Gil Dragon was used to evacuate the city's citizens, but was damaged in the escape, and lost half of one of its wings. It was still able to land, but was grounded from that point on. Its weapons were never used other than in flashback.
It is depicted as being many, many, many times larger than the model would dictate, with the already-exaggerated Decalto Dragon being dwarfed by the Zoid's head alone, and is stated to be larger than a mountain - which is not an overstatement.
In a minor departure from the model, in the battle between two the Gil Dragons (seen in flashback in episode 37), both Gil Dragons are briefly shown to have a projectile weapon in their mouths, something the model does not contain.
The Gil Vader appears in the Game Boy Advance game Zoids: Legacy, under the name Gilvader. It is only acquirable through entering a code. The Zoid later reappeared in Zoids Saga III as a part of the regular game.
Gil Vader also shows as the true end boss in the Game Boy Color game Jashin Fukkatsu! Geno Breaker Hen (Evil God Revived! Geno Breaker Story). After the player defeats Professor Io's Geno Breaker, he reveals his final creation: a revived Gil Vader. This Gil Vader was built with the "genes" of his son who died in the war (providing the reason for his revenge on both the Republic and the Empire that drove the game's plot). After it too fails, Io chooses to remain behind as the room collapses around him (although he can be convinced to escape). Despite these events, Io and his Gil Vader can be fought again if the player revisits that room of the tower.
After the player has beaten the game, Gil Vader (among other special Zoids) can be obtained by visiting a house in Wind Colony. The player is asked for a password, which must be entered correctly in kana. The key to Gil Vader is ゾイドオン (Zoid On).
Grade Up Zoids
The Gil Vader kit comes on eight frames, along with a battery-powered motor, a secondary pre-built gearing unit and battery pack, two coiled springs, three loose gears on axles, twenty rubber caps (two different sizes) a small chromed pilot and label sheets. The Gil Vader is moulded in black, two different purples, and silver, with a translucent red canopy.
The Gil Vader is a part of the Grade Up Series. Unlike other Grade Up Zoids that only have a single power connection port, the Gil Vader has three. Due to its design, the Zoid cannot use the GU-03 Eye Flasher, but is fully compatible with the others. The Drillgan unit from TOMY’s Scitex line is compatible with the Gil Vader’s ports.
The Gil Vader uses two “AA” sized batteries for motion. Once activated, the Zoid walks forwards, its wings flapping, tail moving and jaws chomping, the four buzzsaws spinning and the power connection ports turning. A second pair of AA batteries power lights that illuminate the Zoid’s eyes and buzzsaws.
The Gil Vader was first released in 1989 and had a relatively short production run.
The Gil Vader was re-released in 2005 as a part of the Genesis line. As with the anime, the Zoid's name was changed to Gil Dragon.
The new version is primarily pearly white with bronze, blue, and gold parts. The canopy and buzz saws are now clear blue with matching lights. The motor has been altered to work off a single AA battery with no loss of power and uses a screw-shut battery case cover. The Gil Dragon also comes with a pair of new horns to match its anime counterpart, but the original masers are still included on the sprues, enabling one to also build it as a recoloured Gil Vader.
While the Gil Vader's original mould was reported lost or destroyed, it appears that TOMY recreated the mould. The Zoid sports several minor (but clearly deliberate) moulding changes and some loss of detail, as well as smaller, blunter teeth, believed to be a side-effect of the mould recreation process.
The Gil Dragon was discontinued in late 2005 after having sold poorly.
Takara Tomy released the Gil Vader in September 2008 as part of their 25th anniversary celebration. This version of the Gil Vader was similar to the Genesis-line Gil Dragon, but was colored to match to the original black and purple design (for instance, it still has the three "AA" battery setup instead of the original four). It does not however, sport the interchangeable horns that were included with the Gil Dragon kit.