Z-Knights (装甲巨神Zナイト)were a series of toy model kits made by TOMY. Each model was made in 1/72 scale and they were battery powered, the lines having no wind-up versions. The model kits are very similar to Zoids model kits, in terms of design and construction. Although there is no hardcore evidence that the 2 series of model kit lines are linked, the Z-Knights lines backround does mention the Planet Zi and its metalic life forms. For most collectors, the Z-Knights are considered an "sub-line" to the Zoids model kits.
The Z-Knights went on sale in Japan and in Europe in the early 90's. There were 3 diffrent, standard sizes of the model kits and incorperated relatively easy constuction. The model kits had almost the exact same type of caps that held thier parts together as the Zoids model kits. Like the Zoids model kits, the Z-Knights were motorized by batteries for movement. (As stated above. No Z-Knights had wind up motors though, unlike Zoids, which has both.) They also had stickers to place after building was complete. The four largest models, (Z-Knight, Great Z-Knight, Marinekaizer and Gilga) also had a pilot. The pilot was the same as the standard pilot that came with most Zoid models. Unlike Zoids, Z-Knights cockpits were usally located in the chest of the model kit, while Zoids had the cockpits mounted in their heads
The line was rather succsesful and 22 models were produced. (including some limited editions) A selection of models were re-released and recoloured in Europe under new names. No changes were made to the moulds themselves. See more information in the "Z-Knights (Europe)" section of this article.
The backstory details how, in the future, exploration of the galaxy has led to the discovery of a planet called Zi that is inhabited by metallic lifeforms. Some of the organisms were returned to Earth for experimentation, which led to the development of the Zoid-armor Titans, six huge semi-organic war machines. However, they caused such terrible damage when used in combat that use of the Titans was soon outlawed; the project was abandoned and the machines were sealed deep underground.
Many years into the future Earth has become heavily polluted, with smog having a detrimental effect on the planet's inhabitants. News that Earth is further threatened by an approaching meteorite results in Earth's social elite abandoning the planet to colonise Mars; anyone not rich or well-connected is left to die.
The meteor collides with Earth as predicted but instead of destroying life it actually restores the planet's atmosphere! Meanwhile, Mars is ravaged by a solar wind that reduces the artificial atmosphere by 40% and, jealous of the planet they left behind, the Mars colonists plot to return by force. Using scaled-down technology from the Titan project, the colonists (under the command of General Cald) manage to capture the space station Atlantis to use as their base of operations during their attack on Earth.
Cald begins by targeting the resting place of the original Titans so as to awaken them and use them against Earth's inhabitants. The scientists under his command succeed in bringing the 'Marine Kaizer' back into operation but the pilot, swamped by the operating system, is driven insane and causes such chaos that another Titan is awoken. The second titan (called Z-Knight) falls into the control of a young Earth lieutenant who challenges (and defeats) the Marine Kaizer but by doing so unwittingly brings about all-out war between Cald's troops and the army of Earth. The Z-Knight, heavily damaged from its battle, is rebuilt into Great Z-Knight and the defeated Marine Kaizer is repaired and absorbed into Earth's military. From here the battle escalates with both sides producing Titans of their own design in an attempt to defeat the other...
Blue Star (Earth natives)
- Marine Kaizer
- Great Z-Knight
- Solsaber + Brewster tank R/C unit
Cald (Mars colonists)
- Desert Walker
- Death Battler (D.Battler) + Cald tank R/C unit *
- The tank R/C unit was also sold individualy. It was the same tank that was packaged with the Solsaber and the D.Battler only that it was recolored a royale blue.
- The Z-Knight was also released as part of the Toys Dream Project in new colors.
- Deviking Prototype Colouration and Deathdoll Stealth Colouration (Deviking Vs. Deathdoll twin-pack)
The Z-Knights were also released in Europe around the same time as Japan, under the same name. As stated in the article above, only a few, select models from the japanese line were released in the European line. All of the models that were released in the line were renamed and recolored but had no design changes. There were also different sticker sheets to reflect the European version of the backstory.
The line was considered, "short lived" and only had 10 models in total that were produced. The European line was divided into 2 waves. The 1st wave having 8 diffrent Z-Knights, (4 for each side) while the 2nd Wave only included two Z-Knights. (1 for each side) (See below) The models for the Second Wave were produced in lower numbers than the 1st wave, making them more rare.
The only exeption to the European line was its version of the Guyzack. The 11th model in the line, the only way to obtain it was to mail in 10 tokens from the boxes of the other model kits. The model was not recolored or even renamed. In fact, it was a direct import from the Japanese line and even the box was the same. Both the Japanese and the European version of the model are exactly the same in everyway. (Other than how one obtains it)
As stated above, the European models came with different sticker sheets to represent there place in the European backstory. The backstory was almost completly irrelevant to the Japanese backstory in which both the origin and the main conflict of the story had changed.
The European Z-Knights were warriors from computer games that were infected by a virus and given the ability to jump into the real world. From there the story was rather cliched. The Evil Z-Knights were bent on destroying humanity while the Heroic Z-Knights were out to protect it.
Model Kits (Europe)
Heroic Z-Knights: Wave 1
- Hardware (Z-Knight)
- CPU (Skullviper)
- ROM (Northeglaiver)
- Boot (Nilas)
Evil Z-Knights: Wave 1
- Megahertz (Marinekaizer)
- Hacker (Desertwalker)
- Shutdown (Vigace)
- Kilabyte (Darksizzar)
Heroic Z-Knights: Wave 2
- Alt (Zeligaia)
Evil Z-Knights: Wave 2
- Megaclone (Deviking)