Super Saberlion Desert Custom
During the various campaigns carried out in the desert regions of planet Zi, both the Republic and Empire have fielded various Zoids suited to operating in extremely hot and treacherous environments. Many of these rolling testbeds are one of a kind customs established to research a specific technology. If successful, that technology is then refined and slowly adapted into wider production numbers.
While the standard Saberlion is a very effective design for certain situations, it was still plagued with various problems of an oxymoron sort. For a Zoid built for high speed maneuvering, it still has to get close to its target due to a lack of firepower. For close range combat, its high speed really doesn't come into play. It is susceptible to ranged attacks since it has no return fire capability. Add to this the lack of a cockpit, making the pilot completely exposed to the elements, and close range combat suddenly becomes a very frightening prospect. This lack of a cockpit also makes the Saberlion useful for only moderate climates.
Republic engineers sought to rectify this situation with the RZ-062-D+ variant of the Saberlion. First, to address the lack of firepower, the Super Saberlion carries a Spray Pistol that doesn't provide very much accuracy, but is capable of filling a medium range area with a lot of lead. This gives the Zoid the ability to blast an enemy with a quick burst and use the enemy's surprise to move in and use the blades (these weren't modified since they worked perfectly). It also gives the Super Saberlion a good "parting shot" if it needs to escape from a fight. The other shoulder holds a Focus Beam Gun. This allows medium to long range fire power with a very high rate of accuracy. The Beam isn't overly powerful, but it's enough to cut through the armor of smaller Zoids.
To give the Super Saberlion additional speed, two high speed maneuverability packs were added to the thighs. These devices provide thrust in a 270 degree arc and are mounted on pivots to allow constant adjustment. This gives the Super Saberlion an almost fatal level of cornering and speed. In sheer cornering force, this is the fastest Zoid at this point in time on Zi. To put things into perspective, the Super Saberlion is capable of outrunning many aerial Zoids and can pull turns in the 18G range. The legs have all been reinforced and a reinforced Zoid core has been added to keep the Zoid from going into a state of shock from high speed turns. Naturally, this brings up issues for the pilot.
To address these issues, an experimental cockpit has been installed in place of the standard saddle. This cockpit has an experimental miniaturized anti-gravity device similar to the type that allows a Whale King to hover and fly (smaller flying Zoids use a type of mag-lev device to charge their wings). The anti-grav device constantly adjusts to the g force direction and amount, so that when the Super Saberlion makes a hard turn in one direction, the device will provide an opposing force in the other direction to the pilot. While the pilot still experiences a cornering sensation, it's much more subdued (and less deadly) than without anti-grav capability. Also, thanks to the cockpit's HVAC system, the Super Saber Lion is suited to many more environments than without. In the case of the Desert Custom, the air conditioning condensor was made stronger for the desert heat.
|Lieutenant Daryl Blocker
In some kind of strange twist of fate, one of the smallest battle Zoids ever produced is piloted here by a fairly large individual. At 6'5" and 240lbs, Daryl Blocker isn't one of the smallest pilots around, but he's one of the most talented at high speed maneuvers. The big pilot from one of the Republic's more posh cities is known for being generally good natured, but gets annoyed very easily. His temper goes on and off like a light switch, but it's mostly just noise. Daryl is very loyal to his friends and can always appreciate a good game and good food. He's very affable to the degree that superior officers sometimes get annoyed with his familiarity in spite of proper protocol. Luckily, his immediate CO, "Captain Jack", likes Daryl and puts up with him.
Daryl loves to go very fast, and doesn't care what it takes to get there, thus he has no preference in Zoids- just as long as they're very quick. Unfortunately, Daryl is terrified of heights so he'll never be able to pilot some of the fastest Zoids, but with the Super Saberlion, he's found a pretty good fit. Daryl's extremely happy to be able to say he pilots the fastest land-based Zoid in the world and loves to scream by Empire pilots to see the looks of shock on their faces. His love for his Saberlion is very evident in the way he talks to it and encourages it when in battle.
So far, his kill ratio has proven adequate, but not spectacular. Some think this is because Daryl has become the epitome of "haste makes waste", but time will tell. When asked if he would ever consider moving to a faster Zoid, Daryl always gives an affirmative. But lately, he's been known to add, "I've kinda gotten used to the Super Saber, though... It's small enough that I can tell where all the corners are..."
Testors paints were used over a grey primer along with a wash made from The Detailer and flat coated with Testors lacquer. Approximate construction time: 18 hours.
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