This is the Zoids Geruder kit. I consider finding this toy in 2003 to be something of a miracle in my toy collecting life. To this day I still don’t believe how this came to be.
As a kid from like 1987-1989, my dad went to Japan a lot. He brought me back a few small Zoids kits from there, where I poked around and circled things I wanted to get. (And didn’t get, the line died down and business travel got cut back.) So the little Triceratops-esque robot, while released in blue and sold in the USA under RoboStrux, was long gone pretty quickly. I never saw them for sale, and since I was not in Japan in the 1980s (and reissues seemed impossible) I never expected to get this toy.
Cut to 2003. I was at a now-gone quasi-head shop kind of place on Camelback in Phoenix called “Jutenhoops” with my then-girlfriend, now long-suffering wife. It was packed with quasi-druggy stuff, some vaguely smutty adult toys, gifts, an Egyptian sarcophagus, and historically had a big selection of wind-up toys. They didn’t have much during this visit, but I did stumble on a fully-Japanese box from Zoids. This guy!
The box was in nearly perfect condition and marked $10.50. The bottom of the box was clearly re-taped with scotch tape, so I asked if I could slice it open to inspect it to see if it was complete. It was unbuilt, with the instructions, sprues of parts, and labels all intact. I rushed it home and assembled it. I couldn’t believe my good luck, as the older Zoids (if you ask me) looked cooler with their vac-metal pilots and metallic labels.
Along with the Playmobil Hobo, this is the only other toy to be on the header of 16bit.com. The hobo was a pretty short quest (about 2 years) from discovery to purchase, but the Geruder took about 17 years. This was one of those toys I saw as a kid and couldn’t imagine ever having a shot at due to its Japanese-ness and the fact that the Internet wasn’t a thing in my home during the 1980s. (I didn’t get online until like 1992.)
Assembly is super-easy, with 4 sprues of parts and a smattering of twist-bolts coming together over a wind-up motor. As a kid I really had a soft spot in my heart for this guy, and the Dinobots toy Slag tried to fill the void. He didn’t. I still love Slag, but man, this Zoids Geruder is just the bestest thing ever. I think this also put a big stop to my buying the then-modern Zoids line, minus some massive clearances. I’m not made of stone.
If you want this kit, you can get a reissue of it in the Zenevas Memorial 1984 box. I would argue it’s worth the $100 asking price on eBay. From where I sit, the most desirable toys are always the ones you had as a kid… or the ones you wanted as a kid. This was always at the top of the list for me. It’s a small toy, but it’s just so wonderful. I’m glad I have it, and the fact I fell into a Japanese toy from like 1984 at an American gift shop in 2003 was just staggering. This is why I continue to advocate toy hunting… hit those stores! You really never know what you might find out there.