My first Liger was a Zero, and based on how enjoyable that Zoid was to build and display, I decided to order the earlier Blade Liger model. Black, gray and blue with touches of white are the main colors for this Zoid. Old-timers will rejoice at the nondescript gray rubber cap color.
I did a bit of painting with Gundam Markers - check out the exhaust grille behind the "whiskers."
Bade Liger surprised me when it turned out to be bigger and bulkier than LZ - I thought of Zero as a Zoid with lots of add-on parts, but Blade manages to out-do its more recent cousin. BL's add-on parts extend well beyond the body and are hinged to allow them to stick up like a porcupine. This flexibility of the design - sleek and streamlined, or large and prickly - means it can take on a variety of appearances depending on the situation.
Perhaps because if its bulk, BL comes with an extra-long tail and a custom horizontal stabilizer. Don't make the mistake I did, of installing the standard one, and being forced to prise apart the case many steps later when you realize your mistake. :/ Somebody who has more Kanji than I do can explain exactly what the Tomy instructions say to do - they seem to suggest you should install the standard tail and then in a little bubble mention the extra-long one.
The namesake "blades" are pre-painted gold on dark gray. They are well-scaled for being tucked up atop the Zoid's back, but are a little small when unfolded and deployed into position. Still, their thickness and shape matches the blue and white "whiskers" and other fold-out parts, lending the Zoid a nice look when all parts are extended and deployed.
Instead of Liger Zero's discrete plastic toes, BL comes with each "paw" fully formed. However, the paws are molded in die-cast gold-painted metal instead of Zero's gold plastic. Also, the paws are slightly spread apart, like a real cat's would be when it was walking. They also match the bulkier, wider design of Blade as compared with Zero. Teeth are the same metal - nearly as long as Sabre Tiger's!
The walking mechanism is the same as the Zero, complete with the cat-like motion of all four legs. The Liger leg mechanism is, I believe, one of the best designs the Tomy team came up with - multiple joints per leg, as well as tabs and grooves that ensure parts of the leg move opposite the main leg's motion. The front feet in particular demonstrate this.
In addition to the above-mentioned tail options, BL comes with two different back-mounted accessories. The main one is two rocket engines which emerge from a blue cover and slide out, raising the cover in the process. The other one seems to be some sort of gun, but since it doesn't include the neat connection which automatically raises the blue cover, I decided against installing it.
The two horizontal cylinders which hold the blue wing hinges don't seem like they will last. Inserting the blue hinges makes the cylinders bow out slightly, which then provides the tension they need to stay attached to the two gray pegs on the main body casing. However, this friction is not enough to overcome the force you sometimes use to swing the gold wings down and rotate them. Long-term, I'm afraid the plastic may fracture due to the inherent stress placed on the pieces. (These cylinders are present in Liger Zero, in white, but they only hold two vestigial wings and thus stay on pretty well. Anyone know if they exist in any other Liger variants?)
On the movement front, after two Ligers I'm still mystified as to what the heads are supposed to be doing. I've examined the internal mechanism, and although the jaws on both cats open and close properly, the head itself is rather strange. Due to the non-centered levers inside, the (very small) vertical motion of the head is accompanied with a slight side-to-side motion. This happens on both BL and LZ. Are the cats supposed to be shaking their heads, or is something else supposed to be happening?
There are a few pieces which are pre-painted and attached to sprues in such a way as to result in ugly scars when the pieces are removed. The white armor on the legs and the horizontal tail stabilizers in particular have this problem.