Thursday, September 1, 2011

G is also for Gundam RX-78-2

You cannot mention Zaku (see previous post) and not blog about Gundam! They go hand-in-hand like peas in a pod and you just cannot have one without the other.

The Gundam Series (ガンダムシリーズ, Gandamu Shirīzu) is a metaseries of anime created by Sunrise studios that features giant robots (or "mecha") called "Mobile Suits" (MS); usually the protagonist's MS will carry the name Gundam. The metaseries started on April 7, 1979 as a serial TV show called Mobile Suit Gundam.

That first TV series has since spawned a franchise that has come to include works released in numerous media. Titles have appeared in the form of multiple television series and OVAs, movies, manga, novels and video games, among other modes. The story from the original 1979 series has been considerably extended with sequels, prequels, side stories and alternate timelines. As a result, the title Gundam has become a collective term for the seven distinct but related timelines that can be pieced together from the stories that appear in the Gundam franchise.

The RX-78-2 Gundam (aka Gundam) is the titular mobile suit of Mobile Suit Gundam. Part of the RX-78 Gundam series and built in secret on Side 7, the Gundam would turn the tide of war in favor of the Earth Federation during the One Year War. The unit was primarily piloted by Amuro Ray.

The Gundam was incredibly advanced for its time. Built from lightweight Luna Titanium, its frame was both lighter than that of Zeon's mass-produced Mobile Suits and much sturdier, able to shrug off a Zaku's machine gun fire with little to no damage. Its offensive power was above and beyond that of the Zeon Zakus. The Gundam would engage in most battles with its Beam Rifle making it the first Mobile Suit to have firepower equivalent to a battleship beam cannon.

In addition, it made use of two beam sabers, a blade of extremely hot plasma which could cut through any metal with ease. Those beam sabers could be extended into a spear-like beam javelin, which could be used to stab into an enemy from a longer distance than the blade of the saber would allow.

The Gundam's head was outfitted with a pair of small vulcan cannons, providing it with a last resort weapon as well as a way of attacking light-armored aircraft and vehicles without wasting ammo or energy from its more powerful armaments.

This is a Bandai Gundam RX-78-2 clear color version model kit which I bought together with the Bandai MS-06 Zaku II clear color version model kit (shown in the previous post) a long time back. As I had mentioned, it was still early days of my toy collecting hobby and I had not figured out (pun intended) what I really wanted to focus on then. I had always marvelled at the Mobile Suit Gundam models and when I saw this model kit, I just had to get it :)

I love the clear color scheme. Even though this is a clear see-through model, you can tell just by looking at it what the colors are if this was a sold color model. The see-through effect with all the line details still present is such a refreshing change from the standard model kits I had been used to seeing. Also, no painting required which suits me just fine ;p

It also wielded a large shield which would offer it a defense against enemy attacks that not even its Luna Titanium body could withstand without damage. Gundam pilot Amuro Ray would make use of the shield as a decoy in many battles, taking advantage of its size to fool the enemy into thinking he was charging at them, then attacking the enemy through the shield.

A revolutionary weapon for it's time, the Beam Rifle is the primary weapon used by the Gundam. Making use of the Federations E-cap (or "energy capacitor") technology, the rifle uses charged concentrations of mega-particles as ammunition. This gives the beam rifle firepower equivalent to that of a battleship's main cannon. As the mega particles destroy mater on a molecular scale, the beam rifle can penetrate even the thickest armor and destroy its target in a single shot. One weak point of the rifle was its energy limits. The rifle could only be fired 16 times before depleting its energy and becoming useless.

Close-ups of this awesome Bandai Gundam RX-78-2 clear model kit. Even at just 7 inches or 18cm tall, it certainly isn't lacking any detail and they managed to cramp everything into this really nice robot model. Scroll down to see more pictures.

The Gundam is the first ever mobile suit to use a beam-oriented weapon in melee combat. The sabers are stored on the backpack, and can be optionally combined to form the Gundam Javelin, a large pole with a three pronged beam at the end. The beam sabers use Minovsky particles held in place by an I-Field to form an effective cutting surface that can slice through nearly any material. The particles for the beam sabers are stored by E-cap in the hilt of the saber, which is recharged from the Gundam's reactor when the saber is returned to its socket. Once activated, beam sabers do not rely on the mobile suit's reactor and can be thrown or discarded as decoys. The beam saber is most often used for close range combat or as an emergency weapon once all other ammunition has been depleted.

Similar to the Zaku's Bazooka, the Hyper Bazooka was a heavy weapon used by the Gundam. Technically a large rocket launcher it could fire several 380mm missiles to attack targets at long range. While very powerful the Hyper Bazooka had a slow rate of fire and fairly little of ammunition. Most often used to take out slow, heavily armored targets.

Mobile Suit Gundam is said to have pioneered the real robot era of mecha anime. Unlike its super robot cousins, Gundam attempted a realism in the robot design and weaponry, by running out of energy and ammunition or breaking and malfunctioning.

The necessity of developing humanoid robots is also explained, albeit fictional. The fictional Minovsky particle pervasive in Universal Century is depicted as interfering with radar-guided long-distance cruise missiles, anti-aircraft guns, missiles, and all early warning systems, with weapons systems having to rely on human eyes. In Universal Century, the space-based Principality of Zeon rebels against Earth Federation, requiring a weapons system that could function in zero and normal gravity and be able to open and close air locks, plant demolition charges, and engage with enemy tanks and planes; with a robotic giant being an excellent choice. Once mobile suits have been developed by one side, the opposing force had to develop a similar system, just as British invention of tanks lead to the development of tanks in Germany, and eventually led to tank-to-tank battles.

Related posts:
Bandai MS-06 Zaku II clear color version model kit reviewed in the last post
Federal Force Prototype General Purpose Mobile Suit Mobile Suit Gundam RX-178 - a 440mm tall 1:60 scale Gundam robot that is NOT a model kit but a fully articulated toy figure. How's that for HUGE?
Even larger than 44cm? I present to you the General Marshall Gundam RX-178 - an upsized regular Mobile Suit Gundam RX-178 with Samurai armour. It is approximately 45cm (18 inches) tall! I think that's one of the biggest figures I have :)

Other robots that are manned by humans:
MK-6 Amplified Mobility Platform or AMP suit as seen in James Cameron's futuristic film, "Avatar"
See Col Quaritch operating with his machine - AMP in Action!
Batbot by Mattel - seen in "The Batman" animated series
Toys McCoy 1/6 Super Armored Fighting Suit SAFS aka Ma.k Maschinen Krieger
And there are the the Medicom Kubrick versions (link here). For a complete detailed breakdown, check out the following links: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3.1, Chapter 3.2

There's also the Hot Toys 1/6 scale "ALIENS" Power Loader and the Kenner released 1992 version Space Marine Power Loader as well plus Medicom Kubrick version (too cute to resist)

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