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 Post Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:00 pm 
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Since we've just been discussing the Kaempfer and other Zeon mobile suit development stuff from the tail end of the One Year War, I was finally motivated to go through and translate some related material from the "Gundam 0080 the OVA Movies" film comics.

These are part of a series of film comics published by Asahiya Shuppan about 15 years ago. Each volume in the series has a collection of science- and mecha-focused essays in the back, which seem to be held in pretty high regard by Japanese Gundamologists; for example, the Gundam Officials encyclopedia draws heavily on these essays. This is probably because the essay series was spearheaded by Gundam science maven Tadashi Nagase, whose credentials I've listed in my notes on Gundam Century. These later installments are written mainly by Masatoshi Kusakabe and Takayuki Ikegami, who've gone on to contribute to a lot of other Gundam publications like the Gundam Historica series.

Anyways, I'll just go ahead and blart the text out here. This is from volumes VII and VIII in the film book series, and I've picked out the essays dealing with Zeon mobile suit development and the United Maintenance Plan. Discussion to follow, but please: If you're replying to this, for the sake of humanity, please don't quote the entire thing! :-)

-- Mark



MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080 THE OVA MOVIES VII


Mass Production Mobile Suits of the Late One Year War

Completed versions of many prototype mobile suits were rolled out in the final stage of the One Year War. Here we will discuss these mobile suits which were intended for mass production. The completed forms of the amphibious mobile suits, whose prototypes were considered defective products, are particularly remarkable.

Completion of the Local Warfare Mobile Suit

During the One Year War, the Zeon forces produced a variety of prototype mobile suits for local warfare. Of these, the amphibious mobile suits were the most famous for their wide range of prototypes.

Early on, Zeon put an emphasis on conquering Earth's surface, and the design and production of these machines proceeded in parallel with that of the Zaku. Mobile weapons that could move freely in the oceans that covered 70 percent of Earth's surface, and were capable of attacking inland to some extent, would be strategically indispensable for gaining an advantage in surface warfare.

In the end, however, these amphibious mobile suit projects were largely abandoned during the later stages of the war. At this point, Zeon could no longer devote much of its fighting strength to Earth's surface. But the main reason was that, generally speaking, the mobile suits of this series had a low degree of completeness.

Of all the amphibious mobile suits, the MSM-07 Z'Gok was considered the most successful type. During its prototype stage, however, there were serious concerns about mass production due to its high production cost and its difficult handling.

Nonetheless, the development of such local warfare mobile suits was not completely halted. Even as the budget for surface operations was drastically reduced in the wake of Operation Odessa, the development of a few amphibious mobile suits intended for mass production was still under way.

The MSM-07E Z'Gok E succeeded in enhancing the performance, and drastically reducing the cost, of the previous Z'Gok. Thanks to its standardized parts, and a redesign based on data obtained from the early production type, it had a very different appearance from the previous version. Its joints had an enhanced range of motion like those of the Gogg, thus expanding its attack radius, and the arms could be retracted to increase its underwater cruising speed. It was also equipped with one of the more efficient generators introduced in the later stages of the war, giving it much greater output. (Or rather, the previous early production type had a low ratio of output to volume.)

The MSM-03C Hy-Gogg, like the Z'Gok E, was drastically redesigned to address the problems of the early production version. While traces of the original version still remained in the Z'Gok E, the Hy-Gogg could probably be considered an entirely different machine.

Even if one wanted to be flattering, the early production version of the Gogg could never be called a masterpiece. Despite its merits as a pioneering amphibious mobile suit, it had plenty of shortcomings such as a lack of optional equipment capacity, poor maneuverability on land, and generator output comparable to that of a Zaku (which may have been inevitable, since it was developed at roughly the same time).

The original Gogg design, however, was rushed onto the production lines while it was still in development. At that point, the development team had already begun the development of a new machine based on the Gogg, and it was almost on the verge of completion. This was the Hy-Gogg, the final production type of the Gogg.

In terms of its appearance, the resulting Hy-Gogg diverged greatly from the previous type. The machine was made as lightweight as possible, and it was even lighter than the Z'Gok E. It generator, however, was about as powerful, and its arms were equipped with beam cannons that the old Gogg would have been unable to drive. Although these had a lower output than the beam rifle of the MS-14 Gelgoog that rolled out at the same time, they had the advantage of being internal weapons, and two of them were installed.

Mass production of these machines finally began in the last stage of the war. Ultimately, their production was halted by the sudden end of the war, but like other Zeon mobile suits they had a great influence on subsequent mobile suit development. After this, however, no more amphibious mobile suits were produced. As the main battlefield for mobile suits shifted to space, a stronger emphasis was placed on their nature as general-purpose weapons.


Amphibious MS Cockpit
At this point, Zeon was finally beginning to standardize its mobile suits. Their cockpits, which until now had been different for each type of machine, were finally made modular and their control systems were unified.

Z'Gok E
One of the completed forms of the amphibious mobile suit. Although prototypes such as the Capule were later produced, they did not really surpass this mobile suit. It was meant to have a lower cost than the early production version, but it was still more expensive than the Hy-Gogg.

Hy-Gogg
A completely redesigned version of the Gogg. With its lower cost, lighter weight, and enhanced output, its overall balance surpassed that of the Z'Gok. It also had many optional weapons, completely eliminating the shortcomings of the old mass production type. This machine had a great influence on later general-purpose mobile suits.

External Rocket Launcher
An optional weapon attached to the Hy-Gogg's arm. This was the first such equipment used by amphibious mobile suits, which had previously suffered from poor functional versatility. Thus it demonstrated the high flexibility of this machine design. It is believed that it could also be used by the Z'Gok E.


The Zaku, the Most Mass-Produced Mobile Suit in History

Surely everyone knows the Zaku's name. Not only was it the first mobile suit in human history, but it was also the most successful mass production type.

From the time of the MS-05 early production type, the Zaku had an unusually superb overall balance. Though this old type had its shortcomings in terms of thruster and generator output and the expandability of its equipment, its handling was said to be even better than that of the MS-06 Zaku II. Due to Operation British (the colony drop operation), the Zeon forces lost most of the MS-05 units they had deployed, and as previously planned they shifted to the mass production of the Zaku II. From a design standpoint, this machine was nothing but a minor upgrade of the MS-05, but it unintentionally ended up confirming the greatness of the Zaku's basic design.

The Zaku II was designed simply for increased output, but it proved to have far higher mechanical potential than anticipated. Once notice was taken of this potential flexibility, the Zaku series went on to spawn a huge number of variation types. By the final stage of the war, the Zaku appeared to have surrendered the spotlight to the many newer machine types, but this was to change with the rollout of the FZ series.

The MS-06FZ Zaku II FZ could be called a hidden masterpiece of the war's final stage. Its production numbers were small, but its generator and thruster output rivaled that of the R and S series created for ace pilots, while its ease of operation was comparable to that of the original Zaku II. And although it was unable to drive beam weapons, it also had maneuverability rivaling that of a Gelgoog. (In practice, it was no match for a Gelgoog operated by a skilled pilot, but it made up for this with ease of operation.)

The Zaku II FZ was still relatively unknown by the time the war ended. This was probably due to its very late rollout, just one month before the end of the war, and because its frontline deployment was greatly delayed. This, in turn, was because the Zaku was already branded with the stigma of obsolescence, and most units preferred to be supplied with Rick Doms and Gelgoogs. In the end, the Zaku II FZ was deployed only to a few units (in particular, hastily organized units made up of student soldiers and new recruits), and it produced no notable combat results. There are reports that the Zaku II FZ participated in the operations of Zeon special forces at Side 6, but this is not confirmed.


MS-06FZ Zaku II FZ
A masterpiece of the war's final stage, whose name is unfortunately largely unknown. Although it was deployed only to a few units, it was extremely popular with skilled pilots who preferred using the Zaku, and many machines were seen with customized armor.

FZ Type Cockpit
The piloting systems of the Zaku II FZ were greatly modified from those of the Zaku II, thanks to data accumulated over a long period. Improvements were made in terms of operation and pilot protection, and these were generally well received.



MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0080 THE OVA MOVIES VIII


The Mobile Suit United Maintenance Plan

Considered individually, Zeon's mobile suits were truly excellent, but they were created with almost no consideration for standardized parts or production lines. The Mobile Suit United Maintenance Plan was hastily planned and executed in response to this state of affairs.

A Flood of Mobile Suit Production Lines

Zeon's mobile suits were able to reach the battlefield in such a short time because of the fierce development competition being waged between companies, and even between individual project teams.

This situation was intentionally created by the Zeon military leadership. In exchange for establishing mobile suit development and production lines, these companies were allowed to escape confiscation under the Principality's national unity program, and were guaranteed some freedom of economic activity. Because weapons development promised to yield enormous economic results, these companies devoted their full energies to mobile suit development.

As a result, the mobile suit was completed with astonishing speed, only two years after its development began. Although the basic research had been performed almost half a century earlier, it was almost miraculous that a combat system equipped with a Minovsky-Ionesco nuclear fusion reactor, which gave the machine vastly higher output than a traditional spacecraft, could be created in such a short time--let alone in so nearly complete a form.

On the other hand, this development competition became a hindrance to the sharing of technology between projects. For this reason, Zeon mobile suit designs were so different that each machine type was virtually unique. In the earliest mobile suits, not even the cockpits were consistent. Naturally, they had virtually no weapons systems in common, and could not even use handheld weapons from other machine types unless they had been specially modified. This is why the weapons systems of the Zaku, which were produced in the greatest numbers, were never adopted by the other mobile suit types.

Zeon finally recognized this fact one month after the outbreak of war, when it began rolling out a succession of new mobile suit types. The various project teams, which were already moving on to the development of next-generation mobile suits, were gathered by the military leadership and ordered to thoroughly standardize their current and future machines. As a result, Zeon's mobile suit development went through months of confusion, and even the development of the Gelgoog was nearly cancelled at this point.

This became known as the Mobile Suit United Maintenance Plan. The plan itself could be called somewhat belated, but ultimately, it would dramatically accelerate the development of later mobile suits.


Zaku II
This one machine type boasted the greatest production numbers in human history. Effectively, it became the first standard mobile suit. The standardization of the United Maintenance Plan was based on this machine.

Z'Gok
This Z'Gok was completely incompatible with the Gogg, its fellow amphibious mobile suit. This was the main reason for the high cost and low production suitability of both machines.

Gelgoog
Although incomplete, it had some standards compatibility with the Zaku. Because this machine was hastily rolled out in the final stage of the war, it was not necessarily fully standardized.


The Unification of Mobile Suit Standards

The United Maintenance Plan was drafted by M'Quve and others under Kycilia's command. Commander M'Quve, who was an expert in material supply and logistics, had been pointing out inefficiencies in mobile suit production since before the war began. Even Vice Admiral Dozle Zabi, who had initially ignored his reports, could no longer deny these facts. With Kycilia's support, M'Quve immediately put the plan into operation.

M'Quve's reforms were comprehensive. He summoned the heads of each mobile suit development project to his office, and ordered them to implement the plan regardless of their current state of progress. M'Quve's office was furnished with trained soldiers and scrupulously maintained small arms. Although there was considerable opposition to his orders, thanks to this effective persuasion, the plan was ultimately put into effect.

It was anticipated that these projects would be plunged into temporary chaos. Every mobile suit was to be reconsidered from the design stage, in order to improve production efficiency and thoroughly standardize their parts. This task was expected to take almost half a year, but in fact, it was completed in just over four months.

Once the standardization of the production lines was completed, the rest of the work proceeded quite quickly. The technical knowhow which was previously retained by each individual project was shared, and mobile suits from different series adopted each other's technology. The flood of new mobile suits that rolled out during the later stages of the One Year War were purely a result of this United Maintenance Plan. Although the plan itself had not been thoroughly considered, and M'Quve's "persuasion" had contributed to the problem of assigning responsibility, it could be said that the results were dramatic.

The United Maintenance Plan was based on the Zaku mobile suit, whose production lines were the most widely dispersed and easiest to maintain. (From this fact, it can be seen just how haphazard this plan really was.) But it could also be said that this was the greatest factor in the plan's success. From the standpoint of pure specs, the Zaku was no match for subsequent mobile suits, but it was unrivaled for its high versatility and the soundness of its design concepts. As a result, the reuse and standardization of its parts did not result in catastrophe. Even the basic frame and joint components of a Gelgoog-class machine could be adequately handled by Zaku-based production lines. And aside from its output parts, the final version of the MS-06F was not that different from a Gelgoog.

The most dramatic revisions were made to the amphibious mobile suits. This becomes obvious just from looking at the Hy-Gogg and Z'Gok E, the later versions of the Gogg and Z'Gok. While they retained the same design concepts, as a result of drastic parts standardization and the adoption of technology from other machine types, they were both transformed so much that they could be considered completely different machines.


Hy-Gogg
Aside from its design concepts, this could be considered almost a different machine from the early production version of the Gogg. Its performance and serviceability were greatly improved, and its operating costs dramatically reduced.

Z'Gok E
Since the Z'Gok was hardly a low-level machine to begin with, this version had no dramatic increase in performance, but its serviceability and functionality were much improved. Thanks to standardized armament, it could also use equipment from other machine types.

The standardization of the cockpit was welcomed by pilots. It used the same basic specifications as that of the Zaku.


Mass Production Mobile Suits of the Late One Year War (Continued)

Many mobile suits were rolled out in the final stage of the One Year War. In particular, the majority of the Zeon mobile suit types identified during the war were produced during this period. Here, we will focus our discussion on mobile suits for use in space.

Final Mass Production Type Space Mobile Suits

During the final stage of the war, Zeon's space mobile suits underwent a great change in style. This was a result of the United Maintenance Plan that was underway within Zeon.

The new mobile suits, which were standardized based on Zaku production lines, yielded a drastic increase in efficiency compared to the previous manufacturing process which relied on artisanal handcraft. On the other hand, this led to extensive revisions in the design of their armor and internal frame. Put more directly, they were changed to become suitable for mass production.

The most extreme example may be the Rick Dom II. The specifications of this machine were drastically revised from the previous Dom and Rick Dom, sacrificing the Dom's versatility to obtain a machine more specialized for use in space. The Dom was originally designed with atmospheric use in mind, taking aerodynamics into account. But the shape of the Rick Dom II's armor was extensively changed because it did not have to consider air resistance. Although its overall silhouette was not much different, its armor was redesigned to use a more planar structure, which made it possible to install more powerful generators and thrusters.

The late-arriving Gelgoog was developed from the beginning with standardization in mind. However, this standardization assumed the existence of dedicated production lines, because it was expected that the Gelgoog would henceforth become the standard for Zeon mobile suits. Ultimately, under the United Maintenance Plan, the developers were forced to reconsider the design of the Gelgoog from its basic stages. Fortunately, the general concept of the Gelgoog was close to that of the Zaku, and even as they experimented with drastic changes at the component level there was no need to make major changes to the structure of the machine itself. The full-scale mass production and combat deployment of the Gelgoog, however, was greatly delayed as a result.

Because it was already a very complete machine, later models of the Gelgoog such as the JG type and M type showed no major increase in performance. But thanks to a uniform control system, interface improvements, and better serviceability, they became distinct machines from the previous production version of the Gelgoog. The JG type was intended exclusively for precision shooting, and so its performance was not extraordinary, but its targeting accuracy was greatly improved through the use of units that were developed for similar prototype machines in the Zaku series.


Rick Dom II
A Rick Dom redesigned exclusively for space combat. The Rick Dom was originally just a Dom equipped with space engines, but this machine could be called a genuine space version of the Dom.

Gelgoog JG
A machine type exclusively for precision shooting. By sacrificing the original capabilities of the Gelgoog, it achieved dramatically increased targeting accuracy. It was based on the Gelgoog due to its ability to drive beam weapons.


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 Post Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:27 pm 
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it's interesting that M'Quve was behind the plan I guess that since he never took the YMS-15 gyan in to battle in the revised movie timeline he stayed back and tried to get Zeon's house in order. The Zaku frame was a logical choice for the basis since those productions lines are setup and already established all the factories need is new cad data and parts to switch production. The Rick Dom II is actually a total rebuild of the frame where it seems the First type was a quick part swap so zimmad could sell the dom's to the space force it's not a stretch to use the Zeonic frame to build a dom since the MS-07C-5 Gouf Test Prototype was used to gather data for the YMS-09. Surprisingly there is no link to Pezen where they built the galabaty witch combined the Gelgoog and Gyan in to one balanced unit.

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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:35 pm 
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The notion that M'Quve was the architect of the United Maintenance Plan seems to have been introduced in these film comics essays, and it's since been echoed in Gundam Officials and other sources. Based on the literal text - "Zeon finally recognized this fact one month after the outbreak of war, when it began rolling out a succession of new mobile suit types" - it also makes it sound like the plan was launched in February of U.C. 0079, a factoid that's likewise been rehashed in a bunch of later sources even though it's kind of ridiculous.

Even in the movie continuity, though, M'Quve was still in charge of the Odessa mining base. The essay seems to indicate that he proposed the United Maintenance Plan before he took charge at Odessa, specifying a rank (Commander) one notch lower than the rank he holds in the animation. Obviously, if he's down on Earth when the whole thing gets rolling, then it becomes a lot harder for M'Quve to call all the development heads into his office and order them to redesign everything at gunpoint; perhaps he could make a trip back to the homeland for the occasion?


As far as timing, based on the rest of the essay text, my hunch is that it seems more likely that the United Maintenance Plan was launched around July of U.C. 0079. At this point the Gogg had entered mass production, freeing up the development team to begin "development of a new machine based on the Gogg" (which ultimately became the Hy-Gogg), and the design of the original, expensive, incompatible Z'Gok should have been pretty much finalized.

What's more, this is the same point at which Zeon rebooted the development of the Gelgoog and hastily organized a multi-vendor competition to find a substitute. As I've noted in my U.C. timeline, the Zeon Military File says that the Rick Dom was chosen as an interim space mobile suit on July 31, and the MSV books indicate that the (re)design of the Gelgoog was completed in August. This seems compatible with the claim above that the Gelgoog was originally designed with partial standardization in mind, but "ultimately, under the United Maintenance Plan, the developers were forced to reconsider the design of the Gelgoog from its basic stages" and "the full-scale mass production and combat deployment of the Gelgoog [...] was greatly delayed as a result."

This might even account for the substantial time lag between the completion of the YMS-09 Prototype Dom (variously reported as June or July) and full-scale production of the MS-09 Dom. The Zeon Military File says that Zimmad spent the month of August converting MS-06F Zaku II production lines to make Doms instead, with actual production beginning in September (actually late September, according to the MG kit manuals). This sounds exactly like the kind of Zaku-based production system described in these essays.


If the United Maintenance Plan was launched in July, then when was it completed? The essays say that the task of redesigning and standardizing all Zeon's mobile suits "was completed in just over four months," which brings us to November of U.C. 0079. That sounds just about right; as of October, Zeon was still rolling out machines like the YMS-14 Gelgoog, which lacked the new standardized cockpit. By November, "just one month before the end of the war," Zeon had rolled out the Zaku II FZ, which did have the new cockpit. So the plan was clearly fully implemented at that point, and the adoption of a standardized cockpit was presumably one of the final steps.


How does this relate to the Pezun project? As it turns out, fairly well - the United Maintenance Plan appears to be the reason why it was feasible to produce the Galbaldy on the Gelgoog's production lines. There's a specific reference to this in the box text from the Zeonography series:

Quote:
The MS-17 Galbaldy was a machine developed as part of the Pezun Project, classified as an MS-X. Though it was called a hybrid of the MS-14 Gelgoog and the YMS-15 Gyan, for all practical purposes it was a successor to the Gyan, designed mainly for close combat. However, because a tentative decision had been made to borrow Gelgoog production lines as part of the United Maintenance Plan, it incorporated elements of the Gelgoog's design.


-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:11 pm 
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By the way, the Unicorn site now includes a profile for the Zaku Mariner, which indicates that it was originally designed by Zeon and later improved by the Federation (sounds just like the Galbaldy Beta). Could this unit have also been developed along with the Z'Gok E and Hy-Gogg? Also, as one of the last amphibious MS to be completed, shouldn't the Zock be in the same situation? Then there's also the specialized MS for the Jaburo invasion...


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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:27 pm 
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Gelgoog Jager wrote:
By the way, the Unicorn site now includes a profile for the Zaku Mariner, which indicates that it was originally designed by Zeon and later improved by the Federation (sounds just like the Galbaldy Beta). Could this unit have also been developed along with the Z'Gok E and Hy-Gogg? Also, as one of the last amphibious MS to be completed, shouldn't the Zock be in the same situation? Then there's also the specialized MS for the Jaburo invasion...

It's possible that the Zaku Mariner profile is referring to it as an improved version of the MSM-06M. (I did the profile translations for the Gundam UC website, so I can tell you the Japanese text doesn't shed much light on this.) But according to the HG-UC and MG kit manuals for the Zaku II F2, the F2 type was produced while the United Maintenance Plan was being implemented, and so later models of the F2 have some UMP-style features such as standardized manipulators and cockpits. So in theory, any late-model Zaku variation could have at least some of these features.

Likewise for the Zock. Even though it doesn't have the standardized cockpit, it presumably rolled out after the launch of the United Maintenance Plan, and so it should use at least some standard parts; according to the film comic essays, this is exactly why Zeon was able to roll out so many new machine types at the end of the war.

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:36 pm 
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It has been stated that, on one hand the Hy-Gogg and Z'Gok E, and on the other the Zaku Kai, Rick Dom II and Gelgoog Jäger, are the best examples of applying the UMP on amphibious MS and space use MS respectively. But what about ground combat MS? Was the plan never implemented to such extents on ground combat units?

Among the units that continued to be developed on the later stages of the war, such as the MS-09F - Dom Funf, the MS-09G - Dowadge and the YMS-16M Xamel. There's also revisions of older MS, such as the MS-07B3 - Gouf Custom, the MS-07H8 Flight Gouf, the MS-08TX/N Efrret Nacht and maybe even the improved MS-06D - Desert Zaku seen on ZZ.

Which of these could have been the result of developing MS while fully applying the concepts of the UMP, such as the new standarized cockpit?


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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:09 pm 
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Gelgoog Jager wrote:
It has been stated that, on one hand the Hy-Gogg and Z'Gok E, and on the other the Zaku Kai, Rick Dom II and Gelgoog Jäger, are the best examples of applying the UMP on amphibious MS and space use MS respectively. But what about ground combat MS? Was the plan never implemented to such extents on ground combat units?


The conventional explanation would be that, by the time the UMP was fully implemented, Zeon had essentially given up on the ground front. The fact that the development of the Z'Gok E and Hy-Gogg continued after Operation Odessa, "even as the budget for surface operations was drastically reduced," is cited in the essays as a rare exception.

On the other hand, all the Zeon machines we see in Gundam 0083 - including the Zaku II F2, Dom Tropen, and Xamel which appear on Earth - use the standard UMP cockpit, and the Zakus and Doms appear to use standardized weapons and manipulators as well. Even if they don't represent a complete implementation of the plan, they're clearly very close.

The Master Grade Zaku II F2 kit manual actually addresses this, noting:

Quote:
because its production period overlapped with the implementation of the United Maintenance Plan, there were some versions of the F2 Type that could be called second stage production types due to their cockpits, interior fittings, and some of their component specs. [...] Of the MS-06F-2 units used by the Delaz Fleet after the One Year War, many were second stage production types in which the cockpit hatch was relocated. It is said that most machines of this type were produced at the Granada arsenal.


So there's probably hope for other such late-arriving machines!

Quote:
Among the units that continued to be developed on the later stages of the war, such as the MS-09F - Dom Funf, the MS-09G - Dowadge and the YMS-16M Xamel. There's also revisions of older MS, such as the MS-07B3 - Gouf Custom, the MS-07H8 Flight Gouf, the MS-08TX/N Efrret Nacht and maybe even the improved MS-06D - Desert Zaku seen on ZZ.

Which of these could have been the result of developing MS while fully applying the concepts of the UMP, such as the new standarized cockpit?


Good question(s). The Dom Tropen actually seems like a good candidate, according to the HG-UC kit manual:

Quote:
The design base for the Dom Tropen was the MS-09F Dom Funf, a machine that was independently developed by Zimmad following the announcement of the United Maintenance Plan at the end of the One Year War, with the goal of improving the specs of the Dom itself. Each component was thoroughly standardized and modularized, to make it capable of greater adaptive diversity than Zeonic's Zaku.


It's harder to tell about the Dowadge and Desert Zaku, since by the time they appear in Gundam ZZ, these machines have already been upgraded with linear seat cockpits. But the Gouf Custom clearly has an old-style cockpit (or at least the same kind used in the MS-06JC Zaku II), and the Efreet Nacht was captured by the Federation at Odessa, so it probably pre-dates the full implementation of the UMP. I wonder if we've ever had a good look at the Efreet Nacht's cockpit...?

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:33 pm 
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The revised Hy-Gogg and Z'Gok E had to be rather far along to have been completed. The F2 has to have been Zeonic's entry for a UMP base unit wile the Funf was Zimmid's. The ms-06D units we see post ZZ really could be RMS Era versions of the classic zeon ms.

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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:45 am 
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toysdream wrote:
It's harder to tell about the Dowadge and Desert Zaku, since by the time they appear in Gundam ZZ, these machines have already been upgraded with linear seat cockpits. But the Gouf Custom clearly has an old-style cockpit (or at least the same kind used in the MS-06JC Zaku II), and the Efreet Nacht was captured by the Federation at Odessa, so it probably pre-dates the full implementation of the UMP. I wonder if we've ever had a good look at the Efreet Nacht's cockpit...?

-- Mark

You can take a look at different angles of the Efreet Nacht's cockpit in this video, between 9:06 and 9:42.


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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:25 am 
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Gelgoog Jager wrote:
You can take a look at different angles of the Efreet Nacht's cockpit in this video, between 9:06 and 9:42.

Aaaand that's definitely a UMP cockpit! How about that. I guess M'Quve was able to complete at least one full implementation of the plan before they ran him out of Odessa. :-)

So it looks like the earliest confirmed "full implementation" was created no later than early November. It's really looking like this final change was implemented between October and November.

P.S. Another possible example: We only get one really tight shot of Gato in his Gelgoog at the beginning of Gundam 0083, but it does look like his Gelgoog has a UMP-standard cockpit. So perhaps that was phased in later in the production run, as with the Zaku II F2.

Speaking of which, here's one more cockpit variation to throw into the mix. This image appears in the Gundam Officials encyclopedia, with the following caption:

Quote:
Principality forces standard MS cockpit. This is a strange type in which the monitor shape is close to that of the early type, but the control sticks are the second stage production type. Although it is called a "standard cockpit," in reality no machine is confirmed to have used it, and there are doubts about its very existence. (It's also possible that this was a tentative plan during the shift to the second stage production type.)


And indeed, it does seem to be an orphan. Even the space Zakus in the first episode of The 08th MS Team use the J type cockpit, but I note that the cockpit of the Apsaras is pretty similar to this design, so perhaps it was intended for use in that OVA series?

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:24 am 
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toysdream wrote:
P.S. Another possible example: We only get one really tight shot of Gato in his Gelgoog at the beginning of Gundam 0083, but it does look like his Gelgoog has a UMP-standard cockpit. So perhaps that was phased in later in the production run, as with the Zaku II F2.
Said cockpit shot in question. It does look like a UMP type.

Quote:
Speaking of which, here's one more cockpit variation to throw into the mix. This image appears in the Gundam Officials encyclopedia, with the following caption:

Quote:
Principality forces standard MS cockpit. This is a strange type in which the monitor shape is close to that of the early type, but the control sticks are the second stage production type. Although it is called a "standard cockpit," in reality no machine is confirmed to have used it, and there are doubts about its very existence. (It's also possible that this was a tentative plan during the shift to the second stage production type.)


And indeed, it does seem to be an orphan. Even the space Zakus in the first episode of The 08th MS Team use the J type cockpit, but I note that the cockpit of the Apsaras is pretty similar to this design, so perhaps it was intended for use in that OVA series?

-- Mark
It certainly does give off a 08th Team vibe when looking at it.

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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:44 pm 
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toysdream wrote:
The Dom Tropen actually seems like a good candidate, according to the HG-UC kit manual:

Quote:
The design base for the Dom Tropen was the MS-09F Dom Funf, a machine that was independently developed by Zimmad following the announcement of the United Maintenance Plan at the end of the One Year War, with the goal of improving the specs of the Dom itself. Each component was thoroughly standardized and modularized, to make it capable of greater adaptive diversity than Zeonic's Zaku.


But the modularity of the Dom Tropen, or rather the Domf Funf was supposedly for being modified for different terrains with relative ease, compared to the original Dom, rather than being comaptible with other machines. Although we do see them using some the same weapons used by the F2 Zakus in 0083, we have also seen the regular Dom/Rick Dom using Zaku machineguns.

Furthermore, while the Funf's five possible configurations include its the standard space and ground forms and the tropical configuration, ultimately the last two, BN (Bein Nichts) and GB (Gross Beil) from videogames, which supposedly were never implemented, would have required some mayor modifications to even take place


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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:31 pm 
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Gelgoog Jager wrote:
But the modularity of the Dom Tropen, or rather the Domf Funf was supposedly for being modified for different terrains with relative ease, compared to the original Dom, rather than being comaptible with other machines. Although we do see them using some the same weapons used by the F2 Zakus in 0083, we have also seen the regular Dom/Rick Dom using Zaku machineguns.

Well, modularity is modularity, whether it's for the sake of terrain customization or production efficiency. Certainly, the claim in the kit manual that "each component was thoroughly standardized and modularized" seems like the closest they've come to identifying a mobile suit with the United Maintenance Plan outside of the original machine lineup from Gundam 0080.

As for the Zaku machine gun, the MG kits indicate that the gun needs a special grip in order for a Dom to hold it. (This may be what the film comics mean when they say that pre-UMP machines "could not even use handheld weapons from other machine types unless they had been specially modified.") One of the obvious differences between the original Dom/Rick Dom and the Dom Tropen is that the former have giant hands, a trait that's been retained in the recent HG-UC and MG kits, and the latter has the same standard manipulators used in the UMP machines. (On the other hand, we've never seen a Dom Tropen or Rick Dom II using the classic Giant Bazooka; it's possible their hands are actually too small!)

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:26 pm 
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Yeah, I think the few bazookas in 0083 we see used by Rick Doms/Dom Tropens were mostly Zaku bazookas. They really didn't look that large at all.

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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:41 am 
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And purely by the way, I just found an example of that mysterious pre-UMP standard cockpit in use! It appears in the animated prologue Sunrise produced for the "Gundam Battlefield Record U.C. 0081" game, specifically for the cockpit interiors of Erik's Gelgoog and his Zaku wingman:

http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/imag ... ckpit1.jpg
http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/imag ... ckpit2.jpg

Given that Erik's Gelgoog has this pre-United Maintenance Plan cockpit and Gato's Gelgoog has the final UMP version, I guess Gato's machine must be of slightly newer manufacture.

-- Mark


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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:18 am 
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toysdream wrote:
As for the Zaku machine gun, the MG kits indicate that the gun needs a special grip in order for a Dom to hold it. (This may be what the film comics mean when they say that pre-UMP machines "could not even use handheld weapons from other machine types unless they had been specially modified.") One of the obvious differences between the original Dom/Rick Dom and the Dom Tropen is that the former have giant hands, a trait that's been retained in the recent HG-UC and MG kits, and the latter has the same standard manipulators used in the UMP machines. (On the other hand, we've never seen a Dom Tropen or Rick Dom II using the classic Giant Bazooka; it's possible their hands are actually too small!)

-- Mark


I just went to dalong and found a pick of the special grip of the Zaku's 120mm machinegun you mentioned in the review of the MG kit of Char's Rick Dom:

http://dalong.net/review/mg/m58/m58_p.htm

Check pictures 6, 7, 8, 9 and 25. The first four pictures not only show the two different grips, but even an optional grenade launcher. Picture 25th shows what would happen if a Dom attempted to hold the machinegun with the normal grip :).

As for the bazookas, this can be best checked on the reviews of the recent MG ver 2.0 kits of the F and R type Zakus, particularly these ones:

http://dalong.net/review/mg/m113/m113_p.htm
http://dalong.net/review/mg/m115/m115_p.htm

Almost at the bottom, the R-types are compared, including their bazookas. Now, while Johhny Ridden's unit does have the 360mm Giant Bazooka we all know, the other two R types and the F type all have 320mm bazookas. There are one pic where you can even see them all lined up and you can easily see that while the 360mm has a larger grip, most likely for Dom manipulators, the 320mm have smaller grips which are probably only meant for Zakus and Goufs.

So basically this means that while the a regular Dom/Rick Dom can't use weapons with smaller grips (unless grabbed as shown on the above mentioned pic 25th :D), the units with smaller manipulators do can use weapons with larger grips, the best example being Johnny Ridden's unit.

Ultimately, the largest problem I find with both the 320mm and 360mm bazookas is that I can't figure out how are they supposed to be reloaded in mid-combat. Even the 280mm Zaku bazooka has been indicated to be reloadable in the field, first with 08th team's version with a magazine on top and later on the regular model on MS Igloo 2, where Elmer Snell's custom unit is shown to have some cylinders attached to its skirt which are supposed to be used to reload the bazooka, although this is not actually seen, but we do confirm that he fires his weapon over 4 times during the battle on episode 2.

Edit: Ironically, I find that the side magazine of the prototype 320mm bazooka only used by Shin Matsunaga's unit could have actually been a better option for reloading those bazookas.


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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:29 pm 
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IIRC Gouf in movie II also use giant bazooka during Jaburo drop. That's another proof that smaller hand can hold larger weapon grip. In 0083 the bazooka used by Dom tropen is Rateken bazooka that is as big as or bigger than giant bazooka, and it has swappable clip. Basically a Dom tropen can carry up to 6 spare clips.

Perhaps one reason for all newer guns having open grip is to allow big hand MS to use it as well? Rick Dias in Gryps era has big hands but seems to use small grip Galbaldy's rifle fine.


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 Post Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:24 pm 
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I believe that when the dom came out they had to have built conversion kits to allow older zeonic built Zaku hand weapons to work with MS-09 hands. The later UMP era models switched the dom line to the same hands as the zaku and gelgoog to reduce the amount of replacement parts needed on a musai repair deck. The entire point of the UMP project was to reduce the stress on zeon supply lines by bringing all Zeon MS on to a more standard set of parts and reduce training time by placing a single cockpit block style in all there ms.

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 Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:28 am 
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toysdream wrote:
And indeed, it does seem to be an orphan. Even the space Zakus in the first episode of The 08th MS Team use the J type cockpit, but I note that the cockpit of the Apsaras is pretty similar to this design, so perhaps it was intended for use in that OVA series?

-- Mark


Actually the cockpit seen in 08th seems to be widely used by many different MS:

MS-05B (Topp's unit)
MS-06F (unit that rescues Aina)
MS-06J (Arth and Dell units)
MS-06JC (unit used by Norris)
MS-07B3

A few notes regarding the Zaku IIs:
-Most units of the J and JC type seem to be refitted from F types considering the plates located over the usual location of the verniers (let's call them vernier plates for the time being). These units could actually be considered some sort of FJ and FJC types respectively.
-However there are also some actual J and JC types. Examples of standard J types are the Zakus protecting Ghinias base, which I should note are using the traditional Zaku color scheme without the dark colored shoulder shield. An example of a JC type would be Norris' unit which when tackling Shiro into the river can be seen to lack the vernier plates.
-That said, we don't actually get a look at the cokcpit of the J types at Ghinias base, so its unconfirmed if they use the same cockpit. However that confirms that at least for types of Zaku II use that cockpit:
1-F-type
2-JC-type
3-J-type converted form an F-type
4-JC-type converted from an F-type

As an additional interesting detail, during the Federation's siege at Ghinias base, Norris' MS team is seen taking the elevator back into the base. There we can see both a Zaku J-type and a Dom holding identical Zaku machineguns, which seem to be using the older non-Dom type grip. The hands of the Dom in question also seem to be only as big as the hands of the Zaku.

So, here's an idea: what if all the MS at Ghinias base actually share that same style cockpit, which would not only include the traditional colored MS-06J and the MS-07H8, but also the MS-09 with standard size manipulators. We might actually be seeing an early UMP plan (with an alternative cockpit design) already fully implemented by the end of November for 4 types of MS: Zaku I, Zaku II, Gouf (late models) and (possibly) Dom.


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 Post Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:35 pm 
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Or perhaps the Dom(s) at the base could simply be using parts taken from the 3 stripped down Rick Dom IIs that Ghinias took the reactors from for the Apsalus III.

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