I recently ran into some MS Igloo scans and found some interesting things.
I- First let's start with a rather obscure unit, the Hotol:Hotol 1Hotol 2
Those who have seen MS Igloo will remember these shuttles, which are seen along the large amount of HLVs that abandoned Odessa.
In the first image, we can see 3 linearts of it (I apologize for the small picture size, but for some reason the image is downscaled when I upload it). The one closest to the name is the important one: it shows a large hatch at the top of the Hotol, but most importantly, it shows a Zaku II floating above it, which most likely is meant to indicate that it can be used to load at least one MS. I also found odd the large amount of thrusters it has, so I was wondering if maybe this unit is meant to escape from Earth's atmosphere without a booster.
The second picture includes some text about the Hotol, but it doesn't seem to mention anything about its MS capacity. If possible, can someone please translate that section of the text?
II- Moving on, here is a picture which include what seemed to be a S-type Zaku
used for Recon missions. It appeared when the Federation fleets depart from Solomon towards A Baoa Qu, performing a suicide mission in which it confirmed that the Federation Forces were heading to A Baoa Qu, and not to Granada. I find it interesting that we actually see units painted in black as a low visibility color, rather than a personal color scheme, since it doesn't seem to be a common practice in Gundam. Once again, I would like to ask that if someone can translate the text, to please share the information with us.
III- The next one is about the Chivvay (Chibe)
. I have previously asked about the odd opening on the main hull of the ship, just behind the bridge. However I recently realized a possible use for that opening: as a hatch for receiving MS and cool them down.
Cooling down an MS after combat is an aspect that seems not to be frequently mentioned or even considered in the different Gundam series, but there do have been a few mentions about this process, namely the case of the Papua, which we are told can't operate with Zaku IIs, since it's facilities are only good enough to cool down Zaku Is. More recently, the MS Igloo Version of the Musai
took this concept back into consideration, and its redesigned hangar now includes a hatch for receiving returning MS, which we are told is not meant to hold a 4th MS which could definitely fit in the new hangar arrangement.
Although the Chibe came out after the Musai, it's possible that some of its modifications for converting it into a MS carrier unit included the addition of the cooling down facility, which allows it to operate other MS beside the Zaku I, unlike the Papua that was created at around the same time as the Chibe.
This do would have some other implications, such as pointing towards the possibility that despite the cramped space, the MS hangar of the Chibe extends for almost half of the ships length.
IV- Going back to the Musai model kit from the previous link, the review shows some interesting details regarding the Komusai. first of all, it seems that the Musai has a hatch that matches the area where the Komusai's rear hatch would connect while docked. While the Komusai may be able to load different types of cargo, I can't help but think that MS might also be unloaded this way and that a Musai might actually be able to store cargo or even additional MS down there.
V- The second question regarding this model is about the Komusai: exactly how many MS can it hold? Leaving aside for the time being the possibility of MS being loaded into the Musai's front hatch, from what can be seen on the model, it would seem that as many as 4 could actually fit, although it might be complicated for that many unit to get in and out easily (fortunately, the MS Igloo version of the Musai seems to actually leave enough space for the hatch to open without having to release the Komusai first).
Such arrangement might actually work in space, but what about on Earth? Well, as seen on MS Igloo ep 2, a Komusai seems to drop its cargo in midflight through the rear hatch. In the case of MS, they are most likely dropped just like the Zakus descending from Gaws on the flashback seen on MS Igloo 2 ep 1. Taking this into account, it would seem that only one unit can be put in the rear section of the Komusai, which can be directly released through the back, just like the Hildolfr. But, what about the two MS at the front. Well, if you look closely at the pic showing the empty Komusai, you will see some sort of rail in the floor, which one for each MS on the front of the Komusai, but only one on the rear, aligned directly with on in the front. The most likely answer is that the rear rail can be moved to both side, aligned and the move the MS at the front to the rear, where they are later aligned to the rear hatch prior to being released.
Since the Hildolfr is wider than a Zaku, and therefore too large to fit into one of the two MS spaces in the front, it would seem likely to assume that it was already loaded into the rear section in the middle rail. Thus, it would seem likely that 3 MS could be carried and unloaded (although we would need to check for weight restrictions to be sure) during a decent operation.
Thus in a normal situation, a Musai would probably still carry only five MS, while in an uncommon situation requiring to move it might be able to carry as many as 8, one in the Musai's cool down hatch and another two in the rail-less space inside the Komusai. During descent, the Komusai would carry two Ms, but it might be able to carry as many as 3 MS, two in the front spaces with latches for carrying MS, and another one ready for deployment, just like the Hildolfr.
IV- Finally, does anyone know if the MS Igloo version of the Musai is meant to no longer have any missile launchers? The opening of the two large missile launchers is still there, but the small missile launchers seem to have been converted into vents (though if they are still missile launchers, it would know have 16 instead of the original 10).
Comments, translations and corrections are welcome.