Mystery Ships of the Early One Year War

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toysdream
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Mystery Ships of the Early One Year War

Post by toysdream » Fri Mar 22, 2013 4:26 pm

Not sure whether to kick off a new thread for this or lump it into an existing one, but I guess it's better practice to start a new thread for a new subject...

Every now and then, I get to pondering the early battles of the One Year War, which, notwithstanding the glimpses we've gotten in Gundam The Origin (cool but unofficial) and MS Igloo (presumably official, but contradictory and often stupid), remain fairly mysterious. In particular, I've been puzzling over a couple of mysterious carrier ships that appear to have been involved.


On the Federation side, the Trafalgar class - a modified Magellan with fighter hangars bolted onto the sides - is pretty well documented. According to the MSV Handbook series (as discussed in this thread), eight of these were constructed. A couple of them appear in Tomino's Gundam novels during the later stages of the war, and according to the cut-scene animation in Gihren's Greed, at least one was destroyed in the Battle of Loum.

Courtesy of Gihren's Greed, we have some images of the Trafalgar class that enable us to compare it against the regular Magellan. I've thus added it to my already overcrowded Salamis/Columbus comparison graphic:

http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/imag ... rison1.jpg
http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/imag ... rison2.jpg

Like the Antietam class (a modified Columbus mentioned in the MSV series), the Trafalgar class is designed to carry space fighters rather than mobile suits. Where the Antietam carries 25-30 fighters, the Trafalgar is variously credited with either 12 or 60. I think the latter figure is way more plausible!


More puzzling are a couple of carrier-type ships shown in the flashback scenes at the very beginning of Mobile Suit Gundam. Let's roll the tape:

http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/imag ... fleet1.jpg
http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/imag ... fleet2.jpg

Here we see Char's red Zaku, and a bunch of Zakus and Musais, deployed in front of the moon. (Which implies it's leading up to the Battle of Loum.) Directly underneath Char's Zaku, you'll see a vaguely Musai-esque ship with what appears to be a flat aircraft carrier deck stuck on top of it. It's partly obscured by a moving Zaku, and pretty loosely drawn to begin with, but it's an interesting tidbit! You'll also note a Musai at the lower left corner that appears to have no gun turrets, although we can't rule out animation error for that one.

Here's another interesting carrier-looking vessel:

http://www.ultimatemark.com/gundam/imag ... fleet5.jpg

This one, shown pretty clearly at the top right, has a Musai-esque bridge atop a Papua-ish superstructure, and what looks like two cargo compartments in the bow. As you can see from the scan halfway down this page, Kondoh included this ship in his MS Senki manga, where he depicted it as a kind of aircraft carrier with flat decks on top. Frankly, though, I think the front of the ship actually suggests some kind of assault landing ship for transporting mobile suits.

In this shot, you'll also note that there are at least Falmel-type Musai cruisers with evil helmets. :-)


As far as Zeon carriers, there is a reference in the original setting notes to a "Valkyrie-class carrier" which carries two squadrons apiece of attack and fighter craft, plus a few reconnaissance and transport craft. This has never been shown or mentioned since, but it's possible that one of these "flat-top" carriers is intended to be a Valkyrie.

-- Mark

bilbros
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Re: Mystery Ships of the Early One Year War

Post by bilbros » Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:49 pm

I definitely agree with you on the possibility that the second "flat-top" carrier (the one depicted in MS Senki) could have been intended to representt a Valkyrie class, which, if I'm not wrong, is also mentioned in the old MSV line 1/144 MS-06R-1A kit instructions...

toysdream
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Re: Mystery Ships of the Early One Year War

Post by toysdream » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:16 pm

Oh yeah, you're right! Here's the relevant passage from the MS-06R kit manual...
Broadly speaking, there were three types of MS-06R. Originally, its fuel was supplied by its Musai-class mothership or a Valkyrie-class carrier, but after repeated reports from the battlefield the fuel compartments of its backpack and legs were turned into simple cartridges.
This doesn't really tell us whether the Valkyrie itself could carry mobile suits (the description in the setting notes suggests it's just for conventional fighter types). The MSV kit manual refers to it as a バルキリータイプの空母 ("Valkyrie type aircraft carrier"), as opposed to 母艦であるムサイ ("the Musai that was its mothership"). But there's one more weird piece of data we can consider...

The MSV Collection File books that came out several years ago listed hull numbers for a bunch of Zeon and Federation ships. These didn't really catch on, but the same hull numbers have appeared on a lot of the machines in the MSV-R series, perhaps because both of these works were supervised by Bandai Hobby's Katsumi Kawaguchi. According to the MSV Collection File, the Dolos's hull number is CV-65 (following the real-world standard for aircraft carriers). This suggests it wasn't Zeon's first carrier ship.

Lo and behold, one of the new designs that just appeared in the Zaku edition of the MSV-R collection books is Gabby Hazard's MS-06S Zaku II, which is marked with the ship identifier CV-58. This is the first reference we've seen in decades to any pre-Dolos carrier ship...

-- Mark

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