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Technology and Combat Characteristics
The MBF-P02 Astray Red Frame was one of five identical prototype combat mobile suits developed by Orb using stolen data from the Earth Alliance's G Project. Its original concept was to be a MS that could be piloted by Natural, and it was eventually loaded with an incomplete Natural-use OS. Most of the technology from the G Project are successfully copied with the exception of Phase Shift armor. In its place, the Astrays' designers made the machines out of a lighter foam metal compound, with minimal armor over the frame. This made the Astray mobile suits lighter and faster than their G Project counterparts. All the five prototype Astrays are also designed with backpack that can be lowered to the back skirt armor, allowing the mounting of additional equipment on the back.
The Astray Red Frame was initially armed with the standard armament of the other prototype Astray suits. These weapons include two head-mounted "Igelstellung" 75mm multi-barrel CIWS, two back-mounted beam sabers for close combat, a Type 71 beam rifle and a single physical shield. Red Frame pilot Lowe Guele eventually added another piece of armament to the Red Frame standard armament, which is the "Gerbera Straight" katana. In order to weld the katana effectively, the Red Frame's OS was modified. Lowe also created a 150 meters long version of this sword, which however cannot be carried by the Red Frame in its normal configuration. Lowe also designed a set of upgrades for Red Frame but in the end, these parts are used to repair Gai's damaged MBF-P03 Gundam Astray Blue Frame instead. When there is a need for flight capability, Red Frame can be fitted with the Flight Unit and when it needs to dive underwater, it can use the Salvage Unit. After his return from Mars, Lowe developed the Caletvwlch and the Ddraig Head. The former is a multifunctional handheld equipment, while the latter is a special head unit designed to complement the former. Like other mobile suits that use beam weapons, the Red Frame is equipped with hand plugs to exchange energy with weapons the suit carries. Although considered a misuse of the system, the energy from the hand plug can be manipulated into an energy ball and discharged. This is often used as an emergency weapon, for example to temporarily blind enemies.
The mysterious organization, Librarian Works, later created a copy of the Red Frame. Known as Replica Red Frame, it has the same capabilities as the real Red Frame.
- "Igelstellung" 75mm multi-barrel CIWS
- Mounted in the Red Frame's head are two "Igelstellung" 75mm multi-barrel CIWS guns. Although classified as anti air, these light projectile weapons can be used to intercept missiles and to destroy lightly armored vehicles.
- Beam Saber
- Red Frame is equipped with two back-mounted beam sabers for close combat.
- Type 71 Beam Rifle
- The type 71 beam rifle is the standard ranged beam weapon of the Orb military. The beam rifle fires an energy beam that is highly effective against most targets, such as mobile suits, but is less effective against targets designed to take beam attacks, such as laminated armor or shields treated with an anti-beam coating.
- Red Frame can use a physical shield for defense, it is mounted on the left forearm and/or handheld. This is the same type of shield as used by Strike and Duel Gundam.
- "Gerbera Straight" Katana
- While Red Frame had the same basic armament of the other two Gundam Astray units, Lowe dislikes the high energy requirements of the beam weapons. Therefore, he favors using the "Gerbera Straight", a mobile suit-sized katana given to him by the eccentric old swordsman Un No after Lowe repaired the damaged sword. Unlike the swords used by ZAFT suits like the ZGMF-1017 GINN, the Gerbera Straight is extremely sharp, and does not rely on the kinetic energy of a high-speed swing to cut through its targets.
- Twin Beam Saber
- At one point Lowe acquired head of a TMF/TR-2 BuCUE Tactical Reconnaissance Type at a black-market auction, which he modified and connected to the Red Frame's right hand as a gauntlet-like weapon allowing the Red Frame to use its twin beam saber. The head also stored encrypted reconnaissance data showing the GAT-X133 Sword Calamity.
- A customizable multipurpose equipment created by Lowe and mass produced by Junk Guild. The Caletvwlch is meant for cutting and induction welding, but can be used for combat if the limiter is disabled via a voice command. However, doing so would contravene the "prohibition of armed civilian MS" provisions, except when it is used for self-defense. The equipment normally consists of two blades and a welding torch, and is powered by an internal battery. During combat, it can function as a gun (aka G mode, where the welding torch functions as a beam rifle) or can be reconfigured into a sword (aka S mode).
- It also has a scattering device that releases Mirage Colloid particles to help maintain the suit's balance while it moves in mid-air and to allow it to remain stationary in the air with ease. The particles can also create an air current to propel the MS and be used to detect any movements in the surrounding area. An unintended side effect is that the scattered Mirage Colloid particles can disrupt the Mirage Colloid stealth system of other MS nearby.
- There is also the full disable mode, whereby the safety limit of the Caletvwlch is disregarded allowing it to fire a dangerously high amount of energy at its target, destroying it in one hit. However, doing this damages the Caletvwlch and renders it unusable.
- External connector
- A connector for attaching additional equipment to the back of the suit. It is similar in function to the hardpoint on the back of the Strike Gundam. The connector is exposed when the backpack is lowered to the back skirt armor.
- Flight Unit
- While staying in Orb, Lowe acquired an MBF-M1 M1 Astray flight pack, and modified it for use with Red Frame. The Flight Unit's wings are actually detachable fuel tanks, and they grant it greater cruising range than the original version. The Flight Unit seems to be attached to the external connector on Red Frame's back and serves only as a supplemental booster as Red Frame's backpack is still present. Thanks to the support from 8, the Flight Unit can be detached and operated as a remote unit.
- Salvage Unit
- A diving suit made by Lowe for the Red Frame, the Salvage Unit is created using the exterior of a UMF-4A GOOhN. It has superb resistance to water pressure, which the Red Frame lacks, and hence allows the suit to stay underwater for a longer period. It has three searchlights (one above the head and two on the chest), can deploy a pair of floatation device from the sides for surfacing during an emergency, as well as two manipulator arms as the Red Frame's own arms are hidden underneath. As the "Gerbera Straight" katana is mounted on the back of the Salvage Unit, Red Frame still has some form of combat capabilities when underwater. The first version of the Salvage Unit falls apart whenever it is ejected from Red Frame, Lowe later develops an improved version that remain intact when ejected, allowing for easy re-use.
- Ddraig Head
- An optional head unit designed by Lowe Guele, it is designed to be used in conjunction with the Caletvwlch. It has enhanced sensors, Mirage Colloid control functions in corporation with the Caletvwlch, and can emit a beam antenna in various shapes depending on the need from the back of the V-fin.
In CE 71, the Orb Union's Morgenroete corporation built five Gundam Astray prototype mobile suits at Heliopolis, the MBF-P01 Gundam Astray Gold Frame, MBF-P02 Gundam Astray Red Frame, MBF-P03 Gundam Astray Blue Frame,MBF-P04 Gundam Astray Green Frame and MBF-P05 Gundam Astray Unit 5 (which was later modified into MBF-P05LM Gundam Astray Mirage Frame), which were based on the five G Project Gundams that they assisted the Earth Alliance's Atlantic Federation in creating. They successfully copied the EA's beam rifle and saber technology, but Morgenroete did not have access to the Phase Shift armor design, and compensated by making the Gundam Astray units lighter and more agile than their EA counterparts. Unlike the Gold Frame, the Red Frame was fitted with Orb-only hand plugs, and thus could not not use Earth Alliance weapons.
On January 25, CE 71, ZAFT's attack on Heliopolis to steal the Alliance Gundams also unknowingly interrupted the Astray project. In order hide their progress, Orb's officials decided to destroy the Astray lab. Coordinator Rondo Gina Sahaku, an Orb nobleman, disagreed and attempted to save the three suits, Gold Frame, Red Frame and Blue Frame, that were assembled. He ordered one of his subordinate to split all the Astray data among the three and Red Frame was uploaded with the incomplete Natural-use OS. This proved fortunate for Junk Guild merchant/technician/pilot Lowe Guele, who discovered Red Frame (as well as Blue Frame and Gold Frame's discarded right arm) shortly afterward, while searching the remains of Heliopolis for valuable salvage. Lowe initially clashed with Gai Murakumo of the Serpent Tail mercenary company, who had been hired to eliminate all evidence of the Astray program, but the two joined forces when Gai's employer seemingly double-crossed him; having seen the mobile suits, Gai himself had become evidence of the program's existence. Gai took control of Blue Frame, and the two Astray pilots encountered one another several more times, sometimes as allies and sometimes on opposing sides. They soon became friends and when Gai's MBF-P03 Gundam Astray Blue Frame was damaged during a battle with the Socius clones, Lowe readily offered the use of Red Frame's new upgrade parts to repair the damaged MS. On one of his earliest missions, he encountered the Silverwind under attack from a Nelson-class battleship, and diverted their attack long enough for Lacus Clyne to escape.
Many people and groups attempted to steal Red Frame from Lowe, but his combination of resourcefulness and luck caused these attempts to all fail. The most notable was by Orb test pilot Juri Wu Nien, undercover as Junk Guild technician recruit Marlin, who briefly took control of Red Frame in an attempt to test its Natural-use OS. In the process, she and Lowe accidentally discovered that Red Frame's hand plugs could emit a sphere of energy, using it to destroy the sensors of another mercenary mobile suit that had come to take Red Frame. Lowe soon put this ability to good use in a battle with Gold Frame pilot Rondo Ghina Sahaku, using the last-ditch weapon to destroy Gold Frame's head but the attack also damaged Red Frame's arm. Fortunately, Lowe still had Gold Frame's discarded arm from the Heliopolis factory, and used it as a replacement. He then brought Red Frame to Orb, where it was fully repaired at the Morgenroete headquarters. Lowe also bought the severed head of a TMF/TR-2 BuCUE Tactical Reconnaissance Type at a black market auction and mounted it on Red Frame's right arm to utilize the head's double-bladed beam saber. However, this unusual weapon was lost almost immediately afterward during a ZAFT attack.
After getting repaired at Morgenroete, Lowe would use the Red Frame to aid in the construction, and then defend the Giga-Float mass driver from attack until it was complete. Afterward the Red Frame would be taken back into space where Lowe would use it, alongside Gai's MBF-P03 Gundam Astray Blue Frame, to battle Rondo Ghina Sahaku's MBF-P01-ReAMATU Gundam Astray Gold Frame Amatsu, resulting in the latter's death.
After creating the Power Loader, Lowe used it with the 150 meter katana to slice the fragments of Junius Seven in half to prevent it from crashing into other PLANTs. Afterwards, Lowe and Gai teamed up to fight against ZAFT pilot Ash Gray and his Regenerate. To fight the large suit, Lowe used the Power Loader and the 150 meter katana, but the Loader was destroyed by Ash. Following this battle, Lowe, with help from Jean Carry, upgraded the Red Frame to the "Powered Red" configuration to wield the giant sword and with it finally defeated the Regenerate. Afterwards, Lowe restored Red Frame back to its original state.
After leaving for Mars, Lowe created the "Mars Jacket" armor for his Red Frame, with which the suit was still equipped after it returned to the Earth Sphere. It was here that the suit was stolen by Deago Lowell, a Mars colonist who came back with Lowe. Deago used the Mars Jacket Red Frame during the "Break the World" terrorist attack of October CE 73, where it used one of its katanas to slice apart pieces of Junius Seven in an effort to reduce the damage caused as they fell to Earth. Deago eventually returned the stolen suit, with Lowe afterwards transferring the "Mars Jacket" armor to an MWF-JG73 Civilian Astray JG Custom.
In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED VS Astray, another Red Frame was deployed by Librarian Works and piloted by the Carbon Human clone of Un'no. This replica Red Frame was built by the organization from scratch, and its power and abilities are exactly the same as the real Red Frame. Lowe's Red Frame was later damaged by the Librarian Works's LN-GAT-X207 Nebula Blitz Gundam, piloted by Lily Thevalley. After this, the unit is repaired and upgraded into the MBF-P02 Gundam Astray Red Frame Kai using the Tactical Arms IIL as it's standard weapon.
- Both of the names, "Caletvwlch" and "Ddraig", have an Welsh connection. "Caletvwlch" is taken from the Welsh "Caledfwlch", which is the Welsh name for the sword known in Latin as "Caliburnus" - or more commonly as "Caliburn" or "Excalibur". "Ddraig" is taken from the name of a Welsh red dragon, "Y Ddraig Goch", which appears on the flag of Wales.
- "Gerbera" in "Gerbera Straight" refers to the genus of the sunflower plant, which is named after German botanist Traugott Gerber.
- Astray Red Frame appears briefly in Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G before being sliced up by a black PMX-003 The O.
- So far, the Perfect Grade model kit of Astray Red Frame is the only model in the PG line that does not appear in the TV series.
- Astray Red Frame appears in Battle Assault Gundam Seed Destiny, challenging the player in the 6th battle of the main mode. It is also an unlockable unit in the game.
- In SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online, despite canon stating that Lowe uses the Gerbera Straight as its primary weapon, the game has the Red Frame use its beam saber as its main melee weapon and the Gerbera Straight as a special weapon. This is mostly due to game mechanics and that it doesn't follow canon straight out.
- Astray Red Frame on SEED Astray official site
- Astray Red Frame & Caletvwlch on Destiny Astray R official site
- Astray Red Frame on MAHQ
- Astray Red Frame on GundamOfficial
- Astray Red Frame with Flight Pack on GundamOfficial