Technology & Combat Characteristics
Developed very late during the One Year War as part of the "United Maintenance Plan", the MS-06FZ Zaku II Kai ("Kai" is Japanese Kanji character "改". In English means "Modified".) was an improved and redesigned version of the mainstay MS-06F Zaku II. The United Maintenance Plan was an effort by the Zeon military to simplify the production of their different types of mobile suits by standardizing parts and systems where possible.
The MS-06FZ Zaku II Kai featured greater acceleration and a redesigned and improved cockpit. It also had the option of two different "helmet" designs. The "A-Type" helmet, which was the more common design, was similar to the typical helmet of the Zaku II series. The "B-Type" helmet was modelled after the Stahlhelm helmet used by the German army in World War II. The Zaku II Kai's main improvement came from its greatly increased thruster acceleration and overall improved maneuverability. However, this also meant that due to increased fuel consumption the unit's operational time was shorter: about 50% of that of the original Zaku II. It also used a titanium and ceramic composite armor rather than the super high-tensile steel armor of the original Zaku, which proved more resistant to both regular ballistics and beam weapons. In addition, it was lighter than the previous armor, leaving more space for fuel, thrusters and additional equipment.
Finally, its weapons were upgraded. The Zaku Kai featured a new 90mm machine gun, the MMP-80. Although the MMP-80 fired shells of smaller caliber than the standard 120mm MMP-78 weapon used by standard Zakus, it had a higher penetration and an improved firing rate. The machine gun itself was also equipped with a grenade launcher, which despite being a one-shot weapon, proved to be highly effective. Additionally, the Zaku Kai had a new grenade rack on its right hip in which three cylindrical grenades could be stored for convenient access. Its Heat Hawk remained mostly the same as that used by other Zaku units. The Zaku Kai also could equip weapons used by other Zeon mobile suits, such as sturm fausts, which were a large-scale version of the Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon capable of destroying a mobile suit in a single shot.
Due to the MS-06FZ Zaku II Kai's late introduction into the One Year War, only a handful of the units were produced. Few of these mobile suits survived the war.
- 3-slot Grenade Rack
- Stored on the right hip of the Zaku for convenient access are three hand grenades. The Zaku Kai's grenades were more compact than the "cracker" grenades used by the original Zaku. While not very powerful or accurate, they're capable of performing different roles in the battle.
- Shoulder Shield
- The shield is a simple defense used to block most incoming ballistic and explosive projectiles. Also used to great effect in close quarters battle with enemy mobile suits. The Zaku II Kai mounts a shield on its right shoulder.
- MMP-80 90mm Machine Gun
- The upgraded version of the MMP-78 120mm Machine Gun. It used 90mm bullets instead of 120mm type, allowing for a greater speed of firing and a higher rate of penetration. The machine gun is magazine-fed with 32 rounds per mag. The MMP-80 was also integrated with a grenade launcher under its barrel for more firepower.
- Grenade Launcher
- The MMP-80 is fitted with an underslung grenade launcher. The grenade wasn't very effective against large ships, but was an ideal mid-range anti-mobile suit weapon.
- 120mm Machine Gun
- The 120mm machine gun is a standard weapon for Zaku type mobile suits. It is a shell firing gun that does not require energy to be used, however its effectiveness against heavy armor is very limited. It holds 100 rounds per drum with spare drums that can be stored on waist armor racks.
- Heat Hawk
- An axe-shaped close combat weapon, it uses a super-heated blade to cut through the armor of enemy MS or vehicles. The thermal energy is generated by the power output of the Zaku II's thermonuclear reactor and relayed through the MS' hands. The Heat Hawk used by Zaku II Kai is modified with an extendable handle for longer reach in close quarter combat.
- Heat Sword
- A melee weapon originally developed for the Gouf line of mobile suits. Like the Zaku's heat tomahawk the heat sword is a blade that is heated to high temperatures in order to increase it's cutting capacity. The Heat Sword was designed after a broadsword so its blade is longer than the tomahawk allowing for a greater range of attack. During the events in Mobile Suit Gundam: We're Federation Hooligans!!, the Zaku II Kai was armed with a heat sword which resembled Heat Sword Type-βIV used by MS-07B Gouf.
- H&L-SB25K/280mmA-P Zaku Bazooka
- The 280mm Zaku Bazooka was another standard weapon that could be equipped to a Zaku type mobile suit. The bazooka fired explosive rounds that were quite effective against the armor of Earth Federation mobile suits and battleships.
- An explosive weapon with a rocket propelled warhead, it was designed before the beginning of the One Year War as an anti-ship weapon. Useful both in space and under gravity, it was mainly deployed for anti-ship attacks during the early days of the war. The Sturm Faust likely made a good anti-mobile suit weapon during the latter days of the war, as Zeon mobile suits could be equipped with both a Sturm Faust and a more typical ranged weapon for greater versatility. As a non-guided weapon, it is difficult to hit targets with high mobility. Can be stored on waist armor storage racks.
- The shield is a thick sheet of armor designed to take severe punishment that would normally destroy a mobile suit. Since the introduction of beam weaponry, shields have been treated with an anti-beam coating allowing it to withstand several beam shots before the coating wears off. Typically physical shields can only take so much damage before they succumb to the pressure and break.
The most famous MS-06FZ Zaku II Kai appears in Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, which is piloted by Bernard Wiseman. He effectively uses his machine to critically damage the considerably superior RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex", albeit at the cost of his own life. The Zaku II Kai with the B-type helm was also the main unit of the Capitol Defense Battalion stationed in Zum City later in the war, while another unit was also piloted by Liberio Lincke of Zeon's regiment the Marchosias.
Years later, in U.C. 0096, one unit kept by the Zeon remnant forces participated in the attack on Torrington Base, where it was destroyed along with most of the attacking forces. This unit was equipped with the 280mm Bazooka.
Notes and Trivia
- Because its pilot shares the main protagonist role with Christina Mackenzie, the Zaku II Kai is uniquely featured in promotional art and special renders in the Gundam VS series alongside the Gundams, in some of them even replacing the NT-1.
|Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 Mechanics|
|Earth Federation Forces|
RGM-79D GM Cold Climate Type | RGM-79G GM Command | RGM-79GS GM Command Space Type | RGM-79SP GM Sniper II | RX-77D Guncannon Mass Production Type | RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex"
Cold District Use APC
|Transporter / Supply Ship|
63 STS "Ginga" | C-88 Medea
|Cruiser / Mother Ship|
LMSD-76 Gray Phantom
|Principality of Zeon|
| Mobile Suit|
MS-06FZ Zaku II Kai | MS-09R-2 Rick Dom II | MS-14Jg Gelgoog Jäger | MS-18E Kämpfer | MSM-03C Hygogg | MSM-07E Z'Gok-E
|Ship / Submarine|
|Transporter / Supply Ship|
|Cruiser / Mother Ship|
Musai-class Final Production Type | Tivvay-class
RH-35E Riah 35 Draken-E