The MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type is a Mobile Suit introduced in the Mobile Suit Gundam television series. This variant looks very similar to the standard MS-06F Zaku II, so much so, that the Earth Federation can generally only tell the difference from color schemes most pilots apply to their units and the increased performance of this version.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
The S-Type Zaku II has a squad-leader "antenna" mounted on the head for enhanced communication capabilities, and is used to visually distinguish squad-leaders or higher ranking pilots from other squad-members or lower ranking pilots. It also features a higher output powerplant, which in turn, gave the S-Type Zaku II greater thrust and acceleration. This allows it to move at speeds three times faster than a standard Zaku II. However, since no changes were made to the fuel tanks, the S-Type's operating time is shortened as a result. Despite this limitation, the S-Type proved to be incredibly dangerous in the hands of the ace pilots it was assigned to, such as the "Red Comet" Char Aznable, who sank 5 Magellan-Class Battleships in the Battle of Loum.
It was noted in an extra feature that came with the Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team DVDs that the three times faster figure came about from Char's clever use of terrain and debris to boost off of, saving fuel and increasing his speed compared to normal.
- 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 mounts a shield on its right shoulder.
- ZMP-50D/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.
- M-120AC Machine Gun
- A model of machine gun with a heat bayonet equipped on the barrel section. A limited number of these weapons were produced, and were carried by Zaku II Commander Type units for operational testing.
- Heat Bayonet
- 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. Can be stored on the rear waist armor when not in use.
- Heat Hawk Type5
- 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.
- ZIM/M·T-K175C 175mm Recoilless Rifle
- The main gun of the HT-01B Magella Attack main battle tank, it is remodeled as an MS artillery weapon. It is mainly used for long distance attacks in ground combat, and can be loaded with HEAT or APFSDS rounds.
- MarkVIII Sturm Faust
- The Sturm Faust is a type rocket propelled grenade, good for a single shot, that Zeon mobile suits were often equipped with During the One Year War. Used mainly 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 as a Zaku could be equipped with both a Sturm Faust and a machine gun giving it greater versatility.
- MIP-B6 Cracker Grenade
- Identical to those used by infantry, the cracker grenade is an explosive weapons designed to be thrown or launched by the MS and detonate after a set amount of time. The "cracker" breaks into several smaller munitions over a wide area. The Zaku II can optionally equip up to four cracker grenades, that are stored on the left and right waist armor racks, with two on each side.
- Twin 280mm Zaku Bazooka
- A weapon where two 280mm Bazookas have been combined into a single weapon, allowing for higher offensive power. The twin bazookas fired explosive rounds that were quite effective against the armor of Earth Federation mobile suits and battleships.
The MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type was introduced during the One Year War at about the same time as the MS-06F Zaku II as a slightly improved version of the F-type Zaku II. For most the One Year War these S-types were the most powerful mobile suits fielded and were piloted by only the best. However the S-Type Zaku's superiority would end in July of 0079 U.C. when the Federation's RX-78 Gundam mobile suit would be rolled out. Approximately 100 units would be produced.
Char Aznable would use his custom Zaku II to sortie against the Gundam piloted by Amuro Ray. Despite Amuro Ray's evident talent he was still a novice whose piloting skills simply did not match up to Char's during their early battles. The only reason Amuro Ray survived was because the Gundam greatly outperformed the Zaku II in terms of both offense and defense.
Seeing that the Federation could create a mobile suit so powerful it could survive in engagements against Char Aznable likely prompted Zeon to focus more on the development of newer mobile suits, mobile suits that could fight evenly against the new machines the Federation had developed. Though most of these new mobile suits would have superior performance specs than any model of Zaku, the mobile suit that could be called the truest successor to the MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type would be the MS-14S Gelgoog Commander Type, which was also built by the Zeonic Company, the same manufacturers of the Zaku.
Appearances in other media
Char's Zaku II is a playable unit in many video games, most recently in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3. It has made appearances in almost all Gundam-related video games, including Journey to Jaburo, Federation vs. Zeon, Gundam vs Gundam, and others.
Notes and Trivia
- In Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3, The unit has a special ability called Triple Speed which enhances the speed of the Zaku, interestingly, it is only activated if Char Aznable is chosen as the pilot, a possible reference to his abilities to push the Mobile Suit to its maximum capabilities.
- In Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 and 3, Lunamaria Hawke defaults to this Zaku due to the fact that neither her Gunner ZAKU nor the Impulse Gundam were brought into the game. With Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn, she has both and thus will most likely not default to this suit any longer.
- ↑ Futabasha, Common Knowledge of Gundam: Mobile Suits of the One Year War, p. 47
- ↑ Gundam Officials Encyclopedia, p. 320
- MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type on MAHQ.net
- MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type (Black Tri Stars Custom) on MAHQ
- MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type (Johnny Ridden Custom) on MAHQ