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The RX-78-2 Gundam (aka the Gundam, White Mobile Suit) is the titular Mobile Suit of Mobile Suit Gundam. Part of the RX-78 Gundam series, it was built in secret on Side 7. The Gundam would turn the tide of war in favor of the Earth Federation during the One Year War against the Principality of Zeon. The unit was primarily piloted by the series' main protagonist Amuro Ray.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
The Gundam was incredibly advanced for its time. Built from lightweight Luna Titanium Alloy, its frame was both lighter than that of Zeon's mass-produced mobile suits and much sturdier, able to shrug off a Zaku II's machine gun fire with little to no damage. Its offensive power was above and beyond that of the Zeon Zakus. The Gundam would engage in most battles with its beam rifle making it the first mobile suit to have firepower equivalent to a battleship beam cannon. In addition, it made use of two beam sabers, blades of extremely hot plasma which could cut through any metal with ease. Those beam sabers could be extended into a spear-like beam javelin, which could be used to stab into an enemy from a longer distance than the blade of the saber would allow.
The Gundam also used more conventional weaponry: it could be launched with a "Hyper Bazooka," the Federation's answer to the bazookas used by Zeon's Zakus; in addition, its head was outfitted with a pair of small vulcan cannons, providing it with a last resort weapon as well as a way of attacking light-armored aircraft and vehicles without wasting ammo or energy from its more powerful armaments. It also made use of a very unconventional close-range weapon known as the "Gundam Hammer" - a large weapon similar to a flail which could be swung at enemies to deal crushing damage.
The Gundam Hammer was eventually upgraded for use in space and outfitted with a number of verniers on the ball, and renamed to be the "Hyper Hammer." Lastly, it wielded a large shield which would offer it a defense against enemy attacks that not even its Luna Titanium body could withstand without damage. Gundam pilot Amuro Ray would make use of the shield as a decoy in many battles, taking advantage of its size to fool the enemy into thinking he was charging at them, then attacking the enemy through the shield.
In terms of technology, the Gundam was equipped with a sophisticated Learning Computer which would collect pilot and enemy data during skirmishes and allow the Gundam to operate more effectively. The data from the computer was used by the Federation to improve the controls of the Gundam's mass-produced form, the RGM-79 GM. In addition, it was upgraded by Federation technician Mosque Han shortly before the Battle of A Baoa Qu to improve its reaction times, the joints of the Gundam were given a Magnetic Coating, based on the experimental procedure performed on the RX-78-3 "G-3" Gundam and later used Amuro's intended successor unit, the RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex".
The Gundam makes use of the Core Block System implemented in the other V Project units. The torso of the Gundam is mostly hollow so that a FF-X7 Core Fighter can dock with it. This allows the pilot to jettison the legs and torso of the Gundam should the Gundam be too heavily damaged and gives the pilot a chance to escape from battle.
Later, during Operation Odessa, the Gundam is given a support unit known as the G-Fighter. The two G-Fighters were designed to take advantage of the Gundam's modular system and diversify the Gundam's role in active combat. These modes ranged from the assault bomber G-Armor to the close combat support tank G-Bull.
- 60mm Gatling Cannons "Vulcan Guns"
- The Vulcan guns were 60mm gatling guns stored on the sides of the Gundam's head. Having the greatest rate of fire of all the Gundam's weapons these are primarily used to ward off advancing enemies, shoot down missiles, or hit other fast moving targets. They also made good use as an anti-aircraft and anti-personnel weapons. The Vulcan guns however had a hard time piercing heavy armor (though they had shown the ability to do severe damage to mobile suits if fired at point-blank range) and thus were not often used against larger, more heavily armored foes. Still the Vulcans were useful in preserving ammunition for the Gundam's more powerful weapons such as the beam rifle.
- Beam Sabers
- The Gundam was the first mobile suit to ever use a beam-oriented weapon in melee combat. The sabers are stored on the backpack, and can transform from saber to the "Gundam Javelin," a large pole with a three pronged beam at the end. The beam sabers use Minovsky particles held in place by an I-Field to form an effective cutting surface that can slice through nearly any material. The particles for the beam sabers are stored by E-cap in the hilt of the saber, which is recharged from the Gundam's reactor when the saber is returned to its socket. Once activated, beam sabers do not rely on the mobile suit's reactor and can be thrown or discarded as decoys. The beam saber is most often used for close range combat or as an emergency weapon once all other ammunition has been depleted. One can be used as a reserve weapon, or both can be used simultaneously in a twin sword fashion.
- Beam Javelin
- The beam javelin is an alternative to the beam saber, it has a higher output than the standard beam saber, and the beam's shape allows for a greater amount of armor penetration ability. The long reach of the weapon gives the RX-78-2 a considerable advantage in close quarters combat.
- Gundam Hammer/Hyper Hammer
- A rather unusual weapon, the Gundam Hammer was essentially a large spiked ball attached to a chain. It was used to give the Gundam a ranged melee weapon. The Gundam could either throw or swing the Hammer around itself in order to impact and damage its target through the sheer mass of the hammer. Later, it was upgraded into the Hyper Hammer and had several rockets mounted into the ball in order to give it use in space allowing it to maneuver in zero-gravity also the ability to change it's direction before impact, and to increase the damage it could cause.
- BAUVA*XBR-M-79-07G (Bauva eXperimental Beam Rifle Medium-range)
- A revolutionary weapon for it's time, the beam rifle is the primary weapon used by the Gundam. Making use of the Federations E-cap (or "energy capacitor") technology, the rifle uses charged concentrations of Minovsky particles as ammunition. This gives the beam rifle firepower equivalent to that of a battleship's beam cannons. As the Minovsky particles destroy matter on a molecular scale, the beam rifle can penetrate even the thickest armor and destroy its target with a single shot. One weak point of the rifle was its energy limits. The rifle could only be fired 16 times before depleting its energy and becoming useless.
- BLASH*XHB-L-03/N-STD (Blash eXperimental Hyper Bazooka Long-range)
- Similar to the Zaku's bazooka, the Hyper Bazooka was a heavy weapon used by the Gundam. Technically a large rocket launcher it could fire several 380mm missiles to attack targets at long range. No mass-production MS's armor is able to stop this weapon. While very powerful, it has a slow rate of fire and a fairly little amount of ammunition. Most oftenly used to take out slow, heavily armored targets.
- RX*M-Sh-008/S-01025 (Renpou [Federation] eXperimental Medium Shield)
- Hand-carried, forearm-mounted or stored on the Gundam's backpack, 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. Has a view port than can be sealed off with an internal blast plate. The shield is also used to deflect heat away from the mobile suit when undergoing atmospheric re-entry.
Special Equipment & Features
- The prototype mobile suits produced by the Earth Federation Forces' Operation V, are equipped with a central block which houses the mobile suit's cockpit, control systems and main power source. This core block can eject in case of emergency and unfold into a small Core Fighter.
- An attachment point for weapons, shields, spare ammunition, or optional mission-specific equipment. Hardpoints can also be used to store carried weapons when a mobile suit needs its manipulators free for other purposes.
- Learning Computer
- A critical component of the Gundam's success in combat, the Learning Computer System was similar to a modern day black box. It recorded the data from each of the Gundam's battles for further use. However, the system could also actively learn and improve the capabilities of the Gundam. This was conceived of as a means to get around the difficulty of training pilots. The computer could apply various programs for walking, fighting, and working to the case at hand, independently reaching decisions and making improvements. Once adequate data had been accumulated, the programs could be transplanted, allowing even a machine operated by a novice to perform like a veteran pilot.
- Heatproof Field
- A system installed in the RX-78-2 Gundam, which pumps out air to counter the friction heat of atmospheric entry. The mobile suit's internal cooling systems must also be engaged to deal with the heat that penetrates the air field.
- Magnetic Coating
- A special membrane treatment applied to mobile suit joints to improve their response speed. The mobile suits developed by the Earth Federation Forces use special actuators called field motors, whose efficiency is increased by the magnet coating process. The treatment also reduces friction resistance in the mobile suit's joints. First tested on the RX-78-3 Gundam, this process is then applied to the RX-78-2 used by Amuro Ray, reducing the time required for changes of direction by roughly 27%.
The RX-78-2 was the second of three Gundam prototype units constructed on Side 7 in UC 0079, as part of the Earth Federation's V Project. Built to complement the long-range unit Guntank and mid-range support unit Guncannon, the Gundam was designed to be a highly mobile, close range machine with advanced weaponry beyond that used by Zeon's machines.
A raid by Zeon forces on Side 7 in September of UC 0079 resulted in heavy damage to the other two RX-78 units built on the colony. However, thanks to the unexpected interference of V Project head Tem Ray's son Amuro inside the RX-78-2, the Zeon intruders were repelled. Though they had caused significant damage to the colony, the Gundam and its sister units were spared. The three machines acted as the defense force for the Pegasus-class mobile suit carrier White Base and protected the ship in its push to Earth and travels over North America and Asia.
The RX-78-2 would see use in the defense of the Federation's headquarters in Jaburo and the pivotal raids on Zeon's asteroid bases Solomon and A Baoa Qu. In that final battle of the One Year War, the Gundam engaged an unfinished Zeon prototype, the Zeong (piloted by Char Aznable), in battle. Both machines took heavy blows from the other, with the Gundam losing its head and left arm. The two machines ultimately destroyed each other within the corridors of the Zeon stronghold when their pilots had them both fire one last shot at the same time while on auto pilot. Amuro later returned to the Gundam's remains and used the still-intact Core Fighter to escape the fortress.
Despite Amuro's Gundam being destroyed, the series itself enjoyed a long service life in the Federation, being made with many variants before being replaced in 0087 by the Gundam Mk-II, the Zeta Gundam and the ZZ Gundam.
- RX-78-02 Gundam
- RX-78-3 Gundam "G-3"
- RX-78-3 Solomon Express G-3 "White Devil"
- RX-78-4 Gundam Unit 4 "G04"
- RX-78-5 Gundam Unit 5 "G05"
- RX-78-6 Mudrock Gundam
- RX-78-7 7th Gundam
- RX-78/C.A. Casval's Gundam
- RX-78-Z1 Zeon's Gundam
- RX-78T Gundam Titans Version
- RX-78-2 Gundam General Revil Custom
- RX-78-2 Gundam + B-Parts
- RX-78Opt Gundam G-Dash
- PF-78-1 Perfect Gundam
- PF-78-3 Perfect Gundam III "Red Warrior"
- Musha Gundam
- Knight Gundam
- Ryubi Gundam
- GPB-X78-30 Forever Gundam
- Gunboy-Wilbur (Alternate World Variant)
Notes & Trivia
- The Gundam was portrayed as having another weapon, the Super Napalm. Seen only in the second episode of the original series, it was a projectile fired from the beam rifle that caused whatever it hit to be engulfed in flames. The weapon did not appear in any other episode and is in many cases simply not mentioned in sourcebooks; however, it has since appeared as a weapon in the PlayStation game SD Gundam G-Generation F (used by the RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam) , the Game Boy Advance game Super Robot Wars A , the PlayStation 3 game Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. and in Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation the Super Napalm is attached the Beam Rifle.
- The ZGMF-X56S Impulse Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny has similarities to the RX-78-2 Gundam consisting of legs as one section, upper body as another, and its YFX-M56S Core Splendor being based on The FF-X7 Core Fighter, and has a very similar red-with-gold-cross design for its shield.
- The 0 Gundam in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 largely resembles the RX-78-2 Gundam, and in the final battle of the 0 Gundam, it's repainted that it is almost identical to the RX-78-2. Another considerable in-joke is that the 0-Gundam's pilot and antagonist, Ribbons Almark, shares the same voice actor with Amuro Ray. Ironically, Amuro's English voice actor, Brad Swaile, is the same English voice actor for Gundam 00's main protagonist, and Ribbons' main rival, Setsuna F. Seiei.
- In the novelization of Mobile Suit Gundam, the RX-78-2 isn't destroyed during the Battle of A Baoa Qu, but during an ambush in Texas Colony at the end of the first book. Amuro then uses the RX-78-3 until his death at the end of the novels.
- The Gundam makes a very small cameo in a commercial for Toys'R'Us. It appears in the lower right corner for about 1–2 seconds.
- The Gundam can also be clearly seen on one of the shopping bags carried by Will Smith in an early scene of the 1998 movie Enemy of the State.
- The RX-78-2 appears in one scene in Mobile Fighter G Gundam clinging on to a rocket. . And if you look closely, there also appears to be a Crossbone Gundam on another rocket.
- The RX-78-2 has the biggest number of variations in the game SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online. The variations include the normal version, the Twin Bazooka version, the Hyper Hammer version, the Beam Javelin version, the Magnetic Coating/Last Shooting version, the special edition Gold version, the Char Custom, and with B-Parts.