The RX-78GP02A Gundam "Physalis" (aka "Physalis", GP02A) is the second of four mobile suits in the Gundam Development Project and featured in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory. It originally belonged to Earth Federation until it was stolen and piloted by Delaz Fleet's ace pilot, Anavel Gato.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
While attempting to develop the most powerful MS to date, the Federation naturally came to a point where they decided to equip it with the most deadly weapon available, a nuclear warhead, the result being the RX-78GP02A Gundam "Physalis". The Federation viewed this as a necessary evil, since Zeon had deployed or attempted to deploy nuclear weapons on multiple occasions, even after the signing of the Antarctic Treaty.
While the production and development of the RX-78GP02A was not really a violation of the Antarctic Treaty, which prohibits the "use" of nuclear weapons as opposed to the "development" and "storage" of them. The Antarctic Treaty was signed by the Principality of Zeon which was since replaced by the Republic of Zeon, following the end of the One Year War, rendering the treaty itself an agreement with a now non-existent government. Delaz cited the RX-78GP02A as a violation of the Antarctic Treaty primarily to illustrate the underhanded dealings of the Earth Federation and the to rationalize the capture and use of nuclear weapons by himself.
Despite being one of the largest Gundams in the Universal Century by armor volume, the GP02A is highly maneuverable. Besides the nuclear warhead, the Physalis is armed with standard head-mounted vulcan guns and two torso- mounted beam sabers, which when activated glow green instead of the normal pink. The GP02A was designed to possibly work in tandem with its brother unit, the GP01.
It carried extensive heat and radiation shielding to protect it from nuclear blasts, as well as the standard Federation mobile suit armaments for defense. Mounted on the shoulder binders of the Physalis were a set of high power thrusters, three on each binder, which contributed to the exceptional maneuverability of the MS.
The Physalis, however, is at a disadvantage if the nuclear bazooka were ever destroyed in battle, as it could only rely on its thick armor, large shield, and beam sabers for protection, and could be destroyed easily at long range. In the hands of a skilled pilot, the Physalis may be able to overcome these disadvantages.
- 60mm Vulcan Gun
- A standard defensive armament of the Earth Federation Forces' RX and RGM series of mobile suits is a pair of head mounted 60mm vulcan guns. These shell firing weapons have a high-rate of fire but have little power. The weapons are ideal for shooting down small, fast moving, lightly armored targets such as missiles, small land vehicles, and attack helicopters.
- A.E.Blash AEXB-909L Beam Saber
- The Physalis is equipped with a pair of A.E.Blash AEXB-909L beam sabers stored in waist-mounted recharge racks. The output of these sabers can be manually adjusted and at the highest setting can overpower GP01-Fb's beam saber. The beam sabers are the weapons most commonly employed by the Physalis due to its lack of weapon options.
- 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-78GP02A a considerable advantage in close quarters combat. In the manga Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Rebellion, Gato borrows this weapon from a defeated RGM-79V GM Night Seeker.
- AE/ZIM.G-BAZ-0186-A Atomic Bazooka
- The primary weapon of the RX-78GP02A Gundam Physalis is an AE/ZIM.G-BAZ-0186-A Atomic Bazooka, and is the central feature of the Physalis's purpose as a nuclear weapon delivery platform. The atomic bazooka can load a single Mk-82 nuclear warhead, limiting the bazooka to a single shot in battle. However the strategic value of that single shot is not to be underestimated, as demonstrated when Anavel Gato used a single nuclear warhead to destroy two-thirds of the Earth Federation Forces fleet gathered for the Naval Review at Konpei Island. The nuclear warhead must be used carefully, for even the Physalis's armor and cooling system can only protect the mobile suit from the edges of a nuclear explosion.
- The Atomic Bazooka is a two-piece system. The warhead is loaded into the read end, which is directly mounted on a swivel located on the back of the Physalis' right shoulder, while the front half of the Bazooka is carried in its right hand. The two halves of the Bazooka lock together when used to fire the Nuclear warhead, and the rear end can be jettisoned from the Physalis should it no longer be necessary or useable.
- 135mm Anti-Ship Rifle
- Developed in the early phase of One Year War, the long-barreled 135mm anti-ship rifle is used by various models of Zeon mobile suits for long-range sniping attack against Federation's warships. It fires highly accurate solid rounds which can heavily damage E.F.F.'s Salamis-class cruiser. In firing position, the anti-ship rifle must be held by both MS manipulators to reduce its massive recoils. During the events in Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Mayfly of Space 2, Gato's Gundam Physalis is armed with a 135mm Anti-Ship Rifle.
- NR-Sh-02-RX/S-00013 Shield
- The Gundam Physalis is equipped with a specialized NR-Sh-02-RX/S-00013 model shield. The large shield serves not only as additional protection for the Physalis against physical and beam weapons, but it also features a powerful liquid nitrogen cooling system designed to help protect the Physalis from the edge of a nuclear explosion.
In the story of Mobile Suit Gundam 0083, which happened in the year UC 0083, the Pegasus-class assault carrier Albion collected both the RX-78GP01 and the RX-78GP02A, and shipped them to the Earth Federation's Torrington Base in Australia for terrestrial testing.
Thanks to the help of a Delaz Fleet supporter in Anaheim Electronics, former Zeon Ace pilot Anavel Gato a.k.a The Nightmare of Solomon managed to sneak aboard the Albion and steal the RX-78GP02A after a nuclear missile from the Federation's Torrington Base stockpile had been loaded into it. Taking advantage of a long range missile bombardment initiated by his team members, followed by a blitzkrieg attack by a pair of MS-09F/trop Dom Tropen, Anavel Gato in the Gundam Physalis began making his getaway, but not before being confronted by Earth Federation Ensign Kou Uraki in the RX-78GP01 Gundam "Zephyranthes". The two engaged in a beam saber battle but Kou was overwhelmed when he discovered he was battling the "Nightmare of Solomon".
As Anavel Gato made his escape with the Gundam Physalis, he set out to rendezvous with a Komusai II shuttle so that he could get the Gundam Physalis into space. However during the shuttle's takeoff procedure the Komusai II was attacked by Kou Uraki in the Gundam Zephyranthes, whose machine gun delivered critical damage that destroyed the Komusai II, yet the Gundam Physalis escaped undamaged.
With the loss of the Komusai II Anavel Gato and his team were forced to go to their backup plan, and made straight for the coast to rendezvous with the U-801, a refit Jukon-class Combat Submarine. In order to ensure success in their mission, the Zeon team set up an ambush to destroy the pursuing Earth Federation Forces mobile suits in the mist shrouded rocks by the shore. However the Earth Federation pilots expected this and managed to turn the tables, destroying the Gundam Physalis's two escort machines. Anavel Gato and the Gundam Physalis ended up getting into another beam saber duel with Kou Uraki and the Gundam Zephyranthes. With Anavel Gato's skill the Physalis quickly overpowered its brother unit, however the Gundams' designer, Nina Purpleton, arrived and advised Kou Uraki to thrust the beam saber into the Physalis's shield which highly damaged the Physalis's cooling system. With little choice, Anavel Gato escaped with the Gundam Physalis on a mobile suit transport hovercraft.
Gato took the Physalis to the Kinbareid Base in eastern Africa where Zeon remnant forces gave Gato an old H.L.V. to take the Physalis into space. During the launch the Kinbareid Base's mobile suit forces fought with the mobile suits of the Albion in order to buy Gato time. As the H.L.V. was taking off the Albion fired its main guns at it, nearly hitting it, but the H.L.V. escaped into space.
Once in space Gato returned to the Delaz Fleet, bringing the Gundam Physalis to their secret base. There it was used as a propaganda tool on an Earth Sphere-wide broadcast speech made by Admiral Delaz, Calling the Earth Federation hypocritical and underhanded for creating a mobile suit capable of deploying nuclear weapons despite how it was in violation to the Antarctic Treaty.
With their speech broadcast and their intentions known, the Delaz Fleet moved out to Konpei Island, with the RX-78GP02A Gundam "Physalis" serving as a key component to their battle plan. Knowing that they could not win in a head on battle, Admiral Delaz intended to make use of the Gundam Physalis's special feature. Anavel Gato piloted the Physalis for its part of the plan, using its high speed and agility to slip first through a debris field left after the One Year War, and then through Earth Federation defenses on the edge of the Naval Review. Once in position Gato fired the nuclear weapon, the explosion from which destroyed or disabled two-thirds of the gathered Earth Federation space fleet at the Naval Review.
As Anavel Gato was making his escape, he and the RX-78GP02A were once again faced with Earth Federation Ensign Kou Uraki who was piloting the upgraded RX-78GP01-Fb Gundam Full Burnern "Zephyranthes". The two pilots and machines engaged in a battle, this time with Kou matching Gato evenly thanks to his new found experience and more powerful Gundam. The battle would result in the mutual destruction of both machines, though both pilots would survive.
Notes & Trivia
- In the game Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space, the Gundam "Physalis"'s Atomic Bazooka also doubles as a Beam Bazooka, with the nuclear warhead as its single-use special attack.
- The "Physalis" appears in episode 5 of Gundam Build Fighters, where it's color scheme is similar to the Trial Version in the Anaheim Journal.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 Rebellion, its stated that the GP02A's development team at Anaheim Electronics was full of former Zeon engineers.
- Some materials depict the Physalis with a Zeon symbol painted on the lower half of its shield, although this did not appear in Stardust Memory.