Re: [gundam] Zakus - getting hosed?

Mark Simmons (
Tue, 16 Feb 1999 13:20:36 -0800

Roger Harkavy asks,

>Since it seems every rivet of every Gundam mecha has been documented to
>death by the Japanese, riddle me this, Batman: what function do the
>external cables on the original MS-06 Zaku II serve?

  Two answers to this one: The one favored by Japanese reference books,
and the one that makes sense.

  Standard answer: These "conductive cables" transmit motive power around
the Zaku's body. According to EB 1, they contain thousands of tiny
fluid-filled tubes that constitute the "liquid pulse system" that runs
the Zaku's joints. Said cables are also present in the MS-05, but they're
internal, so they limit joint mobility.

  Problems with this explanation: Why don't later mobile suits have them?
Why are there no cables on the arms (as with the Hizack)? And for the
love of god, why does the Zaku have them on its head? For that matter,
why run motive power from the Zaku's belly to its backpack - especially
for mobile suits like the Zaku Desert Type, whose backpack is simply a
huge radiator?

  My theory: As we've discussed on the list in days past, a thermonuclear
rocket engine works by circulating propellant through the reactor and
releasing it to create thrust. Possible propellants include hydrogen,
helium, air, and water (in short, substances with low atomic weights).
Meanwhile, a reactor cooling system would need to circulate some sort of
coolant around the reactor, then pumping it through some sort of
radiator. Possible coolants include helium, air, and water.

  In other words, the substances and pipes for both propellant and
coolant seem roughly identical. The same system could be used to pump
your chosen medium through the reactor, and then either dump its excess
heat in a radiator, or release it to create thrust. So economical!

  Thus, the head cables would be primarily for cooling, connecting the
(presumably hot) avionics in the skull to the mouth vent. The leg cables
would be primarily to run the foot thrusters (which would explain why the
Gouf and later mobile suits, with self-contained jet or rocket thrusters
in their legs, have no leg cables). The torso cables would be for both
cooling and thrust, as needed, and their external routing is necessitated
by the fact that the cockpit is placed squarely between reactor and
backpack (not so in the Dom and Gelgoog, justifying their lack of torso

  That's my best guess, for what it's worth...

>(Incidentally, Mark, this is an excellent section of the web site. Love
>the Red Shoulder treatment of the MS-06A!)

  Thanks! It's certainly my favorite section. :-)

-- Mark

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