Mark Simmons (
Mon, 3 May 1999 17:09:26 -0700

Hi gang,

  Now that I'm back from vacation, let me toss out a couple of tidbits I'd
been saving up...

* Who put the "Rick" in "Rick Dom"?

  I recently picked up a book called "Gundam Age," another of the recent
rash of anniversary books looking at the Gundam phenomenon. This one
focuses on the original series and the early model boom, and though it's
mostly text essays, it does throw in some fascinating tidbits. For one
thing, they got Sunrise to explain what the Rick Dom's name means.

 Turns out "Rick" is a contraction of "Remake"; rather than indicating a
space customization, it just means that the mobile suit is a remodeled
version, and as such I suppose it's synonymous with "Kai". Presumably the
same is true of the ReGelg, Re-GZ, Rig Shokew and Rig Contio - the latter
in particular has no particular space customizations relative to the
original Contio.

* Lalah's Mobile Armor

  Why does the box of the 1/550 Elmeth kit use this unwieldy circumlocution
in place of the mobile armor's own name? No, they weren't trying to be
mysterious; rather, the French shoe company whose product name (a
French-ified "Hermes") inspired the Elmeth's moniker threatened a lawsuit.
Perhaps the relevant trademark law only covers boxed products or

* Leggy Apsaras

  As noted recently, the Apsaras III that appears in the latest episode of
the 08th MS Team has three spindly legs, two of which include bulbous
Minovsky craft spheres in mid-limb. Not only do these make the mobile armor
look very War of the Worlds-esque, but they also reinforce its remarkable
similarity to the Big Zam. Which, as the old MSV books claimed, was
supposed to be a Minovski craft-capable mobile armor capable of re-entering
Earth's atmosphere and attacking Jaburo. Hmmm...

* Master Grade Dom

  As you'll see in the June Hobby Japan - which, amazingly, I picked up on
vacation from the Books Nippan outlet next to St. Paul's Cathedral in
London - we have early designs for the long-awaited MG Dom. It's a Katoki
makeover (yay!) that's only slightly changed from the original design,
though it looks like the modelmakers are taking more liberties with it than
Katoki's design did. Curiously, Katoki's dumped most of the design elements
of his incredibly bulky Dom Tropen, though the elbow joints are in keeping
with those of his Zaku and Gouf redesigns.

* Field Motor of Dreams

  Speaking of joints, I'd previously alluded to a detailed thesis on one
Japanese Web site (Amigo's "Umarekitesuimasen") regarding the MS-11 Acht
Zaku. In a nutshell, the author noted that if this Zeon experiment has
magnet coating, it must logically use the same field motor system as the
Federation's mobile suits, rather than the liquid pulse system of other
Zeon designs (magnet coating is designed to increase the efficiency of
field motors).

  Extrapolating from this, the writer posits the Acht Zaku as the
production of the Zimmad company rather than Zeonic, and considers it the
ancestor of the MS-15 Gann and MS-17 Galbaldy Alpha. He reckons that these
latter Zimmad designs likewise used field motors, which discouraged Zeon
from adopting them for mass-production but conversely made them ideal for
post-war Federation use. (This would also explain why the Gann and Galbaldy
Alpha have such skinny limbs and elbow joints so similar to those of the

  Having posited Zimmad as an early adopter of Federation design
approaches, one might suppose the writer would go on to speculate that the
same company went on to develop postwar mobile suits such as the Asshimar
and Gaplant - which combine magnet coating with Dom-like face designs - but
instead he reports that the company stayed in the Zeon Republic and got out
of the mobile suit business. See for yourself at

* Victory of evil!

  And, just before taking off for vacation, I won Giren's Greed. Deftly
undercutting my siblings, I forestalled the creation of a rival faction,
dropped a colony on Jaburo, invaded the shattered fortress, and delivered
the human race into the hands of the evil dictator himself. Whew!

-- Mark

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