Mark Simmons (scorpio@best.com)
Tue, 9 Jan 2001 13:16:38 -0800


Burke writes,

>NEXT EPISODE: Mark gives his reply, but Burke still
>has questions? Will Burke's endless questioning on
>this single topic ever end? Will Burke's mind finally
>be at ease with only one more email reply?

  Sure, provided you accept my contention that the Acht Zaku is not the
MS-11 from which the Gelgoog was derived. The body of evidence is
otherwise just too overwhelming to rationalize. :-)

  As I noted, very few writers have been willing to clarify this matter.
Both the Gundam Mechanics writeup and the MSV Collection File are
maddeningly vague, refusing to specify the relation (or lack thereof)
between Gelgoog and Acht Zaku. But consider these points...

* As you've noticed, the Acht Zaku - with its beam weapon support and
magnet coating - would generally appear to be superior to the Gelgoog.
Certainly, nobody's ever cited any defect in the Acht Zaku which would
require the project to be restarted. The stated reason for the Gelgoog's
relaunch was to add beam weapon support, a feature which the Acht Zaku
already posesses.

* Everybody agrees that the Acht Zaku was developed as part of the Pezun
Project, a research program which began in the very last stages of the
war - well after the Gelgoog's development had begun. And it's never been
claimed that the Gelgoog itself originated from the Pezun Project.

* For that matter, it's usually stated (as in Gundam Mechanics) that the
Acht Zaku wasn't put into production because the war ended just as its
design was completed. If so, it's flatly impossible that the Acht Zaku
could be a predecessor to the Gelgoog, which was redesigned, prototyped,
produced, and sent into battle before the end of the war.

  Despite the slipperiness of the Japanese writers, upon consideration I
think it's clearly impossible for the Acht Zaku itself to be an ancestor
of the Gelgoog. It's conceivable that, when the Pezun Project was
launched, they used the discarded design from the first stage of the
Gelgoog's development as a starting point for the Acht Zaku. But the
assignment of the abandoned MS-11 model number to this all-new, state-of-
the-art mobile suit could just as easily be a complete coincidence...

>Actually, the notes I'm working from (and having him
>translate for me) are from the Gundam Mechanics
>series. I know, I know... quite a few mistakes in
>those books, but aside from the even more inaccurate
>(and much more sparse) info in the MS Encyclopedia,
>it's all I've got to go on for MSV and MS-X stuff. :(

  While I generally wouldn't recommend the Gundam Mechanics books as
source material, in this case I don't see anything grossly inaccurate in
the Acht Zaku writeup. As noted above, it doesn't make any claim
regarding its relation to the Gelgoog, and in fact supports my arguments
regarding the timing of the Acht Zaku's development. :-)

>This, of course, is one of the core problems with
>Gundam tech continuity, when "gaps" are filled as
>afterthoughts and backgrounds on MS/MA are re-written
>to accomodate the "stopgaps" and make them "more
>interesting" or give their design some "purpose".
><sighs> It's enough to make you pull your hair out.

  Actually, most of the First Gundam retcons are pretty clever, and they
actually serve to rationalize a lot of apparently-nonsensical details.
Most of my reverence for the Stream Base trio comes from seeing how
ingeniously they accounted for the weirdness of the original series's
mecha designs.

  I can't necessarily say the same for the MS-X stuff, though. At the
very least, the notion of going back and assigning these "missing
numbers" to top-secret experimental mobile suits was guaranteed to create
a lot of confusion. :-\

>Was the Zeong originally supposed to be named the
>"Bishop", or was this supposed to be something else
>entirely?

  I think "Bishop" was the original codename, though I'm a little fuzzy
as to whether it might have referred to the overall project rather than
to the specific mobile suit. But I've looked up enough stuff for one day.
<grin>

>LOL! I quit trying to figure out the Apsaras after
>about six months. If I were to personally give it any
>model number, I'd give it MAX-04 (with MAX-05 for the
>Apsaras III). And don't EVEN get me started on those
>Rhinos...

  Hmmm. Since I've just been researching all the wacky vehicles from
First Gundam, the Adzam (new official spelling, sigh) and its model
number are fresh in my mind. There's a general consensus that the Adzam
isn't a mobile armor per se, but rather an experiment that led to the
creation of genuine mobile armors, so the "MAX" prefix would probably be
reserved for such pseudo-mobile armors.

  On the other hand, we have the MA-04X designation used for the failed
mobile armor Zakrello, which seems more promising. Assuming that the MAM-
07 Grabro is part of the same numeric series as the other non-newtype
mobile armors, positions 4 through 8 are already spoken for. Since the
original Apsaras appears in October, and even the Apsaras III makes its
debut in November, they may actually predate the other mobile armors.
(The Grabro first appears in late November; the Bigro and Zakrello are
fresh from testing when they're loaded aboard Char's Zanzibar in early
December.)

  So, Mark's guess is that the original Apsaras could be informally
designated the MA-01X, MA-02X, or MA-03X. Since the Apsaras project
wasn't officially completed until the rollout of the Apsaras III, perhaps
this monster would have been the bearer of the formal MA-01/MA-02/MA-03
model number, though of course by that point Ginias was operating a
little outside the parameters of official procedure. ;-)

  So, how about that Rhinoceros? <grin>

-- Mark

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Mark Simmons / scorpio@best.com / http://www.gundamproject.com/
"If you can kill it, it's not a god, just a good old-fashioned monster."

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