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S_Gundam

S Gundam

The MSA-0011 (MSZ-011) S Gundam is a prototype transformable mobile suit that appears in the Gundam novel Gundam Sentinel. It is not only piloted by the protagonist, but the onboard AI, A.L.I.C.E., is also one of its pilots.

MSA-0011 S Gundam

The MSA-0011 (MSZ-011) S Gundam (also called Superior Gundam, but its original name is the Supreme Gundam, codename: "Ι Gundam" (Iota Gundam) in the Greek letter Anaheim Gundam series), more frequently called the S Gundam, is an incredibly powerful Earth Federation Forces mobile suit. There were four units built, but only one has ever made an appearance in any story. The one appeared in Gundam Sentinel and in the story, send to the Taskforce Alpha battleship Pegasus III, where it was assigned to pilot Ryu Roots. Although the S Gundam had three separate cockpits, the other two were not used until the very end of the plot, where three pilots would be saved by the core block system (see below). Since its plans are highly classified, it is said in chapter 1, Revolt in Pezun, that the pilots have been only able to train in Z Plus B types, which are the highest performance transformable mobile suit they have access to.

The S Gundam is equipped with relatively heavier armour than its Z Plus cousin, which is specifically mentioned in the story (Chapter 2:Sally Forth! S Gundam) where the 2 Z Plus C1 accompanying the S Gundam in its booster configuration took more damage even though S Gundam was at a much higher acceleration when against enemy fire. To further confirm this point, the author mentions that the pilot cannot even bear to imagine what will happen if they are using Neros or GM IIIs in the same situation. Within the design notes, the offensive capabilities of the S Gundam featured a highly accurate beam smart gun, with 12MW power operating the beam smart gun normally, the unit can connect the beam smart gun to two extra power outlets on both left and right hips or the centre of its belly, to supply extra power that increases the beam smart gun up to 56MW. However, this will have to sacrifice the mounting of one of the two 12MW beam guns that are similar to the ones used in the Zeta Plus mobile suit series. Two beam cannons protruded from the S Gundam's backpack over the shoulders, and it also featured four 60 mm vulcans in the tail stabilizer and four 60 mm vulcan guns in the head, in which the mechanical designer, Katoki Hajime, specially took the problems of this weapon in the pass series into account, including the barrel length being too short which means the weapon can only have grenade launcher effects as well as no space for ammo, and lengthened the barrel (also the depth of the head of S Gundam) and introduced the liquid explosives electronic firing mechanism to the design, in which later retconed earlier designs and is again mentioned in Gundam Officials, the Gundam Encyclopedia and Master Grade instructions. It also featured a red circular-shaped wire-guided remote beam weapon called an Incom that was stored in the forehead. And finally, to round out the S Gundam's weaponry, the unit featured two beam sabers stored in recharge racks in the small white protrusions in the unit's knees.

The S Gundam is built on a modular design, made up of two separate transformable units that could combine with a core fighter variant called the G Core to create the full S Gundam. The S Gundam was capable of separating into the 3 crafts. The G-Attacker (also referred to as the A Parts) is one of the crafts, which was made up of the upper torso area of the S Gundam. The second craft was called the G-Bomber (also referred to as the B Parts), which were composed of the lower torso and legs of the S Gundam. The G-Core core fighter, which were the C Parts of the S Gundam, was flown by Ryu Roots. The story used this mechanism as a make shift role for the task force alpha not having enough mobile suits for the battle and has to compromise by separating the S Gundam for 3 pilots in chapter 12, Pursuit. The author also made his own disbelieve in combining robots in the midst of battle into the plot, where S Gundam is forced to combine back into the mobile suit form and sacrifice of the 3 pilots' instructor was made by being their shield in order to buy them time for the combination in chapter 13, Triple Attack.

A.L.I.C.E.

The S Gundam in Gundam Sentinel featured a unique and incredibly complex artificial intelligence computer that went by the acronym name A.L.I.C.E., which was developed by Ryu Roots' mother, Meith Roots. A.L.I.C.E., which stood for Advanced Logistic & Inconsequence Cognizing Equipment, was more than the standard learning computer featured in earlier mobile suits; "she" had the capability to think and to grow. The growth of ALICE is one of the main plot lines to the story, compared to the growth of the main character Ryu Roots. In "her" early stages of growth ALICE was not yet a full individual, but "her" experiences with Ryu Roots would help "her" to grow. ALICE is originally programmed to place the pilot(s) life as first priority, and could assume total control of the S Gundam if "she" felt that the unit was in danger. This function has been used throughout the plot to save the pilot's life and caused confusion to the pilot since Ryu Roots has no knowledge of ALICE's existence even towards the very end of the story. Although 4 S Gundams have been produced, it is known that the other 3 S Gundams do not have the ALICE system installed on it.

Variants

According to ModelGraphix Special edition "GUNDAM WARS III" Gundam Sentinel, and the Gundam Fix Figuration #0013 box description, the mechanical designer Katoki Hajime mentioned that MSA-0011 S Gundam's equipment is numbered by the three different types.

  • equipment for the normal S is 1XX
  • equipment for Ex-S is 2XX
  • equipment for S[Bst] is 3XX
  • rest is 4XX

Although there is no actual numbering for any equipment in the story, there is but one equipment that appears in Model Graphix Gundam WARS III: Gundam Sentinel (aka Sentinel Variations) that have a number attach to it.

MSA-0011[Ext] Ex-S Gundam

The Ex-S Gundam is an upgrade plan (Plan 20X series) of the S Gundam. By adding armour parts on the legs and I-Field generator in front of the cockpit compartment, the Ex-S is aimed to put the pilot's life in priority. It also improved its weapon systems, and replaced the backpack with 2 booster units. The Ex-S Gundam took a step closer to what it was originally designed for, both in real-life and in plot, the ultimate mobile suit of the time. In the interview of Katoki Hajime in ModelGraphix Special edition "GUNDAM WARS III" Gundam Sentinel, the editor questioned him about why the I-Field generator only covering the cockpit area instead of the whole mobile suit, which he claimed to be of power shortage reasons in the design notes; Katoki's real reason for the design is that he thinks it is not interesting to have the unit so mighty powerful, yet he also admits that Ex-S is already too powerful as is. The author took a new look at the powerful suit, he only placed the Ex-S in one battle, featured in chapter 8, Battle of Aires, (Ex-S made its debut in the very end of chapter 7, Eagle Fall, labelling Ex-S as S Gundam's most powerful equipment) and the parts would be destroyed in the battle by G-V (Gundam Mk-V) and the Ryu Roots would be saved by ALICE over-riding the controls of the unit. By doing so, the author again expressed what he did in chapter 2 and chapter 3, where pilots have in turn ironically doubted either their skills are useless against technology while others doubted technology could be over turned by piloting skills.

The Ex-S Gundam is also capable of undergoing a transformation into a waverider mode, like its predecessors Z Gundam and ZZ Gundam in the same project. Unlike the S Gundam, which divided into three separate components, the Ex-S Gundam re-combined into one large unit called the G-Cruiser. Ex-S Gundam can travel in this mode whenever it needed to travel over a great distance to conserve the propellant for use in actual combat situations. The G-Cruiser also has two large propellant tanks mounted in the front over the Ex-S Gundam's shoulders. These extra tanks can be jettisoned when the G-Cruiser would reach the battlefield and transform into the Ex-S Gundam. This mode is only used for a brief period during chapter 8 of Gundam Sentinel but the mechanical designer has detailed transformation design notes in ModelGraphix Special edition "GUNDAM WARS III" Gundam Sentinel.

The Hong Kong Modelling Company G-system has built a 1/35 Ex-S Gundam garage kit which costs US$2250 and weights 44kg. According to an interview from Model Kit World, a Hong Kong modeling magazine, the kit took 4 years to build and is actually more like 1/28 (80cm/21.73m = 1/27 by math, 1/28 is a more common modeling scale) since the head was made slightly bigger than the original scale in the very beginning and they are too lazy to rebuild it at that time. This has haunted them from that point on until even after the final completion because not only the whole thing became bigger, they also found it extremely hard to fit some of the parts into the car to move it into the studio to take photos for Model Kit World, promotion posters and official web page.

MSA-0011[Bst] S Gundam Booster Unit Type

In chapter 2, Sally Forth, the S Gundam is equipped with the booster configuration, in which the B Parts (legs) and backpack would be replaced with 4 booster units. The code for the plan is later retconned as Plan 3XX series in the Gundam Sentinel special edition along with the Plan 303E Deep Striker. The unit is extremely useful in assault missions; the story made it clear that its acceleration is so great that it created doubts in the hearts of the expert pilots of New Desides, originally trainers and instructors, and even made them doubt whether their skills are so useless against the technologically advanced suit. The S Gundam Booster configuration had the highest acceleration (9.72G) in all mobile suits losing only to V2 Gundam's 20G suicidal acceleration, and is literally able to make the pilot wet his pants in the story, earning Ryu Roots the name Pants Wetting Hero for 2 chapters.

MSA-0011[Bst] S Gundam Booster Unit Type Plan 303E "Deep Striker"

According to Katoki Hajime from the above sources, the MSA-0011[Bst] Plan 303E "Deep Striker" is one of the configuration of MSA-0011[Bst] S Gundam Booster Unit Type.

The Plan 303E Deep Striker equipment was never used, however. If it was, it would have been one of the most powerful equipment ever installed on a mobile suit. Designed to allow the S Gundam to strike deep inside enemy's territory with minimal support, it was thus equipped with four large booster backpacks: two of them replace the original's smaller backpack, like the Ex-S configuration, while its legs are replaced by six more thrusters (basically a normal booster pack with an extra thruster nozzle attachment, each containing 3 thrusters nozzles, a large thermo-nuclear generator and numerous propellant tanks), like the S[Bst] configuration.

In addition to its booster packs, it was also equipped with the following equipments:

  • I-Field generator, provide full protection by covering all of the unit. Its position was placed further ahead as to allow full coverage
  • A mega particle cannon which is striped from an Irish Class Battle Cruiser's Main Gun; supplemented by a radome on the cannon's left; both mounted on the back over shoulder.
  • A 56MW output power Beam Smartgun (already employed in S Gundam and EX-S Gundam) reinforced by a special cooling unit for rapid firing.
  • 2 improved beam cannon, mounted in the hardpoints of leg boosters, allowing mid to close range defense
  • long range multi-sensor, capable of detecting many hidden enemies as it cruise forward

Because of the heavy equipments the Plan 303E Deep Striker needs to carry with is a lot of propellant to increase the available combat time, thus reducing its acceleration by 30% as compare to [[MSA-0011 S Gundam|MSA-0011[Bst] S Gundam Booster Unit Type]].

It could be identified as the retcon improvement unit of RX-78 GP-03 Dendrobium's concept in the Universal Century timeline, which was designed by Katoki Hajime 3 years later in real-life. The next of the line would be V2 Gundam Assault Buster Type, although it did not follow the Mobile Armour concept. These designs were equipped with a Battle Cruiser class mega particle cannon and overwhelming fire power along with I-Field Barrier Generators. Although vaguely similar designs were produced by Kunio Okawara in M-MSV as the RX-78-7, FA-78-3 and FHA-78-3, these weapons lack the Mobile Armour concept and did not resemble the anti-fortress theme of Katoki's designs, which left little to defend Okawara. As for the V2, it was technologically feasible during its time to place anti-fortress armaments on a mobile suit.

This unit first appeared in Model Graphix Gundam WARS III: Gundam Sentinel (aka Sentinel Variations) A 1/100 garage kit was built for the picture in this version. Later, a smaller version was produced within the Gundam Fix Figuration #0013. Hong Kong modelling company G-system has created 2 1/100 conversion garage kit for the Master Grade Ex-S Gundam to be convert into a Plan 303E Deep Striker. And have entered at least 2 Dengeki Gundam Model competition with the 1/100 Plan 303E in Hong Kong.

Special Equipment

Beam Smart Gun

The Beam Smart Gun, a beam rifle capable of hitting a target without the barrel necessarily pointed in the right direction, is equipped on the B-parts (G-Bomber) when S Gundam is separated into three parts. With an extended booster unit installed on the G-core, it can also equip the Beam Smart Gun in mobile suit mode as well.

Booster Unit

The booster unit is introduced in ModelGraphix Special edition "GUNDAM WARS III" Gundam Sentinel as an optional equipment plan for S Gundam and related development plans. It essentially is two ultra-compact thermo-nuclear generator along with two thermo-nuclear thrusters packed together. Each contained a connection point on one side for connecting to the main unit and 2 hard points on the opposite side as power outlets for beam cannons. The top (opposite side of nozzles) side contained to white covers which can be removed and act as extra propellant inlets. This unit is also used on the Z Plus C1[Bst] Hummingbird and the core booster [extended] configuration.

Conformal Pack

The conformal pack is an upgrade to the booster unit used in Plan 303E Deep Striker. It increased the number of generators and thrusters pair to three (thus an extra nozzle), and can connect to a drop-type propellant tank.

Real Life design problems

According to the interview notes of the author and mechanical designer, although the project was started as a joint project of Model Graphix and Bandai, meaning it is an official story, the Supreme Gundam lineart plan was hard to have confirmation, and the Bandai great people(エライ人) thinks that it does not look like a gundam at all. Katoki simply deal with the problem by painting the S Gundam with the white, blue, red, yellow tone and showed it in the next meeting, the Bandai officials then refer it as more gundam-like. Bandai showed little interest after the first planning status and gave as little support as possble and seemed to think the Model Graphix project team as an annoyance due to the reason of a novelization have poor visual effects and they think it is not going to sell at all and focused on the development of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack. Because of the earlier information of the plan was released to the public along with the designs of S Gundam, some fans started to speculate S Gundam as a fake (fan story) and Newtype magazine editors felt sorry for Model Graphix project team, and have a full Gundam Sentinel, the battle of real Gundam coverage subtitling This is the real thing! to question the Bandai officials lack of support. This improved the publicity of S Gundam and the Sentinel project and forced Bandai to display a mock up model for the S Gundam along with ν Gundam's model in the 1988 game show.

References

Sources

  • ModelGraphix Special edition "GUNDAM WARS III" Gundam Sentinel. ISBN 4-499-20530-1

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