The FD-03 Gustav Karl is a mass-produced general purpose mobile suit introduced in the Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash novels. Redesigned versions appeared in Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
A direct successor to the RGM series, the Gustav Karl was being developed as a next generation, mass production general-purpose mobile suit for the Earth Federation Forces. It was developed in a different system from the RGM-89 Jegan's, and was intended mainly for operations under gravity. The Gustav Karl was designed to be a larger, more heavily armored mobile suit without hindering its versatility. To compensate for the increased weight, it was installed with a high-output generator, and a large number of thrusters and posture control verniers were placed throughout its body to maintain its mobility and maneuverability.
The Gustav Karl's greatest feature was its shoulder-mounted flexible shield. It can be deployed to the front when in use, and swiveled to the back when not used, so it does not interfere with the thrusters or the 2-tube grenade launcher mounted on the left forearm. Its other armaments included head-mounted vulcan guns, a pair of beam sabers and the same beam rifle as the Jegan. Its communications antenna on the head featured a unique asymmetrical design. The early deployment units seen in U.C. 0096 were known as Type-13, and by U.C. 0105, a more advanced model, the Type-00, was in use. Lightly armored Gustav Karl unit is also said to exist..
- Vulcan Gun
- Depending on the version of Gustav Karl depicted, it has one or two vulcan guns mounted on the left side of its head. These shell firing weapons have a high rate of fire but little power, however, they are effective at close range and are commonly employed to deter an enemy mobile suit from getting too close. They are also ideal for shooting down small, lightly armored targets such as missiles, attack vehicles, etc.
- 2-tube Grenade Launcher
- Mounted on the left forearm, the grenades fired are moderately powerful self-propelling explosives that can deal significant damage to a mobile suit.
- Beam Saber
- The standard close range armament for most mobile suits, it is a small device held in the mobile suit's hands when operated and is powered by a rechargeable energy capacitor. The beam saber emits a blade of plasma contained by an I-Field and can cut through most armor not treated with anti-beam coating. The Gustav Karl is equipped with two beam sabers stored in the side armor.
- Beam Rifle
- A standard hand carried ranged beam weapon, the Gustav Karl used the same beam rifle as the Jegan. It has a short barrel for ease of handling, and is most effective in mid-close range combat due to its short firing range. Although its output is reduced, it has an excellent rate of fire, and can eliminate enemy accurately during melee combat when utilize in conjunction with the composite sensor at the top of the rifle.
- 90mm Short Machine Gun
- Used by the Gustav Karl in Gundam Narrative, it is an improved version of the older HFW-GMG·MG79-90mm Bullpup Machine Gun. It uses a new magazine that enhances the weapon's balance and carries more ammunition.
- Flexible Shield
- Depending on the version of Gustav Karl depicted, its shield is mounted on a backpack linked movable arm or directly attached to the left shoulder armor. Regardless of the attachment point, the flexible shield can swivel 180 degrees, giving it a high degree of freedom for defending against enemy attacks.
In U.C. 0096, two early deployment units were assigned to the Earth Federation Air Force's Cheyenne Base, under the pretense of testing under gravity. On May 4th, at around 00:30 UTC, the Cheyenne Base was attacked by the Ra Cailum's Tri-Star Team. One Gustav Karl were caught off guard and easily disabled by a RGM-96X Jesta from the Tri-Star Team.
According to one account, the Gustav Karl was formally adopted in U.C. 0097. In the same year, one Gustav Karl was deployed alongside two RAS-96 Anksha and three RGM-89D-ESC Jegan Type D Escort Types as part of a Federation convoy escorting Martha Vist Carbine. In the Colorado mountain region, the convoy was attacked by several MSK-008 Dijehs from Luio & Co., and the Gustav Karl was destroyed in the ensuing battle.
Also in the same year, three Gustav Karls somehow fell into the hands of the anti-Federation organization EARM. They were destroyed by a Zeta Gundam reproduction unit piloted by freelance mercenary "Lightning" (who was heavily implied to be Johnny Ridden).
Notes & Trivia
- The original novel design was done by Yasuhiro Moriki. It later appeared in the video game SD Gundam G Generation and was redesigned by Kazumi Fujita.
- The original backstory for the Gustav Karl indicated it was developed from the RGM-89 Jegan, but later works such as Gundam Narrative dropped this detail.
- The Gustav Karl gets its name from the real-life Carl Gustaf anti-tank rocket launcher system.
- In the draft designs for the game SD Gundam G Generation-F, the Gustav Karl was stated as a commander-type unit, with the Dora Karl (identical to the Gustav Karl in design except for its head antenna being rod-shaped and located on the left) being the regular unit. However, this difference was not present in Hathaway's Flash or the final game itself.
- In G Generation games prior to Genesis, the in-game sprites for Gustav Karl actually depict the Dora Karl.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, the cockpit monitor of a Gustav Karl shows an ally MSZ-006A1 Zeta Plus A1 erroneously as "Zeta Plus C1".
- High Grade Universal Century 1/144 FD-03 Gustav Karl (Unicorn Ver.) (2019) instruction manual
- Gundam Narrative official website - Mecha
- Great Mechanics G 2021 Summer, p.33
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: Mechanics & World - ep 7, p.44
- Gundam MS Graphica, p.66
- Hathaway's Flash official website - Mecha
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: Mechanics & World - ep 7, p.8
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn Episode 7: Over the Rainbow
- Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative
- Gundam MS Graphica
|Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative Mechanics|
|Earth Federation Forces/Luio & Co.|
FD-03 Gustav Karl | MSK-008 Dijeh | MSN-001A1 Delta Plus | RAS-96 Anksha | RGM-89A2 Jegan Type-A2 (GR) | RGM-89D-ESC Jegan Type D Escort Type | RGM-96Xs Jesta (Shezarr Type) | RGZ-95C ReZEL Type-C (GR) | RX-0 Unicorn Gundam 03 Phenex | RX-9 Narrative Gundam | RX-9/A Narrative Gundam A-Packs | RX-9/B Narrative Gundam B-Packs | RX-9/C Narrative Gundam C-Packs
|Aircraft / Spacecraft|
|Cruiser / Mother Ship|
Clop-class | Dogosse Giar-class | Irish-class
|Republic of Zeon|
AMS-129 Geara Zulu (Erika Custom) | AMS-129 Geara Zulu (Guards Type) | AMX-009 Dreissen | MSN-06S-2 Sinanju Stein
NZ-999 II Neo Zeong
|Cruiser / Mother Ship|
ARX-014S Silver Bullet Suppressor
|Hathaway's Flash Mechanics|
Me-02R Messer | RX-105 Ξ Gundam
|Aircraft / Spacecraft|
FD-03 Gustav Karl | RX-104FF Penelope
|Aircraft / Spacecraft|