The MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type is a mobile suit introduced in Mobile Suit Gundam.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
After repeated engagements since the start of the One Year War, the regular Zaku II had already become insufficient for ace pilots. In order to make effective use of the mobile suit's reserves of power, this mobility-enhanced Zaku II for commanders was hastily developed. The Zaku II Commander Type has an antenna on the head for enhanced communication capabilities and to visually distinguish squad-leaders or higher ranking pilots from other squad-members or lower ranking pilots. Commanders are also allowed to paint their machine in personal colors.
It also features a powerplant with higher output that gave the Zaku II Commander Type greater thrust and acceleration. This allows it to move at speeds 30% higher than that of the standard Zaku II. However, since the amount of propellant has not been changed from the standard type, it would naturally run out of propellant quickly when maneuvering at full speed. Despite this limitation, the Zaku II Commander Type proved to be incredibly dangerous in the hands of the ace pilots it was assigned to, such as the "Red Comet" Char Aznable, who sank five Magellan-class battleships in the Battle of Loum.
- Shoulder Shield
- Mounted on the right shoulder, it is a simple defense used to block most incoming physical projectiles.
- M-120A1 120mm Machine Gun
- A standard firearm for Zaku type MS. It has a large drum magazine located at the top, and features a scope and foregrip to enable highly accurate shooting. It can switch modes between single-fire and automatic fire. Although useless against Luna Titanium Alloy, it can still destroy weaker armor material with multiple shots.
- M-120AC Machine Gun
- A model of machine gun with a heat bayonet equipped on the barrel. A limited number of these weapons were produced and used by Zaku II Commander Types for operational testing.
- MMP-80 90mm Machine Gun
- A small caliber machine gun for mobile suits developed under the United Maintenance Plan. The overall shape and mechanism of the Zaku Machine Gun, which was previously deployed, has been changed. The magazine has been changed from a drum magazine to a box magazine, and a 197mm grenade launcher is available as an option. The caliber has been reduced to 90mm, but as a result, the hit rate has improved, and the 90mm shell used is also excellent in initial velocity and anti-MS firepower. The number of bullets loaded is 32 in the standard single magazine and 100 in the triple magazine. The late production model features a different barrel and hand guard, resulting in a more compact shape.
- H&L-SB25K/280mmA-P Zaku Bazooka
- A portable, physical projectile-type firearm. It is primarily for anti-ship combat and displays its power in hit and run attacks. It can also be used against enemy mobile suits, but it is harder to hit a constantly moving target. Can be stored on the rear waist armor when not in use.
- Heat Hawk
- An axe-shaped close combat weapon, it uses a super-heated blade to cut through the armor of enemy MS or vehicles. The thermal energy is generated by the power output of the Zaku II's thermonuclear reactor and relayed through the MS' hands.
- ZIM/M·T-K175C 175mm Recoilless Rifle
- The main gun of the HT-01B Magella Attack main battle tank, it is remodeled as an MS artillery weapon. It is mainly used for long distance attacks in ground combat, and can be loaded with HEAT or APFSDS rounds.
- Sturm Faust
- The Sturm Faust is a simplified, disposable rocket launcher that is good for a single shot. As the warhead is not equipped with a guidance device, it is extremely hard to use the Sturm Faust to hit a moving target accurately. However, it is still a highly destructive portable weapon.
- MIP-B6 Cracker Grenade
- Identical to those used by infantry, the cracker grenade is an explosive weapons designed to be thrown or launched by the MS and detonate after a set amount of time. The "cracker" breaks into several smaller munitions over a wide area. A flash-type variant also exist, which it used to temporarily paralyze the sensors of enemy MS. The Zaku II can optionally equip up to four cracker grenades, that are stored on the left and right waist armor racks, with two on each side.
- Double Bazooka
- A combination of two 280mm bazookas into a single weapon. However, this is not just a joining of two bazookas, it only has a single grip located on the the left barrel and an additional sight is added to improve shooting performance. It has two magazines located at the bottom, increasing the ammunition. Around ten units were produced and used by Black Tri-Stars among others, but it was not officially adopted.
Special Equipment & Features
- Container Backpack
- Equipped on the back of Ortega's machine. It is used to store a machine gun and a spare bazooka magazine. It can be discarded with explosive bolts even during combat, and the sides can be mounted with bazookas and heat hawks.
The Zaku II Commander Type was one of the many variants of the Zaku II that were created to meet the needs of the Zeon forces on the battlefield. The exact production number of the Zaku II Commander Type is unknown, with different sources giving different numbers. One of the more credible figure is that approximately 100 units were produced.
The most well known Zaku II Commander Type was piloted by Char Aznable. It was said that through Char's clever use of terrain and debris to boost off of, his custom colored Zaku II Commander Type was able to reach speed three times that of regular Zaku while saving fuel. Char's Zaku II Commander Type was also known to have fought the Federation's RX-78-2 Gundam, piloted by Amuro Ray, several times. Despite Amuro's evident talent, he was still a novice whose piloting skills simply did not match up to Char's during their early battles. The only reason Amuro survived was because the Gundam greatly outperformed the Zaku II Commander type in terms of both offense and defense.
Appearances in other media
Char's Zaku II is a playable unit in many video games, most recently in Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3. It has made appearances in almost all Gundam-related video games, including Journey to Jaburo, Federation vs. Zeon, Gundam vs Gundam, and others.
Notes and Trivia
- In the original series, there was no visual difference between the standard Zaku and the commander type aside from the color and horn. However, the Master Grade and Perfect Grade model kits depicted the commander type as having larger thrusters and attitude control verniers.
- In Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3, The unit has a special ability called Triple Speed which enhances the speed of the Zaku, interestingly, it is only activated if Char Aznable is chosen as the pilot, a possible reference to his abilities to push the Mobile Suit to its maximum capabilities.
- In Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 and 3, Lunamaria Hawke defaults to this Zaku due to the fact that neither her Gunner ZAKU nor the Impulse Gundam were brought into the game. With Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn, she has both and thus will most likely not default to this suit any longer.
- Futabasha, Common Knowledge of Gundam: Mobile Suits of the One Year War, p. 47
- Gundam Officials Encyclopedia, p. 320
- Extra feature that came with the Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team DVDs
- MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type on MAHQ.net
- MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type (Black Tri Stars Custom) on MAHQ
- MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type (Johnny Ridden Custom) on MAHQ