The MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type is a Mobile Suit introduced in the Mobile Suit Gundam television series. This variant looks very similar to the standard MS-06F Zaku II, so much so, that the Earth Federation can generally only tell the difference from color schemes most pilots apply to their units and the increased performance of this version.
Technology & Combat Characteristics
The S-Type Zaku II 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 higher output powerplant that gave the S-Type Zaku II greater thrust and acceleration. This allows it to move at speeds three times faster than a standard Zaku II. However, since no changes were made to the fuel tanks, the S-Type's operating time is shortened as a result. Despite this limitation, the S-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.
It was noted in an extra feature that came with the Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team DVDs that the three times faster figure came about from Char's clever use of terrain and debris to boost off of, saving fuel and increasing his speed compared to normal.
- Shoulder Shield
- Mounted on the right shoulder, it is a simple defense used to block most incoming physical projectiles.
- M-120A1 120mm Machine Gun
- Also referred to as a "rifle" by Zeon soldiers, Zeonic was contracted to develop this weapon. Its internal development code is "ZMC38III". It can switch between semi-automatic and automatic fire. Although useless against Luna Titanium Alloy, it can still destroy weaker armor material with multiple shots. It holds 100 rounds per drum with spare drums that can be stored on the waist armor.
- 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.
- Heat Bayonet
- Mounted underneath the barrel of the machine gun, the heat bayonet can damage a mobile suit that gets within melee range, allowing it to serve as a quick defense/offense weapon.
- 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 Type 5
- 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.
- MarkVIII 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 MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type was introduced during the One Year War at about the same time as the MS-06F Zaku II as a slightly improved version of the F-type Zaku II. For most the One Year War these S-types were the most powerful mobile suits fielded and were piloted by only the best. However the S-Type Zaku's superiority would end in July of 0079 U.C. when the Federation's RX-78 Gundam mobile suit would be rolled out. The Zaku II Commander Type's exact production number is unknown, with different sources giving different numbers. One of the more credible figure is that approximately 100 units were produced.
Char Aznable would use his custom Zaku II to sortie against the Gundam piloted by Amuro Ray. Despite Amuro Ray'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 Ray survived was because the Gundam greatly outperformed the Zaku II in terms of both offense and defense.
Seeing that the Federation could create a mobile suit so powerful it could survive in engagements against Char Aznable likely prompted Zeon to focus more on the development of newer mobile suits, mobile suits that could fight evenly against the new machines the Federation had developed. Though most of these new mobile suits would have superior performance specs than any model of Zaku, the mobile suit that could be called the truest successor to the MS-06S Zaku II Commander Type would be the MS-14S Gelgoog Commander Type, which was also built by the Zeonic Company, the same manufacturers of the Zaku.
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
- 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