Technology & Combat Characteristics
A direct descendant of the RX-78-2 Gundam developed by the Titans, the Gundam Mk-II is the first mobile suit to utilize the new movable frame concept. In this new concept, rather than merely serving as a structural framework, the movable frame incorporates all the mobile suit's vital mechanisms, including the actuators and control systems required for movement, and excludes the mobile suit's weapons, armor, and propellant tanks. This approach dramatically improves the mobile suit's responsiveness, reliability, and energy efficiency, as well as making it far more agile than traditional designs.
Another characteristic of the Gundam Mk-II is that some of its legs' movable parts are exposed and this design feature is based on the prevailing idea at that time that avoiding being hit by the enemy is the preferable choice. The origin for this idea is because no existing armor can fully protect against beam weaponry, thus it is better to increase the mobile suit's mobility by weight reduction rather than equip more armor which would lead to a higher weight and lower mobility.
The mobile suit also has what had become the standard 360-degree panoramic screen and linear seat fitted in a circular cockpit that also functions as an escape pod. The multiple panels of the panoramic screen make up a single 360-degree display, covering the entire inner surface of the cockpit. The image displayed on this screen is a computer simulation constructed from the cameras distributed around the mobile suit's exterior. The viewpoint is that of the mobile suit's head, and the image is carefully edited to remove the mobile suit itself. The linear seat is suspended in the center of the cockpit, supported by a linear arm which electromagnetically counters G-forces and impact shocks in order to protect the pilot. Together, the panoramic screen and the linear seat gives the pilot a larger field of view and eliminates blind spots.
The most notable flaw of the Gundam Mk-II is that it is armored using the obsolete titanium alloy ceramic composite. Another flaw is that the movable frame's leg sections have rigidity issues associated with the strength of the structural material used, and this problem persisted even after six design revisions. Despite this, for a brief time period, the Gundam Mk-II's movable frame makes it one of the most agile mobile suits available. Three Gundam Mk-II were produced in total. They were later stolen by the Anti-Earth Union Group (AEUG) and given a new paint scheme. Despite being used by two different factions, the Gundam Mk-II's weaponry remains mostly unchanged. Its only fixed weapons are two beam sabers, but it can carry a vulcan pod, a shield, a beam rifle, a hyper bazooka and a clay bazooka if necessary.
- Beam Saber
- The only fixed armament of the suit are two beam sabers for close combat, which are powered by rechargeable energy capacitor and stored on the backpack. While the Titans used beam sabers of the model XB-G-1048L, the AEUG used the model A・E-Br・G-Sc-L, but both models have similar look and capabilities. They both had their power rated at 0.45 MW, and are more powerful than most beam sabers use by the mainstay mobile suits during the early stages of the Gryps Conflict.
- Beam Rifle
- As with most other mobile suits at the time, the Mk-II uses a beam rifle as its main ranged armament. The Mk-II's beam rifle is a custom model, with the one used by the Titans having the model number BOWA・XBR-M-86-C2, while the AEUG's has the model number A・E-Br・XBR-87-C, but both have similar look and capabilities. Power rated at 2.6 MW, the beam rifle is powered by a replaceable e-pac and has switches at the side for changing its output, thus the amount of beam shots an e-pac provides also varies. The beam rifle can be stored on the side skirt armor when not in use, and two spare e-pacs can be stored on the back of the shield.
- Hyper Bazooka
- For heavy firepower, the Mk-II can carry a hyper bazooka, which is cartridge-fed and capable of carrying seven rounds per cartridge plus one round in its chamber. The hyper bazooka can be stored on the rear skirt armor when not in use, while additional cartridges can be stored on the side skirt armor. As with nearly all the other weapons, different models of bazooka are used by the two groups, with the Titans using an H-Baz-85-Gry/Ver.045 model, while the AEUG used the H-Baz-87-A*E/Ver.004 model, but both models have similar look and capabilities.
- Like most other mobile suits, the Mk-II carries a physical shield for defense on its left arm. While the Titans uses the model RX・M-Sh-VT/S-00018, the AEUG's is of the model RX・M-Sh-VT/S-001, but both models have similar look and capabilities. The Mk-II's shield can switch between an expanded state and a collapsed state, and like other shields, its surface has an anti-beam coating to defend against beam attacks. This coating is gradually burned away each time a beam strikes until it is rendered useless. A missile launcher containing three missiles can be equipped to the back of the shield's lower half as seen in the movies. Two spare e-pacs for the beam rifle can be stored behind the shield, but doing so will block the shield's view port.
- Vulcan Pod
- Although the Mk-II does not have vulcan guns installed in its head due to enlargement of the head's co-processor system, it can be outfitted with an external vulcan pod. While the Titans uses the model VCU-505EX-Gry/Ver.009, the AEUG's is of the model VCU-505EX-V・B/Ver.012, but both models have similar look and capabilities. The vulcan pod has an asymmetrical design, its left side houses two 60mm vulcan guns that fire alternately, while its right side houses the counter weight and the vulcan guns' magazine loaded with 1,400 caseless rounds, and both sides are linked by an ammunition belt.
- Clay Bazooka
- The clay bazooka was originally designed to fire adhesive rounds which immobilize enemy machines rather than destroying them outright. However, this weapon can also fire several different types of ammunition, and it's normally used with conventional explosive shells. It was clip-fed and capable of carrying seven rounds per clip plus 1 round in its chamber.
- Beam Magnum
- A beam firearm originally designated to the RX-0 series, it is utilized by a modified Gundam Mk-II stationed on the Magallanica in the manga 'Mobile Suit Gundam UC Episode EX2 Lion's Return'. The Beam Magnum has an E-pac system with five connected E-pacs, consuming one E-pac per shot. Its power is comparable to that of a Hyper Bazooka Launcher, but its recoil is also large, causing malfunctions in the arms when used by mobile suits outside of the RX-0 series. The modified Gundam Mk-II counters this problem by having its right arm replaced with a strengthened arm from a AMX-014 Döven Wolf-type unit, allowing it to fire the Beam Magnum without any issue.
Special Equipment & Features
Three RX-178 Gundam Mk-II units were developed by the Titans in December, U.C. 0086. When word of these three prototypes reached the Anti-Earth Union Group, Quattro Bajeena - (Principality of Zeon's infamous "Red Comet") - led a team which infiltrated the Titans' Green Noa 1 space colony. With the help of a young boy, Kamille Bidan, son of the Gundam Mk-II's principal designer Franklin Bidan, Quattro's team stole all three mobile suits.
Following the theft of the Gundams, two were sent to Anaheim Electronics to be dismantled and studied, while the AEUG kept the last one in its service, and repainted in a navy blue-on-white color-scheme. The Gundam Mk-II was piloted by many of the AEUG's best pilots, including the rookie pilot, Kamille, and the defected Titans officer, Emma Sheen. The Gundam Mk-II was soon outclassed by the Titans' new and transformable mobile suits. Yet it still participated in many of the AEUG's most important missions, such as the attack on Jaburo, or the battle against the MRX-009 Psycho Gundam in Hong Kong.
To improve its performance, the AEUG eventually commissioned Anaheim Electronics to build a new support craft for the Gundam Mk-II, resulting in the FXA-05D G-Defenser that could dock with the mobile suit to create the RX-178+FXA-05D Super Gundam which has superior speed, mobility, and firepower. Despite this upgrade, the Gundam Mk. II still suffer in performance compared to the Titans latest mobile suits during the final days of the Gryps Conflict, and again when it was called to service during the First Neo Zeon War against Neo Zeon and their superior mobile suits. During this time, the Mk. II was never officially designated a pilot, although it was most often the mobile suit of Elle Vianno. It was also unable to become the Super Gundam as the G-Defensor was destroyed during the Gryps Conflict.
At the end of the First Neo Zeon War, the Gundam Mk. II was severely damaged against the NZ-000 Queen Mansa and abandoned by Elle. It is said the unit was recovered and repaired, but ultimately retired from service after the AEUG was re-absorbed into the Earth Federation, being put into storage alongside the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam.
Notes and Trivia
- The Mk-II was used as a commercial bumper for Late Night with the face of Conan O'Brien replacing the traditional Gundam head.
- Despite its name, the Gundam Mk-II is not the second Gundam constructed in the Universal Century. This is shown by the One Year War side stories, 08th MS Team, 0080 War in the Pocket, and 0083 Stardust memory, all of which take place before Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. In 08th MS team, which takes place during the One Year War, there were 20 RX-79［G］ Gundam Ground Types produced, and then the RX-79［G］Ez-8 Gundam Ez8. In 0080, also taking place during the One Year War, there was the RX-78NT-1 Gundam "Alex". In 0083 there was the RX-78GP01 Gundam Zephyranthes, the RX-78GP02A Gundam "Physalis", and the RX-78GP03S Gundam "Dendrobium Stamen", which is followed by Titan's Hazel series. In addition to these more well known Gundams, there are other side stories that features mobile suits with the "Gundam" moniker and had took place between 0079 and 0087.
- In order to coincide that Mk-II is not the second Gundam, in-universe they were given various excuses:
- RX-79 are mobile suits assembled from left over parts.
- NT-1 is part of RX-78 line as Project G-4.
- Gundam Development Project is a black ops project to begin with, and later everything related to the project were technically stricken off official record and thus does not exist.
- Even though Titans did create the Hazel series with secret data copied from the GP project, while having the moniker of "Gundam" and possessing a Gundam head, technically speaking they are not new mobile suits, but modified GM Quels. Furthermore, like many Titan's side projects, there are always an element of black ops with the Hazel project.
- Numerous other side stories typically claim they are heavily modified GMs, from the RX-78 or RX-79 Lineage, or pre-prototypes that lead to the GP series
- In order to coincide that Mk-II is not the second Gundam, in-universe they were given various excuses:
- The Gundam Mk. II's AEUG colors tend to fluctuate between appearances. Its white body is sometimes presented as a more muted gray, while its torso color often switches between black and navy blue.
- In Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2, the license to control the Gundam Mk-II allows the pilot to pilot either of the two models, although their only actual differences are their stats, their Charge Attack 2, and which Special Attack the Gundam Mk-II should use alone and which one should be used as a Combination Special Attack. The Combination Special Attack from the AEUG model is the same as the Titans model's regular Special Attack, and vice versa.
- Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 adds one more difference between them in regards to their special equipment, with the Titans model receiving an attack increase and the AEUG model receiving a defense increase. Much like the second game, earning the Mk-II license gives access to both models for all pilots.
- In Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn, the AEUG model Gundam Mk-II uses the G-Defenser exclusively for its charge shot, musou/SPs, and Burst Attack. The Titans model retains its SP moves from the previous games.
- In SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online, both the Titans type and the A.E.U.G. type Mk-IIs are playable but differ greatly including stats, skills (The readily-available A.E.U.G. type has Defense Up, while the rare Titans type has Seasoned Infighter, which grants it defense against Rock-type units) and weapons (both units use beam sabers and beam rifles, but the A.E.U.G. version uses the Clay Bazooka while the Titans version uses the Vulcan pod.)
- In Gundam Extreme Vs. Full Boost, the AEUG model Gundam Mk-II returns to the roster (it was previously in Gundam Vs. Gundam Next Plus but missing from Extreme Vs.) and also utilizes the G-Defenser for its EX Burst Attack. The original Titans model later appeared as a DLC unit, practically unchanged from its Next Plus incarnation.
- Although AEUG Gundam Mk-II is seen in the movie compilation to use the shield missile launchers, the SD Gundam G Generation series since Spirits has it as an armament for the Titans Gundam Mk-II.