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The RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam is the predecessor of the RX-78-2 Gundam first featured in the original design series Mobile Suit Variations.

Technology & Combat Characteristics

The RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam is the third MS produced under the Operation V, developed at the Jaburo military headquarters on Earth. The starting point of the RX-78 series of mobile suits, the Prototype Gundam was designed differently from the other Operation V mobile suits models in that it did not place its emphasis on raw firepower like the RX-75 Guntank and RX-77-2 Guncannon. Instead, the RX-78-1 placed emphasis on fast, close quarters combat, similar to the Principality of Zeon's MS-06 Zaku II. In addition to thorough reduction in weight, cooling units are installed on the waist and knees to withstand battles in outer space, and a heat-resistant field system is also provided for entry into the atmosphere.

The RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam is also the first mobile suit to feature several new technologies, including the energy cap-based beam rifle (making the Gundam the first mobile suit to pack the firepower of a battleship), beam sabers and beam javelins for close combat. The Prototype Gundam also featured the Core Block System. Unlike the RX-78-2 Gundam, its ankle armor is equipped with multiple slit-like attitude control verniers, its knee armor is shorter, and the shape of its wrists are different. The Prototype Gundam's backpack was similar to that of the RX-78-2, but without the cowl.[2] The backpack's basic structure, such as the thruster and beam saber arrangement, was the same as its successor.[2]


  • 60mm Vulcan Gun
A pair of shell-firing armament built into the head. Though not powerful, its high rate of fire meant it was employed to intercept incoming missiles, etc.
  • Beam Saber
The beam saber is a small device held in the mobile suit's hands when deployed and is powered by a rechargeable energy capacitor. It emits high-energy Minovsky particles to form a blade-shaped I-field (via manipulation of electromagnetic fields), and then fills this I-field shell with superheated Minovsky particle plasma to produce an effective cutting blade. Two beam sabers are stored in the Gundam's backpack. One can be used as a reserve weapon, or both can be used simultaneously in a twin sword fashion. The beam saber can also transform into the beam javelin.
  • Beam Javelin
The beam javelin is an alternate form of the beam saber, with an extended handle and several beam blades at the top. The long reach of the weapon provides a considerable advantage in close quarters combat. It was also used as a throwing weapon.
  • XBR-M79-04G Beam Rifle
A dedicated hand shotgun-style beam rifle. Initially, the rifle was intended to be integrated into the Gundam's forearm when in use, with a strap on the rear end of the rifle and recesses on both forearms to hold it in place, but the straps were later eliminated along with modifications to the rifle's bolt. The right side armor is equipped with a slide-out holster to store this rifle.
  • Hyper Bazooka
A general purpose fire support rocket launcher platform for Mobile Suits. With considerable destructive power owing to the explosive yield in each warhead, the weapon was primarily used to destroy less-maneuverable battlefield targets such as warships, satellites, land battleships, bunkers, and buildings.
  • M-120A1 120mm Machine Gun
The same portable firearm used by the Zaku II. 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 fires 120mm caliber rounds that are stored in a 100-rounds drum magazine. This weapon was used during a mock battle and it was loaded with paint ball ammunition.
  • Shield
Hand-carried, forearm-mounted or stored on the Gundam's backpack, the shield is a simple defense used to block most physical and beam attacks. Weighing 10 tons, its armor structure is a simplified version of that on the Gundam's body and is designed for the diffusion and absorption of impact rather than robustness. The outermost layer is a triple honeycomb structure using luna titanium alloy-based material.
  • Gundam Hammer
A flail-type morning star with a long chain and anchor-shaped grip attached to a spiked iron ball. The weapon could either be thrown or swung around the mobile suit itself to damage the enemy units.

Special Equipment & Features

The prototype mobile suits produced by the Earth Federation Forces' Operation V, are equipped with a central block that houses the mobile suit's cockpit, control systems and the main power source. This core block can eject in case of emergency and unfold into a small Core Fighter.
  • Hardpoints
An attachment point for weapons, shields, spare ammunition, or optional mission-specific equipment. Hardpoints can also be used to store carried weapons when a mobile suit needs its manipulators free for other purposes.
  • Heatproof Field
A system that pumped out air to counter the friction heat of atmospheric entry. The mobile suit's internal cooling systems must also be engaged to deal with the heat that penetrates the air field.


The RX-78-1 was tested in conjunction with the FF-X5 Prototype Core Fighter on Earth before being shipped to Side 7, where it underwent further testing. Its Core Fighter was also refitted into the FF-X7 Core Fighter. When it first rolled out, its face, wrists, and waist were initially different compared to the RX-78-2 Gundam, though after several modifications, they became nearly identical. There was no record of it after its testing in Side 7. While the truth remains unknown, according to one unverified account, it was destroyed during the Zeon attack.




Illustrations & Artwork



Action Figures

Notes & Trivia

Semi-final draft of Gundam's face

  • The Prototype Gundam was originally the semi-final draft of the Gundam's design by Kunio Okawara, which notably had a different face design without vents. This design first appeared in the book "How To Build Gundam", as a model example for "Gundam initial development type". For Mobile Suit Variations, Okawara redrew the design, making it identical to the Gundam aside from the color, though the semi-final draft version still appeared as "standard equipment unit".
    • In MSV-R, the semi-final draft version was said to be the rollout version of the Prototype Gundam.
  • In Gundam Battle Royale, the Prototype Gundam doesn't have a Beam Javelin or a Beam Saber. It instead uses the Gundam Hammer for melee combat. This setup carries over until Gundam Assault Survive.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield, in-game text regarding the Protoype Gundam describes it as "being lightly armored with emphasis on close-combat". As such it carries a Gundam Hammer in place of Beam Rifle but also comes equipped with Beam Sabers (and later, the Beam Javelin) as a secondary melee weapon. Moreover, the Gundam Hammer has an added effect of temporarily disabling visual sensors like the Gouf's Heat Rod and the Dom's scattering beam gun.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle Operation, the Prototype Gundam is classified as a Close-Combat unit, and as such carries all the advantages and disadvantages of said type. It still has a beam rifle but does not carry a shield and its main (and only) close-combat weapon is the Beam Javelin.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 (2011-09-20) "MECHANIC FILE AGS 01 01A (front)", THE OFFICIAL GUNDAM PERFECT FILE 1 (in Japanese). DeAgostini. JAN 4910205621015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 (2011-09-20) "MECHANIC FILE AGS 01 01A (back)", THE OFFICIAL GUNDAM PERFECT FILE 1 (in Japanese). DeAgostini. JAN 4910205621015. 

MSV Mechanics
Earth Federation
Mobile Weapon
Gundam's variations
FA-78-1 Full Armor Gundam | PF-78-1 Perfect Gundam | PF-78-3 Perfect Gundam III | RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam | RX-78-3 Gundam "G-3"
GM's variations
RGC-80 GM Cannon | RGM-79L GM Light Armor | RGM-79SC GM Sniper Custom | TGM-79 GM Trainer
Guntank's variation
RMV-1 Guntank II
Guncannon's variations
RX-77-3 Guncannon Heavy Arms Type | RX-77-4 Guncannon II

Land Vehicle
Aircraft / Spacecraft
AF-01 Mongoose | FF-3 Saberfish | FF-6 TIN Cod | FF-S3 Saberfish | Flatmouse | Flydart
Principality of Zeon
Mobile Weapon
Zaku I's variation
MS-05A Zaku I Early Type
Zaku II's variations
MS-06A Zaku II First Mass Production Type | MS-06C Zaku II Early Production Type | MS-06E Zaku Reconnaissance Type | MS-06E-3 Zaku Flipper | MS-06F Zaku Minelayer | MS-06F Zaku II Dozle Zabi Custom | MS-06FS Zaku II | MS-06M Zaku Marine Type | MS-06R-1 Zaku II High Mobility Test Type | MS-06R-1A Zaku II High Mobility Type | MS-06R-2 Zaku II High Mobility Type | MS-06R-2P Zaku II High Mobility Test Type | MS-06RP Zaku II High Mobility Test Type | MS-06T Zaku Trainer Type | MS-06W Worker Zaku | MS-06Z Psycommu System Zaku | MSN-01 Psycommu Test High Mobility Type Zaku
Zaku II Ground Type's variations
MS-06D Zaku Desert Type | MS-06G Zaku II High Mobility Ground Type | MS-06J Zaku II Ground Type | MS-06K Zaku Cannon | MS-06V Zaku Tank | MS-06V-6 Zaku Tank Green Macaque
Gouf's variations
MS-07A Gouf | MS-07B Gouf M'Quve Custom | MS-07C-3 Gouf Heavy Arms Type | MS-07C-5 Gouf Test Prototype | MS-07H Gouf Flight Test Type | MS-07H-4 Gouf Flight Test Type | YMS-07A Prototype Gouf | YMS-08A High Mobility Prototype
Dom's variations
YMS-09 Prototype Dom | YMS-09D Dom Tropical Test Type
Gelgoog's variations
MS-14B Gelgoog High Mobility Type | MS-14C Gelgoog Cannon
Acguy's variations
MSM-04G Juaggu | MSM-04N Agguguy
Zeong's variation
MSN-02 Perfect Zeong
EMS-05 Agg | MSM-08 Zogok
Mobile Weapon
Mobile Pod
SP-W03 Space Pod