Technology & Combat Characteristics
The F97 is specifically designed by the SNRI to be used near Jupiter, where the strong gravitational field creates serious propulsion problems. Units operating on Earth and near Earth's orbit usually achieve high mobility using thrusters distributed across the mobile suit's body. However, under Jupiter's gravitational influence, this would require enlargement of the thrusters, leading to an increase in the mobile suit's size and mass. Larger thrusters would require more powerful reactors, which in turn adds more mass.
To resolve this, the F97 is equipped with a set of four movable thrusters in an X-shaped array. Used in tandem with the unit's AMBAC system, these thrusters allow high mobility around Jupiter's orbit without increasing the size and mass of the mobile suit – and when combined into one huge thruster column, they are capable of dramatically increasing the unit's top speed. Of course, there are tradeoffs; a unit designed for these unique conditions like the F97 is difficult to control on or near Earth.
Though technically the F97 are general purpose mobile suits, they were designed with extra emphasis on their close range combat abilities. With their high mobility, they easily outmaneuver most enemy mobile suits, allowing them to slip into close range and past the beam shield. Additionally, the Crossbone Vanguard leader, Berah Ronah, sought to fight the war against the Jupiter Empire with as little loss of life as possible. With blades it is easier to take out a mobile suit without destroying the cockpit than it is with a beam rifle.
Another notable equipment is the Anti-Beam Coating cloak, which can be stored on the F97's back and unfolded when needed. When unfolded, it covers the mobile suit's entire body, and disperses beam energy over the cloak. It can usually withstand five standard beam shots without spending any energy, with the additional advantage of stealth. Like its predecessor F91 Gundam F91, its "mouth" can be opened as a vent. The F97 is also equipped with a plug-in type core fighter, which mounts the movable thrusters and two standard beam sabers.
Four units were made in total and given by SNRI to the Crossbone Vanguard. In order to cover this secret dealing, they were assigned the codes X-0, XM-X1, XM-X2, and XM-X3 and given the name Crossbone Gundam.
- Vulcan Gun
- These head mounted shell firing weapons have a high rate of fire, but little power and are generally ineffective against mobile suits. However, they can damage lightly armored areas such as the sensors, and are ideal for shooting down small, lightly armored targets such as missiles or small vehicles.
- Beam Saber
- The beam saber is the standard close-combat weapon of many mobile suits, it emits a blade of plasma contained by an I-field that can cut through any physical armor not treated to resist it. The Crossbone Gundam is equipped with two beam sabers stored in shoulder racks. They also serve as the beam guns for the core fighter.
- Heat Dagger
- The Crossbone Gundams are also equipped with two heat daggers as alternative close combat weapons. Unlike most heat weapons, the blade of the heat dagger is heated using leftover heat from the leg's thrusters. The heated blade can melt the enemies armor on contact. The heat daggers are stored in the legs, one in each calf. Normally, it is handheld when in use, but it can also slide out of the sole as a surprise attack.
- Scissor Anchor
- Each Crossbone Gundam is equipped with a pair of scissor anchors stored on the front skirt armor. These anchors are attached to the Gundam by long chains and use scissor claws to grip objects. While these are not offense weapons per-say, they provide several uses in combat. They can be used to grip the limb of an enemy machine to ensnare it, or to reel it closer to the Crossbone Gundam for melee combat. They can also be used to turn ensnared mobile suits into bludgeoning weapons by pulling on the chain. The scissor anchors can also be used to stabilize the Gundam's footing in case of emergencies, such as when fighting the wind force of an explosion.
- Beam Shield/Brand Marker
- Unlike an I-field generator, which is effective only against beam attacks, the beam shield blocks both beam and projectile weapons. The beam shield generates a plane of energy similar to the blade of a beam saber. This plane is divided into multiple sections, which can be turned on or off as needed to conserve energy. Individual sections are also automatically deactivated whenever they're in danger of coming into contact with the mobile suit itself. The beam shield generators of the Crossbone Gundams are mounted on the forearm, and can take advantage of beam energy malleability, forming four short beam blades at the corners of the beam shield generator that meet at the center, which gives the brand marker as a whole a pyramidal shape. The brand marker slides over the fist of the mobile suit and is used as a punching weapon. When used, the the brand marker leaves an X-shaped hole, if the target area isn't completely destroyed.
- Buster Gun
- The buster gun is the primary ranged weapon of the Crossbone Gundam. This beam pistol is modeled after a flintlock pistol and is typically used with only one of the mobile suit's hands, leaving the second hand free to use a melee weapon. Stored on the right side armor when not in use the buster gun can combine with the beam zanber to form the zanbuster.
- Beam Zanber
- The beam zanber is a high power beam saber and is the primary weapon of the Crossbone Gundam. The hilt of the beam zanber is modeled after that of a traditional pirate cutlass, as does the beam blade when it is formed, and is stored on the left side armor when not in use. The power of the beam zanber is significantly higher than that of ordinary beam sabers, such that it is easy for the Crossbone Gundam to overpower an enemy in melee combat or even "cut" through the beam of an ordinary beam saber. Behind the guard of the beam zanber is a gun handle that is used in the zanbuster configuration.
- A beam rifle formed from the combination of the beam zanber and the buster gun, the beam it fires is stronger than those of the buster gun. In this configuration, the butt of the buster gun is connected to the beam emitter of the beam zanber. When a grenade is attached to the Zanbuster's emitter, it can also function as a single shot grenade launcher.
- Rifle Grenade
- The rifle grenade is a high yield explosive that can be attached to the beam emitter of the zanbuster. Typically not used against mobile suits, the rifle grenade was used to intercept a nuclear missile that was targeting the Mother Vanguard.
- Atomic Shell
- An alternative weapon that can be fitted to the beam emitter of the zanbuster, it is fired in the same manner as the rifle grenade.
Special Equipment & Features
- Anti-Beam Coating Cloak
- As with other Crossbone Vanguard mobile suits used in UC 0133, the X-1 could be equipped with a cloth cloak that had been treated with an anti-beam coating. Functioning similar to the old physical shields that had received the same treatment, the cloak was used to protect the mobile suit from beam shots. With its size it could completely cover the mobile suit, with the exception of the head, providing full body protection. However, despite its advantages, one of which is conserving power, the cloak has two disadvantages. First, unlike a beam shield the cloak can only handle about 5 shots before the coating wears off, rendering the cloak to simple cloth. The second disadvantage is that the cloak offers no protection from physical weapons.
- The Crossbone Gundam X-1's core fighter is composed of a cockpit block based on the F90III-Y Cluster Gundam's core fighter and high-powered thrusters designed to handle the powerful gravity in the Jupiter sphere. It is armed with a pair of beam guns.
- Dummy Launcher
- Thanks to Minovsky particle interference, warfare in the Universal Century era relies heavily on visual sensors, which can be tricked by inflatable decoys that mimic mobile suits, asteroids, and even warships. More sophisticated varieties are equipped with small maneuvering verniers, allowing them to move in a realistic manner and register on infra-red sensors. The dummy launchers mounted in the XM-X1's hands can deploy several dummies in the shape and color of the mobile suit. With these dummies, the Gundam can confuse an enemy long enough to get close to use its weapons.
- A new kind of man-machine interface previously installed in the F91 Gundam F91, the Bio-Computer is a next generation device developed from the psycommu system, but places less strain on its human operator. It is originally intended to help the disabled, but its development is ultimately funded by the Earth Federation Forces, who hoped to employ it as a mobile suit control system. As its name implies, the Bio-Computer is similar in structure to a human brain, and its operating processes resemble human thoughts and feelings. Rather than merely displaying data collected by the MS’ sensors on a computer monitor, the Bio-Computer can relay it directly to the pilot in the form of sensory information, so what the machine "feels" can also be experienced by the human operator. Like the original psycommu system, the Bio-Computer also allows the pilot to control the MS using thoughts alone. However, the full latent potential of this system can only be tapped by a Newtype pilot.
- Heat Radiation Face Open
- Like its brother units the X-1 can temporarily "Open Face" to release Heat and increase performance. This allows the X-1 to perform otherwise extremely demanding maneuvers or attacks that would normally be considered impossible.
The XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1 is the first F97 model mobile suit to be built and put into service by Berah Ronah's revived Crossbone Vanguard. It would serve as their flagship mobile suit piloted by Kincade Nau. In the Crossbone X-1, Kincade would lead many of the fights against the Jupiter Empire, using his honed skills to make the Crossbone X-1 a terror on the battlefield. His combat skill was so refined that none of his opponents were ever able to force Kincade to use the Crossbone X-1's shield.
One of the most distinguishing battles the Crossbone X-1 would participate in would be the Battle of Io. The battle was the Crossbone Vanguard's invasion of a Jupiter Empire military base on the moon of Io where the Jupiter President Crux Dogatie was resident. The base was a trap, with the base nuclear reactor set to detonate when the Crossbone Vanguard would made into the inner sanctum. Kincade took the Crossbone X-1 deep into the bowels of the base, destroying defending EMS-09 Vagon units attempting to stop it, and disabled the reactor before it could go critical
The last battle the Crossbone X-1 would participate in before being upgraded was against the Jupiter Empire's Death Gale team. Though individually the enemy mobile suits were not equal to the Gundam, together they surpassed it. The Crossbone X-1 was seriously damaged against the EMS-VSX1 Quavarze, but not beyond repair. The Crossbone Vanguard used much of their remaining resources to repair the Gundam and upgrade it, supplying it with new screw whip long-range melee weapons designed to get through the snake hands of the EMS-VSX1 Quavarze. The XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1 was then re-designated XM-X1 Crossbone Gundam X-1 Kai.
Notes and Trivia
- A small recon mecha known as Billy is included as a part of the Metal Build Crossbone Gundam X-1 figure. Based on the reconnaissance pod used by the Crossbone Vanguard's XM-03 Ebirhu-S, it is shaped like a parrot as part of the suit's pirate motif. It is mounted on the Crossbone Gundam's right shoulder. It was planned to appear in the Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam manga, but was ultimately scrapped.