- This article is about the mobile suit. For the anime series this unit is named after, see Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam.
The MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam (aka Zeta, Ζ Gundam, ζ Gundam) is the titular mobile suit of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Though the unit itself had many pilots throughout Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, it was most famously piloted by its designer Kamille Bidan.
Technology & Combat CharacteristicsEdit
In terms of weaponry, the Zeta is very well armed with an arsenal favoring beam weapons. It includes standard Gundam type armament including head mounted Vulcan guns, dual beam sabers, and a high powered beam rifle. It also sported arm mounted grenade launchers which could be given additional ammunition from detachable storage packs, and could also house a grappling tool for various purposes. The Zeta's most prolific weapon however is without a doubt the Hyper Mega Launcher, a massive rifle used to great extent in the latter parts of the Gryps Conflict and during the First Neo Zeon War. This weapon fires very high powered beam shots capable of destroying even battleships with a well placed shot. Both the launcher and beam rifle could also double as a cunning melee weapon as the launcher and beam rifle had a built in beam saber bayonet-style modes called the long beam saber. The beam rifle and Hyper Mega Launcher could be used while in Waverider configuration as well, and the hip mounted Beam Sabers doubled as beam guns in this mode.
- 60mm Vulcan Gun
- As with all mobile suits that trace their linage back to the RX-78-2 Gundam the Zeta Gundam features a head mounted vulcan gun system. The purpose of the vulcan guns is to serve as a mid-close range defensive weapon. While it can normally do little damage against the armor of a mobile suit it serves as a much more efficient and cost-effective as a means to shoot down incoming missiles, as opposed to using the beam rifle, the power of which would be over kill and if far more limited in ammunition. The vulcan guns are an offensive weapon designed to be used against small lightly-armored targets such as ground combat vehicles or attack helicopters. The 60mm vulcan guns are operable in mobile suit mode only.
- 2-Tube Grenade Launcher
- One of the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam's more unique weapons is a pair of 2-tube grenade launchers built into the mobile suit's forearms. The grenades are moderately powerful self-propelling explosives that can deal significant damage to a mobile suit or battleship, but are particularly effective against machines with heavy defenses against beam weapons. Each tube carries two rounds, meaning each grenade launcher carries four grenades, for a total of eight rounds that the MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam can use before needing to reload.
- Grappling Wire
- An optional equipment that replaces the explosive warheads on the grenade launchers.
- Beam Saber/Beam Launcher
- The beam saber is the standard close-combat melee weapon of mobile suits descended from the RX-78-2 Gundam. The pair employed by the Zeta Gundam are stored in hip recharge racks, are hand carried in use, and have a power rating of 0.65 MW. However the Zeta Gundam's beam sabers are unique in that in waverider mode the beam sabers double as fire-linked beam guns, partially extending from the recharge racks instead of fully deploying, with a total power rating of 1.3 MW.
- (BOWA) XBR-M87A2 Beam Rifle
- The MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam is often outfitted with a unique (BOWA) XBR-M87A2 Beam Rifle. The XBR-M87A2 beam rifle is larger than most other models employed by other mobile suits and is powered by a replaceable e-pac, with a powerful power rating of 5.7 MW. The beam rifle is also capable of emitting a beam saber from its barrel, allowing the Zeta Gundam to use it as melee weapon should the situation call for it.
- Grenade Launcher Cartridge
- An optional piece of equipment that can be attached to the Zeta Gundam's grenade launcher. Holding 18+1 additional grenades the grenade launcher cartridge serves as an extended ammunition magazine for the grenade launcher.
- Hyper Mega Launcher
- When the Zeta Gundam needs greater firepower than its (BOWA) XBR-M87A2 Beam Rifle can deliver, it will be equipped with the hyper mega launcher. Looking like a "big brother" version of the beam rifle the hyper mega launcher is appropriately more powerful with a power rating of 8.3 MW. Like the beam rifle the hyper mega launcher is powered by a replaceable e-pac and can double as a large beam saber.
- A standard defensive feature of most mobile suits is an arm-mounted shield. Originally a thick piece of extra armor designed to stop physical rounds, shield technology has been forced to adapt to the development of beam weapons by incorporating an anti-beam coating. The anti-beam coating allows shields to block energy beam attacks, however with each hit taken it gets worn down until rendered useless. The Zeta Gundam's unique shield serves as the machines nose in waverider mode.
Special Equipment & FeaturesEdit
- A technological variant of the psycommu system developed by Anaheim Electronics. Although its full capabilities are unknown, its primary purpose is to allow a Newtype pilot to more easily interface with his mobile suit via mental commands. The bio-sensor could also have a rather surprising side effect when the pilot was mentally and emotionally focused enough (usually when angry or upset) to cause the bio-sensor to amplify the power, speed, and strength of the mobile suit for a short period of time.
The MSZ-006 Zeta Gundam's design was originally used to build three prototypes; the MSZ-006-X1, the MSZ-006-X2, and the MSZ-006-X3 as part of Project Zeta. While these machines can transform, there is too much metal fatigue on the frame. This problem was corrected by Kamille Bidan, a Newtype teenager, incorporating innovations of that time such as the "movable frame" concept extracted by the Anti Earth Union Group from the Titans' RX-178 Gundam Mk-II project (headed by Franklin Bidan), and the Gundarium gamma alloy used in the RMS-099 Rick Dias.
The Ζeta's design was revolutionary in many ways (both in and out of the anime), and in the UC time-line looked very different from previous models of the Gundam type of Mobile Suit. The transformation ability and the suit's great speed is the Ζ's signature quality, as its transformation is fluid and integrated into it's combat style often giving it grace unrivaled by most mecha. In the story of Gundam Sentinel, when the MSA-0011 S Gundam approaches the Base of Pezun, a commander replied there shouldn't be Mobile Suits like Zeta Gundam everywhere that have the high acceleration of a Mobile Armour but of the size of a Mobile Suit. While ironically, two MSZ-006C1 Ζeta Plus C1, a.k.a mass production Zeta Gundam units, are approaching behind S Gundam as a demonstration of how technological advances quickly shifts the form of war. 
Kamille Bidan became the designated pilot of the Ζeta Gundam in the year UC 0087. Replacing Gundam Mk-II as his personal Mobile Suit, Kamille obtained the Ζeta Gundam after returning to space from the Hong Kong incident involving Four Murasame. Screaming into battle, this sleek convertible Mobile Suit took all of the Titan's forces by surprise with its incredible performance and attack potential. Kamille led many successful missions against the Titans and the AEUG turned the tide of the war. Kamille in the Ζeta was responsible for battling and ultimately killing Titans leader Paptimus Scirocco, besting his massively powerful mobile suit, the PMX-003 The O. Unfortunately, this victory cost Kamille greatly, wherein he suffered a mind-crippling final attack from a dying Scirocco.
The AEUG pilot Fa Yuiry later recovered the Ζ Gundam along with its pilot. After undergoing repairs, the Newtype Judau Ashta became the principal pilot of this mobile suit while the mobile suit MSZ-010 ZZ Gundam was still under construction by Anaheim Electronics. When Judau received the ZZ, Federation pilot Roux Louka took control of the Ζ and used it to great success during the war against Neo-Zeon (though Judau occasionally traded mobile suits with Roux due to the Zeta being more maneuverable due to it's lighter weight). The Ζeta Gundam continued being in operation until its destruction at the end of the First Neo Zeon War, crippled by Puru-2's monstrous Quinn Mantha, although the Ζeta got in one final crippling shot before being abandoned. The unit was recovered but never used again and is said to have been stored away along with all the other Mobile Suits belonging to the Gundam team on the Argama and the Nahel Argama-class Carrier secretly by Karaba, an anti-Earth Federation resistance group.
An interesting feature of the Ζ Gundam is the incorporation of the plot device, a mysterious Bio-sensor - a reduced-feature replica of the Psychic Communicator (PSYCOMMU) system devised by Murasame Newtype Laboratories to interface Newtype pilots to mobile suits. The bio-sensor allowed a Newtype pilot to temporarily increase the combat power of the mobile suit by using psycho-kinetic energy inherently strong in Newtypes - its usage became more frequent during the last days of the first Gryps War between the AEUG and the Titans, even turning the Waverider into a deadly weapon (Kamille's attack using the Waverider to ram into Scirroco has been named the Waverider Crash in video games depicting the Zeta, such as the Super Robot Wars series). The Ζ Gundam was an incredibly high performance machine that accomplished much, helping turn the tide of the Titans conflict and fighting against Neo-Zeon afterwards. The Ζ however, was intricately tuned and built to Kamille's exact specifications and style, so once Kamille was out of the war while the Ζ could be piloted competently by other pilots, it could arguably no longer perform to its full potential without Kamille at the controls although it was still a highly formidable machine.
- The Zeta Gundam's name is derived from "Zeta", which is the sixth letter of the Greek Alphabet - which may be reference to its model number.
- The MSZ-006 Ζ Gundam is the sixth mobile suit built by Anaheim Electronics as the culmination of the Project Ζ according to Gundam Sentinel list of Anaheim Gundams. The design served as the first Transformable Mobile Suit in real life, and the concept served as the basics of various mobile suit designs later in other Gundam series.
- The "VMsAWrs" marking on its chest armor on the 1/100 Master Grade box art refers to the name of its transformation mechanism. It stands for "Variable Mobile-suit And Wave-rider system".
- This mobile suit is also one of the first variable-form Gundams televised, capable of transforming into a fighter form called the Waverider.
- It gets the moniker "Headshoter Gundam". Kamille shot Psycho Gundam Mk.II's head when he was forced to stop it and kill Rosamia who piloted it. Then in Gundam ZZ, Roux shot Quin Mantha's head with Zeta Gundam, killing Glemy Toto.
- In the third episode of ZZ, Judau accidentally stabs Mashymre's Galluss-J in the head, causing the head to blow up.
- The Z Gundam has the honor of being the Mobile Suit from UC timeline, if not in general, to have the highest number of named characters pilot it.
- The Z Gundam is one of the few visible examples that the Gundam franchise is off-spring from the Super Robot genre, despite being stated to be Real Robot. The Zeta's ability to channel the souls of the dead and increase its offensive capabilities tremendously is clearly a Super Robot-only skill.
- Roux Louka is the default pilot for Zeta in Super Robot Wars R, even though Kamille Bidan is present in the game. However, this is due to the plot of the game (Kamille was in his comatose state until before that stage and was given the Super Gundam instead. When Roux and the rest of the Gundam Team is introduced, it's during ZZ's story)
- ↑ Gundam Sentinel Special Edition, Gundam Wars III, Masaya Takahashi interview
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