The MS-05B Zaku I was the first mobile suit mass produced by the Principality of Zeon.
It was sometimes referred to as the old Zaku to differentiate it from the more famous Zaku II line.
The MS-04 Prototype Zaku was the first mobile suit to emerge from the mobile suit project of Zeonic Company in February UC 0074. The prototype designs were then refined and developed into the YMS-05 Zaku I, in August UC 0074. The early variant was stripped of complex equipment to form the MS-05A Zaku I Early Type, making it more feasible for mass production.
Topp’s MS-05B Zaku I in 08th MS Team
[Zimmad], the rival of the Zeonic Company, produced a mobile suit, the EMS-04 Zudah, that was superior to the Zaku I. However, the Zudah disintegrated during a trial. Despite its poorer performance, the Zaku I was selected for mass production as it proved to be more stable than the Zudah.
Regardless, a rumour that politics played a party in the Zeonic Company winning the tender continued to make rounds in Zeon.
Elliot Rem was involved with the development of the Zaku I. Zeon produced 27 MS-05A Zaku I Early Type in May UC 0079. These units were tested by the pioneer batch of Zeon mobile suit pilots. The data collected was used to develop the improved MS-05B Zaku I.
Erick Blanke’s MS-05B Zaku I in Battlefield Record UC 0081
The initial batch of mass-produced Zaku I units was rolled out in July UC 0075. The Zaku I enjoyed a production run of 793 units before it was succeeded the MS-06F Zaku II.
When the One Year War begun, the Zaku I was five years old and considered an obsolete model. It saw limited action with auxillary duties such as training, construction and supplies transportation.
MS-05B Zaku I with G-3 nerve gas warhead
The Zaku I was infamously used in the gassing of colony populations and attaching boosters to the colonies to drop them on Earth.
In the closing months of the war, after Zeon suffered defeats in Operation Odessa and Operation Star One, Zaku I units saw action when they were deployed in the front lines to reinforce the faltering Zeon forces. They were often used as rearguards and to hold positions.
The Zaku I also served in Zeon’s last stand in A Baoa Qu.
After the war, the Zeon remnants continued to use the Zaku I up to UC 0081.
The MS-05B Zaku I was a simplified version of the YMS-05 Zaku I. Expensive and complex features were stripped to make the design suitable for mass production.
The Zaku I had poor performance, something made more evident after it was outperformed by the EMS-04 Zudah. It was only the disintegration of the Zudah during the trials that convinced Zeon to use the Zaku I as the mass-produced front line unit.
Its generator produced low output. The pipes of its cooling pipes were inefficient in dissipating heat as they were built under the armour.
Aware of the Zaku I’s shortcomings, the Zeonic Company improved the overall design to produce the superior MS-06A Zaku II Early Type. The Zaku II had a more powerful generator and its cooling pipes were strengthened to allow them to be exposed for improved efficiency.
The standard weapons used by the Zaku I were a ranged weapon and a Heat Hawk for melee combat.
105 mm and 120 mm machine gun
The electrically-operated ZMP-47D machine gun was developed specifically for the Zaku I. It was drum-fed with 100 rounds per drum. The machine gun initially used 105 mm rounds but later units took 120 mm rounds for increased fire-power.
ZMP-47D/120 mm machine gun
Its use under gravity was initially a cause of concern as it was developed for use in space. There were no issues reported about its usage on Earth.
280 mm Zaku bazooka
The H&L-SB21K/280 mm A-N(Anti-ship Nuclear) Zaku bazooka was an artillery armament that fired hull-piercing explosive rounds. It was designed for use against enemy ships.
It could only take one front-loaded round each time. Due to the method of reloading and the low ammunitions capacity, the pilot had to be very tactful in using it. A magazine of four rounds was stored on the side hip armour.
H&L-SB21K/280mm A-N Zaku bazooka
The bazooka was clasped on the rear waist armour when not in use.
Heat Hawk Type 3
The Heat Hawk was a melee weapon designed for the Zaku I. It was an axe with a super-heated metal blade that could melt armour as it cut.
It was mainly used in close combat or against enemy ships. The Heat Hawk was clasped on the rear armour when not in use.
Heat Hawk Type 3
- Ramba Ral
- Gabby Hazard
- Matt Austin
- Lee Swaggard
- Erik Blanke
- Hilde Nietzsche
- Elisa Heaven
- Elliot Rem
Behind the scenes
- Mobile Suit Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team
- Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ
- Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: MS Generation
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Moon Crisis
- Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: The Blue Destiny
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs Zeon DX
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Lost War Chronicles
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0079: Zeonic Front
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space
- Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: The Hidden One Year War
- Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 603
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Target in Sight
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Pilot’s Locus
- Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO: Apocalypse 0079
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Spirits of Zeon ~Dual Stars of Carnage~
- Mobile Ops: The One Year War
- Mobile Suit Gundam MS IGLOO 2: The Gravity Front
- Mobile Suit Gundam Battlefield Record UC 0081