The RX-78-2 Gundam was a prototype close combat mobile suit developed by the Earth Federation.
The RX-78-2 Gundam was a prototype close combat mobile suit developed by the Earth Federation through its secret Project V.
The “R” in the model code meant it was a Federation model and the “X” indicated that it was an experimental mobile suit. The “78” in the model code denoted that it was from the RX-78 line developed in UC 0078, and the “2” suffix meant it was the second prototype in the line.
It was the most well-known mobile suit to emerge from the Federation’s top-secret Project V, a programme initiated to research and build mobile weapons. The Gundam went on to become the most famous unit in the One Year War and propelled its pilot Amuro Ray to a legendary status.
Model number: RX-78-2
Code name: Gundam
Type: Prototype close combat mobile suit
Completed: July UC 0079
First deployment: 18 September UC 0079
Manufacturer: Earth Federation
Operator: Earth Federation
- FA-78-1 Full Armor Gundam
- RX-78NT-1 Gundam Alex
- RX-78GP01 Gundam “Zephyranthes”
- RX-79(G) Gundam Ground Type
- RGM-79 GM
- RX-178 Gundam Mk-II
Crew: Pilot only
Cockpit: Core Block system with standard cockpit
Cockpit location: Torso
Height: 18 m (head); 18.5 m (total)
Weight: 43.4 t (empty); 60.0 t (gross)
Armor: Lunar titanium alloy
Sensors: Standard; 5,700 m range
Power plant: Minovsky type fusion reactor
Power output: 1.380 kW
Propulsion: Rocket thrusters
- 2 x 24,000 kg
- 4 x 1,870 kg
Max speed: 165 km/h (running)
180° turn time: 1.5 s; 1.1 s (EM joint coating)
Thrust-to-weight ratio: 0.93 G
- 2 x 60 mm vulcan gun
- 2 x beam saber
- 1 x beam rifle
- 1 x 380 mm hyper bazooka
- 1 x beam javelin
- 1 x Gundam hammer
- 1 x Hyper hammer
- 1 x shield
The Earth Federation begun the secret Project V to develop mobile weapons four years prior to the One Year War, after it received intelligence reports of the mobile suits that the Principality of Zeon was building.
The Gundam was the second prototype from the RX-78 Gundam line. The first two mobile suits to emerge from the programme, were designed for use between medium and long range. The RX-78-2 Gundam was developed for close-ranged combat to complement them.
The Gundam was assembled under the supervision of engineer Tem Ray in the Federation’s research base in the colony Side 7. When Zeon forces attacked the base, Tem Ray’s son Amuro piloted the Gundam and fought off the enemies. The Gundam was then served on the assault carrier White Base until it was destroyed near the end of the war.
The mobile suit had a learning computer system that allowed it to collect data and adapt to the pilot’s abilities. This allowed it to evolve and improve as its affinity with Amuro increased.
The data from the computer was later incorporated into the Federation’s first mass-production mobile suit, the RGM-79 GM.
Despite its high performance and advanced design, the Gundam was pushed to its limits by Amuro’s astonishing Newtype abilities. This often resulted in its motors and joints being overloaded and burnt out. Federation technician Mosque Han remedied this by upgrading the Gundam with an electromagnetic coating on its joints before the battle of A Baoa Qu.
The Gundam and the MSN-02 Zeong ended up destroying each other at the final battle of the war at Zeon’s space fortress A Baoa Qu.
It was replaced in UC 0087 by the RX-178 Gundam MK II.
The RX-78-2 Gundam was preceded by the RX-75-4 Guntank and the RX-77-2 Guncannon. These were designed for long-range and medium range combat respectively. The Gundam was developed as a fast close-combat mobile suit to complement them and form an effective fighting force.
New technologies were used in the design of the Gundam. These included beam technology in the form of a beam rifle and two beam sabers, and a learning computer system.
The Gundam was built from lightweight lunar titanium alloy that was lighter and sturdier than that of Zeon mobile suits produced then. The armor was able to withstand machine gun fire with minimal damage.
While its siblings from Project V used the similar armor material, the Gundam was the first to utilise a lighter version. This made it faster and thus ideal for close-ranged combat.
The Gundam was equipped with a learning computer system that allowed it to collect data and adapt to the pilot’s abilities. The system was also able to record enemy data and compute better countermeasures.
The Newtype abilities of pilot Amuro Ray surpassed the limits of the Gundam. Its reaction time fell behind Amuro’s and its joints were often overloaded. An electromagnetic coating was applied to increase the performance of its joints. This coating was first trialed on the RX-78-3 G-3 Gundam and later used on the RX-78NT-1 Gundam Alex.
Like the other units from Project V, the Gundam used the Core Block System that allowed the separation of the Core Block from the upper torso to function as an FF-X7 Core Fighter. This was utilised as an escape system for the pilot.
The RX-78-2 Gundam’s standard weapons were a ranged weapon, two beam sabers and a shield of defence. It had an array of melee and ranged weapons to choose from depending on the requirements of the mission.
The BAUVA*XBR-M-79-07G (Bauva eXperimental Beam Rifle-Medium Range) beam rifle was the Gundam’s primary weapon. It was the first portable beam weapon to be ever produced. This provided the Gundam with firepower equivalent to a battleship’s beam cannons.
The rifle drew its rounds from energy capacitors (E-caps), clips of charged Minovsky particles. Minovksy particles broke down matter at a molecular level, allowing the beam rifle bolts to penetrate even the thickest armor. This meant that a single shot could destroy a mobile suit.
Each E-cap contained 16 shots. This was a significant drawback of the beam rifle. The pilot had to use the ammunitions wisely to make the full use of the limited number of rounds.
380 mm hyper bazooka
The BLASH*XHB-L-03/N-STD (Blash eXperimental Hyper Bazooka-Long range) 380 mm hyper bazooka was a heavy arms designed for the Gundam. It was intended for long-range fire against enemy units.
Although it dealt heavy damage, the hyper bazooka had a slow rate of fire and limited number of rounds. Each ammunitions clip carried only five rounds. The hyper bazooka comes with one round loaded in the barrel before the Gundam launched.
It was more practical to use the hyper bazooka against slower targets to fully utilise the limited ammunitions while dealing maximum damage.
60 mm vulcan guns
A pair of fire-linked 60 mm gatling vulcan guns were mounted on either sides of the Gundam’s head.
Each vulcan gun was loaded with 400 rounds of ammunition and fired at a rate of 1,600 rounds per minute. It was used primarily against light-armored support units. Sustained fire from the guns could damage mobile suits and were often used in close distance combat.
The Gundam was the first mobile suit to be equipped with beam melee weapons. It used two sabers that were docked in the backpack for recharging when not in use.
The beam sabers used an I-field to contain Minovsky particles within the shape of a blade. Minovsky particles broke down matter at a molecular level. This meant that the beam saber could cut through almost any material.
Minovsky particles were channelled into the sabers through an E-cap attached to its hilt. The E-cap recharged with Minvosky particles from the Gundam’s reactor when the sabers was stored in the backpack dock.
Power output of each beam saber was rated at 0.38 megawatts.
The beam sabers could take the form of the beam javelin. The sabre hilt extended into a long pole and three beam prongs emitted at its tip.
Gundam hammer & hyper hammer
The Gundam hammer was a flail-like ranged melee weapon. It was a large spiked ball attached to a chain and was swung or thrown to deal damage.
It was later upgraded into the hyper hammer for use in space. Vernier thrusters were mounted on the ball to propel it in zero-gravity. This increased the force of the impact and it dealt heavier damage. The ball could also alter its path before impact, increasing accuracy and allowing it to trick the enemy.
The Gundam used the RX*M-Sh-008/S-01025 (Federation eXperimental Medium Shield) shield for defence. When not in use, the shield was stored on the Gundam’s backpack.
The shield was able to block most ballistic and explosive projectiles. It was also effective in melee combat. It had a viewport that could be sealed with an internal blast plate.
During atmospheric re-entry by the Gundam, the shield was used to deflect heat from it and to protect the Gundam from the heat as well.
- RX-78 Gundam – initial prototype type
- RX-78-1 Prototype Gundam (Type armed intermediate)
- RX-78-2 Gundam – late prototype
- RX-78-2 Gundam + B parts – mobile armor mode
- RX-78-2 Gundam High Mobility type
- RX-78Opt Gundam G Dash
- RX-78-3 G-3 Gundam
- RX-78-4 Gundam Unit 4
- RX-78-5 Gundam Unit 5
- RX-78-6 Gundam Unit 6 “Mudrock”
- RX-78-7 Gundam Unit 7
- FA-78-3 Full Armor Gundam Unit 7 (Full Armor Gundam Unit 3)
- HFA-78-3 (FHA-78-3) Full Armor Gundam Heavy Armor
- RX-78-8 Gundam Unit 8
- RX-78NT-1 Gundam Alex
- RX-78NT-1FA Gundam Alex Full Armor Type
- FA-78-X Alex Full Armor Test Type
- RX-78NT-1 Gundam NT-1 proto
- RX-78NT-2 Gundam NT-2
- RX-78NT-3 Gundam NT-3
- RX-78E Gundam GT-FOUR
- RX-78XX Gundam Pixie
First Strike Weapons System (FSWS) variants
- FA-78-1 Full Armor Gundam
- FA-78-1B (FA-G3) Full Armor Gundam Type B
- FA-78-2 Heavy Gundam
- T1 Shuttle Gundam
Behind the scenes
Kunio Okawara was the original mechanical designer. Being the iconic mecha of the series, many mechanical designers have contributed their takes of the RX-78-2 Gundam. These include Yasuhiko Yoshikazu, Mika Akitaka, Kazuhisa Kondo, Kyoshi Takigawa, and Hajime Katoki.
The Gundam was seen in the second episode of Mobile Suit Gundam using the Super Napalm. It was the only episode that the weapon appeared in. The Super Napalm was a projectile fired from the beam rifle that caused whatever it hit to be engulfed in flames. The weapon did not appear in any other episode and it was usually not mentioned in source books
The weapon appeared in the Playstation game SD Gundam G-Generation F, the Game Boy Advance game Super Robot Wars, the Playstation 3 game Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme vs and Mobile Suit Gundam Battle Operation, in which it was attached to the beam rifle.
In the original Mobile Suit Gundam animation, the Gundam was assigned the G-Fighter as a support unit during Operation Odessa. The two G-Fighter units were designed to utilise the Gundam’s modular system to allow it to switch roles during combat.
The Gundam was assigned two G-Fighter units as support. These leveraged on the Gundam’s modular system and allowed it to switch roles during combat. It could take the form of an assault bomber, the G-Armour, or the close combat support tank, the G-Bull.
However, Yoshiyuki Tomino felt that the G-Fighters did not fit into the real robot genre that he envisioned for the series. This led to their omission in the compilation movies.
In the Mobile Suit Gundam novels, the RX-78-2 was destroyed during an ambush in Texas Colony at the end of the first book instead of during the Battle of A Baoa Qu . Amuro then piloted the RX-78-3 G-3 Gundam until his death at the end of the novels.
The Gundam appeared in a scene in Mobile Fighter G Gundam clinging to a rocket.
An 18-metre life-size version of the Gundam was built in 2009 to commemorate the franchise’s 30 year anniversary. The project was in response to the 30th Anniversary of Gundam as well as a fund raising project for Green Tokyo, a project preparing Tokyo in terms of the bid for 2016 Olympic Games with the theme of a Green Olympic. The statue itself is depicted in the 2010 anime Model Suit Gunpla Builders Beginning G.
It was completed on 9 June, 2009 and displayed in a Tokyo park. It was later moved and reconstructed in Bandai’s headquarters in Shizuoka from July 2010 to March 2011. It was dismantled and reconstructed in Odaiba, Tokyo on 19 April 2012 at the new Gundam Front Tokyo theme attraction on Odaiba, opening on July 2012 until March 2013.
On 5 March 2017, it was announced that the life size RX 78-2 Gundam will be replaced by another life size statue of the RX 0 Unicorn Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn.
The project, titled “Gundam Global Challenge”, opened in 2014, with the aim of creating a 18m tall moving RX-78-2 Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam for Gundam’s 40th anniversary celebration in 2019 . The RX-78F00 Gundam is the finished statue that currently stands attached to the Gundam Dock (G-Dock) at the Gundam Factory Yokohama. Its construction was the subject of the documentary It Moves? Gundam, Follow Your Dreams!. The attraction officially opened on December 19, 2020.
The RX-78F00 currently hold two world records; “Largest mobile humanoid robot” , and “Largest mobile Gundam” . These were certified by Guinness World Records on December 3, 2020 with the awards ceremony on December 17, 2020.
The appearance of the unit is not limited to Gundam series. RX-78-2 Gundam is one of the basic units that appear in the Super Robot Wars series, ever since the first game for the Game Boy. The RX-78-2 also makes multiple cameo appearances in the anime Sgt. Frog.
The current Bandai Universal Century models’ label copyright classification also uses the head of the Gundam as its icon.
Pepsi released several series of Pepsi bottles with special-edition bottle caps featuring miniature statues of various mobile suits from the many Gundam anime released over the years. The RX-78 was one of three of these designs (the other two being both the normal Zaku and Char’s red Zaku) to have multiple miniatures released during the first promotional campaign, including both a full-body sculpture and a sculpture of its bust.
On 23 October, 2000, Japan included the RX-78 Gundam and Amuro Ray in the 20th Century Stamp Series.
According to Gundam-san 4 koma comic, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution appearance is influenced by the RX-78-2 Gundam.
Pocky released a series called Pocky Gunpla Bag that contains a small plastic model in it. One of them is the RX-78-2 Gundam. The target customers of this product is 30-year-old male.
In 2008, an ink and wash painting of Gundam drawn by Hisashi in 2005 was sold in the Christie’s auction held in Hong Kong with a price of $600,000 (USD).
On 16 July, 2010, ANA launched a series of flights as part of the 30th anniversary of Gunpla. Called the “ANA x GUNDAM Sky Project,” the promotion used specially painted Boeing 777s on domestic and international flights. The initial flight was from Tokyo to Osaka. Passengers were also given the chance to buy HGUC 1/144 and 1/48 MegaScale kits of the RX-78-2 Gundam painted in ANA colors aboard the flight. It was scheduled to end in March 2011, but was extended to June 30, 2011. The promotion was expanded to offer special 1/144 versions of the 00 Raiser and the Gundam Unicorn.
The RX-78-2 Gundam appeared in Steven Spielberg’s film Ready Player One (2018), where one of the protagonists controls a full size Gundam replica during the climatic battle in a virtual reality environment, where it, and its ally The Iron Giant is used to battle the antagonist’s Mechagodzilla.
The Gundam was featured on the online series Death Battle and was pitted up against the Autobot leader Optimus Prime and lost due to the Autobot being more skilled, having far superior feats and better weapons.
- Mobile Suit Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack
- Char’s Deleted Affair: Portrait of a Young Comet
- Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam: Skull Heart
- Mobile Suit Gundam Battlefield Record UC 0081
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Bonds of the Battlefield
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Climax UC
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Cross Dimension 0079
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space
- Mobile Suit Gundam Ex Revue
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme vs
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Federation vs Zeon DX
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs Gundam Next
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs Zeta Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Lost War Chronicles
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Outer Gundam
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Pilot’s Locus
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Spirits of Zeon ~Dual Stars of Carnage~
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Target in Sight
- Dynasty Warriors: Gundam
- Gundam 0079: The War for Earth
- Gundam Crisis
- Gundam Evolve
- Gundam: The Battle Master/Gundam Battle Assault
- Gundam Battle Assault 2
- Gundam the Ride: A Baoa Qu
- Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Universe Accel
- Federation in Japanese is renpou, hence the use of “R”. ↩
- “Move the life-sized Gundam! “GUNDAM GLOBAL CHALLENGE” submissions open today!” | Gundam.info. 2014-08-04. ↩
- Chapman, Paul. Crunchyroll – “GUNDAM GLOBAL CHALLENGE” Seeks to Make the 1:1 Scale Gundam Statue Walk by 2019. 2015-11-08. ↩
- Guinness World Records 2023. Guinness World Records Limited, p. 145. 2022-09-15. ISBN 9781913484217. ↩
- Largest mobile Gundam | Guinness World Records. Retrieved on 2021-06-21. ↩
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