What defines Mass Production?

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Mafty
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What defines Mass Production?

Post by Mafty » Tue Jan 04, 2022 1:48 pm

So in a discussion last year, it was pointed out that mass production is incredibly vague in Gundam, So what qualifies it as mass production? Some of the units make it rather hard to tell whether they have a whole series, or merely a couple of one off units. For example the Hambrabi is only ever seen being piloted by Yazan and his wingmen, the Doven Wolf likewise only seems to be part of a team led by Rakan, likewise with the Rezel from Unicorn. Then you have units where it is more vague. For example the Bruckeng from Victory is only seen with Lupe and her subordinates(and dosen't appear in wide battle scenes like the Rig Shokew, Zollidia and Gedlav), while the Contio likewise seems to merely be in groups led by Chronicle. So what leads to unit being labeled mass produced? Does their need to be several dozen/hundred? Are they less specialized? What is the difference between mass and limited production?

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:45 pm

Mafty wrote:
Tue Jan 04, 2022 1:48 pm
So in a discussion last year, it was pointed out that mass production is incredibly vague in Gundam, So what qualifies it as mass production?
Due to the sheer numbers of titles and a lack of coordination across decades by different creators, Gundam just doesn't have a consistent definition of "mass production" for Mobile Suits overall... and often doesn't even have one in the scope of all the factions across the same series.

Depending on the author, the definition seems to shift from anywhere from "a few dozen" to "thousands".

Most instances on the smaller end, especially ones issued to Special Forces, would be considered limited production rather than true mass production since they tend to produce a few dozen at most.
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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by MythSearcher » Tue Jan 04, 2022 10:49 pm

Mafty wrote:
Tue Jan 04, 2022 1:48 pm
So what leads to unit being labeled mass produced? Does their need to be several dozen/hundred? Are they less specialized? What is the difference between mass and limited production?
Whatever they like to label it as.
RX-79[G] was produced in likely 2 dozens and RGM-79[G] maybe 40 or so. Compared to the GM Sniper Custom and Sniper II, with very similar numbers, but the former is an early production model and the latter is a mass production model. We have more Battleships and Cruisers produced than these for the EFF.(they launched 80 ships during Operation Star One)
It also begs the question of should one off variants of mass production models be considered mass production or not. Probably not, but what about 2, 3 or 5?
And what about a model in which it was designed for mass production, but then cancelled because of other reasons? For example, the war ended so the production cancelled prematurely?

It is because IRL, we don't use numbers to quantity what is mass production, consider both F-16 and F-22 are mass production models, but the numbers are vastly different. F-22 had 8 test and 187 operational delivered while F-16 4604 built, the first mass produced jet fighter, the Me262 had 1430(I am not going to drag the WWII piston cylinder models into this but you can check the production numbers of those as well if interested.) Similarly, the Tiger is mass produced, but the numbers are much smaller compared to, say, T-34.

My own view is that it depends on the design purpose and not the actual manufactured numbers.
RX-78, for example, is explicitly made as a testing platform(despite them calling it a prototype in English, it is more of a test/experimental type in the kanji.) so you won't call it a mass production type no matter how many of them are produced(sarcasm)
On the other hand, while not as ridiculous as only have a handful, Gelgoog is an example of only produced around 200 and the war ended so you don't get as many but it is still a mass production type.
Things get more complicated as the above mentioned 79[G] family. When EFGF made them, they truly believed the units would be mass produced and what they were doing was a trial run of the production lines with the left over parts from the RX-78 inventory. So yes, while we know that these are not mass production units, they are early production types(as the MG model English, First production type) or I'd say production trials. The EFF decided to produce the GM instead so they cancelled this line.
Even funnier, what do you call units that have never been produced but designed to be mass produced?
https://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/z-msv/msz-007.htm for example.
Okay, maybe "never produced" is a bit too strong of a word. They had at least a unit or two produced to evaluate the performance, but obviously those should be called test/trial type or adhering more to the Gundam terminaology, prototypes. However, this thing here is labelled as mass production. We might have more ZIIs produce than this thing.(Straight out of my mind we have one in Mirage of Zeon, one in Walpurgis and one in Unicorn Bande Dessinee? Can't remember if any appeared in RoJR but won't be a surprise if it does. I'm not even counting the game Missing Link for this.) Pretty sure we have more RX-78s than MSZ-007s.(even if you count the other MSZ-007 Rapier that is a, ahem, prototype as well)
https://www.mahq.net/mecha/gundam/m-msv/msz-013.htm is another example which produced 4 experimental units.
If you set up a production line and started pumping parts of it to be fitted together, it is a mass production type. If you manually crafted parts from scratch and stick them together by engineers designing the thing, it is either a prototype(may not even be able to move before heavy adjustments) or test type(with all essential functions).

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Underrated GM Custom » Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:40 pm

"Mass Production" gets thrown around a lot in Gundam and it can be very confusing since some mass production models end up with extremely few units being produced. I find it's best to think of a "Mass Production Model" not as a "has this unit been mass produced?" but instead "can this unit be mass produced? So in this schema, a unit that can be produced in great quantity and scale could be considered a mass production type.

In-universe you can also consider a mass-production type as a a unit that has been selected by the top brass for mass production but in some cases for one reason or another doesn't actually get mass produced (budget cuts, design flaw, war already ended, etc.)

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by SonicSP » Sat Jan 08, 2022 6:11 am

Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:40 pm
I find it's best to think of a "Mass Production Model" not as a "has this unit been mass produced?" but instead "can this unit be mass produced? So in this schema, a unit that can be produced in great quantity and scale could be considered a mass production type.
Good concept but it would still run into the problem of not knowing the threhold of what is considered mass production though that Mythsesrcher and others have brought up, even if said mass production was just a matter of theoretical feasability.

Or in other words, how scalable the design must be before we count it as mass producable.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Underrated GM Custom » Sat Jan 08, 2022 9:45 am

Very true, we don't know the threshold and I don't think Gundam has ever established one or plans on it.

For me if they're calling something a mass production type I've always assumed it meant they already have the tooling and production facilities setup to start making these en masse. To use the Gelgoog from Myth Searchers example, Char's Gelgoog Commander would be considered an early production type since it was built to validate the design and have the pilots provide feedback prior to mass production. The Type A Gelgoogs would be mass production types since Zeon planned on mass producing them and then started to but the war ended prior to them making vast quantities of them.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Mafty » Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:08 pm

True some of the designs seem a bit too complex to be practically mass produced; not to mention the Newtype Factor , which means it would be hard to find enough pilots to handle them, to make mass production worthwhile. For instance they used mass cloning to get enough pilots for the Quebely MK II, Same with the mass produced Innovade units in 00.

Some of the units admittedly seem a bit complex, but not really out of the realm of practical mass production. The Hambrabi clearly has more than three units; as Sarah Zabiarov pilots one, but its mostly seen with Yazan and his team, Likewise The Bawoo, Doven Wolf, and Zaku III are all examples of this in Neo Zeon; being more complex than standard units, but not as overtly complex or expensive as other high quality units like the Geymalk or the the Queen Manstha.

You can also see this in Victory Gundam, with the Victory Gundam itself. It's probably best qualfied as a limited production, but even that is kinda variable. The suit was mass produced in various cities on earth and the moon; has numerous addition pieces that are utilized in combat, and ultimately ends up being piloted in various forms by about half a dozen people. The Gun-EZ is a more standardized mass production unit as it's piloted by the entire Shrike Team as well as Odelo and Tomache, plus its seen in various other League Militarie Factions. Likewise the Gedlavs are necessarily mass produced to fit in with the Einrad and Motorad faction. However the later Bruckeng seems to exist in only very limited numbers.

Then you have the Ground type Gundams in 08th MS Team which half the team pilots , yet still only exist as a limited production. So this is really kinda complex and more than a bit confusing. So my best guess as to the difference would be; A Limited Production could be something with only a few (ie a dozen or less units) while mass production is a lot more (ie like Kaiba said dozens to hundreds).

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by SonicSP » Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:12 pm

I wonder then, whether the lack of clarity or consistency we see of this in Gundam is mirroring the same lack of clarity in the real world. MythSearcher brought up a good example of different generations of plane/tank numbers in a previous post.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Mafty » Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:42 pm

Also the actual size of armies differs greatly across Gundam stories, or even within the same story. Often Gundam uses the Super Robot Trope of a small team (or even just one) of Super Powered Robots turning the tide of an entire war(as seen in FG, ZZ, Gundam Wing, Gundam X, SEED/DESTINY, 00, even those have other factions , but its still the main characters who earn most of the victories), while at other times they will be part of a larger group that has many factions across a wide battleground(ie Zeta, Chars Counterattack though both factions in that are a bit smaller than useual,F91 to a degree, Victory, AGE).

So that skews the perception a bit; if your whole faction is less than twenty people, then a suit that half of them pilot would be considered mass produced. In a larger scale conflict a suit across a bigger army(ie AEUG/Karaba, League Militarie) would have a bigger size of mass produced units.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by SonicSP » Sat Jan 08, 2022 1:22 pm

Mafty wrote:
Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:42 pm
So that skews the perception a bit; if your whole faction is less than twenty people, then a suit that half of them pilot would be considered mass produced.
Personally I think ten units is too low to be considered mass production in a general sense even if it covers 50% of the population. Limited production or just production, sure. Some level of aggregate volume is still needed IMO.

A little bit more extreme example, but with the same framework then three units for a faction of six people would also produce the same mass produced category as it's a) more than one unit and b) covers 50% of the faction population.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Mafty » Sat Jan 08, 2022 4:07 pm

Totally like in Gundam Sentinel with the Trio of FAZZ units (which seems to see a shout out in Unicorn in the Jesta Trio) and as said before the Hambrabi Trio (Gundam seems to love having custom pilot trios come to think of it).

That being said it may not actually be that limited of a production. A certain group may be allotted certain resources. For example the Jesta seems to be a least limited production, we just saw three as part of the Nahel Argama Trio. Likewise certain custom or commander units may be in more limited supply for the unit, because there would be fewer pilots using them.

Also custom or prototypes may simply be a on off testbed unit to begin with, thus explaining their limited supply.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by SonicSP » Sat Jan 08, 2022 5:52 pm

Yes but those are not examples of mass production though certainly with only a few confirmed units.

The point I was making before was that ten or three units (like of the entire line, not just a subsection of it) would generally be too small in total aggregate to be considered mass production even if they make up the majority of a small faction of six or ten personnel in this example.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Kuruni » Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:15 am

Seriously, people, the actual produce number should be no factor at all. One example is 1.5 Gundam Type Dark. It's designed to be mass produced, the design is ready, and they have resource. But the guy in charge of the production facility want every production line to made glorified suicide bomber for the sake of stroke his ego and thus the actual produce number is 0.
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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by SonicSP » Sun Jan 09, 2022 9:04 am

Kuruni wrote:
Sun Jan 09, 2022 5:15 am
Seriously, people, the actual produce number should be no factor at all. One example is 1.5 Gundam Type Dark. It's designed to be mass produced, the design is ready, and they have resource. But the guy in charge of the production facility want every production line to made glorified suicide bomber for the sake of stroke his ego and thus the actual produce number is 0.
And again as I mentioned in a previous post, we run into same problem of how scalable must the design be for it to be counted as mass producable.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Kuruni » Sun Jan 09, 2022 11:43 am

For extra fun, take a look at the Mass Production Big Zam. We all know that Zeon produce none of this thing with the focus of war moved to space, but from what I can gathered, there's fun bit the the design is actually incomplete by leaving some room for Minovsky craft. In other words, the design itself isn't even mass produce-ready.

Another fun example from non-Gundam series is DM, it's supposed to be superior to Dougram in its original form. The thing is easier to produce (mostly because of simplified armor design), has turbozack pack from start, and use more powerful arm linear gun (and thus doesn't need the linear cannon for extra firepower). But alas, the Federation raid the factory and the actual produce number is 0.
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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by MythSearcher » Sun Jan 09, 2022 12:21 pm

Then it comes to the point where whether the faction have the means to mass produce the unit or not.
Did they design the production line? Can them mass produce every part of the machine sustainably?

For example, The J-20 is "supposed" to be a mass production unit. However, PRC does not have the ability to mass produce it's engine WS-15(and it keeps getting delayed and cannot deliver), and thus the production number is limited to how many WS-15 they can handcraft or they have to step back using weaker engines that does not meet the performance criteria of the J-20 as designed.
I don't count that as mass production even when they have stamped out approximately 150 or so of these. Or maybe we can say the spec of the current mass production J-20 is just a bluffed number and only those really limited ones with the WS-15 that are essentially testbeds(Test types) are real J-20s as designed. All the others are more like GMs that are weaker. They mass produced the GM, not the Gundam.

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by tHeWasTeDYouTh » Wed Jan 12, 2022 11:07 pm

Now that we are talking about mass production anyone know how many MS-06F Zakue II got made in total. That was the main mobile suit for Zeon for most of the war and even when the Gouf, Dom and Gelgoog got made the Zaku II still made up most of the Zeon MS force. I know that the One Year War is inspired by WW2 so it makes sense that the Federation would create so many GMs in a short amount of time, during WW2 the USA war industries could produce small arms, tanks, planes, ships by the thousands in just weeks completely overwhelming it's enemies. In a way the Allies and the Federation swamped the Axis and Zeon in the last segments of their respective war
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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Mafty » Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:15 am

There doesn't seem to be an exact number; but I'd assume easily in the hundreds, perhaps even the thousands. The Zaku II appears for decades after the OYW, despite their heavy losses during said war. There's probably more of them than of any other mass produced unit. Also the quick development for the GM probably set the stage for all following Gundam series having a ridiculously short lead time to build and mass produce different units( for one example Zanscare manages to produce the Zolo, Zoloat, Tomliat, Contio, Shy-Tarn, Rig Shokew, Zollidia, Jabaco, Gedlav, Domuttlia, and Bruckeng, That's 11 mass produced units, all in a war that lasts for the spring of one year.) This is another factor in the issue of mass production across the series. If the Zeon merely started with the Zaku II they could have close to a thousand as that would be pretty much their only unit at first. With some thing like Neo Zeon (which went further with 12 mass produced units in their war) or Zanscare; the numbers would have to be lower because their would be nowhere near enough pilots to utilize all the units if they had a thousand each (that would be look at 11-12000 not counting custome units in some cases).

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by MythSearcher » Thu Jan 13, 2022 1:49 am

Numbers that got in my head immediately are:
MS-06: ~8000 (MG Manual? can't remember and the print on Dalong is too small[don't want to read])
MS-09: ~6000 (MG manual? same as above)
MS-14: ~200
RGM-79: 42(early and for use on ground)+288(late) (MG maunal, has since been rejected by Gundam Officials, likely only number from one single plant of the 6 mentioned by the same manual and only include the basic type and no variants) ~5000~6000(exact number forgot but from Enterbrain Strategic & Tactical encyclopedia, not manufactured number but MS present in battle of Solomon and ABQ, also since been rejected by Gundam Officials deeming the numbers to be too high since EFSF didn't have enough ships to bring that many MS to the field[even if a lot of them were just strapped outside]) (Gundam Officials did not include a number of its own but only rejected both of those numbers. I'd assume those are the extremes and estimate it to be around 1000~2000 to be reasonable for the manufacturing capabilities and number EFSF can carry with their ships as shown in the show.)
RB-79: ~1200 (number of SP-W03 converted to RB-79s)

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Re: What defines Mass Production?

Post by Mafty » Thu Jan 13, 2022 12:11 pm

Really when you look at it the scale of many UC wars should be relatively the same. They often involve a faction fighting against the Earth Government, over a period of weeks or months across several battlegrounds. They are often somewhat evenly match in terms of soldiers, if not technology. For instance Zeon was One Side compromised of enough soldiers to fight against the entire Earth Federation. Likewise AEUG and Karaba managed to amass enough force in a combination of former Federation and Zeon, to go up against the Titans and the Greater Earth Federation itself. Even many resistance movements manage to amass plenty of soldiers and equipment against the EF(for example the Second and Fourth Neo Zeon movements). It reaches the point that by UC 153 we have another full Side (Side 2 in this case) against the League Militarie and Federation. You'd actually think controlling Earth, the Moon and many Space Colonies would give the Earth Federation bigger numbers that a particular Side, however it is shown that the Federation simply declines into irrelevance in the later years, with less resources they are willing to allocate to threats.

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