Act Zaku Development

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Underrated GM Custom
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Act Zaku Development

Post by Underrated GM Custom » Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am

Good morning everyone.

I have a few questions regarding the development of the Act Zaku. I first found out about the Act Zaku in the PS2 Game Gundam Encounters in Space, which to this day has my favorite space battle system. What I remember was the Act Zaku was Zeon's first unit to be able to use a beam rifle and it was a very difficult opponent to fight. A commander unit was featured prominently in the Thoroughbred missions with the Pilot Mallet Sanguine as the main antagonist for Gundam Units 4 and 5 piloted by Luce Kassel and Ford Romfellow. The Act Zaku had access to either a Beam Rifle or a fancy bullpup machinegun, although I cannot recall which one Mallet ended up using since it's been quite a while. Here are some questions I have.

Does the Act Zaku follow a similar principle to the Hizack? Where their reactor can only power one beam weapon at a time. Thus Machinegun + Beam Saber or Beam Rifle + Heat Hawk loadouts?

The Act Zaku has a unique four-barrel bullpup machinegun it was testing as a potential replacement for other mobile suits. While a 4 barrel would have a much higher rate of fire I imagine the downsides would be the following: 1. Burn through ammunition much more quickly 2. Lower overall range since 4 simultaneous machineguns with one grip would have considerable vibration causing trajectories to change more over large distances. I don't think I've seen this weapon design on any other suits, was the 4-barrel machinegun idea scrapped after the Act Zaku?

Does the Act Zaku have it's own Beam Rifle or does it use the same one as the Gelgoog.

When was the Act Zaku put into development compared to the high mobility Zaku R-1 types. I've read the R2 was quickly put together until the Gelgoog was rolled out, and the Gelgoog supplanted the Act Zaku as Zeon's next mainstay production model.

I recall reading the Zaku Hi-Mobility R2 had a phrasing of "a Gelgoog underneath the Zaku exterior". Were parts also shared between Gelgoog and Act Zaku?

The Act Zaku was developed on Pezun but was also used by Kycilia's forces correct? Were all the Act Zaku's developed on Pezun or were some developed / tested elsewhere?

While sporting more propulsion than the Zaku R2 and a Rick Dom, the Act Zaku does have considerably more weight empty. Is there any discussion as to what armor materials the Act Zaku was made of? I'm assuming since the weight is considerably higher then it has a thick layer of armor similar to the Zaku II, while the R2 has thinner armor layers in order to maximize speed.

Last note. It looks like there's an Act Zaku via Gundam the Origin with a shoulder shield that lines up more with what we expect of a Zaku or Zaku kai. I also noticed the Black Tri-Stars have their own hi-mob Zakus in the Origin complete with unique weapons like an antiship rifle and a heat lancer. (Boy do I love a good heat lancer!) It looks like the Origin Act Zaku only uses the machinegun with no mention of the beam rifle on its MAHQ profile. Is the Origin retconning that the Act Zaku was Zeon's first beam rifle equipped MS?

Thank you for any insights you can offer on this matter!

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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Jan 08, 2021 1:50 pm

Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
Does the Act Zaku follow a similar principle to the Hizack? Where their reactor can only power one beam weapon at a time. Thus Machinegun + Beam Saber or Beam Rifle + Heat Hawk loadouts?
While the limited coverage of the Act Zaku does mention that its generator output was improved to the point of being able to equip beam weapons, it doesn't mention any such limitation. It's not an unreasonable inference it was limited in that manner, since the Act Zaku was the starting point for the Hizack's development. There is an info blurb in Gundam Battle Operation that suggests it was capable of operating both a beam rifle and the beam saber though.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
The Act Zaku has a unique four-barrel bullpup machinegun it was testing as a potential replacement for other mobile suits. While a 4 barrel would have a much higher rate of fire I imagine the downsides would be the following: 1. Burn through ammunition much more quickly 2. Lower overall range since 4 simultaneous machineguns with one grip would have considerable vibration causing trajectories to change more over large distances. I don't think I've seen this weapon design on any other suits, was the 4-barrel machinegun idea scrapped after the Act Zaku?
The 4-barrel bullpup gun was a unique development for the Act Zaku. No source I currently have says anything useful about it, though I'd expect that it was probably intended for close quarters combat.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
Does the Act Zaku have it's own Beam Rifle or does it use the same one as the Gelgoog.
It has its own.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
When was the Act Zaku put into development compared to the high mobility Zaku R-1 types. I've read the R2 was quickly put together until the Gelgoog was rolled out, and the Gelgoog supplanted the Act Zaku as Zeon's next mainstay production model.
Master Archive Mobile Suit: MS-06 Zaku II suggests the MS-11 Act Zaku was put into development sometime in or after July 0079 around the same time development kicked off on the MS-06R-2P.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
I recall reading the Zaku Hi-Mobility R2 had a phrasing of "a Gelgoog underneath the Zaku exterior". Were parts also shared between Gelgoog and Act Zaku?
None are noted save for the shield.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
The Act Zaku was developed on Pezun but was also used by Kycilia's forces correct? Were all the Act Zaku's developed on Pezun or were some developed / tested elsewhere?
They were developed on Pezun, but only a few prototypes were completed by the end of the One Year War... and those were promptly seized by the Earth Federation.

In Mobile Suit Gundam: the Origin MSD - origin's version of MSV - Kycilia's guards had prototype Act Zakus (YMS-11).


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
While sporting more propulsion than the Zaku R2 and a Rick Dom, the Act Zaku does have considerably more weight empty. Is there any discussion as to what armor materials the Act Zaku was made of? I'm assuming since the weight is considerably higher then it has a thick layer of armor similar to the Zaku II, while the R2 has thinner armor layers in order to maximize speed.
The notation I have here is that it uses the same super-hard steel alloy used by other Zeon mobile suits incl. the Gelgoog.

As to its weight, it's only 1,000kg heavier than the MS-06F Zaku II and several versions of the MS-06R-2 are heavier than it.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:34 am
Last note. It looks like there's an Act Zaku via Gundam the Origin with a shoulder shield that lines up more with what we expect of a Zaku or Zaku kai. I also noticed the Black Tri-Stars have their own hi-mob Zakus in the Origin complete with unique weapons like an antiship rifle and a heat lancer. (Boy do I love a good heat lancer!) It looks like the Origin Act Zaku only uses the machinegun with no mention of the beam rifle on its MAHQ profile. Is the Origin retconning that the Act Zaku was Zeon's first beam rifle equipped MS?
Origin is its own thing... not a retcon.

Origin's Act Zakus are only prototypes that, unlike the main timeline, were rushed into service instead of never making it out of the factory. There is art from MSD showing the same beam rifle from Zeta, so presumably it was just not ready in time for them to be rolled out to Kycilia's forces.
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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by Underrated GM Custom » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:40 pm

Thanks for all the info! This is really helpful.

I didn't realize the Hizack develoment borrowed from the Act Zaku as well, which makes sense given the captured ones we see at Jaburo.

I know one of the problems with the OYW is its a limited time frame and Gundam keeps adding more suits that were developed in a 12 month time span. That said I'd be curious as to why they were developing both the R1/R2 and the Act Zaku at around the same time. Seems like both had the goal of being a Zaku successor for the mainlines. Were they developed by different companies aside from just different locations?

I didn't realize the Act Zaku could also use the Gelgoog Shield. Are there any instances of it being used this way either in a Manga or lineart?

When I was thinking about the weight comparison MAHQ lists the The MS06-R2 is 49.5 tons empty while the Act Zaku is 59.1 empty. Although I do recall reading that the R2 specifically had it's armor layers as much thinner in order to improve mobility. I'm sure that would go great with Johnny Ridden's fighting style.

Unrelated but I had always thought the Gelgoog was titanium ceramic composite vice super hard steel alloy. Perhaps I'm thinking of one of the variants like the Jaeger. I believe 0080 had most of the UMP amphibious suits as titanium composites. Do we know what it's shield was comprised of?

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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:30 pm

Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:40 pm
I didn't realize the Hizack develoment borrowed from the Act Zaku as well, which makes sense given the captured ones we see at Jaburo.
As Zeonic's first attempt at building a Mobile Suit with the generator output for beam weapons and field motors for the drivetrain instead of the fluid pulse system, it was a valuable alternative development lineage from the GM AE had developed.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:40 pm
I know one of the problems with the OYW is its a limited time frame and Gundam keeps adding more suits that were developed in a 12 month time span. That said I'd be curious as to why they were developing both the R1/R2 and the Act Zaku at around the same time. Seems like both had the goal of being a Zaku successor for the mainlines. Were they developed by different companies aside from just different locations?
To be fair, it's at least partially excusable as a "truth in television" kind of thing. Zeon's habit of having dozens of parallel, and often dead-end or redundant development programs going late in the One Year War mirrors the way Nazi Germany was wasting huge amounts of resources late in World War II pursuing the pet projects of its highest military officials in the hopes of finding a "magic bullet" solution to the ground they were constantly losing in the war with the Allies.

The Zaku II R-type program was one of those pet projects that was originally supposed to be cancelled when Zeon brought in the Unified Maintenance Plan in an attempt to streamline development and put an end to pet projects that were wasting war resources. Even though M'Quve was the prime mover behind the Unified Maintenance Plan he also went to Kycilia to preserve his own pet project, the Zaku II R-type program, from being cancelled.

The Act Zaku and Gelgoog were rival programs for Zeon's next-generation MS development. Descriptions of some R-type Zaku II units suggest they were more or less improvised test vehicles being used to trial hardware and new systems for future development by modifying existing Zaku II's. The R-1A supposedly influenced the design of the Dom, the R-2P was used to evaluate some parts for the Gelgoog, and the R-2 and R-3 are described as using more and more Gelgoog prototype hardware.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:40 pm
I didn't realize the Act Zaku could also use the Gelgoog Shield. Are there any instances of it being used this way either in a Manga or lineart?
Mallet Sanguine's Act Zaku is shown using the Gelgoog shield in Mobile Suit Gundam Side Story: Space, to the End of a Flash.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:40 pm
When I was thinking about the weight comparison MAHQ lists the The MS06-R2 is 49.5 tons empty while the Act Zaku is 59.1 empty. Although I do recall reading that the R2 specifically had it's armor layers as much thinner in order to improve mobility. I'm sure that would go great with Johnny Ridden's fighting style.
There's not a lot of Zaku II in the MS-06R-2. It's using a lot of Gelgoog hardware, which is part of the reason for its weight difference... that and being optimized for space use.


Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:40 pm
Unrelated but I had always thought the Gelgoog was titanium ceramic composite vice super hard steel alloy. Perhaps I'm thinking of one of the variants like the Jaeger. I believe 0080 had most of the UMP amphibious suits as titanium composites. Do we know what it's shield was comprised of?
You're thinking of the Gelgoog Jager there... the regular Gelgoog is listed as using a super-hard steel alloy or cemented carbide steel.

The shield material is not mentioned, just that it has a beam-resistant coating.
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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by Underrated GM Custom » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:50 pm

Ton of great information here! Thank you kindly

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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by MythSearcher » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:49 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:30 pm
The Act Zaku and Gelgoog were rival programs for Zeon's next-generation MS development.
I can understand 06Rs being rival program with the 09R, since one is from Zeonic and one is Zimmad.
But MS-11 and 14 both are programs of Zeonic, they shouldn't be rivals but more like different development targets, say, the Act Zaku being a design for upgrading existing Zakus or utilise whatever parts they have produced.
At least most of the random pieces I picked up here and there don't seem to suggest they are rivals?

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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by Seto Kaiba » Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:19 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:49 am
I can understand 06Rs being rival program with the 09R, since one is from Zeonic and one is Zimmad.
But MS-11 and 14 both are programs of Zeonic, they shouldn't be rivals but more like different development targets, say, the Act Zaku being a design for upgrading existing Zakus or utilise whatever parts they have produced.
At least most of the random pieces I picked up here and there don't seem to suggest they are rivals?
Based on what I've read, the Act Zaku and Gelgoog were competing programs... two fundamentally different concepts for a next-generation Mobile Suit that were developed in parallel and shared a lot of the same technology.

The Act Zaku that was developed at Pezun could best be described as the true/original "Zaku III". It was as next-gen Zaku developed from the Zaku II that incorporated new advancements in technology like a better reactor/generator able to sustain beam weaponry, field motors instead of the fluid pulse system, and magnetic joint coatings for more responsive handling. There would have been carryover/common parts to fit the Unified Maintenance Plan and keep production costs down, to allow some of the same service parts to also be used for existing Zaku II-series units.

The Gelgoog developed at A Baoa Qu was a developmental clean slate. They basically started from scratch and put together an all-new Mobile Suit incorporating those same technological advancements.

(It might sound slightly odd for a single company to be developing two different programs for the same role, but it happens A LOT in automotive and aviation. I've got a situation currently at my day job where there are no less than FOUR such programs nominally competing with each other to be first to market with a specific new powertrain tech.)
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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by Chris » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:08 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:19 pm
(It might sound slightly odd for a single company to be developing two different programs for the same role, but it happens A LOT in automotive and aviation. I've got a situation currently at my day job where there are no less than FOUR such programs nominally competing with each other to be first to market with a specific new powertrain tech.)
Not uncommon in other industries too. In the early 80s, Steve Jobs famously had the team developing the Macintosh in competition against the team that made the Lisa. Also, Google frequently puts out multiple apps that do the same thing, creating a mess until some are shelved and their features get added to the other apps.

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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by MythSearcher » Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:34 am

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:19 pm
Based on what I've read, the Act Zaku and Gelgoog were competing programs... two fundamentally different concepts for a next-generation Mobile Suit that were developed in parallel and shared a lot of the same technology.

The Act Zaku that was developed at Pezun could best be described as the true/original "Zaku III". It was as next-gen Zaku developed from the Zaku II that incorporated new advancements in technology like a better reactor/generator able to sustain beam weaponry, field motors instead of the fluid pulse system, and magnetic joint coatings for more responsive handling. There would have been carryover/common parts to fit the Unified Maintenance Plan and keep production costs down, to allow some of the same service parts to also be used for existing Zaku II-series units.

The Gelgoog developed at A Baoa Qu was a developmental clean slate. They basically started from scratch and put together an all-new Mobile Suit incorporating those same technological advancements.

(It might sound slightly odd for a single company to be developing two different programs for the same role, but it happens A LOT in automotive and aviation. I've got a situation currently at my day job where there are no less than FOUR such programs nominally competing with each other to be first to market with a specific new powertrain tech.)
Come to think of it, yes, that is quite common in real life as well.
So basically Act Zaku and Gelgoog are rivals in the same company, and Gelgoog won, thus became the representitive of the company against Zimmad's Gyan.

It sounded pretty funny that they called the Act Zaku, which had changed to so many new technology a successor of Zaku, but not Gelgoog, which is with a bit more similar technology than Zaku to be a successor.

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Re: Act Zaku Development

Post by JEFFPIATT » Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:51 am

MythSearcher wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:34 am
Seto Kaiba wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:19 pm
Based on what I've read, the Act Zaku and Gelgoog were competing programs... two fundamentally different concepts for a next-generation Mobile Suit that were developed in parallel and shared a lot of the same technology.

The Act Zaku that was developed at Pezun could best be described as the true/original "Zaku III". It was as next-gen Zaku developed from the Zaku II that incorporated new advancements in technology like a better reactor/generator able to sustain beam weaponry, field motors instead of the fluid pulse system, and magnetic joint coatings for more responsive handling. There would have been carryover/common parts to fit the Unified Maintenance Plan and keep production costs down, to allow some of the same service parts to also be used for existing Zaku II-series units.

The Gelgoog developed at A Baoa Qu was a developmental clean slate. They basically started from scratch and put together an all-new Mobile Suit incorporating those same technological advancements.

(It might sound slightly odd for a single company to be developing two different programs for the same role, but it happens A LOT in automotive and aviation. I've got a situation currently at my day job where there are no less than FOUR such programs nominally competing with each other to be first to market with a specific new powertrain tech.)
Come to think of it, yes, that is quite common in real life as well.
So basically Act Zaku and Gelgoog are rivals in the same company, and Gelgoog won, thus became the representitive of the company against Zimmad's Gyan.

It sounded pretty funny that they called the Act Zaku, which had changed to so many new technology a successor of Zaku, but not Gelgoog, which is with a bit more similar technology than Zaku to be a successor.
the Act Zaku Model code is the Original model number for the Gelgoog project
Model number MS-11 was originally given to the MS-14 Gelgoog, but was transferred to this unit due to delays in the development of the Gelgoog. Overall, the Act Zaku has demonstrated performance comparable to the Gelgoog's.
https://gundam.fandom.com/wiki/MS-11_Act_Zaku

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