RB79 Ball Variants and Successors

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RB79 Ball Variants and Successors

Post by Underrated GM Custom » Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:02 pm

Good morning everyone,

My wife really enjoys the concept of the Ball as a stop gap measure to deal with Zeon's emerging MS threat. She's also quite a fan of the simple design but has been curious as to how effective they are. I'm familiar with this thread which lists several Ball variants in the OYW and ensuring lead up. I'm looking for help in tracking down any examples of balls being used in combat either in print or animation. Also open to any spiritual successor or ball equivalents from AU. Here's what I've got so far:

Here's what I'm familiar with looking for more examples:
MSG 0079 - Original appearance of the Ball
MS Igloo - Shark Mouth Balls
MSV-R Return of Johnny Ridden - Ball Gun Line being used against Zeon
MS Igloo Manga - Fisheye attacking a Zeon unit testing out underwater beam weapons
08th MS Team - Ball Type K making a surprise attack on a Zaku

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Re: RB79 Ball Variants and Successors

Post by yazi88 » Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:31 am

Not really that effective... they are considered metal coffins for a good reason. The only thing Balls can do remotely effectively is fighting in numbers at range bombardment or as limited support bombardment from a distance, which isn't that great cause its sensor range isn't that much better than the Zaku II F. Rick Dom and Gelgoog also easily outclass its sensor range too.

But in close or mid range combat they are usually screwed. MS Igloo showed some balls getting very easy kills, usually from immobile MS.

A Ball is easily overpowered by any actual Mobile suit. Especially in effective maneuverability due to MS having actual thrusters for effective maneuvers.

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Re: RB79 Ball Variants and Successors

Post by MythSearcher » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:52 am

Balls aren't getting the real appreciation they deserve.
They maybe considered metal coffins, but the truth is that they aren't really dying out as many as you think.
The EFSF enlisted 1200 SP-W03 to be turned into RB-79s, and after the war, you still get somewhere around 800 to be turned into RB-79Cs you see in 0083 as supporting units helping out to set up the Solar System II. A death rate of 1/3 sounds bad, but consider over 8000 MS-06 and 6000 MS-09 built with both only having somewhere around 2000 left after the war. The survival rate isn't lower than MSs.(Hey, if you count the RX-78s, you get an even lower survival rate.)

I can fully understand pilots aren't happy with being stuffed into a Ball when you get humanoid MSs out there, but its thrust to mass ratio is top class even in late OYW(0.96g is better than most EFSF & Zeon mass-production MS sans the 0080 variants) The 120mm/180mm cannon is the same one used on RX-75 Guntank and is sufficient enough to shoot down even the heavily armoured MS, not to mention the cannon having more rounds than MS-09R's bazooka. Its turn rate maybe slow compared to MS, but it is just 0.1s slower than MS-09R, not really that much of a difference especially considering MS-05's turn rate is 0.7s slower than it and RX-75 is 5.3s slower.

The sensor range is its main weak point, but since it is a support unit, there should be some frontline units conveying artillery info to them. If RX-77 is supposed to support at 30km and RX-75 at 250km with only a 6km sensor, the RB-79 should be doing well in at least the 20km range with its 4km sensors. Just don't be too brave and pick a one on one fight with a MS that isn't close to you and knows how to keep further away.

The design of it is also very good at fight while flight, aiming backwards and shoot while running away from the enemy is much easier than using an MS to do so, at least it would be much easier to balance even without AMBAC resources.

Its response to control is also the best in the period, because it uses solid fuel pellets for vernier instead of the liquid propellent on MS which needed to be preheated. This does leave it using up its propellant faster and has to return to the mothership more, but the reflex controls should feel better with a shorter response time.

The main dissatisfying reason for Ball pilots may also come from the fact that it is very easy to refuel and maintained. Since it doesn't use a thermonulear generator, it doesn't need the 30 min cool down before being refueled like MS, so pilots have less rest time and more time out in the fields fighting, and more chance of being shot down.

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Re: RB79 Ball Variants and Successors

Post by Kuruni » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:46 am

I remember how Ball Type K in 08th actually withstand Zaku machine gun, and with MSV-R has Ball Type F that's supposed to fix its reputation as metal coffin (faster, better armor, probably bigger gun too?), I think someone in-universe believe in the thing's potential.

Back to topic for OP (BTW, do your interest extend to other small worker suit like Torohachi?

The aforementioned MSV-R also give us Ball Type M that's used for making mine field and nothing else.

Gundam Evolve 11 is about group of Ball exploring A Baoa Qu after the OYW, it's almost like a slasher movie (seriously, I find the idea fit nicely for an indie horror game).

Crossbone Manga Series - We see Ball Type 133 and Umon's B-Gundam.

Gundam X - Has the Daughtapp. I don't think they actually do andything in 7th Space War flashback, but they're used for underwater excavation in the story.

SeeD has the Mistral.

While it really push the boundary, I say Space Type Tekkadan Mobile Worker in IBO is the series' stand-in for Ball.
Last edited by Kuruni on Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
My girlfriend was a loli.

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Re: RB79 Ball Variants and Successors

Post by Underrated GM Custom » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:15 pm

yazi88 wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:31 am
Not really that effective... they are considered metal coffins for a good reason. The only thing Balls can do remotely effectively is fighting in numbers at range bombardment or as limited support bombardment from a distance, which isn't that great cause its sensor range isn't that much better than the Zaku II F. Rick Dom and Gelgoog also easily outclass its sensor range too.

But in close or mid range combat they are usually screwed. MS Igloo showed some balls getting very easy kills, usually from immobile MS.

A Ball is easily overpowered by any actual Mobile suit. Especially in effective maneuverability due to MS having actual thrusters for effective maneuvers.
I've always loved the iron coffin quote, its a great setup to show what Shiro is about to achieve in 08th MS Team with a ball going toe-to-toe with a Zaku. I do think they have a purpose on the battlefield and the Federations use of 2 GMs and 1 Ball seems like a pretty effective fire team with the GMs providing close in support as interceptors and the ball providing longer fire power. It's been a while since I've watched that scene in MSG though, my only clear memory is the Zaku kicking the Ball into the GM which doesn't help his image.

As for support bombardment are you aware of any depictions in either a show or manga that shows the Balls being used effectively? So far I've only seen something like that used in MSV-R Return of Johnny Ridden and mobility of Zaku's made the Ball gun line completely ineffective.
Kuruni wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:46 am
I remember how Ball Type K in 08th actually withstand Zaku machine gun, and with MSV-R has Ball Type F that's supposed to fix its reputation as metal coffin (faster, better armor, probably bigger gun too?), I think someone in-universe believe in the thing's potential.

Back to topic for OP (BTW, do your interest extend to other small worker suit like Torohachi?

The aforementioned MSV-R also give us Ball Type M that's used for making mind field and nothing else.

Gundam Evolve 11 is about group of Ball exploring A Baoa Qu after the OYW, it's almost like a slasher movie (seriously, I find the idea fit nicely for an indie horror game).

Crossbone Manga Series - We see Ball Type 133 and Umon's B-Gundam.

Gundam X - Has the Daughtapp. I don't think they actually do andything in 7th Space War flashback, but they're used for underwater excavation in the story.

SeeD has the Mistral.

While it really push the boundary, I say Space Type Tekkadan Mobile Worker in IBO is the series' stand-in for Ball.
I've often thought about that scene in 08th MS Team where the Ball Type K survives the Zaku machine gun burst. When I first saw 08th MS Team, I had already played the PS2 Game Encounters in Space, which solidified the ball in my mind as this incredibly cheap and fragile unit that could barely survive anything. Being primed with that I was surprised when I saw the Type K weather that bullet storm and push through. It's possible the K has better armor plating and the shots grazed off.

Another thought is this Zaku may have been using a different kind of ammunition. I recall reading in another thread a while back, that Zaku's initially used a different calibur round because they were created with the idea of dominating personnel and tanks, not for anti-mobile suit combat (until the Origin retconned in the Gun Tank preexisting). Going off that line of thinking its very possible this early type Zaku was not using the standard 120mm and thus its round did not obliterate the Ball as expected. Either way, great scene in a great show.

Ball Type-F sure gives off a Robocop feel. I wonder how effective it was and if it rolled into production before Zeon started introducing beam weapons.

I have almost zero experience with Igloo and Evolve but a slasher film starring Balls sounds really fun, I will definitely check that out.

The Type 133 looks hilarious, I absolutely love the Federation true to form in the F91 era continued to make ineffective units to deal with a MS crisis. Given Crossbone introduces Beam Cloaks, were these Balls ever useful at all?

I wasn't familiar with the name Torohachi but based on the image that looks an awful lot like the workers Bright and Co used to blow up Axis in CCA.

I read over the entry on the the Mistral from SeeD and I don't remember that one at all. Was that fleshed out in the Astray series or did I forget about it from the main series?

The Daughtapp looks awesome, I'm sure my wife would like that one. I watched Gundam X around 10 years ago, was this featured in the show, Under the Moonlight or elsewhere?

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Re: RB79 Ball Variants and Successors

Post by Underrated GM Custom » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:33 pm

MythSearcher wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:52 am
Balls aren't getting the real appreciation they deserve.
They maybe considered metal coffins, but the truth is that they aren't really dying out as many as you think.
The EFSF enlisted 1200 SP-W03 to be turned into RB-79s, and after the war, you still get somewhere around 800 to be turned into RB-79Cs you see in 0083 as supporting units helping out to set up the Solar System II. A death rate of 1/3 sounds bad, but consider over 8000 MS-06 and 6000 MS-09 built with both only having somewhere around 2000 left after the war. The survival rate isn't lower than MSs.(Hey, if you count the RX-78s, you get an even lower survival rate.)

I can fully understand pilots aren't happy with being stuffed into a Ball when you get humanoid MSs out there, but its thrust to mass ratio is top class even in late OYW(0.96g is better than most EFSF & Zeon mass-production MS sans the 0080 variants) The 120mm/180mm cannon is the same one used on RX-75 Guntank and is sufficient enough to shoot down even the heavily armoured MS, not to mention the cannon having more rounds than MS-09R's bazooka. Its turn rate maybe slow compared to MS, but it is just 0.1s slower than MS-09R, not really that much of a difference especially considering MS-05's turn rate is 0.7s slower than it and RX-75 is 5.3s slower.

The sensor range is its main weak point, but since it is a support unit, there should be some frontline units conveying artillery info to them. If RX-77 is supposed to support at 30km and RX-75 at 250km with only a 6km sensor, the RB-79 should be doing well in at least the 20km range with its 4km sensors. Just don't be too brave and pick a one on one fight with a MS that isn't close to you and knows how to keep further away.

The design of it is also very good at fight while flight, aiming backwards and shoot while running away from the enemy is much easier than using an MS to do so, at least it would be much easier to balance even without AMBAC resources.

Its response to control is also the best in the period, because it uses solid fuel pellets for vernier instead of the liquid propellent on MS which needed to be preheated. This does leave it using up its propellant faster and has to return to the mothership more, but the reflex controls should feel better with a shorter response time.

The main dissatisfying reason for Ball pilots may also come from the fact that it is very easy to refuel and maintained. Since it doesn't use a thermonulear generator, it doesn't need the 30 min cool down before being refueled like MS, so pilots have less rest time and more time out in the fields fighting, and more chance of being shot down.
Outstanding and thorough post as always!! I'm glad someone else is on team ball here.

To start I'm surprised they only converted 1200 balls into weapons. I recall there being far more GMs produced than this. Hmmm, since Balls were a stop gap measure I would have thought they would be converting these non-stop until the GMs started rolling out.

I am curious about the weapon though. I know it has the same bore size as Guntank but as I recall the Ball using a recoilless rifle whereas the Guntank was low recoil. Are they actually the same weapon or just similar?

Great points about Thrust and overall maneuverability. I think the Ball would be much more of a threat if it had strong thrusters positioned through its body so it could quickly changes its position, similar to a funnel. But since these are converted worker pods it makes sense their primary thrust is below and they have smaller altitude control thrusters scattered around the body for performing colony construction/maintenance. Interesting facts about using solid fuel and being able to refuel quickly leading pilots to hate it. Thanks for sharing those!

Gundam has never been great with Sensor ranges, I recall reading a thread where Mark pointed out Gundam is meant for close range and Guncannon for mid-range combat but the difference in sensors is laughably small with 5.7km and 6km. Now when it comes to Sensors in space, I have wondered how much the total range matters. I suppose prior to Minovsky particles being scattered longer sensors are helpful for enemy detection. While in space the over the horizon effect is no longer an issue, but looking for MS in a 360 field of vision of mostly inky blackness must be very difficult. So in this regard the ball with a smaller sensor range can be quickly devastated by an approaching enemy, such as the Zakus in the MSV-R Ridden manga. As you pointed out that can be overcome if they're being supported by either a battleship or another unit with superior sensors.

Still we don't often see the Balls being put to good use. I've heard they shine in Igloo and Evolve so I'll be looking into those.

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Re: RB79 Ball Variants and Successors

Post by MythSearcher » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:09 am

Underrated GM Custom wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:33 pm
Outstanding and thorough post as always!! I'm glad someone else is on team ball here.

To start I'm surprised they only converted 1200 balls into weapons. I recall there being far more GMs produced than this. Hmmm, since Balls were a stop gap measure I would have thought they would be converting these non-stop until the GMs started rolling out.

I am curious about the weapon though. I know it has the same bore size as Guntank but as I recall the Ball using a recoilless rifle whereas the Guntank was low recoil. Are they actually the same weapon or just similar?

Great points about Thrust and overall maneuverability. I think the Ball would be much more of a threat if it had strong thrusters positioned through its body so it could quickly changes its position, similar to a funnel. But since these are converted worker pods it makes sense their primary thrust is below and they have smaller altitude control thrusters scattered around the body for performing colony construction/maintenance. Interesting facts about using solid fuel and being able to refuel quickly leading pilots to hate it. Thanks for sharing those!

Gundam has never been great with Sensor ranges, I recall reading a thread where Mark pointed out Gundam is meant for close range and Guncannon for mid-range combat but the difference in sensors is laughably small with 5.7km and 6km. Now when it comes to Sensors in space, I have wondered how much the total range matters. I suppose prior to Minovsky particles being scattered longer sensors are helpful for enemy detection. While in space the over the horizon effect is no longer an issue, but looking for MS in a 360 field of vision of mostly inky blackness must be very difficult. So in this regard the ball with a smaller sensor range can be quickly devastated by an approaching enemy, such as the Zakus in the MSV-R Ridden manga. As you pointed out that can be overcome if they're being supported by either a battleship or another unit with superior sensors.

Still we don't often see the Balls being put to good use. I've heard they shine in Igloo and Evolve so I'll be looking into those.
You might be interested to this website:(now defunct so linking to the wayback machine backup)
http://web.archive.org/web/201304080538 ... /kobaruto/

The fun thing about converting the SP-W03 to RB-79s is that it was originally scrapped as being too expensive as an option when they tested it as the RX-76 Prototype Ball. Yes, you didn't hear that wrong nor did I made a typo. The RX-76 was deemed too expensive. (I do not remember if it was after the testing or they still had it tested along the Rff-06 Zanny)
So they didn't immediately picked up the production of RB-79s in the very beginning, but

To be clear, it is not very clear(*ahem) if they deemed producing Balls from scratch to be expensive or converting SP-W03s to Balls to be expensive. Anyhow, due to a likely drawing error, it really doesn't matter because the SP-W03 has a diameter of about 4.5m or less (as you can see the pilot inside the canopy to be relatively huge, Katokihajime's redesign didn't fix that but only drawn the pilot to be more clearly huge and the SP-W03 looks like only around the size of the red hexagon portion of the RB-79) but the diameter of the RB-79 spherical section is about 8m if you look at the MG model(the original 1/144 model is about 6.5¬7m). The spec is 12.8m overall height and there's argument about if the cannon should be aiming upwards as the design image or lowered to a horizontal position when measured, it horizontal, the sphere should be about 10m in diameter, while in show it looks more like 5m in diameter.(the size comparison in the above site: http://web.archive.org/web/200703061955 ... g_size.jpg may not load well, the lower 3 are sizes from the site's fan creation and the upper 3 are a) to spec with cannon horizontal, b)1/144 and c)in show eyeballing sizes)
Anyhow, it would be impossible to just cover the SP-W03 with some thin sheets of armour and reuse the thrusters and manipulator arms, the size differences are too large. So basically you can only use the cockpit and rebuild the whole outer shell, arms, thrusters, etc. As the verniers are new tech(directional solid pellet thrusters), those must be new and not on the SP-W03. Maybe the main thrusters can be reused as the smaller thrusters around the RB-79, but as there are only 3 in Katoki's redesign(bottom + back) and 2 in the original design(Back only) you still have to mix in at least 1 thruster from another machine or build a new one, which is likely a nightmare because the thrust will be hard to sync with the originals.

Having lots of main thrusters around the machine isn't a good idea. You are just adding additional mass that aren't in use most of the time. You want to have 1 set of main thrusters that are powerful and can accelerate your machine as fast as possible in that direction and turn your machine to the direction you want to be going.
Say, if your machine without the main thrusters has a mass of 10 units, and the main thrusters set with thrust of 10 units has a mass of 1 unit.
Having one set gives you 10/11 thrust to mass, having two sets in different directions and cannot be used together gives you 10/12, 3 sets 10/13, you can see the decrease in performance there. What's more, if your propellant can support it, having 2 sets in the same direction gives you 20/12, almost doubling your thrust to mass.
This is why if you really design MS as a space fighter, you really want to have the main thrusters on the legs, not the back, where it can be pointed in different directions AND can be adjusted to have the thrust axis lined up with the centre of mass for balancing.(Sadly, aside from a few models like Zeta, S[sans Ex-S], most have their main thrusters on their back, what a shame)

BTW, design concepts may make a machine called a coffin. The more extreme right wing in Japan has this belief about the Zero fighter being a superior fighter in WWII, and thinks that the more well armoured P-47 is a flying coffin because adding armour makes it less manoeuvrable. The truth is, the Zero fighter is the flying coffin which didn't even have the structural integrity to fly at its own top speed and do a dive attack.

Side note, if you have built the RB-79 MG model, you will find that most of the inside of the thing doesn't seem to be important.(The magazine is fed from the clip from behind the cannon, so the top half of the sphere seems to be almost useless, the only thing that may explode are the pellets for the 4 vernier thrusters below the cannon) This may be the reason it can take some hits without exploding into pieces as long as no plot explosives are stuffed under its armour.


Lastly, the sensor range isn't a maximum range or a fixed number, it is just a number under a certain density of Minovsky particles, and from the PG RX-78-2 manual, the range isn't just a 360 degrees sight but it can also use a laser echo and datalink from WB to cover a wider range.
(Follow the http://dalong.net/ link, click PG on top, click on the RX-78 photo on the right, click on Information, scroll down to the Instruction manual, 3rd roll 3rd pic from the left, the 40 miles is likely without any obstruction and influence)

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