On the Road to Dakkar…
In the early stages of the One Year War of 0079, the Zeon forces quite clearly had something of an advantage in units, despite smaller fleets and overall fighting strength, down to the capabilities of the MS-06 Zaku Mobile Suit.
This engineering unit which had evolved into a truly awesome fighting machine was, however, capable of so much more, a fact which was proved very capably by Char Aznable, whose stripped down MS-06S boasted massively improved speed and maneuverability, whilst the similarly adapted Zakus of the infamous Black Tristars gained the design fame in their destruction of the battleship Ananka, as well as the capture of Federation General Revill.
Yet, even before the Federation could answer back with their own mobile suits for use in space, all discovered that the powerful Zaku, which was primarily designed with operations in space/low gravity in mind, did not always cope too well when Zeon Forces began landing Earthside. Well enough, to be sure, but they suffered from generator overheating, owing to the higher output needed and stress on a frame which was said to be barely able to support its own weight in a 1G environment.
Still, the Federation at the outset could not answer back with vehicles which were any better, and often much worse, so in the initial stages of the war the Zeon Principality still advanced swiftly, despite the first gen. Zaku IIs operating on the very edge of their ground-fighting capabilities.
Once the nature of the issue was recognized though, Zeon MS designers wasted no time in going to work on a variety of different solutions.
Some streamlined the Zaku itself, stripping out anything that might be needed for space operations and using the saved space/weight in improving the durability of the Zaku’s frame.
Other engineers eschewed the Zaku completely, creating suits which were specifically designed for terrestrial combat, and suffering none of the compromises from which even the Ground Type Zaku suffered – primarily the MS-09 DOM, which became the standard ground warfare MS of the Zeon forces. At least, it did after one interesting, possibly flawed, but brilliant experiment had run its course…
In the immediate aftermath of the European, Baltic, and African landings, the Zeon high command issued orders to address the weakness of the Zaku when operating in a heavy gravity well.
Whilst the original Zaku team worked on adjusting what they had, and other – far sighted folks – went looking for brand new technology, one group recognized that the basic Zaku itself was actually rather sound, but that it needed major overhauls to every subsystem including the weapons. This was if it was to fulfil a useful role in the Earthside battlefield – in which it would be not required to bear the massive anti shipping weapons it tended to in space combat (such as the 120mm cannon or the 240mm bazooka).
Thus the requirements for a lighter, faster ‘Nu Zaku’ of sorts were laid out, much in line with Char Aznable’s MS-06S, which could act as fast Mobile suit hunter and ground unit killer both.
The result was the MS-07 Gouf.
Designed with rapid ground mobility in mind, the prototype was conceived as a suit which could sweep the field of all but the heaviest conventional forces, whilst disabling the powerful but cumbersome Gun Tanks with both its agility and electrified heat whip. This, before finishing them off with either a barrage from its 75mm machine cannons (which replaced its left hand) or a strike from an upgraded heat sword.
In early trials, the suit did remarkably well even against the White Base, and the RX-78-2 Gundam and thus, even though Ranba Ral’s team was destroyed in the encounter, the suit was produced as a front line unit until the high command diverted resources into the more generalised, and therefore more cost effective, DOM program.
The major shortcoming of the suit came into view once the Federation began deploying GMs in greater numbers to the battlefield. With the Gouf’s close range weapons, light armor, and emphasis on melee, a good GM pilot might easily keep a Gouf at bay, unless piloted by a real ace. As such, the Goufs which did survive the closure of the program fell into the hands of ace pilots, who each were granted free reign to to modify and augment as they saw fit.
This was the case with the MS-07B3 custom Gouf, which features a variety of uprated ranged weapons, whilst still being considered a high speed, close combat suit.
Perhaps a failed experiment, perhaps a step in the wrong direction, strategically speaking, the Gouf was still an excellent suit for its time, especially given the constraints of the technology and the limited knowledge that Zeon tech had on ground fighting at the beginning of the war. It might not have survived long in official production, with the Zaku being cheaper and the DOM being more versatile, but whilst the battlefield included the Earth, every Zeon force would have a few of these fast, idiosyncratic killing machines on call, for some close in, dirty knife work.
The assassin of mobile suits, if you will…
I wanted to try some textured paint on this year’s contest build, as I had done in my first. However, then I had neither an airbrush nor an idea of what I was doing, so the result is best left unseen (I promise a case of Ramune to the person who tracks down the one photo of that abomination on the net).
In addition, I always liked the episodes set around Ranba Ral in the TV series, and began to wonder how a suit assigned to the Dakkar front might look after months exposed to the harsh dust storms and extreme weather of the region.
Hence I went for a Desert Gouf…
Undercoating in a nice Tamiya sand and sealing over with matte coat, I was then able to apply a layer Citadel Armageddon Dust to the parts, to mask the cut marks and give the overall surface a blistered scoured feel.
Still going for that Ace look with crimson pauldrons and a flashy heat sword.
Detail, detail detail… I love MG kits…
You can see the texturing more clearly here. When hit with a wash the particles become even more apparent, and then after dry brushing, the whole looks very worn indeed.
The lighting on the leg is an unusual little tech I nicked from one of the juniors at the model shop (though I expect you already know it).
A little dab of acrylic into two part epoxy makes for an excellent gloss effect, for things like lights.
Even, as in this case, an eye piece.
Fail photographer is fail….
I still hate those fiddly Zaku/Gouf power cable shields but what can you do…? 😀
The beauty of the beast: a gatling gun on a shield on a gun! Who designed this? XYZbit?
Going for a variation on old British desert cam here, with a bit of a twist.
I gave myself 11 hours for this build. It came in at just shy of eight…
As a contest piece, I full expect to be be beaten by yet another ten year old girl – and fairly so, as those Bearguys were so boss! (see part one)
However, just as a mech this really does look the part: battle worn and still not down for the count.
I’m very fond of dirty mechs, this all of you know, but even more than my recent Ma.K. builds, I have enjoyed this build, not least because the MG kits (mid box ones anyway) are so inexpensive for what one gets.
They are flexible, packed with detail and one can really do a number on them.
Well, wish me luck… I’ll need it.
Dr. Robodaz signing off.