Monday, January 1, 2018

[Kit Insight] Bandai HGTO 1/144 MS-06CK Zaku Half Cannon (Standard Loadout & Anti-Aircraft Loadout) (Straight Build)


Model Number: MS-06CK Zaku Half Cannon (Standard Loadout & Anti-Aircraft Loadout)
Designation: Principality of Zeon Mass-Produced Mobile Suit

The Zaku Half Cannon is a testament to the versatility of the Zaku II frame!
Literally a Type C5/J Zaku II fitted with a Type K Zaku Cannon backpack, the Zaku Half Cannon fulfills a terrestial fire support role with its suite of mid to long range armaments. Visually distinct from the Zaku Cannon, the Half Cannon variant is likely cobbled together as a stopgap measure against Federation ground forces.

Apart from the 180mm backpack mounted cannon, the Zaku Half Cannon also made use of a pair of Big Guns, essentially large grenade launchers to lay down enveloping fields of fire and shrapnel. A two-tube smoke grenade launcher mounted on the backpack allows the mobile suit to evade counterattacks. The 180mm cannon can be replaced with a 100mm gatling cannon designed for anti-aircraft work. Although the round caliber is smaller, the weapon is able to quickly put forth a shredding screen for metal and any armour plating will eventually get worn down down by hundreds of rounds. 

While the Federation didn't see the true value of mobile suits until later in the war, they had numerous combat-proven aircraft to fulfill any purpose. Tin Cod and Saberfish air superiority fighters were repurposed to combat ground pounding MS and had slightly better performance against these than Type 61 Main Battle Tanks. Aircraft was also the vehicle of choice to deliver heavy ordnance and payloads onto high value targets and Zeon bases. 

Against this airborne threat, Zeonic defenders of Earth bases cannibalised the weapons fitted onto crew-served base defenses. By mounting a pair of 150mm gatling cannons to the Zaku Half Cannon in place of the Big Guns, Zeonic forces suddenly had access to a mobile, agile and powerful anti-aircraft screen. The same weapons could also be used against land based threats encroaching on Zeonic bases. 

Build Notes
Apart from the addition of a shiny gem in lieu of the monoeye sticker, this model kit is a straight build. Interestingly, the model kit's instructions says to remove the right-hand side Big Gun in order to feed in the chainlink ammunition attached to the gatling cannon. A quick 3mm hole drilled into the bottom of the backpack circumvents this problem, allowing you to use both Big Guns in conjunction with the gatling cannon. 

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