Gunpla Build - High Grade Gerbera Tetra (Second Intro)

So now we know the history of how the Gerbera Tetra was designed. We know a little about what its purpose was. But what exactly was the mobile suit like? What technologies was it equipped with? And how, if at all, did it differ from its original design as a Gundam?

Let’s talk about all of that, and more, in this (unusual) second introductory post.

Compared to the “Gerbera” Gundam Prototype

In both its original form as the GP04 Gerbera, and it’s final form as the Gerbera Tetra, the mobile suit was intended to be a high speed unit that could get in, cause damage, and get out. To that end, both designs have the following things in common:

  1. They both had thrusters built into the shoulders.
  2. They could both be equipped with a Stürm Booster, essentially an extra large thurster with it’s own propellant supply. The idea is that the unit could use the booster to more rapidly enter enemy airspace (while also not using any of its onboard propellant, which it could now dedicate entirely to movement and maneuvers during battle).

Beyond that, however, the designs seem to diverge quite a bit. The original Gerbera design was meant to be equipped with a shield and at least two different kinds of Beam Rifles. The Gerbera Tetra, on the other hand, has no shield, and one rifle, namely a Beam Machine Gun.

The Gerbera Tetra is also equipped with arm mounted machine guns, which are much more powerful than the standard head mounted Vulcan cannons equipped on most Gundams. This is not accounted for in the original Gerbera design.

Operation Paperclip

These are my personal theories, but it is entirely possible that the difference in loadouts is attributable to the fact that the original weapons intended for the Gerbera were never actually built by Anaheim. Or maybe they were, but they weren't tuned for field use. Or maybe the Zeon Remnants asked for different weapons. It doesn't really matter either way, but it is fun to speculate.

About the Beam Machine Gun

I don’t know if I’ve ever dedicated a section to a single weapon, but the Beam Machine Gun deserves it. I’d venture a guess and say it is one of the most iconic rifles used by any mobile suit in the Universal Century. Maybe not so much for how it performs in battle (since it doesn’t get much of a chance to perform in battle), but rather due to the way it looks, as well as the implications of being a Beam. Machine. Gun.

Up until the events of Stardust Memory, beam rifles for mobile suits were mainly semi automatic designs with a limited number of shots before they were depleted. Visually, they were usually fairly plain, and not necessarily large in comparison to other handheld weaponry. None of this really mattered, however, because they yet remained the most destructive weapon on the battlefield.

But now imagine a Beam Rifle that is absurdly large, nasty looking, and which can fire those same energy shots at rapid fire:

At the time that Stardust Memory was released, there weren’t that many mobile suits with weapons as intimidating as this (and of those mobile suits, all of them existed much later in the timeline). The Beam Machine Gun was a revelation, both in-universe and in real life.


For the sake of thoroughness, I must point out that the Beam Machine Gun wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. It generated a lot of heat, and so required a coolant tank to keep it within operating temps. In way, the coolant acted as an ammunition magazine, since the tank had to be replaced after a certain amount of use.

About the Visual Design

Let’s talk about how the Gerbera Tetra looks.

Its final form doesn’t have all that much in common with its original design as the “Gerbera” Gundam. You’ve got the shoulder mounted thrusters, of course, and I’d argue that it largely retains the square, blocky feet that are characteristic of Earth Federation mobile suits. But outside of those two things, the design is all Zeon. It has curves all around, external cabling, and that trademark monoeye. It’s quite a tough looking design, despite (or maybe in spite of) it’s pink color scheme.

Connection to the Kampfer

The original Gerbera design was meant to be the Gundam equivalent to the Kampfer, at least in regard to function. But that's not the only connection to the Kampfer.

First, they have some design similarities, namely in the head and the torso.

Second, Bandai themselves have hinted at some other shared design philosophy. The current (Japan only) mobile game UC Engage has some original animation that depicts a battle against a Zeon prototype suit, which largely looks like a Kampfer with the Gerbera Tetra's shoulders:

Or if you rewind further back in time, to when this model kit was released, you'll even find this little nugget:

I have no idea whether these attempts at linking the two mobile suits were always intended, or if it is a case of Bandai and Sunrise retroactively making a connection between them because they just so happen to look alike. But there's definitely something going on here.

About its Popularity

Maybe this is a biased sample, but in my travels across the Internet, I’ve encountered many a fan of the Gerbera Tetra. And it isn’t just fans who seem to love it. A slightly modified version of it appears in Gundam Build Fighters.

It is important to be aware of the fact that all of this love exists despite the fact that, as far as I can tell, the Gerbera Tetra shows up on screen in Stardust Memory for less than a minute1, and gets zero mobile suit kills.

One can reasonably argue that despite how cool it looks, and despite how cool its gun is, that no MS could possibly garner that much support after doing so little. Then again, the same thing is true of the GM Sniper II, so who knows? The heart wants what the heart wants.

About the Pilot

One of the other reasons for the Gerbera Tetra’s popularity may have to do with its pilot. Cima Garahau is also something of a fan favorite, who is often portrayed (or at least perceived by the fandom) as a tragic victim of the Zeon War machine:

Granted, there are others who disagree with such a perception, but in this case I’m making an observation, not a judgement.

About the Model Kit

At last, it’s finally time to talk about the model kit itself.

This one hails from 2013, which is not new, but hardly the oldest thing I’ve ever built. It comes with the Beam Machine Gun, and the Sturm Booster, but is otherwise devoid of other accessories or gimmicks2.

Other Thoughts

Apparently the Gerbera Tetra was initially going to be rolled out with a slightly different design, in which it has the V-Fin (and some of the face) of a Gundam:

It looks a little too weird for my tastes.

  1. I actually used a stopwatch to time it, though I was a bit sloppy with it. But I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere close to 60 seconds or less. [return]
  2. Okay, so it has beam sabers, but that’s barely worth mentioning. [return]