Every Gundam series usually had one or two ‘star’ Gundams, even in the shows in which there are a large amount of them (G Gundam, Gundam Wing, Gundam 00 and Gundam Seed)-one that’s pretty much the main character’s mecha, and usually the most powerful.
This will take a look at the varying ‘star’ ones, starting with the “UC” timeline, and the TV series and movies from the 80’s.
The RX-78-2 appears in Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) and is pretty much the Gundam most often associated with the franchise, and of course the forefather of all that came after. It also has a life sized statue in Tokyo, picture above. The Gundam first appears as one of three prototype mobile suits being developed by the Earth Federation-and the most advanced-and it’s later developed into the GM, a stripped-down, mass production version.
The Gundam Mark II debuts in “Zeta” Gundam (1984), and is initially developed for the brutal Titans organization, a branch of the Earth Federation that violently suppresses colony revolts. It’s stolen by the rebel group known as the AEUG and given a more classic color scheme. It also receives an update later on, a weapons backpack that makes it the “Super Gundam”.
The title Gundam from the series is the first Gundam to transform, gaining a “Waverider” form by repositioning it’s body and using a shield as a kind of ‘beak’. It also sports a more angular look than many other Gundams. It is developed by the AEUG, and later used by the Earth Federation when they start backing the AEUG as well.
The “Double Zeta” appears in the show of the same name ZZ Gundam and is a larger suit, with a somewhat more traditional ‘look’. It’s also a gestalt, created from the combination of several fighter craft. Like it’s predecessor, it was developed by the AEUG.
The Refined Gundam Zeta, or REGZ, is used by the Earth Federation task force at the beginning of Char’s counterattack, and used by Amuro Ray who piloted the first suit. It’s basically a scaled down version of the Zeta Gundam.
The “Nu Gundam” is also from “Char’s counterattack”, the movie which wrapped up the initial Gundam storyline. It’s designed to take full advantage of the Newtype abilities of it’s pilot, Amuro Ray, with powerful “Fin Fannels” and fast reaction times.
Finally from the end of the decade we have the Gundam Alex. Initially intended to be Amuro’s Gundam, it was being tested at a neutral colony until discovered by the Zeon. This Gundam has a powerful wrist gattling gun, and also has an armored option.