In the fall of 1987, the Japanese magazine Model Graphix began serializing a monthly Gundam novel named Gundam Sentinel. It ran from September 1987 to August 1988 and quickly became a cult favorite thanks to the super-detailed mechanical designs and the high-tech story by veteran Gundam fan Masaya Takahashi (writer of the "MS Senki" comic) called Gundam Sentinel: Alice’s Confession. The story took a more realistic look into the world of Gundam and, for the first time ever, Mobile Suits were visualized more as space shuttles instead of cartoon robots. The novel was also accompanied by mechanical designs and modeling work which was unlike anything that came before. It was the debut of Katoki Hajime who has since gone on to become the premier mechanical designer for the Gundam franchise. After Gundam Sentinel completed its run, Model Graphix compiled all the work, added in some new materials and published it as "Gundam Wars III." Released in September 1989, it is still regarded as one of the best Gundam books ever. The story was republished in July 1990 as a text novel subtitled "Alice's Confession."
It is now perhaps the most well-known of Gundam side stories. Set during the same timeline as Gundam Double Zeta (which is the sequel to Zeta Gundam), after the fall of the Titans the Federation sends an expeditionary force called Task Force Alpha to deal with a group of elite Federation officers who have formed their own Earth-supremacist faction called the New Desides. The series introduced a more realistic technical style of thinking that created some of the most impressive designs from the Gundam Universe. Mobile Suits were larger, their weapons more powerful then their predecessors, the characters were older and the plot was on a less grand scale than what is usually found in Gundam. It can be said that Gundam Sentinel was made for the mature Gundam fan.
The series was never animated (although a short animated TV commercial for an S Gundam model kit was made) or released as manga. However, the model kits continue to be popular with Gundam fans and new Sentinel designs crop up every now and then.
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Special thanks to Mark Simmons for mobile suit and vehicle profiles.