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Whenever the plot of a Mecha series calls for a Mid-Season Upgrade you can tell there will be changes. However adding new powers to an existing robot will often require scrapping the old design altogether and bringing in a shiny new one, and this is not always convenient. One of the easiest ways to get around this is a separate add on, that can be used to grant the new powers, simply by attaching it to the existing robot.

Adding a flight mode to a previously land-bound machine is a favorite. Sometimes this add-on will be a separate vehicle that is piloted by another character, combining (pun originally accidental but we're keeping it) this with Combining Mecha. Since most real robots are modular and reconfigurable to begin with (just like the expensive model kits they're hawking), this is pretty much standard operating procedure for them.

Merchandise-Driven franchises love these, mainly because it means they can release the expansion packs as separate sets, without causing the demand for the older sets to stagnate.

If there are more than one expansion pack, expect to see Multiform Balance kick-in. Meta Mecha is an extreme example of this. Compare Frilly Upgrade, the Magical Girl equivalent, and Environment-Specific Action Figure, the action figure equivalent.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Mazinger franchise:
    • Mazinger Z is probably the codifier of this trope: its Jet Scrander is basically a giant robot-sized jetpack, and it was created when Dr. Hell started creating more and more flying Mechanical Beasts, as Mazinger was helpless against aerial attacks. Word of God said that he always intended for Mazinger to fly, but first he needed to establish that Mazinger was heavy, so he withheld the Jet Scrander until it was clear that the mecha was not light.
    • The other Mazingers had them, too. Great Mazinger introduced Great Booster, which was a separate jetpack which doubled as a ramming weapon. UFO Robo Grendizer had the Double, Marine and Drill Spazers, allowing the titular robo to fly, traverse the seas and burrow underground. Mazinkaiser, or at least it's OVA version, had the Kaiser Scrander, which functioned the same way as Jet Scrander, though it also doubled as a boomerang! And finally Shin Mazinger introduces an upgraded version of the Jet Scrander called the God Scrander that, in addition to flight, allows Mazinger to transform into a giant Rocket Punch that also turns gold!
  • Kotetsu Jeeg: Jeeg had first the Jeeg Drills, a set of weaponized rockets that doubled like This Is a Drill, and later it had the Earth, Marine and Sky parts, three sets of armor let the Humongous Mecha fighting in land, sea and air, and also transform.
  • Shoutmon from Digimon Fusion, being a Combining Mecha themed Digimon, has this. Generally the base form is Shoutmon X3, he gains a sword in Shoutmon X4 by combining with Starmon + Pickmons, adds speed due to centaur feet plus cannons in Shoutmon X4B by combining with Belzeebumon, adds a shield with a huge cape for Shoutmon X4K by combining with Knightmon and PawnChessmons, adds a spear for Shoutmon X4S by combining with Spadamon, and finally gains jet packs, a blaster, a shield, and a power increase for Shoutmon X5 by combining with Sparrowmon. Let's not even go to the combination beyond X5...
  • A staple of the Gundam metaverse, with every series and individual spin-off likely to contain examples:
    • One variant on the G-Armor in Mobile Suit Gundam basically allowed the Gundam to ride in it, converting it into an impromptu fighter jet. Axed in the movie versions, like the infamous Gundam Hammer.
    • On a more realistic note is the G-Defensor in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, which combined with the Gundam Mk. II. The sidestory Advance of Zeta: Traitors to Destiny, a Red Shirt mech Nemo can use it by equipping with Gundam Mk. II's backpack,note  while SD Gundam G Generation gives the Rick Dias its own D-Defensor.
    • The GP03 Dendrobium from Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory is somewhere in-between this and Mid-Season Upgrade, with a generous helping of Cool Ship.
    • The ReGZ from Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack combines this with Transforming Mecha - literally. Its flight form is achieved by docking it with the Back Weapons System, which is basically a nosecone, wings, and beam cannons that dock with the backpack. This allows for capability similar to the Zeta Gundam without the complex and highly expensive transformation system, with the added bonus of it being disposable by throwing it at the enemy MS when it has to revert to MS mode. The Scorpio from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing uses the same concept.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn:
      • the Stark Jegan, which is a slightly tweaked Jegan with fitted new armor and armaments. The added equipment can be jettisoned if needed for a boost in speed.
      • For the final battle, the original Unicorn is converted into the Full Armor Unicorn Gundam, which outfits it with three shields outfitted with dual beam Gatling guns, rocket launchers, grenade launchers and two Base Jabber thrusters so it won't lose speed while heavily loaded.
      • The Unicorns can be outfitted with the Armed Armor Series, a collection of Psychoframe-lined devices designed to increase the combat potential of the Unicorn. It is comprised of the VN (Vibration Nail) claw weapon, BS (Beam Smartgun) beam launcher, DE (Defense Extension) shield booster, and the XC (Xeno-Connect) expansion backpack. The Unit Two "Banshee" is first outfitted with the VN and BS and later swaps it out with the DE and XC, becoming the "Banshee Norn". The Unit 3 "Phenix" is outfitted with two DE units on its back, giving it superior speed.
      • The video game Gundam Try Age did a What If? scenario of the Unicorn Unit One gaining all of these equipment and adding in a fifth Armed Armor piece, the Armed Armor HB (Hyper Beamjavelin), which is a retcon to the hyper beam javelin that the Kshatriya Repaired got as its arm. This form is referred to as the Full Armor Unicorn Gundam Plan B. When it is later given the "Phenix"'s tail fins on its DE shields, it is renamed Unicorn Gundam Perfectibility, and when also outfitted with some of the weapons from the aforementioned Full Armor Unicorn, it becomes the Unicorn Gundam Perfectibility Divine.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative, the Narrative Gundam is given three of these. The A-Packs is a special Mobile Armor designed to capture the Unicorn Gundam Unit 3 "Phenix" through heavy firepower and special "Psycho-Capture" claws. The B-Packs removes the Mobile Armor aspect and condenses the claws to two wire-guided fin funnel-like devices. The C-Packs just slaps Psycoframe pieces as armor, making seem like a lesser version of the old Unicorn Gundam.
    • The (short) manga and model series Gundam F90 has the eponymous Gundam, which is fairly orthodox except for the hardpoints spread about its body which allow it to equip a staggering variety of weapons and gear.note  In the manga, none of the actual packs are used; instead, for the Final Battle the hero equips parts piecemeal from three different packs, to achieve a "Full Weapons" configuration.
    • Mobile Suit Victory Gundam:
      • The Overhang Pack of the original V Gundam and the Ace Custom V Gundam Hexa gives the Gundam extra boosters as well as two powerful beam cannons for long-range assault. Attached to a regular Core Fighter, the Overhang Pack turns it into a Core Booster.
      • The V2 Gundam received the Assault and Buster variants, a melee to mid-range and long-range power-up respectively, and could even equip both outfits at once (giving it the cumbersome name of V2 Assault Buster Gundam). However, the energy requirements and additional weight of the packs lowered the V2's max specs at the same time.
    • While the original Mobile Suit Gundam Wing had no entries for this trope, its retelling manga, Glory of the Losers, gave the original Gundams new equipment. Wing Gundam and Wing Zero had the "Drei Zwerg" attachments for the Buster Rifles, Deathscythe gained flight with the "Rosetta" pack, Sandrock added extra defense with the "Armadillo" armor, Heavyarms added even more firepower with the "Igel" pack, and Shenlong added the "Liaoya" sword.
    • The G-Falcon of Gundam X for the Mid-Season Upgrade, the Gundam Double X, which is also usable by the Airmaster Burst and the Leopard Destroy.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED loves this trope so much, it married it.
      • The Strike Gundam started the trend with its Striker Packs, including the main three.note  Several more MS pop up with follow the "flight/melee/gunner" set-up, including the Impulse Gundam's Silhouettes and ZAKU Warrior/Phantom's Wizard Packs from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. And that's not even factoring in all the other Strikers, Silhouettes, and Wizards that show up in side-media, or the mecha that don't quite fit the same dynamic, like the Dagger L and Windamnote  and the Akatsuki.note 
      • Duel has the "Assault Shroud", a set of armor for the otherwise unspectacular GAT-X102, giving it heavier defenses and armor plates, greater movement and agility in space and extra weaponry.
      • The manga retelling, Gundam SEED Re: gave specialized packs to the Aegis, Duel, Buster and Blitz.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray tries to justify this with the two main Gundams. Blue Frame's special trait is that its computer is loaded with specs for a staggering variety of mission packs, including amphibious armor, jungle gear, etc., which fits its adaptable mercenary pilot Gai like a glove. Red Frame also gets a fair number of add-ons, mainly because its pilot Lowe is an enthusiastic mechanic and just plain loves building stuff like a Power Loader and 150-meter-long katana.
    • The grand-champion mecha for expansion packs in the Seed-verse is the Astray Out Frame, equipped with a "Multi-Striker System" that allows it to load any of the expansion packs in the series: Striker packs, Impulse Silhouettes, Tactical Arms, and ZAKU Wizards, as well as a couple of packs custom-built for it. But as its current owner uses it for journalism rather than any kind of military purpose, its most-used pack is quite literally just a mobile home strapped to the back of the mech.
      • And now it bested by the MVF-X08 Eclipse Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED ECLIPSE, which also does the same thing the Astray Out Frame does, being able to load any of the expansion packs in the series through the Striker Connect on the back: Striker packs, Impulse Silhouettes, Tactical Arms, and ZAKU Wizards, as well as its own striker pack that can also dock in the suit's MA mode.
    • Played straight with Freedom and Justice in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Strike Freedom and Infinite Justice in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny with their METEOR weapon systems. It's pretty much the same in both series, but their destruction in the finale of Seed lets them bring them out again for the finale of Destiny.
    • The trend continued in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 with GN Arms and 0 Raiser for Exia, Dynames, and 00 Gundam.
    • The Arios' GN Archer, which is both a Mecha Expansion Pack and a Transforming Mecha. They remain linked during regular flight and separate during combat in order to conserve on the GN Archers particle tanks.
      • Played straight one more time towards the end of the series, long after the Mid-Season Upgrade. Most of the Gundams received add-on weapon and equipment packs (the 00 just got a new sword and the 0 a new battery pack) in time for their swansong.
      • The Gundam 00 Sidestories added in a whole host of variants for Setsuna's Gundams. The Exia got the Avalanche and Avalanche Dash parts, which made the machine much faster and added extra weapons. The 00 Gundam had the Seven Swords pack and further modified with the Seven Swords/G, which gave the machine a powerful set of blades as well as a buster gun and also functioned as the 00's stabilizer equipment. The 00 Qan[T] had the Full Saber, which was meant to be stabilizer equipment as well, but wasn't needed. As well, it would have made the suit powerful enough to (theoretically) take out the entire ELS race.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE has this all over the place with the Wear Parts produced by the AGE Device. The Gundams can swap out arm and leg units to gain new weaponry and abilities. The AGE-1 and AGE-3 Gundams swap out the parts depending on the situation. The AGE-2 more or less kept its only set of Wear Parts as a permanent upgrade. Some episodes show that even the Mook mobile suits on the Federation's side can be equipped with Wear Parts if needed.
      • Near the end of the series, the AGE-1 Flat (the AGE-1 without its computer) gets itself wrecked, so it gains a powerful suit of armor known as the Glansa, which adds in missile launchers and arm-mounted shield rifles that double as beam sabers. It later gets a flight back with beam cannons, rechristening the form into Full Glansa.
    • The MSVs for the Gundam series, as befitting their Merchandise-Driven status, usually reveal that certain units have had additions, usually extra armor, that was planned but was ultimately scrapped or used by someone else other than the intended pilot.
    • The manga Gundam EXA adds a couple of interesting spins on this: the series is set in the distant future of the entire Gundam timeline and revolves around G-Divers who explore recorded memories of the past Gundam stories. Thus, The Hero's Gundam has Mecha Expansion Packs explicitly based upon famous Gundams, including a melee form based on the Shining Gundam, a long-range form based on Wing Zero, and an Attack Drone form based on Strike Freedom. On top of that, when he uses these packs, he takes on aspects of the original pilots' personalities, becoming Hot-Blooded like Domon Kasshu, stoic like Heero Yuy, or hopeful like Kira Yamato.
    • Even the series involving Gunpla doesn't get away from this!
      • In Gundam Build Fighters, Sei Iori's Build Strike Gundam, based on the Strike Gundam, gets a whole bunch of them as he evolves as a builder and he improves the suit.
      • In Gundam Build Fighters Try, Yuuma Kousaka's Lightning Gundam gets a few due to his suit being based on the Re-GZ. His first one was based around the Re-GZ, the second one focused more like the GP-01 Full Burniern and the third from the AGE-2 Normal.
      • In Gundam Build Divers, Riku Mikami's Gundam 00 Diver gets a SEED-style backpack, but unlike the others, it's the only one he really gets. Later on, Riku gives his Mid-Season Upgrade 00 Sky a Heavy Weapon System pack for his fight against the Coalition of Volunteers.
      • In Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE, Hiroto's Core Gundam and Core Gundam II have the PLANETS System, which is a set of armor which allows him to take up brand new forms and purposes: Mercone (aquatic combat), Veetwo (long-range combat), Earthree (general purpose), Marsfour (close-range combat), Jupitive (space combat), Saturnix (designed specifically for Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans units), Uraven (long-range sniping) and Nepteight (galaxy travelling). The final set of the PLANETS, the sun-themed Re:Rising, meant to take on overwhelming threats like Alus's Kill Sat, isn't an expansion pack as much as it is a full blown Combining Mecha with the whole Build Divers team pitching in.
  • When not fully combined as GaoGaiGar, GaiGar could also equip Stealth Gao as a jetpack or Drill Gao for extra punching power. Arguably, Final Fusion itself counts, as well as for any other Combining Mecha who combine in this way. Also, when the Goldion Hammer is introduced, another robot is introduced with the express purpose of being GaoGaiGar's hand when he's using it.
    • The Mid-Season Upgrade (as it were) was pretty much sticking giant rockets onto StealthGao, adding some extras to the Rocket Punch and Protect Shade and changing their names. A new mecha (and toy) would have to wait for FINAL's GaoFighGar. Genesic GaoGaiGar is also effectively this, as it primarily adds the original Gao Machines to GaiGar.
    • The Symmetrical Dockers all got pairs of thruster packs on their shoulders to maneuver in space during the second half of the show's run.
    • Speaking of FINAL, Genesic GaoGaiGar's counterpart to StealthGao, known as GadgetGao, took the form of an enormous mechanical bird. While it itself did not count as an expansion pack since (like the StealthGao series) its jet engines formed GaoGaiGar's forearms, it could detach its head and sections of its neck which would then transform into "Gadget Tools", including the Bolting Driver (a Super Prototype of both the Dividing and Gatling Drivers), a Will Knife sized for Genesic's hands, and a pair of claw-like gloves that were used during Hell and Heaven. And let's not forget the Goldion Crusher, an energy mallet that dwarfed Genesic GaoGaiGar, which was made of three GGG space-ships and controlled by Mikoto (who was hooked up to it) and Goldymarg's Super-AI.
  • All the Brave Series have a expansion for their mechs. Mostly, the 3-member squad (not the main hero mech) gets one every time. Examples include:
  • This is the defining characteristic of Liger Zero in Zoids: New Century: it has three different such expansion packs, in addition to its base state. In model line, it also has Zero X armor, as well as the Fire Phoenix and Jet Falcon, separate Zoids that combined with the Zero from Zoids: Fuzors.
    • Other Zoids can be modified in various ways - Leena has her Gunsniper modified with twin gatling guns and missile pods, Blade Liger can be equipped with boosters with built-in beam cannon. See this and this for some examples.
  • Nearly every unique mecha in Code Geass eventually gains flight capability thanks to a bulky "Float Unit". The Lancelot later receives a shoulder-mounted "hadron cannon" as well - referred to as "Conquista formation".
    • Code Geass R2 eventually stops doing this though - the Lancelot is replaced by the Lancelot Albion, which uses a lightweight "Energy Wing System". The Guren is severely modified, if not completely rebuilt, (as the Guren SEITEN) with the same system a few episodes before this.
    • Though R2 also shows how you can make adding such an expansion as awesome as possible: The Guren gets its Float Unit and a new radiation wave arm delivered and attached by missiles while falling from the sky down to the sea.
  • The F-Type Equipment from the Neon Genesis Evangelion Expanded Universe and Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 is a set of armor and weapons for the EVA-01(!) that also actually prevents it from going berserk no matter what. The weapons also include a new rifle with a huge bayonet, N2 rocket launcher AND an AT field lightning weapon called the "Impact Bolt" mounted in the unit's shoulders, the strongest weapon in the entire franchise. To say those last two create very large explosions when used is a complete understatement.
    • What about the D-Type Equipment from the original? Probably counts as a subversion, considering how goofy it looks.
    • Also, the S-Type Equipment for Unit-02 in Rebuild of Evangelion, which gives it flight capabilities.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion also gave us the G-type equipment used by Unit-01 during the sniper battle against Ramiel, which consists of an advanced fold-down targeting scope that covers the eva's eyes and a radar antenna array, all mounted on the right shoulder fin.
  • Macross:
    • The FAST Pack System/Super Veritech gives the Valkyrie fighters improved maneuverability in space and increased weapon loadouts. There was also the Armored Valkrie/Veritech which added armor and a whole lotta missile launchers, but rendered the mecha unable to transform out of battloid mode until it was jettisoned.
      • Hilarious in Hindsight but the former is actually Truth in Television: the real life F-15C was designed to be compatible with the optional "Fuel And Sensor Tactical" equipment which is actually a fancy name for auxiliary fuel tanks designed to reduce air drag and radar signature when compared to regular external fuel tanks at the expense of being non-removable without a ground crew. They originally wanted to pack navigational and infrared targeting systems into it as well but that was scrapped. What makes it count is that when Macross came out, the F-15 was still brand new so Shoji Kawamori might have used it for inspiration.
    • The VF-25 Messiah fixed the problem with the Armored Pack in Macross Frontier, allowing it to transform into fighter and GERWALK modes while still using it. The VF-171's also wind up picking up special anti-Vajra modules late in the series run.
      • The Messiah actually has three packs total, the Super Pack, the EW/ELINT version of Super Packs used to control several GHOST unmanned fighters, and the aforementioned Armored Packs. These Packs however, cannot be used within atmosphere and must be ejected prior to re-entry. They seem to be equipped with a "Smart" System allowing the Pack parts to coalesce into a single unit in low-orbit to be later retrieved when the VFs go back to outer space. This unfortunately also shows the limitation of the Pack system, as the VF-25's main rival, the VF-27 Lucifer, has all its armament stored internally, giving it less ammo and total offensive capability overall, but gives it a Jack of All Trades trait, enhanced by its Cyborg-enhanced piloting system. Most importantly, it allows the pilot a full range of offensive options even within atmosphere while the Messiah can only retaliate with its gunpod.
    • In Macross Zero (chronologically the first series from an in-universe standpoint), Roy's VF-1 is fitted with what seems to be the precursor to Armored Valkyrie. Instead of having missile launchers all over the place however, it is also fitted with Reactive Armor, the ballistics-defeating kind of armor used on modern day battle tanks. This allowed Roy to not only ambush the two main villains with Proto-Armored Valkyrie's massive missile arsenal, but also survive their team attack due to the reactive armor.
    • In Macross 7, Fire Bomber eventually picked up booster units for their custom fighters, enhancing their effect against the Protodeviln.
    • Macross Delta also gave its Valkyries, the VF-31 Siegfried line, its own Super and Armored packs, as well as the ability to use the Lil' Draken drones, with the latter two exclusive to the Passionate Walkure movie.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico has the Aestivalis, which are modular with the cockpits and heads attaching to specialized frames for whatever situlation they need them in, such as ground, flight, space, and an artiliery frame.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
    • Gurren Lagann picks up the ability to fly in episode 13, although this is a unique case in that rather than having a flight unit designed for it, Gurren Lagann commandeers a flying enemy Gunmen and assimilates it (which is really how Lagann combines with everything).
    • The Lagann is the mecha, EVERYTHING ELSE is its expansion pack. Seriously, that's the whole point.
    • The Space Gunmen are giant robots FOR the giant robots, which are basically the same machines but much larger.
    • And the Arc-Gurren Lagann, which is like a space gunmen for Gurren Lagann itself, except its slightly bigger and looks different. And the there's the Chou Ginga Gurren Lagann... which is piloted by the Arc Gurren Lagann, which is piloted by Gurren Lagann. Many, many expansion packs. It goes all the way up to "SUPER TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN" that's pretty much, made of win and running on awesome.
    • In an example that can be installed at will, Kittan can upgrade his King Kittan into the King Kittan Deluxe by having his sister transform her Kiyalunga into a shield and lance for him to use.
  • Part of the whole point behind the "Hecatonchires" system in the Appleseed manga. With it, a cyborg can have several attachments hooked up directly to his body, and control them as easily as his own arms and legs. Reportedly, a 'Borg with the system could run an entire Aircraft Carrier by himself.
  • Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor has an unusual case: the eponymous mecha has its air upgrade not so much attached to it as vice versa.
  • Zentrix: Zeus and Quantum both get flight gear to go into space.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force has started blurring the lines between Magical Girl and Mecha Show by equipping the title character with this monster.
  • Stellvia of the Universe - the Infinity has a whole kit of optional parts including boosters and laser cannons.
  • Asurada GSX from Future GPX Cyber Formula receives two expension packs: the "Rally" and "Aero" types, which are used in the second and third races to fit different racing situations.
  • The Aestivalis in Martian Successor Nadesico have an odd variation of the expansion packs: they have various frames designed for certain areas (land, air, space, the Moon), but the frames are the bodies - the crew just swap the Assault Pit (the head and the cockpit) from one frame to the next. Doesn't work very well when there's a need to swap on the fly, shown by Gai's Cross Clash attempt.
  • GEAR Fighter Dendoh had an odd case with the Full Armor package - a Super Robot homage collection of weapons and gear when the Data Beasts abandon the heroes when the plunge into the Despair Event Horizon.
  • In Panzer World Galient, the titular mecha got the "Assault Galient", a combination of assault rifle and Shoulder Cannon.
  • Time Bokan 24 has the main Transforming Mecha Mechabuton, and a wide array of other bug-themed ones that can be used for two kinds of combinations. Super Docking enhances it in vehicle form, offering things like a Power Fist or turning it into an elephant, while Cosplay Docking offers a more typical expansion-pack type powerup, drawing on everything from pirates to samurai to salarymen.

    Fan Works 
  • In Thousand Shinji, after Ramiel melted Unit-01's armor, the Evas got the L-Type Equipment: new, sturdier armor, and new, more dangerous weapons.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Numerous Power Rangers and Super Sentai series use this mechanic when a Sixth Ranger joins up. The very first was Super Live Robo of Choujuu Sentai Liveman, which combined the initial robot Live Robo and the robot of the new guys, Live Boxer.
    • In the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the Dragonzord (Dragon Caesar in source material Zyuranger) could either be combined with the Mastodon, Saber-Toothed Tiger, and Triceratops Dinozords to make a new humanoid machine (Dragonzord Battle Mode/Goryujin), or truer to the trope, combine with the completed Megazord as an extra weapons pack known as Zyutei Daizyujin/Mega-Dragonzord (this wasn't often used because that costume was extremely cumbersome). The Falconzord from the third season could also combine with the Ninja Megazord as a jetpack with wings, or the Shogun Megazord as a set of chest-mounted guns.
    • Some seasons go a bit crazier with it, and numerous new Zords are introduced, each attaching to the standard formation in a way that adds one or two new capabilities. Eventually enough show up for the new ones to make their own formation, but that usually waits until near-midseason. Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue and Power Rangers Operation Overdrive didn't stop bringing out new formations until near the end of the series.
    • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger and Power Rangers Wild Force were probably one of the best examples of this, since each new zord provided a new weapon or upgrade specific to the animal in question. The long trunk and large ears of the elephant became a sword and shield, the long neck of the giraffe became a spear, and the horns of the deer created a claw/clutcher. Still overdone, but there was a certain pattern to it.
    • Engine Sentai Go-onger (aka Power Rangers RPM) sets the new record, though, with EngineOh G12, the series' largest combining mecha yet in terms of individual components—as the name suggests, it's formed by combining 12 Engines (that can form four entire separate robots!) into what has been described as a member of Team Hilarious Overkill.
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger went all-out with this, as the Mecha Expansion Packs are in fact Legend Mecha used by previous teams (like Mahou Sentai Magiranger's Magi Dragon or Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger's PAT Striker), which the Gokaiger unlock after winning the approval of their predecessors. The season's requisite Ultrazord, Kanzennote  Gokaioh, is made by combining the main robot, the Sixth Ranger's robot, and the Go-Onger Legend Mecha, and is of course just as ludicrously large as the EngineOh G12, capable of movement only by using foot wheels.
    • Ressha Sentai ToQger seems to be headed this way. The Rangers' base is a Cool Train with five cars, each in one of their colors, which turns into the expected mecha. However, from the earliest episodes, they keep finding new ones that add a new power to the main formation, and it's episode nine when they can form a second robot of their own, and in episode 11, both robots combine. Last time it happened this early, it was, well, Go-Onger. Then episode 23 comes along and the main robot, the auxiliary robot, and the Sixth Ranger's robot all combine...
  • Kamen Rider Kuuga's beetle robot Gouram can attach itself to his Cool Bike TryChaser 2000 and become armored TryGouram. Turn out to be Awesome, but Impractical though, as TryChaser's chassis got damaged by combination process. The Mid-Season Upgrade BeatChaser 2000 fix this problem.
  • Tomica Hero Rescue Force features a wide selection of vehicles that can combine with Rescue Striker, Rescue Saver, and Rescue Diver (Apparently).


    Tabletop Games 
  • The license system of Lancer effectively acts like this. Each mech in the game aside from the starting GMS Everest has three license levels: the first of which provides a set of equipment and systems that can upgrade the owner's existing mechs, the second provides more equipment and the mech itself, and the third provides premium equipment.
  • Mekton has "Command Armor," which can fit any system in the game, and "Boosterpacks," which are specifically for extra speed. Both systems have a "balance modifier" that subtracts from the mecha's statistics, and can be balanced out with vernier motors and other such systems.
  • Future Card Buddyfight has Ultimate Card Burn, a Combining Mecha Made of Card Burn and two other monsters. A few sets later, another card was released which combines with Ultimate Card Burn to give him a flight pack.
  • In Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Space Marines Centurion armor is in actuality an expansion kit for a Marine's regular suit of Powered Armor. It has a Chest Blaster of either rocket launchers, a hurricane bolter, or the sort of Grenade Launcher usually mounted on tanks depending on the pattern, and carries modular Arm Cannons or assault drills depending on their tactical role.
    • The Dreadknight of the Grey Knights faction is this taken to the extreme, having a Terminator dangling out the front of a Giant Robot and having an unfortunate resemblance to a baby carrier.

  • Kotobukiya's toylines such as Frame Arms Girls and Megami Device are designed for compatibility with their Modeling Support Goods line of expansion packs, which are what the name implies, providing a variety of weapons and armor usually made up of many interlocking pieces using standardized 3mm ports and pegs so that they can be rearranged however the user wishes. Some lines such as Hexa Gear are themselves entirely made out of such parts, allowing them to serve as expansion packs for other kits.
  • In 30 Minutes Missions, the Option Armor and Option Weapon sets provide additional armor parts and weapons for your EXAMACS units. They also happen to be literal expansion packs as they are sold separately.

    Video Games 
  • While not technically an expansion pack, KOS-MOS' Tertiary Weapons System in the Xenosaga series strongly resembles this trope.
  • Super Robot Wars is fond of busting this out whenever possible (including the Gundam and Evangelion examples above as well as many more from the mecha anime that take part). Examples in Original Generation mechs include the Huckebein Boxer frame from Alpha, the various Excellence frames from R, and the G-Thundergate in Original Generation Gaiden.
  • Appears in Armored Core: For Answer, after a fashion, with the VOB system, although the reasons are different.
    • To explain, all Armored Cores have a special booster system called Over Boost, which lets the mech go really fast, but sometimes this isn't enough. The VOB stands for Vanguard Over Boost, and it basically amounts to a few Space Shuttle SRBs bolted together and duct-taped to the back of the AC for when they need to get into a combat area really goddamn fast.
    • The VOB's average speed is around 2500 kph. It's possible to build a mech that has a normal OB faster than that, and actually get slowed down by missions that require the VOB. Many optimized OB Lancer and Twin Blade builds can accomplish this with ease, especially when you turn on the Unlimited Energy Regulation.
  • Assault Suits Valken had three shooter levels where the player's mecha is outfitted with a rocket pack.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War : Dark Crusade — Though used on battlesuits and not Humongous Mecha, the Tau Commander and Crisis suits can be further upgraded once built with different weapons (the jetpack needs to be researched elsewhere). In the campaign, the Commander gets a lot more upgrades, such as stealth and drones.
  • Demonbane: The titular Demonbane later gain Shantak flight system.
  • In Thunder Force V, while not a mecha, the 5th mission start with your fighter RVR-01 Gauntlet docked with Brigandine module. It can take lot of hits as and has as unlimited Secondary Fire (one being Wave-Motion Gun) but is huge and slow. Too bad that Brigandine only lasts for one stage, but the Gauntlet will keep some upgrades from it and become RVR-02 Vambrace afterward.
    • On enemy's side, the Original Vasteel will fight you using its own modules, each one is larger and more bizzare than before . Then in VI, Vasteel Nocht will upgrade itself after previously being blasted apart by having new parts added onto old ones before recombining.
    • Also from VI, the fight against Perfect Gargoyle start with its being serpent-like form, damage it enough, and the thing with combine with main body.
  • Einhänder: Once Sturmvogel takes enough damage, a flying armored unit will attach on top of it, allowing it to spam missiles and bombs.
  • Shin Super Robot Wars:
    • The "Plus" parts for the R-2 Powered and the R-3 Powered.
    • During a Space Route Scenario, Kouji and Astonage are both a tad baffled how to use whatever the new gadget on Mazinger Z is. It claims to be some type of energy charger, and doesn't have any visible controls. Astonage figures that it will probably just... do whatever it does when the time comes.
    • The other Super Robots get mentioned upgrades off-screen.
  • The Armored Command Units in both Supreme Commander titles and their buddies, the Support Armored Command Unit, are more or less built around being customizable to fit the commander's needs. They take the form new parts on the arms and as backpacks for the Commanders, ranging from just producing more resources to microwave lasers, nuclear missile launchers, and shields.
  • According to the StarCraft Expanded Universe, the Terran Goliath assault walker is this. A Space Marine hooks his Powered Armor up to the mech's control system and walks normally, although they can also be piloted without CMC armor.
  • The Mantis walker from Halo 4 was originally conceived as this, but evolved into a standalone Mini-Mecha instead.
  • Sierra Ops: The Lapis can equip CAST modules to improve its firepower and increase its survivability. If the current CAST gets wrecked, the Lapis can call for a new CAST after a minute's wait.

    Western Animation 
  • The Transformers franchise:
    • Ultra Magnus, who debuted in The Transformers: The Movie, was the first example, as his toy was a Optimus Prime cab recolored white with a transforming car-carrier trailer that became armor for the smaller robot. Although he was not depicted in this manner in the cartoon or original comics (simply transforming from truck to combined robot), the Dreamwave comics brought the concept into the fiction proper. Many subsequent G1 Ultra Magnus toys have just been Optimus Prime recolors without the additional trailer, and the lack of a "proper" Magnus for many years helped drive the third-party market to create their own trailer add-ons, most notably the "City Commander" set for Classics Ultra Magnus. The expansion pack aspect is averted with the Titanium, MP-22 Masterpiece, and Combiner Wars toys, although Combiner Wars Ultra Magnus adds a new wrinkle from the IDW comics, as "Ultra Magnus" is actually a Legacy Character, and the figure is essentially Powered Armor for the diminutive Minimus Ambus. It would not be until the Siege toyline, where the original concept of Ultra Magnus being a smaller cab robot with a trailer that became his armor, was revisited.
    • Beginning with Powermaster Optimus Prime, many versions of the Autobot leader have been depicted as combining with his trailer to create a larger robot and/or give him additional firepower. Powermaster Prime only appeared animated in commercials, though, and as a live-action mock-up in the host segments for the repackaged episodes of the original cartoon in the short-lived "season 5". His Masterforce counterpart, God Ginrai, included a second trailer which, when not combined with Super Ginrai, could function as a semi-autonomous drone named Godbomber.
    • The Japanese Headmasters could be considered this as well, as the smaller "head" robots were the sentient components which combined with the larger non-sentient "transtector" bodies.
    • Ultra Magnus himself became a Mecha Expansion Pack for Optimus in Car Robots/Robots in Disguise. However, it's a plot point that "Omega Prime" is under both their control at once: Ultra Magnus thinks he should be leader instead of his brother, but the Matrix of Leadership's full power must be unlocked by both together. When they become Omega Prime, this form even has its own voice actor, not Optimus's or Magnus's.
    • The Unicron Trilogy heavily featured Transformers combining for power enhancements.
      • The whole plot of Transformers: Armada centered around the Minicons, who by combining with larger Transformers (referred to as "bulks" by the Minicons) could unlock special powers and weapons. In addition, Optimus Prime could not only combine with his trailer again, but he could also instead combine with Jetfire to create the flight-capable Jet Optimus. And either of Prime's combined forms could additionally combine with Overload to give him a huge pair of shoulder cannons.
      • Transformers: Energon featured more "Powerlinking", taken to a new level. Unlike previous multi-Transformer gestalts which were typically composed of five or six individual Transformers (although there were a few of those in this series as well), Energon featured Autobots combining in pairs, with the Autobot forming the top half being in full control, leaving the "bottom" Autobot essentially dormant. Optimus Prime could not combine in this manner in the series, although he had his own team of drone vehicles that could combine with him to form a super mode; Wing Saber could also separate into limb components to combine with Optimus in this manner. Prime could also combine with Omega Supreme (who himself was essentially a Headmaster in the Japanese style, with the tiny Omega robot controlling the larger body). There was a Powerlinx Optimus Prime toy released that could combine with other Powerlinx Autobots, though he never showed this ability in the anime (and due to Powerlinx Optimus being smaller, his combined form with the much larger Jetfire toy is... awkward, to say the least).
      • Transformers: Cybertron once again had Optimus Prime able to combine with his trailer, and he could also combine with Leobreaker, although this time the latter only formed a new arm for Optimus. Leobreaker's Evil Counterpart, Nemesis Breaker, could do the same for Megatron.
    • The second live-action movie, Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, has Optimus combine with Jetfire again, with Jetfire turning into, basically, a jetpack. But that's after Jetfire sacrificed his life to make it happen, and even then, Optimus discarded the parts after he defeats The Fallen.
    • Transformers: Dark of the Moon has Optimus finally get a trailer. It's both a mobile armory and a flight pack. And it's awesome.
    • The Power of the Primes toyline uses this for all Leader class figures: the toy consists of a Deluxe sized robot that has a trailer or other parts that combine with it to form a Leader-sized vehicle and Leader-sized robot. This is in service to the "evolution" gimmick of the line's figures for that size class, as all the characters in that size class of the line started out with less powerful forms (the core Deluxe-sized robots) and later received significant upgrades (adding armor to covert the figure to Leader-size) during their G1 cartoon storylines (Hot Rod to Rodimus Prime and Optimus Primal to Optimal Optimus, etc.)
    • The first installment of the War for Cybertron trilogy toyline, Siege, does this with a new type of figure, the Weaponizers. Weaponizer characters are Deluxe-sized toys that can be taken apart to become weapons and armor that can be attached to other figures, resulting in a larger, more heavily armed character. This play pattern is continued in the next two installments, Earthrise and Kingdom, though the figures that are capable of it are instead dubbed "Modulators" and "Fossilizers".
  • Parodied in Megas XLR, as with everything else. Coop uses S Force's damaged "Zorps" to power up Megas, but rather inelegantly—he basically shoves Megas' hands and feet up four of their butts, and slaps the bird Zorp on his back. It's called "the most foul attempt at military strategy [one S Force member] had ever seen". Still works, though.
  • Insertion Armor from Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles is this by way of a Drop Pod. It plugs into a Mobile Infantryman's Powered Armor and provides a re-entry shield, plus some More Dakka to help defend the landing zone. Once it runs out of ammo or juice, it's jettisoned.