- "It looked like the cross between a sort of lobster, and something that sort of formed from the scrapyard"
- — Chris Reynolds
Dead Metal was one of the four original House Robots alongside Matilda, Sergeant Bash and Shunt. Designed to resemble a mechanical scorpion that had "reanimated from a junkyard", he fought by grabbing hold of contestant robots with his front-mounted claws and cutting into them with the circular saw on his "head". He was driven by a battery powered engine, and moved at a speed of 5.4 metres per second (12 mph). Dead Metal was protected by a steel exoskeleton consisting of jagged armour plates and spiked struts as wheel guards. Dead Metal was originally going to be painted pink to match his lobster-like appearance, but was left grey to give him a more 'menacing' look. Despite appearing in all seven wars, Dead Metal was virtually unchanged from Series 3 onwards, except for receiving new pneumatic rams in his pincers for Series 4.
Appearance and Armament
- "Our own version of a scorpion!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
In Series 1 and 2, Dead Metal had a more scorpion-like appearance. His circular saw was attached to a tail-like arm that would move forward from the robot's back. During series 1, the steel exoskeleton was much simpler in design, and as a result, its internal workings were visible and mostly unprotected. The saw blade was powered by a petrol strimmer motor, which was unreliable and caused little damage. The arm rotated at its pivot 180 degrees, but moved very slowly.
For Series 2, Dead Metal underwent a major overhaul that saw its capabilities improve tenfold. The petrol motor was replaced by an electric motor, and the saw was changed from a grinding blade to a diamond edged cutting disc. The steel exoskeleton was also completely changed to accommodate the new saw mechanism, giving Dead Metal a much more complex and well-protected appearance. The new cutting disc was more powerful and created sparks whenever Dead Metal attempted to saw through other robots, but still did not give the production team the destructive power they wanted. The arm was also modified- it was now driven by a pneumatic ram and only moved up and down on a 80 degree pivot, which visibly increased its potency and reliability, being less complicated, and able to come down on trapped competitors much more quickly.
In Series 3, Dead Metal underwent further improvement, and gained the appearance and destructive power he would maintain for the rest of the series. The original saw/pneumatic arm configuration was replaced with a Stihl cut-off saw (similar to the type used to cut steel and concrete on building sites) mounted inside the front and protected from damage by a triangular face-like exoskeleton covering it, which would be slowly driven forward via linear actuators to attack. As part of its design, the saw had to be moved forward slowly, otherwise the mechanism would jam.
Part of the rear armour plating was also mounted to the base of the saw mechanism- the combined section would move forward, giving the viewers the impression of a head biting down with its saw blade on trapped competitors. This new system proved to be far more powerful than the original grinding disc/arm configuration, capable of slicing deep into competitors, and producing spectacular sparks, particularly against metals like titanium.
The original air-driven rams used to power the pincers were replaced by a new hydraulic system that ran on Carbon dioxide- the new system proved more durable and powerful than the original air rams. The armour and exoskeleton would remain the same throughout the rest of Robot Wars, with only few minor modifications to improve protection and durability.
Dead Metal also later gained the ability to adjust the height of the front of his chassis, the idea being that this would allow the pincers to grab robots of different heights, and was often demonstrated in its arena introductions.
Dead Metal was one of the fastest House Robots, and his metre-wide body made him very difficult to flip over. Only Gravity ever achieved this; Cassius came close in its Series 2 Heat Final, but did not succeed.
Technical Manual Profile and Origin
The following is the description of Dead Metal's profile and origin from the Robot Wars Technical Manual:
Dead Metal is perhaps the most bizarre-looking and terrifying of the house robots, not least because fully half of his bulk is taken up by a pair of gigantic pincers, giving him an appearance of a hideous and deadly mechanical insect, a cross between a scorpion and an industrial workstation. Once these pincers have grabbed a victim, there is very little hope for the robot as a 3000rpm circular saw mounted on an elongated boom swings up and over the house robot, to crash down on the hapless opponent.
Unlike the other house robots, Dead Metal possesses an exoskeleton composed of jagged armour plates with spiked struts covering his wheels. This extremely unusual design has resulted in some rather wild speculations about his origins, with some commentators suggesting that he may not be from this planet. This is unlikely, however, since analysis by investigating scientists has revealed the steel in his body is consistent with current steel production on Earth.
As with his robotic colleagues, it is something of a mystery of how Dead Metal came to be participating in "Robot Wars," but recently there have been a number od sinister rumours circulating on certain conspiracy-oriented websites. (Don't try to look for these websites: all those dealing with the origins of the house robots have mysteriously vanished from the Internet.) According to one assertion, made by an anonymous person claiming to have worked for the United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an experimental electrodynamic time machine built in a top secret facility somewhere in the southwestern USA, proved disastrously successful. A doorway was opened to a distant future, sucking Dead Metal, along with one of his victims, into our own time. Fortunately for the scientists operating the machine, the robot was immediately subdued by the intensely powerful negative-time field present in the doorway. The victim, apparently human, was mortally wounded, but before he died, he managed to explain that he was a political dissident, and that the robot belonged to the Berserker Empire of 16,000 AD. The Berserkers are (or will be) cybernetically enhanced humans holding half the galaxy in their totalitarian grip. Thermonuclear powered robots such as Dead Metal are the front-line invasion force sent to each target planet, destroying all resistance in the most brutal manner imaginable.
If these claims are true, then it seems Dead Metal is still the worse for wear after his impromptu trip though time, which can only be good news for the other robots pitted against him in "Robot Wars," not to mention the rest of the human race - for the time being anyway!
Dead Metal was the fourth and final House Robot to be introduced into the first series; however, memorable moments involving him were few and far between, due to the lack of power in his weaponry. At this time, he had a more scorpion-like appearance, with his circular saw (a grinding blade in this series, rather than the cutting blade that would be used later) descending on an arm. However, the petrol strimmer motor powering the weapon was unreliable and caused little damage. The simpler steel exoskeleton also exposed his internal workings and left them mostly unprotected; despite this, Dead Metal never broke down.
Due to the weakness of the saw, Dead Metal often relied on his pincers, as well as his speed and ramming ability. This proved to be especially effective in Heat D, when the featherweight Bugs was battered by Dead Metal when it got stuck on a grille; and in Heat E, when the pincers cut through the plaster on Torque of the Devil's head; and in Heat F, when Dead Metal teamed up with Sergeant Bash and Matilda to push The Blob back in its Gauntlet run. However, this tactic still did not always work, as Robot the Bruce was easily able to push him aside in its Gauntlet run in Heat C, as was Skarab in Heat F.
Dead Metal was also adapted to be used in the Football Trial in Heat C and acted as the goalkeeper. Instead of a circular saw, the arm had a large ball on the end, used to hit the ball away from the goal. One of his few instances of major damage to a robot occurred in this Trial, when he slammed WYSIWYG against the goalpost, causing it to break down (although, since WYSIWYG was a stock robot and not permitted to pass the trial, it is not clear whether or not it truly broke down).
Due to the poor performance of his saw in Series 1, Dead Metal received a major upgrade which greatly increased his capabilities. The unreliable petrol motor was replaced with an electric motor, and the grinding blade with a deadly diamond-edged cutting disc. The arm also ran on a simpler pneumatic ram system, making it able to come down on competitors more quickly. Despite a relative lack of power compared to later series, the saw proved far more effective, and produced Dead Metal's signature sparks whenever he attempted to cut through an opponent.
With the upgrade, Dead Metal began seeing great success in stopping opponents in the Gauntlet, using a combination of speed, pushing power and trapping ability to prevent robots including Sting, Onslaught, Killerhurtz, Panic Attack and Loco from completing it. One of his signature moves was grabbing the competitor with its pincers and pushing them towards the pit, while cutting them with his saw. Notably, he continued to cut into the top of Wizard's protruding hat even after it had been pitted, prompting boos from the audience.
Dead Metal temporarily replaced Shunt for the Sumo Trial event in Heat L. This was perhaps his finest hour in this series, defeating four out of five opponents, and only losing to Vercingetorix because he ran out of time. He did fall out of the ring once, against Haardvark, but Haardvark was already knocked out by that time.
Despite this success, Dead Metal still faced several failures. He was completely outmatched by Chaos during the Tug of War event, and was easily dragged into the pit. Dead Metal was also pushed into the pit by Talos during its Gauntlet run. During the King of the Castle Trial run, Plunderbird 2 pushed it off the platform with Sergeant Bash. This event was also the source of one of its more comical appearances - he managed to catch Mega Hurts with his pincers and forced it over the edge backwards, but as this happened Mega Hurts flipped over, and Dead Metal fell over the edge with it, crushing Mega Hurts' computer monitor with its weight.
Dead Metal's saw blade and saw blade mount were completely redesigned for the Third Wars, a new blade was fitted on a much larger mount with increased power. This arrangement would go on to be used on Dead Metal for the remainder of Robot Wars. The new saw enabled Dead Metal to make much more significant damage to competitors, such as Griffon and Onslaught.
Dead Metal was also assigned as the permanent Goalkeeper for the Robotic Soccer Competition that ran alongside the main competition, though still often making errors that made it easier for some robots to go on and score.
Dead Metal returned for the Fourth Wars relatively unchanged, but the power of its weaponry was increased in addition to it having a stronger exoskeleton. This was the last major change that happened to Dead Metal.
A notable incident involving Dead Metal occurred in Behemoth's heat of the All-Stars competition, where it faced Hypno-Disc. Behemoth pushed Hypno-Disc into the CPZ, so Hypno-Disc should have been attacked by a House Robot. However, Dead Metal came into the CPZ and attacked Behemoth instead. Refbot pushed it away and issued it with a yellow card. The battle continued, and Behemoth pushed Hypno-Disc into another CPZ. Dead Metal came out again, but proceeded to attack Behemoth again. Behemoth escaped and Refbot issued Dead Metal with a red card, meaning it was unable to leave its CPZ for the rest of the battle. This made Dead Metal the first House Robot to be issued with a red card.
Dead Metal also fought in the House Robot Rebellion with Shunt and later Matilda, where it faced Stinger, Scorpion and Plunderbird 5. It started by attempting to attack Stinger, but Stinger escaped, and Plunderbird 5 attacked Dead Metal, prompting it to attack Plunderbird 5 with its saw. After Plunderbird was thrown by the Floor Flipper, Dead Metal was attacked by Scorpion and Stinger. Shortly after this, Dead Metal caught Stinger with its claws and began cutting into its wheels. Stinger escaped and hit Dead Metal with its mace and drove away before cease was called. As it was the only challenger still moving, Stinger was announced as the victor.
During the Minor Meltdown in Extreme 2, when Bigger Brother faced Rick, Dead Metal's saw blade fell off. It proceeded to fly across the arena floor, before colliding with the side wall and falling into a gap between the arena and the side wall.
Dead Metal was also attacked during the Commonwealth Carnage final between Firestorm 4 and Crushtacean after the former had propped the latter up against the wall. As Refbot counted the South African robot out, Firestorm chased after Dead Metal and started trying to flip it, only for Dead Metal to get stuck on an angle grinder, pinning both robots and stopping either move. Sgt. Bash then proceeded to crush into Firestorm in retaliation for that attack and for flipping both it and Mr. Psycho in the previous battle.
The Seventh Wars marks the only time in the show's history when Dead Metal was flipped. In the Heat Final of Heat D, Gravity faced Lightning and defeated it relatively easily. After Lightning was counted out, the Gravity team decided to attack the House Robots. It threw both Shunt and Dead Metal over, leaving itself and Refbot as the only machines still moving. Refbot gave Gravity the red card, but at this point Lightning was already immobilised, so Gravity still went through.
During the semi-finals of the All-Stars, during the battle between Dantomkia and Panic Attack, after Dantomkia flipper Panic Attack out of the arena, it attacked not only Dead Metal, but also Growler, both of whom broke down.
- The circular saw produced huge amounts of sparks when cutting into titanium. Examples of this included a battle between Hypno-Disc, Ming 3 and Wheely Big Cheese in Robot Wars Extreme, when it sliced into Wheely Big Cheese's wheels. When Gravedigger faced Darke Destroyer in Series 3 the saw produced great sparks again after Darke Destroyer was immobilised. Dead Metal also produced destructive sparks on the likes of Overkill, Thing 2, Rippa Raptor, G-Force and Techno Trousers.
- In a battle between Bumblebot and Ultor in Series 3, Dead Metal's saw cut right through Bumblebot's axe leaving it without a head.
- During the battle in the First World Championship between Chaos 2 and Razer, Dead Metal was able to catch Chaos 2 from the front end after being pushed into the CPZ by Razer, allowing Dead Metal an opportunity to slice a huge gash into Chaos 2's flipper. This, along with earlier damage inflicted by Razer, prompted Chaos 2 to reverse straight into the pit to avoid further damage after it had escaped.
- Due to its speed, pushing power and ability to trap opponents, Dead Metal proved to be a major challenge to get past in the Gauntlet, single-handedly stopping opponents like Sting, Onslaught, Killerhurtz, Panic Attack, Wizard and Loco from finishing through cunning use of its pushing power, blocking the routes, and the pits.
- One of its most well-known methods of ending Gauntlet runs was catching the gauntlet-runner in its pincers and pushing them towards the pit, whilst simultaneously cutting into them with its saw. It would continue this until the opponent was hanging over the pit, by which point it would then release its pincers to drop them in.
- In Wizard's gauntlet run in Series 2, it prompted booing from the audience by continuing to attack Wizard after it had been pitted, cutting up the top of its protruding hat with its saw.
- In the Heat Semi-final battle between Onslaught and Beast of Bodmin in Series 3, it almost cut the immobilised Onslaught's chassis in half with its saw.
- In Heat E of Series 3, during the Round 1 battle between Sonic and Hammertron, Dead Metal single-handedly dispatched the immobilised Hammertron, effortlessly cutting its tank treads to pieces with its saw, following up by immediately dragging it into the pit.
- In Nickelodeon Robot Wars, it, along with Shunt and Sir Killalot, was able to dispatch Squirmin Vermin and Humdrum to win the House Robot Rebellion. Dead Metal was able to cause huge damage to both robots with its weaponry, slicing right into Humdrum's chassis at least twice.
- During its run on Mega Hurts' King of the Castle Trial in Series 2, it managed to catch Mega Hurts from the front end with its pincers, and forced it over the edge backwards- as this happened, Mega Hurts flipped over backwards as it landed, causing Dead Metal to overshoot and fall on top of it, crushing Mega-Hurts' computer monitor under its weight.
- It proved to be very successful in the Sumo Trial of Series 2, when it temporarily replaced Shunt in the last heat. Here, it managed to defeat four of its five opponents, only failing against Vercingetorix by running out of time. Even still, it only fell off the ring once after knocking out Haardvark.
- During Killerhurtz's gauntlet run, it drove full speed into Dead Metal, knocking the back plate off the house robot.
- Being outmatched in a Tug of War with Chaos in Series 2, ultimately ending up being dragged backwards into the pit.
- During Talos' gauntlet run in Series 2, it was pushed backwards into the pit.
- Getting pushed off the platform with Sergeant Bash by Plunderbird 2 in its King of the Castle Trial run.
- In the Northern Annihilator, Dead Metal drove into the arena wall and broke one of its pincers.
- In Heat D of Series 5, whilst pitting one of the Gemini twins, he fell down as well.
- Dead Metal has fallen into the pit more times than any other House Robot
Appearances in Merchandise
- Dead Metal/Pullback
- Dead Metal/Minibot
- Dead Metal/Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem
- Dead Metal/Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction
- Dead Metal/Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction
- Dead Metal/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (GBA)
- Dead Metal/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (PC/Xbox)