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Dead Metal

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"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 on the British TV series Robot Wars. Dead Metal was one of three House Robots (along with Shunt and Matilda) to participate in every televised version of the show, including international versions. Designed to resemble a mechanical scorpion that had reanimated from a junkyard, Dead Metal's trademarks were front-mounted vertical pincers and a circular saw that was originally mounted on a lifting arm but later changed to a moving mechanism.

In Dutch Robot Wars, commentator Eric Corton often called it Death Metal, although its name was still spelt Dead Metal in the house robots' introduction and statistics board.

The Robot Wars Technical Manual stated that Dead Metal was a robot from the future "Berserker" Empire of 16,000 AD. The Berserkers are cybernetically enhanced humans ruling half the galaxy and utilising thermonuclear robots to invade resistant planets and execute political dissidents. Dead Metal was ostensibly brought back through a time loop and subdued.[1]

DesignEdit

DeadMetalProduction

Dead Metal under construction

"It's like watching a surgeon at work only with less blood, more sparks and absolutely no medical qualifications! Ooh, that looks sore!"
Jonathan Pearce introducing Dead Metal at the start of the 2016 series

Dead Metal was the least transformed of the House Robots, undergoing only three major revamps - between Series 1 and Series 2, between Series 2 and Series 3, and between Series 7 and the 2016 reboot. In all appearances it retained key elements - the horizontal pincers, circular saw and steel exoskeleton, consisting of jagged armour plates and spiked struts as wheel guards.

"Our own version of a scorpion!"
Jonathan Pearce

In Series 1 and 2, Dead Metal was originally going to be painted pink to match its lobster-like appearance, but was left grey to give him a more 'menacing' look. Its 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 simply designed, 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.

Dead metal01

Dead Metal in Series 2

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.

Dead-metal

Dead Metal between Series 3-7

In Series 3, Dead Metal underwent further improvement, and gained the appearance and destructive power it would retain for the remainder of the show's original run. The saw/pneumatic arm configuration was replaced with a Stihl 3000rpm 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.

Dead metal sparks

Dead Metal creating another shower of sparks

The triangular exoskeleton would become one of Dead Metal's most famous accessories. The mechanism would be moved forward via linear actuators to attack. As part of its design, the saw had to be moved forward slowly, otherwise the mechanism would jam. The overall impression was of a head moving forward to bite down on an opponent with the circular saw. 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 (for example, Wheely Big Cheese's wheels).

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.

In 2016, Dead Metal appears in the BBC's second teaser trailer for the 2016 series. Dead Metal was rebuilt to feature larger claws opening 1.4 metres wide, a higher top speed, LEDs, and a weight increase of over 200kg, now weighing in at 343kg. Overall, the new Dead Metal retained almost all of the elements of the Series 3-7 version. The circular saw now runs at 4000rpm, with a larger 450mm magnesium saw blade.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 1Edit

DeadMetalTest

Dead Metal in testing shortly before Series 1

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.

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; 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.

Deadmetalowngoal

Dead Metal serving as goalkeeper

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). This version was also seen in many of the later Arena battles.

A serious accident occurred on the second day of shooting when Dead Metal's saw blade flew off and embedded itself into the wall behind where Jeremy Clarkson was standing. As a result, Dead Metal's saw blade was replaced with the ball for the rest of the First War.

Series 2Edit

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 (although Killerhurtz knocked part of Dead Metal's armour off in the process). One of Dead Metal's signature moves was grabbing the competitor with its pincers and pushing it towards the pit, while cutting them with his saw. Notably, it 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. Dead Metal defeated four out of five opponents, and only losing to Vercingetorix because after time ran out. He did fall out of the ring once, against Haardvark, but Haardvark was already beaten at 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. Also during the King of the Castle, Dead Metal 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.

Series 3Edit

Aggrobot Dead Metal sparks

Dead Metal slices into Aggrobot

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 Hammertron, Aggrobot and Onslaught. It also cut Bumblebot's axe clean in half, and dealt Chaos 2 serious damage in The First World Championship, enough for Chaos 2 to reverse into the pit to escape.

However, Dead Metal continued a string of bad driving, reversing straight into the pit during the fight between Invertabrat and Terrorpin.

Dead Metal was also assigned Goalkeeper for the Robotic Soccer competition, but was ineffective, being too slow to prevent Velocirippa or The General from scoring, and whilst blocking Gnasher's first attempt, it made no attempt to block the follow-up. In the bout between Alien and Evil Weevil, it left the goals to re-right Alien, but Matilda was able to prevent Evil Weevil from scoring. Dead Metal was replaced by Sergeant Bash in the final.

Series 4Edit

Dead metal side view

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.

Razer pitted

Dead Metal pits Razer

Dead Metal played a passive role in Series 4, tending only to attack when robots reached its CPZ or after they had been defeated. It immobilised Cronos after Steg 2 and Crusader 2 pushed it into the CPZ, and dealt damaged to 101 when Dominator 2 did the same. It also caught and dealt damage to Humphrey and Reactor, amongst others. Dead Metal did, however, free 101 and Spikasaurus when they became stuck during bouts in the arena, and even served as a type of bouncer, separating team mates 101 and King B3 when they turned on each other.

Terror bull dead metal

Terror-Bull lifts Dead Metal. Note the out of place plates near Dead Metal's saw

Dead Metal was not immune to some damage, however. In Heat P, an immobile Terror-Bull made a rare and difficult attack on Dead Metal, and managed to lift it off the ground and bend part of Dead Metal's triangular saw guard "face" out of place. However, Dead Metal was not impeded from pitting Terror Bull shortly after. In the Northern Annihilator, Dead Metal broke on of its pincers whilst freeing Spikasaurus once again.

Extreme 1Edit

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.

DeadMetalStinger

Dead Metal cuts into Stinger's hubcap.

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.

Anvil vs Mega-Hurts

Dead Metal pits Anvil illegally

Dead Metal twice forced judges' decisions in fights involving the Royal Air Force and their robot Anvil. In the Armed Forces Melee, Anvil pitted both Mega-Hurts and Rhino, but Dead Metal pushed from behind resulting in Anvil falling in with the other two. More controversially, Dead Metal seized the dominant Anvil in the final of the Forces Special and spun around. Anvil flew out of the grips of Dead Metal and fell into the pit. Craig Charles quickly pointed out that the move was illegal and the judges awarded the fight to Anvil based on the fight up to that point.

Series 5Edit

Dead Metal had the least appearances out of the house robots in the Fifth Wars meaning that notable moments were few and far between. Its most memorable moment came in Round 2 of Heat D when, as he was pitting one half of the Gemini twins, he inadvertently fell into the pit himself.

Series 6Edit

In Heat D, after S3 defeated Sir Chromalot, Dead Metal was able to hold the circular robot with its pincers, inflict damage with its circular saw, and eventually push Sir Chromalot into the pit. Unfortunately for Dead Metal, the house robot fell into the pit with its victim.

Dead Metal was also nearly flipped over by Thermidor 2 in its Heat F eliminator, as it and Sir Killalot ganged up on the immobilised robot. It also pushed Chompalot onto the floor flipper later in the same fight, before it and Sir Killalot dumped it into the pit.

In the Heat G eliminators, Dead Metal lived up to his earlier reputation, causing significant damage to Inshredable’s chassis before slicing through Revolution 2’s spinning blades, sending copious amounts of sparks flying on both occasions. The damage he and Matilda inflicted on Inshredable was sufficient to prevent it from being properly repaired in time for its Round 2 clash with Anarchy.

Extreme 2Edit

Dead metal's blade

Dead Metal's blade falls off.

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.

Series 7Edit

Gravity flipping dead metal

Gravity topples Dead Metal.

One of Dead Metal's main highlights in the Seventh Wars came in Heat B, in the battle between Big Nipper and Jackson Wallop. With Jackson Wallop immobile, Dead Metal had the freedom to push it all around the arena, slicing through the artistic paintwork on top of Jackson Wallop's weapon, creating many sparks.

"Look what they've done to my paintwork!"
— Bernie Ryder, Team Battlebot

The Seventh Wars marks the first 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 flipped Panic Attack out of the arena, it attacked not only Dead Metal, but also Growler, both of whom broke down.

2016 SeriesEdit

Dead Metal was the third House robot confirmed to appear in the 2016 reboot, but was the second to be featured in a teaser trailer.

In the pilot, Dead Metal attacked Merlin after it had won its head-to-head against Ka-Pow!, even managing to capture it at one point.

During its bout with Shockwave, Foxic managed to push Dead Metal along almost the entire length of the arena, eventually stopping due to Shockwave lifting Foxic into his pincers. Dead Metal would later get revenge, after he managed to saw through Foxic's front lifter during their loss to Thor.

In Episode 3, Dead Metal was attacked briefly by Dantomkia after King B Remix was disposed of, although Dantomkia was unable to flip the House Robot. In the next head-to-head match between Big Nipper and TR2, Dead Metal managed to cause significant damage to Big Nipper, almost severing the safety link.

Apollo flips dead metal

Dead Metal is flipped by Apollo

In Episode 4, Dead Metal was attacked by Apollo and successfully flipped, the first House Robot of the 2016 series to suffer this fate. Matilda left her CPZ and entered Dead Metal's, but was unable to right him and was ultimately flipped over as well.

CC88 Dead Metal

Dead Metal immobilises Crazy Coupe 88

In Episode 5, Dead Metal single-handedly immobilised Crazy Coupe 88, when it drove into the CPZ of its own accord. Dead Metal slammed it into the arena wall and used its circular saw, defeating the competitor. Later in the episode, Dead Metal sustained major damage from Gabriel, which was trying to stop Dead Metal from attacking a smoking Chompalot.

OtherEdit

Dead Metal has appeared in all international versions of the show. It was one of the house robots along with Shunt and Sir Killalot featured in the House Robot Rebellion of the second season of the US series Extreme Warriors where it used its saw to cut into Snake Bite but broke down halfway through the match. Regardless, the house robots came out the victors. Dead Metal also participated in the Nickelodeon House Robot Rebellion where he easily outclassed Squirmin Vermin and Humdrum who were then finished off by Sir Killalot.

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.

Appearances in MerchandiseEdit

Outside Robot WarsEdit

On July 21st, 2016, Dead Metal and the rest of the 2016 house robots appeared on BBC's The One Show, to promote the new series of Robot Wars. They battled three remote controlled cars piloted by the cast of The Rebel. Sir Killalot flattened all three cars, and won the battle for the house robots.

During the filming of The Robot Wars, Dead Metal, along with fellow house robots Matilda and Shunt, were visited by TomSka, Eddie Bowley and Elliot Gough in a warehouse with various RoboChallenge logos present. Dead Metal was stated by TomSka as "being something you wouldn't want to fight that in real life", despite being inactive and having stage lights between its claws.

TriviaEdit

  • Dead Metal was one of the fastest House Robots, and his metre-wide body made him very difficult to flip over. Only Gravity and Apollo ever achieved this; Cassius came close in its Series 2 Heat Final, but did not succeed.
  • As of Series 7, Dead Metal has fallen into the pit more times than any other House Robot.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Robot Wars Technical Manual

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