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  Deluxe
Metal
Mechanics
  This story starts at Christmas, when I received a Deadblow Metal Mechanics set. That evening, I eagerly set to work putting together all the shiny parts, ready to have a toy that I could repeatedly poke people in the head with.

However, unspeakable tragedy struck. The connectors for the wires on the motor and battery case were difficult to attach. When I gave the toy a test run before I finished assembling it, to my horror I found out that it didn't work. No movement from the weapon motor whatsoever. And I couldn't get the connectors unstuck to see if there was a problem. After ensuring that the connector wasn't going to work, I was forced to give up on the toy and face the harsh reality that not only wasn't I a builder, I wasn't a pretend builder, either.

I was assured that I wasn't the only person who encountered that problem with the Metal Mechanics series, which made me feel a little better. And recently, I made a rare impulse purchase. The Deluxe Metal Mechanics set, usually priced at $25, was on sale for only $15! I'd get a bigger Deadblow to replace the one I botched, plus a non-functioning model of Minion for just an additional five dollars!

This page is the report of my initial adventures with that Deluxe Metal Mechanics set. It's easy to build a robot when all the parts are pre-shaped for you!

Like the regular Metal Mechanics sets, the box comes with a whole bunch of parts resting snugly in their own individual beds in a piece of plastic. Except in this case, there are two plastic holders, which more or less separate the Minion and Deadblow parts for you. There are also some pieces of cardboard that hold the bigger metal pieces and the heart of each robot, the chassis.

The set comes with one chassis, which is a black rectangle of plastic that holds the two AA batteries (not included, of course). It also comes with one motor, which is placed in the chassis in a different way for each model. The motor turns a cylinder that sticks out of both sides of the motor (one side is used for each model). You attach a rubber band between the cylinder and the weapon, and the turning makes the weapon move. This is a different weapon control motion than the other Deadblow Metal Mechanics toy, but hey, it works.

The most important difference (as far as I'm concerned) between the normal Metal Mechanics toys and the Deluxe version is in the wires used to connect the motor to the battery compartment. On the normal Metal Mechanics, you have to cram these little rubber ports over the ends of the wires. The rubber is too tight and the connections are iffy. But in the Deluxe Metal Mechanics, all you have to do to connect the two is snap together a small plastic clasp. Quick, easy, and no messy cleanup. And it really works!

For assembly, you choose the model you want to build, and start sticking parts around and onto the chassis. The process is the same as the other Metal Mechanics models, with the primary action being inserting screws with the "Techno Tool" (screwdriver with an end that lets you attach nuts).

First, I put together Deadblow in order to reaffirm my manliness in the field of assembling miniature toy replicas of robots. Except for at the end when the top metal shell is attached (had to force it down a bit), the screws went in easily and the instructions were clear. The nuts that had to be slid into slots inside the plastic sides fit rather tightly -- good thing I'll never have to remove them.

The entire kit only comes with six wheels, and they're all Minion's. So Deadblow's wheels look a little different than those on the real bot, but it's no big deal.

Unlike its smaller counterpart, the spiked hammer weapon of this Deadblow has a plastic shaft. On the positive side, the hammer head is made of plastic too, so it's a little tougher.

One of the selling points on the box is the fact that they've included five possible weapons for each model. So in addition to the traditional Deadblow hammer, you can give it a thicker hammer with two spikes, a big plastic smashing thing, a horizontal pounding device, and a lifter that operates on the back of the robot. I haven't tried any of the alternate weapons yet, but I assume they all look the same when operating -- rapid up-and-down or back-and-forth motions.

The weapon moves rapidly -- about three and a half strikes per second. It either nearly strikes the ground or actually does (for me, it started off by nearly striking the ground, but now it goes all the way). While quick, the weapon isn't very powerful -- if the hammer hits anything in mid-swing, the motion will stop and the motor will stall until you lift Deadblow off. About the only thing the toy will destroy is a Kleenex if you hold it taut near the end of the swing -- and only if the Kleenex isn't folded. If you let the toy stand on its own with the weapon swinging, the force of the repeated upward motion will gradually roll the entire model backward and off the table.

So now I had my own little version of Deadblow to keep me company and sleep at the foot of my bed. I was curious to see how much of Minion I could put together with the remaining parts.

Of course, the chassis and motor were in Deadblow, so I couldn't use those. Fortunately, Minion has a body frame that most everything attaches to. So I could at least put all the metal (black metal represents the Lexan armor) in the right places.

The entire kit comes with plenty of nuts -- more nuts than you'll need for both models combined. It's a little more stingy with the screws, however. I didn't make it through Minion before running out of the 8-millimeter screws that are used so often in the kit. Also, some of Minion's pieces are "attached" simply by making sure the ends are snugly fit in the indentations in the frame. I accidentally knocked out the "side rack details" more than once while assembling the toy.

The only problem I had with assembling the Minion shell was when one of the nuts just would not go into its place in the "top rack support." I had to use the Techno Tool to carve out some of the plastic since there wasn't enough room. But hey, no big deal -- I'm using my brain to solve complex engineering problems!

I wanted to at least stick the two leftover wheels in Minion to give it some mobility, but Deadblow took five of the six screws needed to attach the wheels. So Minion just sits propped up, wheel-less, like a car in bad neighborhood.

Minion has larger decals than Deadblow, because Minion has more stuff written on it (duh). The stickers are big, and I couldn't lay them down without getting some small air bubbles. I do like the little square of winner's pogs that you attach to the plastic motor holder -- a nice touch.

For the record, Minion's "real weapon" is the fireman's rescue saw it used in season two. Its alternative weapons are three rescue saws next to one another, a big corkscrew-looking thing, some fake plastic maces attached to an axle, and a set of clamping jaws. All are attached to the motor in the exact same way, which is nice when you have to pretty much disassemble Deadblow to change any of its weapons.

I briefly considered using the assembled Metal Mechanics toys as target practice for my Custom Series RC bots, but really, these things weren't meant to fight -- they were meant to sit on the shelf and look pretty. It'd be a shame to scratch up that nice shiny metal for no good reason. So if you're looking for a nice, functioning replica of your favorite BattleBot, by all means, pick up a set. If you're looking for something to fight, build an antweight.


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