Disposable Vehicle Section
To continue, break off the damaged part of your vehicle.
Tropeworthy? Up For Grabs

(permanent link) added: 2011-02-27 18:17:22 sponsor: FrodoGoofballCoTV (last reply: 2013-12-09 04:24:32)

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A form of Travel Cool. Related to Combining Mecha, Detachment Combat.

Do We Have This? Should We Have This?? Probably Needs a Better Description / Needs a Better Name. Rolling Updates underway.
One or more characters are travelling somewhere in a vehicle. The vehicle is damaged, runs out of fuel, the reactor malfunctions, etc. Or maybe it's just not fast or maneuverable enough. Normally that would be bad news for everyone on board, but instead someone pushes a switch and a large section of the vehicle containing the problem detatches itself, leaving the characters with a smaller, undamaged, fully fuelled vehicle to continue the mission.

  • This will be Played for Drama as the characters have to leave something (or someone) behind in order to escape, or are in a Race Against the Clock to complete the separation.
  • The part left behind is still capable of carrying out a supporting role, often giving the separated vehicle covering fire.
  • The smaller vehicle has a third, even smaller vehicle that the characters end up in at the end of the sequence or plotline.

NOTE: this does not count if the smaller vehicle is an shuttlepod, etc. operating from a small craft bay. It has to appear to be an integral portion of the vehicle so that someone unfamiliar with the design would not necessarily suspect the vehicle did this.


  • There was a commercial for some beer company (possibly a Superbowl Special) where an airplane full of passengers and cases of the beer was forced to land place far away from any help. The pilot (or someone) says that in order to get back up they have to reduce the weight of the plane, the assumption being that they'll have to leave the beer behind. The next shot is the plane taking off, without its ouside fuselage.

Film - Live Action:
  • In Thunderball the Spectre yacht separates to transform into a faster hydrofoil ship. The remaining section is still usable as a gun platform and boat dock.
  • In Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Obi Wan Kenobi's starfighter is shown to have a separate bulky hyperdrive section that it docks with to travel in Hyperspace. As soon as he drops back into real space, his fighter disengages and continues on its way, leaving behind the extra mass to allow his ship to stay as lean as possible.
  • The Dark Knight has Batman ejecting from the Batmobile on a motorcycle, leaving behind the damaged part to self-destruct.
  • In Batman Returns, this happened as well. The Batmobile split off the flarings on either side and the wheels retracted to form a vehicle (the "batmissile") that could fit through a narrow alley.
  • Death Race - the hero's car has a 6 inch thick armor plating in the back called "The Tombstone". When it gets damaged, the hero jettisons it in the hopes that it will damage the car behind him.

Film - Animated:
  • In Ice Age III, Scrat the squirrel and his love interest are fighting over an acorn when a geyser erupts beneath them, sending the three and a large rock skyward. As the two squirrels climb the rock toward toward the acorn, the bottom of the rock falls away in a Shout-Out to staged rockets (see below).

Live-Action TV
  • In the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Space Vampire", the ship that the Vorvon and Vamp!Wilma escape on is programmed to fly into a star. Once the star's radiation returns Wilma to normal, she detaches the rear portion of the ship and flies to safety while the Vorvon continues into the star in the front portion.

Manga and Anime
  • In Macross:
    • The Zentraedi recon pod can detach the legs and use the body of the mecha as a shuttlepod.
    • Rick Hunter, piloting the heavy armored space fighter, detaches the armor after battling a Zentraedi cruiser, revealing an ordinary valkerie mecha inside.
  • In Macross II, after taking heave damage, the the bridge of The Macross, detaches to become an airborne command post.

  • In Gall Force:
    • In "Eternal Story", the Star Leaf's forward section splits apart to reveal a landing pod that can act as an oversize escape pod.
    • In "Destruction", a heavy shuttle detaches the rear section to act as a decoy while the forward section and mecha launched from it's cargo hold infiltrate an Elaborate Underground Base.

Video Games
  • In Final Fantasy VII, the ending FMV of has an emergency switch to eject the bridge from the Highwind.
  • Many Gradius-like shoot-em-ups have this trope in force it's impossible to list them all. They all follow a similar pattern: shoot the large flying mechanical boss; when it takes enough damage it ejects the damaged portions, becoming smaller, but faster and more likely to unleash Bullet Hell upon you.

Western Animation
  • In Looney Tunes, IIRC, Bugs Bunny gets launched into space this way.
  • In Transformers: The Movie, the Autobots perform an "emergency separation" of the front cockpit so the rear portion would be destroyed and fool the Decepticons into thinking they were killed.
    Arcee: "Did we have to let them detonate three-quarters of the ship?"
    Springer: "Seeing as how they were going to detonate four-quarters, I think it was a good choice."

Real Life
  • Many larger rockets are designed to stage, separating an engine along with the now - empty fuel tanks feeding it to lighten the load after reaching the upper atmosphere, perhaps most notably the Saturn 5, which may have been the Most Triumphant Example.
  • Allegedly, some passengers incorrectly believed the Titanic could do this.
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