"You take a standard G.I. sock, cram it with as much Comp B as it can hold, rig up a simple fuse, then coat the whole thing with axle grease. Now when you throw it, it should stick. It's a bomb that sticks, a 'sticky bomb'."If there's a live bomb thrown nearby you, you have a chance to grab it and throw it away. However, if a sticky one is involved, you better run away really fast. And if it's stuck on you ... Usually adhesive is involved in making the bomb sticky, though things like nails and magnets can be used too. Expect there to be problems when a someone tries to throw such a bomb but gets it stuck on his/her person. A Sub-Trope of Trick Bomb. Compare with Insert Grenade Here. See also Sticky Situation. Frequently used in a game of Grenade Tag.
— Capt. Miller, Saving Private Ryan.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- When not in his Humongous Mecha, Setsuna F. Seiei frequently uses plastic bombs against nonhuman targets.
- Dead Leaves has sticky bombs in the form of lipstick. Pandy gets a whole bandolier of them.
- Naruto: All Deidara's explosives are clay and thus inherently sticky, but the insectile ones will also chase and cling to their target.
- Oyecomova from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has the power to create grenade pins with clock heads attached to any surface (And we mean any surface). If these pins lose contact with the surface they were created on — which they will, if there's nothing applying pressure to them — then they explode.
- Saving Private Ryan has improvised sticky bombs made of plastic explosive stuffed into socks and covered in axle grease used against German tanks. As Captain Miller notes, it is in fact in the GI handbook for World War 2 soldiers. The results are...mixed.
- Battle of the Bulge (1965): Infantrymen slap plastic explosive sticky bombs onto attacking German tanks.
- In the German/Russian movie Stalingrad (1993) German infantry in foxholes have to wait for tanks to drive over them so they can stick magnetic bombs on their undersides. Some of the soldiers come to sticky ends.
- Hudson Hawk: short range launcher shoots rockets with time-delay fuses that stick to their targets.
- In The Dark Knight, Batman uses a sticky-bomb launcher to blast his way into Lau's Hong Kong office, and later to stop the Gotham City SWAT team from killing the Joker's hostages.
- In The Fifth Element, Dallas uses a sticky grenade on the cruise ship.
- In Cloud Atlas, Hae-Joo uses sticky bombs to dispose of some Corporacy aircrafts.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Nick Fury has successfully escaped a large scale ambush when the Winter Soldier makes his introduction, casually striding into the middle of the road and firing a grenade that slides along the road under Nick's SUV, magnetically clamps onto the undercarriage, and explodes.
- In the Babylon 5 book Legions of Fire, Vir of all people pats a villain on the head. The villain finds something stuck there just before Vir triggers the remote.
- AbleTeam sets up an ambush for a Salvadorean death squad. One of them sees he's triggered a grenade Booby Trap and runs for his life, not realising the grenade is bouncing after him because it's hooked on his clothing via a monofilament line and a fish hook.
Live Action TV
- An episode of Dad's Army had the Home Guard training with sticky grenades. Hilarity Ensues.
- In the first episode of Power Rangers RPM, Dillon fashions a makeshift sticky bomb by sticking a grenade to a wet lollipop. Unrealistic? Yeah. Awesome? Hell Yeah!
- In the season 1 finale of Burn Notice, Michael and Fiona build one by plastering tile adhesive over a mop wrapped around a C4-containing piece of Tupperware.
- Star Trek: Enterprise. In the finale for Season 3, the Enterprise away team has magnetic bombs to help destroy the Xindi superweapon. A Xindi reptillian gets a nasty surprise when Archer attaches a bomb to the back of his armour.
- In the video for Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock", The Neidermeyer teacher tries to throw a grenade at the rock band, but instead ends up throwing the pin and winds up with the grenade stuck to his hand. He dives into the high school's swimming pool to try defusing it, but it explodes and Neidermayer bangs his head against the diving board.
- Limpet Mines from GURPS: Ultra-Tech work this way. They even came up with good reasons to stick them to yourself.
- Warhammer 40,000 has Krak Grenades, Meltabombs, EMP Grenades and various similar weapons to give ordinary infantry a chance against tanks. Not to be confused with ork stikkbombs, bombs-on-a-stick they use as grenades.
- Halo: Plasma grenades and Spike grenades, the former thanks to a coating of searing hot plasma, the latter thanks to... well, the spikes. There's also the Sticky Detonator gun in Halo 4, which fires a more conventional version of this.
- Another Day At The Beach, a short film that came with the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack depicts an ODST trooper getting a plasma grenade stuck to his helmet. He quickly yanks the helmet off and flings it away before it explodes.
- The two types of grenades actually work differently in how they bounce, too. Plasma grenades stick only to living things and vehicles; they'll bounce right off walls and floors. Spike grenades stick to anything they touch.
- Not explained very well, but Star Wars: Battlefront's thermal detonators, in contrast to the rather un-sticky one shown in Episode 6, can stick to enemy soldiers if thrown properly.
- Battlefront also has concussion grenades that are meant for taking on vehicles: they deal less damage to infantry than thermal detonators but stick to vehicles. Battlefront II removed them entirely and just made thermal detonators stick to vehicles.
- Time bombs, detpacks, and landmines will also stick to walls and vehicles. For extra fun, the former two can also be attached to enemy infantry.
- Call of Duty:
- Call of Duty 2 has the same improvised sticky bombs as Saving Private Ryan above in the Russian campaign for anti-tank work.
- World at War has the aforementioned No. 74 sticky bomb.
- Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops have Semtex grenades, which loudly beep for about two seconds before detonating on whatever - or whoever - they first impacted with and stuck to. However, by charging the enemy in your last few seconds of life, you can often take the guy who threw the bomb with you, or at least ensure said guy doesn't get more than one kill. It should be noted that Semtex in real life is more akin to C4 rather than being scrunched into a ball, have some electronics wired onto them and forcibly called "grenades"; in fact, while it's still in its grenade-like ball shape, one level of Black Ops actually does have it be used in the same manner as C4, complete with remote detonation rather than a timer.
- The Modern Warfare and Black Ops games also have blocks of C4, which are thrown at shorter distances and can't stick to enemies, but can still be stuck on walls and ceilings and detonated at will to ambush enemies. In the respective first games of those two series, they're treated as separate pieces of equipment, but in their respective sequels they act as an actual substitute for lethal grenades.
- Mass Effect 3 features the Scorpion heavy pistol which launches Sticky Bomb grenades. Regular ol' stickies can also be thrown by the Infiltrator class.
- Red Faction: for massive schadenfreude, toss a slap-charge onto an enemy's back and watch him run around screaming until you set it off.
- Goldeneye and Spiritual Successor Perfect Dark: all mines (timed, remote and proximity) can stick to walls. Perfect Dark added the ability to stick them on Shield-less people too. Having one on you make a Dead Man Walking, because there is no way to survive the explosion.
- Goldeneye Rogue Agent has the "Detonator," which worked a bit like Batman's goo-gun in The Dark Knight. Since the game takes place in the somewhat-fantastical James Bond world, the explosion sends your foes flying but leaves them otherwise intact—no missing legs or anything.
- inFAMOUS: Cole has the ability to throw balls of lightning that can stick and explode like Halo's Plasma Grenades. There's even a trophy for sticking enough grenades to Mooks, called "Oh, I See You've Done This Before".
- The Magnusson Device in Half-Life 2: Episode Two, which is sent to you by mini-teleporters, and you have to launch it at Striders and quickly shoot the bombs with any of your weapons, while making sure nothing nearby can destroy those bombs first. Needless to say, it's introduced in one of the hardest combat sequences of the series.
- Team Fortress 2: The Demoman has a Stickybomb Launcher. His secondary fire detonates the stickies on command rather than explode instantaneously, so that they can be used to lay traps. These stickies only attach to static objects, not to enemies, probably to avoid griefing. Something to note is that stickybombs don't need to attach themselves on surfaces to detonate, they just have them out for a certain time; this means the Stickybomb Launcher can also be used for direct or indirect fire at mid-range because of the large splash radius and mag size. The game's achievements list calls these "air burst sticky bombs".
- Enemies in Saints Row 2 behave similarly when the player uses demolition charges.
- Company of Heroes lets you buy an upgrade for Riflemen that allows them to throw sticky bombs. They are only to be used against vehicles, though.
- TimeSplitters has also had plasma grenades as an underslung launcher on the plasma rifle in Time Splitters 2 and as a seperate weapon in TimeSplitters: Future Perfect. All three games have also had an array of "mines" with various trigger mechanisms (timed mines, remote mines, proximity mines) which can be thrown onto enemies.
- Resident Evil 4 has the mine thrower, which basically shoots exploding darts that stick to the target.
- Grand Theft Auto:
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, there are remote-detonated satchel charges that when thrown stick to any wall, vehicle, or innocent bystander.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, Luis Lopez can use sticky bombs to kill foes and set surprise traps.
- Reintroduced in Grand Theft Auto V, with the ability to be both thrown as a short-range command-detonated grenade and placed on a vehicle, wall, or the ground. They also have the special property of blowing open armored car doors when placed directly on them, allowing you to steal the contents.
- Super Smash Bros.
- Brawl adds Gooey Bombs to the item repertoire. These clingy suckers stick to either the terrain or a player after being thrown, exploding on their own after a few seconds. This bomb can be passed to someone else, including the one that launched it by running into them before it explodes, making for a silly looking game of Grenade Tag.
- Snake's down special, C4, can stick to opponents if timed just right. These are hard to see and remote activated, meaning unsuspecting opponents may find themselves suddenly flying in the air after Snake triggers it. Like Gooey Bombs, these can be passed between players; giving the C4 back to Snake and watching him blow himself up can be surprisingly cathartic.
- Mega Man's side special, Crash Bomb, works almost exactly like the Gooey Bomb item, except that it's fired in a straight line rather than thrown. Like the other sticky bombs, these can turn on Mega Man if the player's not careful.
- Spelunky: As an upgrade gained from a shop or by killing a Giant Spider. They will stick to anything except the Spelunker's hands.
- The Time Bomb Mod in Ratchet: Deadlocked does this to all explosive weapons.
- Borderlands has various sticky bomb mods that can be attached to your Protean Grenades, with the expected result. They can be tricky to use, however, since they stick to anything, even the ground. Due to the enemy AI in the game, anyone who sees the grenade will then run away from it, making the grenade pretty much harmless. However, if you get close enough to stick a grenade onto somebody, they will very entertainingly flail around randomly screaming something to the effect of "AAAAAH GET IT OFF ME" before exploding.
- Shadow Warrior has these as a weapon. They look like small, metallic spheres with spikes. Can be stuck to the walls or to enemies, and explode if someone is in vicinity for a while.
"Look, you have a new friend!" (after sticking a bomb to someone)
- Lost Planet 2 has the Disc Grenade and the aptly named Gum Grenade.
- Metro 2033 has pipe bombs covered in nails as its version of this trope. The nails will stick to surfaces or enemies, which can lead to some considerable Video Game Cruelty Potential.
- Bombs in Terraria can be combined with slime goo to make sticky bombs, which stop as soon as they hit the ground/wall/ceiling. Tossing them may be difficult.
- Worms 3D had a 'sticky bomb' - a Cartoon Bomb coated with little suction cups all over. Worked similar to a grenade, minus the bouncing.
- A possible setting made the ground of the map sticky, making all kinda of thrown weapons not roll away unlike usual. That didn't make then stick to worms, though, while the actual sticky bomb could do so.
- Gears of War features four kinds of grenades that can attached to walls with a melee attack to act as proximity mines, or can be attached to ENEMIES to invoke this trope.
- A species of goo in World of Goo.
- In Dissidia Duodecim: Final Fantasy, Laguna Loire has this as one of his attacks. It can stick to terrain or enemies, and will explode a few seconds after contact.
- FEAR, in the spirit of GoldenEye (1997) and Red Faction, has remote bombs that can be stuck on both surfaces and enemies. In the sequel, proximity mines also stick to walls.
- Dishonored: the grenade can be upgraded with spikes to stick onto things.
- In PlanetSide 2, the Engineer class can equip sticky grenades which will stick onto players and vehicles. Courtesy of their long fuse and small size, they are very good at killing entire groups of enemies when an enemy player runs back to his buddies without realizing there's a grenade stuck to his chest.
- Proximity mines/grenades in BioShock.
- MechWarrior Living Legends has all three types of Battlearmor grenades being capable of sticking to any object. C8 explosives work like regular grenades and deal huge amounts of damage to Battlemechs after a relatively long fuse, Inferno grenades burst into a massive fireball after only a second to kill enemy battlearmor (and Aerospace fighters), and NARC grenades stick to enemies and cause friendly missiles to home in on the NARC.
- In Nefarious, some of Crow's grenades stick to enemies and can be detonated remotely.
- The Batman: Arkham Series has an odd version with its Explosive Gel, in which case the "sticky" is the bomb. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate has a device which is functionally identical to The Dark Knight's Sticky Bomb launcher.
- Batman: Vengeance has "Electric Charges," remote-controlled bombs which can be fired from the Bat-Launcher and which stick to any surface. Detonating them unleashes a blast of electricity.
- Splatoon has the Suction Bomb, an oddly shaped ink bomb with a suction cup under it. These bombs can stick to any surface and explode in a burst of ink after a few seconds, making them ideal to, say, using a bomb in the corner to surprise that player following you around. A few weapon sets grant a super weapon that allow the player to Grenade Spam these for a limited time. Needless to say, players in the recieving end, stay away.
- The modern Ninja Gaiden series has Incendiary Shurikens, the signature ranged weapon of the Black Spider Ninjas.
- In Blue Print from Bally/Midway, you can accidentally pick up bombs while scouring the houses in the village for parts to your machine. Once you pick up a bomb, it sticks to you and must get it to the pit to get rid of it or else it will explode.
- Earth Defense Force 2025: The Air Raider's signature weapon is a gun that fires limpet projectiles that attach to enemies and other surfaces before being set off.
- Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm: Tracer's Pulse Bomb is effectively a grenade that sticks to whatever surface it touches, including enemy players, and Tracer's own Teleport Spam capabilities allow her to easily get up close to an unfortunate enemy and play Grenade Tag with them. Getting stuck with a Pulse Bomb is helpfully indicated by "STUCK" appearing on the victim's screen in big, bold letters before they explode about two seconds later.
- The Remote Mine from Mega Man & Bass acts like this, along with Player-Guided Missile. When fired, the player can hold up/down to control its vertical movement, and when it touches an enemy it sticks to them. Pressing the fire button again causes the mine to blow up in a highly damaging explosion.
- C4 acts this way in Serious Sam 3: BFE, sticking to both surfaces as well as enemies. It's handwaved by the presence of small metallic hooks on one end of the block. Bigger enemies even have red glowing indicators on them for where you should aim for; with a properly-placed block you can actually kill some of the largest enemies like Khnums with a single charge.
- Like the above, C4 charges in Killing Floor 2 stick to any surface or enemy you toss them at. There's no explanation for it here, but you don't really need one when a single one can tear apart a Fleshpound, and three or four can take out half the Patriarch's health.
- IEDs in Far Cry 2 can be stuck onto walls or vehicles by standing right up next to them before placing them. C4 in the next two games doesn't normally have this property, but it is available as a toggle-able upgrade in the latter game, allowing it to stick to whatever you toss it at.
- Foxhole has sticky bombs which can be placed on walls, vehicles, and buildings, but they can't be thrown from range.
- On more than one occasion, Wile E. Coyote has had to deal with a lit stick of dynamite accidentally glued to his hand.
- Kim Possible had the nano-tick bomb. It eventually gets stuck on Kim, with classmates mistaking it for a zit.
- Transformers Prime: one of Dreadwing's usual tactics is sticking bombs on his enemies.
- In ThunderCats (2011), the Lizard army had magnetic bombs that stuck to walls and blew them up.
- In the Five-Episode Pilot of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Snake-Eyes brings magnet grenades to use against COBRA's robots.
- During World War II, the British developed an anti-tank grenade that was little more than a bottle of nitroglycerine coated with glue. The user was expected to run up to an enemy tank, smack the grenade onto the armour, and hope to make it to a safe distance before it went off. Although the whole idea was clearly insane, the "sticky bomb" was nevertheless cheap and quick to manufacture - important advantages given that the British were expecting an imminent Nazi invasion and had been forced to abandon most of their anti-tank guns during the Dunkirk evacuation. The main drawback was that it was terrifyingly easy for the user to get an armed grenade stuck to themselves. In the words of one Home Guard volunteer:
"It was while practicing that a [Home Guard] bomber got his stick bomb stuck to his trouser leg and couldn’t shift it. A quick thinking mate whipped the trousers off and got rid of them and the bomb. After the following explosion the trousers were in a bit of a mess though I think they were a bit of a mess prior to the explosion."
- Nearly everyone prior to WW2 had some kind of magnetic mine designed to be thrown a short distance onto a tank. As they were uniformly bad at sticking and required getting within a few feet of an active tank, most nations quickly phased them out a few days after they first tried to actually use them in combat. On the other hand, magnetic mines for naval use are more effective (these however don't stick to a ship — they're just exploded by its magnetic field).
- There is a type of naval mine called a limpet mine that sticks to the bottom of the hull. It is either attached by a diver (the more common variant) or waits on the bottom until a ship passes over then floats up and hopefully adheres to the hull. Both variants are done as the allow the mine to explode far away from where it was attached. So the enemy doesn't know where the security weakness is.
- Zimmerit was a paste applied to WWII German vehicles to prevent the magnetic variant from sticking to the vehicle.
- Not surprisingly, the Sticky Bombs were quickly replaced with more reliable Anti-Tank weapons, like the Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank (PIAT) Spigot Mortar. And given the major shortcomings of the PIAT (cocking the weapon required considerable strength, especially if done while prone to avoid detection; the projectile would fall out of the tube if it was aimed downwards, and if improperly braced when fired the recoil could potentially dislocate the soldier's shoulder!), that should tell you how bad the sticky bomb was.
- The origin of the nailed bomb version would probably be the petard, a siege weapon consisting of a large explosive nailed to a castle door. William Shakespeare references just how easy it was to blow yourself up with it, hence naming the trope.
- The very controversial "Operation Tailwind" story that got a bunch of people fired from CNN in the 1990s claimed the existence of a type of anti-personnel mine called "Pot Pie" that was supposed to be deployed using a styrofoam cooler. When it warmed up, it was supposed to extend tendrils that would wrap around whatever was nearby and hold it in place until detonation. Whether this actually existed is unclear; after the producers were fired for alleged shoddy journalism, they sued CNN for millions and got fat settlements, while the executives who fired them were fired as well, leaving the veracity of the entire story more or less permanently unresolvable. Thus are the perils of reporting on The Vietnam War.