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- Done twice in Zoids: Chaotic Century, thanks to the unreliability of Republic technology. The first time Moonbay is assigned to blow up a bridge used by the Empire and after she drops off the ton of explosives the detonator fails and Van has to use his Liger's guns to set them off. Another time Moonbay and Fiona stop a Republic general from sacrificing himself to blow up a base in a dormant volcano that is about to fall to the Empire and rig up a remote detonator, which fails, but Van and Irvine are able to bombard the volcano until it goes off with the Imperial forces inside.
- In Pacific Rim, the protagonist has to substitute his own Jaeger's exploding reactor for the nuke that was lost earlier in the mission, but the overload command fails and he has to manually engage the self-destruct, with his oxygen running low and the Jaeger sinking past the optimum spot for the blast.
- Star Wars: New Jedi Order: Force Heretic III: Reunion (how's that for a title?) features a scene of this type involving a gigantic Booby Trapped signal transmitter. The bad guys manage to damage the explosives and one of the heroes has to go back and trigger the manual override — and since there isn't a delay, it'll have to be a one-way trip. A wounded character suspected of being The Mole volunteers on the grounds that his environment suit is damaged and therefore he won't survive the trip back to their base. After some deliberation, the heroes decide to send him in and he succeeds, destroying a large number of enemy warriors in the process, but leaving the question of who the mole was, if not him.
- The Tango Briefing (1973) by Adam Hall. British spy Quiller must use a small nuclear weapon (what we'd now call a backpack nuke, though it's a US commercial design for blasting wells) to destroy a shipment of lethal psychotropic nerve gas on a crashed aircraft (the cylinders have cracked and the gas has filled the plane, so they can't just be removed). Unfortunately the timing device is smashed when Quiller parachutes in so he's ordered to detonate the device by hand (local military helicopters are in the area doing a sweep search, so there's no time to parachute in another device). Fortunately Quiller is able to field-improvise a means of pushing down The Button, involving wedging the bomb under the thrust levers in the cockpit, then capturing a rather startled vulture who, when it's finished flapping around in outrage, settles down on the most suitable perch...
- Halo is quite fond of this trope.
- In Halo: Combat Evolved, Master Chief detonates the engines of the Pillar of Autumn with rockets/grenades after 343 Guilty Spark stops Cortana's automated countdown.
- In Halo Wars and Halo: Reach, Sgt. Forge and Jorge, respectively, detonate Slipspace drives as heroic sacrifices.
- Also done with the Crow's Nest bomb in Halo 3.
- And done again in Halo 4 with a HAVOK nuke. Master Chief's only saved by Cortana shielding him with hard light and teleporting him to safety.
- Schlock Mercenary:
- In the eye tree story arc, Hob rigs up an improvised bomb to help crack open a dome the Toughs are trapped in, but the detonator doesn't work, requiring firing at the bomb with a pistol to detonate it, resulting in his death.
- In the first Credomar storyline, Lt. Bradley is forced to rig a shell from his tank's ammo loadout to destroy his disabled tank before it can crash into civilian property and cause great damage. He succeeds in blowing up the tank while bailing out, but his low-profile Powered Armor is destroyed in the process, leaving him Killed Off for Real when his body hits a building at an unsurvivably high speed.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Rookies", the Rishi Moon base, a Republic communications post, is about to be destroyed by the clone troopers present to warn the Republic of an impending Separatist invasion (a strike force of commando droids had hardwired the base to send the "all clear" signal) when they learn that the detonator is broken. Hevy, one of the troopers, stays behind and, with a BFG, takes out a fair share of Droids before he's shot as he goes for the bomb. As the droids wonder if they take prisoners, Hevy crawls towards the bomb and manages to say "I... Don't..." before detonating the explosives, destroying the base.