The Hard Metal System (usually referred to as HMS and originally called "Heavy Metal System" in Japanese) is the second Beyblade system to be released. HMS broke compatibility completely with all previous systems; meaning that you can't interchange parts from HMS with previous systems. After the advent of HMS, all previous Beyblade systems can be referred to under the moniker "Plastic Beyblades". HMS Beyblades can only use parts from other HMS Beyblades.
Components of an HMS Beyblade
There are four parts to an HMS Beyblade:
- Bit Protector (BP): In the case of plastic Beyblades, the Bit Chip was an essentially meaningless part in most cases. In HMS, the Bit Protector is vital; it is the "screw" that holds the entire Beyblade together, and is also the part of the Beyblade that the shooter latches onto. Please see the Bit Protector article for more information.
- Attack Ring (AR): In HMS, the AR's functions remain fundamentally the same. However, there is one change that is perhaps the most important part of HMS: rather than being made purely out of plastic, it is made of two parts: the metal frame and the ABS caul. This addition of metal to the AR is one of the fundamental improvements that HMS has over plastic Beyblades.
- Weight Disk (WD): The circular form WD proved to be very effective in plastic Beyblades. In the case of HMS, all WDs were made circular. The standard weight disks are Circle Heavy, Circle Balance, and Circle Wide. There are also Customize Weight Disks (CWD), which are also circular, but contain room for a plastic that significantly alters the performance of the WD.
- Running Core (RC): HMS consolidated the Spin Gear and the Blade Base into a single part: the Running Core. The AR and WD slide over it, and the BP locks everything together. While the original RCs released were quite basic, some of the later models, such as Samurai Changer MS's Battle Change Core allow for many gimmicks and customization.
Size and Weight Difference
HMS Beyblades are much smaller than Beyblades from previous systems; generally, their size is about 75% of their predecessors. Despite this loss in size, their weight remains about the same due to the addition of metal to the AR.
This decrease in size is completely advantageous. Smaller, more compact Beyblades will have better balance and retain their spin velocity more effectively. The only disadvantage is a lower attack range, but this difference is meaningless considering the superior strength of HMS.
The Dual Shooter and G-Winder
Because HMS are fastened tightly by the Bit Protector, they will hold together regardless of the spin direction. The Bit Protector is completely symmetrical. The standard shooter for HMS, the Dual Shooter, has two holes to insert the winder: one for left spin and one for right spin. Because of this, the spin direction of HMS can be changed at will, with no need to change any Beyblade part or the shooter. Please see the Dual Shooter article for more information.
The new winder, the G-Winder, was an improvement in every way. Unlike the previous systems, which had both normal "short" winders and Dragon Winders, all G-Winders are the same length. They are made of a very stiff plastic that is easier to straighten, and the plastic is much more solid, rendering it difficult to break. The combination of the Dual Shooter and G-Winder makes for a pleasant experience.
The Change of Gameplay
While HMS are not compatible with previous generations, in terms of competitive battling they were initially considered completely legal within the same playing field. When HMS was first released, some plastic Beyblades were still able to defeat them with reasonable consistency. However, as more were released, plastic Beyblades became more obsolete. Wolborg MS was the final "nail in the coffin", making plastic Zombie Beyblades obsolete. Eventually, the systems were separated to allow Plastics a metagame where they could actually be used.
Reaction from Players
Most players greeted the HMS series with reverence. The consensus was that the Engine Gear System was quite disappointing, and that HMS was a move in the right direction. Players were excited about the faster, harder battles and the more effective and efficient designs of the Beyblades, shooters and winders.
However, there were -- and continue to be -- valid complaints about HMS. The most common one appears to be the complaint that HMS is inferior due to its lack of customization options. Indeed, there were far less HMS Beyblades released than plastic Beyblades, and there are far less parts involved compared to the 6-Layer system. The counter-argument to this is that because there are fewer parts involved, HMS battles involve more skill and strategy and do not rely on configuration options as much.
There was also debate as to whether or not it is fair for plastic Beyblades to fight Vs. HMS Beyblades. In time, as HMS became more and more dominant, the systems were officially separated.
Despite criticism, there is one thing that is a fact: in terms of performance, HMS was far superior to every preceding system in every single way, and continues to be one of the most beloved and revered systems to this day.