Red-Tape Recorder

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The silhouette shows that the Red-Tape Recorder can be applied to the building. Note that the tape reels spin.
A level 1 Sentry de-constructing itself while being sapped.
Did I throw a 'wrench' into your plans? Hahahaha!
The Spy on reverse-engineering

The Red-Tape Recorder is a Sapper replacement for the Spy. It is a reel-to-reel tape recorder with three Chinese characters ("反炮塔", fǎnpàotǎ) on the front printed on a frayed, white label. Translated into English, these characters can be closely translated as "Anti-Turret (Device)" or "Anti-Sentry (Device)".

Instead of damaging an enemy's buildings, the Red-Tape Recorder reverses the building process; any applicable upgrade animations are played in reverse, followed by the building packing itself up into a toolbox. As a result, this destroys the building and leaves the toolbox behind as a large ammo pickup. Destroying the Recorder will allow the building to reconstruct but not restore any lost levels, unless the building is in the middle of an upgrade animation, which will allow it to continue upgrading to the next level.

The Recorder breaks into four metal fragments upon removal. The fragments can then be picked up, each piece giving 3 metal.

The Recorder has five different sounds for when it is sapping a building.

This weapon functions the same way as the default Sapper in Mann vs. Machine.

This item was awarded in Genuine quality to players who pre-purchased Sleeping Dogs on Steam before August 14, 2012, or August 17, 2012 in Europe.

The Red-Tape Recorder was later contributed to the Steam Workshop, at Valve's request.

Damage and function times

See also: Damage
Damage and function times
Base damage 100%
14 / s
7 / s
7 / s
9.5 / s
Function times
Recharge time
15 s
Building destroy time
3.4 s
10.7 s
21.4 s
21.4 s
10.5 s
Values are approximate and determined by community testing.

Note: Values are approximate and are determined by community testing.



See also: Crafting


Spy-cicle Reclaimed Metal Red-Tape Recorder
Item icon Spy-cicle.pngx3 + Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png = Item icon Red-Tape Recorder.png

Related achievements

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

Ignite 5 Spies who have a sapper on a friendly building.

Leaderboard class demoman.png Demoman

Spynal Tap
Spynal Tap
Kill 20 Spies within 5 seconds of them sapping a friendly building.

Leaderboard class engineer.png Engineer

Get Along!
Get Along!
Manage to get to, and then remove, a sapper placed on your building while you were several meters away.

Fistful of Sappers
Fistful of Sappers
Destroy 25 sappers on buildings built by other team members.
Quick Draw
Quick Draw
Kill a Spy and two sappers within 10 seconds.

Leaderboard class spy.png Spy

Joint Operation
Joint Operation
Sap an enemy Sentry Gun within 3 seconds of a teammate sapping another.

Sap Auteur
Sap Auteur
Destroy 1000 Engineer buildings with sappers.
Sap an enemy building, then backstab the Engineer who built it within 5 seconds.

The Man with the Broken Guns
The Man with the Broken Guns
Backstab an Engineer, then sap 3 of his buildings within 10 seconds.

Mvm navicon.png Mann vs. Machievements

Sly Voltage
Sly Voltage
As a Spy, sap 10 robots at once.

Update history

August 2, 2012 Patch

  • The Red-Tape Recorder was added to the game.

August 3, 2012 Patch

  • Increased The Red-Tape Recorder’s downgrade speed from 1.6 seconds to 3.0 seconds.
  • Fixed building health compounding after being downgraded.
  • [Undocumented] Fixed the Homewrecker not destroying Red-Tape Recorder Sappers in one hit.

August 15, 2012 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Added Red-Tape Recorder to the drop system.

September 13, 2012 (Item schema update)

  • Made this item in genuine quality tradable and giftable.

February 22, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed buildings not always being downgraded at the same rate by the Red-Tape Recorder.

March 19, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed the Spy not holding Sappers correctly in third person.

April 3, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed a bug where Dispensers sapped by a Red-Tape Recorder would continue to heal players.
  • Fixed buildings destroyed by the Red-Tape Recorder not always displaying a death notice.
  • [Undocumented] The Red-Tape Recorder no longer clears metal from Dispensers upon downgrade.


  • Sometimes, the Red-Tape Recorder does not downgrade sapped buildings.
  • Occasionally when removing the Red-Tape Recorder from a Mini-Sentry, the Mini-Sentry will revert to a buggy level 2 Mini-Sentry.
  • If a sapped building does not start with full health or is damaged during the deconstruction process, it will reach 0 health before the deconstruction animation completes, which will interrupt the animation and "snap" it into the toolbox state.
  • If a Teleporter is sapped by the Recorder, and the Recorder is removed in-between upgrade animations, the arrows pointing to the other end of the Teleporter will be removed.
  • If the Red-Tape Recorder is placed on and removed from a building that is still under construction, it will deal some damage to the building.
  • The Red-Tape Recorder does not glow when crit boosted.


  • This weapon's name references the term "red tape", which refers to bureaucracy that hinders or prevents action or decision-making.
  • A vaguely audible message can be heard when placing the Red-Tape Recorder onto a Sentry Gun. When slowed down 70% to 80%, spy_tape_03.wav appears to say: "Let's make some noise..." with a laugh, followed by the tape's normal noise.[1]




See also