Interlude Part 3: Favourite House Robots Part 2 (4-1)

So, after spending the past week and a half working on a film set, and slightly injuring my hand holding a boom pole, I am back with my last post before the chaos and carnage restarts again with the 10th wars this weekend. And so I am back with the second half to my favourite house robots, i.e. the house robots I actually liked. So, without any further delays (I’ve left you waiting long enough anyway), let’s get down to it!

  1. Shunt (S1-Present)

Firestorm x Shunt

Yes Shunt, the bulldozer that has travelled back in time from a futuristic wasteland to marshal the arena. Shunt is probably one of the simplest house robots out there, with the sole aim to push, shove and, well, shunt. And I love the simplicity that the robot has, yet to brute strength of pushing a competitor to its peril or doom. And of course, we can’t forget the brutal axe, which has peppered holes through many a robot it its time. Some blows have even been fatal.

Like Matilda, Shunt has been a popular target for attack by the masses, with a great number of success, usually by flippers. The likes of Firestorm and Apollo have all taken turns with the power puncher, and left it stranded, which is most entertaining it itself. Add in the fact that Shunt can’t self right, and it has had to seek help from its fellow house robots on several occasions.

Is there any way Shunt could be improved? Well, a self righting mechanism wouldn’t go amiss, but other than that, not really. It is simple, and it gets the job done. It’s not the most glamorous or complicated robot, but it *quietly* gets on with its job, to devastating effect.

  1. Sir Killalot (S2-Present)

King B Fire

Sir Killalot isn’t first? What is this madness?

Yes, Sir Killalot is probably the most famous of the house robots, despite not actually having been introduced at the start of the series, but that doesn’t mean it has to be my favourite. I still think it’s a bloody good robot though.

Sir Killalot is a real brute of the show, eclipsing most of its compatriots in both size and weight. A knight of the realm, Sir Killalot come clad in blue, skeletal armour and a pair of weapons to help defend the arena’s honour. The most recognisable is the set of crushing claws, usually employed to grab hold of a robot so that they can be hoisted into the air and spun around. It’s somewhat rare to see the claws actually snap something in half, like they always demonstrate. Sticking with the knights theme, Sir Killalot also employs a lance for a weapon. It can be used to spike another robot, but its mainly used to hoist. Sir Killalot does a lot of hoisting. And, just to set it a bit further apart from everyone else, Sir Killalot runs on tank tracks.

One of Sir Killalot’s most well known  claims is that the robot is indestructible. And this claim has been tested oh so many times- Even in its first wars, Sir Killalot managed to fall over. Since then it’s been attacked so many times, with effects ranging from having its face taken off, the tracks shredded to even being set on fire. It’s been a wild ride.

Despite all of this, I still think Sir Killalot could do more. It’s supposed to be the leader, and yet the lance is practically useless at anything other than getting stuck in walls and the jaws are little more than a glorified grabber. It might change my mind if it runs over one of the clusterbots in the new series.

  1. Dead Metal (S1-Present)

High Quality Headbutt

Space hedgehog! Dead Metal is by far and away the most futuristic looking House Robot of the set, with so many jagged angles and so much silver shine, it could be out of a retro Transformers comic. One part hedgehog, one part crab and looking like a robotic mutant that sculpted itself out of scrap metal in a junkyard, Dead Metal is both mean and efficient. A lethal combination.

How does Dead Metal created such surgically precise mayhem? Well, a well oiled combination of some grappling pincers and a deadly circular saw certainly help it along that path. Once the prey has been snared, the saw can get to work, cutting through armour to reach the vital internals. And if it creates a vibrant spark show along the way, well then we’re all the better for it.

Dead Metal is elegant, powerful and has a striking appearance. It can nip around the arena, and put on a show. It’s a damn nice machine.

The exact opposite of the robot in my number one spot.

  1. Mr Psycho (S6-7)

Firestorm_flips_Mr_Psycho (1)

6ft2, eyes of blue, Mr Psycho’s after you…

One of the two new additions in the 6th wars, Mr Psycho was built almost as competition to Sir Killalot in the ultra-heavyweight division of house robots. Whereas Killalot was there as a knight of the realm, to protect the honour of the arena, Psycho is just there to beat the crap out of other robots and lay down the law, smackdown style. Psycho’s claw arm is built like an actual hand, so it’s perfect to grab opponents, whereas the other is equipped with a rather hefty hammer. A hammer that can cause some serious hurt. With the tough armour the latter wars showcased, the hammer didn’t always make big dents, but it could shake up internals.

Away from the purpose built weapons, Psycho’s flat front plate between the tank tracks meant that it could push robots around the arena like they were toys. That, or Psycho could just run them over.

Despite not being there for too long, Psycho began to take on Sir Killalot’s reputation as untouchable. Sir Killalot had already been battered and bruised, but Psycho was the big, shiny new target. Which made it all the more entertaining, and quite the spectacle, when Firestorm managed to topple them over. It was beautiful. Add in the fact that Psycho was at times comically inept at aiming its hammer, and we have an imposing brute of a robot with a lighter side.

Psycho had power, weight and brutality on its side, and was enough to scare even the hardest of robots. Maybe Killalot is more iconic, but compared to Psycho it isn’t as imposing. It’s just a shame we got to see so little of the robot in comparison to most of the others.

 

 

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Interlude Part 3: Favourite House Robots (8-5)

It’s time for another interlude! Yes, I wasn’t finished with listing my favourite competitor robots and my favourite battles, now i’m moving on to my favourite house robots. The guardians of the arena, and sometimes the villains of the showpiece, the house robots have a home in their CPZ, a corner of the arena where they can watch and observe the battle. And if a competitor strays too close, they’re not afraid to give them a *gentle* nudge back into the war zone. Even further, if a competitor is no longer functional, then the house robots can have some fun. All work, but at least some play.

There have been 8 main house robots over the years, though only 4 have survived through to the present day. One house robot only lasted for one series. But whilst they come and go, their legend will disappear.

It’s needless to say though, everyone has a favourite. Everyone has a least favourite. But this is my blog and hence, my opinions. So which house robots do I like the most, and which do I like the least? Time to find out.

8. Cassius Chrome (S7)

CCPunching

Is this even really a surprise? I’ve hardly shown much admiration for Cassius Chrome in my 7th wars recaps, so it makes sense that it would be my least favourite house robot. In my not so humble opinion, Cassius Chrome was nothing more than a gimmick, something for Channel 5 to make their mark on the series. But honestly, they already had 7 house robots, they didn’t need an 8th.

In terms of the actual robot, Cassius Chrome could pack quite a punch… *Cough*. Well, Cassius Chrome could pack a punch with the body of the robot when it got up to speed, but the actual boxing fists were rather useless. They fit the robot’s purpose, but they really weren’t weapons worthy of being attached to a house robot.

Honestly, I think Cassius Chrome would have worked a lot better as a competitor robot. Of course, it would’ve had to shed some weight for that to happen. But my point stands.

7. Growler (S6-7)

GrowlerKronic2

Faithful companion to Mr Psycho, Growler was the robot dog from hell, introduced as one of the new House Robot additions for the 6th wars. Growler was fairly basic in the grand scheme of things, literally a dog on four wheels. A fast, heavy dog at that, but still just a dog.

Growler’s weapon of choice was a set of clamping jaws, as if I wasn’t scared of dogs enough already. The jaws weren’t particularly powerful in terms of their crushing power, not like Sgt. Bash’s, put they were good for gripping a competitor and either tossing them around or moving them to another part of the arena, such as the flipper or the pit. If that was Growler’s purpose, then I don’t really see the point. Shunt or Dead Metal could easily do the same job already.

Growler also had speed on its side, being both fast an manouverable. Infact it is so fast, that the momentum of a collision with Dominator 2 in S6 split their baseplate in half. It is am inpressive way of attack, not unlike robots such as Storm 2 or Tornado. But if Growler’s purpose all along was to be a ramming machine, then that makes Cassius Chrome’s introduction in S7 even less neccessary.

6. Matilda (S1-Present)

Razer_kills_matilda

Ah Matilda, the matriach of mayhem. Fulfilling the regular TV trope of one female amongst a group of males, Matilda has definitely defined her place amongst the masculine figures of Mr Psycho, Sir Killalot and Sgt. Bash. I’ve always thought of Dead Metal as male, but it could honestly go either way, so i’ll leave that one to the people who actually built him/her.

But onto Matilda herself. She resembles a mutant Rhino, and seems to move like one too. Despite her smaller stature against the other house robots, i’ve always found Matilda to seem a little bit cumbersome. Couple that with weak armour (In relative terms), it’s made Matilda a popular target for competitor robots, not least Razer who completely dismembered her.

The weapons have at least evolved with the times. Matilda was originally fitted with a chainsaw, but that became somewhat obsolete when robots stopped being made out of wood. Now, Matilda weilds a hefty flywheel capable of great destruction when it connects with a competitor. It is a weapon I greatly admire. On the front end of the robot, however, are a pair of flipping tusks, far less destructive and in my opinion, criminally underused. Sure, they’re not the most powerful flippers in existence, but they’re useful.

Fortunately, the reboot seems to have given the tusks a new lease of life. They’ve even been responsible for tossing robots out of the arena. Let’s hope it continues.

5. Sgt. Bash (S1-7)

Sergeant_Bash_flame

The Sargeant Major of the warzone, Sgt. Bash combines some hardline futuristic military hardware with a menacing presence in the arena. Painted in the standard military greens and dirtied up from the scars of war, Bash has always looked ready to rumble.

One of the original additions to the crew of House Robots, Bash has had many a moment to remember, including run ins with Diotor and Granny’s Revenge that led to a fiery end. All of this comes down to Bash’s rotary mounted flamethrower, which makes quite the spectale when it shoots flame across the arena. The problem is, unless the robot is made of fur or draped in carpet, the flamethrower is unlikely to do anything. It is, in other words, a gimmick. But it’s an entertaining gimmick and that’s fine with me.

The other weapon is a nasty looking set of hydraulic crushers. But, much like Matilda’s tusks, they were criminally underused throughout the series. They could have done some real damage, but they were often overlooked in favour of the flamethrower. They still managed to look the part though, and that was half of the entertainment.

I did like Sgt. Bash as a robot, it looked awesome and had that menacing militaristic feel that a guardian of the arena should have. It just wasn’t quite as effective as the robot suggested. Would I like to see it back in the new series? Hell yes, but I know that’s probably not possible.

Robot Wars S07E11 Part 3: Kat Fight

OK so it’s been 9 days, sue me. But fear not, for I am not going to leave you wondering for too much longer. So far in this heat we have seen many different happenings, including but not limited to Bulldog Breed’s illegal cylinder protectors, Kat 3 losing its axe head in the arena floor and Typhoon spinning to Middleweight final victory. With the seeds Bulldog Breed safe in the heat final and looking to do the already largely populated flipper’s club proud, it is now up to axebot Kat 3 and crusher Mantis to battle it out and decide who is going to play challenger in the final battle of the heat.

In my eyes Mantis would go into this fight as favourite, havign had such an impressive opening fight, whilst Kat 3 struggled their way into the next round, having shot themselves in the foot by losing half their weapon beforehand. But as we know, form and reputation means almost nothing once in the arena.

Mr Psycho makes yet another appearance for the house robots, his hammer shinier than ever, with Matilda joining him as co-defender of the arena. Let’s get this underway!

It’s a tentative start for both robots, putting some distance between themselves before almost staring each other down. Of course, a battle is a battle and they do go for each other eventually, though Kat 3 once again make a mess of trying to strike with the axe, missing completely. They then fire the axe again, nowhere near Mantis- who incidentally is too busy driving into the Refbot- so I can only assume it was accidental.

But they manage to find their way back to each other, and this time when Kat 3 brings the axe down, there’s a split second where it is fully lowered. In that split second Mantis drives forward, and so when the axe comes back up, it gets hooked onto Mantis’ roll hoop. Maybe not what Kat 3 were intending, but now they have the advantage.

Hooked
Hooked

Kat 3 are stuck in there, but that doesn’t mean they’re calling the shots. An advantage still needs a decent robot to execute it, and Kat 3 are perhaps not that robot, because it’s Mantis that end up driving them in circles, slamming it into reverse and taking them for a ride.

This continues for some time, although Kat 3 manage to gain something of a foothold and pull back, making it a much more even contest. Mantis try bringing up the lifting forks, but it doesn’t help too much to change things. In the end, Kat 3 are the ones to disengage. Now it’s a proper fight again.

Mantis do what any robot believing themselves to be on the back foot usually do and drive into the pit release button, but that leaves time for Kat 3 to catch up and deliver another blow. Mantis, if you remember, is made of scaffolding, so there are plenty of internals to aim for. No lasting damage seems to have been done, however.

And soon, the tables have turned, and Mantis manage to catch at kitty kat in their jaws. For a little while, anyway. Kat 3 soon manage to wrangle their way out of it. Mantis aren’t going to take that laying down, and get in behind Kat 3, then bring up their lifting forks, and tip their opponents onto their sides.

Tip Kitty
Tip Kitty

Kat 3 self–right with their axe, snapping back onto their wheels, and now it’s their turn to go on the attack. they line Mantis up, then drive the axe right into the innards of the machine. There’s always the potential to hit something vital, but you never know until you hit it. For Mantis, it seems like they just about get away with it, and move away from the danger zone. It turns into a bit of a dance, with both robots side by side and doing the Argentine Tango, before Mantis get one last lift in, pinning Kat 3 to the arena side wall.

The clock is now ticking down, with 10 seconds to go. Can Kat 3 right themselves? Yes, they can. Once again the axe rights them and thrusts them back into battle. But it’s too late and the timer has hit zero.

We’re going to the judges!

It’s a tough decision, Kat 3 or Mantis. Kat 3 got the early blows in, and got Mantis hooked at one point, but Mantis managed to flip them over a couple of times. I would hate to have to make that decision, but the judges did, and a decision they made. The winner is…

KAT 3!

Bloody hell that could have gone either way. But now we have a fight between the cat and the dog of the arena on our hands. And I think Kat 3 may just be running out of lives…


So, to the heat final. Bulldog Breed have been impressive over the two fights they have participated in so far, especially against Hard in round 2. Kat 3, however, have run it close to the line in both matches, utilising judges’ decisions to scrape their way into the final. Bulldog Breed are massvie favourites, but Kat 3 does have an axe, and thos cylinders have lost their protection…

Your house robots for this final fight of the night are Sir Killalot, the honourable knight of the arean, and Cassius Chrome. Nothing honourable about Cassius Chrome, it has to be said. Let’s battle!

Unlike their previous battle, Kat 3 have no problem getting forward to attack Bulldog Breed, but their attacks miss, for yet another fight. Infact, two quick attacks both miss, and Bulldog Breed are none the worse for it. BB go on the attack themselves, but Kat 3 are very low to the ground, and Bulldog Breed can’t get under there long enough to get a flip away.

The back and forth continues, with Kat 3 skirmishing around the advances of Bulldog Breed, and successfully too. Because, having bamboozled BB long enough to get round the side of them, Kat 3 actually land a hit with the axe. A good hit.

Dogeyes
Dogeyes

Are Bulldog Breed going to take that lying down? Are they fuck. They go straight on the attack, and this time they manage to trap Kat 3 long enough to flip them over. Now that’s strike one for the Bulldog, and things have levelled up.

Kat 3 self right again, eventually, with a little more than a hint of help from Bulldog Breed, who were no doubt themselves trying to flip Kat 3 into an even more compromising position. They end up in Sir Killalot’s CPZ, but Kat 3 get away. Bulldog Breed follow, and chase Kat 3 all the way into the pit release button. Another variable on the battlefield!

Kat 3 land another hit, but only on the lid of Bulldog Breed, and not anywhere that could damage something vital. Again, Bulldog Breed try to retaliate, but this time they miss the flip. Kat 3, in their highly skittish and permanently uncontrollable state, manage to miss several axe strikes in the next few phases of play. For every hit, there are about 4 misses.

Bulldog Breed keep coming, relentless, and once again chase Kat 3 down into a remote corner of the arena, before getting under and flipping them away. With each flip, Kat 3 has to use up more of their precious axe engagements to right themselves. It’s a long game, but it has an objective.

Angry dogs
Angry Dogs

However, things don’t happen the same as they usually do, and Kat 3 this time seem unable to right themselves. This brings Sir Killalot into play, although the house robot is only there to push Kat 3 out of the way. That is, however, until Bulldog Breed flips them back through the air, causing them to land on top of Killalot’s head!

Headshot
Headshot

Ironically, the flip actually ends with Kat 3 landing back on their wheels, and now they can escape. Bulldog Breed comes back, but Kat 3 pulls the same trick it did on Mantis and the two robots start up another round of Argentine Tango. It breaks off eventually, which right now can only lead to one thing- Bulldog Breed get another flip in, but again it isn’t terminal. They’re wearing them down, but slowly.

But Kat 3 aren’t done yet, and even when Bulldog Breed are underneath them, the axe can still come down! This time they even manage to get a few sparks to fly. But, as with this very end to end fight, Bulldog Breed get another flip in. The clock hits the screen and suddenly, the fight is soon going to the judges. Not before Bulldog Breed get another flip in to follow up. A last minute assault to try and sway the judges.

The clock hits zero, and the result is in other hands now. The judges take their work seriously, going down to inspect the robots for damage. But only one robot can go through to the series semi final…

BULLDOG BREED!

Yes, the aggression and the control they had in their flips won out against the damage caused by Kat 3’s axe, on account that it didn’t cause that much damage in the first place. All show, no bite.

And Bulldog Breed are going through!

 

Robot Wars S07E11 Part 2: Going In Hard

Heat K rolls on, with some very good looking robots entering the second round of battles. The seeds Bulldog Breed are joined by Kat 3, Hard and Mantis. But, as is tradition with the second part to the recap, we have a special event waiting first. I almost feel sorry for the second parts of my recaps; The first part gets the melees, where all competitors are introduced, and the third part gets the heat final, where we see who rules supreme in that heat and moves on to the semi-final. the second part, meanwhile, has to make do with whichever gimmick battle it is left with. We didn’t even have one of those a couple of episodes ago.


However, the special event is here to stay (For this series, anyway). Now we just need to find out what it is. Any guesses? It’s not another World Championship qualifier, nor a featherweight fight. It’s not spinners or flippers or axes in exclusivity either, we’ve already had those. No, this time we’re bridging the gap between feathers and heavies, and having the Middleweight Final! Yet another *New* event to add to the list.

First robot out onto the floor is Typhoon. Yes it’s just like Typhoon 2, just smaller. A cone shaped full body spinner, Typhoon shares many characteristics with its big brother, it just weighs about half as much. The outer shell of the robot can spin at speeds up to 100mph, but as a trade-off the robot has no self-righting mechanism, which leaves it vulnerable to flippers.

Then we have Phoenix, a box shaped robot with a front wedge, coupled with a lifting arm for a weapon. At 42kg it is lighter than Typhoon, and it looks significantly less deadly too, but looks can be deceiving. It has two very exposed wheels at the back of the robot, extremities that may very well be targeted by the likes of Typhoon.

Finally, the third robot in this final, we have Steel Sandwich. An incredibly low robot, Steel Sandwich is about the width of a credit card and probably about as dangerous. It looks vaguely similar to Phoenix, in the sense that it has a front wedge and is driven by two rear wheels, though they are significantly better protected than Phoenix’s. And they are heavier than Phoenix too, the same 48kg as Typhoon. The weapon is a small spinner, but I’m not convinced about how good it’ll be.

So now we have the competitors, let’s find out who the house robots are.  In one corner we have the hound from hell, Growler, and in the other we have Dead Metal! Let’s get this three way throw down underway!

Unfortunately for the other two robots in there, Typhoon manages to steer clear of trouble long enough to start spinning (Although they almost drive into the Refbot). When Typhoon spins, that means trouble is coming. Phoenix decides the best plan of attack is to ram them head on, but Typhoon dodges them, leaving Phoenix to overshoot and drive all the way into the CPZ behind Typhoon. Steel Sandwich has better luck, but even with their incredibly low wedge, they can’t get in underneath fully.

Steel Sandwich keeps up the chase, but Typhoon is both more agile and faster, and they manage to get round and land a hit on SS, knocking them back. Now Typhoon is not exactly Typhoon 2, and the damage this time is minimal. Phoenix have rejoined the fight, but now Typhoon seems to have a problem spinning up. And when they aren’t spinning up, they’re vulnerable. Despite this, nobody really seems to want to attack them. Infact, nobody seems to want to fight anybody. The most interesting thing right now is that Typhoon is smoking.

A Trail of Smoke
A trail of smoke

Looking to actually make this an entertaining contest, Refbot takes measures into its own hands and pushes the pit release button. Now all we need is for somebody to actually launch an attack to push somebody down there. What’s this? Typhoon had started spinning up again? Finally!

And, as the only robot seemingly happy to attack, Typhoon goes in on Phoenix and flings them into Growler, finally another attack. Unfortunately for Phoenix, that hit is all it takes to knock them cold, with the looming figure of Growler in the background, ready to inflict some hurt.

He's Behind You
He’s behind you…

Whilst Growler is contemplating the best way to dispose of Phoenix, Typhoon turns its attention to Steel Sandwich, getting a couple of blows in there before the other robot could do anything themselves. As has happened before, attacking other robots has stopped Typhoon from rotating, and they’re once again vulnerable.

Or they would be, but Steel Sandwich has also stopped running properly, one of the wheels seemingly seizing up, meaning now all they can do is run it in circles. Typhoon can at least drive properly. Phoenix meanwhile is being counted out by Refbot, to nobody’s surprise. I’m sure if Growler could salivate, he would, because he’s ready to pounce once the Refbot hits 10.

And when that happens, Growler takes Phoenix and places them straight onto the floor flipper. Meanwhile Typhoon is trying to get Steel Sandwich down the pit, which is proving difficult. Typhoon were built to rip thing off other robots, not push them. Steel Sandwich isn’t helping by being just alive enough to make things awkward.

Phoenix’s journey is completed by the floor flipper, which practically launches them into orbit. It’s just too heavy to be launched out of the arena, instead coming to rest against the side wall, in a CPZ on the opposite side of the arena. A spectacular way to end.
And as soon as that is over, Typhoon finally manages to get Steel Sandwich into the pit! They’ve won the Middleweight Championship!

It’s almost like we’re trying to foreshadow something here.


Now onto the main event, or rather the first battle in the second round of the main event, and hopefully a more entertaining battle at that. We know who has gone through (Bulldog Breed, Kat 3, Mantis & Hard), but who will be paired up against who?

Well our first battle see’s the 12th seeds Bulldog Breed come up against fellow flippers, Hard! And if you hadn’t guessed Hard was going to be one of those robots from my title, then you must be new here. Either way, it’s going to be fascinating to see how the battle of two very different flippers unfolds.

Your house robots for this battle are Matilda (Feels like a long time since we’ve seen her) and the ever fearsome Mr Psycho! Let’s get the flipping frenzy underway!

Both robots try to attack each other, but they also both miss, as the first gets off to a quick start. The problem that Hard is going to have all fight is very quickly exposed, with the two wheel drive system meaning the robot tends to rear up every time it accelerates. And with that problem, Bulldog Breed have no trouble getting underneath them. Hard squirm about, trying to free themselves, but Bulldog Breed stick to them, before firing the first flip of the contest, tossing Hard back out into the arena wilderness.

Hard do come back on their own attack, looking for a quick comeback, pushing Bulldog Breed into the side wall, but they can’t get underneath to flip, and Bulldog Breed free themselves fairly easily. The tables turn again, and now Bulldog Breed are behind Hard, trying to push them.

Push And Shove
Push and Shove

And now pushing behind them, Bulldog Breed also manage to get underneath enough to flip Hard, but they won’t go over the edge of the arena! So close, but not robotic cigar. They crash back to the floor, but something doesn’t seem right. They’re not really moving. Bulldog Breed flip them again, but still can’t get them out of the arena.

But Hard are not moving, that’s for certain. Something is wrong.

It doesn’t stop Bulldog Breed from continuing their relentless assault, something they’re more than happy to be a part in. Despite this, and the inactivity of their opponents, Bulldog Breed’s flipper is not powerful enough to get them out of the arena. It just won’t do it.

Flip flip and flip again
Flip, Flip & Flip Again

Bulldog Breed soon realise this and pretty much give up, allowing Refbot to take over and start counting Hard out. And, amidst the glow of the flame jets, that’s exactly what happens. As soon as the Refbot’s count hits 10, Mr Psycho’s hammer comes down, though Hard hardly has the best shape for a good connection, the hammer practically slides down the wedge. The next hammer blow hits the top of the arena side wall. Giving up on the hammer, Psycho decides to just pick them up instead.

Problem Carrier
Carrying your problems to the grave

Of course, Psycho then drops them, as only Psycho can. So now he’s down to just pushing them across the arena, which is one thing Psycho does well. And where to push other than onto the floor flipper? The crowd chants, baying for destruction, as the flipper launches Hard into the air. It doesn’t fly particularly far, but lands in its side and starts doing cartwheels across the arena. In the end, it comes to rest in much the same place Phoenix did!

Mr Psycho then picks them back up, and drives them over to the drop zone. Ah yes the drop zone, with its wide variety of household appliances to drop. This time? An oven! And as always, the oven came off so much worse than Hard. All of the outer panels of the oven flew off, and Hard was barely scratched!

With one final hammer blow, Hard is out of the competition.


Bulldog Breed are going through to the heat final. But who will join them, Kat 3 or Mantis? Find out next time…

 

Robot Wars S07E11 Part 1: Cats, Dogs & A Praying Mantis

Heat K. We’re really getting through the alphabet now, and we’re certainly steamrolling through the rest of the heats we have left in this series. Sooner or later we’ll have a full semi-final line-up ready to roll. But we’re not quite there yet, so let’s stick with the heats. Continuing with the theme of decreasing even seeds, we’ve moved from Thermidor 2 (14) onto this week’s seed, number 12 Bulldog Breed. Both experienced, animal based flippers. Interesting that.

Along with Bulldog Breed, and continuing the theme of household pets, we have a cat in the arena. Specifically, we have Kat 3, another veteran of the wars. They’re joined by Infernal Contraption, which is exactly what its name suggests, along with Hard (Yes, that robot is back again), Velocirippa, T-Wrecks, Mantis (Yes, we’ve seen them before aswell) and Jabber. Jab jab jab. Eight robots in with a chance of surviving this heat so that they can fight it out in the semi-finals, so let’s see how they line up for the first hurdle to success- the melee.


Robot one for melee one is Mantis, a robot we saw earlier on in this series during the battle of the crushers, in which Pinser spontaneously combusted to great effect and Mantis went on to win. This is their actual heat though, so the challenge is all the greater. A robot that looks like it was made out of wire fencing, Mantis features a grand total of 3 thin wedges at the front of the robot, two of which also work as lifting forks. This is coupled with a large hydraulic crusher, used for crushing things (Naturally). Despite the scaffold look, Mantis weighs the full 100Kg and goes at 14mph, but it has very, very exposed wheels.

Next on the list is Infernal Contraption, which is a fun yet odd robot in its design. It almost looks like a discount Stinger, except somebody took off the mace and gave it a spinning drum instead, making it look all the more… squashed. Regardless, the 16Kg spinning drum still ran at 1000rpm, enough to cause plenty of damage to any unsuspecting opponents, in theory anyway. Much like most robots designed in the same way, Infernal Contraption can be somewhat difficult to control.

Third we have our seeded robot, Bulldog Breed. Seeds are automatically the favourite for the heat (Unless you’re Ming Dienasty), and Bulldog Breed comes packing. Being here since the 3rd wars makes Bulldog Breed a veteran of the arena, but it is a robot that has not yet been to the lofty heights that its 12th seeding would suggest, having reached just two heat finals in the main competition. They did, however, win the Tag Team Terror event in Extreme II with Robochicken, something that no doubt helped their status. For the robot itself, Bulldog Breed is a T-shaped flipper, and everything is put into that flipper.  The armour too is fairly unique, in the sense that it gets tougher the more hits it takes. A winning solution?

And finally, we have Jabber, a newcomer to the 7th wars. Invertible, triangular shaped and armed to the teeth with a spinning bar and several sharp colours, it’s ready to rock and roll. The bar spins at 1500 rpm, and the robot has some heavy looking armour, but it weighs just 91Kg and has a high ground clearance, which isn’t ideal. Especially not with Bulldog Breed lurking…

Your house robots for the opening fight of the night are Sgt. Bash and Mr Psycho! Let’s begin!

The fight begins, and whilst most people seem to want to avoid each other, Mantis does the opposite and drives straight into the side of Refbot. In the first competitor contact, Infernal Contraption and an blow on Jabber with their drum, giving the other robot some brief air time. Bulldog Breed are biding their time, but they’re certainly not running away from anything.

All of the robots start to congregate in one section of the arena, giving little room for manoeuvre. Infernal Contraption bounces off Bulldog Breed and lands drum first, causing a little bit of damage to the arena floor, but it’s nothing that can’t be polished over for the next fight. Bulldog Breed seem to have picked Infernal Contraption as their primary target though, and start to chase them around. IC uses the gyroscopic forces to do some nifty one wheel turns as an escape attempt, but end up cornered, and Bulldog Breed very almost flip them out of the arena.

Flip Dog
Flip Dog

Meanwhile, on the other end of the arena, Mantis have managed to grab hold of Jabber, and now have them trapped in their crushing pincer. Mantis drive them over to the arena side wall, perhaps hoping that they can get them out, but they aren’t positioned just right to be able to do it, so they abort.

Infernal Contraption, perhaps owing to their unique design, have a very uncontrollable robot. Said robot is still stuck in the CPZ, and can’t get itself out. Bulldog Breed wait for their moment, then drive up and flip their opponent up into the air! IC comes down with a bang, landing on the back of Bulldog Breed before trying to make an escape- an escape halted by Sgt. Bash.

Mantis still have hold of Jabber, and are refusing to let them go, instead just driving them around. Bit shit if you’re the Jabber team, because there is literally nothing you can do about it. This isn’t Battlebots, and Mantis don’t have to let them go. Bulldog Breed decides to join in on the fight, leaving Infernal Contraption to battle Sgt. Bash. That is until they come steamrolling into the back of Mantis. Does nothing much in terms of damage, but it counts for aggression.

Apparently this inspires Mantis to drop Jabber off in Sgt. Bash’s CPZ. Great for Jabber, but really Mantis wasn’t doing anything except carry them around. Unfortunately for Jabber, they don’t really see to be going anywhere, and now Sgt. Bash can have a field day with them. No sign of Psycho yet this fight though. Infernal Contraption, meanwhile, are still driving around like maniacs.

Bulldog Breed and Mantis start having a back and forth between them, though Bulldog Breed can’t quite get underneath enough to get a flip in. They do have pushing power though, and push Mantis into the pit release button. At the same time, something falls out of Bulldog Breed… Something that looks a lot like netting.

Net Trail
Net Trail

With this netting caught underneath Bulldog Breed, they head into Sgt. Bash, and very briefly have a skirmish, but get away fine. They just miss Infernal Contraption and hit Jabber, flipping them over. But, as the clock ticks down, Mantis comes along and grabs them, hoisting them into the air.

The clock hits zero, and every robot is still alive and kicking. But who will win? Mantis had good control, especially in the grab. Infernal Contraption had no control, but the drum did do some damage. Jabber did nothing, so they’re going out. Bulldog Breed were aggressive and got some good flips in, but what about that netting?

Well, as it turns out, the netting was placed inside the robot to protect the cylinders from damage by other robots. Now netting or other mesh like materials are outright banned, so Bulldog Breed could be in big trouble….

As it is, they get away with an official warning (Much to the team’s displeasure). But they are going through, alongside Mantis!


And so, the second melee rolls around. Four more robots looking to smash and crash their way into the second round to join Bulldog Breed and Mantis. But who are they?

Well first on our list is Hard. If that name sounds familiar, they were in the last heat as a qualifier for the Third World Championships. It won that, but then it wasn’t facing fully functional opposition. This time may be different. For the robot itself, Hard comes equipped with a flipper, and can run both ways up. The wheels are somewhat unique, and incredibly wide, which is one of their assets. Perhaps their biggest asset, as their name suggests, is their armour, which is as hard as a rock. But no robot is perfect, and their wheels are exposed.

Next is Velocirippa, another robot from stalwart Trevor Wright. Despite having entered in ever war since the 3rd, Velocirippa has yet to win a competitive fight. Yeah… Regardless of whether this fight is going to be different, Velocirippa is still dressed to kill. Dressed as a Velociraptor’s head, that is. In terms of weaponry, it has a double deck of ramming spikes and a lifting scoop. And, whilst a Ferrari it is not, Velocirippa is both rear wheel drive and has just front wheel steering. Wild.

And onto the next robot, the wacky and wonderful T-Wrecks. In the same sense that Velocirippa is based on a Velociraptor, T-Wrecks is a wonderful name pun on the vicious T-Rex. Whether the robot is as terrifyingly destructive as the dinosaur is yet to be seen, seeing as this is its first fight. It was supposed to fight in S3, but that’s another story. The actual robot itself is cylindrical in design, with several teeth around the edges to inflict damages. It is at this point you scream “Active weapon rule!”, and you would have a point. But fuck the rules, right?

Finally, we move onto the opposite of Bulldog Breed, Kat 3. This kitty kat has been around for a while, and this version has been around since the 5th wars. An orange and black version of Dominator 2, Kat 3 is shaped nearly exactly the same probably because it was a successful design for an axe, which is the weapon of choice for this robot. A powerful, pointed axe, it can strike around 50 times in a fight, and cause some hefty damage along the way. Quite probably a killer kat you want to stay away from in the arena.

Your house robots for this battle of infinite kitty power are Cassius Chrome, and Mr Psycho is back too! (Let’s face it, he barely did anything in the last fight, might as well use him now). Fight!

The start is tentative. Everyone got away well enough, but nobody seems to want to commit to an attack, so for the first few seconds everyone is just driving around. This doesn’t last too long, with everyone piling into one corner shortly afterwards. Hard into T-Wrecks, then Velocirippa driving into them both. Kat 3 were the only robot to hang back, but they get their own opening and fire the axe down on Velocirippa, getting a glancing blow before the dinobot drove right up their wedge to escape.

T-Wrecks meanwhile has incurred the wrath of psycho Psycho, and has the perfect shape for that hammer to and on. And it most certainly makes a landing. Bang bang!

Hammered
Hammered

T-Wrecks just about manage to get away from Mr Psycho before the hammer can come down a second time, but end up running into the battling Kat 3 and Velocirippa, which has once again mounted their opponent. Velocirippa put the robot in reverse and get the hell out of there before Kat 3’s axe can hit them.

Instead, Kat 3’s axe strikes the arena floor, and gets 100% completely jammed. I think the cat has just lost one of its lives.

Nail in the coffin
Nail in the Floor Flipper Inspired Coffin

Whilst they’re stuck, Velocirippa have decided they need to mount someone else, that robot being Hard. As we saw in their World Championship Qualifier, Hard doesn’t really have the most powerful flipper, and it can barely lift Velocirippa into the air. It still does, just about. They then drive them over to the arena wall, trying to get them out of the arena… Except this time the flipper can’t lift them at all. There is a third flip, but Velocirippa escape for a few seconds before we rinse and repeat.

Kat 3 have now been freed, either by virtue of Refbot or some kind of divine intervention. They rush over to the action, before missing completely with an axe attack aimed at Velocirippa. They’re all backed into a corner, so Cassius Chrome comes shooting out to disperse the crowd, and collects Hard along the way. Velocirippa, with incredible speed I may add- careers straight into Refbot, thus earning itself a yellow card. Not often we see many of them handed out.

To compact this, they then drive straight back up Hard. Hard once again can’t toss them through the air as they’d like, but can still use the flipper to tip them off. I’m certain all Velocirippa has done in this fight is drive up other robots. That is until it comes across T-Wrecks, now finally spinning around on this spot, and drives into them. Instead of going up, they go flying off. I suppose it has the same end result.

Velocirippa respond to this by running away and into the pit release button. Hard have taken over with T-Wrecks, and their robot is much less compromised by the spinning spikebot, so much so that they’ve actually bent in the spikes that adorn T-Wrecks. Hard? You bet. Velocirippa meanwhile are still using their super speed to piss people off. They drive into Mr Psycho and back again before the giant house robot can even bring the hammer down. If Velocirippa actually had effective weaponry, it would be one hell of a force.

Everyone is once again congregating in the same area, and this is working well for Hard, who have managed to get underneath T-Wrecks and flip them around a bit. Kat 3 (Yes, still here) have done almost nothing of note for a while except miss several axe attacks, and this hasn’t changed. There is a good reason for this- the tip of the axe blade has come off! I suspect it’s still embedded in the arena floor.

Hard have now managed to get T-Wrecks off of them, and behind them instead. With T-Wrecks pretty much propped up against Hard, with no wheels on the ground, they are powerless to stop Hard pushing them ever closer to the pit. It’s unstoppable, and they can only watch as T-Wrecks falls into the depths of despair! They’re the first robot out of this, but what about the other three?

Eyes of War
Eyes of War

Kat 3 are still wandering about, but Velocirippa, who seemed to have so much speed to burn before, have stopped moving. They’ve overplayed their hand. And it is left to Hard, by far the most impressive robot in this melee, to take them and push them down the pit too.

Hard deservedly through. Kat 3 survive, but they’ve used up a good few of their lives, and now they’re skating very close to the edge.


Four robots through to the next round, and plenty of stories brewing too. Bulldog Breed with the netting controversy, Kat 3 with the lack of an axe point. Mantis and Hard there too, very tough competition for the favourites. Who lives, who dies? Until next time…

 

Robot Wars S07E10 Part 3: Wedge Wars

It’s the third part of Heat J, 10th heat in the 7th wars, and things are starting to fly. Thermidor, the 14th seed, are responsible for most of those that have flown out of the arena, dispatching The Kraken in the previous fight. But now we have another flipper ready to cause havoc and end another robots dreams in the shape of Kronic The Wedgehog. But they have a mini yet mighty robot standing in their path- Mighty Mouse.

It’s a fight between a full blown flipper bot and a nimble rambot (with some discs to satisfy the rules, but I’m not sure they’re its main weapon). For the mouse, however, there are many issues to overcome. After burning out a motor in their first fight, they have to hope the new one actually works.

Your house robots for this glorious encounter are the dastardly duo themselves, Mr Psycho and his god from hell, Growler. Let battle commence!

The battle starts, and Kronic heads straight for Mighty Mouse, looking to get the first attack in. They go in head on and fire the flipper, but they miss. Not only do they miss, but almost all of the yellow foam spikes come flying off!

Abandon Ship
Abandon Ship!!!

Kronic starts going in circles, trying to get back on track and back on the scent of Mighty Mouse, but the mouse makes some good dodges to avoid the flipper for a good few seconds. Kronic does eventually regain their bearings though, and slam Mighty Mouse into the side wall before flipping them over. MM of course has the top roll bar to make sure they (almost) always land on their wheels. Kronic comes in again and throws Mighty Mouse into the side wall, bouncing them off it before the mouse escapes.

Mighty Mouse is now pretty much running around, trying to avoid Kronic as much as they possibly can. They do have one advantage, in Kronic’s supposed inability to get underneath them if they launch a frontal assault, which they do a couple of times. Eventually MM get backed into a corner, allowing Growler to spring from his cage and push the mouse across the arena, collecting the pit release button along the way.

Danger Close
Danger Close

Mighty Mouse go back to what they know best- running away. This includes running into the Refbot by accident. What they don’t account for is the fact that Kronic have now managed to trap themselves in the CPZ, and Growler is ready to play with them. Is there a turn up happening here?

The Look of Despair
The Look of Despair

Kronic have now definitely stopped moving. Growler plays around for a bit, but has the knowledge to know when enough is enough, and to let the Refbot move in and take over proceedings. Sure enough, Kronic is counted out. Who saw that coming!

Psycho & Growler have a little nudge and get Kronic out of the CPZ and back into the open, ready for further punishment. This comes courtesy of Mr Psycho, who brings the hammer down (Second attempt though mind), then drives up the robot! They can only get so far before the tracks loose purchase with the ground, but it must still hurt Kronic. Their fight is over.


So, after that shock fight, we now have our two finalists. Thermidor 2 have been oh so impressive, whilst the mouse has survived against the odds. But only one can go through to the series semi-final. Will the seeded favourites prevail, or will the underdogs (Or should that be undermice?) add yet another robot corpse to their collection? It’s time to find out!

Your house robots for this clash are boxing beatbot Cassius Chrome, and the OG of the house, Sir Killalot!

Mighty Mouse make use of their awesome top speed and instantly run away from the menacing red lobster that wants to toss them like a rodent sized pancake. Unfortunately running away takes them only so far as Sir Killalot, who isn’t best pleased to see another robot disturbing him. As Mighty Mouse backs away, Thermidor come in and get a slight flip on them, but not enough. So they try again, and again only make slight contact. It’s proving hard to get ahold of the mouse.

Thermidor we know has to be careful because of its limited CO2 capabilities, so all of these missed flips really isn’t helping it. Mighty Mouse aren’t really causing any damage themselves, and the rear discs have been next to useless. But they are a tenacious robot. But, so are Thermidor, and eventually they catch up enough to get underneath properly and flip them over.

The Eyes
All About the Eyes

Mighty Mouse recovers well, escaping the glare of Cassius Chrome, and then decides to try and replicate their Kronic fight by driving right into the flipper of Thermidor 2. Except this time, they go straight up the flipper, and are duly tossed through the air.

Launch Pad
Launch Pad

Mighty Mouse’s next trick is to start running in circles around the Refbot, something that works about twice before Thermidor catches onto what’s happening, and starts going in the other direction. Mighty Mouse are doing a good job of hanging on. Another flip, and Mighty Mouse once again roll over and back onto their wheels, but this time they roll into Sir Killalot, who is so slow that he can’t actually catch them before they run away again. Speed merchants. But it doesn’t last for long, because Sir Killalot always catches up to you. Now Mighty Mouse is stuck on the house robot with nowhere to go.

Killalot's Dick
Killalot’s New Dick

Mighty Mouse is now actually stuck on Sir Killalot. Properly stuck. Killalot tries desperately to get them off, ramming them against a side wall and angle grinder, but to no avail. They only get free when Thermidor intervenes and flips them off, leaving Mighty Mouse to run away… Once again.

But Thermidor comes in with a flip. And another one. They’re certainly more aggressive, and that could yet play a big role in the outcome. But then something curious happens; Mighty Mouse seems to lose the ability to turn right, signalling the potential for them to have lost drive in their left and right controls, and meaning that they are now spending the fight driving up and down the arena sidewall. Almost like they’re being attracted by a magnetic pull.

Killalot are taking full advantage of this situation, and take things a step further by picking Mighty Mouse up, using the lance to pick the mouse up by its roll hoop, before toasting it over the flames and flinging it across the arena. Thermidor opens up the pit as the clock finally counts down, but Mighty Mouse survive to take it to the judges!

But, well, I don’t need to tell you that it was a fairly easy decision to make for the judges. On aggression alone, Thermidor had it in the bag, and so Thermidor are going through to the series Semi-Finals!


So there we go, another finalist in the bag (And another flipper too). Whenever I end up doing the next recap, we’ll be moving onto Heat K and the 12th seeds Bulldog Breed, who are facing up to mortal enemies Kat 3. I can’t believe it’s coincidence that a dog based robot and a cat based robot were put in the same heat.

But that’s for next time. Until then…

 

Robot Wars S07E10 Part 2: Under The Sea

Usually I seem to do these things on a Thursday, but I’m going away tomorrow so here I am a day early. I’m not sure when I decided I was going to do these once a week but I’m quite enjoying having the space between articles, so it stays until the new series begins.


So, after some very entertaining first round fixtures, we know who is going to be going through into the heat semi-finals. Thermidor 2, Mighty Mouse, The Kraken and Kronic The Wedgehog. They are now split into one on one battles, with Thermidor 2 v The Kraken, and Mighty Mouse v Kronic The Wedgehog. I hope the title to this article helps with deciphering which of those battles is going to appear in this article.

But, before any of that happens, we’re back to the world of special events. And we’re revisiting the 3rd World Championships with yet another qualifier. This time it’s New Zealand versus Belgium, not two countries you might expect to be facing off against each other, but here they are anyway.

First into the field of battle is Riptilion, representing the team from New Zealand. A fairly flat, dome shaped robot, Riptilion is armoured in what all good reptiles are armoured with- green scales. In terms of weaponry, Riptilion has a small spinner at the front of the robot, with sharp spikes on the other side. It has a top speed of 27mph, making it super speedy, but it is the perfect shape to get bludgeoned by an axe, and it has no self-righting abilities whatsoever.

On the other side we have Hard, a robot hailing from Belgium. Riptilion’s worst nightmare, Hard is indeed a wedgebot with a flipper. Named “Hard” presumably because of its ultra tough, stainless steel armour, it also featured a custom-built locomotion system which allowed it to run both ways up (Two wheels on the top, two on the bottom. But they’re independent from each other, unlike a lot of invertible robots that just have the same wheels going from one side to the other). However, it doesn’t actually have the most powerful flipper, which leaves it low on attack.

Your house robots for this fight include the one-eyed Cassius Chrome, and the dog from hell, Growler. Two mean machines, though one somewhat meaner than the other. Time to battle!

The battle starts off, well, slowly. For a robot that can supposedly run at up to 27mph, Riptilion looks incredibly sluggish. It’s such a big robot, and it does not look very manoeuvrable at all. This all plays into the hands of Hard, who can come in and take control of the battle. Riptilion attempts to spin on the spot, as it claims it can do, but it is ineffective. Hard get underneath a couple of times, before finally managing to get their first flip in, pushing Riptilion up against the arena side wall.

Hard has a taste for battle now, and continues to push Riptilion around. Hard’s flipper isn’t the most powerful, but Riptilion is an easy target, and Hard can get some more flips in before Cassius Chrome arrives on the scene. Riptilion are trying to attack, but their weapon is just not powerful enough to do any damage. So Hard continues the assault.

Hard has now pushed Riptilion into a CPZ, so Cassius Chrome makes a return. But with Hard there too, Cassius rams into both robot, sending Riptilion over Hard’s wedge and into the air. As everything settles down, Cassius Chrome is still there, landing robo punch after robo punch.

Angry Boxer
Boxbot Supreme

This attack has taken its toll on Riptilion, who are now struggling just to get out of the CPZ. And because they’re still stuck there, Growler can come in too! And Riptilion is quite a nice shape for Growler, who can get those jaws nicely into the robot. Just like a dog with a chew toy.

Dog with a chew toy
Dog with a chew toy

Riptilion are no longer really moving, and so Refbot comes in to count them out. Hard makes this a rather difficult process by continually attacking Riptilion during the countdown, but nonetheless they are still counted out anyway. A disappointing end to a disappointing robot. But not the end of the battle just yet, because Growler has a second bite at Riptilion, clamping on to move the robot onto the floor flipper.

And off it flies.

It doesn’t actually go very far, mainly because of how Growler has put them on the flipper but also because of how big they are. Needless to say it doesn’t matter much, they’re still out. Hard are through to the 3rd World Championships.


So now we can move onto the first battle in the second round of this heat, between The Kraken and the 14th seeds, Thermidor 2. It’s a flipper versus a crusher, and not such an uneven contest if The Kraken can make that crusher work. The problem for them is that it didn’t seem all that powerful in the opening battle, and Thermidor is an experienced robot.

Cassius Chrome is back once again in the arena, along with the monster that is Mr Psycho. Two heavyweights ready to make war. And war we shall have!

Thermidor waste no time in launching their first attack on The Kraken, first getting around their side before just about wedging the flipper underneath. Then BAM! The flipper goes off and The Kraken are on their side. Now, honestly, the battle could have been over at this point. The Kraken can only really self-right when it’s on its back, but on its side as it is now it is basically doomed. But Thermidor want to continue the fight, and flipped them again. Now The Kraken can self-right. The battle continues!

Unfortunately for The Kraken, the skirmish has now resulted in their first crushing beak being completely bent out of shape, and rendering it useless. But The Kraken persevere, and they’re not out of this yet either. They can get underneath Thermidor with their front wedge, trapping them, but there is no weapon to use.

Thermidor are soon back on the front foot, and The Kraken very almost go flying out of the arena, but just about survive. And so that continues for most of the next minute, with Thermidor basically playing around with their opponent, and The Kraken have no reply. And, in the midst of that, Thermidor press the pit release button. Because why not? But when they try to get them down the pit, they accidentally flip them over it and almost drive in themselves!

Near Death Experience
Near Death Experience

The battle continues in much the same way as it has beforehand. Thermidor flip The Kraken, The Kraken self-right, and repeat. Repeat several times. Thermidor are well on top, and The Kraken haven’t ever looked like doing anything worthwhile. So Thermidor come in one last time, and flip Kraken right next to the pit. And this time, not making a mistake, they push them down.

Actual Death Experience
Actual Death Experience

And finish. What a fight.