It’s that time again. We’re into the ‘head to head’ section of this episode of Robot Wars, and what a matchup it promises to be. Storm 2, Eruption, PP3D and Apollo all facing off against each other. Only 2 can make the final of week 4, and only one will make the grand finale of week 6. But which one is it going to be? At this moment in time, it’s anybody’s guess.
Both robots from the second heat seem to have come out of it pretty much unscathed. Eruption do have a few scratches from Sabertooth’s drum spinner, but nothing that would harm them in the future. Storm 2 is just very hot. And being the massively complex robot that it is, Storm 2 naturally attracted one of the judges across like a moth to the light. In fairness, the live telemetry system that Professor Sethu Vijayakumar was asking about is a pretty awesome system. I’m not biased at all….
Anyway, we now have the head to heads sorted, so shall we get into it?
Head to Head 1: Apollo v PP3D
This matchup is something of a revenge match for Apollo, after PP3D basically destroyed one of their wheels in the initial heat. It would be interesting to see how both robots did when they had just each other to attack, without the added interference Kan-Opener provided in the opening melee.
Having had their wheel forcefully removed by PP3D in the opening round, Apollo had to dismantle basically the entire robot to try and fit a new one, which sounded quite painful. But can lightning strike twice? The PP3D boys certainly think that they can do it again, whereas the Apollo crew now know to go straight on and attack PP3D, without allowing them the opportunity to get round the side to do the same damage.
Next of course come the wonderful videos. First on our screens are Apollo, the so called boy band of Robot Wars. Built up of 3 blue coat entertainers, they supposedly have a nice mix of characteristic traits when going for tactics in the arena, something useful in changing conditions no doubt. The robot too looks rather impressive, with a giant wedge flipper, an old favourite of Robot Wars competitors. Supposedly the flipper can flip ‘around about a tonne’, something the house robots will be able to attest to in latter battles. Although, that said, I still want to see them go after Sir Killalot…
Next up is the video for PP3D, which unlike Apollo is made up of actual engineering type people. So this is definitely a clash of the cultures. Gary Cairns, somehow still only in his 20s, is part of a 3D software company, hence why PP3D is mainly made out of 3D printed components. That spinning disc though. IT’S MASSIVE.
Anyway, onto the fight! In the arena for the house robots we have Killalot 2.0 and, wait for it, Shunt! Yes, our favourite robotic bulldozer is finally back from his extended holiday. Now, having spent all his life savings on premium oil and robo-hookers, he actually has to come back and work for a living.
True to their words, Apollo rushed PP3D straight away, though the robot merely bounced over the of Apollo. Apollo, if anything, were the robot going on the defensive. Having learnt from the heats, they spent the early stage of the fight making sure the front of their robot was parked infront of PP3D to stop it getting to the wheels. PP3D landed hits, but nothing that caused too much damage to their opponent. Eventually, Apollo began to herd PP3D towards the corner of the arena, looking to line it up for a flip. With PP3D stranded right in the very corner, Apollo made their move…
And flipped the tyre clean off. INSTANT KARMA.
PP3D at this point can now only move in circles. Kinda what happens when you’re missing a wheel. Apollo, however, having taken one massive whack from the spinning disc just after PP’s wheel had come off, were also not entirely mobile. Both robots were kinda half dead, a theme that seemed to perpetuate throughout this episode.
Apollo, however, were less half dead than PP3D, and still managed to come in for one final attack. Sparks flew as the giant spinner came into contact with the giant flipper, but it was PP3D that flew through the air. They then proceeded to do their best impression of Wrecks, by bouncing off the floor with the spinning disc and tearing their own removable link out.
Game over. 3 points to Apollo. But just how bad was the damage that PP3D caused? (In the end a chain fell off, but that was about it)
Head to Head 2: Eruption v Storm 2
The next of our head to heads saw former UK champion Eruption face reigning world champion Storm 2. It’s a battle of the champions, and a battle of flipper versus pusher. Storm 2’s invertability is an obvious advantage when coming up against flippers, but at the same time, their zero ground clearance is also a pain in the ass for teams like Eruption. If you can’t get underneath Storm 2, would they even be able to flip them at all? Of course, no ground clearance is exactly zero at all times, so it could be a case of taking an opportunity when it is presented to you…
The first of the videos this time belongs to Storm 2. The crew is captained by Ed Hoppitt, but also contains driver Tim Bence and his wife, Meral. Storm 2 is a host of technological wonders, from live telemetry systems to interchangeable weapons. For a 16 year old robot, it has stood up well to the test of time. Sure, it no longer drives at 23mph (It is actually about half that now, approx 12mph), and the batteries are quite prone to overheating, but it still works. It is still competitive. It still has 6 wheels (I’m not sure why that’s relevant but there we go). And it has one hell of a better paint scheme that when it entered the New Blood Championship back in Extreme II. That and the guys look pretty cool in the video because they’re posing with their many work tools, one of which is basically a CO2 leaf blower (Just to get the battery temperature down- From techno to stone age, all in the space of 30 seconds) Oh, and of course there’s the compulsory shot of Ed taking an angle grinder to his robot. Because supposedly that’s dramatic and edgy.
Next up on the video is Eruption, and we get to see yet more shots of people holding tools for the hell of it. This time we have driver Michael holding a power drill. Why not? Saying that, he’s a very confident young man, and a great driver too. I mean, you don’t get to be UK Champions without knowing how to drive your robot.
Anyway, I’ve waffled on for long enough. Sir Killalot and Matilda are your house robots. Let’s begin.
And let us begin with Eruption’s worst fears being realised- they can’t get underneath Storm 2. They end up driving onto the other robot, allowing Storm 2 to push them around a bit. Unfortunately for the Storm boys, they end up in Killalot’s CPZ, but do at least manage to get out of there quickly enough. And so they’re back to pushing and shoving. Eruption just can’t get any purchase on Storm 2, and in the end that results in Storm 2 pushing them into the CPZs and arena side walls. But at the moment, that’s all Storm 2 can do.
That is until they force Eruption onto the floor flipper, where they are launched several feet into the air, landing upside-down. Of course, Eruption can self-right, and it was spectacular. Someone should give Eruption an Olympic medal for their style, something that is prevalent throughout these head to heads #Foreshadowing.
Somewhere in that the pit release button gets pressed, which is really more of an advantage to Storm 2 at this point. From then on, we’re back to usual. Each and every time Eruption attempted to get in underneath Storm 2, they just rode up the front or the side, and that allowed the Storm boys to either push them into Killalot’s CPZ, or just around the arena in general.
Then, finally, Eruption got a flip in. Now it was Storm 2 flying through the air, but fortunately they landed on their good side. Was the tide turning? It seemed not at first, as Storm went straight back on the attack, pinning them up against the side wall. But then something happened. Storm 2 stopped. With 10 seconds to go, Eruption got a couple of flips in, but was it enough? Judges’ decision awaited them both.
In the end it went to Storm 2, and probably rightly so, but that late flurry from Eruption made it a very, very close call. Infact, it was a split decision judges’ call.
Head to Head 3: Storm 2 v Apollo
It’s a battle of the two robots with points. Storm 2, who scraped a judges’ decision against Eruption, versus Apollo, who managed to KO PP3D. A win for either team would put them in pole position for a place in the grand final. Could Storm 2 work the magic they did in the early stages against Eruption, or would the awesome flipping power of Apollo win out?
The house robots for this encounter finally include Dead Metal, who had to take a few fights off after complete overuse in week 3. Matilda joins him, adding another dimension to the battlefield.
As the battle begins, Storm 2 once again gets straight in and under Apollo. Apollo can’t do anything except ride Storm 2 like a rodeo on a bull, eventually falling off. That’s the problem- even though Storm 2 can get in underneath, when they try to push Apollo, they just go straight over the top. But this time, unlike Eruption, Apollo managed to get away from the front of Storm 2 and get in from the back, the one place they have the potential to be exposed. The flip also not only sent Storm 2 flying, but put them the wrong way up. Fortunately, Storm 2 had the front flipping bar attachment, and so attempted to self-right, but in doing so managed to skate onto the floor flipper, where they were, once again, flung.
Still the wrong way up, Storm 2 made an attempt to self right, but not before getting flipped once again by Apollo. The good news was that the self righting arm works, the bad news was that, in doing so, managed to get themselves slightly stuck on the pit. It seems zero ground clearance has its downsides when the pit isn’t entirely level with the arena floor. Then things started to get interesting; After taking another ride on Storm 2, Apollo once again seemed to lose its chain. Now only really able to go round in giant circles, the trajectory took Apollo right into Dead Metal’s CPZ. Now, we have a house robot and a competitor with a flipper, so I think you know what’s going to happen…
DEAD METAL GOT FLIPPED THE FUCK OVER.
Matilda, it would seem, did not take kindly to this, so she came out of her CPZ to nudge the now rather incapacitated Dead Metal, just to see if her was still alive. He wasn’t. But, in the process, Storm 2 had managed to push Apollo back into that CPZ, so now they were faced with a very angry Matilda. Apollo’s reaction was to try to flip Matilda, but only succeeded in taking half of her arse off. So what did they do? They tried again. I think you know what’s coming…
MATILDA GOT FLIPPED THE FUCK OVER.
At this point nobody cares much about the Storm 2 v Apollo match. Everyone is too busy watching the house robots squirm around on the floor after being turned turtle by Apollo. This may be the greatest battle ever. It doesn’t stop the fact the battle is going on, and right at the end, Storm 2 almost undid all of Apollo’s hard work by putting them in the pit. Almost.
If you do care, Apollo won via a judges’ decision. Of course.
Head to Head 4: Eruption v PP3D
So this battle had a lot to live up to, especially given what Apollo had done in the previous round. Although, with that said, because Eruption so desperately needed the points to keep their finale bid alive, going after the house robots is maybe not advisable. PP3D also need the points after Apollo ripped them a new one in the previous fight. After this matchup is done, somebody is guaranteed to be going home.
Your house robots include a very angry Dead Metal, and Shunt.
Both robots went for each other right away, but every time Eruption got close to PP3D, the disc made contact. Time after time, they made contact, bouncing off each other. One hit was so hard that both robots ended up on complete other sides of the arena. Eruption did at one point activate the pit release button, not that it was any use. They could not get close to PP3D without sustaining damage. One hit tore a side panel off completely.
Infact, that would prove to be the final hit. It was so powerful that it broke both robots to the point where literally only one wheel worked on Eruption and on PP3D. Both were still technically mobile, which mean we had 2 minutes of both robots driving around in circles to watch, before PP3D was eventually given victory on a judges’ decision.
And so, after 4 H2Hs, Apollo leads on 5 points, and is through to the grand final. PP3D and Storm 2 both sit on 2 points, and will fight each other in the final H2H to see who joins Apollo. Eruption have zero, and are out. The fun is still not over yet.
Until next time,