Week 4 has become Robot Wars’ appointed week of death it would seem. Last series it was slightly less destructive, but having such fantastic robots as Storm 2, Eruption, PP3D and eventual champions Apollo made for a fantastically tough round of battles. The fact Eruption this season has gone on to reach the grand final proves that a bit more. This series week 4 is once again the week of death, though this time for slightly different reasons. Perhaps it should be the week of destruction, because no less than 5 of the robots appearing this week have a spinner in one form or another. Now spinners cause a lot of destruction, both to other robots and themselves (See PP3D from week 2 for the best example of that), so naturally putting several of them in the same melee is likely to lead to some rather short fights. And well, that’s exactly what happened. I feel my introductions to half of the robots are going to be longer than their actual participation in the series.
We have a fair few returning robots in this heat, with a completely rebuilt Pulsar reigniting their rivalry with Ironside 3. Third World Championship finalists, and competitors from last series, Supernova are also back with an even more terrifying looking robot and a real chance of going all the way this time. Plus old hands Crushtacean are back with the gripping claws powered by futuristic looking gloves and even the guys behind Overdozer are back, this time with Wyrm. No, it’s not made of wood. There’s another group of students in the form of Frostbite, whilst the other half of the Danby family are here with Apex. There’s also a rather weird and wonderful looking robot here called High-5, which was supposedly modelled on SMIDSY.
As always, there’s two 4-way melees of which 2 robots go through each, leading to a round robin tournament for the winners where everyone plays everyone. 3 points for a win and 2 for a win via a judges’ decision. The two robots with the highest number of points contest the heat finale, with the winner going through to the week 6 grand finale. If you couldn’t tell, I’m stalling so that this article doesn’t end up being about 200 words long. But now that I’ve written all that I can, it’s time to actually get down to the melees.
Melee 1: Supernova v Wyrm v High-5 v Frostbite
Supernova are one of the veterans of Robot Wars, having competed in the show since the 5th wars, but they’ve had limited success. They did however reach the final of the 3rd World Championships, which was bolted onto the end of the 7th Wars, where they lost to eventual champions Storm 2. Last year Supernova managed to drive themselves into the pit in their initial melee, and so they’ll be hoping for better this time around.
In terms of actual weaponry, Supernova have a brand new 22kg, 2,500rpm spinning disc capable of causing a large volume destruction. Last season the disc lost its teeth in battle, but this time the disc is one solid piece. However, there’s still no guarantee Supernova won’t destroy itself along with its opposition. And at just 94kg, Supernova is one of the lighter robots.
Frostbite is another robot that comes out of a classroom, this time by a group of students and their after school technology club. It cost less that £500 to build and is somewhat minimalistic in design, with a large majority of the inside of the robot… vacant. It does however possess a 2,000rpm spinning bar for a weapon and is invertible, but weighs just 85kg and is made from Polycarbonate.
Next up in the fight is Wyrm, a robot that comes from the same team that built Overdozer last season. But whilst Overdozer was made out of wood and lasted about 25 seconds in the arena before falling apart, Wyrm is actually made of metal. It has a front lifting wedge that can supposedly deflect spinners, but it looks severely low on armour and, well, that’s not good when you’re sharing the arena with half a dozen spinners.
Finally we have High-5, one of the most intriguing robots in this series of Robot Wars. It is a box shaped robot with an intriguing lifting set of ‘fingers’ that can clasp together, with the intention of grabbing and/or lifting an opponent. There’s also a 14kg drum spinner than can be mounted to the robot, because there weren’t enough spinners here anyway. It’s modelled around former competitor S.M.I.D.S.Y., but has a rather large 11mm ground clearance that could hinder it in the future should it come up against any flippers.
With the robots introduced, it’s time to find out who the resident house robot for this battle is. It’s the one, the only, Shunt! (Let’s face it, it usually is). Let’s get the first melee underway!
Everyone is very tentative to start with- Supernova especially are just sitting there, waiting. Nobody wants to commit an attack on anybody. Of course, soon someone is going to have to make a move, and it is Wyrm who do so, backing themselves into High-5. But instantly afterwards Supernova make their move on Frostbite, connecting with the side armour panel and literally tearing it to shreds. Polycarbonate may not be the worst armour material ever, but it was never going to stand up to that. High-5 meanwhile have completely stopped. Whether or not that had anything to do with the attack from Wyrm, they’ve just stopped in the middle of the arena. Lasted long.
Frostbite are now moving in what is essentially circles, though they are at least still moving, unlike High-5 who are still just as dead as they were a few seconds ago. Wyrm meanwhile has decided to emulate last year’s Foxic and aimlessly drive themselves into the arena side wall, which apparently is enough to knock them dead too. This means that, despite having their robot torn apart by Supernova, Frostbite are one of the last two standing.
And, just to finish things off nicely, Supernova decides to take their very powerful disc and take the edge off High-5… Literally.
The countdown clocks counts down, whilst Shunt decides to make it his business to go over and flip Wyrm with the scoop. And that’s the battle. High-5 died without hitting anybody, Wyrm died by hitting the arena wall and Frostbite partially died after having their metaphoric guts taken out by Supernova. Hardly the most challenging battle, it has to be said. But Supernova and Frostbite are through.
Melee 2: Apex v Crushtacean v Pulsar v Ironside 3
Crushtacean are a blast from the past, with the crab like robot returning after sitting out last season. Originally entering from the 5th wars onwards, it is a unique robot both in design and operation. It’s an invertible dome shaped robot, fitted with a pair of gripping claws. The claws themselves are operated by a pair of special gloves that relay the actions of the person that wears them- close you hand and the claws will close shut too.
Crushtacean doesn’t seem to have changed much, and indeed still weighs the former limit of 100kg. It’s coated in polyurethane paint, which supposedly can protect the robot from spinners. I’ve honestly never seen paint stop a robot from being obliterated before, I have to say.
Ironside 3 are back and looking for revenge, having narrowly missed out on a chance to get into the week 5 heat final last series. The robot retains its core ethos, being a large horizontal bar spinner attached to what I always thought of as a coffin shaped body. The bar spinner itself weighs an amazing 35kg and spins at 1,500rpm. It may not be the fastest spinner out there, but it packs one hell of a punch. Supposedly the self righting arm has been improved too, which could come in useful.
As if we didn’t have enough spinners already, we now meet Apex, who come equipped with a bar spinner of their own. It’s hard to describe exactly what shape robot Apex has, so I’m just going to go with ‘angular’. The robot actually looks a little bit like a helicopter, with the bar on top spinning like rotor blades. The 37kg bar/pulley combination rotates at 1,750rpm and has a top speed of 242mph, which is frightening to think about. The question is, can this spinner stand out in a heat full of spinners?
Last but certainly not least, we have Pulsar, who made it all the way to the grand final last year, but not without a bit of luck along the way. This year Pulsar has been completely redesigned to give it even more of a chance, and inflict even more damage. The drum spinner now weighs 24kg and can potentially reach 8,700rpm, making it the fastest spinning weapon in the competition. Not only this, but Pulsar have also now included a srimech to help if they get tipped over, or if they just want to show off.
Changing things up for the house robots, this time around we have the mechanical wonder that is, er, Shunt. So we’re not really changing things up at all. Anyway, the spinner madness is upon us. Shall we begin?
Once again, everyone seems to spend the opening few seconds avoiding each other, no doubt this time to get their weapons up to speed. The hum of high velocity spinning bars and drums fill the air as everyone gets ready. But the first attack leads to the first victim, in the form of the rather helpless Crushtacean, who take a side on hit from the bar spinner of Ironside 3. I mean let’s face it, Crushtacean were always going to struggle in a sea of spinners. Just for good measure, Crushtacean managed to die over the flame pit, which led to a little fire show.
In the land of the working robots, Pulsar decides to take a little trip over the floor flipper. I know in the past it was never used for working robots, but now that it is, people still seem to forget that it’s there and a threat. Either way, it doesn’t hinder Pulsar, who very quickly recover and turn straight into Apex, who quite literally go flying. They come back to Earth, and it’s very clear that they’re not working either.
Even though it’s now very clear Ironside 3 and Pulsar are going through, Pulsar still launches an attack on Ironside just for good measure. I mean why not, it’s Robot Wars! As the clock counts down to zero, there’s a very apparent noise coming from Ironside 3, whose bar spinner is now actually catching on the robot. Now that’s damage they would rather not have to deal with. Regardless, they’re through along with Pulsar.
So, after two rather short yet incredibly destructive fights, we now know the 4 robots that are going through. Frostbite, Supernova, Pulsar and Ironside 3 are all into the head to heads. We have a quartet of spinners, and that guarantees that it’s going to get messy out there. But just who will rise above the rest? Until next time…