The final week of the heats is upon us, and it was certainly a cracker. This series has given us some fantastic robot, wonderful competitors and destruction on an unparalleled level. The spinners have reigned supreme with the likes of Aftershock, Supernova and Ironside 3 tearing robots apart left, right and centre, whilst Eruption have hit back for the legion of flippers by tossing everyone who dare to challenge them out of the arena. There have been some weird and wonderful designs- one of my favourite weird robots comes from this heat- and some incredible feats of engineering. But with all that said, there is still this heat to go and then the finale, so we’re not done yet.
This was potentially one of the most anticipated heats of the 9th wars, as arch rivals Carbide and Apollo, who won last series, come head to head once more. They last fought in the 8th wars grand finale, but whilst Carbide came out on top in their first round robin match, when it came to the final Apollo took revenge and punished Carbide’s reliability issues to take the crown. Now they’re back, and two of the great entertaining teams will once again duel, but only one may prevail. Maybe it might be somebody new entirely. Incidentally, all of the other robots competing in this heat are newcomers, to different extents. Rusty is basically a repurposed Ceros (From S7) and Meggamouse is the successor to previous robot Mighty Mouse that also competed in previous series of Robot Wars. Other than that everything is brand new. Ms Nightshade have one of the tallest robots in the competition, whilst Crackers N Smash are being bold and going into the arena as the reboot’s first clusterbot. Trolley Rage was genuinely built out of a trolley and one of Coyote‘s weapons is a chainsaw. Didn’t think I’d see the chainsaw remake an appearance.
Now you know what robots are going to appear (And half of them disappear after the first fight), it’s time to get down to it and introduce the melees themselves.
Melee 1: Apollo v Coyote v Ms Nightshade v Rusty
Yes, the reigning champions are back and looking to defend their crown. Interestingly the decision was taken to keep Apollo and Carbide out of each other’s way in the melees, but that leaves no guarantee they’ll get to meet up again in the Head to Heads. Neither Apollo nor Carbide is invincible.
As a robot, Apollo hasn’t changed much since it won the title. It sports the same design and the same powerful flipper that took it to victory last time out. The flipper itself is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful in the UK. It can supposedly lift 1000kg and launch 100kg robots 6ft into the air. However, the cold December weather could well do a number on Apollo’s flipper power, and that might prove costly in the long run. However, if they can get it working, Sir Killalot may just be there for the taking.
Rusty, aka Ceros V2.0, has a rather unique story of how they got to Robot Wars. The team that took them out into the arena were actually originally supposed to be taking a different robot, Clyde Built, in there instead, but it was forced to withdraw and Rusty replaced it. This may not sound so unusual, except Rusty never applied to compete in the first place. They were actually asked to come along as a reserve because of the lack of reserves. And yet, they ended up actually competing.
Rusty, as well as actually looking quite rusty, was a fairly standard flipper bot, with a scoop like flipper attached to the front. It can go at a respectable 14mph and could well spring a surprise, if it can get away from Apollo that is.
Ms Nightshade is one of the weird and wonderful robots to have entered this series. It is incredibly tall and looks like a purple cone. It has ‘petals’ which come down to strike an opponent with one of the spikes attached to the top, but doesn’t look entirely capable of causing a great deal of damage. Supposedly Ms Nightshade can climb out of the pit, which is something I’d very much like to see.
Finally we have Coyote, a robot built by one part of last year’s PP3D team, Jamie McHarg and his merry band of camo trousers wearing teammates. Coyote is something unique in terms of weaponry, as it has a chainsaw for a tail! The chainsaw can run at 3,000rpm so isn’t to be taken as something trivial, whilst Coyote also has a set of clamping and crushing jaws. But how well will the combination work in the arena?
Dead Metal is your resident house robot for this battle. It’s nice to see Shunt and Sir K taking a little time off after their manic schedule in week 4. Let Apollo’s title defence begin!
Things kick off with the robots splitting off into 2 pairs. Apollo goes after Rusty, whilst Coyote starts attacking Ms Nightshade, which is flapping about with the petals in a suitably manic fashion. Coyote can’t actually really get a grip on Ms Nightshade, but they’re hardly being damaged by the weapon either. Apollo meanwhile is stretching its proverbial legs by going after Rusty, and flipping them through the air as we’re so often used to seeing. It’s good to be back.
Apollo continue the assault on Rusty, flipping them over the flame pit and then watching as the back panel detaches itself after Rusty crashed back to Earth. It would seem Rusty wasn’t entirely put together that strongly. Apollo then changes things up and goes for Ms Nightshade, who I don’t think has actually moved this whole time. No, the bashing petals don’t count as movement. It doesn’t matter, because Apollo flip them too, and unlike Rusty, they don’t come back down on their wheels. The Nightshade is now on its side and stricken, down for the count.
Ms Nightshade is now wildly flapping about, trying to have some form of use in this battle despite being on its side. Apollo tries to complete the set by going after Coyote, but misses. Rusty sees this as an opportunity, but they miss aswell, and for Rusty the result is the robot now on its ass. Apollo plays the pit release game and gets Rogue House Robots, letting Dead Metal out to take aim at Ms Nightshade. It’s hard to grapple onto as Dead Metal finds out, but still manages to get one of the petals caught. This makes Ms Nightshade pretty much DM’s plaything. Apollo meanwhile finally manages to flip Coyote.
Apollo had gone back to Rusty, and attempts to flip them out of the arena, but they were just too far away and Rusty crashes into the side wall. Rusty were pretty much already gone, but this just confirms it. Apollo, who seem to be doing 90% of all of the work out there, head over to Dead Metal’s CPZ and flip Coyote again. It doesn’t matter because with Ms Nightshade and Rusty already immobile, they’re through, but it’s just another feather for Apollo’s cap.
The clock counts down and cease is called just as Apollo flips Rusty again. Poor Rusty couldn’t catch a break. But with everything now said and done, Apollo and Coyote are through.
Melee 2: Carbide v Crackers N Smash v Trolley Rage v Meggamouse
Crackers N Smash are here to bring back the classic look once rocked by Gemini, and enter with clusterbots. Unlike Gemini, where the bots were identical, Crackers N Smash have two different robots with different purposes. Crackers has a lifting arm which can tip opponents over of just help raise their ground clearance and make them vulnerable, whilst Smash has a drum spinner on the front of the robot, there for destruction. Smash is heavier at 60kg with Crackers 50kg, but it has the right weight distribution that both halves have to be eliminated for the robot to be out of the fight.
Clusterbots are a tricky business though, and they can become something of a plaything for flippers due to their light weight. But if done right, then clusterbots are more than capable of winning.
Carbide needs no introduction. The demon of destruction is back and looking more powerful than ever. The robot has been overhauled and redesigned to pack even more of a punch. The internals and weapon motor are completely new and the bar spinner now spins at 2,300rpm and has a tip speed of 250mph. Carbide’s upgraded internals can now take more force than last season too, which may help stop the reliability issues that ultimately lost them the 8th wars. If there’s one robot you don’t want to go into an arena with, it’s Carbide.
Meggamouse comes in as the successor to 6th, 7th and Extreme II competitor Mighty Mouse. It was built by Trevor Wright, but whilst he’s busy with Ironside 3, another group of roboteers have taken Mighty Mouse into the competition. It is a flipper, which is sort of in the shape of a mouse, and has the eyes and ears to match. Meggamouse has also brought along a little minibot to add into the mix. Perhaps unsurprising given the theme of the robot, but the minibot is in the shape of a wedge of cheese.
Another of the bargain robots (I say that in relative terms), Trolley Rage gains its name from literally having been made out of a trolley. It’s powered by wheelchair motors which are about 20 years old but does still look like it could do damage with an axe as weaponry. However, the robot runs at just 6mph and so could find it hard to run away from danger, especially if that danger is Carbide.
Sir Killalot is back in the arena for the house robots, because apparently having Carbide in there isn’t intimidating enough. Let’s get melee number 2 up and running!
Carbide weren’t joking when they said the robot’s weapon spins up to 250mph in 3 seconds, because almost instantly you can hear the death hum that comes from it. They hang back as it spins up, but then charge in, connecting with the slow Trolley Rage and tearing off one of the front panels in the first attack of the fight. Meanwhile, Crackers has somehow got trapped on the flame pit and Meggamouse is just driving around a bit.
Carbide is well on its way to starting up a path of destruction. It targets Smash next, and tear into the front wedge, so that now its hanging off. Meggamouse join in, only to get hit by Carbide themselves. This gives Smash the opportunity to push them into the arena spikes, and shows that the clusterbot is not to be taken lightly.
Charles the cheese meanwhile has been well and truly destroyed by Carbide, who then takes another shot at Trolley Rage, who have just about made it across to join the fight. The blow lands on the same side, and now Trolley rage has a large hole with internals spilled out everywhere. Trolley Rage are now most certainly out of it, that’s for certain.
Carbide turns its attention back to the clusterbots, which are just low enough that the only big hits Carbide can make are on the weapons- Smash’s drum in particular. Crackers hasn’t actually been involved very much in this fight, but they get a taste of what’s gone on when Carbide turns its attention to them. But Crackers has good armour, and whilst the attack produces a fantastic spark show, the lighter clusterbot is still able to continue.
The pit is opened, but Carbide are still looking to attack the clusterbots. Meggamouse sees this as an opportunity, and tries to get a flip in, but they miss and the robot tips itself over from the force. Meggamouse can self right, of course, but in doing so they are left vulnerable to Carbide, who comes in and, in one sweeping move, rips Meggamouse’s wheel straight off the robot, shredding it into several pieces.
And this very much means Meggamouse are now immobile. As Trolley rage are too, this can only mean one thing. THE CLUSTERBOTS MADE IT THROUGH!
And that concludes the opening melees of week 5. Carbide and Apollo are through as expected, but they will be joined by Coyote and Crackers N Smash. The rivalry is most certainly back on, and next time we’ll see what happens when Carbide meets Apollo for the first time since the 8th wars finale… Until then.