Robot Review: Aftershock (S10E02)

Seeing as I didn’t do one yesterday, today we get two Robot Reviews from Episode 2. I have of course watched Episode 3, and the recap for that will be coming in due time. But for now, Aftershock!

Grand finalists last wars, Aftershock came into this heat with a burning desire to right their wrongs and go one further than they did last time. And although they’re participating in the toughest heat in the series, it does give them the potential opportunity to gain revenge on a couple of robots that took them out in that grand final. Eruption and Carbide are potential targets, with other well known robots also in the firing line.

Aftershock, as a robot, has undergone some changes between the series aimed at making them more durable, and more powerful. Gone is the panelled armour that had to be taped back together, with the armour now one solid piece. The primary weapon is a 24kg, 2,400rpm vertical flywheel used to launch other robots across the arena and tear into their armour. There is another, 18kg bar spinner, mainly used against horizontal spinners… So basically Carbide. The 110kg robot has a top speed of 14mph, but the power of the disc can cause it to sometimes lose control.

To kick things off, Aftershock get a rematch with fellow finalists Eruption, along with tenacious clusterbots Crackers N Smash. It could be the perfect way to break in their new robot, or it could be the beginning of the end.

And it did start off near perfectly, with Aftershock tearing one of Crackers’ entanglement devices off to detrimental effect. The robot continued to show its power on the two clusterbots, until that power officially went one step too far. Pushing Smash onto the floor flipper as it fired, Aftershock’s disc got caught on the underside of the flipper, ripping material from under it and scattering it across the arena.

Arena Torture

Yet, somehow, cease was not called. Cue mass confusion from up above, with some claiming they should stop and some carrying on. Initially Aftershock continued on the warpath, buckling Crackers’ lifter into an unusable shape. But then came the inevitable. With Aftershock seemingly taking it easy, Eruption- who hadn’t even considered stopping- get in underneath. I think Aftershock saw what was coming and tried to get away but to no avail. Eruption made the flip, and Aftershock cannoned themselves off the arena side wall and out of the warzone completely!

Aftershock had a real chance at getting one over Eruption in that battle, but it wasn’t to be, so now they go into the 3rd place playoff against Gabriel 2, a robot that I just reviewed earlier. Although Gabriel can pack a mean punch, Aftershock have a robot capable of getting around the mace, and delivering their own blows.

And so that is how it was. Aftershock purposefully driving underneath Gabriel, looking to catch the disc on the underside of the robot, where all the internals were held, and having success whilst doing that. Of course, not all attacks were on target, though they did also score a few hits on those very bendy wheels.

Gabriel are not just packing a mace though, they’re also packing some nifty nylon rope in order to jam up Aftershock’s flywheel, and it very almost works. After trapping the robot under their robot, Aftershock rip it off and it gets tangled in with the disc, but on the wrong side to mess with the actual mechanism.

That was a close one.

And in the end, the pressure from Aftershock told, with one final hit on Gabriel knocking something loose, and sending them to an early robot grave, minus the mace (Thanks to Killalot). But for Aftershock, they now have a way back into the competition.

Aaaaand they’re facing Carbide. Well it was bound to happen at some point just because the heat is how it is, but now Aftershock have to come up against the robot that tore them to pieces so badly in the heat final that one side panel went through the arena protection. No pressure then.

Aftershock, running their bar spinner this time, go out in attack mode, looking to stop Carbide as soon as possible. And to their credit, they actually landed some hits early on, and absorbed whatever Carbide threw at them. But then Carbide came in with a big hit that landed on the side of Aftershock, and gone was the mobility in one of the wheels. Now they faced an uphill battle.

They carried on, of course, but there was now a rather large gash in the side of the robot to go with their lack of mobility. To their credit, Aftershock still landed a couple of hits on Carbide, but it was almost delaying the inevitable. The one big hit that disabled Aftershock’s weapon.

One hit and you’re out

With no weapon, Aftershock were essentially Carbide’s plaything for the next few seconds, until the robot gave out completely. The robot wasn’t destroyed like last time, but they’re still defeated.

But it’s OK! Because Aftershock can still reach the grand final from this position. They just need to beat Big Nipper in the 3rd place playoff, which will gain them entry to the 10-way melee, which could in turn get them into the grand final. But with two vertical spinners facing off against each other, it could be a tough fight.

And that is how it proved, with neither robot really able to get a good hit on the other one, the discs only just touching each other. Neither could get round the other’s side to get a hit in, and it looked like it was going to be going to a stalemate. Aftershock are going gyro crazy trying to get around too, like some manic jitterbug.

Naturally, however, a stalemate in Robot Wars barely lasts for long. And with a bit of separation between the robots, and some momentum in the run up, eventually we get the explosive contact we were all waiting for! Aftershock and Big Nipper go flying apart, and now it’s game on. Except for Aftershock, because their weapon has gone again. And now Big Nipper have the incentive, chipping away at Aftershock and sending them backwards with each hit.

And then, there’s the final blow. Big Nipper come in and shit Aftershock, tipping them over onto their ass. But with no working disc to right them, they are now beached. And that means, they’re out, and with no 10-way melee to go home too.

So, how did Aftershock do? Well, not as well as I would have hoped. Yes, they had a tough heat, and they showed early promise by torturing both Crackers N Smash and the floor flipper. They got tossed out by Eruption after some confusion, but seemed to pick up again by dispatching of Gabriel. Unfortunately, from there it was all downhill. Carbide got the better of them once again, but the more shocking battle was them blowing a chance to get into the 10-way, all because of a failing disc. They should have come 3rd, at least. But we got some explosive battles out of them, I’ll give them that.

Expectation v Result (3rd – 4th): -2
Arena terror, floor flipper edition: +4
Turning Crackers into a mangled biscuit: +2
The most acrobatic way out of the arena, ever: +2
Survive an entanglement, defeat a robot: +3
Death by Carbide’s hand: -2
Feeling the bite of Big Nipper: -2 

Robot Rating (Aftershock): 5/10

Full Robot Review rankings from this series and the last series can be found here: )
Each review rating is hyperlinked to the article about that robot- simply click on the robot’s name to be navigated to their article.



Robot Review: Gabriel 2 (S10E02)

Ah, Gabriel 2. An updated version of the robot that surprised everyone in the 8th wars by getting to the heat final is back, looking to surprise the world and go even further than last time. Gabriel is perhaps not a robot you would look at and instantly think is going to be a challenger, but looks can be deceiving. One of the tallest robots around (And tallest in this series, I believe), Gabriel makes use of a material not many would consider as armour for a fighting robot. With wheels made entirely out of HDPE, or “plastic” as it is commonly referred as, they absorb hits from other robots, especially spinners, rather than have a solid structure. The robot’s wheels are also massive, and as a result the main body of the robot is elevated above the ground, making it hard for flippers to actually get a flip on them, or for spinners to reach the vital components. Gabriel comes with a host of interchangeable weapons, depending on the circumstances.

Whilst Gabriel performed well in the 8th wars, this war was looking to be a much trickier affair, with them being placed in a heat with two spinners- the returning Big Nipper and the reigning champions, Carbide.
But Gabriel still had a couple of advantages it could use; With both competitors having flat tops to their robots, that would make it a perfect place for Gabriel to land their mace and cause internal damage. And, as a new rule to this series, Gabriel brought along with it some entanglement devices in the form of short nylon rope, to try and snag the spinning weapons of their opponents.

And things seemed to start perfectly for Gabriel, because with their first real attack, they landed the mace hard onto the wheel of Big Nipper, and seemed to seize it up. For the rest of the battle, before they died, Big Nipper could do nothing other than go in circles.
But then Carbide came along. Nobody doubts the power of Carbide, and Gabriel certainly felt the force of their bar spinner, which practically turned Gabriel into a rag doll. The entanglement devices weren’t much use either, with all of them simply being torn off and spat out by Carbide.

Gabriel persevered, and even though they accidentally backed into Big Nipper’s still working disc at one point, overall the robot still looked like it had control. But Carbide kept coming, and kept attacking, and even the super bendy, absorbent wheels were starting to have pieces torn out of them.

The immortal!
Boss battle

Despite looking like, and driving like, a robot on ice skates, Gabriel would not give in. And when Carbide lost half a wheel in weird circumstances, then got flipped over as a result of a pretty big collision, Gabriel maybe had a chance to get back into this, to shock the Champions.

It wasn’t to be, unfortunately, but they gave it one hell of a go and never gave up, and they took Carbide to the full 3 minutes with a robot that still drove around, and could still attack with the mace. They weren’t going to win because of the damage they sustained and the lack of control the damage caused, by my God what a fight that was.

So Gabriel find themselves in the elimination round, which you could perhaps say is harsh but it does give them a route back into the competition, and after that fight with Carbide they deserve one. Unfortunately for them, they’re coming up against another spinner in former grand finalists Aftershock. And with Aftershock being such a compact robot which is dominated by their disc, it leaves Gabriel precious little space to land a good hit. But with Aftershock being a vertical spinner, compared to Carbide which was horizontal, Gabriel have gone for some dangling ropes as entanglement devices as opposed to having them on the weapon.

The problem Gabriel have in this fight is that Aftershock’s vertical flywheel is actually tall enough to reach their central body, where all the internal components are housed. And that is exactly what happens with each attack, and Aftershock can also use those attacks to propel Gabriel away. As expected, Gabriel can’t seem to get a good hit in on Aftershock.

Gabriel certainly don’t give up trying, and are more than willing to go in an attack Aftershock, but the final attacks just aren’t there, and Aftershock are gaining a foothold. But then! One of the entanglement ropes that hang off Gabriel gets snagged by Aftershock’s flywheel! Could this be the turning point?

One word answer: No.

Unfortunately for Gabriel, the rope gets caught on the wrong side of the flywheel to actually jam it up, and Aftershock are free to continue at full power. And not too long afterwards, Aftershock deliver a blow that is enough to knock Gabriel cold. For once, the robot just couldn’t stand up to the assault.

Just to wrap things up in the most Robot Wars way possible, Killalot then proceeds to chop Gabriel’s mace off as they are counted out. It’s certainly an entertaining way to end.


So, how did Gabriel do? Well, any robot that is put in a heat with Carbide must curse their luck, but Gabriel rode out the storm with remarkable talent and a robot that could take anything Carbide threw at them. Not to mention, they practically immobilised Big Nipper with their first hit. They were unlucky that Aftershock could reach their control centre, and it was probably the worst kind of robot they could have faced, but on the plus side they very almost managed to get entanglement to work in their favour. Gabriel may have gone out at the first hurdle, but any other heat and I think they could have gone so much further.

Expectation v Result (4th – Bottom 2): -2
Bringing some mace to the party: +2
Anybody that goes 3 minutes with Carbide deserves a medal: +8
Entanglement time: +1
The fact Killalot chopped their mace off: -2

Robot Rating (Gabriel 2): 7/10

Full Robot Review rankings from this series and the last series can be found here: )
Each review rating is hyperlinked to the article about that robot- simply click on the robot’s name to be navigated to their article.


Robot Review: Crackers N Smash (S10E02)

Episode 2 of the 10th wars featured some of the most powerful, most feared machines in the competition. Eruption, Carbide and Aftershock all reached the grand final last series, and provide explosive competition. But for Crackers N Smash, they went into this heat as the underdogs, a tag they had worn before. In the last series they surprised everyone by making it into the head to heads, but could they repeat their feat?

Crackers N Smash are, of course, two small robots that make up the whole. Unlike Episode 1 entry The Swarm, Crackers N Smash are just two robots, which means they can share more weight between them, and in theory allow them to be closer to their heavyweight counterparts. Both robots have different weapons to perform different roles- Crackers, the green clusterbot, has a lifter mechanism to get under and push around competitors, whilst Smash, the grey/silver robot, has a 13kg, 11,000rpm spinning drum. Yes you read that correctly, apparently Smash’s drum could spin at 11,000rpm. If that bit into somebody, it would do damage.

For Crackers N Smash’s initial melee, they found themselves against successful opposition. Whilst they avoided Carbide, they did find themselves against grand finalists from last season, Aftershock and Eruption. Facing off against a spinner and a flipper mirrors their own set of weaponry, so it’s an interesting double face-off.

Crackers, complete with a couple of antenna looking entanglement devices, kick off the battle by getting sideswiped by Aftershock, in the process ripping off one of the antennas. No effects on Aftershock though.
Actually, Aftershock feature quite a bit in the early proceedings. Because after Crackers, they tangle with Smash, pushing them onto the floor flipper before tearing it to pieces. For Smash though, they now find themselves upside down.

With the arena now in chaos, things only go from bad to worse for the clusterbot duo. Whilst Aftershock are dispatched first by Eruption, Crackers N Smash aren’t too far behind. Crackers already has a mangled lifter thanks to Aftershock, but the flipper of Eruption does its damage too. There are a few non-lethal flips first, but eventually they loiter around the edge of the arena for too long, and out they go.

Smash, as they are upside down, aren’t much use against Eruption. They try, but Eruption slide underneath them far too easily. It’s only a matter of time, and out they fly.

Fly my pretty
Gone Fishing

With one fight down, Crackers N Smash face a life or death fight against another one of the unsuccessful robots from the other melee, Big Nipper. Big Nipper didn’t really get going in their melee, so they had something to prove. So did Crackers N Smash.

Once again, one of Crackers’ antennas gets ripped off fairly early. As entanglement devices go, these ones probably won’t be up there with the best. Smash then get a big hit on them, but can’t seem to get a hit on Big Nipper. As the revolving door of who gets attacked goes through another cycle, Crackers is the next to be attacked, and pushed into Sir Killalot’s CPZ. Sir Killalot proceeds to sit on them.

World's worst piggy back ride
It fits, I sits

That is only building up to the big crescendo, however. As Crackers is being harassed by Killalot, Big Nipper is taking pieces out of Smash. Bit by bit they’re being worn down, until Big Nipper get them into the perfect position, and hit them so hard the robot launches into orbit, crashing into an arena light in the process.

Crackers meanwhile, are pretty much done in themselves. Their skirmish with Killalot has left them going in circles, and one more attack from Big Nipper is enough to leave them dead on the flame pit. They’re out, leaving Killalot to have some fun with them. But the fact remains, they’re out.

So, how did Crackers N Smash do? Well, being a clusterbot is always going to be hard work, because you’re fighting with robots lighter and less powerful than your competitors. It can be done, with the right weapons, but Crackers N Smash came up against some really tough competition. The robots ended up not having much of an effect, which is a shame because they went further last series. Having seen both Crackers N Smash and The Swarm, I wonder if there’s a future for clusterbots in modern times, with such high powered robots to come up against. It seems like too much of a battle, and certainly was this time.

Expectation v Result (Bottom 2 – Bottom 2): +0
World’s most useless entanglement devices: -2
Racking up air miles: -2
Sir Killalot’s new best friend: +1
BONUS: Arena lights assassin: +4

Robot Rating (Crackers N Smash): 1/10

Full Robot Review rankings from this series and the last series can be found here: )
Each review rating is hyperlinked to the article about that robot- simply click on the robot’s name to be navigated to their article.


Robot Wars S10E02 Part 3: Warpath

November is quite a busy month for me. Not only do I have this blog to write, but I also have a 50,000 word novel to write for NaNoWriMo (Which is what I focused on yesterday, hence me doing the third part to the recap today). And, apparently, I seem to have got a part time job too for over the Christmas period. So yeah, busy November. And I’m also watching the Arsenal game as I write this.

Semi-Final 2: Big Nipper v Eruption

Anyway, back to the task at hand, and we have the end trio of battles to get through. Knowing that Carbide are through to the heat final, who will be joining them? Will Eruption set up a Grand Final rematch? Or can Big Nipper upset the odds to mount a challenge of their own.

For the first time in this heat, Matilda is making an appearance! No Dead Metal yet, but Shunt is making yet another appearance for the house robot massive, and bringing a weapon to proceedings that isn’t a flipper or a spinner. Good for them. Let’s battle!

Both robots are out of their blocks quickly enough, but neither wants to go in straight for the attack, wary of the weapons the other possesses. Eruption are trying to avoid that disc, whilst Big Nipper are trying to get in to the side of Eruption, which is their biggest target. It kind of ends up being Eruption chasing down Big Nipper, until Big Nipper get caught on the arena and Eruption slide underneath. But, they still manage to escape. Neither robot has yet got in an attack.


Finally, Eruption get the flip in that they were looking for, just about getting under the rear end of Big Nipper and sending them over. As Big Nipper scramble to try and right themselves, Eruption are right there in their face, trying to make their life difficult. They push them up against the side wall, but wait until Big Nipper have actually self-righted before flipping them up once again. But this time, Big nipper lands back on Eruption, disc first, which causes some superficial damage. But it’s a warning to Eruption not to get complacent.

Big Nipper begin to run away once again, but Eruption are quick and can catch up, and put the pressure on again. Big Nipper, in trying to get away, end up running right into Matilda, who really doesn’t appreciate them infringing on her CPZ. With one flick of the tusk Matilda sends Big Nipper flying backwards across the arena, and when Big Nipper try to self-right, they activate the Fog of War!

Lost in the fog
Lost in the fog

The fog seems to obscure everything, but as soon as it clears Big Nipper are taking a run up at Eruption, only for them to drive straight up the flipper, and end up back in Matilda’s CPZ. Matilda, reluctantly having to get used to these intrusions, starts playing around with Big Nipper. Big Nipper escape, and so begins the chase again! You know the drill by now. Big Nipper run around for a while, before Eruption catch back up and flip Big Nipper over. Then repeat.

I imagine all of this is incredibly frustrating for Eruption, but Big Nipper are hardly going to be scoring any points with the judges by running away. Eruption are chipping away at Big Nipper’s resolve with every flip they do manage to get in, although there is some reprieve when Eruption miss a flip and only manage to flip themselves over. Big Nipper, however, don’t use the advantage.

One thing Big Nipper do seem to be doing well, however, is staying away from the edge of the arena, where they could get flipped out. Every time Eruption comes in to attack, they make sure it’s in a place where Eruption can’t make the flip terminal. But Eruption are getting in flip after flip, and are dominant. As the 3 minute timer counts down, Eruption get one final flip in, taking Big Nipper back to Matilda and the area of the pit release button. Pretty much stuck, Matilda delivers her blows to round off the fight.

Matilda Mayhem
Matilda Mayhem

So Eruption. I would say it’s fairly obvious, but a judges’ decision is still necessary. But with all of the control and aggression coming from them, Eruption are going into the heat final!

3rd Place Playoff: Aftershock v Big Nipper

3PP S10E02

We only just saw Big Nipper, but they’re right back at it again. Thanks to making it into the semi-finals, they get one more crack at finding a way back into grand final contention with this 3rd place playoff against Aftershock. The winner will be entered into the 10 way rumble, which will in turn determine the wildcard. For Aftershock, they’re probably happy that they’re just not facing Carbide.

Shunt and Killalot are back as a pairing in the CPZs, looking to cause more trouble in the arena for our competitors. It’s vertical spinner versus vertical spinner, and it’s time to battle!

Both robots go at each other from the start, but both just bounce off each other without the spinners actually making contact. They get straight back at each other, going head to head and almost trying to butt discs. There are a few sparks that fly with the odd contact, but nothing that’s going to cause damage to anyone, or give anyone the other hand. At least, not yet.

Aftershock, the more compact robot of the two, is dancing around with the gyroscopic forces, making it more difficult for Big Nipper to get anywhere near attacking them. But Aftershock aren’t’ having any luck too, with Big Nipper getting away before the disc can make contact with anywhere. It’s a really tense fight, especially with the 10 way melee spot up for grabs.

More sparks fly as more slight hits come in. It’s going to take something big to spark this fight into life, but that’s exactly what we then get. After taking a run up at each other, Aftershock and Big Nipper charge for each other. Their discs collide, the force of which sends both robots flying backwards across the arena. It’s the first big BANG of this fight.


Somehow, both robots are still working, and go right back in to fight. I don’t think anybody could question either team’s desire to win. They both collide again, but this time Aftershock ride up on their wheels, exposing the underside to Big Nipper’s disc. Aftershock get knocked away, but the robot balances itself out and gets back onto its wheels. But Big Nipper come in with another attack, and this one has a more violent response within Aftershock, which jumps about all over the arena, bouncing off the flywheel as it managed to self-right.

Except, the hit was hard enough to stop the flywheel working entirely. So when Big Nipper come in with another attack, Aftershock have no response, and the flywheel can no longer right them when they flip over. They’re now beached on the arena floor, and there’s no coming back.


Perhaps against the odds, Big Nipper is going into the 10 way melee!

Heat Final: Carbide v Eruption

Final S10E02

It’s a grand final rematch in the heat final! Not the first time we’ve seen this, with Carbide and Apollo facing off in their heat final in the 9th wars. Purposeful? Probably. But now we will get to see if Eruption can gain their revenge on Carbide, with Carbide having been pushed further in this heat so far than it ever seemed to be last series. One will go straight through, one will get a second chance. But only one will be victorious.

If I asked you to guess who the house robots for this battle were, you would probably say Shunt and Sir Killalot. You would be correct. To battle!

Carbide take evasive action straight away, trying to keep themselves from getting caught on top of that flipper. It doesn’t work, because Eruption do get underneath, but from a side attack. However, Carbide are so slippery that they wriggle their way off Eruption, then spin around and deliver a blow to Eruption’s side!

Spin it
Spin it

Carbide come straight back at Eruption, landing a couple more blows to their adversary, but Eruption are already in trouble. One of their wheels seems to have locked, and they’re going round in circles. They’re an easy target for Carbide now, who can just move in again and again.

Attack after attack after attack. Carbide certainly don’t take any mercy, not whilst Eruption are still going round and round. It only takes so many hits before something vital is hit, and Eruption stops for good.

Eruption's End
Eruption’s end

Carbide the undefeated, the eternal. They carved out this warpath, and now they’re going back through to the Grand Final to try and defend their crown.


Robot Wars S10E02 Part 2: No Fly Zone

The second episode of the 10th wars has so far lived up to its hype, with two electric melee fights that showcased destruction on the highest level, even if it was destruction to the arena. Eruption’s precision driving show that they’re a force to be reckoned with, and nobody is safe from going out of the arena, whilst Gabriel won the hearts of many by proving the best way to stand up to Carbide is to make your robot out of plastic.

With so much entertainment in the opening two battles, the rest of the episode has a lot to live up to. We know that Carbide and Eruption are going through into the heat semi-finals, but there are two more slots to fill as well. So here we bring in the redemption eliminators! Two robots will be going home for good, but two more will have the shot at redemption once again.

Redemption Knockout 1: Aftershock v Gabriel 2

RK1 S10E02

Poor Gabriel can’t catch a break. A robot that’s so tall that flippers struggle to compete against it, has yet to face a flipper in this series, and is instead now facing its 3rd spinner. I know that they stood up to Carbide well, but Aftershock is a different kind of spinner altogether, and their vertical disc may be tall enough to hit Gabriel’s control centre. For Aftershock, they’re probably just happy not to be facing another flipper. Something that may be in Gabriel’s favour, however, is the several strands of entanglement rope they’ve attached to the underside of their robot.

Shunt and Sir Killalot- a house robot combination you’re going to have to get used to in this heat- will be presiding over this battle. Only one can go through, but who will it be? Let’s begin!

Both robots avoid each other for a while, taking the time to size each other up. Aftershock has a decision to make with the attacks, because every time the go underneath Gabriel, there’s a chance one of the nylon ropes that act as entanglement devices will get sucked into their flywheel.
Eventually they both charge at each other, with Aftershock indeed going straight underneath. And, as Gabriel would have feared, the flywheel is tall enough to strike them, tearing a little piece out of the main body of Gabriel in the process.

This seems like it’s going to be the tactic for Aftershock- go underneath Gabriel and just tear pieces out of them. Gabriel come out swinging with the mace, trying to land hits of their own, but Aftershock is a very compact robot, and there isn’t an awful lot to hit other than the flywheel. Gabriel nevertheless persist, though Aftershock gains the upper hand when they land a shot on Gabriel’s wheel, tipping it off balance.

The attacks from Aftershock continue to land on Gabriel, though not causing anywhere near as much cosmetic damage as Carbide was. Carbide however only went for the wheels, whilst Aftershock is going for something more vital. They get another hit on the body of Gabriel, which this time launches Gabriel into the air. Fortunately they have a soft landing, thanks to being nice and bendy.

Bendy bot
Bendy bot

Aftershock aren’t going to let up any time soon, but it seems as if Gabriel are going to be able to ride out these attacks in much the same way they did with Carbide’s, just with less damage. Aftershock try again and again, but then the tables seemingly turn.

As Aftershock come around the side of Gabriel, they dart in for an attack. But before they can reach Gabriel, one of the nylon ropes snags on the flywheel, getting torn off Gabriel and making a new home in its next host. You can hear the rope rattling as it gets spun round at over 2000rpm, but for Aftershock, the weapon still seems to be working. Fortunately for them, the rope got tangled on the wrong side of the disc to do any damage to the mechanism.

Tangle me
Tangle me

With Aftershock caught on rope, you might think that this would be the time for Gabriel to come out and give them a good hammering, but it couldn’t have gone the opposite way any further. With Aftershock regaining control of their robot, they give Gabriel one last thwack, the killer blow.

Just to top things off, Aftershock give Gabriel a little shove into Sir Killalot’s CPZ. Killalot doesn’t often have a use for the claws other than grabbing a robot, but who could resist that long mace, just begging to be cut in half. And Killalot, well he couldn’t be happier to oblige. Gabriel are going home, but they’re going home as the robot that stood up to Carbide, and survived.


Redemption Knockout 2: Crackers N Smash v Big Nipper

RK2 S10E02

Here are two more robots looking for a second chance. Crackers N Smash had a tough time of it in the melee, having both robots tormented by Aftershock’s flywheel (With Crackers’ lifter the main casualty of that), before being unceremoniously thrown out of the arena by Eruption. Big Nipper on the other hand broke down before they really got going, with one hit from Gabriel enough to stop one of the wheels from working before the robot gave out altogether. Only one robot can make amends, but which will it be?

The house robots for this battle are- you guessed it- Shunt and Sir Killalot! Shall we begin? Let’s begin!

All 3 robots move out of the blocks quickly, zipping around the arena in preparation to attack. Big Nipper and Smash tangle first, though Smash can’t get their drum close enough to land a hit, and instead take one from Big Nipper. Crackers intervenes, and has a brief tussle with Big Nipper that results in one of the anti-spinner antennas getting ripped off… again. Somehow, I don’t think they’ve been a success.

Even down an antenna, Crackers tries to attack, but Big Nipper is too agile and too powerful. Using the pushing power of the robot, Big Nipper get crackers and drive them all the way into the corner of the arena. Crackers has no response.


Big Nipper is now going for an alternating attack pattern. With Crackers dealt with for now, they go after Smash, landing a big hit on the clusterbot that sends them flying. They then move back to Crackers, ripping off the other antenna before pushing them from one side of the arena, to Sir Killalot’s CPZ. Killalot is more than happy to receive a present, even if Big Nipper are insistent on landing a couple more blows first.

And what does Killalot do with its prey? Well, instead of the usual grab and list, Killalot goes to push Crackers away with the front plate of the robot. However, Crackers is so low down, Killalot ends up driving on top of them, where they get wedged underneath. Even when Killalot spins on the spot and drives up and down, it takes a good few attempts to actually decouple the two robots. Kinky.

World's worst piggy back ride
World’s worst piggyback ride

With Crackers occupied, Big Nipper goes back at Smash, and lands some rather big hits on them too. Maybe they don’t cause as much damage as they would like, but the hits are sending Smash staggering back each and every time. They don’t seem to have an answer.

And then, the completely unexpected happens.

These hits on Smash are big, but Big Nipper doesn’t have the heaviest or fastest spinner out there. But with Smash lined up in just the right place, the right angle, when Big Nipper’s disc makes contact with the side of the robot, Smash are launched into the air! And when I say launched, Smash practically goes into orbit, wiping out one of the studio lights before crashing back to the floor, outside of the arena.

The obliterator
The obliterator

Big Nipper celebrate this success by taking a ride on the floor flipper, before wandering into Shunt’s CPZ and getting axed. There’s still one more of the clusterbots left, and Big Nipper can’t be complacent. They deal a few blows to Crackers, but then leave them on the flame pit, within reach of Sir Killalot.

Just as they’d hoped, Crackers stops moving. Now it’s not only out, but its burning. In comes Sir Killalot, who seems to like taking the spotlight as the battle ender, who picks up Crackers by their little lifter before holding them over the fire. Once they’re done with that, there’s nothing left to do but throw them away, literally. Crackers N Smash are out, but they at least gave us one of the most memorable moments of the series so far.

Semi-Final 1: Carbide v Aftershock

SF1 S10E02

Now we’re into the big time, and it’s a grand final rematch between two very powerful spinners. Both Carbide and Aftershock has dispatched of Gabriel in this heat, and now they’re going for each other. Last series Carbide took their blade to Aftershock, and inflicted horrific damage, effectively taking them out of the competition. That battle was most famous for the side panel of Aftershock that was torn away with such force that it pierced the outer panel of the arena.

Aftershock has undergone a lot of armour upgrades since then, and in this battle they’ve rolled out their single tooth, vertical bar spinner specifically for Carbide. Will it works? Well that we’re going to have to find out.

Your house robots, to nobody’s surprise, are Shunt and Sir Killalot. Let’s get the battle of the spinners underway!

Both Aftershock and Carbide charge at each other straight away, both going in disc first to try and stop any side panels being damaged in the attack. They collide, the force of the impact separating them again, if only for a few moments before Aftershock come in with a follow up assault, this one catching Carbide on its side. They get away from each other, but this has been a good start for Aftershock.

As Carbide look to get around the side of Aftershock, Aftershock’s blade catches on Carbide, but the force goes backwards into Aftershock, sending them twisting over onto their back, before the disc catches the floor and rights them again. But somewhere in that attack, or the previous one, one of Aftershock’s wheels must have been damaged, because they’re no longer moving freely.

Carbide launch another attack, now aware that Aftershock has mobility issues, and etch a large gash through the armour panel. Aftershock are still holding on though, and they’re still in the fight. They manage to swing round and land another blow on the side of Carbide, though any damage seems to be superficial.


Carbide have to be careful, and need to find a way of disabling Aftershock without taking too much damage themselves. More blows are traded weapon to weapon, before Aftershock steals a quick hit on Carbide’s rear end, but there’s nothing too destructive from them. Carbide still have the advantage.

And it’s an advantage they use.

They charge in for an attack, again clashing weapon on weapon, but this time with so much momentum behind them that Carbide gets some air time before coming back to Earth. But for Aftershock, the hit has done just more than throw up a few sparks. The weapon has stopped!

With the disc gone and one wheel not working, Aftershock are sitting ducks. Carbide need just two more hits, around the area that they’d already caused damage, to end Aftershock for good. Unfortunately at that point, Aftershock were already only just hanging on, but it’s still a shame for the fight to have been cut short. It was shaping up to be a fairly close contest before Aftershock’s weapon went. The judges hit their button, and Aftershock are counted out.

That look of disappointment

The rampaging Carbide are going through, with potentially just one more fight to go before they’re once again in the grand final. But we still have to wait and see if one of Eruption or Big Nipper can stop them, and make them have to fight to retain their crown.


Robot Wars S10E02 Part 1: The Most Destructive Show On Earth

Robot Wars is back! The second instalment in this series has a lot to live up to given how good the battles were last week, but with so much quality on show, there is every chance it is going to live up to it and more. We have last year’s top 2 facing off against each other once again, in a move Mentorn seems quite fond of using. But, on top of that, we also have another grand finalist joining the group. Now if you ask me, that’s overkill in terms of how many finalists you need in one heat, but it is what it is and we have to make so with what we’re given. Carbide, Aftershock Eruption are not the only robots to look out for though, with a pair of returning 8th wars competitors. Gabriel and the magical plastic wheels, plus Big Nipper are also making an appearance. Rounding off the competitor list is Crackers N Smash, the two part clusterbot that bore the brunt of Carbide’s rage in the last wars.

This episode also sees the first real use of anti-spinner entanglement devices. Yes, after being outlawed for so long, somebody on the Robot Wars production team took one look at Carbide and decided “We’ve got to stop those mad bastards”. How well the entanglement devices will work is another matter.

But let’s get down to the battles, shall we. After all, it’s what we came here to see. And with the robots we have on show, we are most certainly in for some brutal carnage.

Melee 1: Gabriel 2 v Carbide v Big Nipper

Melee 1 S10E02

Gabriel 2 S10.png

First robot we get the pleasure of meeting is Gabriel 2, the improved version of Gabriel, which itself had managed to get all the way to the heat final in the 8th wars. Gabriel 2 comes with a raft of upgrades in the weapon department, with the sword now one of five weapons in their arsenal. With the addition of a pair of maces, as well as a hammer and a second sword, Gabriel can fit whatever it needs to take out the competition, whilst the HDPE armour should absorb the blows. Add on some small strings to act as entanglement weapons, could Gabriel 2 become this series’ big spinner killer?

Carbide S10.png

The reigning Robot Wars Champions are back! Carbide, who were phenomenal last series, haven’t had to make too many changes to their robot, such was their domination. There is now a second bar that could be fitted in, but other than that, the machine is much the same, if just that little bit more powerful. With a 25kg, 2,300rpm bar spinner, there are several good reasons to be fearful of Carbide. But with the birth of anti-spinner devices specifically created to stop Carbide in its tracks, can they still reign supreme?

Big Nipper S10.png

Big Nipper doesn’t get the regular introductory panel, instead we get to see the robot crush a bin with the set of claws we won’t actually see in this episode at all. Regardless, it’s good to see Big Nipper back, having not been present in the 9th wars. A robot that used to be famous for those claws, Big Nipper now relies on a single tooth vertical disc, weighing in at 20kg and running with a tip speed of 180mph. The robot has a unique method of self-righting by using the otherwise unnecessary (Without the claws) central lifting arm to almost push it back over. They’re a good robot, but are they good enough?

Now you’ve seen the competitors, let’s meet the house robot. Just the one guardian of the arena in the melees of course, with the opening number handed to bulldozer supreme, Shunt! The lights are on, the cameras are rolling. Let’s get ready to battle!

Amazingly, Gabriel almost seems like they want to go for Carbide first, before thinking better of it and landing a heavy blow on Big Nipper instead. Gabriel are using the mace for this battle, so some hard hits are to be expected. And it seems, though I’m not 100% sure, but that first hit on Big Nipper has actually immobilised one of their wheels. Amazing, if that’s how the failure actually came about.

Away from Big Nipper, Gabriel doesn’t have much of a choice now with who they attack, and go head first into Carbide, in the hope of getting one the entanglement ropes caught in the blade. Alas, they miss, and instead Carbide rip off some of the wheel tread that Gabriel is well known for. Gabriel come back and land a heavy hit on Carbide, only for the champions to retaliate straight back.

Gabriel take a trip into Shunt’s CPZ, not that the house robot has any chance of getting a decent hit with the axe, such is Gabriel’s shape. Big Nipper are still going around in circles, and are practically out of this fight without so much as landing an attack of their own. Carbide rejoin the battle with Gabriel, and the two robots continue to trade blows, but Carbide certainly looking the most deadly.

Once Gabriel get away, they go back at Big Nipper, but when they try to swing for an attack, they accidentally catch Big Nipper’s disc and ride up. Off balance, they swerve straight into the pit release button, activating the rogue house robots!


Shunt comes barrelling out, aiming straight at Gabriel and pushing them into the side wall, but the axe comes down with little effect. Now, it should be noted, that Gabriel’s wheels are now rather mangled in places, yet they continue to work perfectly well. Well enough that they drive straight into Carbide, an action that then sends them flying through the air. Big Nipper are now definitely dead, having stopped in the middle of the arena floor, but they are now old news. Gabriel, despite significant damage, are still driving head on into Carbide, and taking even more blows in the hope of landing a couple of their own.

Hit after hit after hit after hit. Gabriel can seemingly absorb anything that comes their way, even with the robot’s cosmetic appearance deteriorating with every blow. But all of the blows eventually seem to serve their purpose, because what few hits Gabriel land, they’ve done damage. What damage? One of Carbide’s wheels has broken in half! Not only that, but Carbide is now stuck on the loose half of the wheel. The champions are beached!

Half wheel meltdown
Half wheel meltdown

Somehow Carbide wriggles itself free, and even with half a wheel are still mobile enough to continue. But now they lack balance, which is shown when they next hit Gabriel, the force of the blow flipping Carbide upside down! And more drama is coming their way when Carbide drive into Shunt, bouncing off the scoop just before the axe comes down. Gabriel and Carbide continue to trade blows. Gabriel is now defying the laws of robot survival, and is somehow STILL going. Carbide are getting more and more violent in their attacks, hitting Gabriel at one point so hard a piece flies off and almost decapitates Dara O Briain.

And I was like
“And I was like, ‘Oh Shit!'”

Gabriel hit the pit release button again, and once again not by choice, and this time the pit does descend. But still, the mayhem continues. There are pieces of Gabriel literally littered all over the arena floor. Carbide are still upside down and yet they’re still running at 100%, and looking more powerful than ever.

The immortal!
The Immortal!

The clock finally counts down. It feels like this fight has been going on forever, because it has. Carbide never usually goes the full 3 minutes, and yet Gabriel have taken them all the way and survived. It goes to a judges’ decision, but there’s no surprise when Carbide are declared winners. Gabriel may have survived, but the sheer aggression and damage caused by Carbide is enough to win almost any battle.

Melee 2: Crackers N Smash v Aftershock v Eruption

Melee 2 S10E02

If that battle was incredible, which is was, then seeing these guys go at it has the potential to be positively explosive. Two of last year’s grand finalists in the same melee, along with a clusterbot that stood up to Carbide and almost survived. Time to meet the robots!

Eruption S10

Eruption are one of the best robots currently around in the UK. Not only were they runners up in the 9th wars, but they are FRA UK Champions and always put on a show, no matter who they are up against. They pack one of the meanest flippers in the world and are looking to go one better than the last wars. Unlike robots such as Apollo, Eruption have a high wedge with a shorter flipper arm, which gives them less leverage in getting robots on top of them, but arguably gives them a sharper flipping action. Regardless of the method, Eruption are one to watch.

Aftershock S10

Aftershock got a real beating from Carbide last series, so the potential of a rematch is more than enough to get them fired up. Not only that, but a fight to the death with robot best friends Eruption to take back the bragging rights after losing to them in the grand final last series aswell. Not too much has changed about Aftershock, which still owns a 24kg, 2,400rpm vertical spinning disc, along with a slightly lighter one tooth bar spinner intended to take out Carbide. The armour seems much improved from last series, which hopefully means that they won’t have to tape it back together after a fight. Hopefully.

Crackers N Smash S10

The final entry to week 2 is another clusterbot, though this time just a two part clusterbot. We saw Crackers N Smash last series, where they managed to surprise everyone and get through to the Head to Heads, where they ended up being mincemeat to their competitors. Carbide had a real go with them, and turned them into a missile which broke the arena. Both Crackers and Smash are back and wanting more. Crackers has the lifter/flipper, whilst the slightly heavier Smash has a rapid drum spinner to play with. As with every clusterbot, weight is an issue, and that could mean trouble.

But as dangerous as all the competitors are, there’s one robot that tops them all. Introducing the knight of the realm, the protector of the arena and the bringer or robot doom. Sir Killalot is in the house! Let’s begin!

Crackers, sporting a couple of antenna looking anti-spinner devices, charge straight for Aftershock, who promptly rip one of the antenna off with no ill effects to their robot. Just me, or have the entanglement devices been wholly underwhelming so far? Either way, Cracks has at least shaved a few grams off its weight; Not every day your diet goes to plan.

Antenna Down
Antenna down

Whilst Crackers tangled with Aftershock, Smash went after Eruption, though soon retreated back into Aftershock’s grasp, where yet more debris was torn up by that vertical spinner. With both Crackers and Smash so low to the ground, it’s hard for the flywheel to get that much of a purchase on the robot, stopping any great damage from being caused. But Aftershock can still push the clusterbots around, and that certainly helps.

Aftershock’s pushing power really comes into play with Smash, as they push their opponent all the way over towards the floor flipper. It’s a fairly tame attack in the grand scheme of things. Little did they know, the absolute chaos that would unfold in the moments afterwards. As Aftershock push Smash over the flipper, the flipper fires, throwing Smash through the air. But as it comes down, Aftershock’s flywheel catches the underside of the flipper, tearing it apart and strewing it all over the arena floor. It’s a violent explosion of material, which sends Aftershock reeling backwards. Everyone stops, momentarily, in shock.

Arena Torture
Arena Torture

Someone in the control booth yells cease, but cease has not actually been called. Mass confusion ensues as to whether the battle is stopping or continuing, and nobody quite knows their place. Aftershock begin to power down their weapon, believing the fight to have been stopped. Not before landing some pretty big hits on both Crackers and Smash, with the hit on Crackers completely buckling in the lifter. Eruption, on the other hand, have no such indication that they’re going to stop, and keep up the fight. And with Aftershock powering down, Eruption move in, slide underneath, and flip them towards the lower part of the side wall. Aftershock’s disc strikes the top of the wall, propelling it out of the arena with the force of a category 5 hurricane. Angela and Dara’s reaction said quite a lot about just how unexpected that was!

Severed Head
When you find a severed head in the fridge but no beer

With Aftershock out of the way, the coast is clear for Eruption to clean up. Both Clusterbots are now weaponless, and both extremely lightweight compared to Eruption’s usual prey. Crackers is targeted first, and does about 7 front flips through the air when Eruption get underneath them. They then do 7 more a few seconds later. Crackers actually try to fight back, but it is all in vein, and soon they are out of the arena too!

That just leaves Smash. Well, I wouldn’t like to be last one in the arena with Eruption, that’s for certain. Not to mention, Smash are upside down, and the weapon is practically inoperable. So in comes Eruption, and out goes Smash!

Fly my pretty
Fly, my pretty

A dominant, if somewhat controversial victory for Eruption. The floor flipper probably suffered more than any of the robots, but to get 3/3 out of the arena is no mean feat. If I was Carbide, I’d be just a little bit worried by the competition… And not to mention, some robots will be coming back from the dead.


Robot Review: The Swarm (S10E01)

Clusterbots aren’t anything new to Robot Wars, and the idea has always been around that the right combination of smaller bots could infact take down a much larger opponent. Most clusterbots, such as Gemini and more recently Crackers N Smash, split the weight into two robots, which means there are two targets for their competitors to aim for, and to run away from.

The Swarm, however, has taken clusterbots to the extreme, splitting their 110Kg weight allowance into not two, but four targets. With each bot therefore weighing approximately 27.5Kg, The Swarm are essentially a collection of lightweights. Whist there is the potential of strength in numbers, such a low weight for each robot restricts the power of their weapons and the strength of their armour. Not to mention, it makes them vulnerable when there are flippers about.

There are actually 5 robots in The Swarm, but only 4 ever take part in one go so that they comply with the weight restrictions. The Swarm have gone the route of Crackers N Smash in having different weapons for different robots. Perhaps the most deadly looking of the robots is Blenda, which comes equipped with a horizontal bar spinner. The loveable Rubber Duck is the team’s flipper, with a high wedge and the ability to self-right, which could come in useful. Pinza is the lightest of the clusterbots, and comes equipped with a pair of pincers, as the name would suggest. Skye is the final robot of the swim, although there are two versions. The first is a simple rambot in the style of Storm 2 or Tornado, which the other version contains a six-piece anti-spinner weapon, which potentially can ensnare a spinner that tries to attack it.

Considering the makeup of The Swarm, it was perhaps a little cruel that they had to share a heat with Apollo, but this is Robot Wars and there’s always going to be somebody there to exploit you. The other robot in this initial melee was Apocalypse, sans axe.

There isn’t exactly much to say about the initial melee that’s in The Swarm’s favour. For most of the fight, their contributions were limited to driving into themselves and other robots, and running away. They tried, mainly through Blenda, but Apollo and Apocalypse both had front wedges that deflected the blows. The rest of the robots were practically useless, though not for a lack of trying.

With Apocalypse weaponless, the main threat to The Swarm came in the shape of Apollo. It took Apollo long enough to finally get a foothold against The Swarm, but once they did, The Swarm flew. Both Skye and Pinza suffered, but the big one was Rubber Duck. When Apollo got under the Duck, the subsequent flip sent them soaring through the air and straight over the HIGH SIDE of the arena side wall. Hot damn.

Ready to fly.PNG
Ready to fly

In the end, with Duck out of the arena, Skye in the pit and Pinza upside down, The Swarm are now out of the melee.

Fortunately for The Swarm, they have a chance at Redemption, as is the case in this series. Who do they have to fight to get into the Semi-Finals? None other than the President of mayhem himself, Donald Thump. If there’s one thing The Swarm can count on, it’s Donald shooting himself in the foot, much like his real life counterpart. And in this battle, Big Don is going into the arena without a working weapon. So, like Apocalypse before him, Donald Thump is now little more than a pushbot.

As was the case in the melee, Blenda seems the only one of the clusterbots worth anything in this fight. Whilst the others scuttled away and only bumped into Donald every so often, Blenda took the game to them, and it worked. The first couple of attacks ended with half of Donald’s face being ripped off, before another attack took away the rest of it. Blenda may be small, but my word is it a powerful bar spinner.

Rubber Duck also got in on the action, but that flipper was far too weak to actually do any more than lift Donald slightly off the ground. Maybe with a better leverage point, but otherwise it wasn’t going to do anything. As for Pinza and Skye, they’re really quite useless in this fight.

Donald Thump die pretty quickly after this, but that doesn’t stop The Swarm from causing problems of their own to themselves. Blenda, ever powerful, first gets caught in Dead Metal’s pincers, before later accidentally hitting Skye and sending them into Dead Metal! It’s unnecessary damage to the clusterbots, but they’re still going through pretty much intact.

So now the semi-final, and this is the big time. From here, they have a real chance of making at least the 10-way melee. Who stands in their way of a place in the heat final? That would be veterans Behemoth, and their bucket scoop. Whilst not technically a flipper in the common meaning, it still poses a problem for the lightweight clusterbots.

The Swarm start as they always do, by splitting up and making it hard for Behemoth to target more than one at a time. To their credit, they force Behemoth to run around in circles for quite some time, not able to really get a hold of any clusterbot. When the first hit does come in, it is no surprise that it comes from Blenda. A great thwack across Behemoth’s scoop, but the end result is Blenda flying across the arena.

Things could only go downhill after that. Pinza suffered a catastrophic LiPo failure, which eventually saw the robot catch fire, whilst Skye- attempting to help its fallen comrade- got collected up by Behemoth and flipped out of the arena!

The Swarm are still in this, mind, but not for very much longer. Blenda has died a sudden and unforeseen death in the middle of the arena, Pinza are still on fire and then get overturned, and the last remaining bot, Rubber Duck, ends up cowering behind Killalot, which ends about as badly as you would expect. It’s another defeat, but there is still one more battle to go!

As a reward for getting into the semi-finals, The Swarm now get to contest a third place playoff against the other semi-final loser, in this case Sabretooth, with a spot in the 10 way wildcard melee up for grabs. Now, as Sabretooth are a drum spinner, the anti-spinner Skye comes in, with Pinza dropping out. Not a surprising change of course, considering Pinza internally torched itself in the last battle.

Now, Sabretooth have a 7000rpm spinning drum, and with The Swarm being so lightweight, you can see how this is going to go. Blenda actually gets the first hit on the side of Sabretooth, but then becomes a popular target for retribution, being hit 3 times in quick succession. Weaponless Skye is also a victim of assault, whilst Rubber Duck is the only robot to be more offensive, actually getting a flip in on Sabretooth, not that it did much.

The floor flipper is the next thing to victimise The Swarm, with the now rocket propelled arena spikes taking aim at Sabretooth. The flipper gets Blenda and the Rubber Duck, though Skye so very kindly pushes Duck back onto the flipper to right them. Meanwhile anti-spinner Skye, which has stayed out of things so far, gets shoved into a wall so hard that it stops working. Nice one.

Fly formation
Synchronised Flipping

After that it’s over pretty quickly. Blenda and Rubber Duck both die over the flame pit in some double suicide pact, whilst the one remaining Skye bot goes the way of its Sister (Skye is a girl’s name, get used to it) and gets driven into a wall at the speed of light. Not the most dignified way to end things, and Blenda didn’t even cause that much damage.

So, how did The Swarm do? Well I love the concept of The Swarm, having what is essentially a multi-tool in the warzone to make the best of all available weapons. But unfortunately, the robots were just too small and light to cause any problems for the bigger, more powerful competitors. They were slimy little devils though, and it wasn’t easy to take them down. And the one biggest shining light for The Swarm was Blenda, who was up there with the rest of them in terms of damage, single-handedly ending Donald Thump. It’s just a shame the rest of them were practically useless out in the arena.

Expectation v Result (Bottom 2 – 4th): +3
Buckled Sabretooth into extinction: +2
Rubber Duck flew so high, you could see it from Mars: +1.5
Run away!… Into the pit: -2
Blenda v Donald Thump, the showdown: +6
Sending Skye into the sky, via Behemoth: -2
Hiding behind Sir Killalot like the coward you are (I’m looking at you, Rubber Duck): -1
Using the floor flipper to right yourself because you think it’s still 2003: +1
Flame pit suicide pact: -2

Robot Rating (The Swarm): 6.5/10

Full Robot Review rankings from this series and the last series can be found here: )
Each review rating is hyperlinked to the article about that robot- simply click on the robot’s name to be navigated to their article.