If you were born in the early 90s as I was, you’ll be familiar with the amount of kids TV that was available; some good, some very very bad. Programmes like Thomas the Tank Engine and Pokémon were my favourite as a little nipper, but also around were the sleekness of Johnny Bravo, or the simple creativeness of Art Attack, both also favourites of mine. But once I was a bit older, I turned on BBC 2 one Friday night and discovered Robot Wars and well, that was it wasn’t it? I was hooked from the start and to this day, have a massive interest in robotic combat. So when the beeb announced in January that it would be making a comeback, I became more excited than a dog at feeding time.
Checking the internet regularly, more photos and information slowly came out which has made the wait even more unbearable. When the competitor list was finally published, I was surprised to see a lot of names that became household in the older series, names that you don’t even see, or haven’t even seen on the live scene since the original programme finished. This had made the new series even more interesting. How will they get on against newer machines? Can they live up to the standard that some of them did 12 years ago? Can some do better? Below I’ve listed the robots, old and new, in the first of my 6 show previews and how I rate their chances. Old designs or new, they still look pretty mean…..
Notes – The stats & honours I’ve mentioned are only relevant to the original series 1-7, Extreme 1 & 2, and not to do with performances on the live stage. – Newcomers are classed as a team with a new machine, regardless if the team have competed before.
Honours: World Champion 2000, 2001; International League Champion 2000; Southern Annihilator Champion Series 4; All Stars Champion Extreme 1, Extreme 2; UK Champion Series 5. Best UK Championship – Series 5 (Winners)
Where else to start but with Razer? The team won near enough everything, despite being known for its unreliability in its early years. The team had a good robot, and they knew it. Razer was, and still is, a pioneer for Robot combat, much like Chaos 2 & Hypnodisc. On the outside the machine that competed in Extreme 2 and the 2016 version look pretty similar, the only thing that looks different is the teams receding hair lines. But with upgraded internals and a weight increase of around 10kg, Razer should still be a force in this series, unless someone has a handy anti crusher frame lying around…
Verdict – Its always hard to see anyone beating Razer. A low front end combined with precise driving and devastating weaponry put them on a huge winning streak in the old days. These days? I think they go in as my heat favourites, but it will be a lot harder than what they’ve faced before.
Best UK Championship – Series 2 (Semi Finals, Arena)
One of the oldest competing (and arguably unluckiest) robots in the wars, the Behemoth team have been ever present in the wars. Competing in 6 UK championships, Behemoth always seemed to underachieve. Whether unreliability or sheer unluckiness struck, the team were always admired in the Robot Wars world. Since the show ended, they have had more success. Gone is the axe on top, better speed and a more powerful scoop has seen them through to numerous finals on the live stage. There is also the addition of a much better self righter, which could make all the difference.
Verdict – Lady luck seems to have struck again for Behemoth in this series. Being drawn in the same heat as Razer, Terrorhurtz & Carbide might spell trouble. A possible heat final on the cards? Any other draw would possibly have seen them through to the final.
Honours: Extreme 2 Challenge Belt Finalist Best UK Championship – Series 6 (Fourth Place)
Ah Terrorhurtz. The crazy, unpredictable, swinging axe of doom. For Series 5, the team decided to move from a pointed spike axe, to a broad blade when building the new machine. Signs of renewed aggression was shown in its first round against Ming 3, but the run was stopped short by Fluffy in Round 2. It was the sixth war where Terrorhurtz really came into its own, in one of the best runs in UK championship history. Beating 3 seeded machines on the way to losing to Razer in the grand final, poor Terrorhurtz suffered technical issues in the next series, becoming unable to compete. After that, they picked up from their Series 6 form, running away with the title on the live stage in 2004 and 2009. For this series, there’s a new, lower armour plate on the front, coupled with a new axe head.
Verdict – I can’t wait to see Terrorhurtz in action. A rematch against Razer, well that would be a spectacle. They should definitely get through the first round, and should they make the heat final, they would be tough to beat.
Best UK Championship – N/A (Robotic Soccer Finalist)
Little is known about The General. The team was placed into the Soccer competition in Series 3, and failed to qualify for Series 4. They also had lightweight machines in Series 2 and 3 (before the latter lightweight championship was cancelled). In a surprise return, the Welsh team return with what looks like a completely different robot. Technically classed as veterans due to competing before, but look like underdogs going into the ‘Heat of Doom’. However, it is invertible and if they get that nasty looking disc into play, they could cause a surprise.
Verdict – I’m personally not expecting much from The General, having never seen them fight with a heavyweight before. However that could be an advantage, they look like they have the potential to perform. A second round appearance could be on the cards.
Bonk is formed from the team that gave us Mute in the UK championships. Anyone who saw Mute will agree that this looks a completely different machine. Firstly, this one has a hammer which I’ve been informed is quite a powerful specimen. Couple that with a good top speed, and just tipping the top of the weight limit and Bonk looks like a complete robot. Downsides? It hasn’t won many fights on the live stage, but also hasn’t had many either.
Verdict – It looks solid, compact, quick, but I’m not sure. I think some people might remember Bonk more as being drawn in the same heat as Nuts…
Oooo this looks mean. Everybody loves a spinner in Robot Wars, and going into a new series where there are many, it will be difficult to stand out. Now, bar spinners have never really had much success in the wars, but this one boasts to be the most powerful one ever. Anything weighing 25kg and spinning at nearly 2500 rpm must do some damage when it works, and the team rate their chances high. It’s also invertible and coated in steel. It looks very mean indeed.
Verdict – I like the look of this one. Team member Sam Smith (famous before the singer of the same name) built Tiberius, so he knows what he’s doing. A lot of people have this one down as heat favourite, and its hard to argue with that.
This ones a funny one. I like, the shape and I like the idea. Looks like Infernal Contraption crossed with S3, but which one will it take after? Reportedly the longest robot in this competition, Kill-E-Crank-E has a vertical disc and is a very neat and original design. And it has one of the best names Ive seen for a while. Unlike S3 though, this robot is concave at the back, allowing for a Stinger style flick over the top to get the weapon in play. An interesting robot, but others will like seeing those lovely exposed tyres wont they?
Verdict – Again in any other heat, Kill-E-Crank-E would look like a good bet, but in this heat, could be too easily beaten. That said, team member Robin Herrick got to the series 1 final with Bodyhammer, and was the brains behind Pussycat and we all know how their 2 fights with Razer went….
The only true newcomers to this heat are Nuts, and it looks exactly that. A different take on usual axle and thwack bots, Nuts also boasts little minibots, that are designed to get underneath and pin other machines down so that the big daddy can swing in with that flail and cause some damage. At first it looked like that red cage was a protective mechanism to me, but it isn’t. That is attached to the main frame to protect the wheels, as well as causing extra damage. Don’t forget to get a look at the team as well; they have one of the best costumes going. Good fun.
Verdict – Massive underdogs in this heat for me, but having said that they could be quite difficult to get hold of. I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that they will surprise us with a round 2 appearance…
Thanks for reading guys, I really appreciate it. Watch this space for previews of the upcoming heats, and for the Grand Final. The carnage starts Sunday 24th July at 8pm. Let battle commence!