Wow. Well wasn’t that last heat a belter? Robot Wars at its very best, entertainment from teams and machines until the end. And a big congratulations to Apollo for getting out of that heat. A fun bunch of guys and I can’t wait to see them in the final, after reintroducing the art of battering a house robot. Great stuff. Their success did mean yet more failure for me, predicting Eruption to succeed in that heat. The ever present robotwars2016 went for PP3D or a Storm 2 victory, it was that close. My thanks for the contribution as always. There is only one heat left before the biggy, and here are my thoughts. I’ll also be publishing a bonus article soon looking over who will be in that final as the wildcard, as I’m not sure if they will announce it at shows end, or if we’ll have to wait until next week. Wish me luck!
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 – Iron Maiden Champion (Extreme 2)
Best UK Championship – Series 6 (Heat, Round 1)
Where better to start than with a dragon? And to one of the best looking machines in the competition. Chompalot was originally built for the fifth wars where it failed to qualify. When they did for the sixth, they had a rotten draw in round 1, meeting 13 Black, Stinger and Thermidor 2 (who they may meet again in this heat). They unfortunately went out after a good try, then failed to qualify for the seventh war after that. In between those wars though, Chompalot took part in the Iron Maidens championship after originally applying for the New Blood. They brilliantly won it too, beating Behemoth and Pussycat along the way. The 2016 version looks a bit more colourful and beefed up, giving that massive jaw more power. Looks good.
Verdict – I like Chompalot and I’d like it to do well. I hope it can make at least round 2, but there are a couple of stand-out robots in this heat who seem to be better. Could be another learning curve.
Best UK Championship – Series 4 & 7 (Semi Final, Round 1)
Ah, the lobster’s back! I was chuffed when I saw them on the competing list, mainly because it’s nice to mix the new boys with some old faces. Thermidor had a very hit and miss Robot Wars campaign; making the Semis in 2 wars, but also going out in the first round in 2 as well. On the whole though, a very good robot. They were the first to flip 2 machines out of the arena in a single battle in the UK don’t you know? Demands respect either way, the flipper was one of the best and now the claws are active again for added aggression. The main weakness used to be the shell. The aluminium armour was hit hard by many a competitor and house robot alike. This time they arrive with a new paint job on polycarbonate armour, and a new, scary, snake-like face.
Verdict – Like I say, this machine was very hit and miss. As with most returning machines this series they have been upgraded internally and a more powerful flipper. Lots of variance of weapons in this heat could actually be a downfall for this robot. Hit or miss? Sadly I think it will be wide of the mark again this time around.
Best UK Championship – Series 5 & 7 (Heat, Round 1)
What a ‘Beast’ of a machine this is. Sorry, that was awful. No more…. What isn’t a joke is what this machine is capable of. Whatever you saw from it’s 2 first round losses, forget about it. This is a much bigger, better, badder, beastier, creation (oops, did it again). It’s UK appearances were, frankly, pretty awful, even though they got drawn against SMIDSY and Thermidor (Seems everyone has met the lobster this week). Since the original show ended though, Beast has developed a full pressure flipper and it has been pretty formidable on the live stage. You wouldn’t believe the 2 robots came from the same team. Armour wise well, there isn’t any, it exists on its frame. It has sort of self imploded before, but I don’t think it will have many problems here.
Verdict – One to watch this. One of the best flippers in the contest and should put on a good show. I’d fancy the Beast to do well, a heat final should be the minimum for this motorised bit of scaffolding.
Best UK Championship – Series 6 & 7 (Heat, Round 1)
The final veteran in heat 5 is Infernal Contraption. And that’s exactly what is has been in the past. Always looked difficult to control to me. That or the team really needed to practise driving more. The drum weapon had potential in its 2 UK series, but never really got chance to show it. That said they, like Chompalot, were quite unlucky in their draws too, facing, and getting destroyed by 259 in series 6 and being flipped around by Bulldog Breed in the following war. They managed to reach round 2 in the University Challenge though which brought their one and only win, and that could yet be as good as it gets. I like the red and green on the wheels, but not sure if that adds anything other than looks. Hmm, not too sure about the chances I’m afraid.
Verdict – Like I say, I’m not so sure. There hasn’t been a lot done to the robot since the seventh war, and if it wasn’t competitive then, I can’t see it being competitive now. I reckon another round 1 exit for the Contraption.
Crazy Coupe 88
Named after a combination of the Wacky Races and Kill Bill comes Crazy Coupe 88. First impressions? I like it. Looks like it was slapped together in a couple of hours, ‘we’ll put a weapon here, a big spinney thing on there, bang some aluminium plate on top and bolt 2 wheels on’. OK that’s probably not how the conversation went but that’s what it looks like, and I think it’s great. How much damage it can cause remains to be seen and more importantly, if they can get the chance. The wheels are exposed and it doesn’t look the most stable, but a nice quirky robot nevertheless.
Verdict – A brand new machine for a brand new war and potentially very destructive. But there’s that word again, potentially. Not saying Crazy Coupe wont be very good, it just depends on if they get the chance to do some damage. Hey they could even go on and win the heat, but I can’t see it. A round 1 exit is the most likely scenario for me.
Now just look at this. A 2 wheel drive, low, 107 kilo destroyer. Incredibly simple, with a 14.5kg drum on the front which reportedly spins at, get this, 9000 rpm. 9000! That’s almost 4 times as powerful as Carbide, and even though Pulsar’s is a lot lighter, should have the same kind of metal ripping power if not more. Before this series I would have scoffed at 9000 rpm, dismissing it as a massively over exaggerated boast, but having seen some of the machine that have been and gone, I guess anything i possible. I can only see 2 flaws: The wheels looks like magnets to an axe and the balance could leave them vulnerable to a flipper. Even though, what a scary prospect for any machine who has to fight this demon.
Verdict – Now on first view of every machine in this series, this was the one that made me go back and Google again. If that drum can do those speeds them wow, this could be something special. I don’t only have Pulsar down for the heat, but for the whole series, that’s how highly I rate this machine.
On first impressions, Gabriel looks like nothing special. On a second inspection, well I thought the same thing really. There’s nothing to it, and though it has interchangeable blades, still doesn’t look like it can do much. On the live stage though Gabriel has proven quite difficult to beat, even if it hasn’t ever caused that much damage. The main reason is the size, believe me when I say it’s huge. The wheels themselves are taller than most competitors, and the ground clearance is normally so high that most flippers can’t get the full effect. That doesn’t mean Gabriel isn’t flippable. Both Behemoth and Ripper have both succeed in throwing it out of the arena and in this very year.
Verdict – I’m predicting a round 2 appearance for Gabriel, and possibly a heat final if things go its way. Gabriel has actually won the FRA Tag Team title with its sister robot, The Saint in 2014. Food for thought.
I remember back in my Heat 1 preview talking about Carbide, and saying that bar spinners haven’t had much success in the wars. Until that heat I would have still thought so if that robot hadn’t have done so well, so at the start of this series I almost dismissed Ironside 3 the same way. Given what Carbide achieved though, this machine could cause some serious damage. Ironside 3 is named so because the first 2 were featherweights, this being a heavyweight of cause and they all look quite different. At first I thought this version was invertable, but it actually has a side bar at the back to self right. The spinning bar is where the main action will be though and it weighs 35kg. That’s just under a third of the machines weight. Can definatley dish out the ouch factor if it gets the chance.
Verdict – As good as Ironside looks it seems a little clunky to me. I just don’t have a good feeling about it. Could struggle in round 1 and if I’m being really technical, it will go out because the self righter will fail. I am a fan of the team though. They are the guys who gave us Velocirippa and Mighty Mouse (yet another machine that fought Thermidor), and they live in my home county. I’d have like to have seen them enter Meggamouse in this competition more though.
So once again I come to the end of a heat preview. I thank you all for reading and ask you to look out for my take on who will be the wildcard in the Grand Final which will be published shortly. Leave me a comment if you wish with your thoughts on this heat, and we’ll see how we do next week. Until then, stand by and be ready to activate.