Just over halfway through the heats as we edge further towards the Grand Final, and the excitement doesn’t drop one bit from show to show. Welcome to the Series 9 Heat 4 preview and boy am I looking forward to this one.
Another great heat it was last time and as ever my overly enthusiastic thanks to everyone who had a read of my last preview piece. I know I sound like a broken record every week when I say this but it is genuine. I also hope your predictions were better than mine, I really am not doing very well this series. Heat 4 though looks like the heat of doom. Even though Apollo & Carbide are in the final heat, wait and see what the machines look like here. No less than 5 robots here are armed with very dangerous looking spinners. We start with 8 competitors but how many will there be at the end? Carnage is pretty much guaranteed, lets get on with it…
Most Recent War – N/A (Newcomer)
Here we go then with Frostbite, a machine that has a similar story to Expulsion from the last heat. This was built in an after school club by some students and their teacher; what a bloke! Again I never had that opportunity when I was in school and it’s great to see. The robot doesn’t look too shabby either. A pretty standard pointed box type design with a (rather rusty) spinning hammer on the front; a little like a scaled up Fluffy. I love the cool look of the polycarbonate armour as well which helps with the name and the mirrored strip behind the blade is a nice touch. Almost looks as if theres nothing inside! A problem may arise that it’s one of the lightest machines in the contest at 85 kg but with not a single flipper in sight, they might get away with that. Getting stuck on their side as well, an immediate flaw there. But I love these after school projects and I hope we see more of them. I also wish that I was 13 again….
Prediction – Having seen the heat draw I think Frostbite stand a much better chance of getting through than before I saw it. This is because the 4 robots I’d have picked for round 2 are all in the same melee…. Opens it up a little bit though and Frostbite has a good chance here. However purely based on my awful predictions so far this series I’m going to go against myself and say that Frostbite will go out in round 1. Nothing against the team or the robot, just to try and prove myself wrong, how very selfish of me…
Most Recent War – N/A (Newcomer)
The second of 3 new teams and machines in heat 4 is High 5. An interesting looking robot here, note the 5 ‘fingers’ on the lifters that will be used to High 5 other machines before crushing them. Another backstory here, the team are in possession of the legend Smidsy and this is based on that. You see the similarities. 4 wheel drive, built to push and some jaws to lift and clamp. The team also compete on the live stage with Ace which is a flipper so a bit of a different building project here. I bet it’s nice to experiment with different designs for new robots. There’s also an interchangeable drum that can be fitted to the rear for even more carnage. Hardox armour too but maybe a suspect ground clearance, but again with no flippers around, they might get away with that.
Prediction – Again it was all about seeing the heat draw here. I said I’d picked my 4 for the second round and High 5 wasn’t one of them. This still said I then thought this would go out in round 1 but again to contradict myself I’ve swapped the predictions for High 5 and Frostbite around. So it will be High 5 going into round 2. Just because I don’t trust myself. And I want to prove myself wrong. That’s how competitive I can get. So there.
Most Recent War – Series 8 (Heat, Round 2)
One of my favourite robots from last year returns for this heat looking as good as it did before. My first impression about Ironside 3 last year wasn’t good, I just had a bad feeling. How wrong I was, the speed it moved along the arena floor was phenomenal and it was excellently controlled. Couple that with that huge spinning arm and destruction was ensured. Quite unlucky to not get to at least the heat final last time but it’s back for more this time around. Same sort of concept again with interchangeable 35 kg blades and much faster and hopefully much more reliable self righter. Great new paint job as well as a homage to the RAF. There’s also a bar on the back that means that the robot should land in the perfect place or self right should they get flipped. Improvements have been made, lessons have been learned even for such an experienced team, will it pay off?
Prediction – I’d be gutted if Ironside go out in the first round, not least because they’re also from my home town of Nottingham. It’s one of my favourite robots in this series and has to be aiming for a heat final. There will be surprises in this heat though and will be competing with Apex as they have similar designs in terms of weaponry. Lets get it past the first round and then we can really see what its chances are.
Most Recent War – Series 8 (Heat, Round 1)
Enter this years Overdozer. Literally; this machine comes from the same team and if ever there were lessons to be learned from previous campaigns, this team is a perfect example of that. Polyethylene replaces the MDF ‘armour’ from last year and a new hardox front shovel which is designed for pushing and also lifts up. As fun as it was seeing Overdozer get splintered last war it’s good to see another attempt with improvements. A lot of machines were put together very quickly for series 8 so the wooden armour sort of made sense. This looks sturdier but still a little fragile. Actually it looks a lot fragile. To the point where the side armour and relatively exposed wheels are extremely vulnerable in this spinner heavy heat. The team made me laugh last time though. They were good value and that’s what we want from this game – Entertainment.
Prediction – An improvement on Overdozer but still a long way to go to match up with the Carbides and Apollos of this world. But again it’s good fun. One would like to hope that Wyrm will put up more of a fight than Overdozer and give it a good go. One would also think that it will still make an early exit, but for me it isn’t the worst machine in this series. That one is still to come in this war…..
Most Recent War – Series 7 (Heat, Round 1)
I can’t tell you how chuffed I am to see this machine back. When the ‘original’ Robot Wars finished we never really knew what happened to most of the machines. Then Crushtacean reappeared and it was like I was 10 again. One of the most original robots ever built and one of the best looking. A quick bit of history; Crushtacean debuted in war 5 taking out Robochicken and Behemoth on route to the heat final. They reached a world championship semi final but not before giving Chaos 2 a run in series 6, a fight which they very well could have won if they’d not reversed into the pit… It looks to be the same sort of machine, a bit quicker and more well armoured, and it will need to be. Keep an eye on those painted red bits this time too, apparently that paint is there to deflect spinners and protect the shell….. What good paint can do for that I have no idea, I don’t claim to be an expert in the aesthetics of paint. The weapon was operated in a unique way too, there were sensors on a pair of gloves that opened and closed the claws as and when the movement was made by the wearer. I wonder if they’ll be doing that again?
Prediction – As a life long Robot Wars fan I love seeing the development of the machines, the standard goes up every single year. I also love it when one from days gone by returns and I point wildly at the screen, ‘Ah! I remember that!’ It would be really nice to see Crushtacean do well but in reality it would be a surprise if they got out of their group battle. It’s definitely doable, but man it will be a tough ask.
Most Recent War – Series 8 (Heat, Round 1)
Team Trinity return with Supernova for the 9th wars and it really looks like its out with the old, in with the new. The shape and design of Supernova has been pretty much the same since the 5th war however it only escaped the opening round once, which sounds strange for such a destructive machine. The problem? Reliability. Many times Supernova has broken down whether it be to bad luck or the sheer power of the weapon causing them issues. And so after all this time the team return with a brand new machine. It still retains its 22 kg disc but this time its one chunk of metal as opposed to a flywheel with teeth bolted on and as we saw last time, those teeth were probably past their sell by date. Hardox armour and a very nice new black paint job, it really looks the business. Exposed wheels yes but they’ve gone away and tried something new. As good as the old Supernova was I suppose something needed to change.
Prediction – This is Supernova’s time now, it has to be. And what better way to show that you are one of the best spinners around than being pitted against the best of them. I’ll be really disappointed for the machine and the team if it falls in round 1 again, but this is the time to shine. I don’t think they’ve had or will get a better chance to put together a good run here and therefore I’m predicting this version to make the heat final and possibly be a dark horse for the heat.
Most Recent War – N/A (Newcomer)
Apex has tried many times to qualify for Robot Wars under this name and others and finally they’ve been expected. Straight out of the Danby garage of robot building, this looks ferocious. If anybody has seen Apex before from the live stage I reckon you were as surprised as me when you saw the redesign; it’s completely different to the old one which had a crushing claw. That version of Apex was once known as TX-108 and then TX-109 which once beat Hypnodisc in an untelevised wild card battle. True story. A 37 kg spinning bar is the weapon (obviously) and is rather like Ironside’s, the difference here is the team say it can self right with the blade. Interesting. A great design, again I like the red and gold paintwork and look sleek and aggressive. I’ve had these guys down for the patent pending underdog of the week star ever since I saw it, but this is a very tough heat to win a fight let alone with the whole thing.
Prediction – I wonder how easy Apex will be to control? That would be my biggest concern. And it’s in a massive fight to be the best horizontal spinner in the series with there being so many. Can you imagine the force of the impact if these guys smashed straight into Ironside or Supernova? I don’t know if Apex is as good as those 2 as an example but I keep saying there will be some surprises in this heat. This could be the machine to upset the odds.
Most Recent War – Series 8 (Grand Final Eliminator)
Those who followed me last year for these previews will know that Pulsar is one of my favourites since Robot Wars came back onto our screens, so much so I tipped them to win the series last time. Ok so I was a little wide of the mark but not by much, Pulsar still made the series final but was plagued with mechanical problems all the way through. From stop start drive, to weapon trouble, to actually stopping and having a rest mid battle on occasion, but this time Pulsar has been redesigned from the ground up, it’s pretty much a brand new machine. Again same ideas, low and stealth like with improved armour and an improved drum as well. The speed has come down a little from the crazy 9000 rpm we saw last time but only to 8700. That’s still some bonkers speed. But the biggest difference is that the drum is bigger and about twice as heavy as before, therefore allowing more of it to stick out the top for a better point of attack. The machine can even lever itself back onto its wheel thanks to a new bar on the back. It’s a beautiful thing and I’m tipping them for greatness this time too.
Prediction – One of the advantages I think Pulsar has here it that it has a vertical spinner, whereas all of its other spinning competitors are mounted horizontally. If the 2 collide, which there’s a good chance they will, 9 times out of 10 the vertical should win out due to the ridiculous forces that both create. On the basis of that and because I’m incredibly biased I’m going to tip Pulsar for the heat win here. They’ve done it once and if (and it’s a huge if) the drive hold out and is reliable I can’t see much stopping it. But once again I’ve only got 1 heat winner right so far…
A huge thanks for sticking with me as usual and I hope you enjoyed reading my latest preview piece. In this little section that seems to be a recurring thing now, a quick mention for the series 10 rule changes that will apply. Sadly there will be no featherweights for this series due to time constraints (Boooooo), however the beeb have stated that it’s still on their ‘to do’ list and we will have some soon (Yay). Other rule changes mention weight increases for walkers and shufflers and entanglement weapons. Yes entanglements. What a crazy idea! Is this the way we have to make teams combat spinners?! It is quite specific though in terms of the type of material used and how big it can be, but it’s quite a statement. Not sure if it’s a good idea or a really, really bad one. All the rule revisions can be found on the internet somewhere (I can’t remember where I saw them before) if you’ve not spotted them already. What do you think about them?
Let me know what you think of this heat in the comments below, I also welcome feedback and opinions about this or anything really that you might want counselling on. Tell your mates as we let the war continue. BBC 2 Sunday at 7. Devastation is assured.
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