Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

For as long as I’ve been watching Robot Wars, which is pretty much since its inception in 1998, it still never fails to excite me and amaze me. What a first heat we were treated to last Sunday night. Less fights yes, but excellent quality all round. Possibly my favourite fight of all time is Chaos 2/Wild Thing from Series 5 and having seen some amazing fights in that time, not much has come close to it. The Apollo/Behemoth fight was well up there with that, showing that this form of competition can never really die or get boring. Great stuff.

So we move into heat 2 and wow, what a draw. I also think its a quite a bad draw too. If the robots are drawn randomly into heats then fair enough, but if its set up I think this is a poor choice. If you’ve seen the draw already you’ll know what Im on about, if not you better read on! A huge thanks to everyone who took the time to read my preview piece for Heat 1, now lets keep this ball rolling. Heres my thoughts on Heat 2.

Note – As I went to the filming I obviously know the outcomes of some fights, though these were only the first round melees. I will still be analysing the machines in the whole series as if seeing them for the first time, there will be NO spoilers here in these blogs.

 

Eruption

ep2-eruption

The second seed (if you’re doing seedings yourself) returns with a vengeance and looking to set the record straight. Those who know Eruption from outside of Robot Wars are already aware of how good and successful this machine is. Everytime you hear or see that Eruption is fighting in a live event, chances are they’re going to win. Beautifully designed and powered to get under other robots and launch them out of the arena with a precisely timed flip, its very low and now even better armoured. Eruption couldn’t stop turfing machines out last series, matching Atomic’s record from UK 7 for the most consecutive out of arena flips.

They finished second to Carbide and the shame for them is that they are in this very same heat. Yep the top 2 have been drawn together, again. Booo. That said they probably are able to give the champions a run for their money and Eruption are definitely looking to cement their place as the best flipping robot in the UK. I would say that Carbide knocked them out relatively easily in the last war but they did with pretty much everyone, such was the power. Either way, Eruption is a machine to be feared and will be a contender in one form or another. Just depends how good the new armour plating is and if it can stand up to a beating.

Prediction – Always going to be a contender. Like I say they lost to Carbide last time and they were the only machine that Eruption wasn’t able to beat. In this draw I don’t know. Any other time you’d have Eruption nailed on as heat winners but if we’re going on form from what we’ve seen before, a heat final is definitely on the cards. I’d thoroughly expect to at least see them in the 10 way.

 

Aftershock

ep2-aftershock

See what I mean? I’ve already mentioned Carbide and if we’re counting the exclusion of Ironside 3 in this series, you’ve got the top 3 in the same heat. And the other 3 robots aren’t half bad either. Ouch, and more boo’s. Nevertheless, Aftershock, a fine machine deriving from the experienced Team Shock have now reached both Grand Finals of the rebooted Robot Wars so far.

Its relatively the same looking machine, big blue spinney thing attached to a silver frame but with much tougher looking armour. I hear there are even more interchangeable discs and bars to be used too to combat certain opponents. Despite the carnage they caused last war they went out with a bit of a whimper, breaking down in 2 of its 3 head to heads in the grand final. Yes one of these was against Carbide and yes they other one was after a rebuild but I hope its can stand up to more. For me the reputation suffered a little in that final. I feel that on their day they could have beaten Ironside 3 and Eruption to take the spot in the final. Question is, will the upgrades allowed them to do that?

Prediction – Either everybody in this heat is desperately unlucky or the draw has been desperately rigged for this outcome. To have so many good robots in the same heat is almost criminal, therefore it is even more vital that every competitor in this heat wins their group battle, to avoid unnecessary extra fights. I’m not sure Aftershock can do that just because of its company. But like Eruption it still has the ability to do well and an appearance in the 10 way is definitely on.

 

Crackers N Smash

ep2-crackers-and-smash

The brick built clusterbot returns with extra armour improvements and, hopefully, better weapons this time too. As nice as it was seeing Crackers N Smash last war, it wasn’t greatly effective to the point it went in weaponless against Carbide. On the plus side it stood up to said machine twice, with all the electrics intact. Given how hard Carbide hit in series 9, that was hugely impressive.

So what can the little bots do this time then? Well the overall weight has been reduced by some 16 kg, trimming the fat so to speak, and the armour looks to be upgraded which is bad news for spinners, given that the best of the best of them couldn’t stop this last time. Weapons wise, they’re about the same. A spinner on Smash that can go to, reportedly, 11000 rpm. In terms of speed thats almost 4 times as fast as Aftershock, but whether it can do the damage remains to be seen. Crackers is back with its flipper that can also integrate some kind of claw too, maybe to snag spinners or grab hold of opponents. Another evolution of a machine and I like the fact that clusterbots are taking off a bit more. They used to be few and far between and now we’ve had 2 in the first 2 heats. Makes things more interesting.

Prediction – Errrm, no idea, sorry! Crackers N Smash will be able to cause pests of themselves but I’m sure we’ll see them in the redemption round. The quality of the heat looks to be a little too high for them at this stage. As always I’m up for being proved wrong, but this might be a step too far for these little machines.

 

Big Nipper

ep2-big-nipper

One of my favourite machines from the live stage this and its great to see them back. Big Nipper returns from Series 8 after being an unused reserve for the last war with basically the same sort of machine. Where we’ve seen certain evolutions in this series already Big Nipper doesn’t seem to have had that much work done. The orange has gone back to a darker shade of grey and the disc is now a shining yellow. I think I actually prefer this look to the orange actually. The disc is a single tooth disc, just like Aftershock and is interchangeable with the infamous claws and the middle section still moves up and down. It’s a design I’ve always been fond of. With the claws attached they can pick up a 100 kg robot easily and drive them wherever they want and do whatever they want with. They’ve had some amazing hits on the live stage and its a shame we haven’t really seen them in the wars.

But what of the disc? It looks like the main weapon of choice these days and we didn’t really see the potential of it in the 8th wars. As I mentioned, single tooth running at about 4000 rpm but can it damage, and can it damage enough to give it a chance. Again its a wildly unlucky draw and as good as Big Nipper can be, disc or claws, I fear they may be swallowed up in this heat.

Prediction – A lowly finishing place for Big Nipper Im afraid, which I dont like to say because its such a brilliant machine. I just dont think it can cause enough damage to pretty much any competitor in this heat and all seem to have something that can counter anything this robot can do. A shame, but I hope we do get to see that weapon going well.

 

Gabriel

ep2-gabriel

Now comes the robot that I own a piece of and possible the biggest robot to ever appear in the wars. Gabriel reached the heat final in series 8, narrowly missing out to Pulsar. Its great Gabriel is, with a set of interchangeable weapons that do much more damage than they look like they can. Numerous amounts of time at live event they have smashed armour plated and even squashed other machines. Designed to be so darn big that even the best flipper will struggle and you’ve got a tough bot to beat. Made completely out of high density polyethylene it can also stand up to a beating and it that is’t enough to convince you, Gabriel actually won the 2016 FRA UK championship at the live shows. That’s some achievement.

But what of it in the warzone? Well the only thing that seemed bother Gabriel last time we saw it were spinners. Both Ironside 3 and Pulsar took chunks out of those huge wheels but even then, they were still mobile. Throw them in with Aftershock and Carbide and there could be a surprise. It just depends on how many hits they can land and if they can do enough damage to their opponents as they do to Gabriel. Lets not forget the flippers as well. Even though it is ridiculously hard to flip Gabriel around, many have tried and succeeded in getting this mammoth out of the arena. It’s not invincible.

Prediction –  This is the robot in this heat that has made me rethink everything. I just have no idea how it will perform. I thoroughly expect to see them in the head to heads one way or another but what about after that? It is a Carbide killer? These and many, many more questions will be answered but man are they going to be tough to beat. They will be a few thorns in peoples sides this heat and could even go the full distance. Count this one out at your peril.

 

Carbide

ep2-carbide

What do we need to say about Carbide? Current UK champions, number 1 seed, nailed on favourites. They won the title in probably the most dominant way since Chaos 2 all those years ago, nothing came close to it. And so as other machines improve and new pretenders come along, has Carbide still got what it takes? You know the drill, 2 wheel drive, fully invertable, massively destructive 2500 rpm spinning bar, and more power that you can shake a stick at, whatever that means. But has it moved on, and perhaps more importantly, does it need to? A few upgrades can never hurt I suppose, and in this current world of modern technology its always best to progress and never stand still. Carbide has had minor upgrades for this war but maybe nothing like the quantum leap from series 8 to series 9, but the fact they were so far ahead of everybody last time shows that they are still the machine to beat.

They’ve had 20 fights since the rebooted Robot Wars hit our screens and have won 17 of them. That’s not bad when you consider they went unbeaten in series 9. It’s a machine to marvel at and very much defines ‘new’ Robot Wars, very much becoming the pin-up machine such as Hypnodisc and Razer were back in the day. Invincible? Nobody is, but boy this comes close.

Prediction – Carbide will be given a run in this heat, no question. Just look at the high level of competition they have to compete with. I’m still going to say that Carbide will be heat winners, but they will be tested far more than at pretty much any point in the whole of last series. And just for the record, I have Carbide down to make it 2 series in a row as well.

 

So there we go, we’ve met all 6 of our competitors and to be honest as much as I’ve given a bit of a prediction for each of them, any of the 6 could win this heat if they are on song. Thats how close this heat is. I also think its a bit of a waste. Yes we’re going to get some insanely good fights but we’ve got the top 3 from the last wars including 3 others that are definitely not to be taken lightly and can cause an upset. I wasn’t sure how I felt about having so many good robots together but now I’ve wrote this, I’ve decided I don’t really like the idea. But hey, its not going to stop me watching it.

And as ever a thank you to everyone who read the first heat preview, it is very much appreciated. Feel free to leave me your predictions below and as ever I’ll leave a link to the last preview piece and my Twitter page, should you feel the need to keep up to date with my life. But more importantly tune into BBC2 at 8 on Sunday night. It’s sure to serve up a treat.

 

Twitter – @jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

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Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Here we go again folks. Its time to get those series links set up as we prepare for that metal smashing extravaganza that returns to our screens this coming Sunday: Robot Wars, the 10th war. It feels like it been a long time coming with the last series ending in April and with this series being filmed in May, but the wait will soon be over. New machines, a new format and new arena hazards await those who dare enter inside. So as we prepare for what is to come, I’ve decided to relight the fire on my still not very famous heat previews.

This series previews may be somewhat shorter given the fact that there are only 6 robots in each heat this time around. Those who know me will know that I went to Glasgow for two days of filming in May and it was a fantastic experience. That said when they put 3 robots into the arena, I thought we were about to witness a whiteboard fight! Every robot effectively gets 2 chances to progress this time. The winners of each 3 way fight automatically go through. The remaining 4 then fight each other until we have 2 more, who then go into head to heads with the winner from the first battle. The 2 winner from that form the heat final. Got it? Good, because I didn’t until recently… Lets check out the teams forming the first heat of this brand new war.

 

Note – As I went to the filming I obviously know the outcomes of some fights, though these were only the first round melees. I will still be analysing the machines in the whole series as if seeing them for the first time, there will be NO spoilers here in these blogs.

Extra Note – Lucky for you lot though I saw zero fights from this first heat, so I have no idea what to expect either!

Third and final note – Because the Beeb are doing some serious messing about, only a few official shots of competitors are available and I’ve only seen those be released by teams on Twitter. Therefore I’ve just had to do my best with what Google can offer me for a few of them. Hopefully the BBC will have their act together by next week.

 

Behemoth

Behemoth

Ah Behemoth. One of the most experienced machines of all time and still competing. Feels like its been around since the dawn of time. Its stood the test of it as well, remaining with the same sort of design that took it to the semi finals of Robot Wars 2. Though its performances haven’t always been amazing in the UK championships, Behemoth still remains a force on the live stage. They even finished 3rd in this years FRA UK championship. Some feat for near 20 year old robot.

But whether its just been bad luck or machine error, Behemoth has never quite lived up to what its capable of in Robot Wars. Even as recent as the last series, they had great chance to get through, and really gave Eruption a run for their money. A poor decision on an untested weapon choice ultimately let them down against Cherub and its things like that, that make you think, can this machine still be a contender? I still think they’re very worthy of a spot in the competition and looking at their draw, the team must be licking their lips at the prospect of making a real impression in this series. I don’t even think we saw all the weapon mods last time either. The iconic lifting scoop is still the primary weapon, and we know about the anti spinner bucket and the grabber. I though there was another one or two hidden away somewhere, may even be new for this series. I must have read that somewhere, Im not clever enough think that far outside the box. Also the axe looks like its making a return this time around and though it was never really effective before, I hope to see them make more use of it this time.

Prediction – There a chance here for Behemoth. If all the right calls are made they should win their group fight, from then on its anybodys guess. I’d predict a heat final this time for Behemoth which would still keep them in contention for the wildcard spot in the 10 way melee (Oh yea, theres a 10 way melee this series!). There just one machine in this heat that will still have a bit too much for them. More on that later….

 

Apocalypse

Apocalypse_S10

The strength of an Elephant, who wrote this?? So is it me or does anyone else see Splinter here? Very similar to the series 5 version of said machine, Apocalypse enters the wars for the very first time, though it is an experienced machine built by an experienced team. Once again we have to look back through the history of the live events to a robot that is one of my favourites through the years, Turbulence. This robot is a wedged box with a huge flipper on the front and has been over the years, very successful. The team upgraded it to Apocalypse which didn’t perform as planned. In fact Turbulence is still competing and the version of Apocalypse Im currently talking about isn’t. Speaks volumes. The team went away and built a new version of Apocalypse which is what you see here. A low machine with a big axe and side grabbing arms to hold opponents in place. I like the look of it, and yes we’ve somewhat seen it before with Splinter, but they never really maximised the potential of this combination. That version of Splinter is about 16 years old too and as we’ve seen since the reboot, technology has moved on. I’m expecting bigger things from this one.

Prediction – 3 machines have caught my eye in this heat so they are nailed on for ‘Round 2’ for me. That means theres a space vacant and Apocalypse could take it. It will be competing with a spinner for that last slot so the hardox and titanium armour will be tested, but I think it can stand up to it. Apocalypse will be aiming for that 3rd place spot as one of the qualifiers for the 10 way fight for me.

 

Donald Thump

Donald_Thump_complete

This is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. So brilliant in fact that Im truly amazed the BBC allowed it. And the strange thing is, Donald Thump actually looks like quite a good robot for something so jokey. In the old days of Granny’s Revenge and Chromalot, the robots and teams were thoroughly entertaining though never really successful. This machine could buck that trend. A solid looking bot and fine looking weapon in the form of a 16 kg 5000 rpm spinning bar that the team say has the ability to right the machine too. Looks like it can cause a fair bit of damage and given its aesthetics I don’t think we’ll forget about this one for a while. I love the way that the comedy effect is there but could well be very effective.

But wait until you see the team. Talking and dressing like the 45th president of the USA and attempting to ‘Make Robot Wars great again’ whilst they do it. How relevant is all of this? In a world where you have to dodge lasers in order to make the slightest little joke about anything, to use the theme of a relatively sensitive subject like this and do it well is, well brave for one, but also very clever. A real breathe of fresh air for the competition. I hope these guys do very well. One downside I’ve heard though; the infamous yellow quiff wont be on the machine in the arena. Ah well, can’t have everything I suppose.

Prediction –  Well it will certainly be an experience with these guys around! I’m looking forward to it and Donald Thump could well have something to say about the outcome of this heat. It will be a toss up between these and Apocalypse as to who gets into the last 4 of the heat, but I’d like to think this will win at least one fight. Bigly, of course.

 

The Swarm

The_Swarm

Now this is something new. Clusterbots have come and gone like Gemini or Crackers N Smash but never in UK Robot Wars have we seen one with more than 2 parts. Enter The Swarm, built and driven by our old friends The Big Brother team, consisting of not 2, not even 3 but 4 parts each adding up to that magic 110 kg mark. And each have their own name too, meet Duck, Blenda, Pinzer & Skye each equipped with a different weapon including a flipper, a bar spinner, a crusher and an overhead blade. For me, this is one of the most exciting entries ever in Robot Wars, how powerful are they? Can they live with machines 4 times heavier than them? Or is 4 just too many parts? To be fair each only can only weight a maximum of 27 kg evenly so are also a lot smaller as well as lighter than their competitors, but it still doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for these little critters. Its very original and a great concept and for each to have their own role to play with the weaponry just makes it that little more exciting. Which one will lead the attack? Will they rescue each other if they get into trouble? The combinations of each machine fighting are plentiful, but as ever with a clusterbot if a certain part is out, the machine as one is out. I’d guess you’d need to immobilise 2 of The Swarm to beat them, which might just be a little too simple for such a great design.

Prediction –  I genuinely love this machine. Add the idea that each one has its own name and design, its own personality. I really is one of my favourite entries ever. However…. The size and weight of each robot is surely bound to count against it. Though the power of 4 will annoy, at most, a big heavyweight like Behemoth I cant see them doing too much damage and each machine might not make a big enough impression. Maybe 4 parts is too many? I just see The Swarm taking an early bath this series, but my god I hope we see them back again. A million out of 10 for creativity.

 

Sabretooth

Sabretooth

One of the heroes of the last war returns in the form of Sabretooth and this time, Team Legion have brought along a tidy looking machine. Same sort of concept, invertable yellow thing with a monster drum on the front but just looks more refined. Much stronger looking armour that is basically just the one structure, as opposed to little bits that were screwed on in Series 9. These guys were one of my favourites last time. What an effort it was to rebuilt what little they had left after the Terrorhurtz and Aftershock fights and this version looks a lot more like a proper evolution of a design that had potential. The gap in between wars really seems to have given the team lots of time to iron out all the faults with the Series 9 version, learning from past efforts and if it goes right, has the potential to have I think, possibly the best drum spinner in the contest.

That all said I am talking about a robot that hadn’t won a fight before the last war, even though there were some very good designs previous to it. A bit like Behemoth they never had the luck, something always seemed to go wrong whether it was weapons breaking, self righters letting them down, little things that one can learn from and take as an experience. It paid off because that win over Terrorhurtz was brilliant and thats the sort of performance we want to see from Sabretooth. I think there is major potential here for more wins and possibly a few upsets.

Prediction – As far as Im concerned Sabretooth is a real competitor these days and they have a great chance to build on what they started last time. Should dispatch a couple of machines in this heat relatively easily and they’ll be well in the mix for the top 3. Top 2 might be a bit too much but I really wouldn’t put it past them. Like I said, could cause a surprise.

 

Apollo

Apollo

The former champs return with a highly upgraded and beautiful looking Apollo. I mean it really does look good, finished with a lovely white and a sleek shape to house that flipper. We all know what Apollo can do but mainly spinners (namely Carbide) got the better of it last time and never really recovered. This time, much better armour and somewhat crucially, interchangeable flipping arms. Imagine if they’d have had that luxury last time. Also Apollo is a lot quicker now, capable of reaching 20 mph with a huge increase in power which is some 10 times better than in the last war.

For such a simple looking design Apollo has always been effective and once again are staking their claim for the best flipping robot in the UK. I’ve seen this version at live events and rather like Sabretooth, it just looks like a pure evolution of an already very good machine. Nothing too fancy and not messing with the core components, just building on what was already in place and improving it bit by bit. But with that also comes risk. We’ve seen the likes of Pulsar upgrade in the past and it just not work how it should. Very good machines have fallen early before because the upgrades didn’t work or just weren’t good enough. Surely that wont happen here?

Prediction – Easy heat favourites for me. In fact I can’t really see too much troubling Apollo here (famous last words). It looks like the real deal again, low enough to get under most competitors and strong enough to withstand any blow from a spinner or axe. I never like a one sided contest in anything so in the nicest possible way, I hope there is a bit of trouble (sorry guys), but either way I think we’ll be seeing Apollo in the final again.

 

So there we go, our 6 machines for this week are all here and raring to go. This looks like a really solid start for the series, with a mix of design, weaponry and experience amongst those competing. The only downside for me is that the start of the series begins at exactly the same time as the Formula 1 American GP, my 2 favourite things ever since I was a child. I have no idea which to watch first and which to record! I’ll probably decide on the day….

Thank you very much sticking with me and I will be back throughout the series to review each heat and of course, the Grand Final. See below for links to my WordPress page, where you’ll find every review I’ve done for the last 2 series, as well as a few other bits an pieces in there too, and a link to my Twitter. Feel free to give us a follow on there. I’ll also leave a link to my last Robot Wars piece where I gave out my not very famous end of series awards. Don’t forget to tell your mates and the carnage begins this Sunday 22nd October at 8pm. Prepare to activate.

WordPress  – Jaymess24 

Twitter – @jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 9 – Awards & Best Bits