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

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