Robot Wars Series 10 – Grand Final Preview

So once again we find ourselves at the end of another war. I know folks, I hear your disappointment and I feel your pain. Alas though let us look back on the exceptionally high standard that this series has created for Robot Wars, if they carry on this trend the future looks bright. And whats more, we’re not quite done yet, so welcome one and all to my preview for the 10th wars Grand Final.

So as we know, Behemoth, Carbide, Rapid, Nuts and Magnetar will definitely be at this stage of the competition, but as is the way modern day Robot Wars works, we need a wildcard robot to determine who will be the 6th competing machine. Now in the last 2 series this has been decided by a simple judges decision and both times I think they got it right. But after series 9 I saw a few comments online about having the heat runners up fight in a melee to decide who gets that final spot, great idea I thought. But then the BBC put that idea on steroids and introduced a heat play off so we now end up with 10 robots in the arena together, no time limit, last man standing. To say I am excited for this is more than an understatement. In fact if Im being honest, I think Im more excited for the 10 way than the actual final.

I was going to do a separate piece for predictions for the 10 way but to be fair I have no idea what to expect, how to predict it and more importantly who will win. So I’ll give a little bit of background below before kicking into my predictions for the final itself. I’ll only be predicting the finishing places of the 5 robots we know are definitely in this final. One because its hard enough to say who will be the wildcard anyway and 2, whoever does get through that 10 way wont get through to the final 4 for me. As ever a huge thank you to everyone who read my Heat 5 preview and of course every other preview I’ve done this series, It really means a lot. And also as ever the 5 heat winners have all got a bigger font size as a reward for winning their heats. You’re very welcome all of you.

 

The 10 way Melee

So I’ll start like this then for the 10 way melee; who will win and become the sixth machine in the grand final? To be honest I think the winner of this fight should receive something, its one thing to come out of 5 rounds of an annihilator never mind win one fight in a group of 10. Maybe winning this fight will actually be harder than winning the title! Just to clarify the competing machines are Sabretooth, Apollo, Eruption, Big Nipper, Terrorhurtz, Track-tion, Iron Awe 6, Concussion, Expulsion & Thor. What a line up of teams that is and each one of them has something to show in this fight. Some of my favourite ever robots are in this battle such as Apollo, Thor, Terrorhurtz, Eruption and Sabretooth, I really appreciate what Big Nipper and Iron Awe have done for robotic combat in the last 15 years or so, the improvements to Concussion mark them down as a serious contender here and then theres Expulsion & Track-tion flying the flags for the school teams and what an experience this will be for them. Every single one of them is well in contention for this and the experience will be next to none.

So a winner? I can throw in some favourites? Lets see, Apollo, Eruption or Thor. Thats how I see this going. But who’s truly going to win?

I haven’t got a clue. Seriously, non whatsoever, it could be any of them. Who can predict how this fight will even go? I’d say at least one will end up out of the arena, one will be in 2 or more parts, and at least 3 will end up in the pit with one of them having driven down there themselves. And maybe a giant chicken will jump in the arena with John Cena and start kicking the crap out of everyone with 3 plastic swords and a unicorn hide. Who knows? I do know one thing though…… Its going to be sensational.

 

Behemoth

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I think its only right that I start this off with Behemoth, that robot has been around almost as long as I have. We’re quite similar as well; I haven’t had much luck, not won many fights and thrown a few wobblys myself in the warzone (the robot people, not the team…). Nevertheless Behemoth succeeded this time in making it out of the heat and in doing so gave us, I think, the best fight in Robot Wars since Chaos 2/Wild Thing in series 5. That fight against Apollo had everything for me and at such a fast tempo but we were still able to keep up with what was happening. Great stuff.

Behemoth has always been a good machine, well built and designed and has evolved over the years to become what it is today and the fact it is still able to make a final needs to be applauded. But what of its chances in this final? Well it will still cause problems and be one for the old school fans and certainly put up a good show. I can’t really see Behemoth winning, but they should be top 4. A reunion with either Carbide or Nuts is on the cards and those fights might no go the way they did last time either. Its such a tough final to predict and to be fair for all of the spoilers BBC have shown in their little highlight sequences at the start and end of every show, there is nothing for the final which I am very pleased about, but currently I have no idea what the starting 3 way fights are. Either way Behemoth can flip, push, and create problems for any robot on their day but whatever the outcome, its great to see them performing at this level.

Heat Prediction – 2nd

Final Prediction – 4th

 

Nuts 2

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Lets not beat around the bush here; Nuts are the underdogs going into this final but once again are very worthy of their place. The machine is a weapon in itself put beautifully into motion in order the smash into opponents and render them immobile. The disembowelment of Androne was a wonderful sight, it was like Nuts slit its throat and all the gory innards were exposed. Lovely. They smashed out Concussion’s wheel in the first fight and caused problems for them, and yes whilst Concussion sort of caused their own downfall in that heat final, they couldn’t get hold of Nuts or get anywhere near the body for that matter, a bit like how Gabriel works. Nuts has always been a good robot and another one of those to have evolved. I just wish it would have worked properly in series 9, how that could have been different.

And so they find themselves in a grand final and whilst we’ve sort of grown to know Nuts as a ‘joke’ robot, I hear a lot of admiration from other roboteers about how technically brilliant the robot is. The meltybrain technology inside is not only fantastically named but is the brain child of Rory from the team. I really like that and makes Nuts achievements more impressive for me. Imagine creating a new piece of tech and having it work to this level. Yes it took a bit of trial and error to get to this point but its still testament to the team. Chances in the final? They’ll be there or there about and it will be interesting how its gets on with a flipper. I love this robot but it might get found out more in this final. Either way how good is it to see them at this point? And I predicted them to win the heat too so I’ve done my bit.

Heat Prediction – 1st

Final Prediction – 5th

 

Rapid

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So by this point we’ve established who my top 3 are, and Rapid is one of them. Though it may be the same sort of machine as in series 9, the performance was miles ahead in this series. Looks lower and more manoeuvrable to me and is aesthetically pleasing. The first round melee was dominated by Rapid as was its 2nd round fight, where they threw Track-tion out of the arena for the second time to set a new Robot Wars record for the shortest ever fight. The fight against Terrorhurtz was one of my favourites of the series, but good use of arena hazards helped them there. Thats what i meant about the manoeuvrability, Rapid was very well controlled throughout and were well aware of everything around them. The use of the house robots, floor flipper and spikes was very impressive; thats what they’re for in the arena. Easily one of the most impressive machines of the series.

People criticise Rapid for its price and I, admittedly, was one of those people. That was until I heard an interview with Josh in the Inside The Bot podcast (long-time listener, first time mentioner) . The £25K price tag slapped on Rapid is not just construction for the machine, it is the entire cost of production, building and hours worked for everyone involved. Apparently most machines cost a lot more than stated because of these factors. Perhaps Rapid’s is a bit higher then most and thats why it was made a big deal out of on TV. It was great to hear that from the horses mouth, not just about Rapid, but every other machine too. People criticised Josh too and whilst part of me can see why, I don’t feel the same. He seems a good lad and a very competitive soul which is what most roboteers are anyway, he fits right in. The hard work may well pay off here and I initially had Rapid down as top 2 but then the last heat happened, and maybe Magnetar could throw a spanner in those works. I’m predicting Rapid for 3rd in this championship, but likewise I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win. A standout improver from series 9.

Heat Prediction – 1st

Final Prediction – 3rd

 

Magnetar

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Oh Magnetar. How dare you sit there all innocent looking as beautiful as you do? You’re a monster. An absolute monster of a machine. And I couldn’t be more happier. Magnetar and Thor are probably my 2 favourite robots in this series and even that didn’t stop me physically cheering and punching the air when this machine won its heat final. I’ve always wanted it to do well ever since the first time I laid eyes on the series 8 Pulsar and even though it got to the final that series, the full potential hadn’t been properly unlocked. Pulsar mark 2 saw to that a little bit more but was unreliable and the evolution into this machine is something quite special. Push To Exit, immobilised with pretty much one hit, same with Expulsion and even thought Thor took a bit more taking down, the hits from the 8000 rpm drum were astonishing. Honestly I don’t think we’ve seen much like this since the arrival of Carbide, and I still marvel at what that can produce.

I could literally talk about Magnetar all day but to avoid awkward questions, I’ll just talk about its chances in the final. Many talk about someone coming along and beating Carbide. Magnetar could be it. Low enough to get under the current champs and strong enough to resist a hit or two. The one worry for me is the wheels and when I was thinking where to place every machine in this final, I kept think about Pulsar’s very first fight in series 8 where Ironside destroyed a wheel with its bar. That could well repeat should the two machines meet here, which is very likely. Like Rapid, Magnetar could win this series and I wouldn’t be surprised. I’d be happier if it was Magnetar but theres this little niggle gnawing away saying to me that the current power of Carbide is till too much for the current power of Magnetar.

Heat Prediction – 1st

Final Prediction – 2nd

 

Carbide

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So I’m tipping Carbide to win again. They were always going to one of the favourites going into the competition and I haven’t seen anything yet to disprove that. I’ll attempt to explain my thinking in just a sec but before that lets reminisce in what the current champions have done so far this series. Now that fight with Gabriel was epic. I was there for that fight and it was made to look as good on TV as it was in the audience. But it hurt Carbide and a lot of work was needed after. No that you’d have noticed. Aftershock and Eruption, two robots that Carbide beat in its title year were dispatched with ease. Given the standard of robot in Carbide’s heat (and I’m talking Gabriel, Big Nipper and Crackers N Smash as well) I’m actually amazed they didn’t struggle through that more. The fight with Aftershock was pretty much the same as series 9, albeit without the wall modification and the Eruption fight lasted even less time than the final of said series. Its a phenomenal achievement and whilst robots have moved on from series 9 to 10, it seems they still can’t live with the power that Carbide is dishing out.

Now here’s the weird part. I’m putting Carbide to win this series but I don’t think they’ll do it. Yep I know that sounds strange, but me and my brain seem sure that Carbide won’t make it the double. But I can’t say who will stop them. Will they be tested? Yes, like never before. Will they be beaten? Again yes probably, but I don’t see anybody stepping up to that plate in this final just yet. Its a really strange one and forgive if I’m coming across as your average drunken football fan but what Carbide has done in the last 3 series means they have to be favourites, no? I’m 60% sure Carbide will win, but 40% is still a bit number. But who can actually step up to the task?

 

So there we go, there are my thoughts on this final. And I must say having just written all of that, I’m not impressed by the quality of this blog. I have no idea what I’ve just said! I don’t think I’ve got all of my thinking out there and made a whole lot of sense with it. I apologise for that, but I hope it was entertaining. I think what I’ve proven is that this final is incredibly difficult to call and thats not even including the winner of the 10 way. Chaos!

I’m taking pride from this series regardless though, as I have correctly predicted 4 out of 5 heat winners this time. For me thats amazing because I’ve averaged about 2 in each of the last 2 series, which is quite frankly shocking. Either or, thank you very, very much for sticking with me in this bumper blog of mine. Feel free to check out my Twitter and YouTube page (links below), where you’ll find battles from this series from my view in the audience on the latter. I think I’ve got 5 on there now and they’re all first round melee’s; I didn’t see any results after those! Theres also links to my other preview pieces this series plus a special one on my experience at filming. Be sure to clear your schedule or set up your series links for 8pm on BBC 2 on Sunday night. It’s going to be an absolute belter.

Twitter – @jaymess24

YouTube – Jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 4 Preview

Robot Wars – My Filming Experience & The Series So Far

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 5 Preview

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Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 5 Preview

Hello! We’re back! Did you enjoy the Tennis??? Nope, I didn’t watch it either but its ok, normal service shall be resumed this week as we get back to Series 10 of Robot Wars and in a way, I noticed one positive about it being replaced last week. It was the amount of outrage I saw on Twitter throughout the week and sarcastic comments being posted (yes, I did that as well), which shows a massive wave of support for this great show of ours. People like that is on and its great to see its making an impact how it used to. So yea, cheers guys for all your abuse directed to the BBC!

But like I said, normal service is resumed this week and we now have one more heat before the final which will include that epic 10 way fight. Some old favourites this week and not a single sign of a newcomer to the competition so expect high levels of combat and upgraded designs ready to dazzle in the warzone. Once the episode has aired I will again be posting videos of the first round melees on YouTube that I saw live and yes, I said melees pleural. I have videos of both first round fights from this heat so theres an extra bonus for you all for being so good whilst the net hitters took over our screens. Right, lets crack on.

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.

 

Coyote

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We start with a machine that I didn’t think we’d see again so soon after its demolition at the hands of Carbide last time. I’m glad Coyote is back though. A lovely looking robot based on an animal, which is something we don’t see much of these days and despite this being the same sort of design as last time, I think this version of Coyote looks much better and sturdier than before. Biggest difference this time is the armour, of which there is not much of. Copper pipework surrounds the wheels which is an interesting choice. I’d guess it is lighter than standard armour so there more room to play about with the weight limit for the drive and the weapon. It does make Coyote stand out a bit more though and prevents the wheels being fully exposed which, as we’ve seen many times before, is not a clever idea.

The chainsaw remains on the back to act as the tail of the beast and whilst it wasn’t too effective last time, I still think its a decent choice of weapon should they be able to get it in the right position. A chainsaw should be able to slice quite nicely into HDPE armour that is used on many robot these days, but again manoeuvring it into position is possibly the hardest part. The main action is at the front though with those huge Coyote jaws ready to snap up any victim that it can catch. It has the same sort of power as last time and just looks a bit more complete for this war, more effective, better chance to grab and crush other robots, mmmm lovely. Oh and keep and eye out for Roadrunner, the minibot who has come along to help its big brother out, a nice addition. A good looking machine again from Coyote, I hope it does well.

Prediction – Coyote should well be in the head to heads but I think they’ll have to go through redemption to get there. Maybe its still lacking that killing instinct needed and whilst it could be very effective, could struggle to find that knockout blow. Seems to be a robot that will need the judges more to win fights.

 

Hobgoblin

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Another machine Im happy to see back and one I’d hoped we’d see much better from last time. Alas it was not to be and Hobgoblin has been given another chance, though it was initially a reserve robot for the series. I still like the look of the weapon, still defined as an ‘egg beater’ weapon weighing around 20 kg. Its a weapon I’ve seen on a few featherweights but so far, Hobgoblin is the only heavyweight  robot we’ve seen equipped with one. A bit like Coyote, Hobgoblin looks pretty much the same as last time though there are a few differences. Gone is the front wedge in a bold move, which allows the weapon to make direct contact with an opponent instead of having them ride up the robot. Downside to that is a higher ground clearance, so flippers could find their way under more easily. A couple of castor wheels have appeared on top too, presumably to make the robot invertable, as the self righting didn’t go as planned in series 9.

It’s little changes like those that shows those people (most importantly the Robot Wars production team) that robots that didn’t get the rub of the green last time, deserve another chance. Hobgoblin is unique in the fact that it has a weapon that no one else in the competition has and though we haven’t really seen what it can do yet, its still worth finding out its potential. The purple and green colour scheme makes it stand out too and adds great aesthetics. Its a tidy robot and one that I can’t wait to see fight again.

Prediction – Theres always a ‘but’ with me….. I fear Hobgoblin might be pushed to one side again this time. It’s a great design and I really like it but (there it is again) I just cant see it winning too much. Its nearly the same as last time and maybe needs refining a little more before it becomes a contender. But if we at least get to see what the weapon is capable of I’ll be happy.

 

Expulsion

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I honestly don’t know what to make of the new Expulsion. The version in the last series got taken apart by MR Speed Squared but it did have a really interesting concept with the weapon, where it could spin clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on what sort of damage the team wanted to be caused. Its been improved on and now the 4 point blade has been reduced to 2 and placed on an entirely new machine. The initial look of Expulsion has constantly been reminding me of Bodyhammer (ha, remember them?) in its shape and design. But (getting paranoid everytime I say this now) is it out of place in the modern day wars? The wheels stick out the back so it can run the right way up (which is a good start) and if it falls onto its back, but that awkward kind of shape; it makes the robot look a little top heavy. What if it falls onto its sides or flat onto the blade? Just looks like theres more cons than pros in this design.

Of course this is just from first glance. Many times people (usually me) have looked at a robot, said it had no chance only for it to blitz everyone. Whats that, Carbide only has a bar spinner? They didn’t used to be very good…. Yea ok mate. Pulsar can get up to 9000 rpm? Impossible, nothing can go that fast… Well it happened. These machines are tried and tested so for all my nit-picking, I don’t think teams would put a robot into the arena that has so many issues. Unless its Overdozer. Still got no idea what those guys were on when they built that.

Prediction – Technically this version of Expulsion is better in every way than the last. Faster, more powerful, better armoured, this group of students have put together a much improved machine. Again as with so many robots in this series, I like the design but part of me is still doubting the ability. Is it a world beater? Not yet. Is it a heat winner? Still not quite. A battle winner, quite possibly. But it will have to be one hell of a performance for me; I still think there are better machines in this heat.

 

Push To Exit

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I love a front hinged flipper. Firestorm was my favourite from back in the day so I was naturally excited to see Push To Exit appear in series 9 under the guidance of Team S-Tek. And so I was also naturally gutted that they had a power failure in round 1 and went out. So once again in this heat a robot that fell early before gets another chance to shine and once again its the same sort of robot. PTE was very fast and aggressive last time but was one of the many robots to die very quickly in series 9, so like Hobgoblin Im glad the production team have given them another go. Low wedge shape with a flipper that throws enemies forward as opposed to throwing them in the air, strong armour and a very experienced team. The formula is there for this to be successful.

I’m not too sure the robot looked like it did in that picture when it first showed up. There a whole host of scratches and dents and even a welded part on the front corner. Was it taken after some fights? Looks like it stood up to a lot if so. There is entanglements used on PTE for this series as well; a set of ropes are attached to the side stringing from the front of the robot to the back so they’re well up to date with the rules. Could cause a few upsets this time you know. Should everything work you’d like to think they can get under most opponents. I always get that feeling that forward hinged flippers are lower to the ground than other robots in order to drive that wedge under to activate the full force of the flipper. If thats the case, as Firestorm proved many times over, not much can get in PTE’s way.

Prediction – Should definitely at least be in contention for the 10 way. Might have to make it through redemption again but I’d thoroughly expect to see them in the head to heads. Its too good not to be, all the combinations of speed, power and experience are there and I think a lot of people, me included will be disappointing if PTE leaves this series with another 2 losses to its name. Its too good for that.

 

Thor

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The latest version of Thor, again, isn’t too different from the last one, but whats different here as opposed to Hobgoblin or Coyote is that Thor doesn’t need to be. Its a very well built machine and has become one of my favourites since the revival. Very quick and beautifully controlled by Jason and now features a lower front wedge that sort of acts as a scoop as well. The front wedges are still interchangeable to combat different kinds of robot but the one equipped here looks like it can handle anything; being low enough to get under flippers and being strong enough to counter spinners. And once again its a great looking thing.

That axe has become one of the best in the wars since series 8 and though it might not be as powerful as say, Terrorhurtz, the way it is driven is second to none. I honestly think Jason is the best driver in the competition and even if he isn’t, he’s built a robot in such a way that it allows easy movement and control across the floor. Thor is so poised across the arena and sticks to it like glue. Rarely have we seen a slide or a twitch in Thor’s movement and that deserves credit, especially at the speeds it can reach. Since series 8 Thor’s name has always stood out on the battleboard and has turned into one of those robots you expect to do well, rather than causing the odd surprise. This series will be no different; Thor will be at the sharp end again.

Prediction – For me, Thor is almost a guarantee to be in the heat final whilst avoiding redemption. Straight into the final? I dont think so in this case, as I’ve picked my heat winner already. On that basis they’ll be in the 10 way and very few people would bet against Thor there. I think it’d be one of the best machines in it.

 

Magnetar

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Wow. Wow, wow, wow. What a stunning thing this is. I’ve always been a huge fan of Ellis Ware and co, and Pulsar but this is another level. I even went as far as predicting Pulsar to win series 8 and now it has evolved into this bronze-clad monster. Now, as good as Pulsar has been in the past, the obvious issue was reliability. Team Ranglebots are always pushing the boundaries of technology, trying to pack so much into a relatively small space. Pulsar has been destructive yes, but equally as much to itself as its opponents. Magnetar has taken the core elements and ‘the good bits’ from Pulsar, developed them and now we might actually see everything that Pulsar promised in terms of destructive power and slick movement without all the smokescreens it used to produce. This is genuinely one of the best looking machines I’ve ever seen.

So we’ve established the main changes are internally but don’t take anything away from that new drum; it still has a ridiculously high spin speed of around 8500 rpm and weighs just over 20 kg. That will cause a mess of opponents when it hits. Heavily armoured in hardox, Magnetar’s speed has actually been reduced from what we saw from Pulsar in the last war but that should allow for better control. In what is effectively Pulsar 3, it looks, and sounds like this is the one. This is the robot thats going to put the team into the big time. Obviously I’m being incredibly biased as this is possibly my favourite ‘new’ machine since the reboot but likewise I also think that if all goes to plan, this could be a world beater.

Prediction – I think its pretty obvious what I’m going to say here. Yep, Magnetar are just about to get a very prestigious title; they are the only machine since I started doing these previews in series 8, that I’m predicting to win their heat in all 3 of those series so far. Inevitably that means it will probably catch fire and go out in round 1 but even that would be impressive. No seriously, I can see Magnetar in the final and moreover, I could see the machine being top 2 in the whole contest….

 

So there we go, thats heat 5. As ever thanks for sticking with me and feel free to let me know what you link in the comments or on my Twitter page, which I’ll leave a link to at the bottom. I’m also leaving a link to my (not very impressive) YouTube account to which I have fights uploaded from my view in the audience featuring the like of Carbide, Concussion and Terrorhurtz. Once the episode has gone out check back there a couple of days after, because I have 2 fights to upload for this heat which will be the first round melees. I thank you once again and remind you that Robot Wars activates at 8 on Sunday night. With no bloody Tennis on either. Great stuff.

Twitter – @jaymess24

YouTube – Jaymess24

 

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 4 Preview

Robot Wars – My Filming Experience & The Series So Far

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robot Wars – My Filming Experience & The Series So Far

Can you hear that? No, that? Listen more closely…. Yes folks that is the sound of me being a real smug geezer in saying that Nuts would win the last heat and it actually coming true. What a performance that was and I tell you what, I reckon Nuts can cause a few more upsets before this series is over.

So welcome along to what would be my preview for heat 5 of Robot Wars 10, only that this week its not on. No, once again, just like in the last series, the BBC have decided to take our beloved robot smashing show off the air to play some really crap sport (granted Tennis is better than Golf). I mean why BBC, why? Its not like you have 3 other channels to put it on….. BBC 4 there you go, nobody watches that. Tennis fits perfectly into that channel, well Golf does anyway. I suppose in one way it elongates the series a bit… But no, I need my fix and Im sure all of you do too. So that why Im trying to keep spirit of this series alive by publishing this article of the series so far, plus a few odds and ends from my trip to the filming in May.

 

So far this series we have had some fantastic battles and I mean really good battles. I love it when something puts on such a spectacle as, for example, series 9 and you think, ‘Nothing can possibly top that’, only for another show/series to do exactly that. The new format is working a treat. Kind of reminds me of the series 5 & 6 semi-finals with the losers melee in, giving machines another chance at glory. The flow of the show is so much better too and thats something that I didn’t even notice was ‘wrong’ in the last 2 series. For all my moaning about it being taken off for a week for sports I dont like, the Beeb really have done a good job since bringing Robot Wars back in 2016. Dara & Angela have slotted into their roles perfectly now and are a worthy fit for this modern day wars.

And again when you think things cant get better they’ll be a 10 way robot melee in a few weeks time. Cannot wait for that and already it has some frightening robots in. Apollo, Sabretooth, Eruption, Big Nipper, Track-tion, Terrorhurtz, Concussion and Iron Awe are to be joined by 2 more machines from heat 5 to form one hell of battle. But what of the finalists already there? Well for me Carbide are still the favourites. They’ve beaten Behemoth & Nuts before and whilst Rapid look like the machine most likely to cause the champs some problems, I still think the ridiculous power of that spinning bar will win out. Of course this is dependent on who makes it through from the final heat, but as I’ve already mentioned, we have wait an extra week to find that out (thanks BBC again).

 

Enough about me waffling on though, below I have put some of my own pictures from the filming of Robot Wars in Glasgow in May. Now, at the ripe old age of 27 this was my first ever trip to Scotland and its a great place, so much so that me and my bonnie lass went back for a trip in September and have plans to go again next March. Of course the main focus in May was for Robot Wars and when you hear that the show is filming in a warehouse in Glasgow, it literally is in a warehouse in Glasgow. Honestly, you could have stored planes in there if you wanted. Theres a plot of around 30 ish warehouses and Robot Wars was filmed in the one at the very back. Not much of a problem for me, I was driving anyway.

You dont get to see the arena straight away, instead you exchange your tickets for wristbands and are kept in a marquee type thing with all the usual requirements such as food, drink and merch stalls. Block by block you are then escorted into the warehouse to take your seat and thats when you first see the arena itself.

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This was my first look. As we were the second session of the whole filming I had to wonder why they were working on the arena in the first place. I now know the crew were repairing the damage caused by Aftershock in its first round melee. Its was really cool to get an answer to that when the second heat aired and I was full of surprise and joy when I saw what had finally caused the crew all that repair time (in the nicest way possible). When the arena was repaired (something that happened a few times whilst I was there), the first fight I saw was the Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper fight and what a way that was to break your live Robot Wars virginity. As you may know I recorded that fight and the link to that and other fights I’ve uploaded are on my YouTube channel below.

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Given the fact that you are there to watch a show, but more importantly to film a television series, the mood and the atmosphere around the place was very relaxed. There was no real strict rules apart from the usual, ‘Dont wander off into places your not supposed to be’ rule. It was a very nice place to be in and the fact that you get called to go back into the pits is an amazing experience. Granted you dont get full access but you get a sense of the size of the place and the operation involved. The size of the robots was no surprise to me; I’ve seen them many times before but its still an environment I just cant get bored of. I didn’t make it onto TV during our surround shots with Vulture. That honour went to my better half, as I was sandwiched between 2 rather tall gentlemen and me and my 5 ft 3 self unable to see much, though Dara did seem to have quite a small head from where I was standing…..

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I did end up in a couple of shots but it wasnt about that. Overall I saw 7 fights and each of them were brilliant in their own way. This is a scene that I have been following for 20 years now and I was so excited when I was there to a ridiculous level for someone my age. It was just an amazing experience and one I definitely want to happen again. Im glad I can finally put some of these pictures up and show you what I saw. Below is one of my favourites. In the Terrorhurtz/Apex/Vulture fight there was a humorous moment where Terrorhurtz knocked Shunt on the way into the arena, leading the House Robot to retaliate and a little game of chase developed before the fight.

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So there we go, that was my way of keeping this Robot Wars train going whilst some people hit a bright yellow ball back and forth to each other over a bet (yep, cheers BBC). I leave you with the news though that when heat 5 finally does air on the box I will be uploading a bonus 2 fights from my audience view instead of my regular one that I have been. You can see the ones I’ve put up on my YouTube channel. Well worth watching. Until then watch this space for my Heat 5 preview to come this time next week. Feel free to leave me some comments about your opinions on the series so far, or even about your experience if you went to see the filming. Keep busy over the weeks break; we’ll get through it together.

Twitter – @jaymess24

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 4 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 4 Preview

Robot Wars has been around in the UK for nearly 20 years now and it still fascinates me. Even now in the most recent series I’ve seen things that still amaze. I didn’t think anything would ever top the wall incident between Carbide & Aftershock in last series final, but Apex then came along and said ‘Anything you guys can do to the wall, I can do better’. Wow, talk about self implosion. What a sight that was.

But that was heat 3, here we go with heat 4 and as we tip over the half way point of the series, the action doesn’t seem to be letting up. Once again we have a very tight set of competitors here which makes the predictions very difficult to call, even though I’m doing better this series so far than I did in the series 8 & 9 predictions at this stage, just to blow my own trumpet. As always a huge thank you to everyone who viewed, liked, commented and all those other wonderful things on the last heat preview, so lets do another one.

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.

 

Tauron

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Tauron looked like a machine that meant business last time and I had them down for great things. Apparently those great thing meant lasting about 5 seconds in the arena but I liked the way it looked. I really like this one. A flatter, sleeker design this time that looks like it should have a bit more pace. But the biggest change seems to be round the front; a much shorter but stubbier blade that weight 18 kg going at just over 3500 rpm, heavier and faster than the last blade. It can also spin both ways incase it gets flipped. Handy. Tauron also seems to have sprouted a face for that meaner look and to add a bit more personality to the robot. It is a good looking beast and a definite evolution of the older machine, though can it get off its side if stranded there?

So to the arena, what can Tauron do there? Well I think pretty well, if the blade is going of course. Theres always going to be that question mark hanging over it because of the brief cameo last time but that will only be until it gets going. A rematch with Concussion would be fine spectacle as this version of Tauron looks like it can dish out a bit of damage. Vertical spinners haven’t really set the arena alight yet this series and it would be really good for Tauron to cause some of that havoc and put a marker down for the future and indeed for this series.

Prediction – Every robot in this heat has been difficult to place in a finishing position for me, but I reckon Tauron will be in the second round. Might have to fight its way through redemption though; theres some fine machines it will be fighting. I just want to see it work after the disappointment of series 9, then we can assess the true potential. Great looking thing though.

 

The Kegs

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Before we start that is Kegs, pleural. There’s 2 machine that look pretty much identical, I just couldn’t find any other decent picture. So we’re talking about another clusterbot here and The Kegs also take home my ‘Original and brilliantly simple design’ award for this heat. I mean how much more simple can you get? We’ve seen robots made cheaply out of wood and ones based on chattering teeth, but to cut a beer keg in half and use that for the shell of your robot is probably the most simple yet. Another inspiration this one, however I do wonder if the contents of the keg here were being consumed when this idea was though of…

So, one keg, two robots. Both armed with spinning bars which dont look the most stable if Im honest. Exposed wheels out of the top but they’ll just be so the machines can be invertable and I cant imagine a steel keg is a great choice for amour. But I love it, I really do. I laughed for a while when I saw these and they actually come from quite an experienced team. Granted Terror Turtle has not really been the most successful of robots but a new project is always good. Like I say, an inspiration for everyone looking to build a robot; you really can make one out of anything, it just helps that the item in question has a lot of beer in it.

Prediction – The Kegs will have the same issues that all clusterbots have in terms of size and weight but can they make it work? Its a great project this and once again adds more entertainment to the warzone which is what we want. I do think The Kegs will be the weakest machine in this heat though and will be looking at 2 losses straight away but its yet another fantastic entry to this series.

 

Androne 4000

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This one could be the dark horse of the heat for me. Androne 4000 arrives with this huge crushing arm attached and a name like something out of Star Wars. The 4000 in the name comes from the fact that the ram that powers the crusher runs at 4000 psi. To put that in context, Razer ran at 3000 psi leading this team to believe that they have the most powerful crusher ever in Robot Wars. Some statement, but is it effective? It certainly looks the part with its intimidating black & yellow paint job and strong looking steel armour. Reminds me of the older Tetanus machines. It can also self right with that claw with the help of some electric power whereas when its squashing other machines, the very same arm runs off hydraulics. Its very impressive sounding and looks like it can cause problems for a few more experiences competitors in this heat.

They did actually try and get into series 9 with this beast but they weren’t selected (damn you selection system) but its still a worthy addition here. Im intrigued to see how good the crushing arm is. Yes its certainly powerful but what its capability? Razer was famed for being incredibly accurate to devastating effect and not giving the opponent any time to rest. Was that through experience or design? Either way Androne doesn’t look as manoeuvrable but can get up to the same sort of speed. One to watch.

Prediction – If we’re keeping an eye on what new machines can do, Androne is one to monitor. The design looks big and beefy and with a bit of luck could be in contention for the 10 way. That said inexperience could show like it already has many times in this series already and Androne could be heading for an early bath.

 

Iron Awe 6

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How good is it to see an old team come back from the original series into the reboot? And not a moment too soon either as Iron Awe makes a well overdue appearance in the new series after its last in series 7. I though Iron Awe would have been one of the very first picks for the reboot because of what they have done on the live stage; they have won so much with older machines and new alike, and are still a regular at events. They are well worth their spot then and have a a real chance to show what they have been doing in the last 12 or so years.

Iron Awe is another great looking beast as well. Beautifully refined and simple, this version used to be painted red instead of the teams trademark yellow, but a switch back to the original colour with a silver flipping arm and some black wedges around the side really make this stand out. And those red bits are interesting. The team has taken an interest in the entanglement rule and those ‘cannons’ are full of bungee cords that they hope will wrap around spinners. They also make the body a little bit wider and should prevent drum spinners doing too much damage. It shows they’ve though about it more, the differences from when they were last in the arena are huge, especially the power of spinners. Given that they were one of Typhoon 2’s victims in series 7, it could be seen as learning from past experiences.

 

Prediction – As a massive Robot Wars nut I am thrilled to see a veteran team return from the original series and their experiences could be crucial to success. I’ve really been struggling to pick a winner from this heat but I could easily see Iron Awe either winning the heat or at least in the heat final. The 10 way beckons and must be a minimal requirement from a legend of the live stage.

 

Nuts 2

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The nutty boys return for a 3rd crack at the title. Always a crowd pleaser even though they’ve never really took off in terms of damage caused and battle wins. They were definitely one of the heros in series 8, surviving a battle that included Razer and Terrorhurtz and taking the latter and Behemoth to full 3 minute fights. It was more of a cameo appearance in the last war, a problem with the drive led to an early exit at the hands of Matilda but Im glad they’ve been given another shot. I’ve seen videos of this version of Nuts in testing and the speeds the machine can get up to when spinning are quite frightening. Thats generally the main point of attack, spin up and slash everything in sight with those 2 chain flails attached to the side, but like I said we didn’t get to see that last time.

If Nuts performs as it should it will be very difficult to get hold of. Along with spinning on the spot and causing chaos the robot can also drive in any direction whilst spinning to manoeuvre into position to launch an attack. For all the daftness and fun the team have given us, this version could cause some serious damage. No seriously, I believe they can! The chain could also double up as an entanglement of sorts so spinners will be weary and flippers might struggle because of the design too, it will just keep coming back at you, rather like a modern day Pussycat. The minibots are back as well and whilst they haven’t been much use of any sort, are great fun and don the mandatory googly eyes needed for ultimate craziness. The robot is called Nuts for a reason, but don’t let that fool you.

Prediction – You know what, Im going out on a limb here. I reckon Nuts can win the heat. No I haven’t been drinking (much), just looking at its competitors, if they can stay in the arena they’ll stand a good chance. Damage wise Im still not sure what it can do to all these Hardox laden machines but they will cause problems, annoy and niggle at opponents. Nuts has also proven itself to be quite reliable when we’ve seen it and can take a good smashing around. Honestly I think will be a contender. You heard it here first….

 

Concussion

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The final contender for this heat is the only machine from last series’ grand final that we haven’t seen yet and its Concussion. The little orange underdog returns and though it looks very much like the same machine as last time, there are a number of changes. Reworked internals should help Concussion drive much better and hopefully stop it catching fire as it appeared to do in series 9. The hardox armour has been beefed up as well as the whole front end and with a brand new and heavier drum, the team are in business. It really looks like a well rounded robot now and to top it off there is now a set of lights that shine through the top armour. Excellent.

I was both surprised and curious with what Concussion achieved last time out. They did brilliantly well to reach the final but I couldn’t help but think they were quite lucky along the way. The damage caused by the drum wasn’t what I expected, I hoped it would tear things up and render them useless but the only major damage we saw was when they lopped off Heavy Metals wheel, impressive as it was. It seemed to me like there was so much more to come from Concussion and I hope we see its full potential this time. I like the modifications and feel more confident for them this time than I did last. Will be well in contention for this heat without question but I also get a feeling they will be tested more this time.

Prediction – Any robot that makes a series final is worthy of its spot and Concussion is no different. I love the way the team started, massive fans of the show who had a go and made a success of it. They’ll be in contention for this heat without a doubt. Its been so hard for me to decide that really any of my top 3 (Iron Awe, Nuts, Concussion) could win this heat. Ahh, where do I go with this one? Ok here goes; I think Concussion will come up short, a heat final and a place in the 10 way. There I’ve done it.

 

There we go then, 6 more amazing looking machines are ready for battle. Thanks so much for sticking with me as ever and apologies that my predictions are really quite terrible for this heat. I just genuinely have no idea who’s going to finish where. Apart from The Kegs. They’ll come last. Maybe.

As ever I’ll leave links to my other series 10 pieces below and my Twitter link, and also links to YouTube where I’m putting up live POV fights of the battles I saw at filming (after they’ve been aired of course). See below for the Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper fight and the newly uploaded Terrorhurtz/Vulture/Apex fight. Let me know your predictions below and be prepared for carnage. BBC2, Sunday @ 8pm. Don’t miss it.

 

Twitter – @jaymess24

Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper POV Fight

Terrorhurtz/Vulture/Apex POV Fight

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 3 Preview

You know, when you look through the years of robotic combat in the UK, the most obvious thing you see is evolution. Evolution in technology, power, the machines and safety. But the core element is still there and despite us being in the 10th domestic UK championship, this is shaping up to be one of the best series yet. And top marks as ever to everyone’s favourite commentator Jonathan Pearce, he was well on form in heat 2 of this series. For future series the BBC need to throw everything they can at him to make sure he stays. He is Robot Wars.

So moving on from the carnage of heat 2 into heat 3. Not so many big names in this heat, in fact none of the competitors here have gone past round 2 in the rebooted series, so we’ll definitely have a another new name in the final. As ever a huge thank you to everyone who read my heat 2 preview and for the re-tweet by Robot Wars Mania, as we delve into another piece here. I appreciated I’m using a lot of pictures of Killalot in my title images, I’m really struggling to find ones I haven’t used yet! Never mind, lets get cracking.

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.

 

Apex

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Apex returns for this war sporting quite a different profile than in the last series. Although the robot itself is pretty much the same, the overall appearance looks completely different due to that new bar. Its a strange looking thing and one wonders how it will even work to good effect. I suppose the different angles and sides mean that it can make different kinds of contact such as punching holes in an opponent if it hits with one side or slashing them if it lands with the other. Apex also has a nice dark blue paint job too, something that will make it stand out in the arena, I like it.

Though the potential was there last time it only took one hit from Pulsar to stop it dead in the first round. It all depends on that bar, which by the way is interchangeable with the one we saw last time around. Its still a weighty piece of kit and though it takes time to spin up, it will do some big damage when it hits and this gives Apex a very good chance in this heat. Apex can also self right and this has been thoroughly defended by the team when it was questioned after the last war. This could be the crucial factor that keeps them in contention as anything that is hit from a spinning bar with that weight is going to be given some trouble.

Prediction – Very much in contention for the 10 way, in fact I’d say they’re favourites to get there. But will it be through the heat final or the play off? I’ll have to go with the play off. A couple of machines can cause headaches for Apex in this heat and also, is it reliable enough?

 

Bucky

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Yet another brilliantly designed, different machine enters the warzone for the first time this series. Enter Bucky the Robot, a machine designed on a set of wind-up chattering teeth! Its a great looking thing and one I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a while. I’ve been following the team with their build on Twitter and its great when you can see a robot start from scratch and make it here. The design is pretty much what you’d expect, a great big clamping jaw that comes down and attempts to bite other competitors. The little wind up key on the side is a nice feature too and Bucky is well in with a shout of being the best deigned robot of the series.

But what of its potential? Well its not really a tried and tested weapon so its hard to say. The concept is good, grab hold of an opponent and do what you wish with them, but are they going to struggle with that, is that wedge too steep? Lessons will be learned from this war as they always are with new machines but I like seeing something different and Bucky is certainly one I’ve been waiting to see for a while. Will entertain and will certainly give it a good go.

Prediction – You know, I genuinely think Bucky can make a real go of this and be in contention for a spot in the 10 way. Might not make it but I reckon theres at least one win in them in this very open heat. And keep an eye out for the mascot too. Not something you see all the time with teams, but it’s a great touch for extra entertainment.

 

Vulture

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Even though there are only 30 robots in this series I surprise myself with the amount of times I’m saying things like, great design or, something new. So in a way, the organisers have got it right, because here comes another one. Vulture is a neat looking machine and like Bucky, has a weapon that is not a regular in Robot Wars. The spinning bar on the back goes at around 6000 rpm and it sits on the end of that arm which also comes a full 180 degrees over to strike an opponent. To be honest its a concept I’ve thought about many times and surprised its not been seen more. Reminds me of early versions of Dead Metal and it will be interesting to see how it performs.

One also assumes it can self right with that arm which as we know is an essential in this era of robotic combat. But what of the damage potential? The disc/bar is relatively lightweight but its strike rate is high, even more so on the moving arm. Strong Hardox armour on the front as well which looks very robust and should be low enough to get under others. A strong first attempt this and again, like Bucky, Im very interested to see how Vulture gets on.

Prediction – Vulture is another great idea and is another example that there are some really good ideas for fighting robots out there and its great we get to see them shown off. But what about its potential? Well Im not too sure, something is niggling away at me saying something is missing. Maybe I’m concerned that the weapon wont be effective enough and I think Vulture will struggle. But as I say, this is a very open heat and can easily cause an upset. Either way this machine is a very good starting block on which the team can build on for the future.

 

Track-tion

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Traction, tracks, movement, traction, track…tion. Ahh I see what they did! Very clever. At first I found myself chanting, ‘Are you Suicidal Tendencies in disguise?’ like some Ginsters eating football fan but I can confirm this is a brand new machine. We don’t see many, if any tracked robots these days with most teams opting for the speed and simpleness of wheels. There are benefits with tracks though, high levels of grip are good for pushing and can be tougher than most wheels, however they are very slow and many tracked machines don’t tend to have a high top speed. They are also exposed on nearly all sides which a nice target for an axe or some chattering teeth.

The weapon looks mean as well. A big crusher on the front which, again, has the potential to cause some serious damage. The crusher actually looked to me like the one you used on your own robot design for Arenas of Destruction on the PS2 & PC from way back when (shout out to those who played that). We also have our first school based team for this war and the mentor in this case is none other than Will Thomas from Aftershock, who put together a club for some of his students to build this machine. Great stuff.

Prediction – I still like the idea of school based teams and I wish that sort of opportunity was available when I was in school, though up until now none of them has gone too far in Robot Wars. I’m not sure much will change here with Track-tion competition wise, but the experience for this team in building and competing will be second to none. They’ll enjoy it every step of the way, but I am expecting an early exit in this instance. As ever though, I’m always willing to be proved wrong.

 

Terrorhurtz

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The most well known robot in this heat by a mile, and the one with the most pedigree returns for an eight series in succession for Team Hurtz. Terrorhurtz is one of my favourite ever robots, a revolutionary design with its flat, bladed axe that strikes with around a ton of force. Though it is well engineered and has one of the most respected roboteers around with John Reid, Terrorhurtz has rarely blossomed in UK championships, especially since the reboot and has still only once been beyond the heats. That was the amazing run in series 6 where only Razer could stop them but despite the reputation and being the only machine to beat Carbide without the judges getting involved, Terrorhurtz has gone out in the last 2 wars at the head to head stage. A shame for such a good machine.

Can it they turn that around this time though? The armour on the front is very, very strong and the only major visible damage I’ve ever seen inflicted on it was against Aftershock last time. And this time its even stronger so should withstand even more. The axe is ridiculously powerful too. Its about time Terrorhurtz had some more success and now is the chance for them to make it so.

Prediction – Hugely experienced in this heat of relative newcomers and is well poised for a heat win. But once again I have to stick the knife in. For the last 2 series I have predicted that Terrorhurtz will win its heat. This time I’m not going to predict that for two reasons. One, Im sick of being wrong. Two, I also genuinely don’t think it will. Might be reliability, might just be a bit of bad luck. It just hasn’t happened for Terrorhurtz yet. Either way they should definitely be in the 10 way.

 

Rapid

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So, Rapid. What can I say about Rapid? Well I remember what I said about it in the last war. Yes for those who follow me you may recall back to the time when I gave Rapid the worst robot ‘award’ in the last series. Why? Because if something is too complicated to fix, how can it be any good? That was my logic. That and maybe the fact that it cost more to build than my annual salary, and for it to be irreparable after 2 fights means it was going for £12,500 a fight. Yea, not great.

Still, I don’t want to incur any team wraths or curses they may rein down on me, and I’m glad to see it back all shiny and gold. Its a nice looking machine, and I especially like the polycarb on the back that shows all the (highly expensive) workings inside, a bit like Chaos 2. Rapid still seems to be pushing for a new age of robot development, which is good. That’s what technology is for right? It lives up to its name too, top speeds of over 20 mph and very nimble. Rapid this time sports a wider front wedge to make it easier to get under other machines. That wider front wedge is gold. Probably real gold to fit in with the cost of the rest of the robot….. No, thats it. Im going to stop now. Rapid is expensive, end of. Maybe I’m just tight…

Prediction – See here’s the thing. On paper Rapid is well designed, well engineered and should go far. But the fact it had to pull out in series 9 because of that puts it at a disadvantage in some people eyes. Its not like the team have dumbed it down, its still, as  they put it, over engineered, if not more so this time. That all said, I’m actually tipping Rapid to win this heat. They should have done better last time, by a mile. They were all over Aftershock at the start of that second round fight and lessons will have been learned. Im not trying to score any brownie points or anything for the criticism last time, I just really think Rapid will come out the strongest this time around.

 

So there we go, 6 more fighting machines are all set to enter the arena in one of the most unpredictable heats ever. As ever I can’t wait for it, it should be brilliant. Once again thanks for sticking with me and feel free to leave any comments on your heat favourites and not so favourites. Below I’ll leave a link my Twitter page below, feel free to check that out and also links to other heat previews in this series. I’m also leaving a bonus link to YouTube where I’ve uploaded the Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper fight from the last heat from my view in the audience; that’s well worth checking out. In the meantime everybody stay safe, don’t do anything I would, and let battle commence on Sunday at 8.

Twitter – @jaymess24

Carbide/Gabriel/Big Nipper, POV audience fight

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 1 Preview

Robot Wars Series 10 – Heat 2 Preview