Roboteers, Stand By
Robot Wars is a long running (admittedly with a decade long gap) british tv show created by the company Mentorn, first airing in 1998. The show saw members of the public known as roboteers building, driving and battling remote controlled robots in an arena surrounded by bulletproof glass. The show ran till 2004 originally with seven main series and two side series called Robot Wars Extreme, all airing on the BBC except for series 7 which was moved to Channel 5. In 2016, the show returned for three more yearly series.
The show is a cherished childhood memory, and while some of it doesn’t hold up to my recent rewatching of the entire series on youtube (I’ve had a lot of time during this pandemic), with a particular note being some awkward 90s era casual sexism that did improve over time, the robot fights are still as fun to watch as ever, with the buoyant and incredibly enthusiastic commentator Jonathan Pierce and an array of wonderful presenters such as Craig Charles, Philippa Forrester, Julia Reed, Dara O’Briain and Angela Scanlon. The show is fascinating to watch as a demonstration of the evolution of robotics throughout the period, with huge jumps between each series, and an even bigger one during the hiatus.
The stars of the show are, of course, the robots. The show has a set of robots called the House Robots that act as moving obstacles and, during the classic series, finished off immobilised robots for the delight of the crowd. I’ll probably cover the House Robots later, but today I want to look at the competitors which fought in that arena. This is a list of my personal favourite robots. Essentially anything that I can enjoy about them can get them on this list, from battling skill to design to the team to just having good memories about them. It began as a top 10, but with so many robots to choose from, over a hundred in series 3 alone, I ended up adding some extra slots. Please enjoy.
This is a deep, deep cut. Appearing in Heat I of Series 2, this triangular prism of a robot, surrounded at the bottom by static spikes, didn’t exactly do well. At all. Rottweiler managed 3.5 meters in the Gauntlet (a Series 1 and 2 challenge that was essentially an obstacle course), only just surviving as another competitor did even worse. Then, in the Joust trial (where you needed to get as far as you can on a bridge with Matilda charging you), it managed to get a negative score as the House Robot pushed them right back past their starting position and back to the entry gate! It didn’t even end up having a single battle. So why does this get on my favourites list when so many better robots failed to do so? Just personal reasons. Heat I was the only heat I ever managed to record on a VHS tape when it first aired, so I ended up watching it a lot as a kid. While Heat I had a lot of better robots, like the first appearances of King Buxton and Team 101 with Robodoc, for some reason Rottweiler was the one that stuck in my brain for years, somehow growing in my mental imagining into an even more unwieldly robot that almost looked like a giant cactus. I think ultimately what has really cemented its place on this list is that Rottweiler is exactly the kind of robot I would build as a kid when I first started watching Robot Wars. It isn’t necessarily good, but it grabs that kind of childlike “Sure, this could work!” feeling that so captivated me, and that’s what gets it onto this list for me.
12.) Dominator 2
Dominator 2 gets on this list for two reasons. First, and less important, it spent several series as being one of the strongest axe bots in the series, capable of impaling other opponents through their armour and dragging them throughout the arena. It had a solid track record that gave it plenty of battles to really get into my mind. And that’s good, because the main reason I love Dominator 2 is that it looks utterly fantastic. A sleek bi-wedge drawing the eye up to the sharp point of its axe, plated in gold painted titanium (or, to use the constant saying on the show, “plasma nitride coated titanium”, a process that forms an surface ceramic Titanium Nitride layer to enhance the defences). Indeed, it had impressive defensive capabilities, particularly after the team added the wheel guards over its previously exposed tires. A stylish machine with power to back it up.
Roadblock is the very first robot we saw on the show, the first robot to win a fight, and the very first champion in the first series. The first series’ robots tended to be…not particularly good, mostly being slow boxes that bumbled themselves gently into each other, but Roadblock was an exception to those issues, a simple but powerful wedgebot that shoved its foes around and let them drive up onto it and topple over. In the grand final of the first series, a six way melee between all the heat finalists, it steamrollered its way through the competition for a truly dominant victory. You might think this has something to do with the placement on this list, but honestly no. I didn’t see much of series one, both due to missing the original airing since I only heard of the show in series two as a kid, and because as a climate scientist I have a strong professional dislike of then presenter Jeremy Clarkson. It gets on this list, like Dominator 2, mainly just because its style.
Roadblock gets its name from the roadwork sign on its top, provided to the team by the local council, which combined with the black and yellow hazard stripes on its sides, gives it a fantastic “built from the junk pile” look, a really charming part of the early years of the show that we sadly lost over time as the robots and teams became more and more professional. The Bodwin Community College team returned for the third wars with Beast of Bodwin, an almost identical design that did away with the road sign but did still have a lot of charm with its blinking eyes on the back. A worthy champion of the first wars, and a wonderful example of the aesthetic of the time.
101 was named after it’s length, 101 centimeters, and because team member Amy Franklin, daughter of Captain Mike Franklin, really loved the movie 101 Dalmations, although the show claimed it was because it only cost £1.01. This wasn’t true, but it was indeed extremely cheap, coming in under £12. Built mainly out of scraps and the remains of the team’s series 2 robot Robodoc (which appeared in the same episode as Rottweiler above), it was an invertible robot running on tracks made from milk bottle washing machine belts. For that price it somehow managed to include a pneumatic ramming spike linked to an infrared sensor to automatically fire, although it just never really…worked?
Despite this, 101 was a tiny powerhouse of a machine. The belts gave it amazing traction on the floor, allowing to push and shove far larger robots, and even when it was lifted off the ground such as by Panic Attack, the shape of the machine let the belts keep their grip on the floor. Often out-matched, particularly as time went on and the standards of the competition improved, 101 still drove in with fierce determination, shoving and pushing far more dangerously armed robots around the arena. In its fight with Dominator 2, the axe bot drove its spike into 101 to be dragged around the arena by 101 with the axe still embedded! 101 just would not give up.
101 was also involved in one of the most long running rivalries in the show between it and King Buxton, a fellow series 2 competitor who beat 101’s predecessor Robodoc (named for being sponsored by Mike Franklin’s work, Doc Martins) in their heat final. 101 won the series 3 rematch, and the two went onto win the later Tag Team Terror tournament together…only to immediately start fighting each other at the end of the final round! It was a fun rivalry between two decent machines, and it was always fun to see them battling it out.
Onslaught is a funny little machine, with little being the operative word here. One of the smallest robots in its weight class, Onslaught almost entirely consisted of it’s engine, taken from a forklift, with drive motors larger than those for Sir Killalot. To make up for this, it had to have thin armour everywhere except its front scoop, which was upgraded in series 3 from the static ram it had in series 2 to a flipper. Surprisingly, that thin armour was never what resulted in Onslaught’s defeat, with most of its issues coming from being flipped over and unable to self right or from its constant technical problems, which forced it to pull out of series 4. It’s best performance came in Robot Wars Extreme, where it made it into the Southern Annihilator and finished second, putting up a spirited battle against Razer.
I have trouble pinning down what exactly I love so much about Onslaught. It may just be a kind of cultural love of David and Goliath stories that seem to be invoked by the tiny robot, or because its heyday was right when I was most into the show as a kid, or just because I love the audacity of its design, built almost entirely around a huge motor. Whatever the reason, seeing Onslaught just constantly gives me a smile, and thats what earns it this spot on my list.
Going from one small robot to another, Cherub was a small entertainment robot with two “arms”, designed primarily to be able to do handstands. Not exactly a great design for a combat robot, but, with a team mostly of children, Cherub entered the arena anyway, and proceed to reach its heat final before being flipped out of the arena.
In the reboot, the judging criteria were adjusted so that now aggression was the most important stat, and aggression was these children’s watchword. The team captain Sarah Collias declared that her dad, the builder Cherub (who was unable to enter due to having tried and failed to enter a different robot, Gabriel) had been too nice in the previous series. Her brother, the quieter driver Toby Collias, relied on Cherub’s astonishing resilience with it’s hardened front scoop to do damage, constantly slamming straight into its opponents, in particular the spinner PP3D, who they charged directly at repeatedly both in the opening melee and in their head to head battle later on, which resulted in Cherub being thrown across the arena so hard by PP3D that the arena sidewall broke. This blow immobilised both robots, Cherub being still drivable but unable to self right, while PP3D was stuck on its own blade. The judges gave it to Cherub, and I agree with them, partially because of the amount of aggression they showed and partially because, while spinners taking damage from their own blows is kind of inevitable due to Newton’s second law, I don’t like spinners that are built to be as strong as possibly that result in them repeatedly KOing themselves when against a harder obstacle.
Cherub’s run was somewhat helped by their opponents not taking them seriously, with all but one of the Behemoth team infamously deciding to use an experimental grabber weapon rather than their reliable scoop, resulting in the long running robot going out from a stupid loss again and the team captain storming out before he said something very rude about his team mates, but for such a scrappy little robot to come so far was fantastic to see, and help establish the ironically named Team Saint as one of my favourites.
It’s a barber’s pole….OF DOOM!!! What more do you need?
I guess I can add more.
Barber-Ous was, somewhat predictably, inspired by a guy sitting down at his hairdresses and looking at the spinning pole outside. The team’s previous robot was rejected by the producers for being too bland and boring looking, so naturally they wanted to do something unique, and unique Barber-Ous certainly is.
Spinners, that is, robots that use large spinning bars, discs or blades, are an extremely popular weapon in robot combat, nowadays to the point of dominance. Spinners can be either horizontal or vertical, depending on the design (a full discussion of the benefits and costs of the different designs is beyond the scope of this list). A popular but often unsuccessful design is the horizontal full body spinner, where the entire outer shell of the robot rotates like the tasmanian devil. Barber-Ous took it a different route; a full body vertical spinner, with it’s long plastic body covered in spikes that curved up in the direction of its rotation. It looked utterly ridiculous rolling into the arena…and indeed was, but it was certainly dangerous. It’s track record in terms of wins wasn’t great, but it did a lot of damage while it went down, and the sight of a plastic barbers pole throwing robots around was fantastic to see. It’s fun design and enjoyable battles is what got it so high up for me, even if it didn’t have the storied career of some of these robots.
And speaking of spinners with far more storied careers (indeed, a robot that the Barber-Ous team feared…)
In the history of Robot Wars icons, there’s three robots that stand above all the others, even now that they have objectively been left behind far behind by the constant evolution of robotic technology. Of the two of those big three which appear up in this list, it’s honestly surprising that Hypno-Disc appears this low but I honestly couldn’t place it further up than 6. Which is not a bad position, I’m just genuinely surprised this is the position I gave such an iconic machine.
Hypno-Disc is certainly a striking machine. For the most part it is an aluminium box on wheels, sometimes decorated with spikes, but the focal point is the huge disc at the front of the robot. Decorated with a black hypnotic spiral with a red cutting tooth one side (and a second red tooth pointing up on the other side for weight balance), the disc really came into its own when it spun up, producing an effect often called the death hum. It’s team, the Rose Family, were well known for their motto of “Spin to Win”, and their victory salute of raising their first finger in the air and spinning their hand, which was often copied by the host Craig Charles.
Hypnodisc debuted in the third series of the show, and in it’s very first fight it completely reshaped the entire show. And its hapless opponent.. While the show did as much as it could to big up the weaponry used and damage dealt out in the first two series, really the most you could expect is some dents in the aluminium, maybe some damage from Sir Killalot or Dead Metal once the robot had either been knocked on its side or had just stopped from being pushed into a wall.
Then along came a virtually uncontrollable aluminium box with a giant twenty kilogram weapon mounted on the front. In many ways series three Hypno-Disc wasn’t actually that good; thin armour, low pushing power and no self righting mechanism. But none of those things matter because when it was up to speed and that red tooth on the giant spinning disc hit an opponent, it sent metal and electronics flying across the arena. In a show where most robots left with some scratches or some dents, Hypno-Disc’s opponents left literally in bin bags. It cut a swath of destruction through the third wars, ultimately falling short in the very final battle. Even in the next series, where most opponents realised that they couldn’t get away with weak armour in case they be fed to the brutal Hypno-Disc for the baying crowd, it still continued to shred its opponents apart; poor Splinter, which I genuinely think isn’t actually a bad robot, reduced to its namesake.
Few robots could match Hypno-Disc, and often it’s greatest enemy was itself. The spinning disc was so powerful that the recoil caused damage to build up in the robot throughout the tournament, till at the final stages it was virtually limping into the arena. Even so, it was the standard that all spinners were compared to right up until the reboot series, which was chock full of them and showed just how much more powerful robots had become in the decade the show was off air. With it’s array of brilliant matches (one of which is my favourite match of all time) and memorable moments, it is one of the robots that is intimately associated with the show, to the point that one of the background songs played during fights is called “Hypnodisc’s Theme”. Now that’s making your mark.
A long sleek white and black wedge of a machine designed to both to look like the Apollo spacecraft and to launch its foes into orbit, Apollo was the first champion of the reboot series. In a series dominated by spinners, as noted in the Hypno-Disc section, Apollo’s heavily armoured front flipper was able to take the blows and flip the offending machines straight out of the arena; one of the first machines to do so in the reboot. The flipper itself is so strong it can fire a 100kg robot two meters into the air, and in order for it to functionally act as a self righting mechanism the team had to add a half power setting to it.
Those qualities by itself would be enough to get it in my top ten, but what really pushes Apollo up is the team. Where most reboot teams are engineers, and indeed Apollo was built by one (Alan Young, who was unable to be on the team due to being part of the Robot Wars technical crew for Series 8 and 9), it was primarily driven by his brother Dave and his friends, who met as Bluecoat performers working at a Pontins camp, and they took their desire to entertain to the arena. While an extremely proficient team, they were primarily here to have fun and bring the audience joy, earning themselves the name of the Boy Band of Robot Wars. During their introductions in series 9, when most teams aimed to make themselves look as aggressive and badass as possible, Marc Dermott of the team came onto a stage with Apollo and performed a pantomime skit with the robot, complete with audience yelling “It’s behind you!”. This desire to entertain was part of why the robot was built as a flipper, because throwing robots six feet into the air (or higher in the case of some of the smaller cluster bots!) is just fun.
A flipper also lets you take on the house robots far more easily compared to other weapons; the difference in weight and armour meant that even incredibly powerful spinners usually just bounced off the show’s own robotic monsters, where as a powerful flipper can flip even the three smaller house robots, each weighing over 300kg, onto their back, and going after the house robots was Apollo’s favourite pastime. If their opponent seemed to be in trouble, or sometimes just because the house robot was closer, they’d go in and try to flip them. This caused them some issues; quite aside from getting up close and personal to the house robots, which given their weaponry can certainly be dangerous (although some more than others; a notable moment in the series 8 finale had Apollo deliberately provoke Shunt into banging their jammed open flipper down with its axe, which could have disabled a less well armoured machine outright but in this case allowed Apollo to get it’s flipper back into position to continue fighting the brutal Carbide), taking a house robot break gave their opponent’s time to rally, but their skill in driving and the robot’s incredibly solid engineering held them through. Unfortunately, despite some good attempts, they were never able to topple the leader of the house robots, the 750kg Sir Kill-A-Lot, although they gave it a bloody good go.
While they didn’t reach the heights of Series 8 again, being put up against their greatest foe Carbide, a spinner so powerful it dominated all of series 9 that they only just beat for the title in the previous series and falling to Behemoth in the heat final in Series 10 before being taken out by Eruption as one of the last robots standing in the truly ridiculous 1 robot rumble in the final of that series, it remained a threat, and always stood as one of the biggest, and most entertaining, robots in the reboot.
4.) Bigger Brother
Ian Watts and his son Joe first entered the show in the third wars with Big Brother, a rather poor robot with a comical mace “weapon” at the back. It reached the semi finals primarily due to its opponent in the heat final not being able to make the next round, although it was shown on tv as them disagreeing with the judge’s decision. Once in the semi finals they were unceremoniously dispatched by Mace 2. Then, in the next series, they returned as Bigger Brother, this time armed with a flipper operated by “Little Joe”, who wasn’t even ten years old at the time. Again, it didn’t give a particularly good showing in the arena; given a seeed position, they got through their first round melee but fell to Bulldog Breed, another series 3 robot returning redesigned as a flipper based on the then-champion, Chaos 2.
Then came Series 5.
Series 5 marked a new era for robot wars, with the weight limit going from 85kg to 100kg, and Bigger Brother made good use of it. It’s flipper upgraded using liquid CO2 like Chaos 2, it’s first two fights took 24 and 34 seconds respectively, ending with Bigger Brother throwing their opponents, Tip Top and Splinter, out of the arena entirely! Neither 3 Stegs to Heaven nor S3 in the heat final and first semi final match respectively could stop the machine, but the two biggest scalps where yet to come. First, for a place in the grand final, Bigger Brother had to face the two times champion robot Chaos 2, which up to this point was undefeated in the main competition.
They succeeded, breaking a huge chain of combat victories and leaving the champions flat on their back, unable to self-right. CO2 powered flippers have a limited amount of CO2 on board to use, and Joe Watts had been extremely sparing with its use throughout the fight, waiting for Chaos 2 to run out before flipping them and leaving them unable to self-right. This victory put them through into the grand final, in a match than many, including me, regard as the greatest match in the show’s history. Up against the brutal Hypno-Disc (yes, this is the match noted above!), Bigger Brother was ripped to shreds so badly that one team member, Joe’s little sister Elle, had to turn away and couldn’t watch her machine getting chewed up so badly. The flipper was ripped off, the armour was sliced apart, and Bigger Brother resembled less a machine as much as a moving junk pile.
But even as they took so much damage, Hypno-Disc was slowing and weakening, and Bigger Brother was still, somehow, miraculously, mobile. Eventually they were able to drive Hypnodisc into the pit release button and with it, down into the pit, earning Bigger Brother the most incredible from-behind victory in the whole of the show. After this, despite the hard work of basically every other team in the show, including the Rose family who’s robot had just caused all the damage in the first place, Bigger Brother was unable to overcome the last of the classic era Big Three, Razer, and claimed second place.
Bigger Brother gets this high partially just due to that battle with Hypno-Disc alone, but also due to the flair and skilled driving of its team, the Watts family. The kids Joe and Elle and their occasional siblings were popular with the other roboteers and the presenters, and as their performances and overall victory in the Minor Meltdown tournament where kids took over the controls for their robots showed, had no small skill as drivers and weapon operators. One thing I came to value as I rewatched the series this year is resilience, the ability to keep coming and coming at the opponent, and that is certainly something Bigger Brother excels at.
Speaking of resilience, at number three we have the somewhat bizarre looking Gabriel. The main robot of Team Saint, who created Cherub, Gabriel is a thwack bot mounted on two huge high density polyethylane wheels, each 90cm tall. Between them is the central body, which houses the machinery and which also has a slot for the interchangeable weapons, which usually either take the form of their signature curved sword or an eight pronged mace depending on the opponent they are fighting. Gabriel is great fun to watch in a fight, smashing down on top of other robots with its sword and mace while skidding around the arena on its two huge wheels; Dara O’Briain compared the robot to a cartoon character running with their legs spinning.
But that bizarre shape was actually Gabriel’s secret. It was incredibly difficult to get to grips with, with flippers unable to properly get in underneath it and spinners slamming into the huge wheels only to have them wobble and flex, dissipating the force of the attacks. All the while, Gabriel itself is slamming its weapons down on top of them. In series 8, it got through to the heat final, only stopped by the absurdly powerful drum spinner Pulsar. In series 10 it faced the monsterously powerful reigning champion Carbide, and took it all the way to a very close judge’s decision, managing to rip one of the spinner’s wheels in half and leaving the champions almost limping into the next round. Gabriel’s wheels were essentially shredded from the hits from the spinner, but its main body, held high above the ground, remained intact…until it battled Aftershock, who’s unique high vertical spinner managed to hit the main hub.
Good thwack bots like Gabriel or Stinger are always great fun to watch, and Gabriel’s wonderful white and red design only adds to the joy of watching it. The design of the sword alone would get it at least an honourable mention on this list!
Team Saint’s captain Colin Collias is also notable for his sportsmanship, not wanting to destroy the opposing robots more than necessary. Sadly, he didn’t quite pull back enough against Chompalot, who left the arena in flames and was destroyed beyond repair after blows to its batteries caused them to ignite. Still, like resilience, that kind of sporting behaviour from competitors is something I came to enjoy far more than bragging about the destruction they are going to cause, and contributes to the show’s unique feeling.
And speaking of good sports…
Diotoir, Son of Nemesis, was a staple of the show to the point that when they dramatically returned in series 10 as the captain of the Team Rest of The World in the UK vs The World special, for the first time in the reboot they showed clips from the classic series, including Diotoir’s near constant companion and the only one of the original house robots to not be rebuilt for the reboot, the flame thrower wielding Sgt. Bash.
While not a bad machine in the field, as its dramatic victory against Tornado showed, it was never a top tier contender. But Diotoir never had to be, because its reputation wasn’t built on combat skill. It was built on two very simple facts.
The first is that it caught fire. A lot.
When the predecessor to Diotoir, Nemesis (hence the “Son of Nemesis” in the name) was being built, the team noticed that the rules banned flamethrowers for competitor robots. Seeing this, they decided to cover their robot in an iconic red and black polka dot fur, which the team seemed to have an infinite supply of. That supply came in handy, since the fur was also highly and wonderfully flammable.
They had not, you see, taken into account that the House Robots were not beholden to the same rules as the competitors, and thus everytime Diotoir entered the arena, Sgt. Bash was not far behind with a lick of flame. This may seem like something the team would want to change, but that’s not how they roll. Instead they stuck skewers of marshmallows and sausages on the robot so it could battle and cook at the same time, even taking requests for vegetarian sausages from pit reporter Phillippa Forrester. Even when they returned for the reboot, despite Sgt. Bash having retired from active service, they drove themselves onto the flame pit and proceeded to battle while on fire! (Curiously, despite this, Diotoir was never immobilised by being on fire; instead its actual source of defeats was usually being unable to self right. Bring a self righter kids!)
A curious thing about the fur is that it popped up on many other teams and robots, even ones that Diotoir hadn’t fought (most notably, for some reason the Firestorm team received furry cod pieces, which they proceeded to wear in the next battle!). The rumour is that the Diotoir team gave these pieces to any team who they helped out, and that brings us to the other fact about Diotoir; it had one of the nicest, most helpful teams in the history of the show. Despite constant bouts of misfortune, such as UK customs dismantling the robot on their arrival from Ireland in series 3 and forcing them to rebuild it in one day for the show, the team was constantly cited as one of the best forces in the pits, always willing to lend a hand or a spanner to a robot in need. It was no wonder they won three consecutive special awards for sporting behaviour! With the robot’s googly eyes and smile stuck firmly on even as it burned, and with the wonderful team behind it and the constant reminders in the shape of its fur decorating other teams even after Diotoir itself was out of the competition, it firmly earns its place at number 2 on my list.
1.) Chaos 2
Sometimes you can’t beat the classics.
George Francis, one of the most mild mannered and humble roboteers on the show, was already a veteran of the show with Robot The Bruce and the original Chaos under his belt when he arrived to series 3 with a small, black triangular prism shaped robot. Just looking at the shape, one could almost be reminded of number 13 on this list, Rottweiler, with its spikes replaced by a long black flipping ramp at the front. But unlike Rottweiler, Chaos 2 was good at fighting. Very, very, very good at fighting. From its arrival in series 3, it swept through the series, claiming the grand title, ans was only really challenged in the main competition when it reached the grand final of series 4, which it also won, making it the first and only robot to ever successfully defend its title on the tv version of the show.
Chaos 2 was the first truly powerful flipper the show had ever seen. Recyclops and Cassius had shown the power of the weapon with their front hinged pneumatic flippers in previous series, but Chaos 2 took that design and kicked it up at least four notches. Suddenly, robots were being lifted clean into the air, tumbling in graceful arcs before slamming back down to the ground. With Chaos 2’s speed and maneuverability, and George Francis’ magnificent driving, it swept its way through the competition, giving us some of the best fights in the show’s history while doing so, such as its battle against the Big Cheese in the series 3 heat final and against Wild Thing in the series 5 semis.
Series 3 and 4 is often cited as the turning points where Robot Wars went from a goofy show with pretty incompotent boxes bumping into each other, and because a goofy show with dangerous robots tossing and ripping each other apart, and it was the debut of Chaos 2 and Hypno-Disc, among a few others, that really stepped things up. It was the birth of the most iconic UK robot wars weapon, the rear mounted flipper, and its influences have reverberated down the sport, from Wheely Big Cheese to Bigger Brother to Dantomkia to Apollo to Eruption. Few robots can claim to have had such a fantastic influence on the entire show and indeed the sport of robotic combat as a whole.
On a personal level, Series 3 and 4 where also when I was most into the series as a kid, and they seared into my brain the idea that a champion looked like Chaos 2. The robot’s one weakness was that, as a self employed electrian, George Francis could not afford to keep up as robots and robotics parts became more and more expensive. The weight increase in series 5 was the beginning of the end for Chaos 2, remaining near its original weight even as its opponents upgraded their motors and parts. It is a testament to just how incredibly well made it was all the way back in series 3 that it remained competitive all the way up to the sixth wars, where it was thrown out of the arena in the second round by newcomer Dantomkia in one of the clearest passing of the torch moments in the series (indeed, Chaos 2 was the inventor of the out of the arena flip in Robot Wars, having accidentally sent Firestorm flying over the wall in series 3!). In a sport where money is so often a massive entry hazard, it was fantastic to see a robot made for £250 do so much.
Stylish, powerful and so influential that we feel its effects even today, there was no question in my mind when I started this list that Chaos 2 would take the top spot with the same ease and grace that it sailed to its two championship wins with.
And so, that’s my list. It isn’t really one you can disagree with, given it is my personal favourites, but if you have any comments, or a list of your own, feel free to post them below! Robot Wars has firmly established itself as a special interest for me, so we’ll see if any more posts about it emerge. There’s some obvious big names that got left off the list, and if people want to know why, I may do a seperate post dedicated to that.
All images are taken from the Robot Wars Fandom Wiki.