Robotwars Series

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Go to series six

Qualifying for series Five

28th July 2001 - QUALIFYING ROUND, Sheffield Arena. 

After a frantic final buildup on the night prior to our qualifying heat we met up and drove to Sheffield.

On arrival we unloaded and were told of the first problem. We had no removable link for the power, we had fitted a turnkey system instead. 
The next problem was weight. We had weighed the machine and found it to be approx 104 Kg, but when it was weighed at RW they said it was 112Kg.

Also we were told that if it did run we wouldn't be allowed to use our weapon system - "We need to use this stage to complete the Live Events tour, that thing will probably destroy it!"

These problems led to us being unable to run that day, however we were told that if we could fit the link and get the weight down within the limit then we could go for qualifying again, this time at London.

Everyone who saw the robot appeared to be impressed, some of the RW crew were very impressed with the design - several of the contestants were actually glad we weren't running!


PHONE CALL

A surprise phone call from the producer of RW, he tells us that the crew at Sheffield loved the robot and asked if the problems had been sorted, I said yes and we would be going to another venue to try and qualify again. He sounded surprised and said if we didn't hear anymore from the staff then we should go ahead and attend a qualifying round.

5 minutes after that call we got another to say we had qualified!

I now have it all in writing and we are in heat F on Sunday 26th August, 11am.


Filming series Five

We arrived at Elstree Studios at around 9am, we had to assemble the robot outside in front of the studio before we could take it inside.


We were amazed to see other robots being carried out ready to go home, there was no messing about this year! it was run like a production line - in, fight till you lost, go home...
Once assembled  we went in and were weighed and photographed, than hung around for a technical/safety check.
Meanwhile we had a good look at what else was around, there were eight robots in each group, these were arranged in rows across the pits. Our group was Heat F, which featured Corkscrew. An 800rpm lorry wheel in a kilt, built by John Heatlie and his sons, it looked nice but probably top heavy, `no problem` we thought.

Finally after many delays we lined up for what would be the second but last fight of the day, we`d only been hanging around for nearly 10 hours so we were getting quite excited...

Getting the robot set up in the loading bay I plugged the main power link in and gave the controls a quick test. Something was wrong as it went the opposite way to what it should have!, we decided to go with it as I could just run it in reverse - I`d only had an hours practice drive anyway so it wouldn`t make much difference ;-)

We got up into the control area and got ready for our first fight, Corkscrew came out first and drove across to the other side of the arena. Then we came out and immediately started spinning round and round and wondering off across the arena, it was going haywire, fortunately Corkscrew cut out (honest?) and the match was called off so we could both sort out our problems.
Our problem was our aeriel, it was stuck flat onto the body which had worked well back home but was a definite no-no in the studios. We pinched a stick from one of our supporters flags and fitted it upright in the middle of the body, taping the aerial to it. 
This worked and didn`t take long, so we managed to squeeze in to the last slot of the day.

Again we went through the setting up procedures and we now sat poised for combat, Sgt Bash, Shunt and Ref Bot looked on in anticipation...

"3 2 1 ACTIVATE!" and I drove straight at Corkscrew full whack, 

the control was still a bit hairy but we managed to do this quite a few times, then the `roulette` disc stopped spinning, one of the blades had bent down with the force of the impact and jammed the wheel against our own body.

 

We took a few hits from Corkscrew which put some good holes in our body and into our chassis too, narrowly missing one of our batteries! finally we went straight for each other and Corkscrew got stuck fast in our kevlar body. We were still mobile but couldn`t pull away from them, just drag ourselves around in circles with the black disc spinning.
The `voice` called a temporary halt to the fight while the house robots were used to try and separate us, this didn`t work so they stopped the fight.

We lined up next to Craig Charles to wait for the judges decision, we thought we had it as we were the ones still moving and had been so aggresive compared to Corkscrew, but they gave it to them because of the damage we had taken. We were a bit shocked and I think it showed on the TV when I was a bit stuck for words! I was trying to say it was a well matched fight, two spinners in together, but it just wouldn`t come out ;-)

After the match we went back to the pits and everyone had gone home - even the cameramen!. 

We packed up and decided to go home rather than take up the offer of a hotel for the night, so long as we could keep the tshirts we had borrowed.

 

Series Six would be a little different...... 

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Robotwars Series Six

To get onto series six of Robotwars, you either had to be one of the 12 seeded robots or win a melee fight in the arena against 3 other robots. Failing that there were also some discretionary places reserved for robots that the judges thought would look good on TV.

We went for our fight at 9am on 5th July 2002 at RAF Newton, near Nottingham. It only took us about 1 hour to get there so we ended up being about an hour early. This gave us a chance to meet some of the other competitors and a look at some of the new robots for this year. We also got soaked as it was good old British summer weather, ie yakking it down.

We finally got in and got straight in line for weighing. We had weighed it the previous night on calibrated scales and it weighed 98.5Kg, here we stuck it on the scales and they said 87Kg!. This didn`t worry us, it was the robot with the massive steel spinning disc behind us that got through on 100Kg - what if we had to fight that?

We then went for photo`s and were shown to a bench where we had to get ready for a technical check, checking we had safety cut-outs fitted and things went the way they should etc. We had fitted `delbot` mixing boards so there were no problems there.

Finally we got to find out who we were going to fight!

Boudicca (think that`s how you spell it)

A two wheeled red wedge, with two cut-out horses heads fitted on and two big steel covered wooden wheels. We weren`t really worried about it as it didn`t appear to have a weapon, although the owner (sorry I`ve forgotten your name - please let me know) claimed it could drive underneath us and turn us over.

Retribution


    A flat heavy steel disc spinner, yes the one that was behind us in the queue! This one worried us a bit, one hit from the disc could do some serious damage.

Kan Opener - http://www.kanopener.co.uk


This robot looked like trouble, a set of big blue hydraulic pincers with a crushing force of four tons would do some serious damage if they got into our bodywork. We would have to act fast if we were to get anywhere near to winning this fight.

We had a good look over the others for any weak spots that we could take advantage of and then just sort of hung around till it was time to fight.

In the arena it was pretty bare, no house robots or arena hazards, no pit and no cameras.
The countdown ended and the fighting began, we spun up both discs and went straight for Boudicca, the one that looked easiest to beat (get points for damage at least!) - we knocked one of the heads off and away into the distance which looked funny, then we did some nice damage to the wheels. We then reversed and went for Retribution, hitting it right in the side where we had planned (a bit lucky really!) we kept hitting them as much as we could, making some nice holes in the surrounding armour, Kan Opener joined in too and Retribution finally went into the corner and didn`t move, we took one more go at them just to make sure and made a deep cut into the rear armour which I think was 5mm steel.
By this time Boudicca had come over to join in but it didn`t last long, we sent the other head to it`s predictable end and did a bit more damage, along with Kan Opener hitting it it just came to rest in the middle of the arena, leaving us to face Kan Opener to fight for a place in the sixth wars.
We went in and hit Kan Opener really hard, a blade on our front disc was glowing bright white as it spun round after the impact looking really good - I just stood there staring at it saying `what the hells that?` for what seemed ages, then I realised I was supposed to be fighting and got stuck in again.
We were both running round well until suddenly both of us seemed to suffer radio interference, with the Delbot boards we had, this showed itself as `pulsing`, we`d get full drive then it would cut out, only to cut back in again. We kept out of harms way just to try and stay mobile til the end but we got stuck in Kan Openers pincers, fortunately they were having similar control problems too so they couldn`t do much damage to us either. This went on for a while then suddenly we got full control back, very strange.
The fight was called to an end and we all went back stage, Matt (one of the judges and all round technical person) immediately told us that he was awarding the fight to 13Black with Kan Opener getting a discretionary place. We were well pleased!!

We got the robots back out into the pits and went round each others claiming damage etc.
We then found out that the bright white light we had witnessed was a chunk of  titanium we had ripped off Kan Opener and had started to burn - nice!

We discussed the interference problem with the others and found that Kan Opener had damaged the power circuits on Retribution, the resultant arcing might have caused the interference as there weren`t any other good explanations.

We picked up our entry packs for the filming and were the last ones to leave out of our group.
We met loads of other teams and eventually met up again with John Heatlie and his sons with `Corkscrew`. He showed us a home video of Corkscrew attacking a water cooler, I was just glad we hadn`t had our qualifying match against that robot instead. It has got to be one of the most violent robots going around at the minute...(pun unintended!)

We got back home and started repairing the robot ready for Monday morning and the first of our filmed fights, apart from resetting the disc bearings and putting one of the drive motors back in line we all we had to do was sort out the radio reception. After much playing around on Sunday with various earth connections and aeriels I had to leave Richard to work on it into the late evening, I got a phonecall that night to say that he`d almost given up when he accidentally discovered that everything worked very well if all the screening for the receiver and aeriel was insulated from everything else, ie floating. With the TX aeriel down he could still get a signal from around 15m away, and with full antenna it was around 100m indoors and around a corner!

Nottingham and Series Six here we come ;-)

Series Six results....

Our first rounds were shown on Friday 20th of December 2002.
the following taken from Digiguide (http://www.digiguide.com)

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GAME SHOW: Robot Wars: The Sixth Wars

Channel: BBC 2

Date: Friday 20th December 2002

Time: 18:45 to 19:30 

Duration: 45 minutes.

Action-packed game show in which engineers pit their home-made robots against one another. Presented by Craig Charles and Philippa Forrester with commentary by Jonathan Pearce. In this show, Lincolnshire's deadly Stinger is back to compete with Norwich's Thermidor II and Leicestershire's 13 Black. New house robot Mr Psycho is ready for action, and contestant robots must avoid falling pianos in the Drop Zone

(Subtitles)

Excerpt taken from DigiGuide - the world's best TV guide available from http://www.digiguide.com. Copyright �1999-2002 GipsyMedia Ltd. Information copied from DigiGuide cannot be re-distributed, sold or used without prior written consent from GipsyMedia Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Our first round consisted of a four-way melee with Chompalot, Thermidor II and Stinger. We also had Sir Killalot and Dead Metal to contend with.
It started well for us as
Stinger and Thermidor battled it out on the other side of the arena, we got straight into an attack on Chompalot,
they took a fair amount of damage without too much trouble and we even had chance to try and knock
Stinger into the pit in between taking pot shots at Chompalot. At one point however Chompalot got a bite into our rear disc and didn`t want to let go but it didn`t take long before they seemed to stop working, we hit them a few more times to make sure and because there wasn`t really anything else to go for, Stinger had damaged one of Thermidor`s wheels sufficiently to leave them without full control and they ended up driving into the pit - but Stinger were also having trouble with their new batteries and were all but immobile. It was enough to secure us and Stinger a place in the 2nd round.

Our second fight was against one of the winners of the other 4-way melee, Double Trouble, another twin disc robot but on a smaller scale. 
This round would be overseen by two house robots, Matilda and for the second time Dead Metal.
From the word go we had Double Trouble on the run inflicting some excellent damage to their bodywork and even managing a double hit taking a body panel out with our front disc and the back disc then sending one of their discs sailing through the air!
The rest of the round went well with us taking more pieces of their robot, although our front disc stopped working about half way through the fight - we later found that the motor magnets had moved and jammed up against the end of the motor armature! to counter this we put the robot into a full body spin and amazingly
Double Trouble drove straight into us taking some severe damage but were still mobile. We carried on in reverse using the rear black and white disc to attack with, Double Trouble had taken a large amount of damage already but to the robots credit it just kept going and going! eventually our second disc packed up for the same reason as the first and that left us both pushing each other around. Soon after this the fight ended and it went to the judges who unsurprisingly gave the fight to us due to the amount of damage inflicted.

So on we went to the Heat F final, this was against Stinger who were seeded number 11 in the UK series. This was our first fight against a seeded robot and looking at past series it was obvious that Stinger would be very difficult to beat - you just can`t damage it and it runs anyway up, it`s axe type weapon also comes down with one hell of a whack too and in the pits you always know when it`s fighting due to the sound of it hitting the floor!
The house robots for this match would be
Sir Killalot from the first round and yet again Dead Metal (it must like us!)
The fight started off fairly slowly, both robots circling round each other trying to find a chance to move in, suddenly contact is made and we come off well. Again and again we move in, attack and pull back allowing the discs to spin up again,
Stinger hitting us hard too but doing little damage except to the surface composite layers of the front disc. We managed to knock off one of Stingers tyre protecting plates which gives us some valuable damage points and manage to corner them a couple of times against the arena walls, all good for points!
By an amazing stroke of luck we drive into
Stinger at an angle and manage to carry it into one of the corner patrol zones, totally unplanned but Sir K is there in no time at all - Stinger is picked up in THAT claw and taken for a spin in the centre of the arena, Dead Metal immediately slams into the side of us and pins us to the arena wall, not that we`re going much further as `cease` is called and the result is decided by the judges...

After what seems an age Craig Charles asks the audience who they think won, from where we are standing it sounds like Stinger have got it but no! the judges give it us for all four categories - damage, control, style and aggression!

We have beaten our first `seeded` opponent and won the shows Heat Final in what was to be our most important fight so far!

13Black is through to the semi-finals and along with that an invite to fight in Robot Wars EXTREME later in the year!

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As the semi-finals still havn`t been shown on terrestrial television we cannot give any more results away so please come back later to find out (or watch us on BBC2!)