On Saturday 23rd April 2011, I went to the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London to watch the finals of the 2011 Roaming Robots U.K Championship. I was really looking forward to this as it was the first time I had attended one of these events, plus I had been a devoted fan of the BBC (and Channel 5) Television show Robot Wars and remain so to this day.
The Arena is purpose-built and maintains the spirit of the old Robot Wars Arena and is enclosed inside a dome made from 2mm thick Perspex, strong enough to withstand every form of weaponry except spinners so consequently, spinners are banned although the rules for this year were altered to allow robots with small circular saws.
The competitors were predominantly armed with flippers and axes and many of them were former Robot Wars competitors. The battles featured are as follows:
Batterbot vs Bullfrog vs Kan-Opener vs Disc-Struction (formerly Saw Point). Kan-Opener was the clear victor here as Batterbot fell to bits and Disc-Struction was wedged on the arena wall by Bullfrog, who then lost all power to his flipper.
Merlin vs Iron-Awe 6 vs Dantomkia. This battle signalled the arrival of Roaming Robots’ almighty House Robot Major Damage, a cross between legendary Robot Wars House Robots Sir Killalot and Mr Psycho. Everyone seemed to want to pick on Dantomkia but Merlin won on a judge’s decision after Iron-Awe 6 flipped itself out of the arena!
White Knight (formerly Iron-Awe 3) vs Wilhelm’s Scream vs Megga Mouse (formerly Mighty Mouse) vs Mantis. Megga Mouse and White Knight kept flipping each other as well as flipping Mantis who could not self-right while Wilhelm’s Scream lost a wheel and fell in the pit and then Megga Mouse flipped White Knight out of the arena to win the battle.
The Saint vs Toxic 2 vs Big Nipper. The Saint kept bashing away at Toxic 2, who then retaliated by launching The Saint out of the arena. So just Big Nipper and Toxic 2 remaining and after much exchanging of flipping and shoving, Toxic 2 won on a judge’s decision.
Scorpion vs 8645T (BEAST) vs Toon Raider vs Disturbed. BEAST went straight for the Newcastle United backed Toon Raider, flipping both itself and its opponent over. Toon Raider failed to self-right and was pitted by Major Damage (who then lifted it out again and dumped out of the arena). Scorpion went for Disturbed and hammered away until Disturbed could not use its flipper. BEAST came in and flipped Disturbed and left it for Major Damage to attack. Scorpion kept hammering away at BEAST but did not quite manage to disable its flipper although BEAST kept getting stuck on its back and had to pushed upright again each time. Both robots survived for a judge’s decision but Scorpion won as BEAST had been stuck on its back long enough to be deemed immobile.
Then came the interval so I had a look around and I saw that there was an enclosure next to the stand where several retired robots were on display. Many of them had previously competed on Robot Wars. There was Pussycat (Series 4 Runner-Up), 13 Black (Series 6 Semi-Finalist), Lightning (Series 7 Heat Finalist), Plunderbird 2 and Plunderbird 4 (the latter being a Semi-Finalist in Series 2), the original Dantomkia (Series 6 & 7 Semi-Finalist) and Mighty Mouse (Series 7 Heat Finalist). There was plenty of merchandise such as Robot Wars memorabilia (Computer Games, Magazines and T-Shirts) and all the Roaming Robots Merchandise as well as the usual snack and drink stand. The merchandise, on the whole, was not as expensive as I thought it would be so I bought a Roaming Robots T-Shirt and cap and a Robot Wars computer game and a couple of magazines. I also observed that a mini arena where the audience could take control of the organisers’ own ready-made robots (Basically D.I.Y Featherweight robots a.k.a Battle Rats) and that Major Damage had been set up as a display in the corner.
After the break or interval, whatever you want to call it, there was an all Robot Wars veterans battle featuring Behemoth vs Kronic vs Maelstrom (formerly St. Agro). After all 3 robots continued to flip each other all over the place, Kronic and Behemoth ganged up on Maelstrom and launched it out of the arena in a 2-pronged attack. So that just left Behemoth and Kronic consistently flipping each other until Behemoth flipped Kronic near the pit and as Kronic tried to self-right, it barrel-rolled into the pit with a slight shove from Behemoth who won the battle.
There was also a Featherweight Melee, featuring 10 competitors all in all, and I simply could not remember all their names or keep track of them so all I really remember about was that it featured the newly restored Matilda. The former Robot Wars House Robot was every bit the way she had been in her heyday. The only difference is that Matilda was now armed solely with her front lifting tusks due to the banning of spinners. For comical purposes, Matilda had a feather duster where her chainsaw and flywheel used to be and she quickly proved she had still got it, shoving and flipping all the competitor robots all over the arena. Of the competitors, one got flipped out of the arena straight away and a couple ended up in the pit.
Another battle featured Dutch competitor Tough As Nails against Puck, a sacrificial robot made from a car tyre. Puck actually put up a good fight against the former Robot Wars Semi-Finalist but in the end, Tough As Nails eventually grabbed Puck with its claws and dumped it in the pit.
The next and final battle before the event final featured Thor, Terminal Ferocity, Pressure and Gravity 5.1. Terminal Ferocity conked out and ended up getting flipped on its side by Pressure. Dutch competitor Gravity used up all the power to its flipper and was flipped by Pressure, who then teamed up with Thor to dump the former Robot Wars Semi-Finalist in the pit. That left just left Thor and Pressure with Thor coming out on top as it managed to disable Pressure’s flipper with its axe and then shoving Pressure on to the arena flipper to win the battle.
So to the event final featuring Toxic 2 vs Megga Mouse vs Scorpion. Megga Mouse broke down after being hammered by Scorpion and flipped all over the place by Toxic 2. Scorpion was left fighting Toxic 2 with Toxic 2 winning on a Judge’s Decision after several exchanges of flips and hammer blows.
Once the preceedings were over, I rounded off the day by having my picture taken with Major Damage and then I went to the local Pizza Express for some dinner. I really enjoyed coming to see the Roaming Robots at the O2 Arena and I look forward to going again sometime in the future. I am still amazed how cheap the merchandise was but I just wish I could say the same for the programmes!