Robot Wars Wiki

"A purple parallelogram which can flip over and still run smoothly on its windscreen wiper engines. The shell's 3mm thick steel with a tubular steel chassis. From the age of one, roboteer Dan McGrath's enjoyed playing with vacuum cleaners. Today, he hopes to clean up!"
Jonathan Pearce introduces Angel of Death

Angel of Death was a competitor robot which appeared in Robot Wars: The Second Wars. During its only appearance, it was eliminated at the Gauntlet stage after getting stranded near the angle grinders opposite the Ramrig.


Angel of Death before being painted

Angel of Death was an invertible, parallelogram-shaped robot with a two-wheel drive system and a purple colour scheme. It featured a variety of weapons including cutting discs on the front and rear, which Dan McGrath claimed would spin at between 10,000-15,000rpm, as well as sets of three spikes on either side. The robot reportedly cost £250 to build according to Oliver Steeples, employing an all-steel construction with a box-section chassis (though its televised introduction states a tubular steel chassis) and 3mm thick armour plating. Steeples considered Angel of Death's low height of 22cm to be potentially advantageous in allowing it to avoid opponents with higher-reaching weapons.[1]

The drivetrain of Angel of Death incorporated Volvo windscreen wiper motors and a homemade speed controller, which gave it two forward and two reverse speeds at either 12 volts (low) or 18 volts (high). Despite this, it still had a low top speed of 3-4mph, while a low ground clearance of 2mm put it at a major disadvantage during its Gauntlet run.


Angel of Death was most likely named in reference to the Destroying Angel of the same name, notable as the carrier of the Tenth Plague of Egypt in the Book of Exodus. An alternate namesake could be the 1986 song of the same name, by the American thrash metal band Slayer.


The chassis, wheels and larger disc weapon for the Series 4 Angel of Death

Like other Series 2 entries, Angel of Death was selected through attending the auditions, though according to Oliver Steeples its spinning weapon setup briefly caused concern with some of the Robot Wars technical crew.

"I saw angel of death [sic] at the preview and the technical people were concerned about the cutting disks on the front and back slopes. The motors were Volvo windscreen wiper motors which only provided 4mph and this seemed a bit slow. Also their clearance was 2mm and this was clearly not enough for their purpose."
— Oliver Steeples on Angel of Death's Series 2 audition[1]

A new version with a larger vertical spinning disc and heptagonal-shaped chassis was later completed for an attempted entry into Series 4, but did not qualify after suffering from problems with its failsafe.[2]

Robot History[]

Series 2[]

In The Second Wars, Angel of Death competed in Heat L, where it was the fourth robot to be introduced and the last of the six competitors to run The Gauntlet.

"Interesting to see the circular saws protected there. We're not too sure if this has got enough power. It's very low at 22cm... the House Robots will have difficulty getting hold of it."
— Jonathan Pearce as Angel of Death begins traversing the right-hand route

Angel of Death begins its Gauntlet run

Angel of Death avoids getting cut up by Dead Metal

It started slowly, turning and weaving its way into the right-hand route. Angel of Death turned again to face the back wall, before beginning to reverse its way past the Ramrig and angle grinders. As it did so, it drove up one of the spikes in between the grinders, causing Angel of Death to be lifted up and its wheels to lose contact with the floor. Sergeant Bash and Dead Metal rushed in to block and attack Angel of Death from both directions, though Angel of Death briefly began moving again upon being nudged off the spike by the former. Neither of the House Robots' overhead weapons had any effect on Angel of Death as a result of its low height. Dead Metal grasped and briefly pulled Angel of Death back, but was unable to reach its wheels or top armour with his saw during the final few seconds.

"The Sergeant comes in, and Dead Metal! Bit of a scorching time for Angel of Death! The Angel has hardly... unfurled its wings so far. Now you see, [Dead Metal] can't bite down! It's too low for the House Robot to get hold of! Miserable run."
— Jonathan Pearce, as Angel of Death proves too low for Dead Metal to slice

Having covered a distance of only 2.9m when 'Cease' had been called, Angel of Death was eliminated from the Second Wars. Dan McGrath was openly disappointed with the robot's performance, ground clearance and ill-fated run, while Nathan Green joked with Philippa Forrester afterwards about his own experiences in building equally unsuccessful projects, such as a pond-filling device and a bird house.

Craig Charles: "The Angel of Death, died."
Dan McGrath: "He's dead... definitely."
— Interview immediately following Angel of Death's Post-Gauntlet run


Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Gauntlet
Heat L, Gauntlet 2.9m (6th) Eliminated

Series Record[]

Angel of Death being measured during the Series 2 auditions

Series Angel of Death Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Heat, Gauntlet
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Failed to qualify
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter


  • Angel of Death is one of 20 robots never to have fought in combat, having only ever been seen in the Gauntlet or Trial stages.
  • Along with being the last competitor in Series 2 to perform a Heat Gauntlet run (notwithstanding the retirement of Pain and timing out of The Parthian Shot), Angel of Death was the final Robot Wars competitor to have been eliminated at that stage.