"This robot pushed a 15 stone man standing on top of an anvil, hence the name. It has an enhanced drive train, is shock resistant, and the ramming spikes will spark like an anvil!"
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Anvil

Anvil was the Royal Air Force's entry in the two Forces specials of Extreme Series 1. It won both Forces specials it competed in, despite being pushed into the pit by Dead Metal on two occasions.

The team intended to enter the Third Wars with a robot called Dr Evil, however, the robot was not built in time for the Third Wars[1]. It was intended to enter the Fourth Wars, but was scrapped in order to start creation for Anvil[2].


Anvil Arena

Anvil in the second round

Anvil was a low, flat robot invertible robot, brandishing the RAF logo, as well as four skulls. It could travel at 13.6 mph, had an enhanced drive train with a flexible joint allowing for distortion in the drive train, and had three ramming spikes as its main weapon, interchangeable with a scoop, which was never used on the show. It also had great pushing power - in training, it easily pushed a 15 stone man standing on an anvil.

"The new drive module was 3" wider than before and as the old drive was an integral part of Anvil MkI, we had to build a new chassis. The flat design came about when we were asked to compete in a Robot War at HMS Collingwood. We realised that once again the weapon would not be ready, so we went for an invertable design that could run upside down. The wheels are 145mm tall, and allowing 10mm ground clearance each side, everything had to fit into a space 125mm tall. The batteries were laid down flat and the motors have minimal protection but Anvil II works well as most weapons go straight over us!"
— Tim Woodburn on the Anvil website[3]

The version seen in Extreme 1 was in fact the second model, the first was only used at live events. It was built when Station Workshops at Royal Air Force Kinloss received a request in March 2000 to build a 'Robot Wars' style machine to perform at The National Skills Show 2000 in June at the NEC.[4]

The TeamEdit


The Anvil team during their introduction in the Forces Special

Anvil was built and entered by members of RAF Kinloss. The founder of the team was Tim Woodburn, who was the electronics expert of the team. However, he did not appear on screen in either of Anvil's appearances. He was acknowledged by the team after the Armed Forces Melee, where they referred to him as the team's technical expert, but he could not attend filming, with the on-screen reason claiming that Woodburn was "on a course".

The team members seen on screen were Mark Ellis, Graham Robertson and Karl Walsh. Karl Walsh worked on the mechanics of Anvil, and drove the robot. He was notable for being 6 foot 9, so tall that after the second round battle in the Forces Special, Craig Charles brought out a box for a joke, so that he could stand above him. Mark Ellis was the Team Captain and organiser of the team. Graham Robertson joined the team late, in August 2001. According to the Anvil website, he was "responsible for moral support".[5]

Tim Woodburn was briefly involved with Force Majeure, a robot which was intended to enter Series 5, although Woodburn left the team in 2000 to work on Anvil.

Robot HistoryEdit

Extreme 1Edit

Anvil fought in both Armed Forces tournaments of the first series of Extreme. Firstly it faced Mega-Hurts of the Navy and Rhino of the Army in the Armed Forces Melee.

"Anvil suffered from very bad interference and poor R/C reception throughout the fight, the editing crew for the show did well to find some tape of us moving. We attacked Rhino's tracks as it was the only thing we could do. A judges decision gave the victory to us despite ending up in the pits with the other two robots. We got Rhino's track off too!"
— Tim Woodburn on the Anvil website[6]

Rhino drives over Anvil

At the start of the battle, Anvil went after Rhino, and Rhino reversed away from them, into the pit release button. Anvil got side-on against Rhino and pushed it, but Rhino turned and used its shovel to push Anvil close to the pit. However, Anvil escaped and Rhino pursued it. Mega-Hurts then rammed Anvil from behind as Rhino was attacking the front of Anvil, and Rhino drove up on top of Anvil, driving over it and Mega-Hurts. Anvil rammed Rhino into the arena wall, before letting it go. Rhino drove away towards the arena centre, followed by Anvil. The three robots met by the flame pit, with Anvil finding itself caught between its two opponents. Rhino pushed both robots against an angle grinder together. Mega-Hurts escaped, so Rhino tried to push Anvil against the grinder, then the arena wall, but the angle they drove at meant that Anvil was easily able to get away from the wall. Anvil drove at Rhino's side and pushed it across the arena, managing to dislodge one of Rhino's tracks. After being rammed by Mega-Hurts, which drove away, Anvil got around the other side of Rhino and pushed it some more, trying to push it onto the flame pit.

"Anvil, very, very low. Only fourteen centimetres off the arena floor. Rhino failing to track properly, in trouble, that's for sure."
— Jonathan Pearce as Anvil rams Rhino
ArmedForcesFaceOff 3

The victorious Anvil is pitted

However, as it got close to the flame pit, Rhino drove forwards to get away from Anvil, and when Anvil tried to ram Rhino again, it drove at the wrong angle, pushing past Rhino and driving onto the flame pit itself. Meanwhile Mega-Hurts seemed to have steering issues and got itself stuck on the edge of the pit. Rhino pushed Mega-Hurts down, before reversing on top of Anvil. This allowed Anvil to push it to the pit, but Rhino did not fall in because Mega-Hurts was in the pit, so Anvil was stuck under Rhino. Dead Metal came in and pushed both robots in together. The judges decided that Anvil had won as it was the last robot to be pitted.

"It just evolved from what we had available in the workshop, the steel shape came out the way it did, many midnight hours were burnt, and that's the way it turned out, at 2 o'clock in the morning!"
— Mark Ellis on the design and construction of Anvil.

Anvil returned in a special episode dedicated to see which one of the Armed Forces had the best robot.


The Anvil team's introduction, showing the team landing a helicopter

"We're going to rise above the rest and show them what it means to be at the sharp end!"
— Team Anvil's introduction

As with all six Armed Forces teams, the team filmed a special introduction, theirs showing the team landing with Anvil in a helicopter. In the first round it faced Sub-Version from the Submarine Corps and Shockwave of the Police.

Shockwave vs Anvil

Shockwave uses its front spikes on Anvil

Anvil was slow to start, and as it drove for Shockwave, Sub-Version rammed into it before attacking Shockwave. Anvil drove at Shockwave, bumping into it before turning away. Shockwave drove after Anvil, but drove at the wrong angle, and ended up side-on. Shockwave drove in front of Anvil, blocking the RAF machine's path as it turned around to bring its spinning blade into play. Sub-Version came in behind Anvil, but Anvil was low enough to avoid the spikes, so escaped. Sub-Version fought Anvil, and when Anvil charged at Sub-Version, it stopped before making contact and reversed into Shockwave.

"Anvil is between the two of them. Originally built by RAF Kinloss for tri-service promotional and recruiting drives."
— Jonathan Pearce
Anvil vs Shockwave

Anvil nudges Shockwave into the pit

Shockwave tried to attack with the cutting blade, but Anvil was too low for it to hit. The three robots fought in an empty CPZ at the bottom of the arena, and Sergeant Bash came in. Bash pushed Sub-Version, which had been trying to escape, back into the CPZ, and Anvil escaped, followed by Shockwave and Sub-Version. Anvil tried to push Shockwave, but when Sub-Version came in, Anvil drove away, driving towards the bottom of the arena as Subversion and Shockwave fought. Anvil came back, charging at Shockwave and pushing it with the spikes, but Shockwave turned, and used its own spikes to push Anvil. Anvil turned away to escape Shockwave, and after bumping into Sub-Version, then Shockwave, before it got side-on against Shockwave and started pushing it, whilst Sub-Version opened the pit. Anvil pushed Shockwave by the pit as it opened, before turning away. Shockwave drove after Anvil, but became stuck on the pit. Anvil nudged Shockwave a couple of times, trying to get it to fall down properly, before Sub-Version dealt the final blow, knocking Shockwave into the pit.

"The Police Force, knocked into the pit by an RAF fly-by!"
Craig Charles after the battle

In the next round it faced the Fire Service entry, Oblark.

"I think they're a bit naive, they've even painted a target on the side of their robot for us to hit, and once we get the axe into that target, all be over!"
— Stan Launchbury, mocking the RAF logo
Anvil vs Oblark

Anvil pushes Oblark towards the fire

Oblark vs Anvil

Anvil pushes Oblark which breaks its own flipper

Anvil started much faster, ramming Oblark into the arena wall. Anvil backed off for another charge. Oblark turned around, but in doing so, drove near Shunt's CPZ. Before it could get away, Shunt axed the top of it. As this was happening, Anvil drove into Shunt, before driving away. Oblark slowly tried to move away, but Anvil charged in and prevented it escaping, so Shunt axed the Fire Service's machine again and lifted it up and turned it over with the scoop. Anvil pushed Oblark into an angle grinder, then drove off as Oblark tried to self-right. Oblark's flipper left the robot stuck on its front, so Shunt knocked it back onto its wheels. Anvil drove at Oblark's side, pushing it and turning it into the arena wall. Oblark became stuck, as its axe was out, so the robot was hooked onto the arena wall. Anvil rammed it, and drove to the centre of the arena when Refbot came in. Refbot freed Oblark from the arena wall, and pushed it away from the wall. Anvil charged at Oblark again. Oblark reversed up the arena, then drove down to the flame pit, where it briefly stopped, and Anvil pushed it into the arena wall. Oblark was not moving, with only the weapons working. Anvil continued to ram Oblark. Oblark's axe was hanging over the arena wall again, so Refbot freed it from the arena wall before Anvil opened the pit. Oblark was pushed away from the arena wall by Refbot, and as Refbot reversed, Oblark was spinning on the spot. Anvil pushed it toward the CPZ, an when Oblark fired its flipper, it broke off. Oblark was barely moving by Shunt's CPZ, and Anvil rammed it against the wall. Shunt axed Oblark, before pushing it onto the floor flipper, where it was counted out before being thrown. Anvil was through to the final.

"It's Anvil, it can take a lot of hammer, it's great! It's tough as old boots and Karl did some great driving today!"
— Mark Ellis on Anvil's performance

In the Final, Anvil fought Navy entry Mega-Hurts for the second time.

"We're going to destroy them, we're going to sink them, they won't know what's going to hit them!"
— Confidence from Graham Robertson before the battle

The two robots briefly circled each other, until Anvil got side-on against Mega-Hurts and pushed it towards a CPZ, but it escaped.

"Anvil by far the quicker, looks to me to be the stronger, is the heavier by 10 kilos."
— Jonathan Pearce
Shunt vs Mega-Hurts

Anvil traps Mega-Hurts by Shunt

Anvil vs Mega-Hurts

Anvil wedges Mega-Hurts under the angle grinder

The two robots bumped into each other several times with limited effect. Mega-Hurts drove into the CPZ, with the axe narrowly missing, before it was pushed out by Shunt. Mega-Hurts slowly drove away, then tried to attack Anvil, but despite hitting it side-on, could do no damage, nor push the RAF machine. Anvil drove away and activated the pit release button. Mega-Hurts drove at Anvil, Anvil turned around to try and push Mega-Hurts, but Mega-Hurts turned away. The two robots met head-on, and Mega-Hurts drove away from Anvil, circling round the flame pit as it did so. As Anvil chased after it, Mega-Hurts drove into the wall and became wedged under an angle grinder after a slam from Anvil. Refbot freed Mega-Hurts after bumping into Anvil. As Mega-Hurts re-joined the fight, Dead Metal came out of his CPZ illegally and tried to attack Mega-Hurts, but the Navy machine got away before major damage was sustained. Anvil came in, bumping into the front of Mega-Hurts, before driving past. As Anvil drove around Dead Metal, Mega-Hurts had a chance to escape, but it drove into the arena wall again. It turned away, but turned onto the flame pit, so turned back to the wall. Meanwhile, Anvil was driving around the arena, trying to get at a good angle to attack. As Anvil closed in, Mega-Hurts turned away from the wall, but stopped over the flame pit. Anvil drove around Mega-Hurts, holding it by the flames, then pushing it away, before driving off. Anvil soon came in for another attack, getting behind Mega-Hurts, pushing it into the centre of the arena, before turning around and pushing it towards Shunt's CPZ. However, as it did so, Mega-Hurts turned around, and used its spikes to push Anvil towards the CPZ. Shunt came out and tried to axe Anvil, narrowly missing. Both robots drove away from the CPZ, and tried to get in a good position to ram the other.

Anvil vs Mega Hurts

Anvil continues to engage Mega-Hurts

Anvil vs Mega-Hurts

Dead Metal pits Anvil illegally

Anvil rammed Mega-Hurts into the arena wall again. Mega-Hurts drove off when Anvil reversed, but appeared to have steering difficulties as it was struggling to drive in a straight line or move forwards. Mega-Hurts drove into a CPZ, followed by Anvil. Dead Metal came into the CPZ and pushed Anvil away, but knocked it into the pit in the process. As this was an illegal move by the House Robot, the battle went to the judges, who voted for Anvil.

"We just thought we'd pound them, and then when pounding didn't work, we thought we'd open the pit and... then we fell down it!"
— Karl Walsh


Extreme Series 1
Armed Forces Melee
Melee vs. Mega-Hurts, Rhino Won
Forces Special
Round 1 vs. Sub-Version, Shockwave Qualified
Semi-Final vs. Oblark Won
Final vs. Mega-Hurts Won


  • Wins: 4
  • Losses: 0

Series RecordEdit

  • Anvil with its unused wedge, shortly before Extreme 1
  • Anvil before being decorated with the RAF symbols
  • The original Anvil with its team
  • The first model of Anvil that only competed at live events
  • Anvil CAD model
  • The internals of the Extreme 1 Anvil
  • Anvil after its appearance on Robot Wars
Main Series Anvil Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
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
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Armed Forces Champion
Series 2 Did not enter


  • Anvil was originally intended to be armed with an axe, but due to a lack of time before its first event, it was not completed[7]. The team also didn't have time to build an axe for the second model, so instead decided to make the robot invertible.
    • The person who designed the axe weapon was a physicist, who actually lived at the other side of the country to the rest of the team, meaning they had to communicate by e-mail and letter.
  • Anvil fought all five of the other robots in the Extreme 1 Forces Special at some point, the only armed forces competitor to do so.

External LinksEdit


Undefeated Robot (4 wins)


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. [3]
  4. [4]
  5. [5]
  6. [6]
  7. Anvil - Build Diary
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.