- "New and untested robot Apex is pushing spinner size to the limit with their huge hammer bar!"
- — Dara Ó Briain
Apex was a heavyweight robot built by Team Terrafonics, which competed in Series 9-10 of Robot Wars. In its debut appearance, Apex was immobilised by a knockout blow from Pulsar during its Series 9 Group Battle. In Series 10, it lost its Group Battle to Terrorhurtz, before spectacularly self-destructing against Track-tion in the Robot Redemption stage.
Apex was the distant successor to TX-108 and was originally built with a similar hydraulic crushing claw under the name TX-109.
- "Apex is the biggest bar spinner ever to compete in Robot Wars!"
- — Craig Danby
Apex was a two-wheel drive robot defined by its 1.2m horizontal spinning bars, each painted gold throughout its appearances. The robot's HARDOX chassis (with armour panels varying in thickness between 4 and 10mm) somewhat resembled an inverted 'Y' shape when viewed from the front section, itself fitted with two spiked extensions on either side. With its 37kg bar spinning at up to 1,850rpm (also quoted as 1,750rpm in official publications), Apex had the potential to inflict significant damage to opponents, while the robot itself also a high top speed of 18mph. The weapon could enable Apex to self-right by spinning the robot's body in place until centrifugal forces turned it back over. However, the bar spinner was untested before entering the arena in Series 9; as such, it was discovered during combat that Apex's spinner initially took a comparatively long time to reach its maximum rotational speed.
- "Apex's weapon is a 1,200mm long, 1in thick hardened steel bar spinning at 1,750rpm and using a motor at 58.8V. It has a top speed of 242mph."
- — Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on the Series 9 version of Apex
While Apex was painted maroon and gold in Series 9, the main chassis was repainted blue colour for Series 10, and its weapon spin-up time was improved. Alongside the existing symmetrical bar, now weighing 39.75kg, Team Terrafonics also created a new 38.45kg asymmetric spinner. Though lighter than the symmetrical bar, the latter (modelled on a Warhammer map) could deliver a variable damage output depending on which end connected with opponents. Both spinners were interchangeable, alongside a third unseen bar mentioned in Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot.
Upon entry into Series 10, Apex was planned to compete as a shufflebot, arriving at the studio with a legged mechanism. Confirming Team Terrafonics' intentions were references to the 'shuffler' system on the official Robot Wars website as well as publications such as Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot. However, one side of the shuffling drive failed in the test arena, forcing the team to revert Apex back to its two-wheel setup before filming. Had Apex been granted the weight bonus through its intended shufflebot configuration, it would have fought alongside featherweight minibots which were kept under the robot's pit bench.
- "Apex is a shuffler robot that moves using a system made of 14 legs. It also has three interchangeable bar weapons..."
- — Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on Apex's planned design for Series 10, also alluding to a third interchangeable bar spinner
- Main article: Team Danby
Apex was primarily built and captained by Chris Danby, one half of Team Danby. Under his captaincy, the team went under the name of Team Terrafonics, while teams led by brother Craig Danby went by "Team Danby". Chris Danby captained the team in both Series 9 and 10, although brother Craig Danby was given the main speaking role when he joined the team in Series 10, following his own robot Foxic not being selected to compete. Sam Price was a consistent team member for Series 9 and 10, while Jack Tweedy joined for Series 10 alone.
Apex was built by Craig Danby and Chris Danby of Team Danby. Despite this, Apex applied for Series 8 under the pure captaincy of Chris Danby, where the team becomes known as Team Terrafonics, as Craig Danby had applied with another robot made by the team, Foxic. At the time of applications, Apex had changed to a bar spinner in anticipation of the new series. The previous version was a 100kg robot with a vertical crushing spike as its weapon. The crushing spike was intended to pierce through opponents, and also serve as the robot's self-righting mechanism, much unlike other crusher-wielding robots as Razer and Tiberius, which have separate srimechs. However, Apex was not selected to compete in Series 8, while Foxic was. Chris Danby then joined Foxic's team for filming of Series 8.
- "Since not being accepted into Robot Wars last year, Apex has been completely redesigned, with the only shared component being the speed controller. Both Chris and Sam used to be in Team Foxic and have now created their own team."
- — The Robot Wars website
Following its conversion into a bar spinner, Apex was not originally chosen to compete in Series 9, but was brought into the series after PacifieR withdrew with a minor circuity issue, while Craig Danby also qualified with Foxic for a second series.
In Series 10, Apex qualified for the series outright, as its application form stated the team's intentions to convert the robot into a shufflebot. Craig Danby did not qualify with Foxic, so he rejoined Team Terrafonics for the series.
- Angela Scanlon: "What weight is it?"
- Chris Danby: "The whole rotating mass, pulley, bar everything, so you're looking at about 37kg."
- Angela Scanlon: "I mean, to put that in perspective, Carbide's is 25kg, right?"
- — The interview on Apex's bar spinner
Apex competed in Episode 4, where it replaced the last-minute withdrawal PacifieR. It was drawn into a difficult Group Battle, facing a veteran from the classic series, Crushtacean, a fellow bar spinner in Ironside3, and Grand Finalist from Series 8, Pulsar. However, Apex started the battle at a disadvantage, as a communication error led Team Terrafonics and Team Crushtacean to believe that the '3, 2, 1, Activate' signal was a test for the audience, when in fact it was the beginning of the battle.
- "This could be all about the weight and power of Apex's huge bar, or that drum of Pulsar."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Apex initially hesitated to get involved as a result of this error, and began spinning its weapon up to speed as its opponents attacked and drove around the arena, with Crushtacean already immobilised at this stage. Eventually, Pulsar's drum hit Apex's spinner, sending Apex spinning violently into the air and causing it to land hard on the arena floor. The attack damaged the bearings and motors for both Apex's drive and weapon, immobilising it instantly, with Apex eventually being counted out and eliminated from Series 9 along with Crushtacean.
- "I didn't take into account the force of the spinner weapon so when it hit Pulsar the motor pretty much separated. It was just very, very fragile."
- — Chris Danby
- "Apex represents about three thousand hours of work. If Apex gets destroyed, it would be just the worst feeling in the world."
- — Craig Danby
Apex returned in Heat 3 of Series 10. For its Group Battle – against original series Grand Finalist Terrorhurtz and series newcomer Vulture – Team Terrafonics fitted its new asymmetrical bar spinner for the first time. The team had earlier encountered problems with Apex in testing (see Design), resulting in them also replacing its shuffling mechanism with its original two-wheel drive system prior to the battle.
- Angela Scanlon: "That looks like one whopper of a spinner!"
- Craig Danby: "Yeah, this is the little one!"
- — Craig Danby on Apex's new asymmetric spinner
Unmentioned on the televised broadcast, Apex’s Group Battle was fought twice. In the first attempt, Apex was rammed by Terrorhurtz almost immediately, sparks flying as it was sent gyrating towards the wall. Apex’s spinner broke a panel off the wall upon impact, stopping the battle after just four seconds had elapsed. This hit caused Apex's bar to flex and hit the pulley. Repairs were carried out to the arena, and the battle was restarted.
- "The pressure is massively on. We’ll either go down in a blaze of glory, or it’ll win everything!"
- — Craig Danby prior to the Group Battle
At the start of the second battle, Apex spun round in circles as it tried to get its bar spinner up to speed. However, it was swiftly rammed by Terrorhurtz, the impact causing the top shaft collar and belt of Apex’s spinner to detach and the weapon to be disabled. Apex and Vulture were simultaneously pushed back by Terrorhurtz, with the former sustaining two axe blows from Terrorhurtz as Vulture broke free.
- "…and they’re locked together, in a dance of doom!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Apex sustains axe blows from Terrorhurtz in the televised Group Battle
After being pushed into an empty CPZ, Apex drove away from Terrorhurtz and was collected by Vulture, but sustained no damage from the newcomer’s overhead bar spinner as it turned round and backed away. As its opponents fought on, Apex pressed the Arena Tyre, triggering ‘Fog of War’ mode and interfering with the vision of Team Immersion. It continued to avoid the action until it drove into Vulture and was spun around following a shove from Terrorhurtz. After several seconds avoiding each of its opponents, Apex backed into Terrorhurtz and Vulture, the three robots becoming wedged together over the Flame Pit as a result, to laughter from Team Terrafonics.
Shunt prised the competitors apart, before Apex got underneath and briefly pushed Terrorhurtz. Apex attempted to push Terrorhurtz again, only to drive itself up Vulture’s wedge and expose itself to another succession of blows from the former’s axe. After being left in a CPZ, Apex met Terrorhurtz again, smoke pouring from it as it was being pushed and axed by the Team Hurtz machine. Apex lured Terrorhurtz across the arena, dodging another blow as Terrorhurtz threw itself forwards and into Shunt. Another push from Terrorhurtz immobilised Apex near the arena spikes, where it was left to be counted out.
- "Apex now stilled… and then there was one."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Apex stands immobile and smoking
With this, Apex was consigned to the Robot Redemption round, where it fought Track-tion for a chance to progress to the Heat Semi-Finals. Complications arose in The Pits, where Craig Danby discovered that as a prank, Jason Marston had taped all of Team Terrafonics’ tools onto their pit table. However, the team were able to carry out the necessary repairs, and decided to equip Apex with its symmetrical bar for this battle.
- "If we lose this fight, that’s… a big-time suckie. It’s just a case of putting the bar on, and destroying the hopes and dreams of some children."
- — Craig Danby discusses Apex’s chances of success against Track-tion
Both robots started tentatively, with Apex gingerly approaching Track-tion as it got its bar spinner (which was unbalanced) up to speed. Momentarily spinning round, it steered itself into Track-tion’s wedge, sending sparks flying with two successive hits, with Team Terrafonics attempting to reduce the bar speed. However, these attacks de-stabilised Apex; seconds later, its bar spinner hit its own pulley system, causing the weapon to shear off and Apex itself to tremble violently while propelling towards Sir Killalot’s CPZ.
- "Oh, well, they’ve spun horribly out of control! What on earth happened there? Bits flying off completely… oh my goodness me, I’ve never seen it before! They don't even know what happened to their hugely powerful bar spinner! The arena’s in shards!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Apex's bar detaches and damages the arena wall
Apex’s bar spinner cleaved through one of the bulletproof wall panels, while the robot itself was picked up and pitted by Sir Killalot after ‘Cease’ had been called. Not mentioned on the broadcast, Team Terrafonics managed to get Apex ready to fight again, despite having a clipped wire, which would have prevented Apex from moving forwards, as well as having significantly bent panels and forks. This defeat resulted in Apex being eliminated from Series 10, with Craig Danby and Dara Ó Briain discussing afterwards the damage its bar dealt to the arena wall.
- Craig Danby: "We’re trying to contain 106 kilojoules of energy, it’s just – there’s nothing that powerful out here, so ... we’ve never built anything like that, and we will never build anything like that again."
- Dara Ó Briain: "Oh I don’t know – I think this is fun! This is great. You’re out of the competition, that’s not fun for you."
- Craig Danby: "No, no."
- Dara Ó Briain: "But look at that – look at that!"
- — Craig Danby and Dara Ó Briain discuss the damage done to the arena wall following Apex’s self-destruction
|APEX - RESULTS|
|Series 9 - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Episode 4, Group Battle||vs. Crushtacean, Ironside3, Pulsar||Eliminated|
|Series 10 - UK Championship|
Robot Redemption Knockouts
|Heat 3, Group Battle||vs. Terrorhurtz, Vulture||Lost|
|Heat 3, Robot Redemption||vs. Track-tion||Lost|
- Wins: 0
- Losses: 3
|Main Series||Apex Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Featherweight Championship with Deadline|
|The Third Wars||Super Heavyweight Championship with Toxin (event cancelled)|
|The Fourth Wars||Failed to qualify with Vindicare|
|The Fifth Wars||Failed to qualify with TX-108|
|The Sixth Wars||Failed to qualify with TX-108|
|The Seventh Wars||Featherweight Championship with Gi-Ant-O|
Unused reserve, Tanto
Failed to qualify with TX-108
|Series 8||Not selected|
Entered with Foxic
|Series 9||Heat, Round 1|
Entered with Foxic (Craig Danby)
|Series 10||Heat, Round 1|
Not selected with Foxic (Craig Danby)
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Entered with TX-108 (unaired)|
Entered with Anto
|Series 2||Entered with Gi-Ant-O|
- NOTE 1: Tanto, a robot built by Team Danby, also competed in the untelevised Series 8 Pilot under new ownership of Team Immersion.
- NOTE 2: Craig Danby also competed in Battle of the Stars as mentor for The Cat.
Outside Robot Wars
Apex attended Extreme Robots in Gloucester in October 2017, where spinners were legalised, but Apex chose not to run its weapon in battle with TR3, ThunderChild and Up Vote. It survived for longer than ThunderChild and Up Vote, but was eventually pitted by Major Damage, which also dropped TR3 out of the arena.
Under the assumption that the BBC would renew Robot Wars for its eleventh series, Team Danby built a new version of Apex featuring a square-shaped chassis, designed to incorporate its shuffler locomotion alongside its existing spinner. The team completed the machine even in the knowledge that it would no longer be able to enter Robot Wars, and began testing it in March 2019.
At the Extreme Robots event in Portsmouth in May 2018, the Series 10 version of Apex competed with the use of its asymmetrical spinner, now using a less powerful weapon system and held in place by stronger bearings. In one battle, it tore armour away from the new version of Expulsion and won the battle by knockout, and it later defeated Donald Thump. Apex would ultimately finish fourth at the event, despite encountering drive issues throughout. Apex also competed at the Extreme Robots event in Cheltenham, using its asymmetric spinner in November 2018. However, Apex was quickly flipped over by Beast in the first round, and was also overturned by the floor flipper in its losers' melee, which TR3 won. Outside of the main competition, Apex did compete in a whiteboard battle against S.M.I.D.S.Y. and Tauron. Apex returned for the May 2019 Extreme Robots event in Portsmouth, but sustained major damage in battle with Aftershock, and was retired for the remainder of the event.
For the featherweight championship held by King of Bots in August 2018, Team Danby competed with a featherweight version of Apex, referred to as Apex FW. It used the chassis structure, colour scheme and straight-bar weapon design of the Series 9 version of Apex, but with new cutting teeth on the side of the blade. It suffered from drive issues in its opening battle against The Mighty Unicorn and also lacked its working weapon, but won the battle by knockout when The Mighty Unicorn beached itself on the arena wall. Despite collecting this win, Apex did not compete in either of its scheduled melees afterwards. Following its elimination from the main competition, Apex was able to get its weapon working in testing, and took part in a Tag Team battle, where it was partnered with Broadax. Although it lost the use of its weapon following its first attack, it and Broadax proceeded to win the battle on a Judges' decision.
In the online web-series Bugglebots, Chris Danby competed with a beetleweight version of the Apex design, Apex BW. The robot was plagued with issues concerning its bar spinner throughout the event, which could only spin for a few seconds against SCD before losing mobility to one wheel from the first impact. Apex BW won the losers' melee against The Berg and Léim, but it was pitted by Claws 2 in the Heat semi-final, eliminating it from the competition.
Chris Danby would enter a new version of the beetleweight Apex, named Apex BW2, in the second season of Bugglebots. Apex BW2 was selected as a reserve and did not compete in the main competition, but it did fight in an end-of-series rumble alongside eight other reserve robots. In this fight, Apex BW2 was eliminated quickly after it managed to overturn itself without making contact with its opponents and was unable to self-right.
Robot Wars Live Events
After TX-108 had regularly participated in Roaming Robots events, TX-109 competed at its first official Robot Wars live event at Newport in 2014. TX-109 continued to take part under the new name of Apex, including an appearance at Barnsley in 2015, though did not find major success.
Apex fought at the Robot Wars World Championships held at Colchester in 2015, where in the first round, it was drawn against Manta, DTK and Titan. DTK was quickly thrown out of the arena by Manta, at which point, Apex broke down. With Manta and Titan both mobile, it seemed as though Apex would be eliminated – however, it was saved by a stroke of luck when Manta threw Titan out of the arena before Apex could be officially deemed immobile. In the second round, Apex faced ThunderChild and Nuts. ThunderChild's flipper was broken, and so could not self-right when turned over by the floor flipper, leaving Apex to fight Nuts alone. However, Nuts was too tall and slippery for Apex to grab properly, and so Apex lost the Judges’ decision. Apex was given a second chance in a losers’ melee against Cherub, but Apex broke down again, leaving it to be turned over by Cherub's lifting prongs.
Apex was converted into a bar spinner in 2016, and fought at the Robot Wars Live Tour in 2016, which was at Portsmouth, but due to safety regulations, could only run its bar spinner at 100rpm. Apex's speed controller burnt out during a battle with Behemoth.
For the Colchester event, held in September of the same year, Apex was rebuilt as Big Panda Hatchet, after the series of featherweights under the name of Hatchet. Both robots feature an electric axe, both in the style of a typical axe instead of a proper hatchet, as well as two-wheel drive and a wedge with very little length. However, that is where the similarities end. Big Panda Hatchet did not enjoy as much success as the robot it was based on, losing all of its battles. The reason for this was that Team Danby was building a new chassis for Apex and did not want to scrap the original chassis.
- The Series 9 Apex was unofficially revealed in an AI mod for the video game Robot Arena 2, alongside the Series 9 Foxic.
- Terrorhurtz's push on Apex during the initial four seconds of their Series 10 Group Battle was used in montages shown before the Third Place Playoff rounds of every heat in that series. However, the clip was not broadcast as part of the battle due to Apex breaking the arena wall so quickly.
- teamDANBY website
- Apex - Team Terrafonics Facebook page
- Team Danby Facebook page
- Footage of Apex's shufflebot system
- Apex (Series 9) on the Robot Wars website
- Apex (Series 10) on the Robot Wars website
- Stated by Craig Danby to audience at filming