Axlebots are a type of competitor robot whose design is characterised by a minimalistic body and two large wheels. They began appearing in Robot Wars in Series 2, with Wheelosaurus being the first robot to be built in this way.
The most successful axlebots to appear on the show include Series 4 Grand Finalist Stinger, two-time Semi-Finalist S3, and Dutch Series 2 champion PulverizeR. Other notable examples include American side events runner-up General Chompsalot, and reboot Heat Finalist Gabriel.
What little base an axlebot has is built around the robot's axle, hence the name. The size of the base can be reduced to virtually nothing by housing the electronics inside the robot's wheels, as famously shown by The Master and Stinger, although most of them incorporate their internals into a compact chassis and body which effectively forms the axle, such as S3, PulverizeR and Kill-E-Crank-E. Axlebots are very often the preferred design choice for many thwackbots, although both subtypes can be built with a conventional design. A robot is defined as an axlebot if a central axle runs through the robot for support, or the machine's bodyweight otherwise rests around its wheels. The machine must be invertible, and its wheels must make contact with the arena floor when the robot is placed upright. An exception is made for Tough as Nails, which used a hydraulic ram in place of an axle.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Because of their unconventional design, axlebots can offer themselves numerous advantages over many types of traditional weapons:
- Being inherently invertible, they are not as easily affected by lifting and flipping weapons as conventional designs. Stinger's performances against Bulldog Breed 2, Panic Attack and Chaos 2 in Series 4 showed it as being particularly unaffected by its opponents' lifts, shoves and flips.
- Most of them have virtually no flat sides or surfaces, making them difficult to be struck and damaged by overhead weapons such as axes and hammers.
- Depending on their size, their shape could make them difficult - or even impossible - for gripping weapons to grab hold of them. Razer's crusher was noticeably unable to reach Attila the Drum during the Series 4 Southern Annihilator, while during its Series 8 Head to Head battle against Chompalot, Gabriel was able to push Chompalot back after the latter's wheels lifted off the arena floor trying to grab its body.
- They could offer potentially devastating damage potential - especially to internal components - depending on the power of their drive systems and overhead or torque reaction weapons. Both Stinger and Gabriel were successfully capable of damaging and immobilising their opponents through repeated blows with their respective mace and sword weapons.
- They were easily compatible with vertical flywheels. S3 and PulverizeR were all able to use this weapon type with devastating effect throughout their respective appearances, with other robots such as Infernal Contraption and Kill-E-Crank-E incorporating a spinner into their design.
- Such are their more flamboyant and persistent attacking styles, axlebots could often score highly on aggression, damage and, prior to Series 8, style. Again, Stinger's victory against Panic Attack in the Series 4 Semi-Finals was attributed to the judges viewing it as having more sustained aggression throughout that battle.
- An axlebot requires both of the robots' wheels to be completely exposed and the axles unprotected from shocks. As well as making the electronics housed in their wheels vulnerable to internal damage, this design requirement often leaves the wheels, motors and axles themselves prone to being damaged or broken off. The Mangulator, Chimera and Dee's losses to Ming 2, M.R. Speed Squared and Kadeena Machina respectively were especially indicative of this vulnerability.
- Axlebots are always two-wheel drive with a zero turning circle, making them relatively difficult to control. Such control issues were especially crucial in Stinger's defeats at various points during its run, with the latter ending up in the pit or losing judges' decisions directly because of this factor.
- Depending on their width and the size of their axles, they could be easily pushed around or tipped over upon driving over wedges and scoops. Stinger was especially vulnerable to this issue throughout its appearances, as was S3 during its defeats against Bigger Brother and Firestorm 4.
- Indeed, they were not entirely immune to being grabbed or damaged by gripping or overhead weapons either. Razer was successfully able to grab hold of S3, PulverizeR and Kill-E-Crank-E by their axles, while Stinger was held by Sir Killalot's jaws, Dead Metal's pincers, General Chompsalot's clamp and Behemoth's scoop/axe at various points throughout its appearances.
- They often possessed very little pushing power due to their short bodies and lack of effective wedge, lifting or grabbing weapons. US series competitor General Chompsalot was a notable exception, using a set of hydraulic clamping jaws to grab, push and drag its opponents around the arena.
List of Axlebots
Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background. Robots that fought in the US 1990s events are highlighted with purple.
|Attila the Drum||Series 4||Interchangeable mace and pickaxe|
|Chimera||Series 8-9||Competed in Series 9 as Chimera2.|
|Dee||Series 9||Competed exclusively in Battle of the Stars. Later converted into Portuguese representative Rabid M8.|
|Flip Flop Fly||Series 3|
|Gabriel||Series 8, 10||Largest competitor robot in the show's history. Interchangeable swinging weapons including a sword, axes, hammers and maces; all can operate independently without the robot's wheels moving. Competed in Series 10 as Gabriel 2.|
|General Chompsalot||US Season 1-2|
|Infernal Contraption||Series 6-8, Extreme 2||Also an unused reserve in Series 10.|
|Kill-E-Crank-E||Series 8||Features a 450rpm spinning disc, can swing body overhead to increase the robot's damage output.|
|Mesmer 2||Extreme 2|
|Mjollnir||MTV Pilot||Attended filming for American Robot Wars 2000, but was not selected to compete.|
|PulverizeR||UK Series 7, Extreme Series 2, Dutch Series 1-2||Dutch Series 2 Champion. Armed with a vertical flywheel. Sported a different appearance in Dutch Series 1 under the name Pullverizer.|
|Rabid M8||Series 10||Competed in the World Series as a representative of Portugal. Converted from Dee.|
|S3||Series 5-6, Extreme 2||Series 5 and 6 Semi-Finalist. Armed with a vertical flywheel.|
|Slamtilt||Dutch Series 2|
|Stinger||UK Series 3-6, Extreme 1-2, US Season 1||First robot with a torque reaction weapon (along with Weeliwako) Featured a pizza cutter in Series 3 and a mace in all subsequent appearances. Series 4 Grand Finalist.|
|The Mangulator||Series 4, MTV Pilot||Also appeared in the untelevised American Robot Wars 2000 pilot.|
|The Master||Series 1, 1995 UK Open, 1996 Championship||Credited as the founder of the axlebot. 1995 Robot Wars co-champion.|
|Tough as Nails||UK Series 7-8, Dutch Series 2|
|Wheelosaurus||Series 2, 4||First axlebot to compete in any UK series.|
- The creation of the axlebot is often accredited to The Master, 1995 UK Open Competition winner and 1995 US Robot Wars co-champion.
- Some successful robots such as St. Agro, Wheely Big Cheese and Kadeena Machina can be credited as axlebots by virtue of being two-wheel driven robots held off the ground almost entirely by their wheels, but their lack of a definitive axle or central body between their wheels means they are not truly axlebots.