Bludgeoners were a type of rotating weapon used in Robot Wars. Manic Mutant was the first robot to use this type of weapon when it appeared in Series 3, although the name was coined by the Inverterbrat team, whose robot also first appeared later on in the same series.
The most notable and successful robot with a bludgeoner is Combat Ant, which won the Antweight Championship in the first series of Robot Wars Extreme and reached the final in the following series. Series 5 and 7 competitor Rick also enjoyed considerable success in Nickelodeon Robot Wars, co-winning the International Tag Team Terror with Ming 3 while equipped with a bludgeoner.
A bludgeoner, face spinner or tool spinner is a rotating weapon mounted at a vertical angle and positioned sideways, which can take the form of discs, drums or blades. The top of the weapon faces forward or backwards depending on where it is positioned, and rotates sideways in a similar manner to a drill. Bludgeoners usually have two or more bars, spikes or teeth fixed to the rim, pointing in the direction where the weapon is facing, which are used to catch on and damage opponents when they come into contact.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Bludgeoners were fairly simple to construct in contrast to other rotating weapons, simply consisting of a small disc, drum or blade connected to an electric motor.
- Modern, larger bludgeoners, like that of Expulsion, can output more damage than previous designs.
- They are very effective in lighter weight categories, especially in Antweight competitions, where they have the capacity to inflict significant damage on, flip and even throw opponents out of the arena. Combat Ant was especially notable for flinging Pants out of the arena during the Antweight Melee from the first series of Robot Wars Extreme, as well as generally being very destructive throughout its appearances.
- They are especially well-suited to invertible designs, with Inverterbrat, Combat Ant and Rick being notable examples.
- As a result of the blades spinning sideways, bludgeoners have a very limited attack range, and can usually only strike opponents when in close range.
- In heavyweight competitions, bludgeoners often struggle to cause damage to opponents, usually due to their small size or their tendency to stop upon contact. This was best shown in the first series of Dutch Robot Wars, when El-Mower was unable to damage Flextreme at all during their first-round battle. Even so, El-Mower still won the jury's decision after it used its weapon to constantly hit Flextreme and help push it around the arena.
- If improperly mounted, they can prove very inefficient, especially against opponents with low wedges. Manic Mutant and Rhino's bludgeoners proved ineffective in their battles against Gravedigger and Storm 2, as their opponents' wedges were simply able to get underneath the bludgeoner entirely. Rick also struggled in its Series 5 Heat Final against Razer, as Razer was simply able to get underneath and grab it from above.
- Larger bludgeoners, like that of Expulsion, make the robot front-heavy. As a result, Expulsion ended up on its bludgeoner unable to self-right in three of its five battles in Series 10
List of Robots with Bludgeoners
Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight competitors are listed with a green background.
|Robot||Series Appearances with Bludgeoners||Notes|
|Combat Ant||Extreme 1-2||Powerful enough to throw another antweight out of the arena, the only bludgeoner to achieve this feat. Extreme 1 Antweight Champion.|
|Conquering Clown||US Season 1|
|Ellie's Little Pink-Bot||Extreme 2||Robot never moved, and did not demonstrate its weapon|
|El-Mower||Dutch Series 1||Small bar attached to the surface of the spinner|
|Expulsion||Series 10||Largest and heaviest bludgeoner in Robot Wars. Three interchangeable tool spinners; one with two teeth and a tip speed of 92mph, the other two being lighter three-spoked spinners with hinged blades or flails.|
|Fatal Traction||Extreme 2||Two bludgeoners, one on the front, one on the rear|
|Inverterbrat||Series 3-4||Series 3 Heat Finalist.|
|Junkyard Queen||German Series|
|Manic Mutant||Series 3||First robot with a bludgeoner.|
|Millennium Bug||Series 4|
|Overdozer||Series 8||6,000rpm, three-pronged brushcutter blade at rear.|
|Rick||Series 5, 7, Extreme 2, Nickelodeon||Series 5 Heat Finalist and Nickelodeon Tag Team winner, paired with Ming 3; also armed with a rear-hinged flipper, which it used much more. than the bludgeoner.|
|Twister (UK)||Series 5||Had a rotational speed of 55mph, and a three-bladed drill cutter attached to the front.|