- "I wanted something that's going to snap down and clamp... and thinking along them lines, I sort of got inspired by - you know the chattering teeth, the comedy teeth? And then, I went for that..."
- — Tom Lloyd to Haynes Manuals
Bucky the Robot, often shortened to Bucky, was a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 10 of Robot Wars. It was built by Team Tomco, who were accompanied by Bucky the Mascot, a large red mascot 'tooth' with a large mouth and moving eyebrows. In its only appearance, Bucky the Robot lost its Group Battle to Rapid, and was eliminated after losing its Robot Redemption battle to newcomer Vulture.
- "Chomp on down!"
- — Robot Wars: The Official Handbook
Bucky the Robot's design and weapon is based upon chattering teeth, and the weapon is a large guillotine-type weapon with two large teeth, which snaps down on other robots with a third of a tonne in force, classed to be a crusher by Robot Wars: The Official Handbook, and a 'biter bot' on the Robot Wars website. The teeth can damage robots directly, or hold them in place for Bucky the Robot to push opponents. The jaw also served as a self-righting mechanism if the robot is directly on its back, although Bucky the Robot cannot self-right from all sides. A 'wind-up key' protrudes out of the side of the robot, reinforcing the theme, while an air-horn was used in its Group Battle to signal the jaw weapon firing.
- "I like the instant action of a flipper, but I didn't want to do something that someone else has already done, so I thought I could go with the complete opposite of a flipper and try to have something that's got that quick action, but downwards, and use that as a clamping, biting... along them lines, I made a giant mechanical set of teeth!"
- — Tom Lloyd to Haynes Manuals
Bucky the Robot's overall design was a very steep wedge, driven by two yellow wheels at the rear, creating top speeds of 18mph through its MPC T-64 gear motors running at 34V. However, its back end is unprotected, with certain components being completely exposed, and the rest of the armour consisted only of 10mm plastic and 10mm polycarbonate, on a steel chassis. Bucky had no base plate, which actually helped it when it fought Rapid.
- "At times the mouth is literally wide open to attacks"
- — Robot Wars website
The robot's name is derived from 'buck teeth', and is printed on the side of the robot as #BuckytheRobot. The full name "Bucky the Robot" was given to differentiate the competitor from its similarly named mascot, "Bucky the Mascot".
- "I'm a mechanical design engineer so making all the things move is fine, I design pneumatic systems at low pressure. This is all high pressure stuff, so that was very difficult, was very dangerous, so getting that safety stuff was all a learning curve. I also had to learn all the electronics as well, because I've never done any of that before, and some of the components can be quite expensive, you can blow them up quite easily."
- — Tom Lloyd on becoming a roboteer
Bucky the Robot was entered by the Middlesex-based Team Tomco, named after its captain Tom Lloyd, a 28-year old mechanical engineer at the company Andron Handling, who sponsored the build process of Bucky the Robot, as well as Androne 4000, which was also designed in part by Tom Lloyd. He also primarily built the robot, and was in charge of maintenance. Tom Lloyd was joined by his housemates, 26-year old events manager Sabrina Ferriggi, and 28-year old maintenance engineer Mo Hassaini, the latter of whom assisted with the electronics of Bucky the Robot.
- "Bucky The Robot is the only competitor to have its very own mascot in the team."
- — The Robot Wars website on Bucky the Mascot
The fourth member of the team was "Bucky", alternatively "Bucky the Mascot", a character dressed as a large red tooth, with a big open-mouthed face. The eyebrows of Bucky could also move, in order to change the mascot's expression, although the character could not speak, despite interacting with Dara Ó Briain in the episode, with the presenter initially being scathing towards the mascot before developing a 'friendship' with Bucky after the team were eliminated. At one stage of Team Tomco's only episode, a sequence of shots showed Bucky the Mascot roaming the pits, and a text box naming the character appeared on screen, an edit that would otherwise only be made when a roboteer was speaking. In actuality, the man in costume was Harry Lloyd, the 23-year old brother of Tom Lloyd, as revealed by the Robot Wars website.
- Sabrina Ferriggi: "In these high-pressure situations, the Mascot tends to, erm… wander around a lot."
- Mo Hossaini: "Picks up team morale!"
- — Team Tomco as Bucky the Mascot wanders around The Pits before Bucky the Robot’s battle with Vulture
- Dara Ó Briain: "Yes, yes, this show is all about engineering and creating impressive robots. Not just about engineering, is it though?"
- Tom Lloyd: "It’s about putting on a show."
- Dara Ó Briain: "It’s about putting on a show, isn’t it, Tom from Bucky? We’re very, very quickly going to pan to that guy. Who’s that guy?"
- Tom Lloyd: "Erm, this is Mo…"
- Dara Ó Briain: "I didn’t mean Mo, I meant that guy in the tooth."
- Tom Lloyd: "Oh… that’s Bucky the Mascot."
- — Dara Ó Briain and Tom Lloyd introduce Bucky the Mascot prior to Team Tomco’s debut
Bucky the Robot competed in Heat 3 of Series 10. In its Group Battle, it faced Series 9 returnee Rapid and fellow newcomer Track-tion. Bucky the Robot immediately fired its jaw open and drove past Track-tion, its jaw shutting and opening again as it veered close to Matilda’s CPZ. It lowered its jaw again as it was being pushed by Rapid, and momentarily stopped as ‘Fog of War’ was activated; nevertheless, Bucky the Robot opened its jaw again, and chased Rapid across the arena. The three competitors converged around the arena spikes, with Bucky the Robot lingering in an empty CPZ as Track-tion was flipped over by the spikes and thrown out of the arena. As it drove away, it momentarily got caught on the Flame Pit, and proceeded to dodge a few shoves from Rapid.
- "False teeth, so far – and we know what false teeth look like…"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Bucky the Robot attempts to out-drive Rapid
Firing its jaw, Bucky the Robot was rammed into the wall by Rapid, but drove away, and continued dodging Rapid until it was steered and flipped against one of the entry gates by the latter. After a few seconds, its jaw - suspended over the trench near the already-eliminated Track-tion – snapped shut on the entry gate, enabling Bucky The Robot to grasp the gate, lift itself off the floor and drop back onto its wheels.
- "COME ON, BUCKY!"
- — Angela Scanlon as Bucky the Robot frees itself from the entry gate
Bucky the Robot backed away and dodged Rapid once again, but was repeatedly pushed around the arena by the latter, almost being hit by Matilda’s flywheel and falling onto its side in the process. Rapid threw it onto its back close to another entry gate, although Bucky the Robot landed on its wheels and chased Rapid across the arena in response. The two robots charged head-on into each other, with Bucky the Robot firing its jaw and spinning close to Matilda as Rapid got underneath it once more. Matilda hit Bucky the Robot’s side with her flywheel, before Rapid pushed it onto the arena spikes. Already immobile on one side, Bucky the Robot was thrown onto its back by one of the spikes as it tried to drive off, where a depleted gas supply prevented it from self-righting.
- "There’s no more gas in Bucky; no more nip in those gnashers! It won’t matter, though, I think – are they going to be saved by the bell?"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Bucky the Robot survives to a Judges’ decision
However, with the battle running for the full three minutes, Bucky the Robot avoided a count-out, and survived to a Judges’ decision. Needless to say, the decision unanimously went in favour of Rapid, consigning Bucky the Robot to the Robot Redemption stage along with Track-tion. There, it fought newcomer Vulture, for a chance to remain in contention for a Heat Semi-Final place. Before the battle, Sabrina Ferriggi worked on Bucky the Robot’s wedge in an attempt to bring it closer to the arena floor, while Bucky the Mascot wandered around the Pit area in anticipation.
Straight away, both robots darted towards each other, with Bucky the Robot pursuing and bumping into Vulture as the latter attempted to get its overhead bar spinner working. Bucky the Robot swung its jaw down, but without getting any purchase, before spinning and driving away from Vulture, dodging the latter as it drove onto the Floor Flipper. It capitalised on Vulture’s mistake by pushing the latter as it self-righted, and used its two front teeth to bite down on a gap behind Vulture's front wedge. Bucky the Robot pushed and dragged Vulture into Dead Metal, before letting go, only to be pushed towards Dead Metal and receiving a hit from the House Robot’s saw. It escaped, and drove away to meet Vulture again close to the pit, before the two robots pushed each other around the arena as Vulture’s weapon motor malfunctioned.
Bucky the Robot shut its jaw again, but without grabbing hold of Vulture, and was pushed onto the Floor Flipper by its opponent. This resulted in it being thrown over onto its side; stranded, Bucky the Robot tried several times to shake itself onto its back, but was fully counted out and thrown across the arena by Matilda. As a result, Bucky the Robot was eliminated from Series 10; after the battle, Team Tomco took photos of Bucky the Mascot with the Judges, while Dara Ó Briain held Bucky the Mascot’s arm as they made their way back to The Pits.
- "Bucky, toothless in the end… oh, they entertained us. Well done!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Bucky the Robot is eliminated
|BUCKY THE ROBOT - RESULTS|
|Series 10 - UK Championship|
Robot Redemption Knockouts
|Heat 3, Group Battle||vs. Rapid, Track-tion||Lost|
|Heat 3, Robot Redemption||vs. Vulture||Lost|
- Wins: 0
- Losses: 2
|Series||Bucky the Robot Series Record|
|Series 1-7||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Heat, Round 1|
Outside Robot Wars
In the same year that Team Tomco built Bucky the Robot, the team were invited to compete in the Chinese TV show King of Bots. They competed in the inaugural season with Griffin, a compact, tall robot with a crushing beak weapon, flexible 'wings' and a birdlike design. Team Tomco continued their trend of featuring a comedy mascot in a suit, with the fourth team member dressed as a griffin. As with Bucky the Robot, Griffin's success was limited - in the first round, it lost to Moment on a Judges' decision after the latter's bar spinner damaged Griffin's hydraulics system, front forks and sides. Griffin also fought in a nine-robot Rumble at the end of Season 1, which it lost after getting thrown onto its side by Dark Knight and being left unable to self-right.
For the associated Chinese show, This is Fighting Robots, Team Tomco entered a new version of Griffin, Griffin Mk II, with a completely new design and different jaws. Griffin Mk II also features a four-wheel drive system and a set of interchangeable lifters which are used in conjunction with the crushing jaws, themselves also interchangeable. It first fought a preliminary battle to impress the celebrity team captains, and was selected by Zhang Yishan after clamping and ramming Unlimited Numbers into one of the grinder mounts during the battle. As a result, Griffin Mk II participated in the main competition as a member of Yishan's team. In its main rumble, it fought Blue, Bonfire and Ninja, but was immobilised by a hammer in the corner of the arena. After this performance, Zhang Yishan dropped Griffin Mk II from his team, eliminating it from the competition.
Harry Lloyd, known for dressing as the Team Tomco mascots in Robot Wars and King of Bots, also entered his own machine into This is Fighting Robots. This machine, Lieutenant Bam, was based upon a tank, and was armed with interchangeable overhead weapons inspired by the turret of army vehicles. In its preliminary rumble, Harry Lloyd's machine ironically fought Griffin Mk II, and after being flipped by a Grinder on the side of the arena, Lieutenant Bam self-righted, and was selected to join Sa Beining's team. Lieutenant Bam was chosen to represent its team in a rumble with Mr Hippo, Greedy Snake and Tungsten, and stayed out of the way while Mr Hippo immobilised Tungsten, and Tungsten then threw Mr Hippo into the arena wall. Lieutenant Bam then came in and pounded the motionless Mr Hippo, receiving the credit for its knockout. Lieutenant Bam then landed several blows on Tungsten, which had been rendered weaponless, and won the battle on a Judges' decision. Lieutenant Bam next fought in a Tag Team battle, where it was partnered with Switch to battle the reigning King of Bots champion Spectre and its teammate ORBY Blade, but Lieutenant Bam was pitted by Spectre, and was eliminated from the competition. Lieutenant Bam also fought in the Eight-robot Rumble towards the end of the series, and reached the final four robots, but when the battle was sent to a Judges' decision, Lieutenant Bam was deemed to have been immobilised.
Tom Lloyd also built a new heavyweight robot to compete in live events named Capers!, a 110kg robot armed with a flipping/grabbing wedge, and a swinging chain tail. It made its only combat appearance at Extreme Robots in Guildford, held in June 2018, where it fought against Suspension and ScrappaChucka in one melee which was halted abruptly due to a gas leak from Capers. It also entered into a melee against Suspension and Beast, and a five-way battle with Manta, Eruption, Audacious and Suspension.
Tom Lloyd also competed in the web-series Bugglebots with a beetleweight drum spinner, Flick. In its first battle, Flick was able to tear apart the armour of Snippers McGee, and throw it into the pit. Advancing into the second round, Flick was outfitted with extra armour which had been designed to resist undercutting spinners, and faced the undercutter of Rev 2. However, Flick's extra defence was shattered instantly, and its drum immediately came loose from the robot. The battle was eventually halted to avoid Flick's loose lithium polymer battery from being struck, and Flick was eliminated.
Team Tomco later competed in the 2019 season of BattleBots with the hammer-wielding Jasper. In its first battle, it fought Tantrum and Uppercut in a three-way melee, but Jasper lost the fight to Tantrum and the battle was not televised. Instead, Jasper's first televised battle was a head-to-head against HUGE, where Jasper removed its hammer head in an attempt to use the weapon as a lifter, but Jasper was promptly immobilised in battle, and this proved to be Jasper's final fight.
In August 2019, Jasper and Capers! were both sold on eBay to new owners, with Jasper being purchased by Scottish roboteer Daniel Hawksey, while Capers! was sold to Will Owen. The latter continues to attend live events, notably appearing at the FRA UK Championships in Stevenage and the Extreme Robots Cheltenham event later that year. Capers! would be among the heavyweights in attendance for the Robots Live! Crawley event in October 2021, the first such live event to be held in the UK since the easing of pandemic restrictions.
To compete in a South Korean live event, Tom Lloyd built his first 1lb (450g) robot Chick, armed with an interchangeable cutting saw on moving arm, and chainsaw weapon. Tom Lloyd documented the build of his robot in a YouTube series with Dave Moulds, who was building his own 1lb robot for the same event.
- Both Bucky the Robot and Androne 4000 represented the same company, and Team Tomco are credited for designing Androne 4000.
- Team Tomco are one of only two teams to feature a person in costume as a mascot, the other team being the builders of The Grim Reaper.
- Both of Bucky the Robot's defeats involved it getting flipped and being unable to self-right, although it was not counted out in its Group Battle.
- Coincidentally, both of Bucky the Robot's battles had Matilda as one of the allocated House Robots.
- Tomco Designs Instagram
- BuckytheRobot Twitter
- Tomco Designs YouTube channel
- Bucky the Robot on the Robot Wars website
- Haynes Manual interview with Team Tomco