Robot Wars Wiki

"Named after the beast in Shakespeare's Tempest, and hoping to whip up a storm! Caliban's built from a bolted dexium frame, powered by two 12v batteries. It's spinning dome has slashing and cutting weapons."
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Caliban

Caliban was a competitor robot which exclusively fought in Series 2 of Robot Wars. In its only appearance, it was eliminated at the Gauntlet stage after Sir Killalot picked it up and turned it over close to the start.


"When a man hits an object with a large hammer all of the energy is kinetic, its speed and mass produces the damage. So instead of using a hammer why not use a circular hammer with blades on the side to instead of cave things in, rip things off."
— The Caliban website on pioneering the full body spinner on Robot Wars[1]

Caliban with its flail configuration in the Gauntlet

Top view of Caliban with its full-body spinner

Caliban was a purple, cylindrical-shaped robot built from a bolted dexion frame, and featuring an aluminium shell. The robot was two-wheel driven and armed with a pair of interchangeable horizontal spinning weapons - a top-mounted flail, and a spinning dome made from a 40kg wok, a second weapon concealing the robot's chassis and featuring a pair of cutting blades along its lower rim, with a top spinning speed of 200rpm. The latter weapon was made out of an industrial fan, and featured a polycarbonate top rim. The 'dome', while potentially the first full-body spinner to appear in a televised Robot Wars competition, was never used, as Team TFOSICA elected to use Caliban's flail for its Gauntlet run.

Caliban was sponsored by the company SCOOT, which the robot's visuals were designed to match.

Interestingly, as well as introducing the full-body spinner, the team would also enter the first large vertical spinner in the UK Robot Wars, Daisy Chopper, in Series 3.

"Because of the large currents involved it will be switched on and off using the solenoid connected to it. It will not be run constantly as Dreadnaut demonstrated starter motors burn out if used for too long, it will be switched on by radio to start the wok, then at tested intervals to keep up the speed and KE."
— The team on running Caliban's spinning shell intermittently[2]


Caliban is named after the main antagonist of The Tempest, a play by William Shakespeare. Various test robots built during the creation of Caliban were also known as Tibalt and King Lear to enforce the theme.

The Team[]

Caliban was entered into Robot Wars by Team TFOSICA, which in the TV series was comprised of captain Eric Hodgins, alongside Daniel Bushnall and Martin Beckett. Eric Hodgins was the lead electronics expert of the team, Daniel Bushnall was responsible for building the shell of Caliban, while Martin Beckett also helped with manual labour. Outside of the televised team, extra team members Jaspreet, John and Eric's son Neil all helped with construction and other aspects of Caliban.


Caliban qualified for the Second Wars after attending the auditions. A successor to Caliban, Caliban 2 was listed as an entry for Robot Wars: The Third Wars, however it would not be seen in the televised series[3]. Team TFOSICA would ultimately enter Daisy Chopper into the same series, although it is unknown whether Caliban 2 was a renamed Daisy Chopper, or a separate robot which was scrapped in favour of it.

Robot History[]

Series 2[]

Caliban is intercepted by Sir Killalot

Caliban competed in Heat A, and was the fourth robot in that heat to attempt the Gauntlet. It drove steadily out of its starting gate, turning towards and taking the left-hand route. However, as it turned, it hit the spiked pyramid near the 3.0m marker, and struggled to drive effectively as it backed and hit the pyramid again.

"Driving seems to be a bit of a problem, though. They've lost their way - I think steering is a bit of a problem here...they're all over the place!"
Jonathan Pearce as Caliban struggles to steer properly

Eventually, Caliban turned and drove alongside the pyramid, but backed into the wall, and was intercepted by Sir Killalot as it backed up and attempted to drive past him. Caliban's flail suddenly spun up as Sir Killalot nudged it, knocking off the 3.0m marker in the process, before Sir Killalot hooked Caliban by the chain and turned it over, stopping the flail as he did so.

The inverted Caliban is pushed back towards the start

"Sir Killalot closes in though! Can he stop that flail, flail... rock and roll! Caliban dead and buried - hoisted by his own petard!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Caliban is flipped over by Sir Killalot.

'Cease' was called as Sir Killalot pushed the inverted Caliban back against the railings, with the latter only covering a distance of 0.2m as a result. Unseen on TV, Sir Killalot proceeded to cut away at one of Caliban's wheels, causing further damage. Having reached the shortest distance of all the competitors in its Heat, Caliban was eliminated from the Second Wars.

According to Oliver Steeples, Team TFOSICA later complained that Caliban's Gauntlet run was fixed in an attempt to showcase the strength of Sir Killalot, but again this was not shown on television[4].


Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Gauntlet
Heat A, Gauntlet 0.2m (6th) Eliminated

Series Record[]

Series Caliban Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Heat, Gauntlet
The Third Wars Entered with Daisy Chopper
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

Outside Robot Wars[]

King Lear, an unpainted Caliban during construction

Before Caliban was built, the team created a test robot named Tibalt, again a Shakespeare reference. This tested the drive components of Caliban before it was used by the televised machine. The team then created King Lear to test the weaponry before finally completing Caliban.


  • Caliban is one of twenty robots never to fight in robot combat, having only ever competed in the Gauntlet and/or Trial stages.
  • Having only reached a distance of 0.2m during its run, Caliban earned the dubious distinction of being the worst-performing robot in The Gauntlet across the first two series.
  • Caliban's stats sheet featured two different images of the robot.


External Links[]