"We may only be 'a box driven by a bunch of school kids' but we are a hard box, just look at the size of our axe! That'll put the fear of God into our opponents for sure."
— Team Variabot website

Cataclysmic Variabot, later shortened to C.V., was a robot from Milton Keynes, that fought in both series of Robot Wars Extreme. Having fought and lost in a Mayhem in its first appearance, it represented the Open University in Extreme Series 2 by taking part in the University Challenge, ultimately losing to Tiberius 3 in the second round.

Team Variabot also entered the Featherweight Championship of Robot Wars Extreme: Series 2, using their featherweight version of C.V., AM CVn.


"Cataclysmic Variabot is designed using new interchangeable weapons technology to give the best performance in most situations."
— Cataclysmic Variabot website

Cataclysmic Variabot in Extreme 1

Cataclysmic Variabot was a purple box-shaped robot that was two-wheel driven. It had strong armour, but suffered from a low top speed, particularly in Extreme 1, where its top speed was below 8mph. It was notable for incorporating various interchangeable weapon pods, comparable to Plunderbird 1.

"The weapons consist of; Pneumatic flipper with a single 2" dia cylinder developing just over 0.25 ton lift at 200psi, also doubles as a self righting mechanism. Pneumatically driven pickaxe delivering devastating blows deep inside the opponents defences. Uses constant acceleration mechanism to deliver greatest destruction, also doubles as a self righting mechanism. 18" high pressure spike to pierce the shells and vital systems of the opponent, robot will run both ways up in this mode. There is also a 9" cutting disc that can be mounted to the rear of the unit."
— Cataclysmic Variabot website

The internals of Cataclysmic Variabot

Across Cataclysmic Variabot's three battles, only one weapon was ever used, this being its pneumatic pickaxe, which used a constant acceleration system. The axe was intended to function as a srimech, but it failed to right the robot when it was overturned. C.V. could also be equipped with a 200 PSI pneumatic flipping arm, and an 18" high pressure spike. If C.V. was equipped with the spike, it became invertible. A 9" cutting disc could also be attached to the rear of Cataclysmic Variabot.

In Extreme 1, Cataclysmic Variabot featured a lower and wider design, but it became taller and thinner for Extreme 2, along with internal upgrades.

"The main aim of the upgrades to the robot for 2002 is to kick some metal butt, this should be done as follows. Increase the speed of the unit to around 8 mph by over running the motors at 36 volt instead of the original 24 volts. Improve the handling of the robot by the introduction of a Piezo gyro this works a treat the unit is great to drive with this mod (It will go in a straight line !!!!). Improve the performance and power of the weapons. New high pressure large bore front penetrating spike (this will be interchangeable with the new unit Nova)."
— Cataclysmic Variabot website (edited)


The name Cataclysmic Variabot was likely a pun on "Cataclysmic Variable", a type of Star, possibly being studied by the team members who were taking Astronomy degrees with the Open University.

"Cataclysmic Variabot, thanks for that one!"
Craig Charles commenting on the difficult-to-pronounce name in Extreme 1

The name was shortened simply to C.V. in the second series of Extreme, which coincidentally matches the abbreviation of curriculum vitae, a document which many university students would need to build while looking for employment. However, it is unknown if this acronym was used deliberately to reference a CV, or if Cataclysmic Variabot was its only meaning.


Cvvstoecutter2 S5qualifier

Cataclysmic Variabot fighting Toe-Cutter 2 in the Series 5 qualifiers

Cataclysmic Variabot never appeared in a main series of Robot Wars, although it attempted to qualify for the Fifth Wars, where it defeated Toe-Cutter 2 in its qualifier, despite the axe not working.

"John and Chris look desperate as they try last minute alterations to get the axe working, they fail due to a loose pipe that was not found until the return to the O.U."
— Cataclysmic Variabot website

Despite winning the battle, Cataclysmic Variabot was not given a place for Series 5, meaning it failed to qualify for the series.

Cataclysmic Variabot, now under the name C.V., also attempted to enter Series 6, fighting G-Man, Inshredable and Lazerus in the qualifiers. Inshredable won the battle, and C.V. did not receive a discretionary place, meaning it failed to qualify again.

Robot HistoryEdit

Extreme 1Edit


X-Terminator, Panzer Wraith and Cataclysmic Variabot in the pits, ready for their Mayhem battle

Cataclysmic Variabot made its first appearance on Robot Wars in a Mayhem battle in Episode 6 of Extreme Series 1, being brought in as a reserve after another robot was forced to withdraw. There, it fought the experienced X-Terminator, as well as Panzer Wraith, another veteran.


Cataclysmic Variabot is axed by Shunt and X-Terminator

Although Cataclysmic Variabot was able to ram X-Terminator a few times, it was mostly bullied by the veteran, being pushed into a CPZ, and struck continuously by X-Terminator's axe. Shunt axed the top of Cataclysmic Variabot while it was in the CPZ, allowing Panzer Wraith to come in and attack. Panzer Wraith was able to remove Cataclysmic Variabot's safety link, immobilising it. Refbot counted out the defeated robot. As Shunt pushed Cataclysmic Variabot onto the arena flipper, X-Terminator rammed into the pit release button. Panzer Wraith, meanwhile, appeared to have only minimal mobility. X-Terminator put its axe clean through Panzer's track once more, before slowly pushing it into the pit. Before the battle ended, however, Cataclysmic Variabot was flung by the floor flipper, causing bits of metal to fly off. Shunt and X-Terminator axed its underbelly for a bit, before attempting to pit it on top of Panzer Wraith, who seemed to now have some mobility, but to no avail.

Extreme 2Edit

"The axe, flipper or spike interchangeable weaponry is hidden in the central bay. Two wheel driven. Two casters at the rear. Good armour, but poor speed really."
— Jonathan Pearce

Cataclysmic Variabot, renamed C.V., represented the Open University for the University Challenge. In the first round, it went up against Infernal Contraption and favourites to win the competition, Behemoth.


C.V. is flipped by Behemoth

Infernal Contraption vs CV vs Behemoth

C.V.'s axe finds a gap in Behemoth

Infernal Contraption vs CV

Infernal Contraption attacks C.V. in celebration

After just a few seconds of fighting, the much more agile Behemoth attacked C.V. side on and swiftly flipped it over onto its back. C.V. appeared to be unable to right itself, due to the axe not being powerful enough. Fortunately for C.V., Behemoth sportingly righted the struggling machine, but persisted in its attack and slammed C.V. into an unoccupied CPZ. Behemoth then gave C.V. the opportunity to get out of the CPZ, but Behemoth itself broke down straight afterwards. Behemoth was then counted out and held over the flame pit by Sir Killalot. This allowed C.V. to go through to the second round along with Infernal Contraption.


C.V. finds a weak spot

C.V. then faced the crushing beak of Tiberius 3 in the second round.

Tiberius III vs CV

Tiberius 3 grapples with C.V.


C.V. is levered towards the pit

It never used its axe effectively against Tiberius 3, despite hitting it a few times and getting a grip of the Razer-like machine at one stage, with Tiberius 3 bearing its beak down on C.V.'s shell. As Tiberius 3 then sank its jaw into C.V.'s shell, it pressed the pit release button and then pushed the down-on-power C.V. down the pit, eliminating it from the competition.

"C.V., pleased to have got that far, I think."
Jonathan Pearce afterwards


Extreme Series 1
Mayhem & Annhilator
Mayhem Qualifier vs. Panzer Wraith, X-Terminator Lost
Extreme Series 2
University Challenge
Round 2
Round 1 vs. Behemoth, Infernal Contraption Qualified
Round 2 vs. Tiberius 3 Lost


  • Wins: 1
  • Losses: 2

Series RecordEdit

  • The prototype of Cataclysmic Variabot
  • Team Variabot, with a prototype of Cataclysmic Variabot
  • The empty frame of Cataclysmic Variabot, early in construction
  • Cataclysmic Variabot during construction
  • Cataclysmic Variabot with unpained top armour during construction
  • The circular saw that could be applied to C.V.
  • C.V., equipped with its flipping arm.
  • The complete Team Variabot at Extreme 1
  • C.V. with AM CVn
  • Son of Variabot, the team's entry in the Techno Games rope climbing competition.
  • Squeeky, the teams Techno Games Micromouse entry
Main Series CV Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Failed to qualify
The Sixth Wars Failed to qualify
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Entered
Series 2 Entered

Outside Robot WarsEdit

They also entered Techno Games, with two robots. The first was Son of Variabot, a pneumatically powered rope climbing robot, and the second was Squeeky, a robotic mouse that would navigate mazes.


  • Cataclysmic Variabot is the only robot to appear in both series of Robot Wars Extreme, but not appear in any main championship, UK or otherwise.
  • Both of Cataclysmic Variabot's appearances were in the same episode as Behemoth, which it fought in its latter appearance.

External LinksEdit

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