- Not to be confused with General Chompsalot.
- "They call it a dragon-class rapid offensive unit with wings...but it's vulnerable to knights in shining armour..."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Chompalot was a competitor in Series 6 and Series 8 of Robot Wars, as well as the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. Its main success came in Extreme 2, when it won the Iron Maidens competition under the controls of Debs Cook, defeating the experienced Behemoth and Pussycat along the way. However, it lost in the first round of Series 6 and had to withdraw from the second round of Series 8 after catching fire following its Head to Head battle with Gabriel.
Chompalot was a box shaped robot designed to resemble a dragon. Chompalot's main weapon was a set of crushing jaws, the largest of the Sixth Wars. The upper jaw was hydraulically powered, whilst the lower jaw was static. Chompalot also featured two large wings for self-righting, a spike at the rear to protect the safety link, and light-up eyes, intended to "strike fear into the opponents". In Extreme 2, Chompalot was coated with new holographics and flame decals, to make the whole robot shine brightly.
- "Chompalot has a hydraulic-powered crushing weapon made from structural steel and is protected by 6mm polycarbonate. It also has self-righting 'wings' to defend against flipper opponents during battle."
- — Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot
When it returned to Robot Wars in 2016, Chompalot used modifications it had gained while fighting on the live circuit. It was armoured in 6mm polycarbonate, with the top jaw being made of S355 structural steel, with three tonnes of crushing force, taking a more three-dimensional shape. The Robot Wars website stated that it was capable of biting bricks in half, and that it was strong enough to tow a car, driven by ten-inch go-kart wheels. 'Ultra bright' LED lights were used to give Chompalot piercing eyes. The rear ground clearance of Chompalot was angled to allow the robot to maintain wheel contact with the ground if the front end was raised, compared to the more standard box shape of its previous version. This version of Chompalot, like most competitors in the reboot, was powered by lithium polymer batteries, although these ultimately proved responsible for the robot catching fire.
Chompalot was originally built to enter Series 5, and was only finished the day before the qualifiers. However, a motor for one of the wheels broke during testing. Chompalot fought Spirit of Knightmare at the qualifiers, but broke down and was pitted.
- "During the Series 5 qualifying event, Chompie seemed sluggish and difficult to turn, Spirit of Knightmare also had difficulties, having set their ground clearance so low, that they could barely move, so consequently Chompie couldn’t get his lower jaws under them. After failing to get a hold of them I opted to ram them, taking runs across the arena to build up speed. Unfortunately the impact loosened some of the control cables to the motor controllers and then, fatally another one of the motors magnets became detached, jamming the motor. Spirit of Knightmare eventually managed to nudge the inert Chompie towards and then into the pit."
- — The Chompalot team on the Series 5 Qualifiers
In its Series 6 qualifier, Chompalot fought Biothan, Edge Hog, and Rampage, which withdrew before the beginning of the battle. The fight was mostly a head-to-head between Chompalot and Edge Hog, which went in favour of Edge Hog, but Chompalot was given a discretionary place to qualify. 
Chompalot failed to qualify for Series 7 after suffering problems with its receiver crystal, but it would later qualify for the rebooted Series 8 through open applications.
The team, named Cookie Monsters after their surname Cook, were a family team. The team captain was Simon Cook, a product definition engineer aged 51 in Series 8, who built the robot and was the driver of Chompalot in Series 6 and Series 8. Simon Cook's wife, Debs, aged 52 in Series 8, was the weapons operator in Series 8, and was the driver responsible for Chompalot's victory in the Iron Maidens tournament during the second series of Extreme. In Series 6 and Extreme 2, Simon and Debs Cook were joined by their son Simon, although he did not return for Series 8.
- "Simon and Debs met in a 'sci-fi' chatroom where their mutual passion for Robot Wars brought them together. Simon invited Debs to join his team by sending her one of Chompalot’s nuts in the post."
- — The Robot Wars website on the Cookie Monsters
- — Debs Cook when she heard the Series 6 lineup
Chompalot pulled an unlucky draw in its first ever appearance, coming up against returning teams 13 Black, the 11th seeds Stinger and previous semi-finalist Thermidor 2. This was not the only piece of bad luck for Chompalot, as the team forgot to remove the protective foam from the tip of Chompalot's jaw.
- "Eeeeek 13 Black, we had seen them at the qualifiers and seen the mess they had made of their opposition. Thermidor was another big threat with that flipper. I wasn't so worried about Stinger however."
- — Team Cookie Monsters, on their first round draw
After the activate call, Chompalot rammed into its perceived threat 13 Black, bounced away, colliding with Thermidor 2. Chompalot chased the other robots around the arena, grabbing hold of 13 Black's roulette wheel and dragging it over the flame pit. Having eventually released 13 Black, Chompalot's weapon then caught hold of Stinger. In Chompalot's state of vulnerability, 13 Black came in from behind and tore into Chompalot with its discs, immobilising it. Chompalot was counted out, and Dead Metal cut into it with his saw. After being twirled around by Sir Killalot, Chompalot was tossed across the arena by the floor flipper, and finally pitted by Dead Metal.
- "What's that? Iron Maidens is full of old dragons? Shame on you!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Chompalot entered the Iron Maidens Championship
Having required a near total rebuild to repair the damage caused by 13 Black, Chompalot returned for the Iron Maidens competition in Extreme 2. Its first battle was against Pussycat and Spin Doctor, driven by Debs Cook, who had spent the past twelve days practising driving.
Chompalot initially took a blow from Spin Doctor, but was not damaged, and clamped onto Spin Doctor, preventing it from spinning, and dragged it into Shunt's CPZ. Despite taking a blow from Shunt, Chompalot continued to attack Spin Doctor, piercing through the existing holes in the hub wheels to drag it around. Chompalot was attacked from the rear by Pussycat, but retaliated by tipping the veteran onto its side. Chompalot and Pussycat qualified when Spin Doctor's tyre tread fell from the machine, rendering it immobile.
Chompalot faced long-time competitor Behemoth in the second round.
Debs Cook's first tactic was to press the release button for the Disc of Doom, and Chompalot used the disc to align itself for a slam. However, Behemoth turned Chompalot onto its side. Normally Chompalot would be able to self-right from this position, but its level of fluid in its hydraulic rams was too low to allow Chompalot to self-right when inverted, so Chompalot was left alone. In a controversial move, Shunt flipped Chompalot back onto its wheels. After this questionable move, Chompalot took hold of the battle, and drove towards Behemoth, attempting to use its jaw. When Behemoth drove into Shunt's CPZ, Chompalot grabbed hold of Behemoth from behind, leaving it at the mercy of Shunt's axe. Behemoth's safety link was axed away by Shunt, immobilising it, allowing Chompalot to carry its defeated opponent towards the pit release, and into the pit.
In the final, Chompalot faced Pussycat for a second time.
Chompalot started more aggressively, but became stuck when its bottom jaw wedged under the surface of the floor flipper. When freed, Chompalot pursued Pussycat across the arena. It faced danger when pushed into an angle grinder by Pussycat and was rammed by Growler, but Pussycat was failing to attack Chompalot, which grabbed hold of the Gribble family's machine, and did not let go. Chompalot dragged Pussycat into the pit release, turned around, and deftly spun Pussycat into the open pit. The Cookie Monsters had defeated the odds to win the Iron Maidens competition.
Chompalot appeared in Heat 5 where it fought Ironside3 and Pulsar, as well as Thermidor 2 for the second time, in its first round melee. The team arrived with Debs wearing a Roman helmet, while Simon wore a whimsical tall hat.
- "Hopefully it'll be chomping on the opposition!"
- — Simon Cook
At the start of the battle, Chompalot headed straight for Ironside3, hoping to get there before it got its weapon up to speed, however, Ironside3 reversed out of the way into the CPZ. Chompalot had missed its chance and turned to get back out of the CPZ but found its way blocked by Thermidor 2, and so was caught by Shunt, where the dragon robot received blows from the House Robot's axe. However, later in the battle Chompalot got its revenge on Thermidor, dodging a flip from and barging the lobster into the arena wall, and Shunt's corner. After Shunt's attacks, Thermidor had become immobile. Chompalot turned its attention towards Ironside3 and Pulsar, the latter of which was suffering from drive problems. Shunt and Ironside3 dealt heavy blows to Chompalot, one of which ripped off a side panel, and its jaw was also dislodged. Chompalot tried to attack the barely moving Pulsar, only to take more damage from Ironside3 and nearly reverse into the pit. However, at this stage Pulsar was totally immobile, so Chompalot nudged it closer to the pit, almost losing its back panel in the process. Chompalot could not quite put Pulsar in the pit, and cease was called.
The Judges decision unanimously put Chompalot through to the second round over the immobile Pulsar, alongside Ironside3. However, the damage caused to Chompalot during the battle was so severe that repairing the robot within the two-hour window would have been an incredible challenge. Team Cookie Monsters were ready to resign from the competition before they were encouraged to fix their machine by Team Storm. Cookie Monsters were joined by Team Terror Turtle, David Weston, Team Storm and Team Saint to fix Chompalot, which was done just in time.
- "We had a tremendous amount of luck that day and a lot of friends worked a miracle, from me, him and Chompie THANK YOU!"
- — Debs Cook
Chompalot entered the arena to fight Gabriel in its first Head-to-Head match.
Team Saint were confident that Chompalot could not reach Gabriel's body, but Chompalot managed to do so by rocking back on its wheels so that its jaw tilted upwards. However, Gabriel reversed Chompalot into the CPZ, where Chompalot was overturned and suffered hits from Gabriel's sword. Once righted, Chompalot could only move in circles but it still tried to attack Gabriel, only to wander onto the floor flipper. Chompalot was hurled through the air towards the pit release button and left stuck on its side. Chompalot took heavy axe blows from both Shunt and Gabriel and soon it began emitting heavy clouds of smoke from its lithium polymer battery. Dead Metal inflicted further damage to the beaten robot, while Gabriel attacked the House Robot. Chompalot was counted out and lost the match.
During the post-battle interview, Chompalot's lithium polymer battery suddenly ignited, causing the robot to erupt into flames. The robot burned for three minutes before being extinguished. When it became clear that Chompalot was too badly damaged to continue, it was forced to retire from the tournament and Pulsar was chosen by the Judges to replace Chompalot. Pulsar went on to win the heat.
- "It's gone bang, poof, there's smoke, and there's fire, and that's what dragons are supposed to do, but not in that way!"
- — Debs Cook
Debs Cook confirmed that by the time the heat aired, Chompalot was almost back to normal, with only the motors to be put back in place and the holographic plastic re-applied.
- "It was a truly EPIC experience and one we're ready to do all over again, minus the fire of course! In our dreams it all went a different way, but we are so grateful to have been given the chance to drive into that arena and be part of the new era, even if it was for a short while."
- — Debs Cook
|CHOMPALOT - RESULTS|
|The Sixth Wars - UK Championship|
Heats, Round 1
|Heat F, Round 1||vs. 13 Black, Stinger (11), Thermidor 2||Eliminated|
|Extreme Series 2|
|Round 1||vs. Pussycat, Spin Doctor||Qualified|
|Round 2||vs. Behemoth||Won|
|Series 8 - UK Championship|
Round 2, Withdrew
|Heat 5, Group Battle||vs. Ironside3, Pulsar, Thermidor 2||Qualified|
|Heat 5, Head-to-Heads||vs. Gabriel||Lost (0 points)|
|NOTE: After the first Head-to-Head, Chompalot was forced to retire so Pulsar was reinstated.|
- Wins: 4
- Losses: 2
|Main Series||Chompalot 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||Heat, Round 1|
|The Seventh Wars||Failed to qualify|
|Series 8||Heat Round 2, Withdrew|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Did not enter|
|Series 2||Iron Maidens Champion|
Outside Robot WarsEdit
Team Cookie Monsters also entered the sister show Techno Games with a swimming robot called Buoyant, in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, Buoyant placed second in its heat, completing the swimming race in a time of 35.97 seconds, ahead of Stealth Stingray and behind Roboduck. Buoyant saw huge improvement in 2003, winning its heat in a time of 11.22 seconds, narrowly missing out on the world record. Despite this, Buoyant broke down in its second round race, eliminating it from the competition despite having been comfortably winning the race prior to breaking down.
During Robot Wars' time off-air, Chompalot continued to fight at live events, but only made occasional appearances. It reached the finals of the Roaming Robots Winter Tour 2004 where it lost to Terrorhurtz in the first round after being severely damaged and also the finals of the 2008 Winter Tour where it reached the quarter-finals losing to Dantomkia. It did however win the Robots Of Destruction 2005 event hosted in Dublin where it managed to beat Beast, Behemoth, King B, Bigger Brother, Revolution 3, 4x4, St. Agro & Ewe 2 on its way to victory.
In 2005, Simon Cook purchased the Robot Wars veteran Dreadnaut XP-1, for £31. Although the team originally planned to restore it to working condition, it was instead decided that Dreadnaut would remain in retirement, to prevent it from becoming damaged. Team Cookie Monsters have currently loaned Dreadnaut to the Derby Silk Museum of Making.
Simon Cook also created a small, fully functional version of Chompalot, using his home-built 3D printer, which was brought to the filming of Series 8.
Following on from Chompalot's explosive defeat in Series 8, the team have conceptualised a successor, known as Chompalot PE, which stands for 'Chompalot Phoenix Edition'. It will be armed in HARDOX, but will still resemble a dragon with similar weaponry, although ultimately the team did not apply for Series 9.
In September 2016, Simon and Debs gave away two side panels from Chompalot to be sold in charity auctions. A panel used during the Iron Maidens competition was sold for £59 as part of Alex Brown's Charity Auction to raise money for Cancer Research Kids UK, while the panel used in Chompalot's opening melee in 2016 was sold for £62 to raise money for Derby Adoption Centre for Cats.
- Chompalot was the only newcomer in Heat F of Series 6.
- Chompalot originally applied to take part in the New Blood Championship of Extreme 2, but was not chosen to compete. It was only after applying for the New Blood Championship that Chompalot was invited to participate in the Iron Maidens.
- In both of Chompalot's first round melees in the main competition, it fought Thermidor 2.
- Simon and Debs of Chompalot met online after forming a mutual bond over Robot Wars.
- Simon invited Debs to join his team by sending her one of Chompalot’s nuts in the post. In a moment reminiscent of Cinderella, Debs produced the lucky nut at the eleventh hour when no nut could be found to put the jaws back together and a forfeit against Gabriel was a looming possibility.
- "Putting the jaws back together somehow the nut that holds the two pieces of the jaw in place had disappeared. There was nothing big enough, then I remembered the nut in my pocket the one that Simon sent me in the post 15 years before and it was a perfect fit. The lucky nut that Simon had given me 15 years earlier became exactly that. A lot of people will think it scripted, but it really happened that way."
- — Debs Cook
- In Extreme 2, Sir Chromalot was introduced by Stuart McDonald as "Sir Chompalot", possibly confusing it with this machine.
- Chompalot once opened a can of beans.
- Of the nine robots Chompalot has faced, only two have not reached a semi-final or final.
- ↑ http://www.robotwars.tv/competitors/season-8/week-5/chompalot Chompalot on the Robot Wars website
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVjFth4qW_s
- ↑ Private correspondence with User:Toon Ganondorf, 23 August 2016
- ↑ http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/robot-wars-chompalot-derby-owners-say-new-model-will-rise-from-the-ashes-after-tragic-defeat/story-29643286-detail/story.html
- ↑ https://www.facebook.com/groups/1658496161065998/permalink/1828811250701154/?comment_id=1828899314025681¬if_t=group_comment¬if_id=1488447198250229
- ↑ http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Robot-Wars-Competitor-Chompalot-Side-Panel-/282183891675?hash=item41b3787adb:g:KDsAAOSwTA9X4DQk
- ↑ http://www.derby.cats.org.uk/derby/news/auction
- ↑ http://www.robotwars.tv/competitors/week-5/chompalot/ Chompalot on the Robot Wars website.
Photo credits: Chompalot website and Team 13 Robots Facebook page.
- Team Cookie Monsters website
- Chompalot on the Robot Wars website
- Chompalot Facebook page (closed)
- Chompalot & Friends Facebook group (closed)