- "They look like a simple machine, but it's not to be underestimated, it boasts incredible pushing power."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Cobra was a heavyweight robot from Belgium, which competed in the main competition of Series 9 of Robot Wars and then represented Belgium in Robot Wars: World Series, part of Series 10. It fell in the first round of Series 9 to a combined effort from Behemoth and Eruption, but collected a win over Sabretooth in the World Series. Cobra was built by Team Rubbish, who first competed in the Dutch series of Robot Wars with Pika.
Like its predecessor Brutus, Cobra was an invertible box-shaped robot with four-wheel drive and a focus on pushing power. Cobra was heavily armoured, boasting 2-3mm of HARDOX on all sides, with additional armour protecting the side of the robot. Cobra's weapon was a small gripping described as a 'snake bite', designed to clamp robots onto its wedge for the purposes of pushing them. The jaw was modelled on the body and head of a cobra, with two red fangs located underneath the tip. The 250-bar weapon was powered by a hydraulic ram, and possessed 4 tonnes of crushing power. Cobra's powerful Movi-Motors enabled it to reach its top speed within one second, but the robot's wheels were largely exposed.
- "Cobra's four Movi-Motors drive system means it can reach 20kph in under a second and has the ability to tow a truck."
- — Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot
In the World Series, Cobra's top speed was geared down to 12.5mph, from its top speed of 15-20mph in Series 9, allowing greater control of the machine. Cobra also replaced its wedgelets with a new solid wedge to remain static to the floor whilst housing the crusher inside a small gap. This wedge was hinged in an effort to reach the floor when Cobra was overturned, although the crusher ultimately stopped this from riding the floor properly.
Cobra also used a second more solid wedge in its fight against Sabretooth, made from 8mm HARDOX 500, designed to combat spinners. This was welded to the back end of the machine for the fight, noticeable as the side armour was now facing the other way, whilst the weapon mounting was still visible on the empty front of Cobra. For greater effect against spinners, the wedge was also outfitted with entanglement devices, in the form of sacrificial wires handing from the front of the robot, to be absorbed by drum spinners. The crusher head was applied to the top of the rear-mounted wedge, although it detatched at the very start of the battle, likely a deliberately loose fit to allow Cobra to fight as a conventional wedge.
- Main article: Team Rubbish
Cobra was entered by Team Rubbish, who were formerly known as Team VHS-Robots, having competed in both series of Dutch Robot Wars with Pika. The team attempted to enter the previous series with Brutus, which formed the design concept for Cobra. Team Rubbish is captained by the lead builder of Cobra, Marco van Hek, joined by Stefan Vanthoor, the co-builder and driver of the robot in Series 9. Marco's son, Bram van Hek, also joined the team during Robot Wars: World Series, to become the new driver of the robot. As Tough as Nails was not selected to compete in Series 9, Team Rubbish invited Jeroen van der Loo of Team KODOX and Jeroen van Lieverloo of Team Tie-Rip to join the team in Series 9, creating a Dutch-Belgian blend of team members.
- "I also spoke to Marco van Hek and he had a plan to upgrade Brutus to a robot with an active weapon. We had a meeting and he explained his plans. I made a CAD drawing to translate his plans into an actual design and Cobra was born. We sent in the application and were selected! The build went smoothly. Marco and Stefan did most of the work. Jeroen and I helped out where we could."
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo on Cobra's application process for Series 9
After the weaponless Brutus was not selected for Series 8 of Robot Wars, Marco van Hek innovated for ways to make his machine appealing for television. Using Brutus as a base for the robot, Marco van Hek created a new design, Cobra, which featured the robot's new crusher weapon. New team member Jeroen van Lieverloo transformed the concept into a CAD design to include in the robot's application. As the basis for Cobra had already been built in the form of Brutus, and the CADs demonstrated the promise of the robot's design, Cobra was accepted into Series 9. Jeroen van der Loo then joined the team after his own entry Tough as Nails was not accepted. Cobra applied for Series 10 in the same way, through online applications, but was accepted into the World Series in place of the main series, as a representative of Belgium.
- "Our first round fight was as tough as it could be and Cobra became the first (and only?) robot from the reboot to lose in the first round due to a judge’s decision. Another short run then. I was really expecting Cobra to do well and at least to reach the second round. But, as ever, it was nice to see everybody and see some of the fights live."
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo on Cobra's short campaign
Cobra showed no hesitation, and punished a mistimed flip from Behemoth with repeated slams, before avoiding the action briefly while Hobgoblin was immobilised. Cobra drove onto the flipper of Eruption, and was tossed over, so Cobra willingly drove onto the floor flipper to right itself, although this led to a sequence of flips from Eruption and the floor flipper again.
- "Cobra using that speed, straight onto the floor flipper, o-ho-ho, a tumble!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Cobra was turned over by Behemoth, so it fled the scene and pressed the Arena Tyre, lowering the pit, although here Eruption flipped Cobra towards Sir Killalot, which grabbed Cobra and held it over the flame pit.
- "Cobra got themselves too tight with Killalot, and they've done so well, Cobra!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Cobra maintained its aggression, although this led to it being flipped by Behemoth, and was trapped over the arena spikes by Eruption. Although Cobra was inverted, rendering its weapon useless, it continued to ram into both opponents using its back end. Eruption eventually righted Cobra, but after the Belgian team slammed into Behemoth, Cobra turned itself over once again. Cobra successfully evaded Behemoth, but could not avoid a powerful throw from Eruption. In the final seconds of the match, Cobra chased Eruption across the arena, earning points but also sustaining one last flip. Cease was called at the end of the battle.
- "Cobra took some punishment but seemed to be OK... I just wonder whether this moment will count against Cobra."
- — Jonathan Pearce over a highlight of Cobra being burned by Sir Killalot
Although Cobra had survived until a Judges' decision, having fought an aggressive battle throughout the duration of the fight, the Judges ultimately ruled that Behemoth and Eruption would be the robots to progress, and Cobra was eliminated.
Despite not appearing in the main competition, Cobra represented Belgium in the first episode of Robot Wars: World Series during Series 10. It helped open up the episode for Team Rest of the World, as it fought the British entries Apollo and Gabriel 2 in a Tag Team battle, partnered with the Dutch entry TMHWK, a robot that Marco van Hek had previously owned.
Cobra opened the battle for its team and fought Apollo head-to-head, while TMHWK and Gabriel 2 laid in waiting. Cobra snapped across the arena straight away, skidding over the wedged front of Apollo, before turning and darted towards the opposite corner of the arena. Cobra then found itself up on Apollo's flipper arm for the first time but managed to wriggle itself free before a flip was carried out by the Series 8 champions. Cobra made a retreat over the Arena Spikes, which sent sparks flying, before Cobra's next drive saw it completely shoot over the top of Apollo.
- "Apollo doing the chasing, but Cobra is outrunning Apollo."
- — Jonathan Pearce during a lively opening period
Cobra then backed into the Arena Tyre which dropped the Pit of Oblivion, before once again speeding up and over Apollo. After another one of these instances, Cobra then squeezed Apollo back towards the Arena Tyre with a drive. Apollo responded with a flip, hurling Cobra into the arena wall and prompting the Rest of the World team into a tag, with TMHWK taking over the reins. Cobra came back into the arena for a short period after the Fog of War was activated, but moved back into the CPZ to rest again after this. After a brief encounter with Gabriel 2, TMHWK tagged Cobra back in, with the Belgian machine pursuing Gabriel 2 as it tagged in Apollo. After Craig Colliass' machine completed its drive back into the CPZ, Cobra turned its attention back to Apollo - with the initial duel at the start of the fight being resumed. Once again, Cobra skidded up Apollo, and another one of these drives saw Cobra turned over. Now inverted, Cobra initially struggled for traction on the arena floor, and was harassed into the CPZ by Apollo as a result.
- "Cobra has been flipped. Has it lost power? Has it lost power? Has it lost traction? Apollo senses something here!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Cobra struggles after being overturned
In the mayhem that followed, Cobra was flung into the distance by the Floor Flipper while Apollo lifted the rear of Dead Metal. While the House Robot fought back by attacking Apollo itself, Cobra attempted to put pressure on Team UK's captain, but was only swatted away by the Floor Flipper for a second time. Another tag followed, but both Cobra and Apollo didn't remain out of the action for long, with the two machines charging in to create a huddle between all four of the competing robots. Cobra's teammate, TMHWK, was chucked by Apollo, but then the two misbehaving robots were driven back by Dead Metal, who attempted to put to a stop to their rule-breaking antics. The House Robot's attempts at keeping the fight under control weren't appreciated by the pair, however, with both Cobra and Apollo pursuing Dead Metal, before Apollo toppled Dead Metal onto its side, while Cobra sat in behind the House Robot.
- "Cobra and Apollo wedging Dead Metal. Dead Metal was trying to restore some order out there but got flipped on its side. So much for the power of House Robots!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
In the remaining moments, the two played with the overturned Dead Metal, but unfortunately for Cobra, its partner fell down into the Pit in the closing moments. The resulting Judges' decision went in favour of Team UK, who picked up the first 2 points of the episode, although Cobra's efforts had prevented the British team from collecting a full three points.
- "I think if you hold back too long, you're going to lose points for aggression, so it'll probably be a good idea to not hold back so long. Try and get in there. Remember that they only have a two-wheel drive, you've got a four-wheel drive, so you've got twice as much power as them. You're gonna be able to push them around. If you can get that pit down, then you definitely have the advantage with the four-wheel drive."
- — Peter Redmond offers Team Rubbish advice ahead of their fight with Sabretooth
The fight started with Cobra pushing Sabretooth backwards, before Gabriel Stroud's robot darted off towards the Arena Tyre, which set off the Fog of War. After hassling Sabretooth around the arena, Cobra decided to activate the Arena Tyre itself, which saw Sabretooth pursued by Sir Killalot in Rogue House Robot mode. At the end of the House Robot's roam into the arena centre, Cobra came in with a charge, inverting Sabretooth in the process.
- "That's the most resilient hit we've seen so far! The biggest impact, and came from Cobra on Sabretooth."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Cobra followed this strong drive up with another one, as it shovelled Sabretooth's rear upwards and accelerated it into the arena wall inside Sir Killalot's CPZ. Again, Sabretooth tried to compose itself, but Cobra continued to unsettle it with a long-range drive. Despite gyro-dancing its way back onto its normal way up, Sabretooth was still unable to assert itself on proceedings, with Cobra slamming it into an arena entry gate and then against the arena wall. Sabretooth threatened to cause damage to Cobra's tyres when it came back down towards the arena floor, but Cobra's wheels only sustained minor damage.
- "And again: Cobra using the extra speed - the weight, the power, to get in underneath Sabretooth. Cobra, in control of this Head-to-Head."
- — Jonathan Pearce
After another strong drive, Cobra then found itself in trouble with Dead Metal, which allowed Sabretooth to come in and chip away at the rear of Marco van Hek's robot. Cobra quickly resumed its dominance though, and turned Sabretooth over again. Sabretooth attempted to turn itself right-way up again via the use of its drum, but only succeeded in edging itself into Sir Killalot's possession, while Cobra was caught by the Floor Flipper. Once Sabretooth moved itself back into the centre of the arena, Cobra slammed into the Arena Tyre - although no arena hazards were activated due to Cobra already pressing the tyre earlier on in the contest. Cobra continued to keep on top of Sabretooth in the closing period, causing Sabretooth's weapon belt to slip after one slam from Cobra, which also fed Sabretooth into Sir Killalot with one final drive before 'cease' was called. The battle was sent to a Judges' decision.
- "This is a resilient machine from Belgium, isn't it? But it's great weaponry, and manoeuvrability!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Cobra unanimously won the Judges' decision that followed - gaining Team Rest of the World their first 2 points. Team Rest of the World would not win the competition, but Cobra contributed towards Team Rest of the World's total of four points.
- "Sabretooth. There's nothing to talk about, Sabretooth. He likes to talk, but that's all he's doing. Just talk, and no action!"
- — Marco van Hek
|COBRA - RESULTS|
|Series 9 - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat 2, Group Battle||vs. Behemoth, Eruption, Hobgoblin||Eliminated|
|World Series, representing Belgium|
Partnered with TMHWK for Tag Team battle
|Episode 1, Tag Team||vs. Apollo & Gabriel 2||Lost via Judges' decision (0 points)|
|Episode 1, Head-to-Head||vs. Sabretooth||Won via Judges' decision (2 points)|
- Wins: 1
- Losses: 2
|Series||Cobra 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||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Failed to qualify with Caesar|
|Series 8||Not selected with Brutus|
|Series 9||Heat, Round 1|
|Series 10||World Series|
|Dutch Series||Cobra Series Record|
|Series 1||Entered with Pika 2|
|Series 2||Entered with Pika 3|
NOTE: The above records represent the qualification record only of Marco van Hek
Outside Robot Wars
Cobra does not compete at events outside of televised Robot Wars - instead, the team reverted their machine back into the weaponless Brutus to compete on the live circuit following Series 10. For more information on Marco van Hek's excursions outside of Robot Wars, see Team Rubbish.
- During the process of building Cobra, team captain Marco van Hek was set on fire, according to the Robot Wars website.
- Cobra was the only robot in Series 9 to fall in the first round on a Judges' decision.
- In the World Series, Marco van Hek was interviewed about his day-job selling fish at the local market.
- When Cobra teamed up with TMHWK in the World Series, this reunited Marco van Hek with a robot he had previously owned.