Robot Wars Wiki

"Mechanically, it is a wonderful machine, it is a one-off."
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean was a robot that competed in Series 5-7 and Series 9 of Robot Wars, as well as the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. It reached the Heat Final in Series 5, losing to Wheely Big Cheese, but failed to reach that stage afterwards, as it fell in the second round in Series 6 and the first round in Series 7 and Series 9.

Crushtacean also competed in the second series of Dutch Robot Wars under the name Krab-Bot, winning its heat to reach the Grand Final, where it was knocked out by Philipper 2.

Team Crushtacean captain Ian Visser was originally from South Africa and the team represented the country in international competitions. Crushtacean finished runner-up to Firestorm 4 in the Commonwealth Carnage in Extreme 2, and came joint third with Tough as Nails in The Third World Championship.


"Really innovative design for control of those two hydraulic claws, 800 Watt motor, the aluminium crab, "indestructible" they say, manoeuvrable but watch out for driving faults!"
— Jonathan Pearce in Series 7

Crushtacean was a large disc-shaped robot armed with a pair of claws, designed to look like a crab. It was invertible, and was two-wheel driven either way up, with four wheels total. Notably, Crushtacean's wheels were almost completely above the shell of the robot, and its claws also had two castors attached to each. The wheels on the top and bottom were counter-rotating.

"This has several advantages: it requires less space, the forward motion remains forward (although left and right steering is reversed), gyroscopic stabilisation works both ways up (invertible robots that use the same wheel when inverted cannot use a standard gyro, says Visser, as the robot “goes mad” when upside down), and the smaller wheels offer a smaller target."
— IOL article[1]

It featured a 1m turning circle and a 4cm ground clearance. The aerial sat exposed at the top of the robot, and as a result Crushtacean sometimes suffered from radio interference. The front of Crushtacean was lined with LEDs, to give the robot 'eyes'. Crushtacean was armoured in 12mm thick aerospace aluminium, with the side armour being manually hammered into shape.

"After extensive research, we opted for 7075 T6 aluminium - a high tensile aerospace alloy with tensile properties similar to that of steel. It machines beautifully. You can even use wood-cutting tools on it. In fact, I used a wood bandsaw and routers to shape several components."
— Ian Visser[2]

Work on the robot started in December 2000, and the robot took around 500 hours to complete, being finished in August 2001, just in time for the Series 5 qualifiers. During construction, the team first built a mock-up of the robot with claws and a chassis made from MDF.

"We built a wooden robot, to get all the sizes right, so that took about three months, and since June we'd been working on the metal one."
— Ian Visser in Series 5

The intended hydraulics system for Crushtacean

Krab-Bot in The Pits

Crustacean was originally planned to be redesigned for the Sixth Wars, with a hydraulic system for the claws suggested by George Francis. However, due to the complexity of the hydraulic mechanisms, the original robot was brought back largely unchanged. The robot was painted silver throughout its UK series appearances, and purple and silver when it competed in Dutch Series 2 as Krab-Bot.

"Crushtacean's claws have a crushing force of 200kg. Unlike some competitors it uses aluminium armour, as this material is more effective in absorbing impacts than alternatives such as hardened steel. Its claws are covered in polyurethane paint to protect them against spinners."
Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on Crushtacean in Series 9

When Crushtacean returned in Series 9, it boasted top speeds of 20mph, increased from the former 12mph, and was painted red on the robot's claws and sides. This red paint is polyurethane, making Crushtacean the only robot to use this kind of paint; and is said to be very tough and durable. This polyurethane paint was used to protect the claws from spinners, possibly in response to Crushtacean's loss to Supernova from the Seventh Wars.


"A crab-bot with insane snipping powers"
Robot Wars: The Official Handbook

The crushing gloves in Series 7

The crushing gloves in Series 9

Crushtacean's main weapon was a pair of claws capable of a 300-500kg grip strength. The claws were actuated by m a three ton bottle screw jack, driven by Litton motors. Crushtacean was unique, however, in that rather than being controlled by a button or a joystick, its claws were operated by a pair of gloves. The gloves had sensors that would respond when the wearer (usually Dominic Visser) would open or close his hands. As a result, Crushtacean's claws moved in tandem with its controlling roboteer, allowing Crushtacean an unprecedented level of dexterity and reflexiveness amongst pincers.

"It's a very clever device, ... it's probably the cleverest single device we've seen on a robot."
Mat Irvine on Crushtacean's claws in Extreme 2

In The Sixth Wars, Crushtacean won the award for Most Original Entry, thanks to its unusual technology.


The Crushtacean logo

The name Crushtacean is a pun, based on the word crustacean, the group of arthropods to which the crab belongs, combined with the word "crush", referencing the robot's gripping weapon.

Crushtacean's concept was inspired by "the crab-bot", described in Arthur C Clark's science fiction novel, Rendezvous with Rama.[3]. This also directly served as the inspiration for the robot's name in Dutch Series 2, Krab-Bot. Ian Visser noted that the pun behind "Crushtacean" would not translate into the Dutch language, hence the complete name change for its appearance in Dutch Series 2.

The Team[]

"It started a few years ago while we were watching one of the Robot Wars programmes on BBC2. My son Dominic, then aged six, said 'Can you make one of those?' Of course, I couldn't resist. Funnily enough, a barrister friend named Richard Hartley was having exactly the same conversation with his six-year-old, Howard. So we decided to join forces - and came up with Crushtacean."
— Ian Visser on the origins of Crushtacean[4]

The team captain was Ian Visser, who was inspired to build the robot on the suggestion of his son Dominic. He built the robot along with his friend Richard Hartley, with Hartley and his son Howard being part of the team during Crushtacean's first series (though the former only appeared during the first round battle and team introduction in Series 5 and the latter only in the team's first round interview). Richard Hartley was the original weapons operator, and Dominic took over from Series 6 onward.

For Series 7 and Extreme 2, the third team member was Ian's daughter Michaela. In Extreme 2, Michaela was listed as the team captain. Michaela did not return for Series 9, where Dominic Visser returned at the older age of 23 to become the main driver of the robot.


Crushtacean's first battle was at the Series 5 qualifiers, where they fought and defeated Edge Hog. As a result, Crushtacean directly qualified for the Fifth Wars, also qualifying for Series 6 and 7.

The team also applied to enter Series 8 of Robot Wars, but the filming clashed with a time when team member Dominic had to be at university, so the team withdrew their application, and instead applied for Series 9, where Crushtacean was accepted to compete.

Robot History[]

Series 5[]

Crushtacean made its first appearance in the wars against Robochicken-Evo in the first round of Heat H.

Philippa Forrester: "What do you think it can do to the chicken?"
Dominic Visser: "Pluck it!"
— Before the battle

Robochicken-Evo gets a flip on Crushtacean

Crushtacean moved forwards, turned, but turned too far and span on the spot. As Robochicken-Evo tried to get underneath and flip it, Crushtacean tried to reverse away, but Robochicken-Evo still had its flipper under the claw, so flicked Crushtacean up with it. Crushtacean span, tried to drive away, but span on the spot again. Robochicken-Evo tried to get its flipper under Crushtacean again, but Crushtacean turned around, and Robochicken-Evo missed its flip. Sgt. Bash came in, and Crushtacean drove away as Sgt. Bash blocked Robochicken, then reversed back into Robochicken-Evo. Robochicken-Evo fired the flipper, but missed as it was not under Crushtacean. Crushtacean tried to grab Robochicken-Evo by the flipper, but Robochicken-Evo fired the flipper, knocking Crushtacean off the flipper. Crushtacean reversed, but as it drove back at its opponent, it span on the spot again, and Robochicken-Evo drove straight into Sgt. Bash. Crushtacean reversed at Robochicken-Evo, but Sgt. Bash was between the two and pushed Crushtacean away. Crushtacean span again, and as Robochicken-Evo closed in, drove up the arena, before turning. It got side-on against Robochicken-Evo, grabbed it by the flipper, and pushed it up the arena.

"...So Crushtacean, a sort of space age, space module type robot out there in the arena..."
— Jonathan Pearce comments on Crushtacean's unique technology

Crushtacean pins Robochicken-Evo in the CPZ

Crushtacean let go, and Robochicken-Evo got its flipper under it and pushed it to the top of the arena, but because the flipper was only under the claws, Crushtacean was merely lifted onto the top of Robochicken-Evo. Robochicken-Evo tried to close the flipper, but Crushtacean was under it, until Crushtacean reversed away, straight into Refbot. However, Sir Killalot pulled Robochicken-Evo into the CPZ, and crushed one of its eyes.

"...and this is a very difficult battle to gauge, who is going to topple the balance of ... urgh, the natural habitat, down there? Robochicken is pecked by Sir Killalot, and the boggling eyes are still intact, but only just. "Fowl" tackle by Killalot, surely!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Sir Killalot drags Robochicken-Evo into the CPZ and crushes its eye

Sir Killalot dropped Robochicken-Evo, it span, then reversed out of the CPZ, straight at Crushtacean, flipping it over. Crushtacean managed to get under the flipper again, and pushed Robochicken-Evo into the CPZ. Crushtacean reversed out of the CPZ as Sgt. Bash came in and trapped Robochicken-Evo. Crushtacean opened the pit, whilst Robochicken-Evo reversed out of the CPZ, but straight into Sir Killalot. Fortunately for Robochicken-Evo, Sir Killalot merely went carried straight to its CPZ. Crushtacean was waiting by the flame pit, and as Robochicken-Evo tried to get under it, Crushtacean turned at the right moment, getting the flipper in its claw. Crushtacean tried pushing Robochicken-Evo, but as it turned, it lost its grip on the flipper. Robochicken-Evo got its flipper under one of Crushtacean's claws and pushed it up the arena, but Robochicken-Evo turned and Crushtacean reversed off the flipper. However, Crushtacean started spinning again, allowing Robochicken-Evo to push it into the claw of Sir Killalot, which picked it up and span it around. Time ran out, and the battle went to the Judges.

Craig Charles: "Do you think you got it?"
Dominic Visser: "No."
— Pessimism before Craig Charles reveals the result

The judges decided, on a 2-1 split decision, that Crushtacean had won.

"Very close, good bunch of guys, good little robot they built, flipped us over, but that's what we were designed for."
— Richard Hartley on the battle and his opponent

In the second round of the heat, Crushtacean was up against the far more experienced fifteenth seed Behemoth.

"It's our first time here, but a bit of world domination will do us fine, thanks!"
— Ian Visser during his introduction

Crushtacean sustains one of Behemoth's axe blows

Crushtacean started by moving forwards, then spinning, and Behemoth got behind it and pushed it, but Crushtacean turned, getting against the side of Behemoth. Behemoth tried to get under Crushtacean, but Crushtacean drove away, down the arena and into the pit release button.

"Crushtacean going straight for the pit release, they obviously feel they have to get this over and done with quickly, because if it goes the distance, Behemoth, they fell, will chalk up too many points against them."
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean seizes the upturned Behemoth

Crushtacean dumps Behemoth in the pit

Behemoth axed Crushtacean, but failed to puncture it. Behemoth lifted Crushtacean up, but then dropped it and Crushtacean reversed away up the arena, reversing into Refbot. As Behemoth drove after Crushtacean, it fired its axe at thin air. This proved to be a mistake, as they did not pull the axe back when they got under Crushtacean, so failed to get under it, and Crushtacean dodged the scoop as it lifted. Crushtacean pushed against Behemoth's side and scoop, and Behemoth lifted it up by the claw that was pushing against the scoop. However, Crushtacean slipped off the scoop and got under the scoop. As Crushtacean pushed the seeds back, Behemoth closed the scoop, which caused it to flip itself on its back. Crushtacean pinned Behemoth against the angle grinder. Behemoth kept opening the scoop to try and get down, but Crushtacean had it pinned. Crushtacean turned Behemoth away from the wall and pushed it into the pit. Crushtacean had achieved a shock win against the seeded veteran.

Craig Charles: "...Absolutely fantastic driving, if you don't mind me saying so sir, to get them into the pit!"
Ian Visser: "More luck than anything else. I don't really have control, as you might have noticed!"
— Post-battle interview

Crushtacean with the cheese grater

In the Heat Final, it was up against the tenth seed Wheely Big Cheese. Crushtacean had a cheese grater tied to its claw for this battle, which Ian Visser jokingly called his "secret weapon".

"We've got the "greater cheese", he's got the cheese grater!"
— Roger Plant

Crushtacean drove forwards, but span on the spot again. Wheely Big Cheese tried to get under it, but Crushtacean drove past before it could do so. However, it drove into the arena wall, and Wheely Big Cheese got under it. It failed to flip its opponent, but Crushtacean reversed into Dead Metal. Dead Metal grabbed Crushtacean, but before he could cut into the wheels, Wheely Big Cheese flipped the House Robot, allowing Crushtacean to escape.

"And the cheese in this trap is not to catch a mouse, it's to catch a crab."
— Jonathan Pearce

Wheely Big Cheese flips Crushtacean and Dead Metal

Crushtacean grips the angle grinder

Wheely Big Cheese briefly had its flipper open, resting on an angle grinder, and Crushtacean pushed it against the angle grinder, with Dead Metal pushing against Crushtacean. It tried to grab the seeded machine, but Wheely Big Cheese reversed away, and Crushtacean had accidentally grabbed onto the angle grinder. Crushtacean opened the claws, but drove into the wall. Wheely Big Cheese got under it, but Crushtacean reversed off the flipper. It tried to turn to fight, but span on the spot twice.

"Whatever happens in the next few moments, it's been a worthy challenge."
— Jonathan Pearce on Crushtacean

Crushtacean's aerial detaches after a flip from Wheely Big Cheese

Wheely Big Cheese tried to get under it, but Crushtacean drove off, so Wheely Big Cheese missed. Crushtacean opened the pit, then drove up the flipper, allowing Wheely Big Cheese to flip it over. After this, Crushtacean reversed, but then stopped. Wheely Big Cheese got under it again, flipping it. Crushtacean reversed, only to stop again, and Wheely Big Cheese got another flip in. This flip caused the aerial to fall off Crushtacean.

"They cannot now transmit to Crushtacean, either its manoeuvrability or its weaponry will have gone, maybe both!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Wheely Big Cheese drops Crushtacean into the pit

Crushtacean had lost all mobility as a result of its lost aerial, and was a sitting target for Wheely Big Cheese to defeat. Wheely Big Cheese flipped Crushtacean up again, then flipped it towards the pit, before nudging it in.

"And what a bold effort it was by Crushtacean."
— Jonathan Pearce

At the end of the series, Crushtacean was nominated for the Most Promising Newcomer Award, but lost out to Fluffy.

"Crushtacean, looked mean. A lean machine, and Behemoth felt the full force of these newcomers."
— Jonathan Pearce reading through the nominations

Series 6[]

Crushtacean's first round battle for the Sixth Wars was against three newcomers; Dantomkia, Doctor Fist and Mr Nasty.

"Tough to crack, the shell 12mm thick aerospace aluminium, the two claws capable of a 300 kilo pressure grab, but the aerial's just between the eyes, and that could leave this crab scuttling sideways!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean removes Mr Nasty's aerial

Crushtacean initially had some control problems, driving towards the CPZ instead of its opponents. Dantomkia drove at Crushtacean, but before it could get under it, Crushtacean drove at Mr Nasty, pushing it around the arena. Mr Nasty managed to escape down the arena, but then stopped, as Crushtacean had cut off the aerial. Dantomkia got under Crushtacean and pushed it across the arena.

"...Dantomkia comes in underneath that ground clearance of 4cm, it is an Achilles heal for Crushtacean."
— Jonathan Pearce

Sir Killalot holds Crushtacean near the arena wall

Crushtacean managed to reverse off the front of Dantomkia could flip, but Dantomkia soon got back under it and flipped it onto the arena wall in the CPZ. Sir Killalot came in, picked Crushtacean up, and span around with it. Despite hanging Ian Visser's machine over the arena wall, Sir Killalot dropped Crushtacean back on the arena floor. Crushtacean was moving, but one of its wheels looked deflated, and Crushtacean struggled to move in a straight line. Dantomkia flipped Crushtacean over, and Crushtacean stopped moving, one of its claws being fully open, holding the robot off the floor.

"Is there still movement? There is from the pincer."
— Jonathan Pearce

Dantomkia flips Crushtacean

Dantomkia pushed Crushtacean down the arena and tried to flip, but failed to overturn Crushtacean as the flipper was only under the claw. As Doctor Fist was counted out, Crushtacean only moved a little, and Dantomkia easily got under it, ramming it down the arena and flipping it onto the pit release button. Sir Killalot nudged Crushtacean off the button with his claw, but Crushtacean had stopped moving. However, Mr Nasty was counted out, having been immobile longer. The House Robots pitted the eliminated robots, and Crushtacean and Dantomkia were through.

In Round 2, Crushtacean was up against the 5th seed and former UK Champion Chaos 2. Before the battle, the team discovered one of the motors was not working, and the team had not brought a spare motor, so they were forced to use a motor from one of the claws and fight with only one claw.

"We burnt out a motor, one of the drive motors, I don't know how, ... and so, we only discovered that very late, and now there's not much time left to sort it out."
— Ian Visser

Chaos 2 and Crushtacean balance on their sides

Chaos 2 started by charging at Crushtacean, getting under it, but Crushtacean quickly got off the flipper. Chaos 2 tried to get under it, but Crushtacean drove across the arena. It turned around, and pushed Chaos 2 back with its claws. Chaos 2 used its flipper, but because of the size of Chaos 2 and the width of Crushtacean's claws, the attack from George Francis' machine left both machines balanced on their sides. Crushtacean landed on its tyres first, and pushed Chaos 2 back towards the arena wall. Chaos 2 flipped Crushtacean, but although it succeeded in throwing the crab, the attack also threw Chaos 2 backwards onto an angle grinder.

"Ooh, Chaos is on its side! This really would be a turn-up for the books because Crushtacean is not fighting at its full capability, we know that!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The two machines lock horns again

Chaos 2 tried getting itself down with a flip, but despite moving off the angle grinder, was still stuck on its side. After a pause where the flipper did not close, Chaos 2 fired the flipper again, getting back on its wheels. Chaos 2 attempted to come onto the attack by meeting Crushtacean front on again and pushing it back, but it only succeeded in lifting up its opponent. Chaos 2 tried to flip Crushtacean again, but Crushtacean visibly dug its claws into Chaos 2 on its second flip.

"What a great fight this is! Digging down on the front spikes of Chaos 2 to gain purchase on the arena floor."
— Jonathan Pearce as the two machines lock horns again

Crushtacean drives into the pit

Crushtacean pushed Chaos 2 into an angle grinder, but Chaos 2 was able to push back, and finally managed to turn Crushtacean over with a flip, nearly turning itself over forwards, and followed this successful attack up with another flip soon after. Crushtacean, now on the back foot, decided to activate the Pit Release bumper. However, Crushtacean's plan backfired, as it began to violently swerve around close to the arena hazard, before reversing itself down into the Pit.

"And they crab sideways, back down into the pool, and the Pit of Oblivion! After all that!"
— Jonathan Pearce after Crushtacean pitted itself

Crushtacean was eliminated as a result.

Craig Charles: "What happened, what happened?"
Ian Visser: "Exactly what you saw! I went backwards instead of forwards."
Craig Charles: "But you opened the pit yourself!"
Ian Visser: "Well I did, because George said how much he hated the Pit because he's driven into it himself, and now it's my turn!"
— A cruel twist of fate for Crushtacean

At the end of the series, Crushtacean was given the Most Original Entry Award.

Dutch Series 2[]

Crushtacean entered the second series of the Dutch Wars as Krab-Bot, where its first battle was against Alien Destructor 2.

Alien Destructor 2 pushes Krab-Bot into the wall

Krab-Bot grabs Alien Destructor 2

Alien Destructor 2 made the first moved, crossing the arena towards Krab-Bot, and Krab-Bot missed its charge at its opponent. Krab-Bot reversed, and Alien Destructor 2 drove at the front of Krab-Bot, which allowed Krab-Bot to push it back. Krab-Bot closed the claws on its opponent, but this resulted in it tipping forwards, so Krab-Bot released Alien Destructor 2, and it escaped. Alien Destructor 2 rammed Krab-Bot into the arena wall, straight into the claws grabbed Alien Destructor, pinning it there, before backing off for another charge. Krab-Bot reversed, but reversed straight into Dead Metal, which pinned it down. Krab-Bot was able to escape, and gripped onto the front of Alien Destructor 2, and despite tipping forwards a little, was able to push its opponent around the arena. Krab-Bot let Alien Destructor 2 go, and its opponent rammed it down the arena. Krab-Bot reversed off, but drove into a CPZ. It managed to escape and pushed its opponent around, using the claws to hold it still. Alien Destructor 2 used its wheel that still had purchase on the floor to struggle back, and managed to steer Krab-Bot into Sgt. Bash. Dead Metal came in, and cut into Alien Destructor 2, whilst Krab-Bot escaped. Krab-Bot opened the pit, and Alien Destructor 2 was still unable to escape, and Dead Metal cut into its tyres, puncturing two of them. The House Robots eventually let Alien Destructor 2 go, but because of the punctured tyres, it could not escape the CPZ. Time ran out, and the jury ruled that Krab-Bot was the winner.

In the second round, Krab-Bot was drawn against Hammerhead 2.

Krab-Bot grabs hold of Hammerhead 2

Krab-Bot is rammed by Hammerhead 2

Krab-Bot started by getting side-on at Hammerhead 2 and grabbing onto it. After pushing Hammerhead 2 around, Hammerhead 2 managed to escape, briefly driving into Matilda's CPZ, but driving out before it could take any damage. Krab-Bot went after it, but Hammerhead 2 got its flipper under it and flipped it up. Hammerhead 2 drove into Shunt's CPZ, but quickly drove out. Krab-Bot got at the front of Hammerhead 2, pushing it back and trying to grab it, but Hammerhead 2 managed to turn away from the claws. Krab-Bot tried to grab Hammerhead 2, but Hammerhead 2 was able to drive around Krab-Bot. Krab-Bot drove up the arena, and one of the claws opened fully, pinning the robot off the floor. Hammerhead 2 rammed into it, and Krab-Bot was able to close the claw and move away again. Hammerhead 2 tried pushing Krab-Bot, but turned, which allowed Krab-Bot to grab it by one of the side "fins". The two robots span together as Hammerhead 2 tried to get away, and eventually Krab-Bot let Hammerhead 2 free. Hammerhead 2 got side-on at Krab-Bot and pushed it into the disc of doom release button, where Hammerhead 2 reversed away.

Krab-Bot pinches the hammers of Hammerhead 2

Krab-Bot holds Hammerhead 2 against an angle grinder

The two robots fought at the top of the arena, with Krab-Bot trying to get hold of its opponent, but Hammerhead 2 managing to dodge the claws. Krab-Bot drove down the arena, with Hammerhead 2 close behind it, and Hammerhead 2 continued to dodge its opponent. Krab-Bot drove close to Shunt's CPZ, but Shunt missed with its axe. Krab-Bot drove away from the CPZ, but drove over the flame pit and into the arena wall. It went back after Hammerhead 2, but after struggling to grab its opponent, it turned away and drove into Shunt's CPZ. Shunt pushed it out, and Crushtacean started spinning back and forth. Hammerhead pushed into it, but Krab-Bot grabbed onto one of the side hammers, and pushed Hammerhead 2 across the arena. Hammerhead 2 escaped, Krab-Bot missed a charge at it. Hammerhead 2 tried to get its flipper under Krab-Bot, but couldn't because of the claws, and Krab-Bot pushed it into an angle grinder, holding it for the last few seconds. Once again, the jury had to make the decision, and once again they ruled in favour of Krab-Bot.

In the Heat Final, Krab-Bot met returning finalist Twisted Metal EVO.

Krab-Bot grabs Twisted Metal EVO

Krab-Bot holds Twisted Metal EVO in the CPZ as Sir Killalot comes in

After dodging Twisted Metal EVO's first charge, Krab-Bot allowed its opponent to drive towards it, and drove on top of Twisted Metal EVO. Twisted Metal EVO turned around, and Krab-Bot reversed off it. Twisted Metal drove around and hit Krab-Bot's side with the disc. Twisted Metal EVO drove after Krab-Bot at the top of the arena, but Krab-Bot managed to grab Twisted Metal EVO by the gab behind the disc. The two span around together, then Krab-Bot managed to pull Twisted Metal EVO back to the arena centre, then forced it into the arena wall. Krab-Bot held Twisted Metal in a CPZ, and Sir Killalot came in and picked Twisted Metal EVO up with its claw. Sir Killalot span Twisted Metal EVO around, then dropped it. Twisted Metal EVO drove up the arena and tried to attack but couldn't get its disc spinning. Krab-Bot managed to grab Twisted Metal EVO again, but struggled to push it, then released it. Twisted Metal EVO drove at Krab-Bot's front, and Krab-Bot pushed it towards Matilda's CPZ. Twisted Metal EVO turned away, but turned into Matilda's CPZ. The House Robot's flywheel ripped up a panel of its armour. Twisted Metal EVO drove back at Krab-Bot's front, and Krab-Bot grabbed it and pushed it into an angle grinder, then into Sir Killalot's CPZ. Sir Killalot picked Twisted Metal EVO up, took it to the arena centre, span it, then threw it aside. Krab-Bot opened the pit, and after a landing a glancing blow on Krab-Bot, Twisted Metal EVO drove around the pit. Krab-Bot drove close to Sir Killalot's CPZ, and the House Robot pushed it away. The two competitors continued to push against each other in the last few seconds. The jury ruled that Krab-Bot was the heat winner.

In the Grand Final, Krab-Bot came up against Belgian machine Philipper 2.

Krab-Bot is flipped upwards by Philipper 2...

... which results in it becoming stuck on an angle grinder

Krab-Bot charged straight at Philipper 2, pushing it to the arena wall, but couldn't grab it due to Philipper 2's unusual shape. Krab-Bot reversed for another charge, then drove back at Philipper 2 as it moved away from the wall. Philipper 2 flipped Krab-Bot, and it landed on an angle grinder, and it was stuck there until the Refbot helped it down. Krab-Bot drove at Philipper 2, but an ill-timed turn allowed Philipper 2 to get at its side. Krab-Bot managed to turn off the flipper before it could flip, then got at Philipper 2's side, grabbing it by the flipper and ramming it into a CPZ. Shunt and Growler came in, with Growler ramming into Krab-Bot, knocking it away from Philipper 2. Shunt pinned Krab-Bot against the wall and tried to axe it, but missed its first axe blow, then Krab-Bot dodged the second. Krab-Bot reversed away, and the two fought in the arena centre. Philipper 2 flipped Krab-Bot over, but Krab-Bot was invertible, so this had no effect.

Krab-Bot's becomes caught under Philipper 2's flipper

Krab-Bot pushes Philipper 2

Krab-Bot drove at Philipper 2's front, and though Philipper 2 managed to flip it off the flipper, Krab-Bot pushed back, getting one of its claws under the flipper. Krab-Bot pushed Philipper 2 into the CPZ, then pushed it into an angle grinder as Growler came in. Philipper 2 pushed Krab-Bot back into the CPZ, where Growler bit into it and pulled it down the arena. Growler pushed Krab-Bot onto the flame pit, then let it go. Krab-Bot drove into an arena wall, then charged back at Philipper 2. It could not grip onto its opponent due to its shape, so instead got behind it and pushed it down the arena. Philipper 2 pushed back as the two drove over the (closed) pit, grabbing onto Krab-Bot with the crusher, and after a stalemate, Krab-Bot managed to push Philipper 2 some more. However, Philipper 2 then pushed back, and neither robot could get an advantage in the last few seconds. Time ran out, and the Jury ruled in favour of Philipper 2, and Krab-Bot finished just outside of the top four.

Extreme 2[]

Crushtacean came back for Extreme Series 2 and took part in the Commonwealth Carnage representing South Africa. In the opening round melee, Crushtacean went up against Panic Attack representing Wales, Cerberus representing Cyprus and Terror Turtle representing Canada.

Philippa Forrester: "Are you frightened of the Canadians, with the turtle?"
Ian Visser: "Well he tells me not to be, so I can only take his word for it, but no, I guess not."
Philippa Forrester: "Are you frightened of the Cypriots, with the legendary dog?"
Ian Visser: "It might have the pushing power, but I think that's all, so we'll have to wait and see."
Philippa Forrester: "Are you frightened of the Welsh, with Panic Attack?"
Ian Visser: "Panic Attack are good, they are very, very good. They can drive much better than I can, as you know!"
— Pre-battle interview

Crushtacean pushes Cerberus into the pit button

Crushtacean holds Cerberus in its claws

Crushtacean pits Cerberus

Crushtacean initially stayed out of the action, spinning around as Panic Attack fought Cerberus. It drove into the top arena wall, then reversed into n empty CPZ. It chased after Cerberus, but missed its first charge, so could not get its claws around it. Cerberus turned away and tried to escape, but Crushtacean got its claws under it and pushed it down the arena and into the pit release button. Crushtacean pulled the Cyprus representative back, turned it around, then pitted it.

"Cerberus and Crushtacean lock jaws and claws, and Cerberus down!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean targets Terror Turtle

Panic Attack had been fighting with Terror Turtle, but Terror Turtle got away and drove at Crushtacean, followed by Crushtacean. After Terror Turtle bumped into Crushtacean, Crushtacean span, then charged at Terror Turtle, but missed, driving in front of it. It reversed and tried again, but it missed again, driving past the Canadian representative. Panic Attack pushed Terror Turtle forwards, so Crushtacean drove at Panic Attack's side, but bounced off the skirts. Crushtacean backed off as Panic Attack pushed Terror Turtle into the CPZ. It drove just outside the CPZ as Panic Attack had Terror Turtle cornered, but Shunt came in, and Crushtacean avoided it. It drove at the rear of Panic Attack, but Panic Attack reversed, and Crushtacean reversed as well. Crushtacean stayed out of the action for a bit as Panic Attack pushed Terror Turtle, but soon grabbed hold of Terror Turtle, its wheel guard in one claw and the spinning bar in the other.

"...Crushtacean's claws, made from 12mm aluminium, driven by a screw jack mechanism, exerting 300 kilos of pressure there."
— Jonathan Pearce as Crushtacean holds Terror Turtle

Panic Attack got between the two, lifted them up and pushed them back, but Crushtacean turned itself off, still holding onto Terror Turtle. It pushed Terror Turtle down the arena, but Panic Attack rammed it, then Crushtacean released Terror Turtle. Panic Attack pushed Terror Turtle into Sir Killalot's CPZ, and the House Robot lifted it up. Crushtacean slipped around the House Robot's rear as it turned Terror Turtle over, and cut his hydraulic cables, after which he did not move again. The battle went to the judges, as Sir Killalot's overturning of Terror Turtle was considered an illegal move, and Crushtacean qualified alongside Panic Attack.

"It fits beautifully, we measured it up!"
— Ian Visser comments on how Corkscrew fits perfectly in its claws

Crushtacean grips Corkscrew

In the second round, Crushtacean then faced the Scottish entry Corkscrew. Crushtacean charged at Corkscrew, but missed. Corkscrew got the spinner up to speed, and as Crushtacean tried to line up another charge, Corkscrew drove into it, knocking it aside. However, Crushtacean quickly came back, pushing Corkscrew into the arena wall, stopping it from spinning and grabbing onto the top two blades. Crushtacean pulled Corkscrew back, and drove it towards the pit release.

"Now this'll be something of an upset if South Africa were to win this..."
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean falls in the pit

However, Corkscrew was able to push back, forcing Crushtacean into the arena wall, then pushing it back as it tried to open the pit. Crushtacean eventually managed to open the pit, and the top "handle" on Corkscrew fell off. Crushtacean pushed Corkscrew towards the pit, despite Corkscrew struggling against it, and managed to push it down, falling in itself, but it still had won.

"Corkscrew went in first, driven by Crushtacean! The judges may well be called upon, but for me, it was Corkscrew that went in first ... this could be a famous victory for South Africa!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean was through to the final of the Commonwealth Carnage. The final was against Firestorm 4, the English representative.

"If we can catch them, which is hard, because he drives beautifully, we'll try and do the same trick, I think!"
— Ian Visser admits his plan for fighting Firestorm 4 to Craig Charles after the battle with Corkscrew

Firestorm 4 defeats Crushtacean

Firestorm 4 charged at Crushtacean, but Crushtacean dodged it, driving to the centre of the arena. Firestorm 4 turned around and charged under Crushtacean, but Crushtacean rode up the side so Firestorm 4's flip missed. Both robots turned to face each other, and Firestorm 4 quickly got under Crushtacean, flipping it onto an angle grinder. Crushtacean reversed, the turned around for another attack, but Firestorm 4 swiftly got under it again, flipping it, but the flipper was not under properly, so merely pushed Crushtacean off the wedge. Firestorm 4 got under Crushtacean again, but Crushtacean reversed off the wedge. As Firestorm 4 turned away for another attack, Crushtacean drove into an angle grinder, then reversed close to Dead Metal's CPZ. Dead Metal grabbed the South African representative and cut into it, before letting it go. Firestorm 4 came in, and in trying to escape, Crushtacean drove into the arena wall, before reversing back into Dead Metal's pincers. Firestorm 4 flipped Crushtacean against the House Robot, before overturning it.

"We know that Crushtacean has a control problem, the aerial is situated between the eyes, that has caused problems in the past."
— Jonathan Pearce

Refbot counts out Crushtacean

Crushtacean was struggling to move, and Firestorm 4 flipped it onto its side against the arena wall. Crushtacean tried opening and closing the claws to get itself down, but it was still stuck on its side. Refbot came in and counted out Crushtacean, confirming Firestorm 4 as the Commonwealth Carnage champion.

"...and Refbot counts down the hopes of South Africa, brave Commonwealth Carnage finalists, but this was a small crab in a very, very big pool, and Firestorm 4 are the Commonwealth Carnage champions!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Crushtacean is counted out

Series 7[]

"Two large claws on this, aluminium crab, electric power, 36 volt, "indestructible" they say, manoeuvrable, but a 4cm ground clearance. Crab sandwich, anyone?"
— Jonathan Pearce describes Crushtacean

In Round 1 of the Seventh Wars, Crushtacean went up against a new version of UFO, Dutch Robot Wars competitor Tartarus, and the tenth seed Behemoth, this then being a rematch of the Series 5 shock.

Behemoth flips Crushtacean

Crushtacean is flipped onto UFO by Behemoth

UFO drives Crushtacean against the arena wall

Shunt axes Crushtacean

Crushtacean started by charging at UFO, getting at its side, but at the start of the battle, but couldn't grab hold of UFO's wedge shape. Meanwhile, Behemoth got straight under Tartarus and flipped into Shunt's CPZ. Crushtacean drove up UFO's wedge, but as its flipper didn't work, UFO just pushed Crushtacean down the arena. Due to its curved shape, Crushtacean slid off the wedge, but got Behemoth rammed and tried to lift Crushtacean. Crushtacean managed to avoid the scoop and drive away up the arena. Behemoth followed it and quickly flipped Crushtacean over and rammed it into an arena wall. Crushtacean was briefly pinned against the wall by UFO, but Behemoth pushed UFO from the side, which allowed Crushtacean to turn away from UFO's wedge. However, Behemoth got under it, pushed it onto UFO's wedge and flipped it over.

"The danger for Crushtacean is if it gets pushed out of the arena."
— Jonathan Pearce after Behemoth flipped Crushtacean

Crushtacean fell back on UFO's wedge, but reversed away into a CPZ, then into the centre of the arena. Behemoth charged at it, knocking it up on its side. Crushtacean fell down, but UFO got under it, and Behemoth axed it, then pushed it towards a CPZ.

"Behemoth has sensed the main danger here will come from Crushtacean and is taking on Crushtacean at will, and at the moment, we can't see any use in those claws."
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean, seconds before it went out of the arena

Crushtacean after being dumped out of arena

UFO pushed Crushtacean into the CPZ, and it was cornered by UFO and Behemoth, the latter of which flipped Crushtacean over UFO. Crushtacean landed on the arena wall, stuck against it. Shunt came in and axed it, and just after Tartarus was counted out, Behemoth got its scoop under Ian Visser's machine and lifted it over the fence, leaving Crushtacean out of the arena, and out of the main competition.

"[Tartarus] didn't really give us a dragonfly, or a frog hop. But Crushtacean did! They've hopped out! Now for me, that is a shock, because it means UFO will go through with Behemoth."
— Jonathan Pearce expresses his surprise Crushtacean was eliminated before the weaponless UFO

The Third World Championship[]

Crushtacean returned for The Third World Championship in the hopes of representing South Africa for a second time, and faced Irish robot Topbot.

Jayne Middlemiss: "Do you think Crushtacean can make it?"
Ian Visser: "Well, we'll try, we'll do our very best, I think."
— Pre-battle interview with Jayne Middlemiss

Crustacean pins Topbot against the top arena wall

Crushtacean quickly grabbed hold of Topbot and pushed it into the CPZ, pinning it against the wall, but managed to turn around. Crushtacean reversed away from the disc and Topbot escaped.

"...allowed to get away! Crushtacean should have gone in for the kill there!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean drops Topbot in the pit

Crushtacean briefly became caught on Refbot, its claws stuck in its side, under the front wedge. The two managed to separate, and Topbot drove into the side with its disc spinning, but caused no damage then drove away. Topbot had steering problems, driving towards the wall, away from it, before charging straight at it and smashing it. Crushtacean got behind Topbot, grabbed it and pushed it down the arena. Despite Topbot's struggles, Crushtacean pulled Topbot towards the pit release tyre, knocking it loose and it pressed it, then pushed Topbot into the pit.

Craig Charles: "What do you think your chances are in the World Championships?"
Dominic Visser: "High!"
Craig Charles: ""High"?! Nothing wrong, with a little bit of confidence, is there?"
Dominic Visser: "No."
Craig Charles: "Okay, who would you like to avoid, have you seen any countries with really top robots?"
Ian Visser: "They're all pretty good, I mean the level of robots now is really good, you walk around the pits and you think "Do I want to go up against that lot?" - really scary!"
— Post-battle interview

In the first round, it faced Dutch Champion PulverizeR and Swiss robot Snake Bite.

"Crushtacean, brilliantly conceived idea I think, the South African entry."
— Jonathan Pearce during the battle

Crushtacean pushes PulverizeR into the arena wall

Snake Bite attacks, despite being counted out

Crushtacean immediately reversed into the pit release tyre, before PulverizeR went after it, hitting it with the disc. This only knocked Crushtacean up a little, and Crushtacean pushed PulverizeR back towards Sgt. Bash's CPZ. However, PulverizeR was able to turn away, and Crushtacean charged into the CPZ itself. It quickly reversed out of danger into the arena centre, then went back after PulverizeR. Meanwhile, Snake Bite looked like it had broken down. Crushtacean pushed PulverizeR into the arena wall, but both robots moved away from the wall as Sgt. Bash came out of its CPZ and fired its flamethrower. PulverizeR reversed up the arena, with Crushtacean following it, ramming it into the wall a couple of times, but couldn't get a grip on PulverizeR's slanted body. PulverizeR's disc had stopped spinning. As Snake Bite was counted out, Crushtacean continued to chase PulverizeR, but could do little more than push it when it caught it. After being counted out and pushed around by Dead Metal, Snake Bite came back into the battle, but Crushtacean ignored it, continuing to attack PulverizeR, getting side-on and pushing it with one of its wheels between the claws.

"Crushtacean, trying to get a little nip in, on Elvis."
— Jonathan Pearce

Snake Bite grabs Crushtacean

Crushtacean tried to grab the front of PulverizeR, but couldn't grip onto it, and helped by Snake Bite coming in between the two, PulverizeR were able to turn away. Crushtacean tried to grip onto the front of Crushtacean again, but Snake Bite got between it and PulverizeR again. Crushtacean drove at it, but drove up the wedge and Snake Bite grabbed it with the crusher and started pushing it towards the pit. Dead Metal intervened, pulling Snake Bite and Crushtacean away from the pit. Crushtacean had one of its claws stuck in Snake Bite, but managed to get free just before time ran out. The match ended and the Judges decided that Crushtacean had qualified for the Semi-Finals.

"When we got crunched by the pincer, it's jamming a wheel a bit, I think, and the batteries got really tired, but we just hung in there."
— Ian Visser after the battle

Here it met Supernova, which was representing Sri Lanka.

Jayne Middlemiss: "Well done Crushtacean, you are through to the Semi-Final of the World Championship, representing South Africa."
Ian Visser: "Bit of a surprise!"
Jayne Middlemiss: "Bit of a surprise?"
Ian Visser: "That's alright, touch and go."
Jayne Middlemiss: "What are your tactics against Sri Lanka, they have got a nasty spinner on there."
Ian Visser: "We have to try and get them before it speeds up, basically, and they're going to run away and let it speed up, I think. After that, it's ... whatever happens, I don't know. We'll have to see."
Jayne Middlemiss: "You have got the claws, are you going to try and capture?"
Ian Visser: "Oh yes, they're a nice size to capture, if we can remain undamaged enough to do that!"
— Pre-battle interview with Jayne Middlemiss

Supernova hits Crushtacean's wheels

Crushtacean quickly rammed Supernova, but drove its own gearbox directly into Supernova's disc and almost instantly disabled half of its drive system. Crushtacean attempted to move on its one working side of drive and was left circling near Shunt's CPZ, where the House Robot missed a couple of axe blows. Supernova hit the side of Crushtacean, sending it spinning into Shunt, who axed it, denting the top.

"...and do y'know, I think that first assault by Crushtacean on Supernova, did the damage! I think they did themselves in!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean is plucked up by Sir Killalot after being counted out

Crushtacean's claw hangs loose.

Crushtacean stopped moving after this, and it was counted out by Refbot. Crushtacean was picked up by Sir Killalot, who paraded Crushtacean around the arena, eventually dropping it on the floor flipper. Crushtacean was flipped and then due to its rounded shaped rolled into the arena wall and almost out of the arena. One of Crushtacean's claws had broken and cease was called, eliminating Crushtacean from the tournament.

Ian Visser: "We hit the spinner on the gearbox, and that was us, we couldn't move after that, and he took a few more hits. Very kindly, [Supernova] left us alone for the main, I think most of the damage now is from the House Robots."
Craig Charles: "You kind of drove into them, though."
Ian Visser: "It was entirely my own undoing!"
— Post-battle interview

Series 9[]

"Can this crab team crusher help this father-and-son team get to grips with the competition?"
Dara Ó Briain

Crushtacean competed in Heat 4, where it faced newcomer Apex, Series 8 competitor Ironside3, and Grand Finalist from the previous war, Pulsar. However, Crushtacean started the battle at a disadvantage, as a communication error led Team Crushtacean and Team Terrafonics to believe that the '3, 2, 1, Activate' signal was a test for the audience, when in fact it was the beginning of the battle[5].

"Only here on Robot Wars will you see a fight between three huge spinners and a crab."
— Dara Ó Briain

Crushtacean is knocked out by Ironside3

The immobile Crushtacean is roasted on the Flame Pit

Crushtacean's initial movements were tentative as it crept around in the centre of the arena. Suddenly, Crushtacean turned its rear towards Ironside3 which was fast approaching, and a subsequent hit took a chunk out of Crushtacean and sent it spiralling over the Flame Pit.

"...the only robot to covered in polyurethane paint, which is about to get a bit of a burnish."
— Jonathan Pearce

Crushtacean showed no signs of movement after this devastating impact, as the arena hazard lit up with fire, and with Apex also immobilised from an explosive attack from Pulsar, the two were counted out. Cease was called, and Crushtacean's Series 9 campaign came to an immediate end.


UK Series
Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat H, Eliminator vs. Robochicken-Evo Won
Heat H, Semi-Final vs. Behemoth (15) Won
Heat H, Final vs. Wheely Big Cheese (10) Lost
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat C, Round 1 vs. Dantomkia, Doctor Fist, Mr Nasty Qualified
Heat C, Round 2 vs. Chaos 2 (5) Lost
Extreme Series 2
Commonwealth Carnage
Representing South Africa, Runner-up
Round 1 vs. Cerberus (CYP), Panic Attack (WAL), Terror Turtle (CAN) Qualified
Round 2 vs. Corkscrew (SCO) Won
Final vs. Firestorm 4 (ENG) Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat L, Round 1 vs. Behemoth (10), Tartarus, UFO Eliminated
The Third World Championship
Representing South Africa, Semi-Finalist
Qualifier vs. Topbot (IRE) Won
Round 1 vs. PulverizeR (NED), Snake Bite (SUI) Won
Semi-Final vs. Supernova (SRI) Lost
Series 9
Series 9 – UK Championship
Round 1
Heat 4, Group Battle vs. Apex, Ironside3, Pulsar Eliminated
Dutch Series
Series 2
Dutch Championship
Grand Final, Round 1
Heat C, Round 1 vs. Alien Destructor 2 Won
Heat C, Round 2 vs. Hammerhead 2 Won
Heat C, Final vs. Twisted Metal EVO Won
Grand Final, Round 1 vs. Philipper 2 Lost


  • UK Wins: 7
  • UK Losses: 6
  • Dutch Wins: 3
  • Dutch Losses: 1

Series Record[]

UK Series[]

The original design for Crushtacean, shown in Series 9

Main Series Crushtacean 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 Heat Final
The Sixth Wars Heat, Round 2
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1
Series 8 Withdrew application
Series 9 Heat, Round 1
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 Commonwealth Carnage, Runner-up

Dutch Series[]

Dutch Series Krab-Bot Series Record
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 Grand Final, Round 1

Robot Wars Live Events[]

After a 12-year absence from the robot combat scene, Crushtacean came out of retirement in 2016 to fight at the first Robot Wars live event of the year in Manchester. In the first show, Crushtacean showed that it was still a very capable battler, grabbing Kill-E-Crank-E, which would eventually break down, outlasting Chimera which pitted itself, and defeating Meggamouse to win its melee. Crushtacean also took part in a Tag Team battle, siding with Iron-Awe 7. Iron-Awe 7 quickly immobilised Ceros but broke down in the process, leaving Crushtacean to fight Cherub alone. Crushtacean dominated the battle, refusing to let go of Cherub, before eventually breaking down, leaving Cherub as the winner on a judge's decision. It managed to reach the semi-finals of the main competition before being flipped out the arena by Ripper. Crushtacean managed to finish 3rd in this event.


Crushtacean, mis-spelt as 'Crushtacen'

  • On the board listing the nominations for the Most Promising Newcomer in Series 5, Crushtacean was erroneously spelt as Crushtacen.
  • Crushtacean is the only South African robot to compete in any main competition of Robot Wars.
  • All of the seeds Crushtacean faced in the main competition in the original series were multiples of 5.
  • Captain Ian Visser was able to get through the Dutch Robot Wars interviews by speaking Afrikaans, a native South African language which is virtually identical to Dutch.
  • Every fight Krab-Bot fought in in Dutch Robot Wars: Series 2 resulted in a judges decision.
  • Krab-Bot is one of seven machines to place in the top eight of a domestic championship and the top four of a World Championship, alongside Razer, Tornado, 101, Storm 2, Manta and Behemoth. It is the only robot to have made the finals in a domestic championship that was not its own.
  • All of the robots to have beaten Crushtacean in the original UK Series (apart from Firestorm 4) then went on to lose their next battles.
  • Supernova and UFO are the only robots to have beaten Crushtacean that have never made it to the grand final or the semi finals.
  • Crushtacean's Extreme 2 Commonwealth Carnage battle against Corkscrew marked the first of two occasions in which both Series 5 debutants and Heat Finalists appeared in the same episode, the other being Series 7, Heat L. Coincidentally, both would advance to the Heat Final stage in Series 5 by defeating a lower-seeded robot, before being in turn defeated by the highest-seeded robot of their given heats.
    • They would also lose to a former UK Champion in Series 6 (Chaos 2 and Panic Attack respectively) via self-pitting, before getting flipped out of the arena in their respective first-round battles in Series 7.




Official Series 7 photo

External Links[]