- "It's a basic wedge design. It's got an aluminium and steel body shell for overturning and ramming other robots."
- — Oliver Steeples on Cunning Plan
Cunning Plan was a featherweight robot that exclusively fought in Series 1 of Robot Wars. Weighing at just under 12kg, it was the lightest robot ever to reach the Grand Final of any series of Robot Wars, which cost it in its Grand Final battle. Cunning Plan was sponsored by the University of Reading and displayed the university shield on the top of the robot.
The name Cunning Plan possibly came from the BBC sitcom Blackadder, in which the character Baldrick would often declare that he had a "cunning plan" to resolve a problem in which he and the other characters faced.
Despite Cunning Plan being retired after Series 1, Oliver Steeples revealed in 2016 that he still owns the robot, and it is fully functional.
Cunning Plan was a simple double wedge-shaped robot with an aluminium and steel shell. The wedge served as the robot's weapon, with its key tactic being to charge into other robots and allow them to run up the wedge and be flipped over, with Cunning Plan winning its heat in this manner. The robot itself was painted silver with the University of Reading shield on its top panel.
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Next was the Trial stage, which was Stock Car. Cunning Plan got off to a good start, but crashed into SAT'arn and The Demolisher at the first corner. However, Cunning Plan escaped, though it was unable to catch up with the much faster Demolisher until the latter flipped itself over after completing two laps. Cunning Plan completed its two laps, before trying to right The Demolisher and ending up crossing the line first, advancing to the Arena Stage.
For its first arena battle, Cunning Plan faced Bugs. After a hesitant start Cunning Plan managed to sweep under Bugs once. Bugs seemed to have some control difficulties and it drove onto a grille and became immobilised, and Cunning Plan still found time for a brief tease at Sergeant Bash.
Cunning Plan's next battle was the quickest battle in Series 1; Cunning Plan started slowly with The Demolisher reversing away, but Cunning Plan suddenly charged at its small opponent and The Demolisher was instantly flipped onto its back and immobilised.
As the only remaining featherweight in the competition, Cunning Plan entered the Grand Final, where it faced Recyclopse, Roadblock, Robot the Bruce, T.R.A.C.I.E. and Bodyhammer in a six-way melee for the championship. In the opening moments, Cunning Plan did a full 360 degree spin, upon crashing into T.R.A.C.I.E., broadside on. Next, Cunning Plan's lightness was an immediate weakness as Bodyhammer easily shunted it around. Cunning Plan fought back gallantly as it charged and bounced off Robot the Bruce, and reversing into Roadblock. But T.R.A.C.I.E. then suddenly drove up Cunning Plan's wedge. Due to T.R.A.C.I.E.'s weight, Cunning Plan couldn't reverse away, but neither could T.R.A.C.I.E. as it was beached. Both robots were immobilised, and declared out of the running, and thus ended Cunning Plan's title hopes.
|CUNNING PLAN - RESULTS|
|The First Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat D, Gauntlet||Completed (2nd)||Qualified|
|Heat D, Trial (Stock Car)||3 laps (1st)||Qualified|
|Heat D, Semi-Final||vs. Bugs||Won|
|Heat D, Final||vs. The Demolisher||Won|
|NOTE: This battle broke the Shortest Battle Record at 0:14 seconds|
|Grand Final||vs. Bodyhammer, Recyclopse, Roadblock, Robot The Bruce, T.R.A.C.I.E.||Lost|
- Wins: 2
- Losses: 1
NOTE: Cunning Plan's Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included
|Series||Cunning Plan Series Record|
|The First Wars||Joint Fifth|
|The Second Wars||Entered with Griffon|
|The Third Wars||Entered with Griffon|
|The Fourth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fifth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
- Cunning Plan is one of 23 robots to have completed The Gauntlet, and one of only 3 featherweights to do so (alongside Demolisher and SAT'arn).
- Cunning Plan is the one of the few robot without a moving weapon to reach a Grand Final, or indeed, win a battle. The other weaponless robots to make the Grand Final are Robot the Bruce and German competitor Tyke, which featured only static spikes. The former of the two fought in the same Grand Final as Cunning Plan.
- When Cunning Plan first entered the arena, Jonathan Pearce referred to the robot's builder as a "Star Wars fan". In 2015, Oliver Steeples would later build the R2-D2 model used in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Cunning Plan never had a judges' decision during its career.
- Cunning Plan's burst of speed to finish the Gauntlet almost caused it to go Out of the Arena, which would have made it the first robot to do so.
- Cunning Plan broke the record for the shortest battle in its Heat Final battle against The Demolisher at 14 seconds. This remained as the shortest battle until Cerberus defeated Cunning Plan's successor Griffon within 10 seconds in the Third Wars.