Robot Wars Wiki

"Will it create nought but dread from its lifting fork weapons?"
Jonathan Pearce in Series 4

Dreadnaut (sometimes spelled Dreadnaught and known as Dreadnaut XP1 or Dreadnaut XP-1 in Series 4) was a competitor robot that fought in the first four series of Robot Wars. Plagued by reliability issues, Dreadnaut struggled in its Robot Wars career despite making it to the Arena stages of its first two series, but did make the Heat Final of Series 3 where it lost to Trident. This earned Dreadnaut XP-1 a seeded place in Series 4, where it was eliminated in the second round by Thermidor 2.

Versions of Dreadnaut[]

Throughout its appearances, Dreadnaut followed roughly the same design; a dome-shaped robot with lifting forks. While a powerful and consistent performer - never failing to progress beyond its Gauntlet runs or first round battles - Dreadnaut suffered many reliability problems throughout its appearances, breaking down four times throughout its first three series and losing its Series 2 battle against Oblivion after the team accidentally knocked out its removable link while preparing it. Additionally, it had a high ground clearance and lack of self-righting mechanism, which cost Dreadnaut XP1 in its Series 4 battle against Thermidor 2.

Dreadnaut (Series 1)[]

"The fibreglass-protected Dreadnaut runs off a 12 volt starter motor, salvaged from a Morris Marina. At 5mph, not the fastest robot in the field; but certainly the heaviest, weighing in at 92.6 kilos!"
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Dreadnaut

Dreadnaut's Series 1 official photo

Dreadnaut in the arena in Series 1

Dreadnaut was a dome-shaped robot with a fibreglass shell intrinsically designed to look like a small tank, similar to the Dreadnaut tank from the PlayStation 1 game Future Cop LAPD. It initially featured a black and yellow shell, was armed with a set of small red lifting forks at the front, and was powered by a starter motor from a Morris Minor. It was much taller than most other Series 1 competitors, at 75cm.

"...the whopping great switches ( from an electric bus) which were needed to cope with the high current drain of the three car starter motors. Unforunately we only had one earth cable which obviously couldn't cope! The wheels were driven via a chain and sprockets, but weren't really geared down enough, which made it fast (initially) but difficult to control. Steering was improved by fixing the two rear castors in a straight line. (A useful tip for anyone using rear castors.) ... I work as a freelance car design sculptor and were able to use many of those techniques to help us build Dreadnaut. The body had to be made that tall to accomodate {sic} the height of the fork motor. The fixings of the body were adjustable to give different ground clearances."
— Dreadnaut website on the original Dreadnaut[1]

In Series 1, Dreadnaut weighed 92.6kg, making it the second-heaviest robot in that series after Barry, and heavy enough for it to be considered a Super Heavyweight. The robot was only finished the day of filming.

"After almost working through the night, Dreadnaut is finished in the early hours of the day we were due to take it to London. No time for a test drive, which was a shame as it was impossible to control until we fixed the rear castors."
— Dreadnaut website on finishing the Series 1 machine

Dreadnaut (Series 2)[]

"Another first wars veteran is back, and with improved weaponry: fantastically frightening forklifts! Can lift up to 70 kilos! It has directional change relays. The original wheelchair motors were a bargain, the improvements £200! Will it prove money well spent for the yellow and black bubble?"
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Dreadnaut

The Series 2 incarnation of Dreadnaut

Dreadnaut's Series 2 official photo

In Series 2, Dreadnaut's front forks were replaced with 3mm hardened steel ones, which were designed to gouge welts in opponents' armour as well as lift them more effectively, the drive mechanism for the forks being lowered down considerably. The robot also had revised side armour, using the repaired original shell, and directional change relays added, the latter costing an extra £200 to install.

"Dreadnaut was new and improved over last year (the shell looks the same so it's last years pic). The improvements consisted of getting rid of the starter motors and replacing them with wheelchair motors. The lifting mechanism was also improved to give 70kg of lift, which was based upon a motor and lead screw. The speedo consisted of relays and solenoids and was very reliable. They were very unlucky in the way they went out and should have done a lot better."
Oliver Steeples on the improvements to Dreadnaut[2]

The internals were improved, with the motors and batteries being replaced. Dreadnaut's weight was also reduced considerably in comparison to its Series 1 form, at 80.8kg, although this was still 1.4kg over the original Heavyweight limit. Dreadnaut used 15ah wheelchair gel batteries for its drive system, and two 12 V batteries for power.

"All of our starter motors were shot in the first war and so we invested in three second hand wheelchair motors at about fifty quid each. The borrowed 30ah aircraft battery had to go back to work and so we also bought a couple of 15ah wheelchair gel batteries at 20 quid apiece. The motors came with their own wheels attached and so fortunately bolted straight on to the frame. Even though we hadn't had chance to use the forks in anger in the first war, we still thought they were a good idea and decided to power them with a 16v battery drill which cost us about £35. The bodywork was then repaired and strengthened ( not half enough as it turned out!) and cut away to fit the new size forks. Finally we gave it a new paint job and went for a shiny new look instead of the weathered look we had first time."
— Dreadnaut website on the upgrades to Dreadnaut[3]

Dreadnaut (Series 3)[]

"For the third wars, we wanted to make Dreadnaut a little different, but still keep the general look and layout of the original. So we hit on the idea of having the original Dreadnaut taken over by an alien organism ... This also gave me a chance to do a bit more modelling. A lot more as it turned out! ... the new bodywork was built on top of the old one, but there wasn't a lot of the old shape left."
— Dreadnaut website[4]

Dreadnaut in Series 3, with the smaller silver shell and upgraded steel forks

Side-on image of Dreadnaut in the arena in Series 3

The rear of Dreadnaut

After having its bodyshell seriously damaged by Sir Killalot in Series 2, Dreadnaut appeared in Series 3 with a new silver and orange/red shell, which had a green section at the back, which was supposed to represent an alien organism which had "taken over" the machine. The shell itself was lower than the shell used in the first two series. Its forks also received an upgraded motor which allowed them to lift 70kg, which it demonstrated in its first round battle against Psychokiller.

On the statistics board, its name was spelt as Dreadnaught, although this was likely an error on the show's part as the team's website continued to use the name Dreadnaut.

"Using many parts from the old version of Dreadnaut, this Robot Wars vet returns with a new mechanism and motor for the forklift, a new body shell design. Opponents, your future hangs on the decision of Judge Dread!"
— Jonathan Pearce describes Dreadnaut

Dreadnaut XP1 (Series 4)[]

"We didn't sustain much damage in the third wars and so the bodywork was pretty much o.k. So we put it to one side and concentrated on the 'gubbins'. One major job was a complete rewire to simplify the wiring and make it look a little more tidy and professional {sic}. The reason we went out in the third war was because we lost power to both the wheels, and we dreaded the worst. A quick inspection of the motors however, revealed that it was a simple task of tightening up a couple of grubscrews which connected the drive cogs to the motor shaft. So that was sorted.(Our downfall as it turned out!)"
— Dreadnaut website[5]

Dreadnaut XP1 in Series 4

Dreadnaut XP1 in the arena

For Series 4, Dreadnaut was renamed Dreadnaut XP1 (alternatively spelt Dreadnaut XP-1 on statistics boards and in official Robot Wars media). The 'XP-1' part stood for 'Xperimental Prototype 1', which was reflected in the robot's updates including a rebuilt chassis, a 'complete rewire' to improve reliability and upgraded lifting forks powered by two motorcycle starter motors. While slower to actuate than in previous incarnations, these enabled the forks of Dreadnaut XP1 to be potentially more effective at lifting opponents.

"The major thing to sort out was the fork motor. So far the forks had been a big disappointment in terms of their effectiveness and so we wanted to make them more powerful, without resorting to using pneumatics, which we knew nothing about. We decided to use motor cycle starter motors, as they were cheap (around £15 each) and quite powerful. They are also series motors which we know from the first wars are difficult to reverse, and so we used two opposing motors with a large cog between them which was connected to the fork drive screw."
— Dreadnaut website[6]


Dreadnaut is named after the battleship HMS Dreadnought, with the term Dreadnought becoming synonymous with large, imposing vehicles. The reason behind the team's spelling of "Dreadnaut" is unclear.

The stat boards in Series 3 erroneously spelled the robot as Dreadnaught, while the subheading for its Series 4 name Dreadnaut XP1 stood for "Xperimental Prototype 1".

The Team[]

"When did it all start? Well for us it started with a small advert in 'Sci-fi & Fantasy Model magazine', January 1996. "Robot Wars needs you!". After seeing a little of the American version sometime before, I couldn't resist the challenge and so duly sent off for some info. It must have been getting on for twelve months before I heard anything more. But eventually a meeting was arranged in Birmingham to come and see what it was all about, and so I took David ( my brother-in-law) along with me. There we met Steve, the producer and Mary-Jane and the crew and saw the only British robot ever to have competed in Robot Wars (USA) at that time (WYSIWYG). Well that was it! There was no stopping us and after a lot of work, and numerous filming delays, the first 'Wars' was filmed at Victoria docks in November 1997."
— Dreadnaut website on the origins of Dreadnaut

The team in Series 1

The team in Series 4

The Dreadnaut team, known as The Blade Runners, was formed by Ken Feltwell, with his brother-in-law Dave Vowles. Ken was the Team Captain, but in Series 3, he was absent, having been on holiday at the time of filming. He was replaced by Dave's daughter, Faye Vowles, who was also present for Series 4.

"Series three was due to be filmed in July 1999. Due to many setbacks, such as the lack of a venue (the Victoria docks warehouses were taken over for Millennium Dome business.) the filming was postponed and was eventually set for the end of October. Unfortunately, I was so keen to be on the programme that I decided to avoid going on holiday in July and go away in...October! Typical isn't it. So Dave's daughter Faye was drafted in to keep him company and we carried on to complete Dreadnaut3."
— Dreadnaut website explains Ken Feltwell's absence

Ken was also seen briefly in the control booth in the series 2 lightweight championship which suggests the team had another robot as well.

Robot History[]

Series 1[]

"...and the Dreadnaut's greatest asset here, driven by the brothers-in-law Kevin and David, could be its weight - it looks like a big slug!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Dreadnaut starts its Gauntlet run

Dreadnaut crosses the line

In the First Wars, Dreadnaut fought in Heat C. Despite the robot only having a top speed of 5 mph, Dreadnaut started quickly as it went down the left route, but drove into the block separating routes. This caused it to bounce into Shunt. Despite Shunt pushing it into a pyramid, Dreadnaut quickly got off and darted down the course. However, Dead Metal caught it and pushed it back. and completed its run superbly, placing it second on the leaderboard overall. Dead Metal let Dreadnaut go, and as Shunt came after it, Dreadnaut sped down the course to the end. This put them first on the leader board.

Jeremy Clarkson: "Just for a minute, I thought you were going to get pushed all the way back!"
Ken Feltwell: "I thought we were as well, I was a bit worried there, but we managed it, I was amazed! We did it!"
— Post-Gauntlet interview

Suddenly, after completing the Gauntlet, Dreadnaut then caught fire after slamming the arena barrier at the end of the run. The team returned to the pits realising that the robot needed a full rewiring.

"Hang on a minute, what's this? Dreadnaut's blown some sort a fuse, it's on fire! This could be major, major trouble, they'll have to repair this quickly. Otherwise, they'll be forced to retire!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Dreadnaut billows smoke.

Dreadnaut, having broken down after running the Gauntlet

There was some uncertainty about whether or not Dreadnaut would be forced to withdraw, in which case Plunderbird 1 would be reinstated, but Dreadnaut was repaired just before the Trial stage was ready to commence and Plunderbird 1 was eliminated from the competition.

"Well, we've got it working again. We've had to take out the motor we use for the forklifts and put it in as a drive motor, because the other one shorted out. It's completely gone. so we've now not got any attack mechanism, so we've tried to adjust it so it's now more defensive, we can try and scoop the ball up and use it to move the football!"
— Dave Vowles explains the repairs to Dreadnaut to Philippa Forrester

In the Trial, Dreadnaut competed in Football against Cruella, Robot The Bruce, Wedgehog, and stock robot WYSIWYG.

Dreadnaut (centre) during the Football Trial

Dreadnaut started by driving at the ball, but Robot The Bruce knocked the ball away before Dreadnaut could reach it. Dreadnaut reversed to block Robot The Bruce, and used its static forks to weakly knock the ball towards the goal. Wedgehog got close to the ball, but Cruella rammed it into the fence. In doing so, the ball rolled to Wedgehog's front, but Robot The Bruce pushed Wedgehog into Dead Metal before it could score, knocking the ball away. The ball went in front of Dreadnaut, but Dreadnaut was too slow to reach it, as Cruella pushed it back. Robot The Bruce pushed the ball into the fence, and it rolled off. Dreadnaut had a chance to score, but Robot The Bruce got to the ball first and pushed it into the net to score the first goal.

WYSIWYG beats Dreadnaut to the ball

When the Trial restarted, Dreadnaut was nearest the ball, but as it reversed towards the ball, WYSIWYG charged in reverse into it, stopping it, then pushed the ball away. Dreadnaut moved forwards a little, before stopping. It moved forwards again, then reversed into the ball. Dreadnaut stopped moving, and actually blocked the others as they gained possession of the ball.

"Get out of the way Dreadnaut! What is Dreadnaut doing? I think Dreadnaut's a bit of a goal-hanger here."
— Jonathan Pearce

Ultimately, Wedgehog went through next, being the robot with the last touch before Dead Metal scored an own goal.

Dreadnaut lies immobile as Cruella beats WYSIWYG to the ball

The game restarted again for the third phase, but Dreadnaut did not move at all. Dead Metal grabbed Dreadnaut and pulled it from the centre, out of the other two robots way. Cruella got to the ball first, and after driving into Dead Metal, WYSIWYG charged into a fence and stopped moving. Cruella scored the goal and progressed.

"No, I'm not too sure if Dreadnaut is goal-hanging, I think he's suffering from a re-occurrence of that old injury. Can't move, hardly."
— Jonathan Pearce

Both robots immobile at the end of the Football trial

For the fourth and final phase of the Trial, only Dreadnaut and WYSIWYG remained. However, neither robot could move, as Dreadnaut had run out of battery power, while WYSIWYG was also motionless, likely due to its position as a stock robot which prohibited the robot from reaching the Arena stage. The immobile Dreadnaut progressed past the Trial stage, with the explanation given that Dreadnaut had made more touches with the ball than WYSIWYG, putting it through by possession.

Ken Feltwell: "After we went up in smoke we really didn't think we'd even get into that round."
Dave Vowles: "We just didn't get the battery charged in time."
Ken Feltwell: "It just went dead in there, it was just the fact that the others actually hit the ball into us that gave us the touches, so we feel a bit of a cheat really!"
— Post-battle interview with Philippa Forrester

Dreadnaut had to undergo more repairs to get it working for the Arena stage, but the team were able to get it running again.

"...we think we've finally cracked it. ... We'll be lucky to survive five minutes with anybody anyway."
— Ken Feltwell to Philippa Forrester before the Arena stage

In the Heat semi-final, Dreadnaut was put up against Wedgehog. Dreadnaut had a huge weight advantage of almost 70kg, and would be assured victory if its motors remained cool.

Dreadnaut pushes Wedgehog into Sergeant Bash

"Dreadnaut, the big slug, against Wedgehog, the piece of cheese."
— Jonathan Pearce at the start of the battle

Both robots drove forward, and Dreadnaut dodged Wedgehog's axe. Dreadnaut tried pushing Wedgehog, but Wedgehog turned away.

"...the Dreadnaut boys look worried, they know they have to get this over and done with very early because the motor may not last."
— Jonathan Pearce

Shunt pushes and drags Dreadnaut and Wedgehog away from the grille

The two were briefly stuck side-on at each other, but Wedgehog got away. Wedgehog drove close to Sergeant Bash's CPZ, and Dreadnaut pushed it into the House Robot. Sergeant Bash attacked Wedgehog with the saw, but his saw snapped off just as it did against Killertron. Meanwhile, Dreadnaut had got its forks stuck under its opponent, and attempted to finish the match by pushing it onto a grille. It succeeded, but could not release it. Shunt pushed Dreadnaut away, dragging Wedgehog to safety in the process. After intervention from Matilda, Wedgehog pulled free, and started ramming back into the side of Dreadnaut, but Dreadnaut itself had broken down, notable from smoke billowing out of it.

Dreadnaut begins smoking

"...and surely this is Wedgehog's semi-final now! He's smoking!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Cease was called and Dreadnaut, who had broken down for a third time, was finally eliminated.

Ken Feltwell: "After we shot it in the first round, we tried to do our best to repair it, but obviously it just wasn't man enough for the job."
Dave Vowles: "We learned a lot, for next time. We'll be back"
— Post-battle interview (a deleted scene, included in The First Great War video)[7]

Series 2[]

"What will Dreadnaut have learned from the First Wars?"
— Jonathan Pearce at the start of Dreadnaut's Gauntlet run

Dreadnaut stuck on a brick

An upgraded Dreadnaut returned for the Second Wars, again competing in Heat C. It started its Gauntlet run by charging into the wall, but only managed to dislodge one brick, but after a further strike it managed to knock enough bricks down to get through. However, one of the bricks that had been knocked down blocked Dreadnaut's way, with Dreadnaut getting stuck on it as it tried to get past it. Dreadnaut reversed as Shunt came in.

"What are they doing here? Into reverse ... now, if they're not going to take on that wall, they are surely, no! To the left ... well they're going the other way now!"
— Jonathan Pearce questions Dreadnaut's tactics

Dreadnaut gets past the House Robots and completes the Gauntlet

Dreadnaut was able to quickly drive around the House Robot and go for the left route, but drove into a pyramid. Dreadnaut reversed for another run, but was lifted up by a spike. The spike lowered, and Dreadnaut sped down the route, dodging Shunt before it could catch up with it and driving past Sergeant Bash. However, Matilda then blocked Dreadnaut, and Sergeant Bash came down the course to help block Dreadnaut. After reversing for a charge, Dreadnaut managed to get past both House Robots and reach the end zone.

"It seemed like too much hard work to get through the brick wall so we thought we'd just try and go for the gap!"
— Ken Feltwell explains his change of plan to Craig Charles

Dreadnaut was through, and finished first on the leaderboard have completed the Gauntlet in the fastest time. Dreadnaut then went into the Trial, which was the Joust.

"There's the heraldic shield on the edge of Dreadnaut, getting into the spirit of things."
— Jonathan Pearce notes the addition to Dreadnaut's front

Dreadnaut in the Joust

Dreadnaut quickly drove up the ramp and got to the centre before Matilda. Just before the two robots came together, Dreadnaut got side-on against the small wall on Matilda's ramp leading to the centre, so when Matilda pushed against it, she could not push it back. Matilda reversed for another charge, and this time got under Dreadnaut, pushed it off the wall and pushed it off the centre platform.

"The wheels slip and slide away, but they've done enough! They're through!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Dreadnaut had managed 5.4m, placing it third, ensuring it was through to the Arena. There, it faced newcomers Oblivion.

"Oblivion is the lighter and the faster, Dreadnaut has those fearsome forks, and no mobility it would seem! There's something wrong here with Dreadnaut."
— Jonathan Pearce

Oblivion rams into the immobile Dreadnaut

However, Dreadnaut failed to at the start of the battle, allowing Oblivion to freely drive underneath it. Dreadnaut was nudged on top of an arena floor spike, which lifted it up and down, but eventually rolled off it. Dreadnaut still did not move, and after Oblivion retreated, the House Robots immediately attacked Dreadnaut as soon as its immobility became known.

"It must've been the spike that stopped them ... no, they're not moving! Dreadnaut? Deadnaut!"
— Jonathan Pearce after Dreadnaut is shifted from the spike it was stuck on.

Sir Killalot lifts Dreadnaut

Dreadnaut was pushed onto the flame pit by Shunt, before being pulled off by Matilda. Sir Killalot lifted Dreadnaut up, as Shunt axed it, and held Dreadnaut by its front in its claw. This caused the front to be ripped off. Sir Killalot then cut the bar for its lifting forks in half with his jaws, then lifted Dreadnaut over.

Ken Feltwell: "We just don't know what happened there, we had no control at all!"
Craig Charles: "Well they certainly moved in for the kill thought, didn't they?"
Dave Vowles: "No mercy at all! And they [the Oblivion team] were smiling! They were smiling!"
— Post-battle interview

Sir Killalot cuts into Dreadnaut

Dreadnaut's removable link, lying on the arena floor

After the battle, the team found that the safety key had been knocked out of the robot, having found it on the arena floor, and that was what caused Dreadnaut not to move.

" the case was put back on, the key was knocked out!"
— Ken Feltwell to Philippa Forrester

Series 3[]

"Dreadnaut team, no, Dreadnaut... well, team and helper, because Ken, you may remember, is on holiday in Florida, so we're not saying hello to him, because we're very annoyed with him for lying by the pool. It's outrageous!"
— Philippa Forrester introduces the Dreadnaut team at the start of the Heat

Dreadnaut appeared in the final heat of the third series, and was drawn against newcomers Psychokiller in the first round.

Dreadnaut rams Psychokiller

Dreadnaut started by ramming into the front of Psychokiller as its opponent charged at it. Psychokiller was knocked up on impact, but landed by Dreadnaut's side, and Dreadnaut turned away for another attack. Psychokiller drove away from Dreadnaut as it turned around, and drove around it as it tried chasing it. The two competitors drove away from each other, driving to opposite sides of the arena. Dreadnaut charged at Psychokiller, but failed to get under it with the forks, however, the sharp points on Dreadnaut's raised forks managed to make a couple of welts on the side armour of Psychokiller, and the opponent span away. Dreadnaut also started spinning as it tried to attack. Dreadnaut tried to push Psychokiller onto the flame pit, but Psychokiller turned away. Psychokiller span around, driving over the flame pit, then drove up the arena. However, it drove straight into Sir Killalot's CPZ, who cut off its axe.

"They've got no weapon now! Look at it - what a sorry looking thing it is, sticking out. It looks earbud, to clean your ears out, let alone take Dreadnaut on! Faye likes it!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Dreadnaut pushes Psychokiller onto the flame pit

Dreadnaut drove up the arena after it as Psychokiller reversed away from Sir Killalot, but struggled to line up an attack, swinging one way and another. Psychokiller pushed back against it, and Dreadnaut drove away. Psychokiller followed it, getting under Dreadnaut with the wedge, but Dreadnaut quickly reversed off the wedge. Psychokiller appeared to stop moving, and Dreadnaut pushed it onto the flame pit. Shunt axed Psychokiller and pushed it off the flame pit, but Psychokiller was still not moving. After a push from Dreadnaut, which got its forks under Psychokiller, Psychokiller started moving again, racing forwards, but drove into Dead Metal, and was on top of an arena spike. which rocked it up and down. Dreadnaut rammed it a couple of times, and it became clear that Psychokiller had broken down.

"The Dreadnaut team know they've got victory between their ... little pincer-ram, spiky things at the front!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The House Robots attacked Psychokiller, and Dreadnaut was through.

"Well, Ken, it's your own fault you're missing it! There you are, lying in Florida, in the sun by the pool, and missing all this excitement, because your team are through!"
— Philippa Forrester's message to Ken Feltwell after the battle

In the second round, it was drawn against another newcomer, Rattus Rattus.

Dreadnaut nudges the lifeless Rattus Rattus

Dreadnaut crossed the arena, but Rattus Rattus did not start at all. Dreadnaut slammed into it a few times, but Rattus Rattus still did not move.

"Rattus Rattus is the heavier, I think Dreadnaut probably is the speedier, and you wonder what damage Rattus Rattus took in its last battle against S.M.I.D.S.Y. ... obviously has a problem here, right from the start!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Dreadnaut continued to drive around Rattus Rattus, ramming it and pushing it into the wall, and before long the House Robots came out to attack the immobile Rattus Rattus.

"Hard cheese for the rat, and Dreadnaut's really won here by more than a whisker."
— Jonathan Pearce

Shunt chases Dreadnaut into the CPZ

However, whilst the House Robots were attacking Rattus Rattus, Dreadnaut rammed into the rear of Matilda. Shunt came in and chased Dreadnaut into the corner. Dreadnaut drove out of the CPZ, driving up to the top of the arena as Cease was called.

Philippa Forrester: "That was easy really for you!"
Dave Vowles: "Another easy round, yes!"
Philippa Forrester: "Made very easy because the rat died."
Dave Vowles: "Well that's what happened to us last year, last wars, we died, so I know they feel."
Philippa Forrester: "Oh, so you feel avenged as well?"
Dave Vowles: "A little bit avenged, yes!"
— Post-battle interview

Through to the Heat Final for the first time, Dreadnaut faced another newcomer, Trident, for a place in the Semi-Finals.

Craig Charles: "How are you feeling then?"
Dave Vowles: "Quite confident, we've come a lot further than the last war."
— Pre-battle interview

Dreadnaut gets attacked by Trident

Dreadnaut and Trident both immobile by the arena wall

The two robots slowly moved towards each other. As they clashed together, Dreadnaut tried to turn away, but Trident axed its top a couple of times. Trident continued to follow Dreadnaut, before Dreadnaut turned around, knocking past Trident with its forks. Dreadnaut drove up the arena, and turned to face Trident, waiting for its opponent to come after it. Trident drove at Dreadnaut, but drove at the wrong angle, so missed its axe blows. Dreadnaut reversed, then slowly moved forwards. Trident axed Dreadnaut again, this time denting it. After a few more axe blows, Trident pushed Dreadnaut a little. Dreadnaut moved away, but was moving slower and slower, and drove into the arena wall, where it stopped moving. Trident pushed it against a saw, and Trident axed it. Dead Metal came out of its CPZ to ram Dreadnaut, but Trident had stopped moving as well. Despite the fact that Dreadnaut had become immobile first, the House Robots started attacking Trident. During this, Dreadnaut sat completely undamaged, but was nonetheless ruled out of the competition.

"Dreadnaut gets nought! It was obviously disabled long before Trident!"
— Craig Charles

Series 4[]

"Will it create nought but dread from its lifting fork weapons? Will it go further than the last wars when Trident beat this fibreglass-protected machine, with its wheelchair motors, zero turning circle, but dangerously high ground clearance?"
— Jonathan Pearce

Dreadnaut XP1 participated in Heat G of the Fourth Wars and was seeded number twenty-nine. Its first round melee pitted it against newcomers Warhog and returning team Darke Destroyer 2, another Heat Finalist from the last wars.

Darke Destroyer uses its wagglers on Dreadnaut XP1

Warhog bounces off Dreadnaut XP1

Warhog spun its weapon up to speed as Darke Destroyer 2 and Dreadnaut XP1 slammed into each other head-on. Warhog slowly moved towards Dreadnaut XP1, slamming into its front. Warhog moved away, and Darke Destroyer 2 pushed Dreadnaut XP1 around the arena in circles. Its used its wagglers on Dreadnaut XP1's side, but this had no effect. Warhog then moved in again and hit Dreadnaut XP1 for a second time, chipping part of the shell away.

"Look at that! Shattering off the side of Dreadnaut XP1!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The damage to Dreadnaut XP1's front

Darke Destroyer 2 moved towards Warhog and both machines were knocked away by the power of the spinner, with Warhog bouncing into Dreadnaut XP1, then being knocked away. Warhog had stopped moving, but was still spinning. Dreadnaut XP1 approached Warhog, with the impact spinning Dreadnaut XP1 away and ripping its front claws loose, as well as throwing Warhog high into the air.

"Oh, crash! Like dodgems in a fairground, off Dreadnaut!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Dreadnaut XP1 is attacked by Sir Killalot

Darke Destroyer 2 then moved in to shove Dreadnaut XP1, who tried to push in return and bring its lifting forks into play, but these were working rather slowly, allowing Darke Destroyer 2 to back off easily. Meanwhile, Warhog sat spinning, but was still immobile, and the House Robots moved in. Dreadnaut XP1 broke down after some pushing by Dark Destroyer 2. As Shunt tried to push Warhog again, Sir Killalot picked up Dreadnaut XP1 and spun it around, causing its shell to fall off.

"What's Killalot doing, he's taken on Dreadnaut! Now that is bang out of order, Killalot! Dreadnaut was okay, still in the fight. The House Robot should not have taken him on, and they've deshelled the Dreadnaut!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Sir Killalot attacks the victorious Dreadnaut

Darke Destroyer 2 poked Dreadnaut XP1 one last time before cease was called and Warhog was eliminated.

Frantic repairs to Dreadnaut XP1

Dreadnaut XP1 was through, but a lot of repairs were needed to get it to work for the second round.

Julia Reed: "Dreadnaut, you're still working! You've got seconds to go, there's an audience screaming for you in there, what are you doing boys?"
Ken Feltwell: "Getting it together!"
Dave Vowles: "Panicking!"
— Before the heat semi-final

The team were able to get the robot working for the fight.

"What damage has been caused by Warhog, and by Killalot, I must say?"
— Jonathan Pearce at the start of the battle

Thermidor 2 throws Dreadnaut XP1 against the wall

Matilda slices into Dreadnaut XP1

In the heat semi-final, Dreadnaut XP1 met Thermidor 2. But at the start of the battle Dreadnaut XP1's repairs proved inadequate since it struggled to move, rocking backwards and forwards on one wheel. Dreadnaut XP1 had its forks slowly raising just as Thermidor 2 got under it and flicked it up a little, seemingly immobilising it in the process. It then pushed Dreadnaut XP1 to the arena wall and flipped it against the arena wall, throwing it over with one flip, almost throwing it out of the arena, but not managing.

"Like a beetle thrown on its back!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Dreadnaut XP1 is cooked on the flame pit by Sir Killalot

Dreadnaut XP1 had no srimech, so it was immobile. The House Robots moved in, with Matilda easily slicing through Dreadnaut XP1's fibreglass shell with her chainsaw, also cutting through one of the tyres and the baseplate. Dead Metal dragged it to the flipper, which threw it across the arena.

"Like a cannonball fired across the arena floor there!"
— Jonathan Pearce on Dreadnaut XP1 being flipped by the arena flipper

Dreadnaut XP1 is pitted by Dead Metal

Dreadnaut XP1 was now righted and tried to move away, but the House Robots continued to attack it, with Shunt firing its axe into the body and Sir Killalot snipping the front and dragging it to the flame pit. Dead Metal grabbed it, Shunt axed it, and Sir Killalot then dislodged the body shell by pinching the front.

"How much work has gone into Dreadnaut, for naught? It's just being bent and buckled!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Dead Metal finally pushed it into the pit, and the twenty-ninth seed was eliminated. This would prove to be the last time that any incarnation of Dreadnaut appeared on Robot Wars.

Craig Charles: "Well, are going to come back?"
Dave Vowles: "Hopefully!"
Craig Charles: "I think you're going to have to rebuild that robot though, aren't you?"
Dave Vowles: "I think we'll start again. We might have to!"
— Post-battle interview


Series 1
The First Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Arena Semi-Final
Heat C, Gauntlet Completed (2nd) Qualified
Heat C, Trial (Football) Most touches (4th) Qualified
Heat C, Semi-Final vs. Wedgehog Lost
Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Arena Semi-Final
Heat C, Gauntlet Completed (1st) Qualified
Heat C, Trial (Joust) 5.4m (3rd) Qualified
Heat C, Semi-Final vs. Oblivion Lost
Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat P, Round 1 vs. Psychokiller Won
Heat P, Round 2 vs. Rattus Rattus Won
Heat P, Final vs. Trident Lost
Series 4
The Fourth Wars - UK Championship
29th Seed, Heat Semi-Final
Heat G, Eliminator vs. Darke Destroyer 2, Warhog Qualified
Heat G, Semi-Final vs. Thermidor 2 Lost


  • Wins: 3
  • Losses: 4

NOTE: Dreadnaut's successful Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included

Series Record[]

Series Dreadnaut Series Record
The First Wars Heat, Arena Semi-Final
The Second Wars Heat, Arena Semi-Final
The Third Wars Heat Final
The Fourth Wars Heat, Round 2
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


Outside Robot Wars[]

Dreadnaut XP1 in 2015

Dreadnaut XP1 was brought by Team Cookie Monsters in 2005, albeit without any components, and the robot remained inactive,

"Dreadnaut XP1 came in to our possession in 2005 when Simon bought him for the princely sum of £31.00! What we got for our money was the body, base frame, front shield and forks, no internal workings. Simon's original intention was to fix Dreadnaut up and take him out on the road again, when we thought about it however, we decided that maybe it would be better to keep him as a piece of Robot Wars history so he didn't take any more damage. "
— Team Cookie Monsters website

In 2016, Team Cookie Monsters loaned Dreadnaut to the Derby Silk Mill - Museum of Making. It resides as a static display within the museum, and at special events run by the museum such as their Robot Triathlon.


  • Dreadnaut is one of twenty-three robots to have completed The Gauntlet, and, along with Mortis, Nemesis and Roadblock, is one of four robots to have completed it twice.
  • Dreadnaut is one of the most infamous robots in terms of reliability.
    • From five breakdowns, three of them were in Series 1, making it the only machine other than The Blob to break down in every single round of a series it fought in.
    • Their loss in Series 2 was caused by the team knocking out the safety key accidentally before the battle, meaning that its four loss record only recorded one knock-out (against Thermidor 2).
  • In Dreadnaut's first two appearances, it appeared in Heat C.
  • Thermidor 2 was the only robot to beat Dreadnaut and not lose its next battle.
  • Dreadnaut was the only robot to be seeded twenty-nine.
  • Footage of the team constructing Dreadnaut was included in the behind-the-scenes special Making of Robot Wars, along with other roboteers' video diaries.


External Links[]