Flails are a loose-hanging and versatile type of rotating weapon found in Robot Wars. They first appeared in Series 2, with Caliban being the first of six robots from that series to be equipped with them. The most successful and notable robots with flails are Mace, which reached the Semi-Finals of Series 2 and 3 with this weapon, and Nuts 2, which used flails in tandem with its Meltybrain technology to finish joint-third overall in Series 10.

Definition[edit | edit source]

  • A flail is a rotating weapon with spikes, blades or other objects that dangle loosely from the weapon mechanism, usually by a chain. The mechanism can take any form, from simple axles to flywheels/discs and even revolving rings attached to the robot's chassis. When the weapon rotates at full speed, the objects at the end "flail" around, hence the name, with the intention of hitting opponents and causing cuts, scratches or dents to their armour or locomotion.

Flails were sometimes used in conjunction with other spinning weapons, such as full-body spinners, their flexible designs helping to prevent recoils to the robot's main body and armour.

Advantages and Disadvantages[edit | edit source]

Mace uses its flails to cause further damage to the eliminated Chaos

Using Meltybrain technology, Nuts 2 damaged Androne 4000's hydraulic lines with its flails


  • The non-rigid nature of flails allows them to often keep spinning even upon contact with other robots, unlike weapons such as bar spinners and cutting discs. Mace, for example, was able to continue damaging Leighviathan and Chaos even after repeatedly hitting them with its rear flail.
  • Flails can be attached to large discs, full-body spinners or - less commonly - sit-and-spin robots, increasing their damage output even further. This was best demonstrated by Nuts 2 in Series 10, whose flails were able to cause significant damage to Concussion, Androne 4000 and Carbide during its run.
  • They can be incorporated into invertible designs, as demonstrated by Nuts.
  • The length of flails give the weapon a wide damage radius, which can help prevent opponents from attacking close to it. This was the logic behind Nuts' tactic against Carbide ahead of their Series 8 Head-to-Head battle, and which later contributed to Nuts 2's successes in Series 10.
  • Flails can be designed to double up as entanglement devices, which can be absorbed by spinners.

Nuts' flail ring detaches following sustained attacks from Carbide

The Mauler is disqualified from the First World Championship


  • Flails are less durable than solid spinners, consisting of much thinner and less rigid metal, which can occasionally be ripped from a robot entirely.
  • The usage of flails powered individually by a motor became outdated as Robot Wars progressed due to a history of lower damage output, and generally have to work in unison with another spinning weapon or body in order to be effective.
  • Flails attached to powerful spinning mechanisms originally posed safety concerns with Robot Wars producers. Mauler was infamously disqualified from The First World Championship after the producers deemed that its weapon was too unsafe to contain in the Series 3 arena, while modern flail spinners often had to be tested in the full-size Robot Wars Arena instead of the test arena.

List of Robots with Flails[edit | edit source]

Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background. Robots that fought in the US 1990s events are highlighted in purple.

Robot Series Appearances with Flails Notes Image
Caliban Series 2 Pioneer of flails. Interchangeable with a full-body spinner.
Hoot Dutch Series 2, Nickelodeon Loanerbot armed with brittle tri-bar spinner.
Humdrum US Season 1, Nickelodeon Loanerbot with flails attached to spinning shell. Previously competed as Joker in US Season 1.
Inquisitor Series 2 Was destroyed by Razer before it had the chance to be used in combat.
Inquisitor Crop.png
Jackson Wallop Series 7 Attached to a top-mounted spinning disc. Disc was 1.2m in diameter, the largest body-to-weapon ratio allowed.
Joker US Season 2, Nickelodeon Season 1 saw the loanerbot Joker compete with the future design of Humdrum. The team's own build of Joker in later seasons attached flails to an angled spinning disc.
Mace Series 2-3 Series 2 and 3 Semi-Finalist, the latter as Mace 2.
Mace 2 offical image.png
Marauder US Season 2 Middleweight entry, although eligible for heavyweight competition. Two truck hitch balls at the end of a curved spinning bar, rotating at 3,000rpm.
Marvin 1996 Championship Utilised a long lifting spear with a chain flail that can be used for either entanglement or for a sit and spin tactic.
Nuts Series 8-10 Flails attached to chains on the ends of a rotating ring surrounding the robot. Primarily relies on sit-and-spin tactics, but the flails could move independently as part of the ring in the original Series 8 version. In Series 10, the flails and interchangeable rings of Nuts 2 can operate as a conventional spinning weapon through the robot's Meltybrain technology. Finished joint-third in Series 10 in the latter form.
Nuts 10.png
Punjar 1996 Championship Used a spinning flail that was at an angle and elevated in a way so that it could ram and scoop up opponents with the flailacting as additional punishment.
Tantrum Series 2 Combined row of flails spun at 1,000rpm.
The Mauler Series 3 Two flails and two chisels dangling from a top rotating lid. Disqualified from The First World Championship due to safety concerns.
The Parthian Shot Series 2 Never made it into the arena.
The Parthian Shot.JPG
Tornado Series 7 One of its interchangeable weapons for Series 7 only. A modified version of the 'Spiked Scoop', with the flail mounted in the centre of the scoop.
Tornado flail.jpg
Victor Series 2-3 Interchangeable with a lawnmower blade in Series 2. Modified into a 2ft long 'morning star' flail for Series 3.
Victor 2.jpg
Whirling Dervish Series 2 One of the first weapons in Robot Wars to be powered by a brushless motor. Top spinning speed of 450rpm.
Whirling dervish offical image.JPG
Whirlpool 70 Extreme 1 Built out of a swimming pool cleaner.
Whirlpool 70.png
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