Hydra was a competitor robot which fought in Series 5-7 of Robot Wars as well as the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. It enjoyed a mixed run of success; reaching the Heat Final in Series 6 and finishing runner-up in the Extreme 2 Tag Team Terror alongside Barbaric Response, but losing in the first round in both of its other main series appearances.
The robot was named after Lernaean Hydra, a snake-like creature in Greek and Roman mythology that possessed many heads.
Hydra was a four-wheel drive, box-shaped robot which was originally armed with a front scoop and a pneumatic flipping arm. In Series 5, the robot was painted camouflage green with yellow marks and its name painted in red on the sides, and was made out of aluminium alloy sourced from scrapyards and neighbours' gardens. Hydra's top panels were decorated with differently-coloured springs to represent snakes, while its baseplate remained unpainted. While Hydra's flipping arm was capable of acting as a self-righting mechanism, the robot proved slow to turn and unreliable in its debut battle, while its lack of effective wedge prevented it from being able to breach Spawn Again's ground clearance there.
- "Four-wheel driven, with a pnuematic flipper and sledgehammer. Built for agility and attack, lightly armoured, that could be a weakness..."
- — Jonathan Pearce summarises Hydra's statistics in Series 6
For Series 6, Hydra’s chassis underwent a significant redesign, with an angled rear and sides as well as being slightly bigger than before. Additionally, a pair of solid guiding wedges replaced the front scoop, and the robot received a pneumatic sledgehammer featuring a 2kg head and 700lbs of thrust. The hammer (often referred to as an 'axe' on TV) was mounted alongside its flipping arm, itself positioned lower so that it sat close to the arena floor. Hydra was also repainted green and red with yellow logos for this series, and the robot entered Extreme 2 in this state. In this incarnation, Hydra proved fast and agile with excellent pushing power, while its flipping arm was very effective at lifting and flipping opponents over. However, its aluminium armour made it very vulnerable to attacks from other axes – such as those of Dominator 2 and X-Terminator – and the flipping arm no longer had the capability to self-right. The latter issue was particularly crucial in Hydra's Tag Team Terror defeat to Bulldog Breed in Extreme 2.
Hydra received several more upgrades for Series 7, with an outer layer of titanium to further protect it against axes and spinners and a new hardened steel axe capable of puncturing titanium. Its flipping arm and front wedges were also reprofiled to enable them to get underneath opponents easier, while Hydra's body concurrently adopted a box-wedge profile to aid with this. The robot was now painted light blue with an unpainted axe. Hydra continued to be resilient in this form, and both its axe and flipping arm proved effective at overturning opponents. Additionally, both weapons were now capable of self-righting - addressing one of the Series 6 incarnation's main weaknesses - although its 20mm ground clearance was easily exploitable, as proven during its encounter with Gravity.
Hydra made its Robot Wars debut in Heat G, where it faced the thirteenth seed Spawn Again in its first-round battle. It drove towards and attempted to dodge Spawn Again, only to be scooped up and thrown onto its back straight away by the latter. Immediately, Hydra righted itself, and momentarily charged towards Matilda before backing away across the arena. After spending some time turning round and darting around, Hydra charged up Spawn Again's flipper, failing to throw it over, before backing up and driving up Spawn Again a second time. This allowed Spawn Again to throw Hydra over again and Hydra to self-right in response, with Hydra again driving close to Matilda before being collected and thrown forwards by Spawn Again.
- "Hydra – it's a roly-poly sort of a display, isn't it? Again they tumble, again they self-right – this is great stuff! Jack-in-the-box stuff here!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Hydra is repeatedly flipped by Spawn Again
Hydra self-righted again, but became immobilised following another flip from Spawn Again, and fired its flipping arm in vain as Spawn Again pushed and flipped it against the wall. Matilda reversed out of her CPZ to attack Hydra's rear armour, with Hydra firmly wedged against the wall as she and Spawn Again rammed it repeatedly. Spawn Again flipped Hydra twice more while Matilda and Sir Killalot attacked it, before Hydra was counted out by Refbot and sustained more damage to its armour and flipping arm from the House Robots. With CO2 venting from its now-damaged flipping arm, Hydra was paraded around the arena and spun round by Sir Killalot, before being pitted by Matilda. This eliminated it from the Fifth Wars.
- "Well, well... Hydra take a hiding!"
- — Craig Charles announces Hydra's elimination from Series 5
- "I'll be a bit wary of Dominator obviously, they've got a very powerful axe. But I think if we can get in on the side of them, you know, we could stand a chance of flipping them."
- — Dennis Leadbeater explains Hydra's tactics to Philippa Forrester
A completely rebuilt Hydra returned for the Sixth Wars, competing in Heat J. In its first-round melee, it fought the sixth seed Dominator 2 as well as fellow series returnees Axe-C-Dent 2 and Sumpthing. Hydra started by immediately ramming and flipping Axe-C-Dent 2 over, leaving Axe-C-Dent 2 stranded on its front. It survived an axe blow from Dominator 2 to push and flick it into Sumpthing, before flipping the double series Semi-Finalist into Refbot and attacking Sumpthing. Again, Hydra charged into Dominator 2 after the latter righted itself, before pushing Sumpthing back. It eventually pushed Sumpthing into an empty CPZ before Dominator 2 bumped into it again. After a moment's hesitation, Hydra flipped Dominator 2 onto its side once again, and used its flipping arm to clamp Dominator 2 as it hammered and pushed it into another CPZ. It steered and bumped Dominator 2 around the arena as Dominator 2 tried in vain to hit it with its own axe, before bumping into Growler as he dragged Axe-C-Dent 2 around with his jaws.
Hydra then hammered and flipped Axe-C-Dent 2 over again after the latter was dragged back onto its wheels, before briefly pushing Sumpthing into Growler, causing one of Sumpthing's wheels to seize in the process. It proceeded to push Dominator 2 again over the Flame Pit, before getting hit from above and almost getting knocked onto its side by Axe-C-Dent 2; the latter being thrown by the Floor Flipper. As Sumpthing was counted out, Hydra was pushed into the pit release button and axed by Dominator 2, with both robots briefly driving close to the descending pit, but going through to the second round anyway.
There, Hydra faced the similarly-armed Comengetorix, the successor to Series 2-4 competitor Vercingetorix. It drove around and into Comengetorix in the opening seconds, before briefly pushing it back as both robots fired their weapons at each other.
- "Ooh, look at that! Crunch! Head-to-head, and the axes came down as well."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Hydra and Comengetorix fire their weapons simultaneously at each other
Hydra fired its hammer at Comengetorix once more, but missed, before bumping into and finally hitting Comengetorix as the latter struggled to move effectively across the arena – the floor being slippery with hydraulic fluid. It made another charge at Comengetorix over the Floor Spinner, but missed, sustaining an axe blow in the process, although without sustaining any damage. Hydra recovered to flip Comengetorix over, pushing it onto a CO2 jet as it righted itself, before turning round, bumping and hammering Comengetorix towards the Floor Flipper. After a brief hesitation, it turned and flipped Comengetorix against an angle grinder, before hoisting it into the air after the latter self-righted immediately. Hydra pursued Comengetorix again as the latter struggled for traction on the arena floor, before lifting it onto another angle grinder and leaving it wedged there. It hammered Comengetorix several times as the latter tried to shake itself off the grinder using its weapons, with Comengetorix's flipping arm breaking in half as it finally freed itself, before pushing and bumping Comengetorix into the pit release button.
- "...and Hydra, with Dennis and Andrew [Leadbeater] at the controls... have been very effective, and they have driven Comengetorix almost into submission."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Hydra assails Comengetorix
With Comengetorix still struggling to move properly, Hydra rammed and hammered it into the wall and CPZ before lifting it into Sergeant Bash. It briefly drove up Comengetorix's wedge and exchanged axe blows with it before Comengetorix got its axe wedged underneath Hydra's opened flipping arm. The two robots separated, only for Comengetorix to again catch its axe in Hydra's pneumatics system and Hydra to hammer Comengetorix repeatedly until 'cease' was called.
- "Very edgy... very tense... the Judges are licking their lips, I can tell you, and making notes frantically... look at this! What a great tug-of-war! Whoa! Good old tussle!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Hydra and Comengetorix lock together at the end
As a result, the battle went to a Judges' decision, which went in favour of Hydra.
In the Heat Final, Hydra faced Dominator 2 for the second time. In the opening seconds, it was immediately bumped by Dominator 2 while avoiding its axe, before slamming into its side in return and flipping it over, all while pushing it across the arena towards an angle grinder. Dominator 2 self-righted, but Hydra dodged its axe again after briefly getting pinned against the grinder, and pushed Dominator 2 into another grinder and across the arena again.
- "I've been impressed with 13-year old Andrew and Dennis; they've combined very well as a team... and they could spring a mighty surprise here."
- — Jonathan Pearce after Hydra's first flip on Dominator 2
Another couple of rams ensued, before Hydra threw Dominator 2 onto its side again and bumped into it as both robots drove alongside each other. However, Dominator 2 responded by axing Hydra's top armour, the two robots now stuck together as Hydra dragged and pushed Dominator 2 along with it. They separated as Dominator 2’s axe retracted, with Hydra driving away from Dominator 2 before sustaining another axe blow and dragging Dominator 2 around in circles. Hydra responded by nudging Dominator 2 aside, but sustained yet more blows to its weapons and armour, and failed to flip Dominator 2 again after dodging and getting underneath it again. By this point, Hydra had noticeably lost speed across the arena, allowing Dominator 2 to axe it again and Hydra to drag it back once more.
- "And Hydra... is a weary bot out there at this moment in time."
- — Jonathan Pearce notices the damage – and loss of drive power – on Hydra
Hydra sustained yet more axe blows as it slowly pushed Dominator 2 onto the Flame Pit, before Dominator pushed it back. With Dominator 2's axe head embedded in its armour, Hydra retaliated by hammering Dominator 2's titanium shell several times, although without causing any significant damage. Both robots separated, with Hydra now crawling sluggishly across the arena as Dominator 2 hit it again. Hydra hammered Dominator 2 one last time before 'cease' was called, and the battle went to a Judges' decision. Despite having started the Heat Final strongly, Hydra ultimately lost the decision to Dominator 2, and was eliminated from the Sixth Wars as a result.
Hydra solely competed in the Tag Team Terror competition, where it was paired with Barbaric Response. In their first-round battle, they faced Velocirippa and Mighty Mouse, with Hydra and Velocirippa fighting first. At the start, Hydra immediately charged at Velocirippa, both robots deflecting upon contact with each other, before attempting to flip Velocirippa over. Velocirippa drove away, but Hydra succeeded in lifting Velocirippa as the latter backed into it, and another succession of rams immobilised Velocirippa completely. Hydra hammered the immobile Velocirippa before rolling it over and leaving it close to the Flame Pit. It momentarily stayed out of the action as Mighty Mouse came out of its CPZ to try to push Velocirippa off, and Barbaric Response proceeded to flip and push Mighty Mouse around the arena and into Matilda. Eventually, Hydra rammed Mighty Mouse into an angle grinder and the Floor Spinner button, before hammering and pushing it into the descending pit. It then pushed Velocirippa into an empty CPZ as Barbaric Response attacked Shunt, with both robots progressing to the second round.
There, Hydra and Barbaric Response faced series veterans X-Terminator and Mini Morg. As before, Hydra fought first, and survived X-Terminator's first axe blow to push and lift it onto its back, with X-Terminator sliding into Dead Metal's CPZ as a result of this attack. Hydra bumped into and was briefly lifted by Mini Morg, before bumping into the wall and tagging Barbaric Response. It remained in the CPZ until Barbaric Response tagged it, and proceeded to ram X-Terminator into Mini Morg's disc. Hydra then lifted and pushed Mini Morg towards Barbaric Response, but was axed by X-Terminator in the process, before simultaneously hammering and rolling Mini Morg over close to Refbot. Again, Hydra was momentarily lifted by Mini Morg, before pushing and flipping Mini Morg into Growler, the attack leaving Mini Morg without any sufficient momentum to roll back onto its wheels before Growler attacked the latter. Hydra then flipped X-Terminator over and pressed it against the wall as it self-righted, and finished the battle by pushing and dragging X-Terminator back and forth across the arena as the latter axed it. With Mini Morg becoming immobilised, counted out and pitted in the meantime, Hydra and Barbaric Response were declared the winners.
In the Tag Team Terror final, Hydra and Barbaric Response faced Bulldog Breed and Robochicken. As in previous battles, Hydra fought first; in the opening moments, both it and Bulldog Breed drove at and dodged each other before Bulldog Breed got underneath Hydra from the side and threw it over. Hydra attempted to self-right, but its chassis design prevented its flipping arm from doing so numerous times, resulting in Barbaric Response leaving its corner to flip Bulldog Breed and try and flip Hydra back onto its wheels. An attack from Bulldog Breed succeeded in re-righting Hydra, which drove away from Bulldog Breed in an attempt to avoid the latter's flipper. Eventually, Hydra was flipped over again by Bulldog Breed, and as before was unable to use its lifting arm or hammer to self-right properly. It was counted out by Refbot, and was promptly hammered and grabbed by Mr. Psycho as it sat immobile next to the Floor Flipper. Mr. Psycho carried Hydra around the arena before lowering it over the Flame Pit and dropping it into the pit.
- "Water to fire... Hydra to flame... carried to the pit... of doom, gloom and oblivion! And the end of the Tag Team Terror contest, for Hydra."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Mr. Psycho carries Hydra towards the flames and the pit
With Barbaric Response having also broken down earlier on in the battle, this resulted in both Hydra and Barbaric Response finishing as runners-up in the Extreme 2 Tag Team Terror.
With further revisions to its weapons and chassis, Hydra made its return in the Seventh Wars, competing in Heat D. In its first-round battle, it fought New Blood Grand Finalist Thor, Dutch Series competitor Gravity and series newcomer Hodaf the Bad. Immediately, it was targeted and thrown into the air by Gravity, before attempting to flip and push Gravity back as the latter flipped itself over. The two robots drove around each other, with Hydra unable to damage Gravity with its axe as it pushed the Dutch robot towards the wall. Hydra then attempted to attack Thor, but was pushed away by Gravity, and resorted to flipping Hodaf the Bad against the wall, which promptly self-righted in response. It hesitated in the middle of the arena, before Gravity got underneath, pushed it around, and tossed it halfway across the arena with a second flip. Hydra landed back on its wheels, and responded by flicking Gravity onto its rear panels, but not over. It was then corned against and thrown onto the wall by Gravity, the wall panel giving way as Hydra landed squarely on it. Hydra self-righted using its axe, but was immediately thrown out of the arena - and into a camera – by Gravity, whose attacks caused the battle to be stopped for safety reasons.
- "Arena now unsafe! So was Hydra, look at the power of the flip – oi, that's our camera! Well good riddance, Hydra! Plenty of pocket money will be needed to mend that!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as replays of Hydra damaging the arena are shown
As a result, the Judges were required to make a decision, but as Hydra had already been flipped out before 'cease' was called, it was eliminated from the Seventh Wars along with Hodaf the Bad.
Despite its early exit from the main UK championship, Hydra later reappeared in the one-off Axe Attack, a Special Event broadcast as part of Heat F. There, it faced Iron-Awe 2.1 and Kat 3, and started the battle by darting in between Iron-Awe 2.1 and Kat 3 and driving close to an empty CPZ. Hydra turned round and rammed into the side of Iron-Awe 2.1, striking it with its axe, but missing its next few blows as it reversed. It eventually axed Iron-Awe 2.1's flipper and pushed it into the wall as Kat 3 joined in, before attacking Kat 3 and Iron-Awe 2.1 again in rapid succession as the latter retreated across the arena. As Iron-Awe 2.1 struggled to retract its axe, Hydra got underneath and pushed it against another wall, before bumping and striking the now-immobilised Kat 3 a few times. Hydra then used its axe to turn Iron-Awe 2.1 on its side as the latter tried to attack Kat 3, before axing and shoving it into Shunt's CPZ. It proceeded to push Kat 3 towards the wall and axe Iron-Awe 2.1 a few more times, before being attacked by Shunt despite not being near his CPZ.
In response, Hydra flipped Shunt over and pushed Cassius Chrome into the wall, with both it and Iron-Awe 2.1 now focusing on attacking the House Robots following Kat 3's demise. After Iron-Awe 2.1 and Cassius Chrome got stuck together, Hydra prised them apart with a few rams, its axe seemingly unable to retract fully, before driving around the arena and ramming Cassius Chrome a couple of times. Unfortunately, Refbot pressed the pit release button as it did so, resulting in Hydra accidentally reversing onto the pit square just as it began to descend. Hydra thus lost the Axe Attack to Iron-Awe 2.1, with the team stating in the interviews afterwards that they were taken aback by Refbot's intervention.
|HYDRA - RESULTS|
|The Fifth Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat G, Eliminator||vs. Spawn Again (13)||Lost|
|The Sixth Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat J, Round 1||vs. Sumpthing, Axe-C-Dent 2, Dominator 2 (6)||Qualified|
|Heat J, Round 2||vs. Comengetorix||Won|
|Heat J, Final||vs. Dominator 2 (6)||Lost|
|Extreme Series 2|
|Tag Team Terror|
Competing with Barbaric Response, Runner-up
|Round 1||vs. Mighty Mouse & Velocirippa||Won|
|Round 2||vs. X-Terminator & Mini Morg||Won|
|Final||vs. Bulldog Breed & Robochicken||Lost|
|The Seventh Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat D, Round 1||vs. Gravity, Hodaf The Bad, Thor||Eliminated|
|Axe Attack||vs. Iron-Awe 2.1, Kat 3||Lost|
- Wins: 4
- Losses: 5
|Main Series||Hydra 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, Round 1|
|The Sixth Wars||Heat Final|
|The Seventh Wars||Heat, Round 1|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Did not enter|
Outside Robot Wars
Like many original Robot Wars competitors, the Hydra team entered Techno Games with a weaponless Hydra, renamed Bugs Buggy. Bugs Buggy had a stuffed Bugs Bunny toy and a steering wheel where Hydra's weapons were usually housed, and entered the football tournament along with Terry the Turtle in 2002 and Mighty Mouse (as part of The Mouseketeers) in 2003. On both occasions, Bugs Buggy and its partners lost in the first round. In both series, it also competed in the Assault Course, winning the event in 2002, but losing to Big Bro in the second round the following year.
After the original series of Robot Wars ended, Hydra was sold by Dennis Leadbeater to Team Cylon in 2008, who renamed themselves Team Hydra after purchasing the robot. It received a new dark blue colour scheme and more upgrades to its weapons, and after a five-year hiatus competed in live events between 2008 and 2010, reaching the quarter-finals in the 2008 Roaming Robots Winter Tour. Hydra no longer competes today, and following their initial acquisition of it, Team Hydra also bought S.M.I.D.S.Y., Dantomkia (both sold in late 2010) and Wheely Big Cheese.
- Coincidentally, both times in which Hydra progressed beyond the first round occurred in episodes where both S.M.I.D.S.Y. and Sumpthing appeared.
- Frances Leadbeater was absent for the recording of Hydra's heat in Series 5.