- "The fitting of interchangeable body panels or alternative weaponry is allowed between bouts providing changes can be done within a 20-minute time-frame. Interchanging of such panels or weapons cannot be done during bouts. Body panels must be the same as the ones removed. Adding extra defensive equipment is forbidden. All interchangeable weapons must not incorporate additional defensive items. All weapons must be declared and logged on the technical check sheet. Failure to do this will result in extra weapons being excluded."
- — The official Robot Wars rules from Series 7 on interchangeable weaponry
Interchangeable Weaponry is a system where a robot can be modified between battles, allowing the team to change its weaponry. The Robot Wars technical rules allow this, as long as;
- The weapons did not push the robot over the weight, height and width restrictions.
- The weapons were offensive additions rather than defensive additions.
- The team declared all the weapons they could use before the tournament.
The first robots to use interchangeable weaponry on the show were Roadblock, which had interchangeable blades for their rear saw weapon, Killertron, with its double-headed pickaxe and unused mace weapon, and Shogun, which had side spikes which were interchangeable with spikes of different sizes. All three robots first appeared in the first ever episode, Heat A of Series 1.
The most successful robot to use interchangeable weaponry is Series 6 champion Tornado, which relied on a variety of different weapons - including a spinning drum, a scoop and an 'anti-crusher weapon' - to succeed in later series. Other successful competitors to use them in recent series include the robots of Team Shock and Series 9 runner-up Eruption, although the latter mainly relied on its rear-hinged flipper during battles.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Interchangeable weaponry gives a robot a wider range of attacking options and tactics than what can be offered with a single weapon. For example, in Series 9, Behemoth's interchangeable scoop, angled ploughs and grabbing arms gave the team the choice of flipping their opponents with the original scoop, deflecting blows from spinning weapons with the angled ploughs, or pinning down opponents with the grabbing arms.
- Interchangeable weaponry allows the robot to be modified depending on which opponent(s) it faces. For example, in Series 9, Behemoth used one of its angled ploughs, designed specifically to deflect blows from spinners, which helped it to defeat PP3D.
- If one weapon proves ineffective, it can easily be replaced with another. In Series 4, the X-Terminator team found that the robot's axe weapon was not damaging enough, so they changed it to the scoop flipper, which helped X-Terminator win its Heat Final against Behemoth.
- Interchangeable weaponry can bring a 'surprise factor' to a robot, that its opponent(s) may not anticipate. Tornado's horizontal bar spinner was concealed from other roboteers until it was first used.
- Each interchangeable weapon will have its own disadvantages, and not all will necessarily be suited for certain opponents.
- Adding an extra weapon to a robot can adversely change a robot's abilities. For example, the spike used by X-Terminator in Extreme 1 prevented it from self-righting, a problem which could have been avoided if it was not fitted at all.
- Similarly, Storm 2 would not have been able to run inverted with the flywheel.
- Some custom prepared weapons were not allowed to be used as they violated the rules. In Series 6, Team Tornado were not allowed to use their anti-spinner weapon against Hypno-Disc, and their anti-crusher weapon was banned after Extreme 2, with both interchangeable weapons being deemed to be defensive additions.
- Buying and/or building multiple weapons for a robot is more expensive and time-consuming than developing a single weapon.
- Having interchangeable weapons sometimes proves unnecessary, as one weapon can prove much more effective than the others. For example, in Series 1, Killertron had a mace as well as an axe. However, the axe proved effective, so the team decided to not use the mace, and only brought the axe to subsequent wars.
- Mixing weapons up gives roboteers less experience with each weapon and how it will operate against a type of opponent. In Series 8, Gabriel experimented with a battle axe which actually proved less effective in its Head-to-Head against Ironside3 after getting caught in the flame pit. As a result, Team Saint reverted to using Gabriel's tried-and-tested sword for its later battles.
- Some interchangeable weaponry can prove ineffective when used. For example, in Series 9, Behemoth's grabbing arms failed to pin down their opponent properly when used for the first time against Cherub, leading to it losing the battle.
- "Putting a grabber of that type onto the robot for a critical match was a very poor decision ... I was so annoyed with the rest of the team for making that decision not to go with a guaranteed win, with using the scoop. It's proven that, sometimes, innovation doesn't pay out - sometimes, it's best to use what you know works."
- — Anthony Pritchard on the failure of the grabbing arms
List of Robots with Interchangeable Weapons
Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background. House Robots are listed with a yellow background.
|Robot||Series Appearances with Interchangeable Weapons||Notes|
|Aftershock||Series 9-10||Had an assortment of vertical spinning weapons, including 24kg and 30kg vertical spinning discs, a 14kg bar spinner and an 18kg asymmetrial bar spinner. Series 9 Grand Finalist with the original disc and bar, finishing fourth, but only the 24kg disc was used in its heat.|
|All Torque||Series 3||Had a scoop which was interchangeable with a snow plough with horizontal crushing spikes.|
|Apex||Series 10||Featured a pair of gold-painted horizontal spinners; a 39.75kg double-ended bar - initially seen in Series 9 - and a 38.45kg asymmetrical bar.|
|AM CVn||Extreme 2||Designed to have interchangeable weapons, like the team's heavyweight, but only the axe was seen as it only fought in one battle. The other weapons it could use are not known.|
|Ansgar||Extreme 1||Interchangeable flipper/lever and spear. Only the original version had interchangeable weaponry.|
|Anvil||Extreme 1||The front spikes were interchangeable with a scoop, but only the spikes were seen on the show.|
|Atilla the Drum||Series 4||Interchangeable axe and mace. The axe was only used in one battle out of four.|
|Atomic||Series 5, 7, Extreme 1||Set of interchangeable flipper blades, including a small plate, a spiked plate (Series 5/Extreme 1), forks (Series 5/Extreme 1) and a large scoop-like blade (Series 7). Only the small plate was used in Extreme 1, while the forks were never used in battle.|
|Bamm Bamm||Dutch Series 1||Axe interchangeable with a hammer, flipping arm and novelty "club" covered in foam. Only the axe was used in Dutch Series 2 and UK Series 7.|
|Behemoth||Series 9-10||Set of four interchangeable scoops, with a bucket scoop, two angled ploughs and another with a set of overhead grabbing arms. Only equipped with the bucket scoop between Series 2 and Series 8. The Series 10 version featured an optional spiked axe attachment in addition to the bucket and angled scoops, although the axe was not used in combat.|
|Big Nipper||Series 8, 10||As well as the lifting/crushing claws seen in Series 5 and 7, the Series 8 and 10 versions of Big Nipper had a vertical spinning disc which was interchangeable with the claws. The disc weighed 20kg in both series, spun at 4,000rpm in Series 8 and was upgraded to a single-toothed type in Series 10.|
|Caliban||Series 2||Had "multiple spinning weapons", including a top-mounted flail and a full-body 'spinning dome'. However, the latter was never used as Caliban was eliminated at the Gauntlet stage with its flail equipped.|
|Carbide||Series 10||Team Carbide brought three interchangeable bar spinners to Series 10 - the original 25kg bar first used in Series 8-9, a second 25kg bar with green tips, and a heavier red and yellow bar with curved tips. However, the curved bar was overweight, requiring a lighter weapon shaft, and was left unused following issues encountered during filming.|
|Cassius Chrome||Series 7||Armed with a pair of cam-driven 'boxing' arms with interchangeable 'fists'.|
|Cataclysmic Variabot||Extreme 1-2||Had interchangeable weapons pods including a flipper, a disc and a spike, but throughout its three battles, only the axe was used.|
|Chimera||Series 8-9||Featured interchangeable blades much like Gabriel, however in Series 8, only the three-pronged axe was used.|
|Cobra||Series 9-10||Featured an interchangeable 'snake bite' clamping jaw and a 8mm HARDOX lifting wedge. The wedge was intended to be used when facing spinning weapons and was capable of flipping opponents over in tandem with the robot's high top speed.|
|Crackers 'n' Smash||Series 10||Crackers features interchangeable forked and scoop-type lifters, replacing the front-hinged lifting arm used in Series 9.|
|Cutlet||Series 7||Originally only had a saw, rebuilt for Series 7 for the saw to be interchangeable with a flipper. Only the flipper was seen in Series 7.|
|Demolition Demon||Series 2||The grinding disc at the rear was swapped out for a standard spike for the Skittles trial only.|
|Eruption||Series 9-10||Featured a gripping claw on the top of its flipper in Series 8, which for Series 9 onwards became part of an assortment of top-mounted weapons, including a spinning drum; however in Series 10 both top-mounted weapons went unused.|
|Expulsion||Series 10||Three face spinners - a two-toothed bar weapon with a tip speed of 92mph, and a pair of lighter three-spoke spinners with either hinged double-facing blades or flails.|
|Falcon||US Season 1||In Season 1 of Extreme Warriors, Falcon had a lifting arm interchangeable with an axe, but in Season 2, only the lifter was used.|
|Foxic||Series 8-9||Interchangeable lifting weapons; a lifting arm, a lifting scoop, and hooks in Series 8. Series 9 version featured a lifting arm with interchangeable ends, including a wedge modelled on a fox's head, a thicker anti-spinner scoop and hooks. The hooks were never seen on television.|
|Gabriel||Series 8, 10||A torque reaction thwackbot with interchangeable overhead weapons; the team’s signature sword, a sledgehammer, a pickaxe and a battle axe. The battle axe was used in one battle; the sword was used in the other four (five including the whiteboard battle with Behemoth). For Series 10, Gabriel 2 featured five interchangable weapons, including two swords, the sledgehammer, a 'bent mace' and an eight-point star mace with ropes designed for entanglement.|
|Haardvark||Series 3||Saw on a cutting arm, with two interchangeable blades; a reinforced abrasive disc and a diamond edged saw. However, due to the rules, the diamond edged saw was not allowed to be used.|
|Hammerhead||Series 3||Interchangeable axe/hammer.|
|Harpy||Series 10||Interchangeable flipper and axe. Unused reserve in Series 10.|
|Havoc||Series 2||Interchangeable flipper and mace.|
|Heavy Metal||Series 9||Has a 360-degree rotating weapon arm with interchangeable tip, to which a grabbing hook and a saw can be added. Due to damage sustained by M.R. Speed Squared in their Group Battle, only the hook and the lifter were seen. Relied more on the wedge to win battles.|
|Ironside3||Series 9||Interchangeable bar spinners with different edges, including a 'flat edge' and a 'cutting edge'. Only had one blade in Series 8. Series 9 Grand Finalist, finishing third.|
|Kan-Opener||Series 6-7, Extreme 2||Armed with a hydraulic crusher, with a set of interchangeable claws, but only the blue and grey ones were used on the show.|
|Killerhurtz||Series 3-4||Originally only had a bladed axe, but in Series 3 and 4, had interchangeable axe heads; a bladed axe and a custom-made spiked axe shaped like a birds head. Bladed axe was not used in Robot Wars after Series 2.|
|Killertron||Series 1||In Series 1, Killertron had a double-headed pickaxe which was interchangeable with a swinging mace. The mace was never used due to the axe being more powerful, although it was later lent to Skarab.|
|Loco||Series 2||Armed with a spring powered ram, which had interchangeable blade and spikes.|
|Matilda||US Season 1-2, Nickelodeon||Rear-mounted 27kg flywheel and chainsaw; the flywheel replaced the chainsaw entirely for UK Series 5-7, Robot Wars Extreme, Dutch Robot Wars and German Robot Wars.|
|Mr Punch||Series 3||Pneumatic ram with interchangeable heads.|
|Nuts 2||Series 10||Three interchangeable outer rings, including hexagonal and square-shaped rings with flails, and a flailess toothed ring. Only the flailed rings were used in combat.|
|Orac's Revenge||Series 3||Interchangeable axe blades.|
|Panzer||Series 3||Interchangeable disc cutter and spikes, though the disc cutter was not used.|
|Plunderbird 1||Series 1||The only version of the Plunderbird series to feature interchangeable weapons, each mounted in two separate weapon pods. The pods contained a retracting spike powered by a laser sight, much like 101's, and an electric circular saw on a moving arm, which flipped out of the robot when operational. As Plunderbird 1 was eliminated at the Gauntlet stage, neither weapon was seen in combat.|
|Pod||Series 8 (Withdrew)||Had interchangeable weapon pods: a lifting arm, a horizontal bar spinner and a vertical drum. Withdrew before combat.|
|Pressure||Extreme 2||Had side panels that flipped out to act as self righting mechanisms, to which spikes could be added to in order to make them axes. The spikes were seen on the official photo, but not used in battle.|
|Raizer Blade||Series 3||Featured a chainsaw or a bludgeoning spike (called the 'Crucifix of Doom' by the team) as a rear weapon. Only the Crucifix of Doom was used for Series 4.|
|Revolution 3||Series 7||Much like Tornado, had a drum (incorrectly referred to as a flywheel) on the front, which could be removed and replaced with a scoop. Only the drum was seen on the show, presumably due to the active weaponry policy.|
|Roadblock||Series 1||Featured a circular saw on the rear, with interchangeable blades. Along with Shogun, the first robot to use interchangeable weaponry.|
|Shockwave||Series 8||Interchangeable lifting scoops, including a HARDOX wedged scoop and a HDPE shovel.|
|Shogun||Series 1||The side spikes were interchangeable in size and thickness. Along with Roadblock, the first robot to use interchangeable weaponry.|
|Skarab||Series 1||Changed out their axe to a mace lent to them by the Killertron team.|
|Spikasaurus||Series 4||Two sets of 12 or 18-inch front ramming spears, along with a ramming bar and a curved scoop designed for Soccer events. Only the spears were used on the show.|
|Stinger||Series 4||Interchangeable spiked mace and 5kg grinding disc (nicknamed the 'pizza cutter'), each mounted on the end of a swinging arm. Only the mace was used in Series 4 and all of Stinger's appearances thereafter; the 'pizza cutter' was Stinger's original weapon, which was only used in Series 3.|
|Storm 2||Series 8||Originally a weapon-less "full-body hammer" in Extreme 2, had a lifting arm added for Series 7, and a set of interchangeable weapons in Series 8. These weapons include the four-bar lifting arm, a front-hinged flipping arm that allows the robot to self-right, and a vertical spinning disc which was ultimately not used on the show.|
|Sumpthing||Series 3-6, Extreme 1-2||Interchangeable pickaxe/moveable circular saw and lifting forks. Circular saw used in Series 5 and Extreme 1.|
|Tetanus 2||Series 6, Extreme 2||Interchangeable crusher and lifter. The crusher was used in Series 6, the lifter seen in Extreme 2.|
|The Steel Avenger||Series 3||Interchangeable axe heads; a spiked axe and bladed axe. From Series 4 onwards, only the bladed axe was used.|
|The Swarm||Series 10||All segments of the clusterbot were interchangeable with each other, enabling Team Big Brother to select different segments depending on which opponents they faced. A total of five segments attended filming, but only four were allowed to enter the arena at any one time. The Swarm's segments included Rubber Duck (flipper), Blenda (bar spinner), Pinza (horizontal pincers) and two versions of Skye - one invertible, the other with entanglement devices.|
|Thor||Series 8-10||Armed with a spiked hammer in the original series, but this was replaced with a pneumatic axe in Series 8-10, with interchangeable bladed or spiked axe heads. The Series 9 version had interchangeable front wedges, as well as the interchangeable axe heads. The Series 10 Thor was stated to have five interchangeable axe heads, some of which were referred to as 'hammers' on the official Robot Wars website. However, only two of the bladed heads - including one modelled on Mjölnir - were used in the latter series.|
|TMHWK||Series 9||Interchangeable bladed and spiked axe heads. The original version, Tomahawk, only had a bladed axe.|
|Tornado||Series 6-7, Extreme 1-2, US Season 2||Was initially equipped with a pneumatic spike in Series 4, which was replaced with a range of interchangeable weaponry from Extreme 1 onwards. These weapons included; a spinning drum, a spiked scoop, a static spear, a scoop lifter, a chain flail, a horizontal bar spinner which formed part of an 'anti-crusher weapon', and a vertical bar spinner which was never used.|
|Track-tion||Series 10||Was lent a wedge from Vulture to protect the robot against spinning weapons. The wedge was used in two battles in place of the robot's regular crusher weapon; both weapons used the same actuator, enabling the wedge to function as a lifting scoop.|
|Victor||Series 2||Set of two front-mounted spinning weapons powered by a motorcycle starter motor; a 21-inch lawnmower blade and a flail. Lawnmower blade was not used for Series 3; flail was modified into a 2ft-long 'morning star' for the latter series.|
|Wheelosaurus||Series 4||Had static spikes in Series 2, but in Series 4, the weaponry was upgraded to a spinning blade with interchangeable blades, but only the cutter with three blades was used.|
|X-Terminator||Series 4, Extreme 1||In Series 4, X-Terminator 2 was armed with an axe featuring interchangeable heads, which in turn was interchangeable with a flipping arm. The Extreme 1 version had a static spike which could be fixed to the front of the robot.|
- In Series 7, Ripper's flipper was said to be interchangeable with a disc and an axe, but John Findlay later revealed that this was not actually true, and that he had made it up for the benefit of viewers.