- "A trap designed to catch more than a mouse..."
- — Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide
MouseTrap (occasionally referred to as The MouseTrap) was a robot that competed in Series 4 and 5 of Robot Wars, plus entering in the first series of Extreme.
MouseTrap won its heat in Series 4 by defeating former semi-finalist Evil Weevil 2 in the first round melee, Sump Thing in the heat semi-finals and Little Fly in the heat final. It was defeated by Stinger in the first round of the semi-finals. It returned for Series 5 and won its first fight with Shredder, but was defeated in the second round by S3.
- "Like some horrific mutation from a "Tom & Jerry" cartoon..."
- — Philippa Forrester describes MouseTrap in Series 5
It was a wedge-shaped replica of a spring mousetrap, with the trap itself being the weapon. The original MouseTrap travelled at 11.2mph and was made from steel and lexan, scrapyard debris and an old office desk with polycarbonate side armour and was fitted with a 9.6kg mousetrap weapon made from 10mm high-tensile scrapyard steel, with a blue section of hosepipe coiled around the middle of the mechanism designed to look like the trap's spring. The armour was 5 mm polycarbonate (lexan) with wood effect sticky back plastic, whilst the chassis was 25x25 mm steel box section, and the robot was powered by 5 6 volt Yuasa 12Ah batteries. This weapon was powered by a Chubb fire extinguisher supplying CO2 at 1000 psi, driving a pair of hydraulic rams, and was said to travel at 100mph. It could fire 42 times per battle, and was designed for clamping robots and pushing them into the pit.
- "26lb bar of solid high-tensile steel, driven by hydraulic rams vented at 1000lb per sq in - this snaps down with the sound of a shotgun blast and could break a man's arm in the time it takes to blink. The crowd gasps each time they set it off."
- — Sunday Times Culture Magazine, September 2000
For Extreme 1 and Series 5, the polycarbonate side armour was replaced with much stronger steel and spikes and a guillotine blade was added to the trap weapon, the robot itself driven off 2 12 volt Hawker Odessey 21Ah batteries. This version was slightly slower at 9.6mph, but was heavier at 95kg and boasted more damage output.
- "It's tough. We've got an exceptionally powerful weapon, running on unregulated Carbon Dioxide, it really does do the business. It's got an exceptionally sharp blade, this is heavy, it's very sharp, it's very dangerous. This is gonna really do the business."
- — Jason Launchbury's introduction in Series 5
At the Series 4 qualifiers, MouseTrap fought War Weary. It won the battle, but during the battle, the weapon became bent.
- "The trap was fired and War Weary ended up well and truly trapped (our first victory!). Unfortunately all the fighting at Langport weakened our weapon bar and it bent. We had to take it off for straightening."
- — TeamMouseTrap website
It also fought a second battle against an unknown opponent, which it lost. Regardless, it still qualified.
- "After a final (disastrous) fight where a problem lead to us being unable to fire the weapon we headed outside to load up."
- — TeamMouseTrap website
In Series 5, MouseTrap was a returning heat winner, so it automatically qualified as a seeded machine and did not have to go through the qualifiers.
- "Possibly a bit of a grudge match!"
- — Julia Reed, after mentioning who defeated Triterobot in the previous wars
MouseTrap started by firing the trap at Tiberius as it drove in front of the wedge, but Tiberius moved out of the way in time. As MouseTrap tried to retract the weapon, Tiberius got under MouseTrap's front, before turning away, allowing MouseTrap to fall off the wedge. MouseTrap held back as Evil Weevil 2 and Tiberius fought, before getting under Evil Weevil and firing the trap, this time hitting its target. However, the trap appeared to get stuck after this. Evil Weevil 2 sat motionless as Tiberius drove around MouseTrap, eventually getting at the side of MouseTrap and plunging its piercing spike into its top armour.
- "This is Tiberius, in underneath MouseTrap. MouseTrap, with a ground clearance of 20mm, in danger. There's the pick axe of Tiberius, pinning MouseTrap down."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Evil Weevil 2 was still not moving, so Dead Metal and Shunt closed in. Refbot came in to separate MouseTrap and Tiberius, but MouseTrap became caught on Refbot's front wedge, before Refbot managed to shake him off. The House Robots carried out their punishment on Evil Weevil 2, while Tiberius pinned MouseTrap in the CPZ. Evil Weevil 2 was declared immobile, and was tossed by the floor flipper, leaving MouseTrap and Tiberius to go through.
- "MouseTrap in the clutches of the Refbot. What is going on there? Referee's not supposed to do that!"
- — Jonathan Pearce while MouseTrap was stuck on Refbot
MouseTrap was then placed up against Sump Thing in the second round of the heat, another robot from a team that lost in the first round of the previous series.
- "I think we had a problem with a valve actuation last time, so it wasn't opening the valve fully, so it's quite slow on return. So we put an extra solenoid in there, so hopefully it'll sort that out."
- — Jason Launchbury, when asked about the weapon being slow to retract by Julia Reed
MouseTrap drove at Sump Thing, with Sump Thing missing with an axe blow as it reversed away. Sump Thing then charged over MouseTrap, with MouseTrap missing with a swing of its weapon.
- "Goodness me! Did you see the force, the velocity of that Mousetrap weapon, springing into action there?"
- — Jonathan Pearce notes the power of the weapon
Sump Thing came in and axed Mousetrap, before MouseTrap impeded another swing from Sump Thing by trapping the pick axe with its own weapon. MouseTrap rammed Sump Thing against the arena wall before Sump Thing came in with a strong drive of its own. MouseTrap tried to force Sump Thing towards Dead Metal but nearly went in itself. MouseTrap slammed down with the trap again, before missing its next attack, and the weapon got stuck. MouseTrap suddenly stopped, so Sump Thing hit MouseTrap repeatedly with its axe. MouseTrap eventually began to move again, but only briefly, as it stopped moving again, by the arena wall.
- "Is everything okay with the MouseTrap controls for Jason Launchbury?"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Sump Thing slammed in again, and MouseTrap started limping back into the action. Sump Thing lunged at the struggling robot, but MouseTrap managed to move out of the way; Sump Thing ran into the arena wall, snapping the chain, and leaving the wheels with no traction, meaning it was beached on its own fork. The House Robots closed in; Sump Thing was plucked up by Sir Killalot before Dead Metal pitted Sump Thing. The judges decided MouseTrap was still mobile but only just, so it went through.
- Craig Charles: "If you trap them when the pit's activated, you can actually then try and drag them into the pit."
- Jason Launchbury: "That was the original design idea, yeah, to actually trap them and then take them where we want them."
- — Discussing MouseTrap's design in the post-battle interview
Before the Heat Final, TeamMouseTrap found the problem was that the main switch had burnt out. Fortunately for them, they were able to replace it, so continued into the Heat Final, where it faced a newcomer, Little Fly.
- Julia Reed: "Now I think, if your weapon comes down on Little Fly's spinning plate, you're in with a serious chance."
- Jason Launchbury: "I think it might break off, yeah, it might break it off. He's got some fairly weak armour on the wheels as well, which I think it might cave in, possibly. If it works!"
- — Discussing tactics in the pre-battle interview
Little Fly drove up MouseTrap's wedge, with MouseTrap slamming its weapon down onto Little Fly's blade. MouseTrap's weapon was jammed, and Little Fly came in, ripping off a shard. MouseTrap's weapon finally fell back into place, but the robot itself stopped for a few seconds before it starting again.
- "MouseTrap, again, just waiting... Come into my parlour said the MouseTrap to the Fly."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Little Fly attacked MouseTrap's side, causing its blade to stop moving, before MouseTrap fired its weapon, which clipped Little Fly. MouseTrap parked itself over a flame jet as its weapon slammed onto Little Fly. MouseTrap then forced Little Fly back, against the arena wall and fired its weapon down again. MouseTrap held its weapon in place, so Refbot split the two up. Little Fly drove at MouseTrap's front, with the lawnmower blade stopping against part of the trap mechanism. MouseTrap then pushed Little Fly back, wedging it on part of the pit. Little Fly escaped, only for MouseTrap to drive at Little Fly's rear and push it into Matilda. The House Robot flicked Little Fly up, before it escaped. With time running out, both robots began to limp slowly. Little Fly went in with one last halfhearted drive before 'Cease' was called. The judges' decision went in favour of MouseTrap.
- Craig Charles: "...Your mousetrap thing was damaged, the chain's broken, so I was thinking it was going to go the other way, me."
- Stan Launchbury: "Yeah, and me. I'm pleased it did go this way, but it wouldn't have surprised me one little bit if it went the other way."
- Craig Charles: "You're in the series Semi-Finals"
- Stan Launchbury: "Oh imagine, yeah!"
- Jason Launchbury: "That's more than we could of dreamed of, that's absolutely excellent!"
- — Post-battle interview
In the Series Semi-Finals, MouseTrap was placed up against the number 30 seed Stinger in the first round.
- Julia Reed: "How do you think you'll fare?"
- Jason Launchbury: "I think we'll fare pretty well actually, because we've got a mousetrap, the idea is we're gonna trap their robot, we think we can get them in between the wheels, then they'll be at our mercy, and we'll drag them into the pit, or feed them to the robots or something."
- Julia Reed: "You think you're the only robot here that can beat them, don't you?"
- Jason Launchbury: "Yep, no problem at all!"
- — Confidence before the battle
Stinger made the first charge, swerving past MouseTrap's front. MouseTrap closed in, pushing Stinger back and firing the trap. MouseTrap took time retracting its weapon, so retreated, but Stinger landed two quick blows. MouseTrap slid its wedge beneath Stinger and attacked, but Stinger reversed off in time. Once again, Stinger dealt a powerful blow to the top of MouseTrap, whose trap just missed the seeded robot. Stinger landed another blow, but MouseTrap raised its retracting weapon, hooking beneath Stinger's wheel and pushing it off to the side, causing Stinger to flail on one wheel briefly. Stinger backed away, and then stumbled up the wedge of MouseTrap, catching it with a glancing blow. Stinger continued to hassle MouseTrap, which missed upon firing the trap again. Stinger began to spin on the spot, banging MouseTrap's wedge and sides repeatedly, until a chain used to control the trap became dislodged.
- "It was damaged in the earlier rounds, you heard Jason talk about it, and I think the MouseTrap weapon has been immobilised! Certainly, Jason looks perplexed."
- — Jonathan Pearce
MouseTrap tried to fight back, and drove Stinger up its wedge, but it suddenly stopped next to the floor flipper. The House Robots advanced, and Sir Killalot roasted MouseTrap on the flames, before dropping it into the pit.
- "We couldn't have lost to a better bunch of guys! Magic, magic robot."
- — Stan Launchbury, gracious in defeat
Due to reaching the Series Semi-Finals, the robot was nominated for the Most Promising Newcomer award for Series 4, despite the team having fought before, but it lost out to Tornado.
MouseTrap's only appearance in either series of Extreme was in a Mayhem qualifier battle in the first series of Extreme for a right to fight in the second annihilator of the series. MouseTrap was drawn up against Atomic 2 and Fighting Torque.
- "We'll show 'em who's boss!"
- — Stan Launchbury, before the mayhem
However, a problem with its trap mechanism left it defenceless, as it fired before activate was sounded, and became stuck in the activated position. As the battle began, Atomic 2 charged straight at MouseTrap and flipped it onto its back. MouseTrap was unable to self-right itself due to its weapon being stuck, and was left powerless as Atomic 2 flipped it over onto its back again. Atomic 2 attacked Fighting Torque, flipping it over. After a little while, Atomic 2 flipped MouseTrap back onto its wheels, before doing the same with Fighting Torque. Moments after righting Fighting Torque, however, Atomic 2 flipped MouseTrap onto its back again.
- "They'll use the great springing trap to self-right if they can, I don't think they can."
- — Jonathan Pearce
It then used its spike to push MouseTrap around the arena, as well as flicking it around with the flipper, but not re-righting it. Eventually, Atomic 2 left it to be counted out by Refbot and set after Fighting Torque again. As Atomic 2 fought Fighting Torque, Sir Killalot dragged the beaten MouseTrap around the arena, placing it onto the floor flipper. Atomic 2 suddenly rushed in to attack MouseTrap just as the floor flipper fired, which not only caused it to get caught in the flipper mechanism, but also resulted in MouseTrap landing on top of it, as it flew straight up due to being placed quite far back on the flipper. The flip also seemed to reset MouseTrap's weapon, but it couldn't knock itself back onto its wheels and was attacked by Dead Metal.
- "It's too late to spring shut. Shutting the spring door while the mice have bolted or something like that, and attacking bolts and nuts and just about everything else."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Dead Metal attacks MouseTrap
Fighting Torque was soon counted out and flipped by the floor flipper, leaving Atomic 2 as the winner of the battle.
- "The only thing MouseTrap caught were a kickin'!"
- — Craig Charles, after the Mayhem
MouseTrap was also due to be entered by Stan Launchbury into the Forces Special, which aired during the first series of Extreme. MouseTrap was to represent the Fire Service, however, MouseTrap was too badly damaged to participate as the damage it sustained from S3 in its Series 5 heat was so severe. Instead, Rob Heasman of the Steg-O-Saw-Us team helped Stan create Oblark to represent them instead. This damage caused in Series 5 also stopped MouseTrap taking Atomic's place in the Annihilator when the latter was unable to fight (also due to damage done in Series 5). As a result, Fighting Torque took Atomic's place in the form of Hippobotomus.
- "Will this prove the big cheese, this time around?"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Returning for the Fifth Wars, MouseTrap was seeded number 20, a rather low seeding considering it reached the semi-finals of the previous series. In its first round battle, MouseTrap was drawn against Shredder.
- "We have an...out of this world battle here now!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
MouseTrap got the first attack in, scoring a blow with the guillotine as Shredder rode up the front of MouseTrap. Shredder responded by attacking the side of MouseTrap, scratching the armour. MouseTrap moved away before turning around and getting under Shredder. It fired the trap, but Shredder moved away in time. Whilst MouseTrap tried to retract the trap, Shredder attacked the side, causing more scratches and dents, so MouseTrap drove away. MouseTrap raced across the arena, with Shredder following closely behind it. MouseTrap headed for the pit release tyre, with Shredder slamming MouseTrap into the release button. As MouseTrap turned to face its opponent, Shredder reversed onto the opening pit, eliminating it from competition.
- "We were being mashed quite badly, as I noticed, we went for the target, I thought that's our only chance to get away with it, and it worked!"
- — Jason Launchbury after the battle
MouseTrap was then drawn against the much-fancied S3 machine in the second round.
In this battle, both robots started by circling the other. MouseTrap drove at S3's front, but turned away before making contact with the disc. MouseTrap drove towards the pit release button, closely pursued by S3, which landed a blow on MouseTrap's rear, knocking the robot upwards. MouseTrap drove into the wall, just missing the pit release tyre, then reversed straight into S3. S3 hit MouseTrap's side with the disc, but only dented it slightly. MouseTrap turned around and got under S3, before firing the trap, which caught S3, slicing into the robot.
- "I think Jason Launchbury's tactics here are to stay out of trouble, well, or try and snare S3 and they've done just that! And if that blade can cut off the radio arial, S3 would be immobilised!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
S3 pushed MouseTrap towards Sir Killalot, but MouseTrap managed to turn itself and S3 around, and pushed S3 into the House Robot. However, MouseTrap pushed S3 into Sir Killalot's side, so instead of attacking S3, Sir Killalot turned around and tried to grab MouseTrap with the claw, unsuccessfully. Meanwhile, S3's blade caught the "spring" on the trap, which got tangled up in the disc, causing it to stop spinning.
- "They are locked together in some ghastly dance of death!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Sir Killalot grabbed MouseTrap by the blade and pulled both robots out. MouseTrap lifted the trap, but S3 was still caught on the "spring", so MouseTrap pushed it to the top of the arena, firing the trap again. S3 pushed back, nearly pushing MouseTrap into an angle grinder, but MouseTrap pushed S3 back past the floor flipper.
- "To and fro! Shove and heave! Who's got the greater power?"
- — Jonathan Pearce
MouseTrap lifted the trap, and S3 got off the wedge, but was still caught on the hose spring. After pulling back, S3 finally got itself free of the spring. MouseTrap pushed S3 against the arena wall and fired the trap, with the blade hitting the disc of S3 and stopping it, before MouseTrap reversed. S3 stopped a moment to get the disc back up to speed, before slamming into MouseTrap's side. MouseTrap tried to get away from S3, but S3 caught up with it, tearing a large chunk of armour from the top in the last few seconds.
- "What a fight! Amazing aggression, and amazical tactical acuteness!"
- — Craig Charles after the battle
The judges' went for S3, mostly due to the damage that MouseTrap had sustained towards the end of the battle. As such, MouseTrap was eliminated at this stage.
- "That was too close!"
- — Dave Barker of the S3 team
|MOUSETRAP - RESULTS|
|The Fourth Wars - UK Championship|
Semi-Finals, Round 1
|Heat K, Eliminator||vs. Evil Weevil 2 (12), Tiberius||Qualified|
|Heat K, Semi-Final||vs. Sump Thing||Won|
|Heat K, Final||vs. Little Fly||Won|
|Semi-Final 2, Round 1||vs. Stinger (30)||Lost|
|Extreme Series 1|
|Mayhem||vs. Atomic 2, Fighting Torque||Lost|
|The Fifth Wars - UK Championship|
20th Seed, Heat, Round 2
|Heat C, Eliminator||vs. Shredder||Won|
|Heat C, Semi-Final||vs. S3||Lost|
- Wins: 4
- Losses: 3
|Main Series||MouseTrap Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Entered with Triterobot|
|The Fourth Wars||Semi-Final, Round 1|
|The Fifth Wars||Heat, Round 2|
|The Sixth Wars||Failed to qualify with Mutant MouseTrap|
|The Seventh Wars||Entered with Black and Blue|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
Entered with Oblark
|Series 2||Did not enter|
- MouseTrap was sponsored by Avenue Two, Wyko Industrial Services and Barton Mill.
- MouseTrap was the only one of the Series 4 Semi-Finalists not to compete in any of the major events in Extreme 1. It did attempt to enter an Annihilator, but was defeated in the Mayhem.
- In the Fifth Wars, MouseTrap was given the lowest ever seeding for a Semi-Finalist from the previous series, at number 20.
- Had MouseTrap defeated S3 in its Series 5 battle, it would have fought a vengeance battle against Stinger.
- MouseTrap was the only unseeded semi-finalist of Series 4-5 that did not win the heat by defeating both seeds, as Weld-Dor 2 was defeated in Round 1.
- Stuart McDonald consistently referred to Mousetrap as "The MouseTrap" whenever he introduced it in Series 4.
- Best Newcomer - Robot Wars: The Fourth Wars