Nelly the Ellybot is a heavyweight robot which was built to compete in Series 9-10 of Robot Wars. It was selected to compete in Series 9, but withdrew prior to filming. Among Team Nelly (currently Team Pun-Chant) is captain Sarah Malyan, and Dutch roboteer Niels van der Berg. Few details on the robot’s intended design for Robot Wars have been released, although it finally took shape as a heavyweight robot when it competed in the 2019 season of BattleBots.
Though information on Nelly the Ellybot's design for Series 9-10 is limited, early concept drawings showed the robot with a rounded chassis and an overhead arm modelled on an elephant's trunk. Initially, Team Nelly considered making the main weapon a lifter, but settled on a hammer in all of their main designs. As with its later featherweight and heavyweight namesakes, both early designs for Nelly the Ellybot also featured eyes and ears from an elephant, along with two large tusks not seen on either of the finished machines.
The drawings showed two potential front end and drivetrain set-ups; a two-wheel drive robot with a shallow wedge and a four-wheel drive robot with a broad angled wedge. In contrast to the completed BattleBots version, both had the wheels themselves exposed from the top.
Nelly the Ellybot first applied for Series 9 via open applications, and was chosen by the producers to compete in the series. However, through a combination of financial and time restraints, Nelly the Ellybot was not completed before the series started filming, and ultimately withdrew. Sarah Malyan instead entered the series alongside the team who built HIGH-5, and took on the role of team captain for Team ACE.
An application for Nelly the Ellybot to compete in Series 10 was sent, but on this occasion, the robot was not selected to compete.
|Series||Nelly the Ellybot Series Record|
|Series 1-7||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did Not Enter|
Entered with HIGH-5 (Sarah Malyan)
|Series 10||Not selected|
World Series with THE BASH (Niels van der Berg)
Outside Robot Wars
Due to finance issues and the cancellation of Robot Wars, production on the heavyweight version of Nelly the Ellybot was halted and the team mostly separated. However in the second half of 2018, Sarah Malyan built a featherweight version with new team mate James Pearson. True to the initial design, the featherweight sports a weaponised trunk in the form on an electrically powered axe, as well as a titanium wedge and a huge pair of in-built googly eyes. The featherweight Nelly the Ellybot was selected to compete at the inaugural King of Bots UK Featherweight championships at the Insomnia gaming festival in August 2018, and the team became a trio with the addition of Gus Collier.
In Nelly the Ellybot's first battle, a faulty receiver caused drive issues for Nelly early on into the match, and resulted in a loss of mobility shortly afterwards. Furious George took first place by putting an immobile Nelly the Ellybot into the pit after some encouragement from Sarah, who reasoned it was better showmanship to go out via the pit than a count-down. With fellow opponent Enigma withdrawing prior to the fight due to technical issues, Nelly the Ellybot finished the battle in second place. In its next battle, Nelly the Ellybot fought X-303 and the top seed of the event, Amnesia. Nelly the Ellybot's axe took out the drive belt on X-303, which soon immobilised it. With Amnesia only driving on one side, Nelly could have taken first place, but unfortunately suffered another electrical failure and stopped moving shortly before Cease was called, giving Amnesia the win. Nelly the Ellybot would go on to win its' third and last qualification battle against Telekinesis and Elevate. Elevate stopped moving shortly after activate was called. It sustained a hit from Nelly, but it is unknown if this hit caused Elevate to be immobilised. The battle between Nelly and Telekinesis went on, with both bots landing hits on each other as Nelly charged headlong into Telekinesis's undercutter. Telekinesis then began to lose drive, though its' spinner was still working effectively. Nelly sustained damage to the front wedge, the axe head, and began having drive issues itself after a blow from Telekinesis hit one of the wheels so hard, the motor it was attached to shattered. After Nelly the Ellybot began having drive issues too, it looked as if he fight would go to the judges. However Telekinesis began smoking and stopped moving just as cease was called. This went against them, and the judges ruled that Nelly the Ellybot won by Knock Out; giving it the full 4 points and placing it joint-13th (18th on the leaderboards) among the Top 20 qualifiers. In post-fight commentary, it was praised for standing up to as many hits from Telekinesis as it did. After sustaining heavy damage from Telekinesis and having a short repair window, Nelly the Ellybot withdrew from its head-to-head battle against Saber-X, and was replaced by Blunt Force Trauma Remix. Nelly the Ellybot later fought in two whiteboard battles at the same event. In the animal-themed whiteboard melee (dubbed "Farmageddon"), it immobilised Spank the Monkey in the opening moments, but ultimately lost the battle to Meow after becoming immobilised itself. The second whiteboard battle - dubbed the "Battle of Shuntposting" due to the participating roboteers' affiliation with the Facebook fan group - was against Straddle 2 (Tom Brewster) and Spank the Monkey (Tim Rackley). Tim Rackley and Tom Brewster are popular contributors on the fan group, which Sarah Malyan administrates, and she deemed the battle to be for "Shuntposting Supremacy". Nelly the Ellybot made swift work of Spank the Monkey, leaving it to burn on the flame pit. Nelly the Ellybot and Straddle 2 fought it out whilst Spank the Monkey burned away. Straddle 2 was having control issues, and most of the damage its' spinner caused to Nelly the Ellybot was due to Malyan driving the machine directly into Straddle 2. With its spinner still working, Straddle 2 caused significant damage to Nelly the Ellybot during its' somewhat suicidal attacks; immobilising the axe and taking off a wheel. With two robots struggling to move and one on fire, the crew forced an early end to the match, and Nelly the Ellybot was awarded a win via a judges decision. As such, Sarah retained her title as the "Shuntposting Kween".
Sarah Maylan also co-produced the online web-series Bugglebots, a Robot Wars-style show dedicated to beetleweight class robots, and also took on the role of pit reporter for this series.
In 2019, a heavyweight version of Nelly the Ellybot was built by Team Pun-Chant and entered into the 2019 season of BattleBots. The team consists of Sarah Malyan as Team Captain, Gus Collier, Niels van der Berg, Charlie Dangerfield and Shane Lale. The heavyweight design scales up the featherweight robot, using a powerful electric hammer. It fought Rainbow in its first battle, but was blown apart by the horizontal spinner, losing in seemingly a destructive knockout, even though the KO blow was in fact caused by just one severed wire. Nelly the Ellybot's next fight was against Deep Six, where a strong blow from the latter's vertical bar spinner knocked both robots out. Nelly the Ellybot was deemed to have lost this fight on the subsequent judges' decision.
The BattleBots version of Nelly the Ellybot (also simply referred to as Nelly) made its live events debut at the 2019 FRA UK Championship, hosted as part of the Robots Live! event in Stevenage. In the main championship, it was eliminated in the first round after losing mobility against Deadlock and YOTON, despite landing a powerful blow on the latter in the opening moments. Nelly the Ellybot also took part in several whiteboard battles throughout the rest of the event, at one point getting thrown out of the arena by Manta.
In 2020, Nelly the Ellybot was initially confirmed to return for that year's season of BattleBots prior to its subsequent postponement. Travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic later contributed to Team Pun-Chant's withdrawal, with the team deciding to prepare a redesigned version for future seasons. With Nelly the Ellybot not being selected to compete in the 2021 season of BattleBots, the new version instead appeared at Robonerd and the Robots Live! Crawley event over the autumn.
- Nelly the Ellybot Facebook page (defunct)
- Team Pun-Chant Facebook page
- Nelly the Ellybot Twitter
- Bugglebots website