- "We are the crew and we're here to tell you - we're gonna bash them, we're gonna trash them. In the wars you know we're gonna thrash them. The forecast's bad. You better get running. It's gonna be tough. There's a Plunderstorm coming!"
- — Mike, Bryan and Ken's introduction in the Third Wars
Plunderbird was the name given to five separate box-wedge shaped competitors that competed in the first five series of Robot Wars - the only robot in Robot Wars to fight in all five of those wars.
The first Plunderbird was eliminated in the Gauntlet, but was ultimately awarded the inaugural Best Design Award. Plunderbird 2, the most successful version of the machine, was able to win its Heat in The Second Wars by winning the King of the Castle Trial and defeating The Mule in the Heat Final, but ultimately lost in the Gauntlet in the Semi-Finals once again.
Later models of Plunderbird were unable to reach the same level of success. Plunderstorm, Plunderbird 4 and Plunderbird 5 tended to be unreliable and the robots lost in the first round on frequent occasions, with only Plunderbird 4 passing the first round of the UK Championship.
Plunderbird was well known for its team, the International Wreck Crew, who portrayed themselves with a "tough-guy" attitude, and frequently sang raps. The two had a good-natured rivalry with the Sir Chromalot team over who could provide more entertaining personas. The team was nominated for the Sportsmanship Award on three occasions, winning the award in Series 2.
Versions of Plunderbird
The original Plunderbird was a basic box-wedge shape and was powered by a custom-built 12 volt engine to drive it up to 7 mph. It carried a range of interchangeable weapons built into box-like constructions called "Pods", which could be inserted into a cradle built into the front of the robot. The two shown on television were a retracting spike guided by a laser sight, much like 101's, and an electric circular saw on an extendable arm, which was usually concealed, but could flip out of the robot when operational. Plunderbird 1 was originally going to be built out of steel, but this shell proved to be too heavy, leading to the team constructing a lighter shell. Mike Onslow kept this unused steel shell up until 2021 when it was sold on eBay.
- "Powered by a custom-built 12 volt engine, Plunderbird 1 worships Gerry Anderson! Travels at 7 miles per hour, and carries a lethal array of interchangeable weapons pods. A deadly design!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Plunderbird 1
The robot's tracks were designed by Mike Onslow. It was powered by a 12 volt motor, giving the robot a top speed of 7 mph.
- "The team are back, with an extensively modified version of the original Plunderbird from the first wars! The raising blade on the front can plow through opponents, the steel pneumatic ram can puncture and wound! The purpose tank tracks will give great traction, and the 17-and-a-half amp batteries plenty of pull! This machine can haul a Range Rover!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Plunderbird 2
Plunderbird 2 was created from the shell of its original counterpart, but was wider, black in colour, and with thicker armour and more sloping sides. The aerial flexed, allowing it to bend away from House Robot attacks. Its main weapon was a steel screw ram. In addition, it had heavier and more powerful tracks as well as a steel bulldozer blade, both of which were added to prevent a repeat of Plunderbird 1's misfortune. The tracks were built by John and Fiona Ryland of Terminal Ferocity, who were friends of Mike Onslow and lived across the street from him. The wheels had independent suspension. To compliment the pushing capabilities of the bulldozer blade, the top of Plunderbird 2's wedges had notches to prevent robots from driving up it - a feature that was later carried over to Plunderstorm and Plunderbird 4.
- "The ram at the front was very effective as when they hit someone it effectively went to 0mm ground clearance and allowed it to get under other robots. "
- — Oliver Steeples
Plunderbird 2 had a top speed of 10 mph, 3 mph faster than the original, and at 81.3 kg, was 3.6 kg heavier than the original, and over the heavyweight weight limit at the time. The robot had two 12 volt batteries, one for the weapon, one for the locomotion, and had a Paravalux industrial motor. In testing, it was able to pull Ken Burt's Range Rover and a Ford Transit mini bus.
- "The boast is: this can go faster than time!"
- — Jonathan Pearce's ironic introduction
The third Plunderbird robot, known as Plunderstorm, was entered in Series 3. Plunderstorm was created from a brand new shell and chassis, built by John and Fiona Ryland. It was a steel wedged ramming machine with a front static scoop. Originally, Plunderstorm was also armed with a circular saw, but due to it being a hardened disc that could shatter, the team were forced to remove it, as were a number of other teams in Series 3, including Cerberus. The robot cost £4,000 over 500 hours and was mostly made from steel. Plunderstorm lost in the first round of Series 3 after it broke down on entry.
Plunderstorm was perhaps going to be the first Plunderbird machine to use a hydraulic claw, as the team had made a hydraulic platform for intended use of a crusher. This idea never came to fruition until the team's next entry however. There were also extra armour plates built for Plunderstorm had any of the original plates needed replacing if they were damaged. Mike Onslow kept these unused plates long after Plunderstorm had been rebuilt into Plunderbird 4.
Plunderbird 4 was seeded 26th in Series 4, the only Plunderbird machine to be seeded for Robot Wars. The robot was built from the shell and chassis of Plunderstorm, but was 4.8 kg heavier than Plunderstorm. Whilst retaining the basic box-wedge shape of all Plunderbird machines, Plunderbird 4 was painted yellow and red (assumed to be in reference to the similar colour scheme of Thunderbird 4) and featured a hydraulic slicing claw, referred to as a "Slicer Dicer" (originally Plunderbolt), although the team humorously claimed that the robot's main weapon was "fear, surprise and brute force". The robot was armoured in aerospace aluminium and was powered by two 24 volt, 160 Watt motors, giving it a top speed of 15 mph.
- "Low, wide, fast, powerful tracked robot with a hydraulic jaw, claw and lifter, and they say there are self-righting sidewinder missiles too. Yeah, they say!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Plunderbird 5
Plunderbird 5 was the final machine of the team. A brand new machine which was lower, wider, faster and more powerful than its predecessors, it was black and red and had a similar claw weapon to Plunderbird 4. The weapon was now referred to as a "Plunderthocker", and the steel plate at the front of the machine acted as a lifter to trap a machine beneath the claw. Unlike all its previous incarnations, Plunderbird 5 ran on wheels, although Jonathan Pearce incorrectly described it as having tracks. but had a 2.5 cm ground clearance.
Plunderbird 5 was the fastest of the Plunderbird machines, with a top speed of 20 mph, but suffered from a lack of control, which was listed as its weakness on its statistics board. It also proved to be unreliable, breaking down in 3 of its 5 fights. The robot was powered by two 24 volt, 750 Watt Bosch electric motors, had 6mm polycarbonate armour, and the Plunderthocker claw was powered by a 750 Watt linear actuator. It only won one of the five battles it fought in, and was destroyed in its final appearance by S3.
- Main article: International Wreck Crew
The Plunderbird series of robots were entered by the International Wreck Crew. The captain throughout the robot's appearances was Mike Onslow, who was consistently joined by Bryan Kilburn. Two other members also featured on the team, Jon Dilley in Series 1 before Ken Burt took his place for Series 2 and 3. Dressing in black with camouflage trousers and caps, the team maintained a "tough guy" image throughout their appearances, and were well known for their entertainment value, often performing songs and raps. The team were regularly nominated for the Best Sportsmanship Award, winning it in Series 2.
Plunderbird 1 attended the auditions for Series 1 in a completed state, and impressed the producers, including Chris Reynolds. Plunderbird 1 can be seen amongst other robots at the auditions during The Making of Robot Wars special.
- "At the moment, there are some really good ones in there, … those guys who arrived in all the camouflage gear, that one I thought "That's a bit more like it!""
- — Chris Reynolds speaking of the robots at the Series 1 auditions on The Making of Robot Wars
An unfinished Plunderbird 2 attended the Series 2 rehearsals. Plunderbird 2's body work was completely light blue and lacked any detail. At the rehearsals it had interchangeable weapon pods and a newly built track system. It was successful in qualifying.
- "We intend to kick some butt with this, and be afraid, there's a Plunderstorm coming!"
- — Mike Onslow in the team's introduction
Plunderbird 1 had equipped the spike weapon for its Gauntlet run. It trundled out of the starting position and attempted to take the right pathway. However, Shunt blocked its path. Plunderbird 1 tried to get past, but Shunt pushed it across the edge of the grille, into the side of the see-saw. Plunderbird 1 tried reversing, but this just cause it to reverse onto the grille. It tried driving off, but couldn't get over the edge, then reversed, blocked by the bricks in front of the grille.
- "The weaponry could be deadly, but not against Shunt! On the grille, stuck against the pyramid, and they'll need some work to get out of there!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Shunt pushed Plunderbird 1 onto the grille
It drove forwards again, managing to drive off of the grill, but drove into the pyramid, and Shunt was blocking its escape. Plunderbird 1 reversed, driving back onto the grille, and Shunt rushed over, axing the top of Plunderbird 1. Time expired and Plunderbird 1 had covered a distance of only 4.81m, putting it at the bottom of the leaderboard.
- Jeremy Clarkson: "Now, now, now! Beforehand, you told me, you were just going to barge them out the way!"
- Mike Onslow: "They were obviously just a bit too heavy, and we just didn't quite manage it, but we will be back and we will get them next time!"
- — Post-Gauntlet interview, referring to the House Robots
Dreadnaut broke down shortly after its own Gauntlet run, and it seemed like it would need to retire, which would have reinstated Plunderbird 1, despite the team claiming that "They would not want to benefit from someone else's misfortune", but Dreadnaut managed to recover in time for the Football trial, securing Plunderbird 1's loss.
- Mike Onslow: "Well, we really don't want to win by someone else's misfortune, it doesn't make us happy to be through because someone else blew up, does it guys?"
- Brian Kilburn and Jon Dilley: "No."
- Philippa Forrester: "You still don't know yet, you must be keeping your fingers crossed secretly!"
- Mike Onslow: "Secretly, we do a lot of things, but we couldn't tell you that."
- — Discussing the possibility of Dreadnaut withdrawing
At the end of the series, Plunderbird 1 was awarded with the Best Design Award, largely due to its interchangeable weaponry.
- Mike Onslow: "...but that's not gonna happen this time, 'cos we've got: all new track system, a big bulldozer blade and..."
- Bryan Kilburn: "...wonky aerial."
- — The Plunderbird team after reviewing Plunderbird 1's early demise
Plunderbird 2 competed in Heat K. For this series, the team composed their own theme song, snippets of which were played before each of its appearances.
In the Gauntlet, Plunderbird 2 chose the left-hand route, making a steady start, but drove onto the arena spike, which lifted it up. The spike lowered, and Plunderbird 2 continued, but the spike quickly fired again before Plunderbird 2 had driven past it, lifting Plunderbird 2 up again. Despite this, as the spike lowered, Plunderbird 2 continued unaffected, and as the Sentinel swung around, Plunderbird 2 waited until it could pass, then waited again as the Sentinel swung the other way. However, with Matilda approaching, Plunderbird 2 drove straight into the pit. Despite this, it had covered 10.5 metres, enough ground to progress to the next round, finishing 5th on the leaderboard overall.
- Craig Charles: "What was all that about?"
- Mike Onslow: "Well, we've heard that the House Robots were getting a bit hard and a bit cheesed off with people going down that lane, so we just had to go for a bit of violence really, and unfortunately I drove into the pit before we could actually get them!"
- Craig Charles: "You just drove straight into the pit! It was like you were scared of the robots!"
- Mike Onslow: "We're not scared of the robots, we're gonna trash the House Robots! We're not scared of you, we just want some violence! VIOLENCE!"
- Craig Charles: "Plunderbird, all mouth and no trousers!"
- — Post-Gauntlet interview
This act prompted the other teams to call Mike, Bryan and Ken "chickens" back in the pits, because they believed it was performed intentionally to avoid damage from the House Robots. As they returned to the pits, the Mega Hurts team called them chickens as they passed, and then as Philippa Forrester tried to interview them, the Mega Hurts team led a number of other teams in a chorus of chicken noises.
- Philippa Forrester: "They're all calling you chickens over there!"
- Mike Onslow: "We're not chickens, we just wanted to get through to the next round..."
- Various roboteers [imitating chickens clucking]: "Bawk, bawk, bawk!"
- Mike Onslow: "... but most of all, we want to have a go at the House Robots, and do some combat - [to the other roboteers] SILENCE! How dare you! We're back and we're gonna stay! More violence!"
- Philippa Forrester: "Right, just between you and me, did you dive in that pit to avoid the House Robots?"
- Mike Onslow: "Absolutely NOT!"
- — The interview following Plunderbird 2's self-pitting in its Heat Gauntlet run
Plunderbird 2 redeemed itself greatly in the Trial stage of the heat, which was King of the Castle for this heat.
As the two House Robots drove up the ramps, Plunderbird 2 stood still. Sergeant Bash drove into its rear, and as Dead Metal drove at it, Plunderbird 2 pushed back, getting its front wedge under Dead Metal's claws. Plunderbird 2 reversed, and drove around Sergeant Bash, who was trying to push it. As it did so, it drove under the side of Dead Metal, and began to push it towards the edge, managing to force him off. Sergeant Bash was beside Plunderbird 2, trying to push, and Plunderbird 2 simply drove forwards, causing Sergeant Bash to drive off the edge.
- "Well, perhaps they're not all talk and no trousers...and the Sergeant goes! Well, they've lived up to their proud boast!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Dead Metal is knocked off the ring, followed by Sergeant Bash
Plunderbird 2 was the only robot in the heat to be victorious, so went through to the next round.
- Craig Charles: "Well done!"
- Mike Onslow: "We've said we've come back, and now we've really come back!!"
- Craig Charles: "How do you think you're going to handle the Arena?"
- Mike Onslow: "Err...cautiously!"
- Craig Charles: "Oh, not so confident now then?"
- Mike Onslow: "Lots of damage, always lots of damage!"
- — Post-Trial interview
Plunderbird 2 was placed up against Enzyme in the Heat Semi-Final.
- "Both teams have been great fun on Robot Wars."
- — Jonathan Pearce at the start of the battle
The two robots cautiously approached each other, with Plunderbird 2 getting under Enzyme's high ground clearance. Plunderbird 2 tried to push, but Enzyme managed to reverse and turn itself off the top of Plunderbird 2. Enzyme moved away from Plunderbird 2 and tried to turn, but Plunderbird 2 got underneath the front as it turned, getting Enzyme on top of its wedge and pushing it into Sergeant Bash. Sergeant Bash turned around, scraping Enzyme with his saw and hitting Plunderbird 2 with his front spike, then turned, reversing against the two competitors and using his saw on Enzyme. Plunderbird 2 could not get Enzyme off its front wedge, Dead Metal came over, grabbing Plunderbird 2. Sergeant Bash drove to the back of Enzyme and attacked it again with his saw, creating lots of sparks. Shunt came over, attacking Enzyme with his axe, and Sir Killalot drove into Plunderbird 2, pushing it against Shunt.
- "Well, they're wedded in some dreadful dance of doom!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Enzyme is stuck on the front wedge of Plunderbird 2
Shunt managed to push the two competitors apart, and as the battle went into the last 10 seconds, the two competitors drove towards the arena centre, with Plunderbird 2 seemingly driving at Sir Killalot, but Sir Killalot backed away.
- "Plunderbird 2 and Enzyme now to take on Killalot! Not for the first time, Plunderbird thinks twice about it"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Plunderbird 2 drives at Sir Killalot
Enzyme tried to get its lifter under the side of Plunderbird 2, but couldn't, so turned and tried to get it under Plunderbird 2's rear. Again, it couldn't get under the ground clearance, so Plunderbird 2 reversed against Enzyme, pushing it back. Cease was called for a judges' decision. The judges unanimously gave the win to Plunderbird 2, putting it through to the Heat Final.
- Craig Charles: "Well, you gave them a bashing!"
- Mike Onslow: "Well, we came here to give them a bashing, and basically, you've gotta be cruel to be kind. We're cruel, but we're not very kind! But to give 'em their due, they're a really plucky team, but just had to do the job!"
- — Post-battle interview
In the Heat Final, Plunderbird 2 was up against The Mule.
- "Will it be the kick of The Mule, or "Plunderbirds are go!" in the final?"
- — Jonathan Pearce before the Heat Final
The two robots drove straight at each other, and as it did the Enzyme battle, Plunderbird 2's front ramp got under its opponent, allowing Plunderbird 2 to push The Mule up the arena, but Plunderbird 2 pushed The Mule onto the arena spikes, which lifted The Mule up, allowing it to get off the front wedge of Plunderbird 2. The Mule turned around, then reversed into Plunderbird 2, managing to get its rear lifting leg under Plunderbird 2's front ram. However, The Mule could not get a pushing advantage, so turned, pushing against Plunderbird 2's side, until Plunderbird 2 reversed.
- "...and immediate aggression on The Mule, but Roger Plant spins that 3-wheel drive away."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Plunderbird 2 pushes The Mule, then The Mule turns around
Plunderbird 2 tried to get under The Mule, and The Mule reversed, then drove at Plunderbird 2, driving straight onto the wedge, allowing Plunderbird 2 to push The Mule down the arena. The Mule kicked its legs to try and get free, but the sharp edges of The Mule were digging into the arena floor, damaging it and making it harder for Plunderbird 2 to push. As the two robots got close to the CPZ, Plunderbird 2 reversed for another push, but The Mule turned, getting at the side of Plunderbird 2 and turning it into the PPZ, where Shunt was waiting. Shunt axed Plunderbird 2, but Plunderbird 2 quickly turned out of the PPZ. As time ran out, The Mule reversed into the arena centre, and Plunderbird 2 charged at it, getting underneath just before cease was called, with the battle going to a judges' decision.
- "Very close this!"
- — Jonathan Pearce at the end of the battle
The decision went in favour of Plunderbird 2, putting it through to the Series Semi-Finals.
Prior to Plunderbird 2's appearance in the Semi-Finals, the team entered the arena to entertain the audience whilst the arena was being prepared.
- "Just before the Plunderbird team go on, they've only got the whole audience clapping them, to their own song!"
- — Philippa Forrester
Plunderbird 2 went straight for the middle route. It drove straight onto the arena spikes before the wall, which lifted it up a little, but this did not stop its progress to the wall, helped when the sphere was pushed into the wall, knocking over many of the blocks. Plunderbird 2 pushed through the wall of blocks, but its way was blocked by Shunt.
- "Steady, not spectacular"
- — Jonathan Pearce on Plunderbird 2's progress
Plunderbird 2 got its front ram under Shunt and pushed him a little, but then reversed. Shunt tried pushing Plunderbird 2 back, and Plunderbird 2 reversed to avoid him, but as it drove through the remains of the block wall, the arena spikes lifted it up. This delay allowed Shunt to get at Plunderbird 2's side, pushing it back into the top arena fence with the help of Matilda, who then hammered the final nail into the coffin by slicing off the aerial with her chainsaw. Plunderbird 2 had only managed 0.9m.
- Craig Charles: "Well, you say you like inflicting damage, but it looks like all the damage was on you this time!"
- Mike Onslow: "Yeah, we got plenty of damage done to us, but, as last year, we will be back and we'll get them next time!"
- Craig Charles: "Well, I don't know if you've done enough to get through, it's going to be difficult for ya!"
- Mike Onslow: "I really don't think we have done enough to get through, but we'll get you next time!"
- Craig Charles: "Ladies and Gentlemen, give them a round of applause, Plunderbird 2! They were the best characters in the wars!"
- Jonathan Pearce: "Oh, music lovers of the world unite! They've gone!"
- — Post-Gauntlet interview
There was hope for the team in Haardvark's Gauntlet run when Matilda started dragging them back, but unfortunately for the Plunderbird team, Haardvark just scraped through after a distance of 2.4m.
- Mike Onslow: "We've got the grudge match, that's gonna be fun."
- Bryan Kilburn: "Its not quite the same, is it?...You were driving, its your fault."
- Mike Onslow: "Stop being so sensitive."
- Bryan Kilburn: "I can't help it, I'm a sensitive lad. Got a Kleenex?"
- — Bryan Kilburn turns on mock waterworks after being eliminated
At the end of the series, Plunderbird 2 won the Sportsmanship Award.
- Bryan Kilburn: "Our robot is our weapon! It's got power, it's got blades, and we got attitude!"
- Mike Onslow: "We got lots, and lots, of attitude!"
- — The International Wreck Crew during their introduction
In Heat M, Plunderstorm fought newcomer Thermador in Round 1. Shortly before the fight, the team were asked by the crew to remove their saw blade as it had a risk of shattering, to which they begrudgingly complied.
- "So will Plunderstorm live up to their attitude and their proud boasts?"
- — Jonathan Pearce at the start of the battle
It started off with only one track working, so struggled to move away from its starting position. Plunderstorm turned on the spot, driving into the wall, whilst Thermador closed in. Plunderstorm managed to turn around, but could not drive forwards, only twitching back and forth. Thermador drove straight at the ramp, then reversed for another charge. Plunderstorm kept turning, but then stopped altogether.
- "Will those caps and sunglasses and the attitude and boasts all mean nothing here for Plunderstorm? Because they're not moving!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Thermador pushes Plunderstorm against the wall
Thermador charged into its side, pushing it towards the wall, then reversed for another charge, pushing it against the arena wall. With Plunderstorm immobile, Thermador backed away as the House Robots came in, with Matilda lifting Plunderstorm up with her tusks, and Dead Metal cutting into the top. Matilda lifted it up with her tusks again, and Shunt came over, axing the front wedge, causing multiple punctures
- "Plunderstorm? It's not even a shower! Well, the blows are raining down! Under a hail of blows from Shunt. It's a cloudy future for Plunderstorm, that's for certain!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as the House Robots attack
As Shunt lifted it with his scoop, Sir Killalot got underneath Plunderstorm with his lance, getting the lance under one of the tracks, and carried it across the arena, driving around the pit, before lowering it into the pit, ending Plunderstorm's Third Wars campaign very early on.
- "We had a mechanical malfunction, and we decided to leave and fix it! Some people might call that losing..."
- — Mike Onslow
When the International Wreck Crew returned to the pits, all the other teams greeted them with a load of sarcastic slow clapping and chicken noises.
- "The forecast's bad. You better keep running. It's gonna be tough. There's a Plunderstorm coming!- Next year!"
- — Mike, Bryan and Ken after being eliminated from Series 3
At the end of the series, Plunderstorm was nominated for the Sportsmanship for the second year in a row. But this time, it lost out to Diotoir.
- "And I'll tell you something; Mike, Bryan, Plunderbird 4 - they are not here to conduct, in any sense of the word, International Rescue!"
- — Jonathan Pearce during Plunderbird 4's introduction
Despite the team's early exit from Series 3, Plunderbird 4 was seeded 26th for the Fourth Wars, due to their sportsmanship, popularity and status as former Semi-Finalist. The newest Plunderbird model faced off against veteran Vercingetorix and newcomer Fat Boy Tin in the first round of Heat L.
- "Plunderbird 4 with the 'Slicer Dicer', Vercingetorix with the axe and lifter, Fat Boy Tin with the, err, smile."
- — Jonathan Pearce early in the battle
Plunderbird 4 started by driving at Fat Boy Tin, but Fat Boy Tin drove past it, driving at Vercingetorix. Plunderbird 4 spun as Fat Boy Tin pushed Vercingetorix back. Plunderbird 4 held back as Vercingetorix pushed back at Fat Boy Tin, lifting it a little, and as Vercingetorix tried getting under the side of Fat Boy Tin with its lifter, Plunderbird 4 drove at the side of Vercingetorix. Before it could attack however, Fat Boy Tin turned into its side and started pushing. Plunderbird 4 drove forwards to get away, then turned around. Plunderbird 4 drove at the front of Fat Boy Tin, getting underneath with its wedge, and pushed it across the arena to the arena wall by Sir Killalot's CPZ, with a little help from Vercingetorix. Fat Boy Tin tried turning, and Plunderbird 4 turned away, before turning back at Fat Boy Tin, getting under the front wedge and grabbing it with its Slicer Dicer. Sir Killalot lifted Fat Boy Tin with his claw, nearly toppling it over, but Plunderbird 4 held on, and Sir Killalot dropped Fat Boy Tin. Vercingetorix got under the side of Fat Boy Tin, whilst Refbot pushed Plunderbird 4 apart from Fat Boy Tin. Vercingetorix lifted Fat Boy Tin and it began to fall over, but fell onto Sir Killalot, preventing it from toppling. Vercingetorix gave it a push and Sir Killalot reversed, leaving Fat Boy Tin on its side. With no way of self-righting, Fat Boy Tin was deemed immobile.
- "Very, very tall, but the Plunderbird boys knew, the Vercingetorix boys knew, and the House Robots knew, once you'd toppled Fat Boy Tin, really, this mash-up melee was going to be over, before it started"
- — Jonathan Pearce as the House Robots attack Fat Boy Tin
As Vercingetorix axed the base of Fat Boy Tin, Plunderbird 4 drove at the side of Vercingetorix, but Vercingetorix reversed before it could use its Slicer Dicer. Whilst the House Robots attacked Fat Boy Tin, Plunderbird 4 drove after Vercingetorix, but Vercingetorix pushed it against the arena wall. Plunderbird 4 turned away, and Vercingetorix drove at it, getting under one of its rear corners and lifting it onto its side.
- "Oh, Plunderbird's been toppled as well by Vercingetorix. Now it's too late to affect this one, they'll go through, but that's a key clue to future battles!"
- — Jonathan Pearce after Vercingetorix turns Plunderbird 4 on its side
Whilst dragging Fat Boy Tin, Sergeant Bash reversed into Plunderbird 4, but that did not knock it over. Vercingetorix drove around Plunderbird 4, using its raised lifter to knock it back on its tracks. Sir Killalot was pushing Fat Boy Tin over to the floor flipper, and Plunderbird 4 failed to get out of the way, so Sir Killalot pushed them both across the arena, Fat Boy Tin onto the flipper, and Plunderbird 4 just above it. Plunderbird 4 was spinning around, and when the flipper fired, its front was on the edge of the flipper, so Plunderbird 4 was lifted up a little. Regardless, Plunderbird 4 and Vercingetorix were both through to the second round.
Plunderbird 4 then fought Knightmare in the second round of the heat.
- "...Plunderbird 4, they'll be the favourites here."
- — Jonathan Pearce at the start of the battle
At the start of the battle, when Knightmare moved forwards, Plunderbird 4 turned a little, then spun around. It paused, then turned again, and Knightmare rushed at it, turning under Plunderbird 4's side. However, Knightmare turned incorrectly as it tried to drive under Plunderbird 4, and it over-turned, so it missed with the flipper. Plunderbird 4 was hanging on the side of Knightmare, so Knightmare reversed. Plunderbird 4 reversed a little and spun around, then reversed. Knightmare tried to get under the side, but fired the flipper too early, before it got underneath. Plunderbird 4 turned away from Knightmare, but could not drive away or launch an attack, only being able to spin around on the spot. Knightmare tried to get under the side again, but Plunderbird 4 reversed. Both robots turned away from each other, and Knightmare drove around to Plunderbird 4's front, but could not get under the front. Plunderbird 4 spun, Knightmare gave it a little push, then reversed a little to get a proper charge at Plunderbird 4. However, Knightmare drove straight onto Plunderbird 4's wedge. Knightmare was beached on the wedge, unable to reverse off, whilst Plunderbird 4 could not push Knightmare off, or reverse out from underneath. The pit opened, and Refbot separated the two competitors by pushing them apart. Plunderbird 4 tried to get at the side of Knightmare and attack, but Knightmare reversed and Plunderbird 4 turned away. Knightmare tried to get its flipper under Plunderbird 4, but Plunderbird 4 reversed. Knightmare reversed for a charge, and Plunderbird 4 spun, and Knightmare drove underneath Plunderbird 4 and flipped it onto its side.
- "At the controls, Mike Onslow, a sculpture model maker. Loves his flying, loves his paragliding - ooh, but can he glide Plunderbird 4 back down to earth?"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Plunderbird 4 is put on its side
The House Robots came in, with Matilda flicking Plunderbird 4 onto its back with her tusks, then Shunt axed Plunderbird 4, dragging it back to its tracks. Dead Metal grabbed Plunderbird 4 and cut into it with his saw, Shunt and Matilda attacked it with their axe and chainsaw respectively, then Sir Killalot picked it up with his claw, flipping it over again. Sir Killalot then finished it off by picking it up, carrying it to the pit and dropping it in.
- "They've been amazing fun, they arrived by helicopter, great design, they can sing a little too - don't ask them to, it's horrendous. But they're wonderful competitors, Mike Onslow and Bryan Kilburn, it has been a privilege to have them with us once again. But, boys, after that big buildup - get out of here! Go on home! We don't want you anymore! Because you're beaten, and there's no place on the Robot Wars history board or hall of fame for losers."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Plunderbird 4 was therefore eliminated. During the post-battle interview, Mike Onslow snatched the microphone off of Craig Charles, and led the audience in a Plunderbird song.
- "Shout out loud, make lots of noise!
There's damage to be done by the Plunderbird boys!
Gonna stamp on you, gonna hit you hard.
Gonna send your robot to the breaker's yard!
What's the word? Plunderbird!"
- — Mike and Bryan's exeunt song from Series 4
Plunderbird 4 teamed up with Bigger Brother in the Tag Team Terror of Series 4, the two teams referring to themselves as "The Big Plunderbird-Brother Team". In the first round, they were drawn against Firestorm 2 and Scorpion.
- "The Tag Team tussle's gonna go like this;
We've got the slice!
We've got the flip!
We'll carve them up nice, and chuck them in the skip!"
- — The Plunderbird and Bigger Brother teams give their pre-battle interview in song
Bigger Brother went out first, against Scorpion. Bigger Brother flipped Scorpion almost straight away, but Firestorm 2 righted its teammate in an illegal move. As it did so, Bigger Brother returned to the blue zone, and Plunderbird 4 came out, driving straight at the side of Scorpion. Scorpion fitted perfectly under the Slicer Dicer, and Plunderbird 4 pushed it across the arena, turning it around and began pushing it towards Bigger Brother, but as it did so, Firestorm 2 rushed out to help its partner. It charged into the back of Plunderbird 4, trying to get underneath, but Refbot came over as it was against the rules for both partners to be out at once. Firestorm 2 reversed and returned to its CPZ, and Plunderbird 4 pushed Scorpion against Bigger Brother. Bigger Brother tried to flip Scorpion, but because Scorpion was caught against Plunderbird 4's Slicer Dicer, Bigger Brother couldn't flip it over, only managing to knock it loose from the Slicer Dicer.
- "The Scorpion team meanwhile, under pressure from Plunderbird 4 and Bigger Brother"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Plunderbird 4 pushes Scorpion against Bigger Brother
Scorpion moved away, and suddenly Firestorm 2 rushed out from the red zone, driving at the side of Plunderbird 4. However, before Firestorm 2 could get underneath Plunderbird 4, Scorpion accidentally turned in front of its teammate, and Firestorm 2 drove underneath it accidentally. Firestorm 2 quickly stopped, and Scorpion slid off, then Firestorm 2 went back after Plunderbird 4, getting at its side and pushing it across the arena, pinning it against the wall in the red zone. Firestorm 2 tried to flip it, but Bigger Brother chased after Firestorm 2, and Matilda rammed into the back of it. Together, they both lifted Firestorm 2 with their flipper and tusks respectively, pulling Firestorm 2 out from underneath Plunderbird 4. Bigger Brother pushed Firestorm 2 against Plunderbird 4 and tried flipping, but Firestorm 2 moved forwards, so Bigger Brother missed. As it did so, Matilda drove under its side and lifted it with her tusks, pushing it in front of Plunderbird 4.
- "What on Earth's going on here Refbot? Get in and control these robots! There's only supposed to be two in the arena at the same time! They have shown total disregard to the rules! You are a disgrace out there boys!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as all four robots fight
Plunderbird 4 got around the back of Firestorm 2, pinning it against the wall as Bigger Brother came over. The two had Firestorm 2 pinned against the wall, but Matilda rushed into the back of Firestorm 2, pushing past Plunderbird 4 and flipping Firestorm 2 with her tusks. This allowed Firestorm 2 to get away, and although Bigger Brother chased after it, Plunderbird 4 was merely spinning around in the red zone.
- "I wonder if Plunderbird 4 have been rendered immobile, are they just waiting their chance?!"
- — Jonathan Pearce on Plunderbird 4's lack of mobility
Scorpion drove at it, but couldn't do any major damage. As Scorpion reversed, Firestorm 2 charged at Plunderbird 4, but missed, and went back after Bigger Brother. After driving over the flame pit, Firestorm 2 accidentally drove into Scorpion, pushing it against Plunderbird 4. Scorpion's chainsaw was caught on Plunderbird 4's Slicer Dicer, but Firestorm 2 rammed into the two, separating them. Bigger Brother charged at Firestorm 2, but this did not stop it getting under the back of Plunderbird 4. Firestorm 2 tried flipping it, but couldn't because Plunderbird 4 was against the wall. Firestorm 2 turned and tried again, flipping Plunderbird 4 onto its Slicer Dicer, but it fell back down again. Plunderbird 4 landed back on Firestorm 2's flipper, and Firestorm tried pushing it and flipping it, but drove underneath Plunderbird 4, causing it to not be able to flip it properly, and it drove onto an arena spike. Firestorm 2 immediately managed to turn itself off the spike, and the three mobile competitors fought on the other side of the arena whilst the immobile Plunderbird 4 was attacked by Sgt. Bash, who pinned it against the wall. Bigger Brother managed to flip Scorpion over, and pushed Firestorm 2 around, but time ran out, and as both teams had one immobile competitor, the battle went to the Judges, who decided that Firestorm 2 and Scorpion would go through to the Final.
- Craig Charles: "Well, Plunderstorm came, they were giving it large, but you don't talk your fight if you wanna be in charge!"
- Mike Onslow: "Well, first we chased them round and round, then we tried to take them down! But then we had a malfunction... and I can't think of anything else to say to that really!"
- — Rhyming in the post-battle interview
Plunderbird 4 and Bigger Brother therefore had to fight in the Play-off for third place, against X-Terminator and Inverterbrat. However, despite the International Wreck Crew's attempts to get Plunderbird 4 working again, Plunderbird 4 did not move at all in the battle.
- Julia Reed: "What's your biggest weak point?"
- Bryan Kilburn: "The robot."
- — Before the playoff
Bigger Brother went out to fight X-Terminator 2, and after being flipped over and righting itself, drove back to the blue zone. X-Terminator 2 followed it, and Bigger Brother kept dodging X-Terminator 2's front flipper, and managed to get at X-Terminator 2's side, pushing it against Plunderbird 4 and flipping it against its immobile teammate.
- "Meanwhile, Plunderbird 4, well we've had the hype, we've had the rap, but their team, to me, seems to be taking a nap! It's not exactly mobile, we had the problems with it before..."
- — Jonathan Pearce on Plunderbird 4's total lack of mobility
Bigger Brother pushed X-Terminator 2 against the arena wall, moving Plunderbird 4 with it, but despite repeated pushes, couldn't turn it onto its side as Plunderbird 4 was in the way, so dragged X-Terminator 2 away from the blue zone, then gave it another push to turn it onto its side. X-Terminator 2 self-righted, and the mobile competitors fought in the middle of the arena. Refbot gave Plunderbird 4 a push to get it off the wall. After some more fighting, where Bigger Brother dominated the action, flipping X-Terminator 2 and Inverterbrat, Inverterbrat broke down. During the fighting, Plunderbird 4 was pushed out of the blue zone into the arena centre by Refbot.
- "We've seen so little of Plunderbird 4. They're a great, sporting team actually, Mike Onslow and Bryan Kilburn"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Refbot pushes Plunderbird 4 towards the arena centre
X-Terminator 2 drove at it, trying to flip it, but Bigger Brother pushed against the back of X-Terminator 2. X-Terminator 2 turned and charged away as Bigger Brother chased after it, but drove straight into the pit. Despite only having one mobile teammate for the entire battle, Plunderbird 4 and Bigger Brother took third place.
- Craig Charles: "Talk me through your contribution."
- Mike Onslow: "(Pause) It was passive! Our strategy was to just play dead and let Ian get on with it."
- Craig Charles: "But the whole battle came crashing into you anyway, didn't it?"
- Mike Onslow: "Yeah it did. We tried our best, and it just wouldn't work, what could we do?"
- — Post-battle interview
At the end of the series, the Plunderbird team were nominated for the Sportsmanship Award for the third consecutive series. But, for the second year in a row, they lost out to Diotoir.
- "As you will know, we are the Plunderbird boys! This is a new robot, for a new fight, but it's the same attitude!"
- — The Plunderbird team in their introduction
Plunderbird 5 made a variety of appearances in Extreme Series 1, but with very little success.
- "We've told you before,
and we'll tell you again
We've got the slice!
We've got the flip!
We'll carve them up nice, and chuck them in the skip!"
- — The Plunderbird and Bigger Brother teams give their pre-battle interview in song
However, upon activation, Plunderbird 5 got stuck in forward drive and damaged the arena entry door, causing the battle to be delayed whilst the door was repaired. Plunderbird 5 had also taken damage, so it was forced to withdraw and was replaced, quite hastily, by Major Tom. However, this new duo didn't fare well in the competition, going out in Round 1.
- Ian Watts: "What happened with the door, then?"
- Mike Onslow: "I told you I wanted to go in first, mate"
- Bryan Kilburn: "Well, perhaps you should have let them open it first, eh?"
- — Excuses from the pits
It fought in two Vengeance battles: The first was against Sir Chromalot, who claimed they were the best showmen in Robot Wars. This battle was the main event of Episode 6. In the build-up to the battle, the two teams sent each other messages, traded insults and name-called, including a mock award presented to the Plunderbird team by Steve Merrill.
- Mike Onslow: "It's about time you pair of girlies got yourself a decent hard image"
- Steve Merrill: "Listen here, Plunder-Girls, every time I move my foot, your mouth opens!"
- — The Class Act and International Wrecking Crew trade insults
At the start of the battle, Plunderbird 5 charged forwards, accidentally driving towards Refbot, but Plunderbird 5 turned and Refbot reversed. Plunderbird 5 turned to drive at Sir Chromalot, and tried to drive at the side of Sir Chromalot, but when it got close, Sir Chromalot turned. Plunderbird 5 turned, and drove away to line up another attack, but Sir Chromalot drove past before it could attack. Sir Chromalot tried to get under Plunderbird 5's side, but Plunderbird 5 turned away to dodge. The two robots turned to face each other, and Sir Chromalot charged at the front of Plunderbird 5, but it failed to get underneath and turned at the wrong moment, causing it to miss its flip. Before the flipper closed, Plunderbird 5 got behind Sir Chromalot and started pushing, but Sir Chromalot managed to get away. Plunderbird 5 charged after Sir Chromalot, but when it got close it incorrectly turned, giving Sir Chromalot a chance to drive away, only for Sir Chromalot to drive into Sgt. Bash.
- "There's Plunderbird, little thrust against Sir Chromalot, and once again boys, you're all talk and no trousers because we've not seen too much action!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Sir Chromalot reversed, and turned around to face Plunderbird 5. Plunderbird 5 drove at Sir Chromalot, but drove straight onto the lifter, which flipped Plunderbird 5 up. As it hit the lifter, the front metal strip on the wedge also fell off. Plunderbird 5 landed on top of the wheel hub, and Sir Chromalot tried to push it, but couldn't, so reversed, dropping Plunderbird 5. Sir Chromalot accidentally drove into Sgt. Bash, who drove after it as it tried to escape the CPZ. Plunderbird 5 tried to drive at Sir Chromalot, but Sgt. Bash was in the way. Plunderbird 5 tried driving around Sir Chromalot to attack the other side, but drove into Refbot, and Sir Chromalot drove past it. Plunderbird 5 tried driving around Sir Chromalot and attacking, but Sgt. Bash drove between it and Sir Chromalot. Plunderbird 5 just about reached Sir Chromalot with its Plunderthocker, pinning it down and pushing it around in circles, but Sgt. Bash was still in the way, and Sir Chromalot got away. As Sgt. Bash reversed, Plunderbird 5 charged at Sir Chromalot, but Sir Chromalot turned so its flipper was facing Plunderbird 5, so Plunderbird 5 turned and drove past.
- "...and Plunderbird, showing great driving skill, I'm sure they're [the judges] impressed - totally missed Sir Chromalot and just about everything else on the attack, Plunderbird!"
- — Jonathan Pearce on Plunderbird 5's driving
Plunderbird 5 got at the side and used its slicing claw on the top of Sir Chromalot's lifter, but this lifted itself of the ground, allowing Sir Chromalot to push and pull it around. Sir Chromalot dragged Plunderbird 5 up the arena and fired the lifter to try and get Plunderbird 5 off it, but Plunderbird 5 was still caught on the lifter. After closing the flipper, Sir Chromalot was able to turn to get the flipper under the front of Plunderbird 5, lifting it up a little and getting it off the lifter. However, with the lifter raised, Plunderbird 5 managed to hold Sir Chromalot with the Plunderthocker and push it down the arena. Plunderbird 5 missed as it tried to push Sir Chromalot into the pit, pushing it along the edge, and it tried dragging it back for another push. As it tried pushing Sir Chromalot, Plunderbird 5 accidentally drove over the edge of the pit so half of its wheels were suspended over the edge.
- "And both of them are on the edge, and it's Plunderbird that are gonna go! Well they came full of boasts and hype, but it's Sir Chromalot who have stolen their plunder!"
- — Jonathan Pearce As Plunderbird reverses into the pit
As Sir Chromalot got out of Plunderbird 5's grip, Plunderbird 5 tried reversing to get free of the pit, but this just caused it to turn further over the edge, leaving it stranded. Sir Chromalot was confirmed the winner as Sergeant Bash then came out of his CPZ and pushed Plunderbird 5 into the pit fully. Both teams claimed they wanted a rematch afterwards, though.
- Mike Onslow: "Little bit of hanky-panky, it might be a new robot, it's a little bit twitchy, and it was a complete accident it went in the pit!"
- Craig Charles: "You drove it into the pits, man!"
- Mike Onslow: "I didn't drive it in the pits, that, that...well, ok, it's in the pits, but that, that other piece of junk belongs in the skip as well!"
- — Post-battle interview
At the end of the battle, Plunderbird 5 sang their new theme tune, which was only really planned to be sung if they won the battle, but was used nonetheless.
Plunderbird 5 fought Mega Morg in another vengeance battle, this time relating to who sang better. The two teams had a singing contest in the pits before the battle.
- Mike Onslow: "Mega Morg boys are dressed in yellow,"
- Bryan Kilburn: "They think they're hard as mustard!"
- Mike Onslow: "But that robot's about as useful, "
- Both: "As a big blob of yellow custard!"
- — The Plunderbird boys song to the Mega Morg team before the Vengeance Battle
Plunderbird 5 started by trying to drive around the side of Mega Morg, but Mega Morg turned, and Plunderbird 5 quickly turned around. It drove away from Mega Morg, then turned back, ramming into the front corner of Mega Morg and getting its wedge underneath, but Mega Morg slid off as Plunderbird 5 pushed it. Mega Morg drove in front of Plunderbird 5, and Plunderbird 5 drove into its side, but the Plunderthocker did not pierce the armour, so Mega Morg reversed and Plunderbird 5 drove past. Plunderbird 5 drove up the arena and turned around, and Mega Morg drove after it, but although it managed to get its lifting spikes under the side, Plunderbird 5 drove past. It quickly turned around, pushing against Mega Morg's side with the Slicer Dicer, but Mega Morg reversed. Plunderbird 5 chased after it as it reversed down the arena, keeping in very close pursuit, but Mega Morg then fired its lifter, using it to lift Plunderbird 5 up by the Slicer Dicer, and pushed it up the arena.
- "At the moment, it's not dramatic"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Mega Morg pushes Plunderbird 5 up the arena
Mega Morg pushed Plunderbird 5 across the arena, close to Sgt. Bash's CPZ, but eventually reversed, allowing Plunderbird 5 to slide off the lifter. Plunderbird 5 drove past Mega Morg and turned around, then tried attacking the side of Mega Morg, but Mega Morg reversed. Plunderbird 5 chased after it, getting at the side and pushing it a little, but Mega Morg pushed past and Plunderbird 5 turned away. As Plunderbird 5 chased Mega Morg, Sgt. Bash left his CPZ and fired his flamethrower at Mega Morg's Ninja Sheep, causing it to deflate. Plunderbird 5 pushed against the side of Mega Morg, with its Slicer Dicer on top of Mega Morg's front wedge, but couldn't get much of an advantage and Mega Morg drove away. Plunderbird 5 chased after it, and managed to get at the side again, with the Slicer Dicer on top of the front wedge, but because the Plunderthocker was on top of the lifter, Mega Morg was able to lift Plunderbird 5 off the ground and pull it back.
- "So much hype, so much song, so much song, and really, it's been rather dull hasn't it?"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Plunderbird 5 quickly fell off, then charged at the front of Mega Morg. Shunt came out of his CPZ, driving between the two competitors and axing Mega Morg right on the deflated Ninja Sheep. Shunt's axe became stuck, and as he tried to pull the axe out, he nearly toppled forwards. Refbot gave him a yellow card for his illegal attack, and Plunderbird 5 abandoned pushing Mega Morg and turned away. Shunt still couldn't lift the axe free from Mega Morg, and Plunderbird 5 drove into the front of Mega Morg, and Refbot drove between Mega Morg and Shunt to try and separate them. This didn't work, but Refbot then pushed against the front of Mega Morg, whilst Plunderbird 5 rammed into the other side of Mega Morg, knocking Mega Morg free. In the last few seconds, Plunderbird 5 managed to get its Plunderthocker claw just behind the front armour plating of Mega Morg and pushed against it, trying to prise the armour off the front, until cease was called, and the battle went to the judges.
- "Well for a Vengeance battle, that was just pushing and shoving and calling names. I would show you some highlights...but there weren't any!"
- — Craig Charles
Plunderbird 5 won on points, but this would be Plunderbird's final victory in Robot Wars. As a reward for wining, Craig Charles allowed the International Wreck Crew to "entertain the audience", so they sang a bit of "Have You Got A Srimech?".
- Craig Charles: "I think it's the first you've ever won anything, isn't it?"
- Mike Onslow: "It's about time we won something, yeah, it's well overdue!"
- — Post-batle interview
Alongside Stinger and Scorpion (who it fought in the Series 4 Tag Team Terror), Plunderbird 5 fought Shunt and Dead Metal in the first House Robot Rebellion.
- Mike Onslow: "Well, we're gonna go straight in!"
- Bryan Kilburn: "We're gonna take out the House Robots!"
- Mike Onslow: "And then it's on to the other two!"
- Bryan Kilburn: "But don't tell anyone!"
- — The International Wreck Crew's plans for the House Robot Rebellion. Humorously, the Stinger and Scorpion teams would later reveal they all had the exact same plan
Plunderbird 5 appeared to have lost drive on one side right from the start, and was only spinning in circles. It managed to drive into Dead Metal as he was pushing Stinger, but Dead Metal quickly grabbed it in his claws and cut into the top. As he did so, Dead Metal pushed Plunderbird 5 onto the floor flipper. Dead Metal let go, but Plunderbird 5 could not drive away, having lost drive on one side, merely turning back and forth. Plunderbird 5 was thrown into the air, landing on top of Stinger.
- "We've got the flipper as well! Sorry, didn't we tell you about that? Ha ha, too late now isn't it, to find out what we've got up our sleeve! We've got weapons like that, and axle grinders and torches, and goodness knows what! We're not going to lose this, let me tell you!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Plunderbird 5 is flipped by the floor flipper
Plunderbird 5 bounced down to the arena floor, off Stinger, but could still only turn back and forth. Shunt got behind it and axed it, dragging it up the arena whilst Stinger opened the pit. Shunt then pushed Plunderbird 5 down the arena and to the pit, where Shunt left it hanging on the edge, not falling fully in, but unable to escape.
- "Plunderbird have gone! Well, they were hardly in on the action at all, weren't they, Bryan Kilburn and Mike Onslow."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Plunderbird 5 is pitted
Soon after, Shunt caught Scorpion, axing the top and pushed it towards the pit. Shunt pushed Scorpion into Plunderbird 5, knocking Plunderbird 5 fully into the pit, and later pushed it into the pit with Plunderbird 5, just as Matilda entered the arena. Eventually, Stinger managed to survive to the end, and was given the victory as the only mobile competitor.
According to Robot Wars Extreme: The Official Guide, Plunderbird 5 was also considered as a potential competitor in a Mayhem qualifier for one of the two Annihilators, but it is unknown whether or not it was ever actually invited to take part. Regardless, it had suffered irreparable damage from its battle against S3 in the heats of Series 5.
US Season 1
- "Well the UK entrant, Plunderbird 5. At 218 pounds, it says they're using electric motors, but those guys were full of a lot of hot air, so I don't know what the deal is!"
- — Stefan Frank introduces Plunderbird 5
Plunderbird 5 competed in the first season of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors, representing the UK in the War of Independence special. In its first round battle, Plunderbird 5 fought the US representative Rosie the Riveter, and bore the Union Flag on its surface in representation of the United Kingdom.
- International Wreck Crew: "Rosie robot's looking grim, the crew is totally frantic. That's 'cos we're gonna bash 'em, back across the Atlantic!"
- Team Thunderbolt: "Plunderchicken, Plunderchicken, where's the action? Rosie's gonna beat you like Andrew Jackson!"
- International Wreck Crew: "You think you're big, you think you're tough, but you aint made of Plunderbird stuff!"
- Team Thunderbolt: "Uh, sorry, we can't understand what they're sayin', we don't speak chicken..."
- — The sing-off before the fight
At the start, the two competitors charged straight at each other, with many of Rosie the Riveter's decorations falling off on impact. Rosie the Riveter fit perfectly under the Plunderthocker weapon, but Rosie the Riveter reversed away before it could close. Rosie the Riveter drove back at Plunderbird 5, then tried to reverse away, but Plunderbird 5 chased Rosie the Riveter and pushed it up the arena. Rosie the Riveter turned to get away from Plunderbird 5, but Plunderbird 5 chased after it and pushed it into Refbot. Refbot reversed, and Plunderbird 5 pushed Rosie the Riveter against the top arena wall. Rosie the Riveter reversed, so Plunderbird 5 tried to get at its side, but Rosie the Riveter turned around Plunderbird 5. Plunderbird 5 also turned around and got its wedge underneath, but Rosie the Riveter reversed, then rammed into Plunderbird 5. Plunderbird 5 tried to push Rosie the Riveter, but Rosie the Riveter got its spike under Plunderbird 5, and pushed it across the arena into the arena wall.
- "Plunderbird 5 is just going in there like no tomorrow! Plunderbird 5, with the definite advantage of pushing, but Rosie's pushing back!"
- — Stefan Frank
Plunderbird 5 tried to get away from the arena wall, but Rosie the Riveter pushed it into an angle grinder. This heavy slam had immobilised Plunderbird 5 on one side, and Rosie the Riveter slammed it again, although this was gradually bending the front spike of the American machine. Rosie the Riveter was relentless in its attacks, slamming Plunderbird 5 three times in quick succession as Plunderbird 5 struggled to get away from the arena wall.
- "Rosie the Riveter's got some real damage to do here, because Plunderbird 5 just came out of that gate like a mad bull at a rodeo!"
- — Stefan Frank as Rosie the Riveter rams Plunderbird 5
Rosie the Riveter reversed, and held back to see if its opponent was immobile. Plunderbird 5 moved away from the wall, and Rosie the Riveter charged at its opponent, but its front spike was so bent that it was caught in the arena floor, impairing Rosie the Riveter's movement. Rosie the Riveter could not drive forwards properly, and as it reversed and drove back and forth to try and regain full control, Rosie the Riveter's spike ripped up the wooden floor, creating scratches everywhere it drove. Rosie the Riveter managed to turn, and reversed into Plunderbird 5, but became stuck. Refbot was forced to push the two machines apart, and time ran out on the battle with neither robot able to move freely.
- "From the start, the British team of Plunderbird 5 went out there and just shoved Rosie the Riveter to her knees! Rosie was just falling apart in pieces, and then Rosie had Plunderbird up against the rails, but then that bent spike really hindered Rosie's progress!"
- — Stefan Frank reviews the highlights
The Judges were required to declare a winner, and remarked that it was very close, but because Plunderbird 5 had been immobile on one side for most of the match, Rosie the Riveter earned the Judges' decision through damage points. As such, Plunderbird 5 became the third British representative within the episode to fall in the first round, following on from Stinger and Spawn Again.
- "Tough luck for the Plunderbird boys!"
- — Stefan Frank
- "The Plunderbird boys are back, with more mouth than motion! But unlike previous years, it looks like Plunderbird 5 actually works, and may even cause some damage! Hooray! But as ever, great to have Mike and Bryan back, and raring to go!"
- — Philippa Forrester at the start of the team
- "...the Plunderbird boys are back, great fun! Mike Onslow on the left, Bryan Kilburn on the right. He loves his curries, and we're gonna have hot stuff here..."
- — Jonathan Pearce just before the battle
Plunderbird 5 charged at S3, which spun around, bouncing off the front of Plunderbird 5. As Plunderbird 5 turned and drove for another attack, one of its tyres burst, causing the robot to jump off the ground. Despite this, Plunderbird 5 got at the side of S3, and rammed it down the arena, pinning it against the wall in a CPZ. Plunderbird 5 reversed, but S3 was able to turn to avoid it, and Plunderbird 5 drove into the wall. Plunderbird 5 reversed into S3, pushing it back, then turned to attack, but due to the burst tyre, it was bobbing up and down as it drove, slowing its forward momentum. Plunderbird 5 tried pushing S3, but S3 used its disc to hit the front of Plunderbird 5, lifting it a little. Plunderbird 5 kept trying to push S3, but S3 hit the side, easily ripping a hole in the armour.
- "Plunderbird has been ripped there, look, by S3! The side of Plunderbird torn away with that attack!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as S3 tears through Plunderbird 5's armour
Plunderbird 5 kept on the attack, and S3 reversed into the arena side wall. Plunderbird 5 kept after it, but drove onto a flame jet. Plunderbird 5 tried to pin S3 against the wall, but S3 turned, hitting the Slicer Dicer, breaking it off the ram and leaving Plunderbird 5 weaponless.
- "...and Plunderbird is in real trouble here! The Plunderbird dicer, lifter, claw, jaw, looks so impotent! Rendered so, because the pneumatic system has been ripped to shreds there by S3!"
- — Jonathan Pearce on Plunderbird 5's broken weaponry
The pair moved towards Sir Killalot's CPZ where another hit from S3 immobilised Plunderbird 5. Now, Plunderbird 5 was a sitting duck as S3 began to rip off more of its armour. Sir Killalot lifted Plunderbird 5 up while S3 continued to attack it, its entire right side of armour being completely torn away and exposing its drive wheels, with S3 knocking them loose.
- "Look at the boys, Mike Onslow and Bryan Kilburn, reduced to mere spectators! Their machine a bauble, a plaything for S3 and the House Robots!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as the camera shows Mike Onslow and Bryan Kilburn having given up the controls whilst Sir Killalot carries Plunderbird 5
Sir Killalot spun Plunderbird 5 around and carried it towards the flipper. Along the way, it hit Dead Metal, and Sir Killalot shook it, causing the right-hand side wheels to fall out. Plunderbird 5 was dropped upside down on to the floor flipper, where it was tossed across the arena. S3 then attacked Plunderbird 5 one last time, ripping off more of its armour as the fight ended.
- "The tyres are off, and they are certainly off the rails, off the track to success, on the road to nowhere, Plunderbird!...Look at the damage! Weapon gone, armour gone!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Plunderbird 5 is thrown by the flipper
Plunderbird was eliminated in the first round for a third time in what was also the team's last appearance on Robot Wars.
- "Well, it was slightly worse than we thought it would be. I have to admit, we slightly underestimated the militant wing of the Salvation Army! It's a good robot, it's a hard robot, we now have a clusterbot! Whether we can stick it back together, who knows?"
- — Mike Onslow, gracious in defeat
|PLUNDERBIRD 1 - RESULTS|
|The First Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat C, Gauntlet||4.81m (6th)||Eliminated|
|PLUNDERBIRD 2 - RESULTS|
|The Second Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat K, Gauntlet||10.5m (5th)||Qualified|
|Heat K, Trial (King of the Castle)||Victorious (1st)||Qualified|
|Heat K, Arena Semi-Final||vs. Enzyme||Won|
|Heat K, Final||vs. The Mule||Won|
|Semi-Final 2, Gauntlet||0.9m (6th)||Eliminated|
|PLUNDERSTORM - RESULTS|
|The Third Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat M, Round 1||vs. Thermador||Lost|
|PLUNDERBIRD 4 - RESULTS|
|The Fourth Wars - UK Championship|
26th Seed, Heat, Round 2
|Heat L, Eliminator||vs. Fat Boy Tin, Vercingetorix||Qualified|
|Heat L, Semi-Final||vs. Knightmare||Lost|
|Tag Team Terror|
With Bigger Brother, Third Place
|Round 1||vs. Firestorm 2 & Scorpion||Lost|
|Playoff||vs. Inverterbrat & X-Terminator 2||Won|
|PLUNDERBIRD 5 - RESULTS|
|Extreme Series 1|
Vengeance & House Robot Rebellion (with Scorpion & Stinger)
|Vengeance||vs. Mega Morg||Won|
|Vengeance||vs. Sir Chromalot||Lost|
|House Robot Rebellion||vs. Dead Metal & Shunt||Lost|
|The Fifth Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat C, Eliminator||vs. S3||Lost|
|War of Independence|
Representing UK, Round 1
|Eliminator||vs. Rosie The Riveter (USA)||Lost|
- UK Wins: 5
- UK Losses: 6
- US Wins: 0
- US Losses: 1
NOTE: The Gauntlet and Trial runs of Plunderbird 1 and Plunderbird 2 are not included
|Main Series||Plunderbird Series Record|
|The First Wars||Heat, Gauntlet as Plunderbird 1|
|The Second Wars||Semi-Finals, Gauntlet as Plunderbird 2|
|The Third Wars||Heat, Round 1 as Plunderstorm|
|The Fourth Wars||Heat, Round 2 as Plunderbird 4|
|The Fifth Wars||Heat, Round 1 as Plunderbird 5|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Entered as Plunderbird 5|
|Series 2||Did not enter|
|US Series||Plunderbird 5 Series Record|
|Season 1||War of Independence, Round 1|
|Season 2||Did not enter|
|Nickelodeon||Did not enter|
Outside Robot Wars
The team continued to fight in live events after their last appearance on Robot Wars, albeit with Plunderbird 4 after Plunderbird 5 was scrapped due to excessive damage. At the 2002 Debenham Robot Rumble, Plunderbird 4 faced M2. Plunderbird 4 would appear on display at an ExCeL Expo in London 2002. Mike and Bryan also served as commentators for some events they attended. They also made frequent appearances at The Robot Zone events which were organised by their former rival Steve Merrill of Sir Chromalot.
The team intended to enter Series 6 with a new version of Plunderbird, which they began building, but this version was never finished due to Bryan moving away and other commitments. Not long afterwards, the team retired from robot combat. The unfinished Plunderbird 6 remained in Mike Onslow's workshop until 2021 when it was sold on eBay to James Baker of Team GlitterBomb.
- "...this was intended to be the next Plunderbird (6) but the rest of our lives took over! Work commitments, Bryan got married and moved away etc."
- — Mike Onslow in 2021
Mike Onslow still owns the shells of Plunderbird 2 and Plunderbird 4 (which were made from those of Plunderbird 1 and Plunderstorm respectively), along with the weapon pods from Plunderbird 1. Since their retirement, Mike has occasionally brought them to live events, such as the 2011 UK Championships and has displayed them at Wefit Autocentre in the team's hometown of Alton for a period in March 2020. Although Mike has scrapped the shell of Plunderbird 5 due to it being destroyed by S3, he still owns at least one of its original drive wheels.
For more information on the team's excursions outside of Robot Wars aside from Plunderbird, see here.
Appearances in Merchandise
- Plunderbird/Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction
- Plunderbird/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (PC/Xbox)
- Plunderbird 2 was the first robot to name a robot with sequential models. This would later become common practice in The Third Wars.
- Plunderbird and Firestorm are the only machines to name a Model 5 machine. Other machines such as Bulldog Breed entered five versions of the machine, but Plunderbird and Firestorm were the only two to designate their machine as the fifth in the series, rather than a general name.
- Plunderbird is one of two robots to win two different awards, along with Gemini, having won the Best Design and the Sportsmanship Awards.
- Plunderbird and The Steel Avenger are the only Award winners to defeat the previous year's winner, as Plunderbird defeated Nemesis to win Best Sportsmanship.
- Plunderbird was the only robot to fight in Series 1 and 5.
- In testing, Plunderbird 2 pulled a Range Rover and a Ford Transit mini bus.
- Plunderbird 5 was the only Plunderbird model not to be nominated for an award.
- Plunderbird's first and last appearances were in Heat C. It shares this with Team Chaos who appeared in Heat C of Series 1 and 6.
- Plunderbird 1 and Mortis were the only robots in Series 1 to have tracks.
- Plunderbird is one of only four tracked robots to ever make it past the heats of a domestic championship, the other three being 101, Mortis and Slicer.
- Plunderbird and 101 both lost in the first round of Series 5 to a robot with a spinning weapon.
- Although none of the five Plunderbird robots had a srimech, only one of Plunderbird's nine losses was the result of being flipped over.
- Plunderbird 4 had a brief cameo on the sitcom Spaced in the episode "Mettle".
- Out of all the competitors that fought in the Vengeance battles held throughout Robot Wars Extreme, Plunderbird 5 was one of the only two competitors that fought in two of those battles. The other being Mega Morg, also both of those robots would fight each other in one of their two battles.
- Plunderbird lost in the first round in three of the five wars they entered, which curiously were the odd-numbered wars, the same pattern suffered by the Ming robot series, the Shredder team, the Mega Hurts team and Adam Clark's machines.
- During an interview in the Robot Wars Magazine, Brian Kilburn said that he was working on a robot named Plunderbug One, an eight-legged walker.
- Plunderbird and Thermidor 2 are the only robots to have reached a semi-final of at least one War and yet lose in the first round of three other Wars. This was a statistic solely born by Plunderbird until Series 8.
- One of Plunderbird's first round losses was actually to Thermador.
- For Series 8, Mike Onslow joined 'Team. Ablaze', and applied with their existing machine Dystopia, although it was not chosen to participate.
- Plunderbird 4 was one of four robots to have been seeded despite losing in the first round of the previous series. The others were Killerhurtz and Stinger (also in Series 4) and Thermidor 2 (in Series 7).
- Killerhurtz was the only one of the other three not to appear in a battle with Plunderbird at some point.
- Of all the seven robots to defeat Plunderbird in battle, only Scorpion and Sir Chromalot did not reach a semi-final of a domestic championship.
- Plunderbird 1 shell on eBay
- Robot Wars Technical Manual, pages 123 to 124
- Robot Wars Technical Manual, pages 123 to 124
- Plunderbird 2 on Oliver Steeples' website
- Plunderbird hydraulic platform on eBay
- Plunderstorm side panel on eBay
- Robot Wars Extreme: The Official Guide
- Killerhurtz website, Series 2 rehearsal (archived)
- Tinweb.com, Series 2 Rehearsals
- Tinweb.com, Series 2 Rehearsals
- Plunderbird 6 shell on eBay
- Private correspondence between Mike Onslow and Drop Zone mk2 in January 2021