- "It isn't pretty, but it sure is mean."
- — Colin Sievers describes R.O.C.S. in Series 6
R.O.C.S. (standing for Radio Operated Combat System) was the name given to a series of robots which competed in Series 2, 6 and 7 of Robot Wars, also entering the Pinball competition of Series 3. It was largely unsuccessful, despite remaining competitive in all of its losses, with its peak performance being a second-round finish in the Seventh Wars.
Versions of R.O.C.S.
R.O.C.S. (Series 2)
In Series 2, the robot was box shaped, armed with a forklift made of lightweight aluminium capable of lifting 75kg, although roboteers perceived that it would have struggled for stability while doing so. The original R.O.C.S. was hand-painted by Jackie Sievers. It featured wheelchair wheels for drive, and supposedly demolished a neighbour's fence in testing. The robot was built around the chassis of a second-hand wheelchair, and the lifter was converted from a car jack. This robot narrowly weighed more than the Heavyweight Limit allowed at the time, had a high ground clearance and a large turning circle of 3m.
- "The 75kg lifting mechanism is on the front of the robot and taken from a car jack type system. The problem was that the lifting arms were short and at the front and could not have lifted anything easily. Wheelchair motors provided the drive for ROCS. ROCS also seemed to be too tall in relation to it's width and depth, as ideally you want a large 'foot' to provide stability."
- — Oliver Steeples on the original R.O.C.S.
R.O.C.S. 2 (Series 3)
In Series 3, the robot was known as R.O.C.S. 2 (styled by the team as R.O.C.S. II). This version was longer than the Series 2 model, with a wedge shaped rear and flew an English flag on top, while the front forklift was powered by fan motors and could reach 15mph. A robot known as R.O.C.S. 3 would also fail to qualify for Series 4.
R.O.C.S. (Series 6-7)
- "A Razer-esque rock-crusher!"
- — Jonathan Pearce describing R.O.C.S. in Series 6
The team returned for Series 6 and 7 with a new two-wheeled design and an altered appearance, R.O.C.S. now resembled a bird of prey, with a crushing beak resembling "a big steel hydraulic jaw on wheels" according to Jonathan Pearce, painted grey in Series 6 and blue in Series 7. Side poles lined the side of R.O.C.S. for use as self-righting mechanisms. Between the two versions, R.O.C.S. won one battle out of four. The fan motors used from R.O.C.S. 2 were this time for the two-wheel drive skid-steer to make it highly manoeuvrable, but it was slow at 5mph and had little-to-no armour for protection.
R.O.C.S., pronounced as "Rocks", was an acronym that stood for 'Radio Operated Combat System'. The robot later taking design cues from a bird of prey may also be a reference to Roc, the mythological bird of prey.
Team R.O.C.S. were a Darlington-based family of roboteers, captained by Colin Sievers, the builder and driver of R.O.C.S. in all of its appearances. He was consistently joined by his wife Jackie, who painted R.O.C.S. for its earlier appearances, and the pair notably spent their sixteenth wedding anniversary at the filming of the Seventh Wars. Their son Karl Sievers was also part of the team, aged only seven at the time of Series 2, but grew older as the show progressed, and became a speaking member in the team's Seventh Wars interviews.
- "Driven by Colin Sievers, pained by wife Jackie, and worked on by seven year old son Karl, the youngest roboteer here, this bot demolished a neighbour's fence in training!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces R.O.C.S
R.O.C.S. competed in Heat G of the Second Wars, where it would ultimately fall at the first hurdle despite scoring a respectable distance. In the Gauntlet, R.O.C.S. took the ramrig route, but got stuck half way down the course, due to the robot's width, and pushed into the circular saws.
- "It's a wide robot, at 77cm, and always in danger here, of being squeezed in the ramrig against the circular saws."
- — Jonathan Pearce
When the ramrig retracted, R.O.C.S. continued its run, but Sergeant Bash then blocked its path. R.O.C.S. tried to push past the House Robot over the Flame Pit, but then Sir Killalot attacked it, lifting it up with its lance and tipping R.O.C.S. onto its side for the remainder of the run, before cease was eventually called. R.O.C.S. was then put back onto its wheels by Dead Metal after cease.
- "Can they get it onto the flaming pit? Flipped up by Killalot! Oh dear, immobilised!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as R.O.C.S. is tipped over
R.O.C.S. had travelled a distance of 8.8m, which would ordinarily prove impressive enough to allow it to progress to the next round; however, at the end of the round, R.O.C.S. was at the bottom of the leaderboard, eliminating it from the competition.
- Craig Charles: "How do you think that went for you?"
- Colin Sievers: "Not too good really, we didn't do as well as we expected, a little bit bashed!"
- — Post gauntlet interview
R.O.C.S. 2 was not selected for the main competition of the Third Wars, but did enter the Pinball Warrior competition, which was filmed alongside the main competition for the Third Wars.
After a very slow start, R.O.C.S. 2 turned and missed the barrels with its initial drive, before reversing and lining itself up once more.
- "Rocking and rolling? Err... no, not quite."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Eventually, it managed to knock down most of the barrels to its right, before being intercepted by Sir Killalot in the CPZ. R.O.C.S. reversed past the ramp and attempted to hit the closest 50 point target, but it was blocked by Sgt Bash and Sir Killalot. It made a second drive at the 50 point target, but was blocked once more by Sir Killalot. R.O.C.S. 2 reversed towards the second set of barrels, but missed and was lifted up by the Floor Spikes, although it landed back on its wheels.
- "Bash is blocking one route, Killalot the other, so which way? Cheap points to be gained with the other barrels; that's a good decision, but flipped up by the spike in the arena floor!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
It was then pinned in the corner by Sir Killalot, knocking over some of the barrels as it did so. Cease was soon called, and R.O.C.S. 2 had only scored a total of 35 points, which placed it last in the tournament at the end of the series.
In the battle, R.O.C.S. attacked the physically largest of its three adversaries first, Kronic 2, who was busy being lifted by Panic Attack at the same time. R.O.C.S. took this as an opportunity to breach Kronic 2's side and crushed down on the top of it, bending the armour down slightly as it did so. As R.O.C.S. went for another attack, Corkscrew tore into the back of Panic Attack, causing Kronic 2 to land on top of R.O.C.S.' wedge whilst the seed was deflected away. R.O.C.S. was unperturbed, and crushed down on the top of Kronic 2 once more, but without causing any real damage, before the two were separated by another violent blow from Corkscrew. R.O.C.S. then attacked Panic Attack, but was pushed back by its opponent easily. While Corkscrew was deflected into the pit, R.O.C.S. was lifted up from the side by Panic Attack's forks, but was not toppled over before being released.
- "Corkscrew have gone, and now R.O.C.S. gets a grip on Kronic 2!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
It then reasserted its attack on Kronic 2, bending the flipper inwards with a piercing attack. However, It then let go of Kronic 2, and Panic Attack lifted R.O.C.S. with its forks. As R.O.C.S was hoisted upwards, Kronic 2 came in and flipped R.O.C.S. off Panic Attack's forks, but it landed straight on Kronic 2's flipper again, and its opponent's second flip threw R.O.C.S. over. Hydraulic fluid was seen leaking out of R.O.C.S., and as a result, its srimech failed to work.
- "Kronic 2 flipping R.O.C.S., oh, and is that something coming out of R.O.C.S.? Colin Sievers and his family look on, Karl and Jackie, but I think R.O.C.S. is leaking hydraulic fluid - it is! You can see it pouring out!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
R.O.C.S. was subsequently counted out by the Refbot, eliminating it from the battle. It was pushed onto the Floor Flipper by the House Robots Sir Killalot and Shunt, and was thrown through the air, hydraulic fluid continuing to leak all the while. Sir Killalot then pushed R.O.C.S. into the pit, where it joined the defeated Corkscrew, finishing it off.
- "R.O.C.S. spring a major oil leak and slide out of the competition!"
- — Craig Charles
The day of filming for R.O.C.S.' Seventh Wars heat marked the 16th wedding anniversary of Colin and Jackie Sievers. In its first-round melee, R.O.C.S. faced three returning teams, Topbot, The Executioner, and the new entry from Team Knightmare, Raging Knightmare.
- "Better than Paris any day..."
- — Colin Sievers on entering Robot Wars for his wedding anniversary
In the battle, R.O.C.S. was slow to start on activate, with The Executioner attacking it from the side early on. R.O.C.S. was then attacked from behind by Topbot, but no damage was caused with either of Topbot's connections. After ripping off Topbot's spinner, The Executioner targeted R.O.C.S. but was unsuccessful in causing damage to it, with the two machines engaging in a pushing contest instead. R.O.C.S. was then pushed from behind towards the unopened pit, but it slipped away to the side, before turning and taking light damage to one of its srimechs from the Executioner's vertical blade.
- "The Executioner is on the trail of R.O.C.S.!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
R.O.C.S. was attacked by The Executioner once more, this time being rammed from the side and pushed near the pit again, which by now had been opened by Raging Knightmare. The two robots clashed once more on the other side of the arena, with The Executioner becoming wedged up on R.O.C.S., but R.O.C.S. was unable to reach its opponent with the crusher. Raging Knightmare attacked R.O.C.S. from behind, allowing The Executioner to slide off of R.O.C.S.. After chasing The Executioner briefly, R.O.C.S. pushed it near a CPZ and failed to utilise its crusher once more.
- "R.O.C.S. tried to get the beak in there, couldn't do so."
- — Jonathan Pearce as R.O.C.S. fails to crush The Executioner
At this point, R.O.C.S. became caught in the path of Mr. Psycho, whose claw knocked R.O.C.S. off one wheel as the House Robot turned past it. R.O.C.S. then continued to pursue The Executioner, and pushed it towards the now headless Mr. Psycho's CPZ. The Executioner broke down after being hit with Mr. Psycho's hammer and was paraded in the air by the House Robot whilst R.O.C.S. was shoved by Refbot. The Executioner was then pitted, and the remaining three robots went to a judges' decision. The decision put R.O.C.S. through to the next round, along with Raging Knightmare, which would be R.O.C.S.' only ever victory.
- "R.O.C.S. technically very gifted then..."
- — Jonathan Pearce, upon viewing the highlights, referring to everyone's weaponry
In the second round of the heat, it was placed up against the number 6 seeds Spawn Again.
In this battle, R.O.C.S. was immediately flipped over by Spawn Again, and seemed unable to self right properly due to its rear spike getting in the way. Luckily, it was launched back onto its wheels by a second flip from Spawn Again. It was catapulted near a side wall by Spawn Again's third attack, but was able to self-right this time. Unfortunately, it landed back on Spawn Again's flipper, and it was thrown even closer to the arena wall by another attack.
- "R.O.C.S.? They'll be pebbles left at the end of this... R.O.C.S. pensive, how can they get out of this situation?"
- — Jonathan Pearce
A fifth Spawn Again flip left one of R.O.C.S.' srimechs dangling over the wall, but it was able to self-right once again. Just as before though, it fell onto Spawn Again's flipper, and the next attack from its opponent almost threw it out of the arena. R.O.C.S. bounced down off the arena wall and back into the arena though, before self-righting and pushing Spawn Again into Sir Killalot's CPZ. Both machines were then shoved further in as Sir Killalot came in from behind R.O.C.S. to damage one of its srimechs with his claw in the process. However, this also enabled R.O.C.S. to grab Spawn Again from behind, and it proceeded to pull Spawn Again across the arena.
- "R.O.C.S. has the seeds in some sort of grapple, now they're dragging Spawn Again away! And this whole battle has turned!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
Spawn Again attempted to flip itself out of R.O.C.S.' grip, but it held firm and reversed into the into the pit release button, before releasing Spawn Again as the pit descended. R.O.C.S. chased after Spawn Again and attempted to attack from the side, but was instead flipped over onto the side with the broken srimech and with hydraulic fluid leaking, like what happened in Series 6. This left R.O.C.S. unable to self-right, and it was left to be counted out by Refbot.
- "Look at R.O.C.S., they're trying to stretch themselves to self-right! They're being counted down and out, they couldn't self right - oh that is a shame, but what a terrific fight that was, two worthy machines!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as R.O.C.S. is counted out
Sir Killalot carried R.O.C.S. briefly on his lance, twisting it around over the Floor Flipper before settling it down on the Drop Zone, where R.O.C.S. was smashed by a washing machine, before being pitted by Sir Killalot.
- "R.O.C.S. gets totally crushed, totally annihilated!"
- — Craig Charles
R.O.C.S. began tentatively, edging towards Pinser early on before Mantis shoved R.O.C.S. from behind, and into Mr. Psycho, who hammered the two machines. R.O.C.S. was pushed further into the CPZ and was handled briefly by Mr. Psycho before absorbing another hammer blow.
- "R.O.C.S. between one and a hard place, rocking away, Mr. Psycho's got a grip; if the hammer comes down, the arms of R.O.C.S. could be completely removed..."
- — Jonathan Pearce as R.O.C.S takes punishment from Mr. Psycho
After escaping, R.O.C.S. watched the other two robots attack each other. R.O.C.S. attempted to get underneath the side of mantis, but was unable to o so due to its two opponents pushing back and forth. R.O.C.S. bumped into Pinser while it held Mantis over a flame jet, before finally getting an attack on Mantis without causing damage. After clashing with Mantis, R.O.C.S. was grabbed by Pinser, who crushed deep into the exposed innards of R.O.C.S. to cause damage.
- "The very innards of R.O.C.S. being surgically removed by Pinser's hydraulic crushing arm."
- — Jonathan Pearce as R.O.C.S. is attacked by Pinser
Mantis then came in to attack R.O.C.S. from behind, before R.O.C.S. was dragged away by Pinser towards a flame jet. By this point, R.O.C.S. appeared to be moving very slowly, and when it was pushed closer to the arena wall when Mantis joined the clash. The three way fight continued over the jet, before Pinser's hydraulics exploded. R.O.C.S. was lifted up by Mantis while Pinser came in to attack it once more, before the latter became immobilised over the flame jet. Cassius Chrome split the trio, and while at least one of R.O.C.S.' wheels was still moving, it wasn't going anywhere, and it was evident that Mantis was the only fully mobile machine left when cease was called, and therefore Mantis was awarded the victory.
- Craig Charles: "Did you enjoy that?"
- Karl Sievers: "Yeah, it was well good!"
- — Post-battle
|R.O.C.S - RESULTS|
|The Second Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat G, Gauntlet||8.8m (6th)||Eliminated|
|The Sixth Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat I, Round 1||vs. Corkscrew, Kronic 2, Panic Attack (8)||Eliminated|
|The Seventh Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 2
|Heat N, Round 1||vs. Raging Knightmare, The Executioner, Topbot||Qualified|
|Heat N, Round 2||vs. Spawn Again (6)||Lost|
|The Seventh Wars - Special Events|
Crusher Crunch Up
|Crusher Crunch Up||vs. Mantis, Pinser||Lost|
- Wins: 1
- Losses: 3
NOTE: The Gauntlet run from Series 2 is not included
|Series||R.O.C.S. Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Heat, Gauntlet|
|The Third Wars||Pinball Competition as R.O.C.S. 2|
|The Fourth Wars||Failed to qualify as R.O.C.S. 3|
|The Fifth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Heat, Round 1|
|The Seventh Wars||Heat, Round 2|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Not selected with Forseti|
- R.O.C.S 2's score of thirty-five in the Pinball is the lowest ever.
- All three of R.O.C.S' domestic championship battles were against a team that the similarly-designed Tiberius had faced (Panic Attack, Team Monad and Spawn Again).
- In addition, all three of those battles involved a former or eventual semi-finalist.
- R.O.C.S.' first three appearances were in the same episode as Panic Attack or Team Hurtz or both.
- In each of R.O.C.S.' appearances where it was armed with the crusher, it appeared in an episode where the Drop Zone, was used, one of them being an episode where the Drop Zone was used on R.O.C.S. itself.
- Both of R.O.C.S.' losses in the UK Championship when it featured the crusher weapon involved it being flipped and unable to self-right due to the hydraulic fluid leaking and being pitted by Sir Killalot.
- Throughout its appearances, R.O.C.S. never shared the arena with Matilda.