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For other uses of the name Reaper, see Reaper (disambiguation).

Reaper was a robot which competed in the pilot episode of Robot Wars filmed in March 2016, ahead of the main recording of Series 8. Entered by Nottingham-based Calum Jones, Reaper is a near-exact replica of Series 7 heat winner The Grim Reaper, a robot which the team also own, and was built to make the design of The Grim Reaper competitive in the modern day.


The internals of Reaper at the pilot

Reaper is designed to replicate the past Robot Wars semi-finalist, The Grim Reaper, and as a result, it is an octagonal robot driven by two partially exposed wheels armed with a pneumatic flipper, which covered the entire length of the robot and also served as the robot's self-righting mechanism. Unlike The Grim Reaper, the armour of Reaper is comprised of HARDOX, surrounding a mild steel chassis, and the robot also used more up-to-date internals. The other key differences from The Grim Reaper include the robot's black colour-scheme with skull motifs, and its slightly greater width. The robot weighed roughly 100kg.


Reaper enters the build phase ahead of Series 8

Calum Jones applied for Reaper to enter the main competition of Series 8, and although it was not selected to compete on television, Reaper was nevertheless invited to participate in the pilot episode. An application was also submitted for Reaper to compete in Series 9, but the robot was not selected to be involved with the series in any capacity, so Calum Jones instead accepted an invitation from Jamie McHarg to join the Coyote team, which Jones would also return to in Series 10.

Robot History[]

Series 8[]

In the first round of the pilot, Reaper was drawn against Merlin, Wraith, and MONTE, although Wraith withdraw shortly prior to the battle after catching fire backstage.

Reaper with Tanto in the pits

Reaper in the arena with MONTE

The fight started out well for Reaper, and after a minute or so, MONTE lost drive on one side, leaving it to be pitted by Reaper, securing its victory. Reaper and Merlin fought a one-on-one tussle until cease was called at the end of the 3 minutes. From this, Reaper and Merlin went through to the next round.

Advancing to the head-to-head stage, Reaper next fought Turbulence.

Reaper in battle with Turbulence

However, it suffered from technical problems, as the valve that fires the flipper started seizing up. Turbulence flipped Reaper over, and it successfully self-righted once, but once Turbulence managed to overturn Reaper again, it was unable to self-right for a second time, leaving Turbulence as the winner of the battle. Although the usual format of Series 8 should have led Reaper to battle Merlin and Ka-Pow! in head-to-head battles, it was instead eliminated at this stage due to time constraints.


Series 8
Series 8 - Pilot Episode
Round 2
Pilot Episode, Group Battle vs. Merlin, MONTE, Wraith Qualified
NOTE: Wraith withdrew prior to the battle
Pilot Episode, Head-to-Head vs. Turbulence Lost

Series Record[]

Reaper after its first coat of paint

Series Reaper Series Record
Series 1-7 Did not enter
Series 8 Pilot episode only
Series 9 Not selected
Entered with Coyote
Series 10 Entered with Coyote

NOTE: The Grim Reaper, the robot which Reaper replicated, was a competitor in Series 7, also competing in Series 3 with a different design.

Outside Robot Wars[]

Reaper at Robots Live! in May 2022

Following its appearance at the Robot Wars pilot, Reaper was sparsely seen at live events, only making one appearance at an event in the years following the Robot Wars reboot. However in 2022, it would start to make more appearances, battling Immersion early in the year at an Extreme Robots Experience workshop event, before making a more public appearance in May at the Robots Live! shows in Birmingham at Makers Central. Reaper fought against fellow flippers such as Tectonic and Tánshè throughout the weekend, with Calum Jones also operating his replica Sgt. Bash at the shows - for more information on the replica Sgt. Bash, see here.

Disturbance in its guise as 540

Calum Jones also had a wide history in robotic combat prior to the reboot. Aside from competing at live events with Reaper and owning the Series 7 version of The Grim Reaper, Calum Jones also competes with featherweight robots. After Dave Moulds built the invertible featherweight armed with an egg beater 540, Calum Jones renamed it to Disturbance and fought at events with it, usually without weaponry, including Robodojo in July 2019 where it joined the full combat competition as a reserve and won both of its fights against Binky and Plastic Fantastic by ramming them out of the arena.

Drivetrain in May 2022

Drivetrain's front-hinged lifter

At the UK Featherweight Championship in 2017, Calum Jones built a featherweight tribute to the BattleBots champion Bite Force, replicating its design under the name Drivetrain. In one notable moment, Drivetrain drove Equinox into the arena wall, blasting the wall segment into the air, and Drivetrain drove its opponent and itself out of the arena. Drivetrain would later become a regular competitor at FightFest events, collecting a win over Euphoria at the FightFest 2021 championship and additional success at the FightFest Winter Championship. Ahead of Robots Live! in Birmingham in May 2022, Drivetrain was updated to use a new front-hinged lifter and a new wedge with three hinged wedgelets.


  • Every heat in Series 8 contained one returning team which won a heat in Series 7, and if Reaper is considered a direct follow-up to The Grim Reaper, then Reaper started this trend in the pilot episode.
  • All three of Reaper's team members wore 'name badges' made of the team's first names written on masking tape, stuck to their shirts.