"In a desperate bid to bring peace once again to this sceptred isle, the USS Nimitz today arrived off the coast with a full compliment of F-14 fighters. Now ordinarily, the might of the US Navy's flagship would be no match for the robots on Robot Wars, but tonight, things are a little different. Tonight, it's a lightweight [sic] special, where all the robots weigh less than 12kg. They're small, but don't worry, they're still vicious. So let's go and meet the only machines in the world that are brave enough to spill Prince Naseem's pint!"
— Jeremy Clarkson introducing the featherweight heat

Heat D of Robot Wars: The First Wars was the fourth of six heats which determined the Grand Finalists of Robot Wars: The First Wars. The episode featuring Heat D was originally broadcast on March 13, 1998 on BBC Two.

Competing robots

Weight 7.3kg
Dimensions 0.70m x 0.55m x 0.40m
Speed 4mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 40mm
Power 12V motors
Weapons Ramming wedge
From: Chesham School
Team Members: Michael Stacey, Michael Langdon & Stephen Devereau
Cunning plan.JPG
Cunning Plan
Weight 11.5kg
Dimensions 0.63m x 0.48m x 0.17m
Speed 10mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 10mm
Power Electric drill motors
Weapons None
From: University of Reading
Team Members: Oliver Steeples
The Demolisher
Weight 2.9kg
Dimensions 0.60m x 0.34m x 0.17m
Speed 40mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 5mm
Power Electric motor
Weapons Aluminium spikes
From: London
Team Members: Sam Rudgard, Gary Speed-Macey & Bill Rudgard
Krayzee Tokyo.jpg
Krayzee Tokyo
Weight 3.2kg
Dimensions 0.63m x 0.34m x 0.22m
Speed 12mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 10mm
Power Electric
Weapons Curved bumper
From: Milton Keynes
Team Members: Kevin Church, Matthew Davy & Chris Purchase
Weight 10.5kg
Dimensions 1.27m x 0.60m x 0.21m
Speed 10mph
Turning Circle 3m
Ground Clearance 10mm
Power 8.4V motors
Weapons Pointed horns
From: Billericay
Team Members: Tom Barber & Sam Barber
Vector of armageddon.jpg
Vector of Armageddon
Weight 10.7kg
Dimensions 0.46m x 0.69m x 0.26m
Speed 20mph
Turning Circle 0m
Ground Clearance 1mm
Power 2 x 14.4V motors
Weapons None
From: Romford
Team Members: Adam Clark


Cunning Plan

Cunning Plan drives through the spikes

Cunning Plan exited the turntable and spun on the spot and bouncing into the fence on the right route. Cunning Plan carefully steered around the maze until the end. Cunning Plan waited for the drills to retract before moving forwards, and driving into the obstacles. Cunning Plan reversed in again, passing one drill and backing onto the springs. Cunning Plan waited for too long, so Matilda drove in hard, forcing Cunning Plan back as the drills tried cutting into it. Matilda spun around, knocking Cunning Plan free where it got lifted by the spikes before being released, where it crossed the line to complete the run.

Jeremy Clarkson: "Appropriate name, Cunning Plan."
Oliver Steeples: "Maybe."
Jeremy Clarkson: "You were looking pretty pleased there."
Oliver Steeples: "The spikes were a bit tricky, but the robot didn't give me any problems."
Jeremy Clarkson: "What, the spikes are tricky, but Matilda isn't?"
— The post match interview.

Krayzee Tokyo

Matilda approaches the stuck Krayzee Tokyo

Krayzee Tokyo whizzed out of the turntable and turned straight into a wall. Krayzee Tokyo backed up and went down the right route, taking the corners slowly but carefully. As Krayzee Tokyo reached the end of the maze, Matilda pushed the springs in front of the drills, blocking that route. Krayzee Tokyo dodged around the drill box, driving into the middle route and moved towards the end. However, it got stuck on the final set of springs, so Matilda was able to ram the block of springs, but got stuck herself. As time ran out, a huge plume of black smoke poured out of the top of Matilda.


SAT'arn zips around Matilda

SAT'arn reversed out of the turntable and then drove forwards to go down the left route. SAT'arn dodged past Sergeant Bash and drove towards the side of the ramp, getting stuck. SAT'arn reversed out and drove around Matilda, past the pendulum to finish the course.

Jeremy Clarkson: "I can't believe you beat both of them!"
Tom Barber: "Brilliant!"
Jeremy Clarkson: "That was brilliant, well done."
— The post match interview

The Demolisher

The Demolisher completes the course

The Demolisher chose the left route and passed Sergeant Bash instantly. The Demolisher bumped into Matilda, but was able to drive around the House Robot and wiggled its way to the finish line.


Matilda stops Bugs

Bugs reversed out of the turntable, straight into indecision as to which route to pick. Bugs drove forwards, hitting the turntable again, eventually reversing down the left route. Bugs passed Sergeant Bash and carried on to Matilda near the end zone. Bugs was pushed back before impaling itself on the spikes. Matilda parked itself and blocked the end zone, and eventually pushed Bugs back as time ran out.

Vector of Armageddon

Vector of Armageddon is stuck on the ramp

Vector of Armageddon drove out of the turntable and headed towards the first ramp, making its way up and over. As Vector of Armageddon came off the first ramp, it stopped to let the drills come out and drove backwards out of their way. Vector of Armageddon drove to the second ramp, but the low ground clearance beached it on the change in gradient.


Rank Robot Distance
SAT'arn Completed
Cunning Plan Completed
The Demolisher Completed
Krayzee Tokyo 12.65m
Bugs 11.45m
Vector of Armageddon 8.55m

1995 UK Open Competition Final

"And now it's time to strap yourselves in and cry mercy, as we leave you with the ultimate robotic confrontation!"
Craig Charles in Robot Wars: The First Great War

In-between the rounds of the competition, a one-off battle between Thor and The Master was shown, having been filmed at the 1995 UK Robot Wars Open Competition, for which this battle was the Grand Final.

"We'll revisit the 1995 Robot Wars UK Championships in London, featuring two of the most powerful robots in the world today! The Master, built by Mark Setrakian, and Thor, designed by Shilling Robotics, both from America, and what a night it was!"
Jonathan Pearce

The Master slices through Thor's armour

The Master's disc sheds upon impact with Thor

The Master initially turned to face Thor using its lifting panel, but Thor made no aggressive movements, and The Master bumped into it, before continuing to circle around Thor. After a sustained period of hostility, The Master made the first move and drove up the surface of Thor, burying its circular saw through the armour of Thor, which could only flail its weapon at no target in defence. The Master's attack also caused Thor to start leaking fluids. The Master withdrew its saw, and bumped into Thor using its left wheel. After Thor retreated, The Master held off until it found the right moment to charge in with its saw, shearing a loose piece of armour from the top of Thor.

"And there, surely a killing blow! Smashing right to the heart of the hydraulic cabling!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The Master attacks Thor's exposed wheel

With no saw remaining, The Master celebrates its victory

While Thor pushed back, The Master brought its saw onto the top of it, causing damage while shearing the circular saw in the process, creating a shower of dust. The Master continued to grind away in spite of the damage, cutting into the top of Thor's weapon, and briefly throwing sparks. The Master almost managed to drive up the side of the retreating Thor, but The Master brought what remained of its saw onto the front of Thor, creating a gash, before finally sacrificing the remainder of its saw to cut into a front wheel of Thor. This attack had immobilised Thor, and The Master won the battle.

"And The Master is surely one of the most powerful robots in the world, and for me, the star of the 1995 UK London Robot Wars!"
— Jonathan Pearce

In between the Trial and Arena stages of the episode, two short montages of the 1996 US Robot Wars competition were also aired. The Master was among the competitors showcased, along with eventual 1996 US champion BioHazard and heavyweight melee winner La Machine.

Trial (Stock Car)

"Now for some motor racing where pit-stops are banned, but ramming is actively encouraged. It's a sport that could've been designed specifically for Michael Schumacher... a three-lap race around this figure-of-eight course, and the one that crosses the line last, or covers the least distance, is eliminated. Unless of course, they were sensible enough to give the government a million pounds."
— Jeremy Clarkson explains the format for the Stock Car Trial

The opening pile-up

The diminutive Demolisher leads the field

Krayzee Tokyo jumped the start and bounced into The Demolisher, as SAT'arn understeered into the fence, and was followed into the wall by Cunning Plan and The Demolisher. Cunning Plan reversed, flipping The Demolisher over a few times, but it landed on its wheels. Bugs and Krayzee Tokyo also messed up the first corner, with both robots spinning on the inside line.

Eventually, SAT'arn made it around turn 2 in the lead, but clipped a wall, allowing The Demolisher to take the lead. The Demolisher complete the first lap, as the other robots all struggled to make it around the track cleanly. The Demolisher pushed Cunning Plan out the way as it was lapped, before lapping SAT'arn, which was squeezing Krayzee Tokyo into a wall.

The Demolisher completed a second lap before anyone else had completed their first, and made it through the crossover through the middle of three other robots. However, as The Demolisher entered the last corner, it clipped the inside wall and flipped itself over. Bugs rammed the upturned Demolisher and carried on past.

"Back down the centre stretch, around the final corner, it could all be over here – OH MY GOODNESS ME! HE'S FLIPPED! It's flipped over, The Demolisher!"
Jonathan Pearce as The Demolisher flips itself over on its would-have-been final lap

The Demolisher lies on its back after clipping the wall

Cunning Plan took the lead of the remaining robots, getting a small nudge from Bugs as it lapped the red robot. Krayzee Tokyo stopped moving near the end of lap 1, and SAT'arn was stuck trying to get past the overturned Demolisher, but still progressed to complete a second lap.

As it rounded the final corner on its third lap, Cunning Plan pushed The Demolisher forwards and propped it up against a wall, where it fell on its side. Bugs managed to cross the start line, just before Cunning Plan whizzed over taking the chequered flag waved by Shunt, thus eliminating Krayzee Tokyo.

Jeremy Clarkson: "Oh, no, no, no, the one that looks like a dustbin or something is out. And you jumped the start! Come on."
Kevin Church: "It wasn't my fault!"
Jeremy Clarkson: "Well, whose fault is it? Father Christmas'?"
Kevin Church: "Its whoever's got the other controller on the same frequency."
Jeremy Clarkson: "That's the worst excuse I've ever heard in my entire life."
— Krayzee Tokyo is eliminated


Rank Robot Laps
Cunning Plan 3 Laps
The Demolisher 2 Laps
SAT'arn 2 Laps
Bugs 1 Lap
Krayzee Tokyo 0 Laps


"If I may liken this show to a cup of cappuccino, we have now reached the point where the froth is gone. It's neat wake-up juice from now on in."
— Jeremy Clarkson's introduction to the Arena stage


Cunning Plan vs Bugs

Cunning Plan gets underneath Bugs

Dead Metal closes in on Bugs

Cunning Plan shot forwards towards Bugs, which hardly moved, but Cunning Plan still missed. Bugs spun on the spot as Cunning Plan took time to position itself for an attack. Cunning Plan drove under Bugs, lifting it up and over the wedge, but nothing more as Bugs fell back down onto its wheels. Cunning Plan backed away as Bugs stuck spinning on the spot, eventually turning onto the grille.

Stuck in place, Dead Metal moved in, spinning around and whacking Bugs with the pincers, while Cunning Plan was busy teasing about with Sergeant Bash. Cease was called.

"You will not escape from there, Bugs! I didn't think it had the manoeuvrability it had earlier...that's Dead Metal. Those pincers could crush the life out of the bug..."
— Jonathan Pearce

It was later revealed that a change in castor wheel had cost Bugs the battle as it decreased Bugs' manoeuvrability.

Winner: Cunning Plan

The Demolisher vs SAT'arn

"SAT'arn, like a bull, rushes at the Demolisher - oh, you silly moo, you missed him!"
— Jonathan Pearce

SAR'arn rams Demolisher

Matilda's chainsaw begins its descent

SAT'arn charged at The Demolisher as it sped the other way, so it was forced to reverse and drive round. SAT'arn hit The Demolisher with the spikes, before trying to push it into Shunt's CPZ, but The Demolisher managed to escape. As both robots crossed the arena, SAT'arn suddenly stopped moving. The Demolisher was pushed back and almost toppled by Shunt, then collided into the immobile SAT'arn and was subsequently pinned between it and Matilda, as she attacked with the chainsaw. Matilda cut through the wooden armour of SAT'arn, but the saw stopped when it touched The Demolisher's metal armour. SAT'arn was bullied by the other house robots as cease was called.

"There was a connection that came off...we had problems with it yesterday."
— The crestfallen SAT'arn team explain

Winner: Demolisher


Cunning Plan vs The Demolisher

"In the Stock Car, Cunning Plan actually tried to rescue Demolisher. That’s not going to be happening in the final!"
— Jeremy Clarkson

Cunning Plan gets underneath Demolisher

Demolisher, overturned in 14 seconds

Cunning Plan moved forwards as The Demolisher decided to reverse away. It came back to the start position, as both squared off temporarily. Eventually, Cunning Plan drove under The Demolisher, which rolled off the wedge and landed upside-down as Cease was called.

"Demolisher, at the top of your picture, is the quicker, but Cunning Plan is the heavier of these two featherweights. Demolisher will be trying to keep out of trouble, with young Sam at the wheels- Oh, but the wheels have come off! The Demolisher is beaten by the Cunning Plan of Oliver Steeples. I'm not too sure whether the crowd wanted young Sam Rudgard to go through, but he had no chance with power like that."
— Jonathan Pearce

Heat Winner: Cunning Plan


Close to going out. Cunning Plan (top) and Demolisher (bottom)

  • Both Cunning Plan and Demolisher came very close to going out of the arena - Demolisher entered the arena for the first time and almost shot out through the wall, and Cunning Plan's burst of speed to finish the Gauntlet almost caused the same thing.
  • While the other five heats of the series featured robots of various weight categories, Heat D only featured featherweight competitors, although Jeremy Clarkson stated incorrectly that it featured lightweight robots.
  • Cunning Plan's defeat of Demolisher in the Heat Final broke the Shortest Battle Record. Currently, it is ranked 5th in Shortest Battles in UK Robot Wars.
  • Also included in this episode were video clips from the final of the 1995 UK Open Competition in London, between American robots The Master and Thor, as well as from the final rumble of the 1996 American Robot Wars, won by La Machine.
  • Jonathan Pearce introduced Cunning Plan by stating that Oliver Steeples, builder of the robot, was a Star Wars fan. Steeples would later build a robot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015.
  • This was the first time children appeared on Robot Wars. It was also the first time a child drove a robot.
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