The Robot Wars Arena is a large rectangular or square-shaped area within the Robot Wars television studio, which was used to host the main combat tournaments as well as side competitions and exhibition/whiteboard battles. The arena featured a variety of hazards which competitors were required to avoid in order to win battles; some of these varied from one series to another, while others consistently appeared throughout both of the show's runs. Competing teams controlled their robots from one side of the arena; the areas in which they were stationed varied, from modified 'cherry pickers' in Series 1-3, to purpose-built control booths from Series 4 onwards.
In Series 7, the arena was approximately 32x48 feet (roughly 9.8x14.6 metres) in diameter with 0.5 metre high inner walls, enclosed in a 20ft(approximately 6.1 metre) tall plexiglass box.
Throughout both runs of Robot Wars, the look of the arena changed several times in between series, due to the different studios the series were filmed in.
Originally, the arena was located in a warehouse in the Docklands, London. This setting was used for the first two series of Robot Wars, but this site was cleared to make way for the Millennium Dome. The set used for Series 3, a studio at Elstree Park, proved to be too small, so a new location at Park Street Studios, near St Albans, was found for the filming of Series 4. Subsequently, part of Extreme 1 was filmed at Earls Court, London, before filming once again took place at Elstree for the remainder of this and the entirety of Series 5. Between Series 6-7, the show was filmed at the former RAF Newton base in Nottinghamshire. Filming of Series 8-10 took place in Renfrew, near Glasgow.
In 2005, the new owners of the former RAF Newton base discovered the Series 5-7 set in the basement of the air base. They notified the property agents, but received no reply. With no use for it, the owners threw out the set - valued originally at £11,000 - and had it scrapped for £250. Robot Arenas Limited (who had bought the arena from Mentorn) claimed legal action against the new owners, claiming wrongful destruction of the tailor-made set. However, Deputy Judge C Edelman rejected their claim in February 2010, ruling that the new owners of RAF Newton had "acted reasonably", and that the set only had "scrap value" anyway.
The arena for the rebooted series was built from scratch, featuring 6mm steel floor boards instead of the typical wooden boards from previous series. Designed by Robo Challenge, the Series 8-10 arena featured a 15x15m square floor and heightened steel walls with upper 'bulletproof' polycarbonate screens, enclosed in a 20x20m polycarbonate box with a 7m tall roof.
Incarnations of the ArenaEdit
- Filmed at: Docklands, London
- Series appeared: Robot Wars: The First Wars & Robot Wars: The Second Wars
- Main article: Robot Wars Arena/Series 3
- Filmed at: Elstree Studios
- Series appeared: Robot Wars: The Third Wars
- Main article: Robot Wars Arena/Series 4
- Main article: Robot Wars Arena/Series 5-7
- Filmed at:
- Earls Court, London (Extreme 1, Extreme Warriors Season 1)
- Elstree Studios (Series 5, Extreme 1, Dutch Series 1)
- Shepperton Studios (Extreme Warriors Season 2, Nickelodeon)
- RAF Newton (Series 6-7, Extreme 2, German Series, Dutch Series 2)
- Series appeared: Robot Wars: The Fifth Wars, Robot Wars: The Sixth Wars, Robot Wars: The Seventh Wars, Robot Wars Extreme: Series 1, Robot Wars Extreme: Series 2, Extreme Warriors: Season 1, Extreme Warriors: Season 2, Dutch Robot Wars: Series 1, Dutch Robot Wars: Series 2, German Robot Wars
Antweight Championship ArenaEdit
- Main article: Robot Wars Arena/Antweight Championship
A miniature replica of the 4th Arena, built specifically for Extreme 1-2 competitions featuring antweight robots weighing 150g and under.
- Filmed at: Elstree Studios (Extreme 1), RAF Newton (Extreme 2)
- Series appeared: Robot Wars Extreme: Series 1, Robot Wars Extreme: Series 2
- Main article: Robot Wars Arena/Series 8-10
- Filmed at: Westway Park, Renfrew
- Series appeared: Robot Wars: Series 8, Robot Wars: Series 9, Robot Wars: Series 10
Doors and Entry GatesEdit
In the first two series, the arena façade featured a pair of sliding doors forming part of a large Robot Wars logo, where all robots would enter from The Pits and competitors would drive through during their on-screen introductions. The area between the doors and the arena itself would also act as a starting zone for The Gauntlet and some Trial events, occasionally with a revolving turntable or mesh pen added.
For Series 3, the arena featured a single large gate for all robots to enter, complete with a large ramp which enabled teams to carry their robots through the gate from The Pits. An entrance ramp was still present in the Series 4 arena, even with the introduction of entry gates on the front façade.
From Series 4 onwards, the single gate was replaced with three entry gates on the arena façade, where competitor and House Robots would drive through to get into and out of the arena before and after each battle. Each gate was labelled with a letter - Gate A (left), Gate B (middle) and Gate C (right) - with only Gates A and C being available for competitors between Series 4 and the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. Gate B was reserved for the House Robots during those series, and was thus referred to as the House Robot Entrance, although all three gates were made available for all robots to enter through in Series 7.
The Series 8-10 arena featured three entrance gates positioned halfway along the left, right and far walls. These gates lowered into the floor through the use of hydraulics, and allowed robots to be brought (or, in the case of the House Robots, driven) into the arena. Competitors entered through the side walls, the House Robots from the rear wall. These areas also served as the backdrop for most robot introductions in the rebooted series, especially in Series 8-9. These entry gates, alongside the area behind the Arena Tyre, were the only parts of the arena wall where there were no 7ft polycarbonate screens mounted on top. This made them strategically important as the only places where out of the arena flips could be realistically attempted; despite this, at least one competitor managed to throw another over the polycarbonate screens in Series 10. From Series 9 onwards, the space behind the Arena Tyre was occupied by the Dial of Doom, further reducing the number of opportunities for out of the arena flips.
Pit of OblivionEdit
- Main article: The Pit
The Pit of Oblivion was a square hole in the arena floor, measuring about 10 square feet or one square metreCitation? into which a robot might fall or be pushed into for an instant knock-out victory. It could be considered the arena's "signature" feature over the course of the series.
Debuting in Series 2, the Pit was originally an open black hole filled with tyres. Whenever a robot fell in, a large plume of smoke would emerge from the Pit, signifying a robot's defeat. The first robot ever to fall into the Pit was Tantrum, during the Tug of War Trial in Heat B. However, the first instance of a robot being pitted in battle occurred in Heat E of this series, in which Technophobic was defeated this way by Killertron in the Heat Final.
In Series 3, the Pit largely resembled its Series 2 form, but was only open during the first two rounds of each Heat, being closed off for the Heat Finals and all subsequent rounds thereafter. During this series, it also produced sparks instead of smoke whenever a competitor robot fell in.
In Series 4, the Pit was completely redesigned, now consisting of a square panel with black and yellow hazard stripes and a red outline, an appearance it would maintain for the remainder of the original series' run. In this series, the Pit would be closed at the start of a battle, allowing robots to drive over it in the initial moments. After a certain amount of time had passed, usually 100 seconds or earlier if a robot was immobilised quickly, the panel would open, its descent heralded by a siren. However, this siren was actually a sound effect added in post-production, and was not audible to the roboteers. Consequently, many self-inflicted immobilisations were caused by the drivers not noticing that the Pit had opened.
For Series 5, Dutch Series 1, the first series of Robot Wars Extreme and Extreme Warriors Season 1, the Pit was activated by a button (alternately known as the Pit Release Button (UK Series/Extreme) or Pit Trigger (Extreme Warriors)) which competitors and House Robots could press in order to open it. In the aforementioned series, the button took the form of a yellow tyre mounted on the arena wall directly opposite the Pit. In Series 6 and all international series thereafter, the tyre was replaced with a red metal bumper, only to return for Extreme 2 and Series 7 with a slightly different design to that used in Series 5/Extreme 1. Additionally, the siren used to signal the Pit's descent could now be heard inside the arena, instead of being a post-production sound effect.
During Extreme Warriors Season 2 and Nickelodeon Robot Wars, the release bumper was mounted noticeably further away from the Pit than in the UK, Dutch and German series, and was painted black with black and yellow hazard stripes. Occasionally, the tyre/bumper would become dislodged or knocked off the wall if robots drove into it too quickly or too violently - sometimes it was destroyed or flipped out of the arena in the process. As in Series 2 and 4, a large plume of smoke would ascend from within the Pit as soon as a robot fell in.
Only two robots managed to escape from the Pit throughout the history of Robot Wars, although these instances took place outside of the main series competition. Stinger escaped during its Series 4 Pinball Warrior run, although the Pit was not lowered completely, while Combatant was flipped out of the antweight pit by Hades during its Extreme 2 Antweight heat, with Hades also being in the Pit at the time.
The last robot to fall into the Pit in the original series was Tough as Nails - a robot notable for its tactic of grabbing and pitting opponents as quickly as possible - which was pitted by Storm 2 in the Semi-Finals of The Third World Championship.
The Pit returned as part of the Series 8-10 arena, once again activated by a release tyre button which robots could press. In the reboot, it descended far quicker than in previous series, and was significantly larger than before, being shown to fit eight robots during the 10 Robot Rumble of Series 10. The interior walls were now decorated with small lights, and a series of warning beeps replace the siren formerly used to signal its descent. For Series 8, the smoke pyrotechnics were discarded; however, they returned for Series 9, starting with the Battle of the Stars celebrity specials. In those series, they formed a mist which emitted as soon as the Pit was opened, rather than an explosive plume when a robot falls in. From Battle of the Stars onwards, the pit also descended automatically when a defeated competitor was being attacked by a House Robot after 'cease' had been called.
In Series 10, the Pit once again fired a plume of smoke once a competitor fell in, as with most of the earlier series.
Arena Tyre/Dial Of DoomEdit
Series 9 also introduced a new function for the Pit release button, also referred to as the Arena Tyre or Pit Tyre from this series onwards. The space behind the button was occupied by a dial, which would swing left or right once a competitor pressed the button. Pressing the button could still activate the Pit if the dial swung to the left; if it swung to the right, the Tyre could also alternatively trigger a new mode called 'Rogue House Robot', which allows one House Robot to actively join the battle for ten seconds. The competitor closest to the House Robot in question was attacked first, but if the competing robot escaped, the House Robot would attack one of the other three competitors if the fight is a Group Battle, and the other competitor robot in a Head-to-Head battle. The time limit for the 'Rogue House Robot' attack was specified by a scattering of spotlights that scan around the arena floor, with the dial above the Arena Tyre resetting to the centre after the 'Rogue House Robot' attack finishes. Additionally, if the Pit was activated, it was shown in one battle to automatically raise after a set time period, with the dial again resetting to the centre. Each competing robot was allowed to activate the Arena Tyre into Pit mode or 'Rogue House Robot' mode once in every battle.
For Series 10, a third Arena Tyre mode, the Fog of War, was introduced, which once activated resulted in large CO2 jets filling the arena with a dense 'fog' for ten seconds. This mode was intended to temporarily obscure the view of competing roboteers, making them more susceptible to driving errors which would lead their robots to other arena hazards, including the House Robots. As with 'Rogue House Robot', the 'Fog of War' was triggered if the dial swung to the right, with each mode being selected at random. This mode was originally planned to be introduced in Series 9, but was not implemented for that series.
The dial, referred to in the show as the Dial Of Doom or the Doom Dial, first appeared in the Battle of the Stars Christmas specials, although it remained unused throughout the specials.
The Floor Flipper was a powerful pneumatic flipper built into the floor, which could toss robots across the arena if they were positioned on it. In the original series, it was used as a form of punishment when a robot had become immobilised, and was one of the most popular. This hazard was introduced in Series 3, where it conspicuously looked like a panel in the arena floor, the only form of identification being the black and yellow hazard tape around its borders. In Series 4, the Flipper was redesigned to resemble the pit, painted in black and yellow hazard stripes with a red border, an appearance which it maintained until the end of the original series' run. From Extreme 1 onwards, the Floor Flipper's pneumatics were significantly upgraded over time, allowing it to toss heavyweight robots several metres into the air and eventually to the other side of the arena.
The Floor Flipper was first used to toss the defeated Behemoth in the final of Series 3, Heat B, while the last time it was used in the original series was on Crushtacean in The Third World Championship (the final time it was actually used was on Behemoth in the Series 7 House Robot Rebellion, the last fight to be filmed in the original show's run). The Floor Flipper was also occasionally referred to as The Evil Ejector, most prominently in the Fourth Wars Celebrity Special and the first season of Extreme Warriors, and as the Hi Powered Flipper in souvenir programmes for the original series.
In the original series, the Floor Flipper was usually only used to flip immobilised robots, but there were some notable exceptions which included:
- In the House Robot Rebellions of Extreme 1 and Series 7, it threw Plunderbird 5 and Behemoth across the arena respectively when each competitor simply drove over it.
- Ripper was also thrown in a similar fashion after attacking the House Robots in Series 7.
- During the US Season 1 Civil War final, 6 Million Dollar Mouse was placed onto and thrown by the flipper after being turned on its side by Manta; however, 6 Million Dollar Mouse had not been counted out in the televised battle, and was still considered mobile until Manta pitted it later on.
- In Dutch Series 1, Heat A, it was used to throw Lizzard across the arena after the latter got flipped over by Matilda; however, Lizzard had not been counted out, and was therefore still considered mobile.
- In Heat J of Series 7, 8645T 2 was righted after being flipped by Thermidor 2 and counted out, before driving straight across the arena where the flipper activated and threw 8645T 2 halfway across the arena.
- In the first eliminator of the Series 7 All-Stars, the Floor Flipper was fired in an attempt to flip the still-active competitors in response to their attack on the House Robots.
On a number of occasions, the Floor Flipper showed its immense power by hurling featherweights out of the arena - Rampage 2 and G2 both suffered this fate in Series 7. It also twice managed to flip robots into the pit, which happened to the featherweight Cygnus in Series 7 (who was on the floor flipper at the same time as G2) and the heavyweight Fluffy after being eliminated from its Extreme 1 Mayhem battle.
In rare circumstances, the Floor Flipper failed to throw competitor robots over completely; either due to poor positioning or too much weight being placed on the flipper. In Series 7, NEATer Machine was only placed halfway over the panel, resulting in it being launched straight up into the air and landing partly inside the raised flipper. In Series 5, the walker Black Widow was placed in a similar position, and balanced on the edge of the floor flipper when it fired. After being fully pushed onto the panel however, Black Widow was eventually thrown over.
As the mechanism of the Series 5-7 flipper was exposed when opened, it was possible for robots to get wedged in between the closing panel and the mechanism inside if they strayed too close. This happened to Atomic in its Extreme 1 Mayhem after the flipper flipped Mousetrap over, while in the Extreme 1 Antweight Melee, Anty B fell inside the flipper mechanism after it fired, eliminating it instantly.
The Floor Flipper was one of the four main hazards which returned for Series 8-10 as part of the new arena (along with the Pit, floor spikes and Flame Pit). In these series, it was now positioned diagonally to the rest of the arena, firing in the direction of the pit, and the flipper's pneumatic mechanism was sealed. The most notable difference with the Floor Flipper is that in the reboot, it fired on mobile competitors during battles whenever they drove or were pushed over it, instead of being solely used to throw defeated robots after they have been deemed immobilised. As with the Pit, Flame Pit and CPZs, a camera was positioned underneath the transparent portion of the Floor Flipper.
While the Floor Flipper mechanism was sealed for Series 8-10, it still proved capable of trapping robots underneath it as it returned to its 'closed' position. This occurred with Nuts during its Head-to-Head fight against Behemoth in Series 8: the flipper fired, missing both robots, but its outer edges caught one of Nuts' chain flails as it closed, briefly holding Nuts in place before releasing it. The flipper would later trap the entirety of Cherub under it during its fight with Behemoth in Series 9, causing the battle to be restarted. In Series 10, the Floor Flipper mechanism was initially enclosed, before being made fully exposed once again as the series progressed.
The Flame Pit was introduced in Series 2, located on the right-hand side of the arena. It consisted of a large grille located on the right-hand side of the arena, roughly about the same size as the Pit, which fired several jets of flame whenever a robot crossed over it. The Flame Pit was often used to damage the electrical circuits of any robot that drove or was pushed onto it, or to set fire to flammable armour, fuels and fluids. Notable examples of robots catching fire on it include Technophobic's demise in Series 3 and the numerous times where Diotoir's polka-dot fur was set alight by driving, getting pushed or getting flipped onto it. House Robot Sir Killalot also frequently held competitors over the Flame Pit if they drove into his CPZ or were defeated, a manoeuvre which he first demonstrated at the end of Piece de Resistance's Skittles run in Series 2, Heat A.
The Flame Pit let out considerably more flames than the floor and wall-mounted flame jets (see below), and was one of the more visually recognisable hazards. Occasionally, the hazard was also known as the Flames of Fury, and was referred to as such in the Series 4 Celebrity Special and the first season of Extreme Warriors. For Nickelodeon Robot Wars and some battles in Extreme Warriors, the Flame Pit was disabled and modified to fire jets of CO2 instead, although clips of it spouting flames were still shown during the House Robot introductions for the Nickelodeon series.
In Series 8-10, the Flame Pit was made much larger than before, and was located on the left-hand side of the arena right in front of the Pit. It was not always referred to by its original name during these series and was sometimes known as the Fire Pit or simply Fire. However, official publications still consistently referred to the Flame Pit by its original name. While its purpose remained essentially unchanged from the original series, the Flame Pit's grille occasionally proved capable of impeding robots with low ground clearances in a similar manner to the Series 1 Grilles (see Early/Other Hazards). Some robots, such as Apocalypse and one half of Crackers 'n' Smash in Series 10, even became immobilised as a result of getting stuck on the grille themselves.
A variety of flame jets were seen in later series, usually smaller than the Flame Pit and covering a smaller surface area. However, they still served the same function, in that they could cause damage to robots' internals and set flammable materials on fire whenever a competitor was close to them.
- The first type to be seen were the wall-mounted jets, which in Series 3 and 4 acted as flamethrowers and fired whenever a competitor strayed too close to the front wall near one of the CPZs. They merely served as an atmospheric hazard, although they were capable of setting robots like Steg 2 and S.M.I.D.S.Y. alight on various occasions. From Series 5-7, these flame jets were repurposed as a purely atmospheric feature, shooting flames vertically on either side of the House Robot Entrance during the course of battles, but not directly interacting with the arena.
- The second and more common type were the floor-mounted flame jets, first seen in Series 4. They were similar to the Flame Pit and CO2 jets in that they fired jets of flame from beneath the floor. They were equally potent in causing damage to robots' internals, such as immobilising Terror-Bull in Series 4 after it chose to drive on one of them to set its tail alight during its battle against Raizer Blade.
Flame jets returned to the arena for the reboot, and like in Series 5-7 were located outside the main arena, lining the entry gate where the House Robots drove in to the arena.
Pneumatic Arena Spikes were prevalent in the early series and Series 8-10, and would fire up from the arena floor individually or in groups of five. In Series 1-2, they would raise slowly in order to lift robots up, dislodge tracks/drive chains or impede their progress in the Gauntlet. However, in Series 3, the spikes were upgraded and fired noticeably faster than before, often carrying enough power to thrust robots off the ground. This often knocked them off balance or flipped them over completely, leading to many sudden defeats for robots such as Behemoth, Pitbull and Thing 2, who dominated their respective battles before getting flipped over by a spike. As a result of their interference, the floor spikes were removed for Series 4.
Despite the controversy surrounding the spikes, they returned as part of the Series 8-10 arena. However, the new spikes were grouped in a set of five marked in a red square, making them much more recognisable for roboteers and spectators. Whilst still powerful enough to lift robots off the ground, and travelling further up than before, the Series 8 spikes initially fired separately, and significantly slower than their controversial predecessors, theoretically tackling their main issue. When one or more of the spikes were raised with a competitor stranded on them, a set of sparks were fired from a hole near the centre spike.
In Series 9-10, the arena spikes were no longer made to fire individually, and moved much faster than in Series 8. They were also capable of trapping smaller robots in place when they drove over them, interfering with their manoeuvrability, as what happened to Dee during its Battle of the Stars fight against Soldier Ant. Additionally, their faster movement enabled them to flip competitors over as in Series 3, with Aftershock notably becoming flipped over by one during its battles against Terrorhurtz and Ironside3 respectively. For Series 10, a set of four spark jets were located in between the spikes, which fired whenever a robot drove over the marked area.
Corner Patrol ZonesEdit
The Corner Patrol Zones (often abbreviated to CPZs and referred to as Patrol Areas in Series 1) were a set of four designated areas around the corners of the arena where the House Robots were stationed throughout every battle. If a competing robot entered one of these zones, the House Robot inside the CPZ would be allowed to attack them at their own will, causing significant damage or potential immobilisation in the process. If a robot became immobilised in the original series, however, the House Robots were permitted to leave their CPZs and cause further punishment, often disposing of competitors by taking them to other hazards such as the Floor Flipper and the Pit. From Extreme 1 onwards, the House Robots were not allowed to leave their CPZs and attack mobile competitors outside them, otherwise they would receive a yellow or red card from Refbot depending on how frequently they breached this rule or how severe their attacks were.
In Series 1, the CPZs featured spiked pyramids and side bars (see below) as additional hazards, and were outlined in yellow and black hazard tape. From Series 3-7, they were identified by large yellow and black chevron stripes, accompanied by a red outline from Series 4 onwards. In Series 8-10, these markings were replaced with a simple black outline similar to those used for the other arena hazards. The CPZs in the rebooted series were also located directly behind the other arena hazards - one each behind the Pit, the Arena Spikes, the Floor Flipper and the Flame Pit respectively.
The CPZs appeared in every series apart from The Second Wars. In Series 1, the original four House Robots - Shunt, Matilda, Sergeant Bash and Dead Metal all had their own CPZs and appeared in every battle except for the Grand Final. In Series 3 and 4, the House Robots appeared in a rotation system between all five machines, with Sir Killalot appearing in every battle for Series 4. Notably, only two House Robots were present in the arena during battles in Series 4 that featured more than three competitor robots, such as the Tag Team Terror and the first three rounds of the Northern and Southern Annihilators. From the first series of Robot Wars Extreme to Series 7, only two House Robots were allowed in the arena at any one time (the House Robot Rebellions being a notable exception), and were selected as part of a rotation system between all machines.
For Series 8-10, only one House Robot was seen in the arena in the first-round battles, with two being used for all subsequent rounds including the Group Battles for the Grand Final. Some notable exceptions did occur, however; for Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars, only one House Robot was present in most battles, except for the Episode 2 final. In Heat 5 of Series 9, Sir Killalot was the only House Robot present in the Head-to-Head battle between Apollo and Carbide. For the 10 Robot Rumble of Series 10, up to three House Robots were used, with Dead Metal entering the arena during the battle to join Shunt and Sir Killalot.
In Series 2, the CPZs were temporarily replaced with the Perimeter Patrol Zone (see section below).
Entering a CPZ would cost points for 'control' if the match went to a Judges' decision, but a robot would gain points for 'style' in the original series if it fought back against the House Robot occupying the CPZ. Competitors would also gain points for aggression for shoving opponents into a CPZ.
Perimeter Patrol ZoneEdit
For Series 2, the CPZs were replaced by the Perimeter Patrol Zone (PPZ), a marked area around the arena's circumference where the House Robots were free to attack any competitors which had driven into it. From Heats A to F, the PPZ was marked in red and black stripes, before changing to black with diagonal yellow stripes from Heat G onwards. Four of the House Robots would be situated around the PPZ during each Arena battle, with all five appearing in the Grand Final battles alongside The Sentinel. The PPZ only appeared in this series, before the producers opted to revert back to the CPZs for Series 3 onwards.
The Drop ZoneEdit
- Main article: The Drop Zone
The Drop Zone was a black square with a yellow cross located opposite the Pit. Here, immobilised competitors would be pushed onto the square after being counted out by Refbot, and have heavy objects such as television sets, ocean buoys, bowling balls, refrigerators and washing machines dropped onto them from above.
The hazard was first introduced in the second season of Extreme Warriors and made its UK debut in Series 6, although the Drop Zone square previously appeared in Extreme 1 and Series 5 without serving any clear purpose at the time. The Drop Zone was originally intended to be activated by a button which competitors or House Robots could press (similar to the Pit and Floor Spinner buttons), but this idea was not implemented.Citation? The first robot to have an item dropped on it was Unibite 2.0 in Heat C of Extreme Warriors Season 2, while the first UK victim was Robochicken in Series 6, Heat B. The last competitor to have an object dropped from the Drop Zone was Hard in the first round of the Third World Championship, broadcast as part of Series 7. The Drop Zone was not featured as part of the current arena, and as such has effectively been retired.
In the first round of the Series 7 All-Stars Tournament, a washing machine was dropped in an attempt to stop the competitor robots following their attack on the House Robots, but missed.
Floor Spinner/Disc of DoomEdit
The Floor Spinner, also known as the Disc of Doom, was used between Series 6 and Extreme 2. Located near the centre of the arena, it consisted of a circular spinning panel built into the arena floor and painted to resemble a gear. As its name implied, the Floor Spinner was intended to spin and fling robots across the arena if they drove over it, interfering with their manoeuvrability. Like the Pit, the Floor Spinner was activated by a button positioned between two angle grinders on the left side wall. Originally, this was a yellow metal bumper similar to that of the Series 6 pit release button, but was later changed to a yellow tyre identical in design to the Extreme 2/Series 7 pit release button.
Known as the Disc of Doom, the hazard first appeared in the second season of Extreme Warriors and Nickelodeon Robot Wars, sporting a spiral pattern rather than the later gear design. The trigger button was similar to the US Season 2/Nickelodeon pit bumper, sporting a black and yellow-striped paint scheme and a flashing red light. An additional difference over the Series 6-Extreme 2 version was that the disc panel originally featured a set of teeth on the surface; these were intended to snag competitors as they drove over it and cause damage to their undersides, wheels/tracks and/or chassis. However, the teeth often caused robots to either get stuck on the Disc of Doom, such as Dragbot, Bunny Attack and Ninjitsu, or bump into them while attempting to drive over the hazard. Notably, Xylon bent its front wedge after driving into a tooth at the start of its US Season 2 melee. As a likely result, the teeth were removed for Series 6 and all of the hazard's appearances thereafter.
Even following these changes, competitors would continue to get stuck on the edge of the Floor Spinner, while the hazard rarely proved effective in practice. Additionally, it was still possible for robots with low wedges, such as Firestorm 4, Dantomkia and Iron-Awe 2, to accidentally get wedged underneath the Spinner panel from time to time, posing another issue with the hazard itself. Shortly after the end of Extreme 2, the Floor Spinner/Disc of Doom was removed.
The Angle Grinders (referred to as 350mm Chop Saws in souvenir programmes) were introduced in the first series of Robot Wars Extreme as a replacement for the circular saws from Series 2-4 and the static wall spikes from Series 4. Several of these lined the arena wall, contained in metal units labelled "DISC" on top, with the intention of cutting into other robots upon contact. However, they rarely saw any practical use, with the most significant damage being caused in the Extreme 1 All-Stars, when Pussycat had one of its wheels torn off by an angle grinder during its fight with Tornado.
They would sometimes get in the way of an attempted out of the arena flip, and as proved by robots such as Dantomkia and Micro-Mute, it was possible to easily become wedged underneath them. An angle grinder was also damaged in the Series 7 Semi-Final battle between Storm 2 and The Grim Reaper, after a slam from Storm 2 knocked the top panel off of one.
CO2 Jets/Steam VentsEdit
Featured in Series 4-7, these small jets spouted CO2 upwards from the arena floor, close to the CPZs. While primarily atmospheric in nature, these jets also served as makeshift extinguishers for robots that had caught fire (e.g. Cyclone in the US Season 2 Annihilator), and could also obscure the view of roboteers, affecting their robots' control. To a lesser extent, they also caused problems for robots with holes in the bottom of their chassis, as the CO2 could seep in and freeze their electronics or internal combustion engines. This notably happened to Tetanus in Series 5 and Snake Bite in the European Championship, when they became immobilised after driving over a CO2 jet. They were also used for comedic effect, such as the moment when a CO2 jet blew one of Ruf Ruf Dougal's ears off in its Series 5 battle against Gemini.
Other notable hazards from the original series included:
- Hanging Maces (also referred to as Swinging Pendulums) which swung in various places across the arena. They were initially round and fairly small in Series 1, but were redesigned to become much larger and more cube-shaped in Series 2. Typically, the maces/pendulums were more atmospheric than damaging and removed ahead of Series 3.
- Arena Side Bars running along the side walls, which were intended to lift robots off the ground and leave them stranded when they drove or were pushed onto them. They were best known for immobilising robots such as Mortis, Recyclopse, Torque of the Devil and REALI-T throughout Series 1, and were removed before Series 2.
- Spiked Pyramids which usually lined the walls and were intended to act as an additional obstacle in the Gauntlet, some Trials and the CPZs/PPZ in the Arena stage. Like the maces/pendulums, they served a primarily atmospheric purpose, and were removed before Series 3.
- Sets of below floor-level Grilles (also called Grids), which could trap and immobilise robots that drove or were pushed over them. These were only seen in Series 1 and are generally considered to be the predecessors of the Pit of Oblivion, serving purpose in immobilising robots like Wedgehog, Plunderbird 1, Full Metal Anorak, and even Shunt throughout the course of the series.
- Circular Saws (also referred to as grinders) which lined the arena corners in Series 2 and the walls in Series 3-4. These saws were fully exposed, unlike the later Angle Grinders, and were intended to create sparks and cause damage to competitors upon contact. They effectively served as predecessors to the Angle Grinders seen in later series, before being supplemented by static spikes for Series 4 and replaced by the former in Extreme 1/Series 5.
- Static Wall Spikes, which lined the arena wall in Series 4 only. Large and coloured yellow, their most famous use was in Heat F, when Tornado impaled one of the Gemini twins onto one, effectively eliminating the clusterbot. The spikes were subsequently replaced by the Angle Grinders from Extreme 1 to Series 7.
- Although they were never mentioned onscreen, a set of retractable spears also appeared in Series 4 only, located on the lower wall. They were long pneumatic spikes with large red tips that extended through the wall whenever competitors were nearby, and were seen to push robots away at various points throughout that series. Though largely inconspicuous, they were distinguished by a distinctive hissing sound that could be heard whenever they fired.
Appearances in MerchandiseEdit
Throughout the show's original run, the Robot Wars Arena was immortalised in various pieces of merchandise. One of these was a miniature replica of the Series 5-7 incarnation, which was released as a playset for the Minibots toy range. Features of the Arena playset included a functioning Pit, Floor Flipper and entry gates, as well as CPZs and markings for the Flame Pit and Drop Zone hazards. To coincide with the release of the second generation Minibots, a Drop Zone attachment was also released, both as a separate item and as part of a bundle with the Arena itself.
The board for Robot Wars: The Game is also modelled on the Series 4 incarnation of the Arena. It features representations of the CPZs, Floor Flipper, grinders, wall spikes and Flame Pit/Flame Jets, as well as a Pit which can be opened through the use of a removable tile.
Additionally, the main Arena was replicated as a playable arena in every Robot Wars video game, often appearing alongside a variety of fictional arenas:
- Robot Wars Arena/Metal Mayhem (referred to in-game as the War Zone)
- Robot Wars Arena/Arenas of Destruction (referred to in-game as the TV Studio)
- Robot Wars Arena/Advanced Destruction (referred to in-game as the War Zone)
- Robot Wars Arena/Extreme Destruction (GBA) (referred to in-game as the Studio)
- Robot Wars Arena/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (PC/Xbox) (referred to in-game as the Robot Wars TV Studio)
On June 18th, 2018, a HEXBUG Robot Wars Arena based upon the Series 9-10 arena was released to accommodate the Head-to-Head RC toys, and was included with both designs, Impulse and Royal Pain. This arena was sold as a base, and constructed manually by laying out the board of the arena, then surrounding it with the arena walls. No active hazards are included in the arena, but all of the hazards seen in the reboot arena are visually included, including the Doom Dial.
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2017/10/robotwars
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2017/43/robot-wars
- ↑ https://soundcloud.com/insidethebot/15th-march-2017-robot-wars-heat-b-the-little-angels-ft-shane-swan-push-to-exit