Robot Wars Merchandise was released as the show gained popularity following its debut series in 1998. A variety of merchandise was released, including video/DVD releases, books, video games and toys based on the competitors and House Robots, among others, generating a high volume of sales and revenue throughout the original run of Robot Wars.
The Robot Wars brand was also licensed for new merchandising purposes, with the first item released being the book Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot, and Robot Wars: The Official Handbook. A calendar was released in late 2017 as an item of merchandise, featuring images of the House Robots and eight competitors from Series 8-10. A range of toys and playsets created by HEXBUG were then released in June 2018.
- Main article: Pullbacks
There was a series of pullbacks modelled on the more famous competitors and the house robots. Most of them (particularly the earlier ones) were packaged with accessories featured in The Trial events of the first four wars e.g. barrels, goalposts and ramps. They all featured moving weapons that could be operated by flicking switches, pushing buttons, through winding-up motions or similar methods. A few had removable panels (like the rear panel of Chaos 2), or interchangeable weapons (such as Matilda's chainsaw/flywheel, or Sir Killalot, whose lance could be replaced by a hammer).
The models released were:
- Dead Metal
- Mr. Psycho
- Sgt. Bash
- Sir Killalot
- Chaos 2
- Firestorm 3
- Panic Attack
- Wheely Big Cheese
- X-Terminator 2
- Main article: Pitstop Toys
In addition to the pullback toys, a few pitstop toys were also released, allowing the user to construct the following robots using the parts and tools provided, which featured a pullback motor and working weapons:
- Main article: Minibots
A series of smaller, cheaper pullback toys were created, however most of these did not have moving weapons like the Pullbacks and Pitstop toys.
- Dead Metal
- Sgt. Bash
- Sir Killalot
- Chaos 2
- Dominator 2
- Mega Morg
- Panic Attack
- Plunderbird 5
- Suicidal Tendencies
- Wheely Big Cheese
- Wild Thing
- X-Terminator 2
Radio Controlled ToysEdit
- Main article: Radio Controlled Toys
There were also radio controlled versions of some of the robots. They were much larger than the pullback and pitstop toys, but much smaller than their real life counterparts. The ones that were released had working weapons (modified for safety purposes to avoid the potential for serious injury).
A series of playsets, designed for use with minibot and pullback toys.
The HEXBUG wave of Robot Wars merchandise released on June 18th 2018, initially being exclusive to Smyths toystores before becoming available at other outlets. The product range currently includes:
- HEXBUG Robot Wars Arena
- HEXBUG Robot Wars Head-to-Head (Impulse, Royal Pain)
- HEXBUG Robot Wars Singles Accessories (Dangerous Disc Accessory Pack, Deadly Drum Accessory Pack, Fury Flipper Accessory Pack, Havoc Hammer Accessory Pack)
- HEXBUG Matilda
- HEXBUG Robot Wars Clusterbots Stadium (Alter Ego, Warp, Cold Front, Sparkplug)
It was reported in The Guardian that Mentorn had negotiated a £1 million deal in America to sell Robot Wars toys. However, it is unknown if the deal would have involved selling toys based on robots that competed in Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors, or if merely meant re-selling toys from the UK version of the show.
Videos, DVDs and Blu-raysEdit
The first Robot Wars video that could be obtained was American Robot Wars 1996 in 1998, which could be purchased upon joining the Robot Wars Club. It featured battles taken from the 1996 edition of the original US Robot Wars events. In addition to the full release, a short preview video was sent to new members of the Robot Wars Club as part of their membership pack.
The first video to be released for retail was the VHS title The First Great War in March 1999, which featured a review of the Heats and the Grand Final from the First Wars, with the exception of Heat D. The video also featured behind-the-scenes segments, highlights of the 1995 UK Open Competition preceding the television series and a 'Robot Builder's Guide' featuring tips and advice on how to build a competitor robot.
A second Robot Wars Club-exclusive release, A History of the Third Wars, was first made available to new members in 2000. This was a 18 minute review of The Third Wars, showing clips from each of the sixteen heats, two Semi-Finals and Grand Final. Jonathan Pearce provided commentary throughout the video, however only the clips used from the Grand Final battles featured his original commentary.
The next home video release was The First World Championship, which featured the first of three World Championships filmed during the original show's run. The First World Championship was filmed following the Third Wars, and initially released on VHS in March 2000, with a DVD release following in 2005. The First World Championship had a considerably longer running time than a standard Series 3 episode, of around 70 minutes in length; the competition consisted of a straightforward knockout tournament between sixteen robots and spanning across fifteen battles, fighting for the coveted prize of Robot Wars World Champion. Eleven nations were represented in the special.
Later in 2000 the Special Edition Double Pack was released. This set included both the First World Championship and American Robot Wars 1996 videos, the latter of which had been previously only available to Robot Wars Club members.
Following this, the Ultimate Warrior Collection was released in late July 2002, the first Robot Wars titles to be released on DVD as well as VHS. It consisted of a series of four individual releases, three of which were dedicated to some of the most successful competitors in the show's history at the time of The Fifth Wars. Competitors to receive their own Ultimate Warrior Collection releases were Chaos 2, Hypno-Disc and Razer. Each of the latter releases featured interviews with the roboteers who built and entered their respective robots, footage of almost every battle the teams fought in prior to the Sixth Wars, and a detailed look into how their robots were built and operated. The final Ultimate Warrior Collection edition, Sir Killalot and the House Robots, was dedicated to the House Robots, showcasing each of the original five House Robots' best and worst moments as well as numerous behind-the-scenes segments and interviews with House Roboteers, including designer Chris Reynolds. Sir Killalot and the House Robots also featured a preview of Mr. Psycho and Growler, House Robots which were introduced to Robot Wars after the videos were filmed. All four Ultimate Warrior Collection titles could be purchased separately, or as a four-volume boxset.
The last set of original releases came in 2004 when vouchers for two DVDs featuring one complete episode each of the Seventh Wars were included with different newspapers: Heat B was included with an issue of The Sun and Heat P was included with an issue of the Daily Express. Both these releases served to promote Fox Kids' acquisition of the rights to broadcast episodes of the Seventh Wars. Two further episodes would be released in 2005 with issues of Jetix Magazine. That same year also saw the release of the First World Championship on DVD.
To coincide with the return of the series, Robot Wars: The Brand New BBC Series was released in August 2016, a new DVD and Blu-ray release containing all six episodes of Series 8. A second DVD boxset, Robot Wars - The Complete Compendium 2017, was released on December 11th 2017, containing every episode of Series 9 and 10 (excluding the Robot Wars: World Series specials) as well as both episodes of Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars. Both home media releases were available for pre-order, with some copies arriving before the official release date.
In addition to their respective DVD/Blu-ray releases, Series 8-10 and Battle of the Stars have also been made available on various internet video on demand services, including BBC iPlayer and Amazon Video.
The list of UK Robot Wars video releases is as follows:
|Video||VHS Release Date||DVD Release Date||Blu-ray disc Release Date||Notes|
|American Robot Wars Final 1996||1998||N/A||N/A||Robot Wars Club exclusive with membership pack.|
|American Robot Wars 1996||1998||N/A||N/A||Robot Wars Club exclusive.|
|Robot Wars: The First Great War||29 March 1999||N/A||N/A||A review of Robot Wars: The First Wars, including behind-the-scenes segments, a 'Robot Builder's Guide' and highlights of the 1995 UK Open.|
|Robot Wars: A History of the Third Wars||2000||N/A||N/A||Robot Wars Club exclusive with membership pack.|
|Robot Wars: The First World Championship||13 March 2000||10 January 2005||N/A|
|Robot Wars: Special Edition Double Pack||9 October 2000||N/A||N/A||Boxset including The First World Championship and American Robot Wars 1996 (previously a club exclusive) videos.|
|Robot Wars: Sir Killalot and the House Robots||29 July 2002||29 July 2002||N/A||Part of the Ultimate Warrior Collection series.|
|Robot Wars: Hypno-Disc||29 July 2002||29 July 2002||N/A||Part of the Ultimate Warrior Collection series.|
|Robot Wars: Chaos 2||29 July 2002||29 July 2002||N/A||Part of the Ultimate Warrior Collection series.|
|Robot Wars: Razer||29 July 2002||29 July 2002||N/A||Part of the Ultimate Warrior Collection series.|
|Robot Wars: Collectors Edition||29 July 2002||29 July 2002||N/A||Boxset including all four Ultimate Warrior Collection releases.|
|The Stars Collection Volume 14||N/A||2003||N/A||Reissue of the Ultimate Warrior Collection, containing all four releases in a single DVD case.|
|The Daily Express and Fox Kids Presents Robot Wars||N/A||12 May 2004||N/A||Could be obtained with vouchers from the Daily Express newspaper|
Includes Heat P from the Seventh Wars.
|The Sun and Fox Kids Present Robot Wars||N/A||18 September 2004||N/A||Could be obtained with vouchers from The Sun newspaper|
Includes Heat B from the Seventh Wars.
|Jetix Magazine Issue 6||N/A||27 January 2005||N/A||Includes Heat D from the Seventh Wars|
|DVD Triple Collection||N/A||4 July 2005||N/A||Includes The First World Championship DVD along with two other shows.|
|Jetix Magazine Issue 18||N/A||29 December 2005||N/A||Includes The Third World Championship.|
|Robot Wars: The Brand New BBC Series||N/A||29 August 2016||29 August 2016||Includes all six episodes of Robot Wars: Series 8.|
|Robot Wars - The Complete Compendium 2017||N/A||11th December 2017||N/A||Includes Robot Wars: Series 9, Robot Wars: Series 10 bar its specials, and Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars.|
In 2003 the company PAN Vision obtained the rights to issue Robot Wars videos on VHS and DVD in the Scandinavian region. The DVDs while they had the original English soundtracks also came with Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles. The most notable release is perhaps that of The First Great War, which was never released on DVD in the UK. It is uncertain whether the DVDs featured the extras of the original UK releases, though The First Great War video did leave out the Robot Builder's Guide that was included in the original UK VHS release. Strangely, they were all billed as part of "The Ultimate Warrior Collection" even though not all of them were treated as such in the UK.
|Robot Wars: The First Great Wars|
Robot Wars: De Första Stora Slagen (Swedish)
Robot Wars: Ensimmäiset Fantastiset Kamppailut (Finnish)
|22 October 2003||Not released on DVD in the UK. Omits 'Robot Builder's Guide' feature.|
|Robot Wars: Sir Killalot and the House Robots|
Robot Wars: Sir Killalot och Husrobotarna (Swedish)
Robot Wars: Sir Killalot ja Kotirobotit (Finnish)
Robot Wars: Sir Killalot Og Husrobotterne (Danish)
|22 October 2003|
|Robot Wars: Chaos 2||22 October 2003|
|Robot Wars Box||12 November 2003||Boxset including first 3 videos.|
|Robot Wars: Hypno-Disc||20 October 2004|
|Robot Wars: Razer||20 October 2004|
|Robot Wars: The First World Championship|
Robot Wars: Det Första Världsmästerskapet (Swedish)
Robot Wars: Ensimmäinen Maailmanmestaruus (Finnish)
|20 October 2004|
- Main article: Robot Wars video games
The Robot Wars franchise extended into the video game market. The Game Boy Color game Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem came out in time for Christmas 2000, and was based around the third television series. It had a bird's-eye view during gameplay and very simplistic graphics (highly limited by the hardware). All of the weapons appeared to do the same amount of damage. Surprisingly, the game worked similarly to console beat-em-up games, whereby every battle was actually played best two out of three, instead of a single fight. Side events such as The Gauntlet and Sumo Basho were included.
The first home console release was Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction. This game allowed the player to earn credits to compete in global championships across eight hugely different arenas. The hazards and number of corner patrol zones varies from level to level. The player starts with a machine entitled "My First Bot", and can either sell it to buy or build a new robot, or upgrade (and rename) the game's starter machine. Various single- and two-player multiplayer modes are available, making Arenas of Destruction the first Robot Wars video game to feature the latter. This game provided the debut of Terrorhurtz, since the videogame was released before Heat L of the Fifth Wars was shown on television. Nine other real-life competitors in their Series 4 iterations were unlockable in the game, plus a fictional robot named Thor, which was created based on a fan competition. However it had no relation to the competitor which competed between Series 6 and 10.
Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction for the Game Boy Advance had four game modes, and along with Arenas of Destruction, was the first to have a multiplayer mode, allowing up to four people to play at any one time. A mode of note is the Mayhem battle mode, where the player faces every robot in the game, making for a 20-way melee. This is the largest number of robots in an arena at any time in any Robot Wars game, and is more than any televised battle ever had.
Two versions of Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction were released by separate developers; one for Xbox/PC and the other for the Game Boy Advance. The Xbox/PC version retained much of the competitor robots, arenas and game mechanics from Arenas of Destruction, while also including Refbot and adding new game modes and arenas. The GBA version featured substantially different physics and gameplay, as well as an unlockable 'Arena Editor' and a different selection of pre-made arenas, modes and playable robots. In the latter version, Refbot is replaced with an immobilisation countdown. All three versions of Extreme Destruction are based around, and feature competitors from, UK Series 5, the first series of Robot Wars Extreme and Season 2 of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors.
The full list of Robot Wars video games is as follows:
|Video Game||Platform(s)||Developer||Release Date||Notes|
|Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem||Game Boy Color||Tiertex Design Studios||7th December 2000 (UK)|
|Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction||PC, PlayStation 2||Climax Group||November 22nd 2001 (UK)|
January 25th 2002 (Australia)
October 22nd 2002 (US)
April 18th 2003(Japan)
|Features commentary by Jonathan Pearce (UK version), Stefan Frank (US version) or Rob Kamphues (Dutch version).|
|Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction||Game Boy Advance||Crawfish Interactive||November 30th 2001 (UK)|
January 25th 2002 (Australia)
November 30th 2002 (US)
|Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (GBA)||Game Boy Advance||Wharthog||October 25th 2002||Features an unlockable 'Arena Editor'.|
|Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (PC/Xbox)||PC, Xbox||Climax Group||November 22nd 2002 (UK)|
April 10th 2003 (Australia)
|Features commentary by Jonathan Pearce.|
Books and MagazinesEdit
Several Robot Wars books were released during the show's original run, with two more based on the rebooted series being released in October 2017. This list of published books is as follows:
|Robot Wars Technical Manual||Alan Baker/Boxtree||February 19th 1999||A comprehensive guide to The Second Wars, including behind-the-scenes information, advice on how to build your own robots, and how to compete on the show.|
|Robot Wars: The Official Robot Guide||Penguin Books||February 1st 2001||Information on The Fourth Wars, including the series' format, competitors, and House Robots.|
|Robot Wars Fun Fax||Dorling Kindersley||October 25th 2001||A Robot Wars-themed Fun Fax, with information on The Fourth Wars, stickers and a double-sided fold-out poster.|
|Robot Wars Extreme: The Official Guide||Penguin Books||October 25th 2001||Contains information on the first series of Robot Wars Extreme.|
|Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide||Kay Barnham/Penguin Books||October 31st 2002||Features an interview with Chris Reynolds, results for Series 1-5 and Extreme 1, and the draws for The Sixth Wars.|
|Robot Wars: The Official Handbook||Laura Jackson/Scholastic||October 5th 2017||Contains information on the rebooted series and sections on how to enter, design and build a robot. Available in print and e-book versions.|
|Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot||James and Grant Cooper/Haynes||October 12th 2017||Features behind-the-scenes information on the rebooted series, as well as instructions for three robot build projects. A limited edition of the book includes signed blueprints for the 'Robot Wars Challenger' build project.|
In addition, two separate series of Robot Wars Magazine were published on a monthly basis. The first followed Series 4, with previews of Series 5 in later issues, as well as other features including comic strips, competitions, pull-out posters and souvenir gifts. This ran for twenty issues. The second followed Series 6 and Extreme 2, and featured various behind-the-scenes write-ups and team interviews. However, this version was not as successful, being cancelled after only seven issues.
- Main article: Robot Wars: The Game
A board game was released based around the fourth series.
- Main article: Robot Wars Battle Cards
Four packs of Top Trumps, known as Battle Cards were made based on individual competitor robots and the house robots. In each pack, 32 cards were included, 30 were of competitors, the other 2 were of house robots. The packs were labelled Pack 1, Pack 2 etc. The first three packs were based on different robots from Series 4, with the five house robots of the time and the Refbot being included. The fourth pack was based on robots from Series 6, with Mr. Psycho and Growler being the house robots included. No robot that featured in any of the first three packs also featured in the fourth pack.
- Main article: Robot Wars (Android Love)
There was also a CD single and music video released by Polydor Records.
As well as the above merchandise, Robot Wars also expanded into various other areas of merchandise.
- Baseball cap
- Growler T-shirt
- House Robot T-shirt (2 varieties)
- Matilda Pyjamas
- Mr. Psycho T-shirt
- Robot Wars Logo T-shirt
- Sgt. Bash T-shirt
- Shunt Sweatshirt
- Sir Killalot T-shirts
- Sir Killalot Pyjamas
- House Robot jumper
- Bath robe
- Waterproof jacket
- Lunchbox and flask
- Matilda beer Glass
- Sgt. Bash Glass
- Sgt. Bash mug
- Sgt. Bash plate
- Shunt beer Glass
- Shunt mug
- Sir Killalot beer glass
- Sir Killalot bowl
- Sir Killalot lunch box
- Sir Killalot topper tumbler
- Dead Metal mug
- Dead Metal glass
- Dead Metal lunch box
- Shunt beer glass
- Sir Killalot glass
- Sir Killalot beer glass
- Sir Killalot mug
- A4 ring binder folder
- Exercise book
- Large Pencil case
- Small pencil case with rulers, rubbers, stencils, and protractors
- Small pencil case
- Tin pencil case
- Crash helmet
- Matilda skateboard
- Sgt. Bash skateboard
- Sir Killalot skateboard
- 2002 Calendar
- 2018 Calendar
- 52 piece Roboteer Tool Kit
- 500 piece jigsaw puzzles
- Duvet and pillow cover
- Gift wrap and tags
- Growler keyring
- Official Sticker Collection and Album
- Replica Trophies
- Roboteer Tool Kit
- Shunt birthday card
- Sir Killalot birthday card
- Sir Killalot sunglasses
- Wall lamp
- Washing kit
- Wastepaper basket
- Sir Killalot Phone case Nokia 3310
- Roboteer 3D Viewer
Robot Wars ShopEdit
A merchandise stall would also be present during the live filming of Robot Wars. These sold products relevant to the filming session, such as foam hands, and programmes.
At Series 8, the stall sold black shirts and jumpers displaying the new Robot Wars logo, black foam hands, while yellow foam hands were given away to audience members, and on later days of filming, water bottles and miniature torches originally intended for use by the crew only. In Series 9, new shirt designs and notebooks were added to the selection. All of these items bar the water bottles are available to purchase on the new online shop.
- The Official Robot Wars Online Shop (Archived)
- The online Robot Wars Official Merchandise online shop
- Robot Wars HEXBUG toys on Smyths.co.uk
- ↑ The Guardian report on the negotiated deal worth £1 million to sell toys in America
- ↑ https://www.facebook.com/robochallenge/photos/a.10152061834821997.1073741826.87643636996/10155348163226997/?type=3&theater