"Oh way out, man, it's got holograms!"
Jonathan Pearce as Roobarb entered the arena in Series 6

Roobarb was a robot that competed in Series 6 and 7 of Robot Wars, as well as the New Blood Championship in the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. It was eliminated in the first round in Series 6, and the second round in Series 7, but reached the Heat Final in its New Blood Heat, losing to Mute.

"We are a team of three printers from Twickenham, Middlesex who had been talking for two years about building a robot for Robot Wars, and finally got it together to actually do it. The three of us have little electronics or engineering experience, but we do have a great deal of enthusiasm, and by asking questions to people who have the required skills and learning from them, we have been able to undertake this project."
— Team Roobarb website


Series 6 appearance

Roobarb in Series 7

Roobarb was a steep wedge-shaped robot armed with a low pressure pneumatic flipper equipped with two ramming spikes at the top and a square flipping plate, which gave it a passing resemblance to Bigger Brother. It featured a steel frame (a mixture of 3mm stainless steel and mild steel) with polycarbonate armour backed with "laser holograph etching panels": essentially a form of shiny, holographic wrapping paper, and a top speed of 15mph. However, Roobarb had a 3cm ground clearance and an unreliable flipper in Series 6, although the flipper was upgraded in subsequent series to be more powerful and reliable. In Extreme 2, Joshua Pinto claimed the flipper could do between 30 to 40 flips per fight. It was powered by two 12 17.5Ah Yuasa batteries, two Litton Motors supplied by Big Cheese Robot Company, two NCC 70-36 speed controllers, and a Reciever Battery Eliminator and 24 volt hub, both of which were home-made[1].

The version of Roobarb seen on televison was known as Roobarb 2 by the team, as this version had been designed to correct the problems with the original version, which failed to qualify for Series 5. Roobarb was only finished two days before the Series 6 qualifiers, as the team found they had to do a lot of improvements on the flipper after taking the robot to an event in Debenham earlier that year[2].


Roobarb at the time of Series 5

The original version of Roobarb was never seen on television, after failing to qualify for Series 5, but did fight at live events. It was decorated with holograms, and had a flipper, but was lower, being more of a dome wedge shape. After the Series 5 qualifiers, this version fought at four live events before being rebuilt, the last being Brighton Model World in February 2002.

"The first Roobarb had had its day and a new design was needed, we had to address the main problems; Gearbox breaking from motors, Size & Weight, Regulator Freezing, Speed. We all had various ideas on how to improve the new robot and set about implementing them. Keep the robot as small as we can (we have some big gearboxes to deal with), extra power, 36v instead of 24v and a lighter shell."
— Team Roobarb website on redesigning Roobarb[3]

The original version of Roobarb fought its first battle at the Series 5 qualifiers, having only been finished the night before. It fought M2 and lost. M2 failed to qualify, despite winning.

"Our first fight was with M2, I had seen M2 at the Wilsons event and it is a good robot. We started the fight and Lee (the driver) was getting the interference problems again and to make matters worse the C02 regulator for the flipper froze. We managed to ram M2 a couple of times and had a bit of a tussle, but he got under us, flipped us over and won. A disappointing result (for us) but M2 went on to do well all day, so we hope he qualifies. It was part of the show for Shunt (a very powerful house robot) to tidy up after a fight, and as we were on our back he flipped us over, and in doing so broke our gearbox of the motor!! We had to try and fix the motor and address the C02 problem before the second fight. The plate which holds the motor to the gear box was shot and we didn't have a spare, so we bodged it with a jubilee clip and gaffer tape and a large washer, cut and grounded into shape. We also tried a different set up on the pneumatics and soldered the aerial to help with the interference problem."
— Team Roobarb website[4]

Roobarb also took part in an exhibition battle along with Granny's Revenge, Purple Predator, Razer, Rattus Rattus and Shunt.

"We were all clearly briefed to burn the carpet and the old lady and have some fun. We had full control but was hampered slightly by the gearbox but the flipper worked. As the fight went on we got into a bit of a battle with razor and shunt (don't ask why, we just did) so while the fire raged and the old lady was being ripped to bits we somehow managed to push shunt into the pit and within a minute we got razor as well, now by this time the pit was full, what with shunt in there and all that so razor didn't quite drop in and was able to get out, they also raised the pit so shunt got out as well. We then just went for it, we got done buy razor a couple of times and have the holes to prove it shunt had a few pops as well and we eventually ended up in the pit (they didn't raise it for us)."
— Team Roobarb website

Ultimately, Roobarb was not chosen to compete in Series 5.

At the Series 6 qualifiers, Roobarb fought Hell's Teeth, Major Tom and an unknown third robot, also armed with a spinner.

"The fight started and due to our starting position in the arena, and as they had the most experience in the arena, we went for Major Tom first. We flipped them and they rolled over back onto their wheels. This happened a few times and we managed to get them into what would be the CPZ area. As the fight was being judged in the same Robot Wars format, we figured that would score us points, we then turned to Hells Teeth! They were after us from the start and I think managed to get a small hit on us when we were working on Major Tom, anyway we managed to throw them up a few times. ... The other robot in the fight was having problems and after flipping them over we tried to get them back into the fight, but Hells Teeth with their spinning wheel hit us at the back, so we pulled out and went for them. Hells Teeth went for the 3rd robot and hit them with the spinning disk and that was the end of that. We managed to get a few flips on them and them on us, then they got stuck on what would normally be the flame pit! All this happened in around 2/3 mins and Major Tom was still going!! We went back to fight them but soon realised that our flipper had flailed, so we then relied on the pushing/driving tactics to see us to the end. We did manage to push Major Tom around the arena and felt that we had done enough to qualify. Matt Irvine was the judge for the fight and as we had effectively immobilised all three robots gave it to us."
— Team Roobarb website[5]

It won the battle, and automatically qualified for Series 6. Major Tom was also given a discretionary place.

"After a good result qualifying we decided to make only a few adjustments to Roobarb. The first thing we need to address was the minor damage we had got from Hell's Teeth, this we fixed by welding a piece of steel over the damaged part. We were concerned about the speed of the robot and decide to put an extra battery (run at 36v) for extra power. A few tests and adjustments later we managed to get a nice set up and was happy that we had a balance of speed and control."
— Team Roobarb website reflects on their Series 6 defeat[6]

Robot History

Series 6

"The flipper and ramming spikes give Roobarb a sharp flavour, but that wrapping paper does tear, leaving them vulnerable to spinners. Mind you, I always like my rhubarb well-shredded..."
Jonathan Pearce on Roobarb's unusual choice of decoration

In its first appearance, Roobarb was drawn against fellow newcomers Armadrillo and two veterans in the first round; Shredder and the seventh seed S3.

"Not overly worried about that!"
— Josh Pinto, having heard his opponents from Philippa Forrester

Roobarb and Armadrillo (right) battle as S3 rips one of Shredder's discs off

Roobarb is hammered by Mr Psycho

At the beginning of the battle, Roobarb drove towards Shredder, but then ran into Armadrillo, flipping it up. It then rammed into the seeded S3, pushing it back by one wheel. However, it appeared to be unable to get under and flip S3, despite S3 being breifly pushed onto the flipper by Shredder, and S3 reversed away. S3 turned around and slammed into Roobarb a couple of times, after which Roobarb stopped moving. It was rammed into the arena side wall by Sir Killalot, and Mr Psycho came into and hammered it, causing a split in the armour. Roobarb was then counted out Refbot.

"That's the end of Roobarb I think, the newcomers, Joshua Pinto, Lee Simpson and Mark McIntyre, who operates the weapons, couldn't ever really get into play there."
— Jonathan Pearce

Roobarb is spun around by Sir Killalot

Sir Killalot held Roobarb aloft by the flipper and carried it to the centre the arena, spinning it around before finally dropping it in the pit to put Roobarb out of the Sixth Wars.

"Ended up not in a bowl for tea, but in the pit!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Roobarb was therefore eliminated.

"...we got a flip on Armadrillo and went back on the attack on S3 we had a little scrap and then appeared to loose drive on one wheel. After spinning a bit we took a hit of S3 which it looked like our removable link had jumped out, so from from that point on we were sitting ducks for the house robots who obliged. ... We then did our loser's interview and went home very disappointed. ... After a couple of weeks we decided to get fixed up for the next live event and discovered that the armature's in both motors had failed, this was due we think to the fact that we had put 36v into them! they just gave up and bust. This was a better reason for crashing out than the link not being put in properly. We replaced the armature's and went back to 24v and have had no problems since"
— Team Roobarb website reflects on their Series 6 defeat[7]

Extreme 2

"Could be fruitful, unless Roobarb's a cowardly custard!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Roobarb enters the arena

Roobarb participated in the New Blood Competition of Extreme Series 2, it was in the first battle of the first heat, and went up against Terror Turtle and Mute in its first round match.

"Embracing the nerves here, the Roobarb team."
— Philippa Forrester

Roobarb flips Terror Turtle

Roobarb started by driving straight at Terror Turtle. Mute also drove at Terror Turtle and pushed it. Roobarb tried to flip Terror Turtle, but missed. Mute also tried getting under Terror Turtle, but when it turned, Terror Turtle slipped off and Mute missed its flip as well. Mute got at the side of Terror Turtle and pushed it, and Roobarb got under the front of Terror Turtle, flipping it clean over with one flip. Terror Turtle was left immobilised as it couldn't self-right. It was then flipped towards Dead Metal's CPZ by Mute, but Roobarb swiftly self-righted. It drove under one of Dead Metal's claws, but quickly reversed and opened the pit. Mute tried to get under it, but drove at it at the wrong angle, so failed to get under it, and missed another flip.

"Roobarb has a very suspect 3cm ground clearance, that it far too high off the arena floor to survive a flipper."
— Jonathan Pearce

Mute launches Roobarb across the arena

Roobarb flips Terror Turtle back over

Roobarb pushed Mute in reverse, and tried to get under and flip Mute. Mute was able to dodge, and Roobarb missed a flip, then went back to attack Terror Turtle. It tried to flip Terror Turtle out of the arena, but failed to do so, as its flipper was only low pressure. By flipping Terror Turtle, Roobarb righted its opponent, but its spinning bar was caught on the arena wall. Roobarb chased Mute, and Mute drove down the arena close to the pit, but when Roobarb came down the arena after it, Mute turned into the pit. However, Terror Turtle had already been immobilised for over thirty seconds and eliminated, so Roobarb and Mute progressed to the next round.

Roobarb faced Maximus in round two of the heat.

Philippa Forrester: "You might not be fighting a working robot!"
Joshua Pinto: "Well, I hope we are! I hope we are!"
Philippa Forrester: "I think you will be, they're determined to make it work. But have you got the power to flip them out of the arena, say?"
Joshua Pinto: "Yes we do. We've got a very fast acting flipper. It's low pressure, not quite as fast as the high pressure boys, but it's significantly powerful, so I reckon they'll go flying!"
— Pre-battle interview

Roobarb flips Maximus

Roobarb drove at the side of Maximus, trying to get under it. At first it couldn't get under, so it reversed for another charge. Maximus moved forwards slightly, but could not escape. Roobarb charged at the side, got under it and flipped Maximus onto its side, then turned it onto its back. Roobarb flipped it, so it was resting on its flipper. Maximus could self-right from this position, but the flipper opened very slowly. Roobarb rammed Maximus a couple of times as it tried to right itself, and one of these knocks caused it to fall onto its wheels. Maximus slowly turned around, and Roobarb quickly got under it again and flipped it. This time, Maximus landed on its side, and one of the spikes on top of the flipper prevented from falling onto its flipper. Roobarb pushed Maximus to the arena wall and tried to flip it out. The first two attempts failed because the flipper was not under Maximus properly each time.

"They've had a couple of attempts, can they get that flipper underneath the side of Maximus and lift it? I don't think they're strong enough."
— Jonathan Pearce

Roobarb aligns itself to try and flip Maximus out of the arena.

This left Maximus on its side by the wall, and it opened the flipper to try and self-right. Roobarb flipped Maximus so it was resting on the open flipper, and then flipped it so the flipper was hanging over the arena wall. It got behind Roobarb and tried to flip it out, but the flipper was not powerful enough, and the flip caused Maximus to fall off the wall, back onto its wheels.

"Go on Roobarb! You won't have a better chance than now! Get in and try and flip them out! Not strong enough. Now that could be a telling factor later on."
— Jonathan Pearce as Roobarb fails to flip out Maximus

Maximus slowly moved into the arena centre, and Roobarb pushed it to Mr Psycho in the CPZ. Mr Psycho landed a hammer blow on the flipper. Shunt came in and axed it, and Mr Psycho hammered it again. Roobarb opened the pit, and Maximus was counted out and had a cooker dropped onto it by the Drop Zone.

"Few tweaks to it, should get it out of the arena, next one."
— Mark McIntyre to Craig Charles in the post-battle interview

In the Heat Final, Roobarb fought Mute again.

"A Mute final on Robot Wars? What, with this crowd baying? No, I'm going to go for Roobarb."
— Jonathan Pearce's prediction

Mute comes close to flipping Roobarb out

Both robots rammed into each other, and though Mute got under Roobarb, Roobarb bounced off. The two turned to face each other again, and Roobarb dodged Mute's charge. After turning to face each other again, and Mute got under the front of Roobarb, but Roobarb turned off the flipper. Roobarb tried to get away, but Mute got under it and pushed it up the arena and flipped it into Shunt.

"Now, when I went for Roobarb to win this, I forgot that ground clearance, and Mute has already taken advantage and has got the flipper in!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Roobarb quickly self-righted and moved away before the House Robot could attack. Roobarb tried to get under Mute, but missed a flip. Mute got under Roobarb again, but as it pushed Roobarb, it turned and Roobarb fell off the flipper. The two robots span around together, each trying to get under the other. Roobarb fired the flipper, but missed as the flipper was not under Mute's side. Mute got under Roobarb and flipped it onto the arena entry gate in an attempt to flip it out, but Roobarb managed to fire the flipper as it was on the wall, self-righting and keeping itself in the arena.

"Brilliant recovery! That is the finest recovery we've seen on Robot Wars! They're out, they're going out, they're going out! No, they're not, they're bouncing back! That was brilliant!"
— Jonathan Pearce on Roobarb's near-brush with defeat

Roobarb flips Mute

Roobarb got under Mute's side and flipped it over, and kept the flipper open so that when Mute tried to self-right, it was blocked from getting up. Mute closed the flipper, and Roobarb opened the flipper, held Mute under the flipper and pushed it down the arena. Mute managed to self-right, landing on Roobarb as it did so, and both robots tried to get under the other.

"This is a very close final!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Roobarb is wedged on top of Mute

Roobarb turned on the arena disc, and after driving onto a flame jet, Mute charged under it. For a moment, Mute stopped on the flame, but soon recovered, and pushed Roobarb around the arena, before slamming it into the bottom arena wall by the pit release, knocking off the tire. Roobarb pushed Mute in reverse, but Mute turned and drove away. Mute got under Roobarb again, and pushed it to the flame pit. A shot of the roboteers in the Roobarb control booth showed that the flipper of Roobarb had stopped working, as Mark McIntyre was seen pressing the button, but getting no response. Mute pushed Roobarb into Sergeant Bash, and held it against the arena wall. However, Roobarb appeared to be stuck on top of Mute, and Shunt came in and axed it, dragging it off Mute.

"For me, Mute has been the more aggressive machine, would you agree if it goes to the jedges? Certainly, Roobarb's escape from the high wire was stylish and controlled, but they are sustaining telling damage now, and that could be the turning point of the final!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Both robots escaped the CPZ, and Mute got under Roobarb once more and pushed it into Shunt's CPZ, who axed Roobarb again. Roobarb managed to get off Mute's flipper, but drove into the arena wall. The two robots span around together, each trying to get in a good position to attack, and Mute managed to get its rear flipper under Roobarb and flip it two times in quick succession. Roobarb pushed Mute in reverse onto the flame pit in the last few seconds, and Mute did not get off as the battle ended, seemingly immobile.

"Mmm, this is a close one!"
— Jonathan Pearce reviewing the highlights

The battle was sent to a Judges' decision, and in spite of Mute's perceived immobility at the end of the battle, Roobarb was deemed to have lost the decision, and was eliminated at the Heat Final stage.

"We're pleased to go out to a decent robot!"
— Joshua Pinto, gracious in defeat

Series 7

Roobarb fought in the first broadcast heat of the Seventh Wars, and was drawn up against Dutch entry Twister, the wooden machine Brutus Maximus and the number 9 seeds Pussycat. Roobarb and Pussycat barely made contact with each other, and attacked the other two robots for most of the fight. After a few tentative exchanges with Twister, Roobarb was pushed by Brutus Maximus. Roobarb then flipped Twister, and then later flipped Brutus Maximus, the latter three times in quick succession. The fourth flip from Roobarb dislodged one of Brutus Maximus' wheels. As a bruised and battered Brutus Maximus was later counted out, the battle ended with both Pussycat and Roobarb all over Twister with flips and blade attacks, the battle went to a judges' decision for the remaining three machines, with Roobarb going through with Pussycat.

"You can hear the armour creaking and being pulled!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Tiberius crushes Roobarb

Tiberius 3 lifts Roobarb

Roobarb is dumped in the pit

In the second round of the heat, Roobarb went up against the much more experienced Tiberius 3 machine. In this battle, Roobarb missed one flip, and from then on it was all over for Roobarb. Tiberius 3 seized Roobarb with its crushing beak, pierced down to the internals, and raised it high into the air.

"I don't think it'll be dumping Roobarb into a bowl of custard. Its going to be into the pit of doom and gloom."
— Jonathan Pearce

Tiberius 3 then suddenly dropped Roobarb, but Roobarb had stopped working properly, and Tiberius 3 pushed it over to the pit release button, activated it, and pushed Roobarb down into the pit of oblivion, eliminating Roobarb from the competition.


Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat D, Round 1 vs. S3 (7), Armadrillo, Shredder Eliminated
Extreme Series 2
New Blood Championship
Heat Final
Heat A, Round 1 vs. Mute, Terror Turtle Qualified
Heat A, Round 2 vs. Maximus Won
Heat A, Final vs. Mute Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat A, Round 1 vs. Brutus Maximus, Pussycat (9), Twister Qualified
Heat A, Round 2 vs. Tiberius 3 Lost


  • Wins: 3
  • Losses: 3

Series Record

Main Series Roobarb Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Failed to qualify
The Sixth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 2
Series 8 Not selected
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 Entered

Outside Robot Wars

An earlier version of Roobarb also competed at the 2001 Dutch Robo Games as Silver Fish, featuring a rounded wedge shape and a flatter flipper than the version seen in Series 6-7 and Extreme 2. This version also appeared at the Brighton Robot Rumble that same year. [8]



External Links

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