- "...all the way from America, with Mike and Lisa Winter, who plan to gobble up opponents."
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Tentoumushi
Tentoumushi was an American lightweight robot that took part in two side battles during Series 3 of Robot Wars. It was initially due to compete in the Series 3 Middleweight Championship, but the championship was later cancelled due to a behind-the-scenes accident in The Pits. However, it did take part in two televised battles; the Middleweight Melee, an exhibition battle to replace the cancelled championship, and the War of Independence, a one-off battle held during the International League Championship where it represented the USA. It drew with A-Kill in the former, but won the latter, again competing against A-Kill.
Tentoumushi featured an unusual design with two wheels, an exposed chassis and a unique weapon; a servo-mounted arm with a circular saw and concealed beneath a 'smothering shell' made out of a ladybug sandpit lid. The idea behind the 'shell' was that it could trap opponents underneath it as the arm lowered, allowing the robot's circular saw to cause damage with them pinned in place, with a layer of metal foil protecting the underside of the shell from damage. Although ostensibly a novelty robot and with limited pushing power, Tentoumushi proved agile, fast and surprisingly potent, even managing to cut off Shunt's aerial during the Middleweight Melee.
Because of Tentoumushi's primarily plastic construction, the team attached foil to the underside of its smothering shell to protect the electronics in case it drove over the flame pit. For safety reasons, however, the flame hazards were disabled anyway.
The robot's name and design, as stated by Lisa Winter, derives from 'Tentomushi', the Japanese name for a ladybug.
After a tentative start, Tentoumushi closed in on Hard Cheese and Ripper's Revenge, lowering its shell onto Hard Cheese as it was pushed and dragged around by the defending champions. It rode up Hard Cheese's wedge again and lowered its shell again, with the attack appearing to immobilise Hard Cheese as it spun away and retreated to the middle of the arena. Tentoumushi then attacked the sluggish Ripper's Revenge, grabbing hold of it and steering it into Matilda, who promptly cut off one of its decorative antennae with her chainsaw. It survived, however, as Hard Cheese and Grinder were attacked by the other House Robots, and Ripper's Revenge was flipped over by an arena spike, before attempting to attack Matilda and A-Kill, but without success. Tentoumushi was then launched by an arena spike before being slammed into the wall by Shunt, bending its shell but allowing Tentoumushi to land on top of him. It used its shell and saw to cut off Shunt's aerial, immobilising him, but remained beached on the House Robot as time ran out. Despite this, Tentoumushi was declared the joint winner of the Middleweight Melee along with A-Kill.
Representing the USA and the UK respectively, Tentoumushi and A-Kill also fought each other again in the War of Independence, a one-off battle that took place as part of the International League Championship. Although broadcast after the Middleweight Melee and billed as a grudge match, this battle was actually filmed before the Middleweight Melee.
Tentoumushi immediately closed in on A-Kill, and used its smothering shell to trap it in place as A-Kill tried to drag it across the arena, then towards the pit. Both robots separated, however, with A-Kill charging into Tentoumushi and again being caught by the shell, allowing Tentoumushi's circular saw to cause damage to A-Kill's armour. Again, A-Kill escaped, and charged into Tentoumushi, but spun itself towards the pit, getting its bottom castors stuck on the edge. This allowed Tentoumushi to push A-Kill in after a couple of shoves, and it was declared the winner of the War of Independence.
|TENTOUMUSHI - RESULTS|
Won jontly with A-Kill
|Middleweight Melee||vs. A-Kill, Grinder, Hard Cheese, Ripper's Revenge||Joint Winner|
|International League Championship|
War of Independence, Representing USA
|War of Independence||vs. A-Kill (UK)||Won|
- Wins: 2 (One joint with A-Kill)
- Losses: 0
|Series||Tentoumushi Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Middleweight Melee Winner|
|The Fourth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fifth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
Outside Robot Wars
Tentoumushi also became a successful entrant in the original BattleBots, where it competed in all six lightweight competitions before the show was cancelled. It won three battles at Long Beach 1999 before losing to Defiant and Executioner but thereafter, it always won its first battle then lost its second in all five seasons.
The robot also appeared alongside BattleBots veteran Toe Crusher on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Robot Action League also entered BattleBots with Spin Orbiting Force, a middleweight robot of similar shape and weapon (but without the sandpit lid), and founded The Robot Fighting League.
In 2015, the team competed in ABC's revived series of BattleBots with a new robot, Plan X. Armed with a vertical spinning bar, Plan X achieved mild success, progressing to the round of sixteen by defeating Wrecks, but losing to Bronco there.
In 2016, Robot Action League revived the Tentoumushi concept, entering a heavyweight version of the robot, Mega Tento, into Season 2 of ABC's BattleBots. Mega Tento lost its opening match to drum spinner Poison Arrow, after having its shell melted by the latter's flamethrower-equipped drone. However, its strong performance - where it consistently trapped the smaller Poison Arrow inside its shell - was enough to earn the team a wildcard, allowing them to face the 5th seed Stinger: The Killer Bee in the round of 32. There, Mega Tento achieved a surprise victory, winning a split Judges' decision after using its drum to flip and remove one of Stinger's wheels. Through to the round of 16, Mega Tento then lost to Yeti after getting stuck on the screws and having one of its wheels ripped off by the latter's drum.
Following the announcement of the 2018 season of BattleBots, commissioned by Discovery Networks, Lisa Winter confirmed on Reddit that neither Robot Action League nor Mega Tento would be entering the new season. She would, however, be a judge for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Mike Winter had previously won the Middleweight division at the first ever US Robot Wars event in 1994 and finished runner-up in the same competition in 1995 with The X-1. Lisa Winter subsequently entered the featherweight division at the 1996 and 1997 events with Dough Boy, which reached the semi-finals of the latter before losing to Wedge of Doom there.
In 1996, Mike Winter entered The X-2 in the 1996 Championship in the Featherweight melee against Red 2, Triple Redundancy, Spiny Norman, Arsenic and Snickers. It managed to win after Triple Redundancy used tape that snagged all the other robots, including itself while X-2 managed to get away from danger and win the rumble.
Most recently, Lisa Winter competed in the heavyweight class at RoboGames 2017, as a guest driver for Zak Hassenein's invertible drum spinner, Deviled Egg. In the competition, Deviled Egg lost its first battle to Boris Badenov, after getting constantly rammed and eventually being left stuck on the wall by the latter, leading to it being counted out in the last minute. After being put into the losers' bracket and receiving a bye, Deviled Egg faced Mouse, but suffered technical difficulties which prevented it from using its drum effectively throughout. Ultimately, Deviled Egg lost the battle on a judges' decision, leading to its elimination from RoboGames 2017. As a one-off guest driver, Winter would not join Deviled Egg and its team when they entered the 2018 season of BattleBots, although she was a guest judge for a number of battles.
- Although it was a lightweight robot, Tentoumushi's factsheet displayed its weight as 52kg, which would have made it a middleweight. This was a decision by the Robot Wars production team.
- The version of Tentoumushi that appeared in Series 3 was in fact the BattleBots Season 1.0 version.
- Prior to Series 7, Tentoumushi was the only robot from outside the UK and Ireland to compete in a Robot Wars battle not defined as an 'international event' (i.e. an event in which robots represented their countries).
- Tentoumushi was one of only six American robots to win a battle in the UK series, alongside frenZy, Manta, Drillzilla, Spartacus and Flippa, and it was also one of the four to win a UK series battle which did not air as part of Extreme Warriors, with frenZy, Spartacus and Flippa.
- Both of Tentoumushi's appearances were in the same episode as Razer and A-Kill (Middleweight), fighting A-Kill on both occasions.
- In 2016, when BBC news reported the return of Robot Wars, Tentoumushi was included amongst pictures of classic competitors, using a picture of it fight with A-Kill.