- "You can't outrun the reaper"
- — The robot's tagline
The Grim Reaper, also known as The Grimreaper, was the name of two robots that fought in Series 3 and 7 of Robot Wars. Although unremarkable in its debut in the Third Wars, it returned in The Seventh Wars and reached the Series Semi-Finals, defeating Big Nipper in its Heat Final before losing to the eventual runner-up and future world champions Storm 2. Notably, all five of The Grim Reaper's battles were decided via a judges' decision.
Some time after Series 7, The Grim Reaper would become owned by Calum Jones, who recreated the robot's design using modern armour and internals, entering his replica Reaper into the pilot episode of Robot Wars in 2016.
Versions of Grim Reaper
Grim Reaper (Series 3)
- "A name to spell doom and gloom. An air ram at the front and spike at the back are the weapons. The shell is steel plate and a wire case. Will the Smith family reap the dividend?"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Grim Reaper in Series 3
The team competed in the third series with a rectangular, three-wheeled robot known simply as Grim Reaper, weighing 80.6kg altogether and boasting a top speed of 25mph. It cost £400 to build and was armed with a front mounted 250psi air-driven spike ram and rear mounted lifter/ramming spike. Like many other competitors in the early wars, Grim Reaper was built around its own name and featured a skull design. Grim Reaper travelled at 20mph, driven by two car starter motors, but it had a large turning circle and the wheels were easy to dislodge, as shown in its only battle in the series.
- "The three wheeled configuration came purely from the fact that the bearing housings were already in place, and for this reason the Reaper had single rear drive and kart-like steering which was also already in place."
- — Team Grim Reaper website
The Grimreaper (Series 7)
The team's redesigned robot, known on stat boards as The Grimreaper, was driven by 24v 750w motors. It was a bright green octagon and featured a CO2 powered full-pressure flipper capable of flipping 100kg easily, and capable of flipping a maximum weight of 250kg. It was also far more compact and quick than its predecessor. Because of the design of the ram-turned-flipper, The Grim Reaper was capable of clamping and pushing, which it did several times against Gyrobot and Big Nipper. It featured spikes similar to Bigger Brother's on the flipper and serrated blades on below those spikes. In addition, it had skull heads printed on it.
The Grim Reaper was entered into Robot Wars by a team from Bognor Regis in West Sussex. Team captain Simon Smith built each version of the machine, with Gary Smith also present in both of its series. For Series 3, Luke Smith was the team's third member, while Charlie Smith took his place in Series 7.
- "Standing with Death himself, this is The Grim Reaper."
- — Jayne Middlemiss
The team played up to their name, as the team captain wore contact lenses to make his eyes appear menacing in Series 7, where they were also accompanied by a tall, threatening Grim Reaper mascot, who stood beside the judges during battle, and was also interviewed by Jayne Middlemiss before The Grim Reaper's battle with Gyrobot.
Grim Reaper first qualified for Series 3 by running the obstacle course audition. A new version of the machine attempted to qualify for Series 4, running on tracks while being armed with a scythe-like axe. This version of The Grim Reaper competed at the first Dutch Robot Games, painted black and armed with a flipping arm instead of the scythe.
- "We came back, tried again, didn't get through, and the last time we came back, we couldn't self-right, it was about 3 o'clock in the morning, and we phoned up and said, we can't come..."
- — Simon Smith on Grim Reaper's failure to qualify in Series 4 and 6, in a Series 7 interview
After skipping Series 5, the team returned again to attempt to qualify for Series 6. However, the pneumatics on their new robot failed to work, so the team withdrew the day before the qualifiers. The Grim Reaper successfully qualified for Series 7 through the touring qualifiers. The team did not attempt to enter the reboot, although Reaper, a replica of The Grim Reaper, took part in the pilot episode filmed shortly before Series 8 under the captaincy of Calum Jones, also attempting to enter Series 9.
In its first round battle, Grim Reaper was drawn against fellow newcomer Big Brother.
- "Oh, tremendous start there by Grim Reaper, straight on the attack! No spluttering or a "coffin" that engine!"
- — Jonathan Pearce towards the start of the battle
Grim Reaper had the much faster start, but Big Brother had more power and pushed it into Sgt. Bash. Grim Reaper escaped and attempted to circle around Big Brother, but Big Brother dodged and Grim Reaper drove into Sergeant Bash instead. At this point, Grim Reaper's front wheels started to wobble. Grim Reaper then reversed onto Big Brother, who pushed it towards the pit, but just managed to avoid it as Big Brother misjudged its push. Grim Reaper crashed into Big Brother's front wedge, causing it to bounce up off the floor. Grim Reaper came in for another ram on Big Brother, but as it slammed Big Brother against the arena wall, its left-hand wheel came off.
- "Grim Reaper has lost a wheel! The wheel's come off! Slamming then, into the back of Big Brother, and the wheel comes spinning off, and no time for a pit change here. That's wheely stupid driving."
- — Jonathan Pearce as Grim Reaper's wheel comes off
Still mobile thanks to its rear wheel, Grim Reaper came back on the attack with its pneumatic spike. This attack seemed to immobilise both Big Brother and Grim Reaper, and Sir Killalot flipped Grim Reaper over just before time ran out.
With neither robot operational, the judges voted in favour of Big Brother, eliminating Grim Reaper in the first round. Grim Reaper would not appear again until Series 7.
After having a four year interval away from Robot Wars, The Grim Reaper team returned with a brand new Grim Reaper machine for Series 7, completely redesigned with a flipper as its weapon. It fought in Heat B of the main competition, its first round battle saw it placed up against Annihilator champion Kan-Opener, Tag Team Terror runner-up Barbaric Response, and Series 5 returnee Big Nipper, all of which would be successful in Roaming Robots events.
- "Not seen since the Third Wars when it lost in its heat."
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces The Grim Reaper for the first time since Series 3
The Grim Reaper's first attack was on Kan-Opener, flicking it up, but failing to flip the invertible machine over. They were then unable to flip Barbaric Response over as Kan-Opener had grabbed them and held them down. The Grim Reaper spent the rest of the battle tussling with Big Nipper while Kan-Opener and Barbaric Response were dragging each other across the arena.
- "That's a great little tussle between the two of them, evenly matched."
- — Jonathan Pearce on The Grim Reaper and Big Nipper
The Grim Reaper flipped Big Nipper several times, while Big Nipper responded by pushing The Grim Reaper into the wall and getting its claws underneath the flipper. The Grim Reaper almost flipped Big Nipper into the pit later on, but they just escaped. At the end of the fight, no robot had been eliminated, so it went to the judges, who decided that The Grim Reaper went through with Big Nipper joining it.
For its Round 2 match, The Grim Reaper was drawn against newcomer Gyrobot.
The Grim Reaper started more aggressively, immediately driving into Gyrobot and flicking it up, causing the circular machine to spin away, but because it was invertible, it was unharmed. They then slammed into the spinner, pushing it towards Sir Killalot, but Gyrobot escaped. The Grim Reaper flipped the invertible machine over again several times, but no damage was sustained. They were then able to clamp their weapon on top of Gyrobot and pushed them towards Sir Killalot's CPZ again. A missed flip allowed Gyrobot to sneak underneath The Grim Reaper, but they retaliated by flipping it into the House Robot.
- "It'll be worrying for The Grim Reaper team should they go on, and I think they will, that they can't finish off Gyrobot."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Gyrobot was able to get away and spin up to speed, but The Grim Reaper used its rear armour to bash into Gyrobot and slow the spinner down, taking less damage than a frontal charge would have inflicted. Gyrobot ran away again in an attempt to spin up to speed, but crashed into the arena wall, while The Grim Reaper activated the pit release. However, The Grim Reaper simply could not immobilise Gyrobot with its numerous attacks, even failing to flip it onto the arena wall late on, with steam venting from the floor underneath The Grim Reaper. Eventually, the fight went to a judges' decision where, once again, The Grim Reaper was awarded the win.
- Jayne Middlemiss: " Tell me a little bit about your tactics in this final."
- Simon Smith: "There's no such thing as tactics, we're just gonna go in and do what we need to do, and just make it up as we go along basically."
- — The Grim Reaper team reveal their battle plan against Big Nipper
In the Heat Final, The Grim Reaper met Big Nipper again, for a place in the series semi-finals.
The battle began with Big Nipper pushing The Grim Reaper into a CPZ before being picked up and piggy-backed on Big Nipper's claws as their opponent drove across the arena. The Grim Reaper flipped itself over to escape, rolling over in the process. They then came in for an attack on Big Nipper, flipping it over into a CPZ as Cassius Chrome came in for an attack, but both machines escaped. The Grim Reaper attacked Big Nipper again, pinning Big Nipper with its flipper between itself and Cassius Chrome. The Grim Reaper tried to get Big Nipper out of the arena, but it was to no avail.
- "The Grim Reaper can't get any effect out of that flipper that can hoist easily the one hundred kilos of Big Nipper."
- — Jonathan Pearce
It was at this point that Big Nipper began to fight back, using its claws to lift The Grim Reaper and push it into the corner of the arena and against the wall, but The Grim Reaper quickly self-righted. However, Sergeant Bash then grabbed The Grim Reaper and caused minor damage before being pushed by Big Nipper yet again into a CPZ. Then in the last ten seconds, The Grim Reaper was given a second piggy-back by Big Nipper. The fight went to a judges decision where, on the basis of aggression, The Grim Reaper was declared the winner and went through to the semi-finals, to the disagreement of Craig Charles and Jonathan Pearce. There was also a brief interview with the team shown in the credits before showing a clip of their Grim Reaper mascot walking.
- "Flipping tastic!"
- — Simon Smith in a scene shown in the credits of Heat B
- Jayne Middlemiss: "You are up against Storm 2."
- Simon Smith: "Yeah."
- Jayne Middlemiss: "They are the 16th seeds, a pretty powerful machine."
- Simon Smith: "Very powerful machine, eh, flippable. Once we flip it over obviously their scoop runs the other way, so it should drive up the robot and we can flip them out."
- Jayne Middlemiss: "They got skirts on though, they got skirts on!"
- Simon Smith: "Girls."
- — The Grim Reaper team talk tactics before the fight, and make fun of the opposition
From activate, The Grim Reaper was easily pushed into the arena wall by Storm 2 before being lifted up against an angle grinder. The Grim Reaper escaped, but was unable to penetrate Storm 2's ground clearance due to its side-skirts. The Grim Reaper was slammed into the arena wall again, before Storm 2 nearly repeated its feat against The Steel Avenger and almost sent The Grim Reaper hurling out of the arena with another huge slam into a CPZ.
- ""You can't outrun the reaper" says the logo on the side of the green machine, and Storm 2 is furious."
- — Jonathan Pearce
Another slam by Storm 2 sent The Grim Reaper into the pit release, activating it. Storm 2 reversed underneath The Grim Reaper, pushing it near Shunt's CPZ, where The Grim Reaper sustained an axe blow. It then managed to use its flipper on Storm 2, but could not flip it over. The Grim Reaper was slammed into another side wall, the power of it damaging one of the angle grinders. The Grim Reaper then sustained more minor damage, this time from Sgt Bash, who clawed into the back of the green machine.
- "I think The Grim Reaper is doing splendidly just to hold on here."
- — Jonathan Pearce, just as Sgt. Bash begins to cause minor damage The Grim Reaper
Defying the odds, The Grim Reaper continued to function, but Storm 2 continued their brutal assault. The Grim Reaper had some brief respite as Storm 2 gave them a piggy-back, but they jumped into the air after another slam into the arena wall, before being lifted by Storm 2 onto their rear near Shunt's CPZ. The Grim Reaper was unable to successfully use its flipper to right itself, and Storm 2 pressed against them to keep them in balance on their rear, before Shunt pushed The Grim Reaper back onto its wheels.
The Grim Reaper briefly stopped over a flame jet, but survived to the end of the battle, so the fight went to another judges' decision, with the Grim Reaper mascot looming over them as they made up their minds. This time the win was awarded to Storm 2, putting The Grim Reaper out of the Seventh Wars. It was nearly reinstated when Storm 2 suffered from technical difficulties backstage, but ultimately Storm 2 made it to the arena for its battle against Firestorm 5, and The Grim Reaper subsequently retired.
|GRIM REAPER - RESULTS|
|The Third Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat D, Round 1||vs. Big Brother||Lost|
|THE GRIMREAPER - RESULTS|
|The Seventh Wars - UK Championship|
Semi-Finals, Round 1
|Heat B, Round 1||vs. Barbaric Response, Big Nipper, Kan-Opener||Qualified|
|Heat B, Round 2||vs. Gyrobot||Won|
|Heat B, Final||vs. Big Nipper||Won|
|Semi-Final 2, Round 1||vs. Storm 2 (16)||Lost|
- Wins: 3
- Losses: 2
|Series||The Grim Reaper Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Heat, Round 1|
|The Fourth Wars||Failed to qualify|
|The Fifth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Withdrew from qualifiers|
|The Seventh Wars||Semi-Finals, Round 1|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
NOTE: Reaper, a replica of The Grim Reaper, competed in the pilot episode of Series 8 under a new team.
Outside Robot Wars
A black version of The Grim Reaper fought in the final season of BattleBots, losing its only battle by knock-out to Agitator (which later became an Extreme Warriors Finalist as Propeller-Head) after Agitator cut off The Grim Reaper's aerial.
Prior to competing in the Seventh Wars, The Grim Reaper twice competed at the Dutch Robot Games. In 2001, it was knocked out of the UK bracket by Storm and also lost a rumble to Roobarb, but did win a round of Robo Rugby. In 2003, The Grim Reaper lost its only competition melee to Bamm Bamm, falling alongside Junkyard Queen. It did, however, win a non-competition rumble over Toecutter 2 and Scorpion, also competing in the Flipper Frenzy won by Bigger Brother.
Simon and Gary Smith (working with Mike Lambert of Team Dantomkia) also competed in two different series of Scrapheap Challenge. They entered Series 10 as the Cyborgs where they were eventually disqualified. They then entered Series 11 as the Scrappy Whacky Doodaas in the first Chariot Jousting challenge of the series, which they won.
The builder of The Grim Reaper later created a new version of the robot, and subsequently sold the Series 7 version of the machine to Calum Jones, who replicated this machine when creating Reaper.
Calum Jones would sell the chassis of the Series 7 Grim Reaper in September 2020 to Reira Granger of Nelly the Ellybot, who has stated that she is updating it and rebranding into to a new heavyweight named Caffeine. Reira would bring The Grim Reaper chassis to the 2021 RoboNerd event the following year.
- Every battle in which The Grim Reaper competed across the televised show's history (including its battle with Big Brother during the Third Wars) ended with a judges' decision, so their mascot had to do a lot of standing beside the judges during the Seventh Wars.
- The Grim Reaper is one of nine UK Series Competitor robots to have fought in BattleBots.
- Having skipped three full wars and both series of Extreme, The Grim Reaper was the longest retired machine to return to the wars (Constrictor being built by the longest retired team), until its record was broken in 2016 by The General.
- Every opponent The Grim Reaper fought in the Seventh Wars (apart from Barbaric Response) was invertible.
- Both wars that The Grim Reaper fought in were the only two to feature one hundred and twenty-eight robots.
- Both versions of The Grim Reaper featured the slogan "You can't outrun the reaper".
- The Grim Reaper was one of the few robots to never lose a battle by knockout, holding on to a judges' decision each time.
- Both robots that defeated The Grim Reaper went on to become runners-up in the UK Championship at some point and also won a side competition in Extreme Series 2.
- There were two other robots considered to be the "Grim Reaper", these being Iron-Awe in Series 4 and Reaper NP2 in Series 7. However, they were not actually referencing the actual Grim Reaper robot.
- Both of The Grim Reaper's first round battles in the UK Championship involved it battling a robot with "Big" in its name (Big Brother in Series 3 and Big Nipper in Series 7).
- In 2016, when BBC news reported the return of Robot Wars, the Series 3 version of Grim Reaper was included amongst pictures of classic competitors.