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"Their catchphrase is "We're in a class of our own!""
— Jonathan Pearce in Series 5

The Hub Nuts (mostly referred to as The Class Act) was a prominent team on Robot Wars. They competed in Series 3 to 6, as well as both series of Robot Wars Extreme with their robot Sir Chromalot.

The Team[]

The Hub Nuts in Series 3

The team in Series 6

"How did Sir Chromalot Start? It was one Monday morning and Merrill called an emergency business meeting to discuss Sunday's edition of Robot Wars with Smith. Smith explained to Merrill how every time he watched it he wanted to build one, but had no spare time and the making of a Robot would take many months of hard work. Suddenly both men found themselves sketching and later faxing plans and ideas to each other. By the Thursday Merrill had entered the competition, got a team together, got a boot full of old iron, purchased the radio control equipment and booked a holiday. Smith had been real busy also, drawing up the master blue-print technical drawings for the Robot"
— The origins of Sir Chromalot from The Hub Nuts website

The Hub Nuts were a team from South Ockendon, Essex, originally consisting of work colleagues, and were creators behind Sir Chromalot, a unique and distinguishable robot always sporting a chrome paintjob. Similar to the International Wreck Crew, the team portrayed themselves with over-the-top personalities, in their case as upper-class gentlemen that were well-spoken and wealthy. They were considered to be excellent sports and comedians, guaranteed to offer entertainment and laughs throughout their appearances. Despite their light hearted boastfulness about their robot being superior, Sir Chromalot never escaped the heats during its time on Robot Wars, consistently falling in the second round of the heats in all four of its main series appearances. As well as this, the team unfortunately never received any awards, but were nominated for the Sportsmanship Award in Series 3 and 4, but did receive the untelevised Best Entertainers award in Extreme 1. However, they were very helpful to other roboteers in the pits and proved to be very popular amongst fans. The team made their final appearance in Extreme 2 and would ultimately fail to qualify for Series 7.

Team Members[]

Steve Merrill[]

Steve Merrill was the captain of The Hub Nuts and the only team member present in all of Sir Chromalot's appearances. As the team captain, Steve was the lead speaker for all the team's interviews and but did not always drive the robot.

After Extreme 2, Steve Merrill partnered with with several engineers from Alchrist Engineering to construct a brand new version of Sir Chromalot for entry into Series 7, the robot losing its trademark wheel hub body in favour of a simple rectangular design. However, it was torn apart by Scorpion in its qualifier battle, and thus failed to qualify for that series.

Sadly, Steve passed away on 19 June, 2011 from bowel cancer.[1]

Steve Smith[]

A work colleague of Steve Merrill's, Steve Smith was one of the original team members but was only present in Series 3. Despite only being part of the team for one series, Steve heavily contributed to Sir Chromalot's creation as he was the one who wanted to enter Robot Wars, but did not have the time to build a robot. He designed the blue prints for Sir Chromalot after sketching and faxing designs and ideas to Steve Merrill.

In their pre-battle interview, Steve boldly claimed that after watching the first two series, Sir Chromalot would be a winner and 'make mincement of all the other robots'. He was the main driver of Sir Chromalot for Series 3 and was portrayed as the second-in-command, having a few speaking roles. Steve joined Steve and David when they dance inside the arena before their second round battle. However, he would leave the team after Series 3 due to other commitments.

David Whitehead[]

The other work colleague of Steve Merrill's, David Whitehead was the third original team member. Unlike Steve Smith, David stayed on the team in Series 4, becoming Steve's sole partner for that series. David did not have any speaking roles in Series 3, but did so in Series 4 after the team was reduced to just him and Steve. However, David would also depart the team in the early stages to focus on other commitments.

Ray Tait[]

Ray Tait joined the team in Extreme 1 and remained Steve's sole team partner until their final outing in Extreme 2. Ray had previously entered Series 3 and 4 of Robot Wars with his own robot, Centurion, and had intended to retire from robot combat afterwards. However, after Steve Smith and David Whitehead departed the team, Ray was contacted by Steve to help out as he was also based in Essex to which he agreed. Ray contributed to the rebuild of Sir Chromalot for Extreme and Series 5, donating many of Centurion's components to the new Sir Chromalot model.

"It was not my intension {sic} to come back but I was asked by Steve Merrill who's previous team members had pulled out leaving no one to rebuild. We was automatically seeded for the show and did not have to attend auditions as, this was the case I decided to Join Steve Merril {sic} and rebuild Sir Chromalot for Extreme We won the best Entertainers award."
— Ray Tait on joining the team[2]

Other[]

Shane Lynch with Sir Chromalot

For the Series 4 Celebrity Special shown as one of the Christmas specials in December 2000, the team were joined by the Boyzone singer Shane Lynch. As per the rules, he had to control the machine for sixty seconds before he was permitted to hand the controls over to the roboteers.

In Series 6, Louis Merrill, Steve's son, was credited on the statistics board, however he never appeared on TV and was not credited in Extreme 2. However, he did make an appearance in a Robot Wars Club newsletter in a section detailing Steve's event The Robot Zone.

Image[]

Steve Merrill: "You people have got no idea the stress that goes on. Philippa, what jacket shall I wear?"
Philippa Forrester: "Any interest in who you're fighting?"
Steve Merrill: "What, the robot? No, the jacket's more important."
— Steve Merrill to Philippa Forrester in Series 6

The Hub Nuts considered attire very important. As a trademark, members of the Hub Nuts always dressed in tuxedos. One particular exchange in Series 6 showed Steve Merrill more interested in the jacket he would wear than who he was fighting, having brought a whole rack of jackets into the pits. The exchange resulted in Philippa stating that she believed that some of Steve Merrill's jackets were "illegal".

"...most teams did not like us, but we didn't care...we used the same game plan as boxers use before going into the ring"
— Steve Merrill

Grand Entrances[]

Always interested in making a big show of the competition and entertaining the audience, The Hub Nuts often arrived in style.

  • In Series 3, the team arrived in a Rolls Royce, and before their first battle, warmed up the audience by dancing around the arena.
"...it was a joke, really - 15 minutes before we went on, they said "We need you to do a dance routine," and we're three big guys. We can't dance - it's very obvious that we can't, but we had a go."
— Steve Merrill, interviewed in the original Robot Wars Magazine
  • In Series 4, The Hub Nuts arrived on the back of a truck with a group of cheerleaders, who chanted to announce their arrival. Before Sir Chromalot’s battle with The Steel Avenger, the cheerleaders, known as the Chromettes, also performed a dance routine to a track produced and recorded by Steve and David.
"The Rolls Royce seemed to go down really well last year. When we got a call saying we'd been seeded into Series 4, we thought we needed to top the Rolls Royce, but what could we do? My sister-in-law runs the dance troupe, which is useful!"
— Steve Merrill, interviewed in the original Robot Wars Magazine
  • In the build-up to their Vengeance battle in Extreme 1, The Class Act arrived in an silver car with a personalised number plate, supported by a group of bouncers, and followed by a squad of majorettes and cheerleaders, who sang a song praising Sir Chromalot. The bouncers also stood by the Judges table during the battle, to “intimidate” the Judges.
  • In Series 6, the team arrived in a Mercedes, with a personalised number plate. They filmed a special introduction for the heat, which showed them arriving at the studio in the car, and being greeted by crew members, who helped them select a jacket.

The Hub Nuts also arrived at Extreme 2 in a limousine, but this was not shown on the televised show. [3]

Rivalries[]

The team shared a long-standing rivalry with Jonathan Pearce. Pearce originally made a comment about Merrill's weight, which started the dislike between the two. Pearce frequently made jokes about Sir Chromalot, and in turn, Sir Chromalot frequently insulted Pearce, stating at one point that he had a "grease nipple on his chin to keep his mouth moving". Sir Chromalot's weakness was often listed as "Jonathan Pearce" on its statistics boards in later appearances.

The Hub Nuts also had a particular enmity with the International Wreck Crew, with hostilities leading to a Vengeance battle in Extreme 1. Steve and Ray called the opposing team "Plundergirls" repeatedly, and accused them of having no style or skill. The two teams regularly fought grudge matches outside of Robot Wars, and the rivalry was also shown in the Robot Wars Magazine, as one of the Comic Strip fights was between Sir Chromalot and Plunderbird 4. Interestingly, Sir Chromalot won both of these fights under similar circumstances, after Plunderbird drove into the pit.

Robots[]

Name Weight Class Series
Sir Chromalot Heavyweight Series 3-6, Extreme 1-2

Wins/Losses[]

  • Wins: 6
  • Losses: 7

Series Record[]

Main Series The Hub Nuts Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Heat, Round 2 with Sir Chromalot
Heat, Round 2 with Centurion (Ray Tait)
The Fourth Wars Heat, Round 2 with Sir Chromalot
Heat, Round 1 with Centurion (Ray Tait)
The Fifth Wars Heat, Round 2 with Sir Chromalot
The Sixth Wars Heat, Round 2 with Sir Chromalot
The Seventh Wars Failed to qualify with Sir Chromalot
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Entered with Sir Chromalot
Series 2 Entered with Sir Chromalot

Outside Robot Wars[]

Steve Merrill hosting The Robot Zone

Steve Merrill also hosted a live show called The Robot Zone. These events were displays of robots including Sir Chromalot, Centurion, Skeletron, Tornado, Chaos 2, Firestorm, Panic Attack, Bigger Brother and the House Robots. Steve Merrill would set competitions for the visitors, offering Robot Wars Merchandise as prizes. All the money raised at Robot Zone events was donated to charity.

References[]

External Links[]

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