The Master was a Californian robot, and the winner of the 1995 Robot Wars UK Open Competition, held in London. There, it earned victory after immobilising Thor in a battle which was broadcast as part of the British Robot Wars, included in Heat D of Series 1, and the VHS release of Robot Wars: The First Great War.


"The Master really is these two huge steel spheres. Inside the spheres are motors, batteries, speed controllers, a radio - everything it takes to drive the thing is contained in [these]. And then, the weapons, like this saw here, attach onto the thing from the front or the back."
— Mark Setrakian explains The Master's design in an interview from American Robot Wars 1996

The Master before its battle with Thor

The Master was an invertible axlebot design, uniquely containing most of its electronics within its two spherical wheels. The robot was equipped with a front panel which featured a set of spikes at the end, and a circular saw attached to an arm at the rear. The Master featured a point of actuation between the two weapons, so the front panel would appear to function as a lifter, while the circular saw arm could be brought from the floor while The Master's wheels still made contact with the floor. Caster wheels were also applied to the bottom of The Master's saw housing to protect it.

Throughout its appearances in the US Robot Wars events and fellow robot combat show BattleBots, The Master's saw could be substituted for interchangeable weaponry including a spiked hammer, an electric lifting spike, and a large triangular-shaped ramming/thwacking blade. The robot's modular design allowed for the weapons to be easily replaced, removed or relocated; for example, the lifting panel could be removed entirely to allow the saw or triangular blade to swing overhead. In these configurations, this enabled The Master to function as a torque reaction thwackbot. Only The Master's circular saw was seen during its televised Robot Wars appearance, used in tandem with the lifting panel; however, footage from The First Great War suggests that the triangular blade was also used during the 1995 UK Open.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 1Edit

"And now it's time to strap yourselves in and cry mercy, as we leave you with the ultimate robotic confrontation!"
Craig Charles in Robot Wars: The First Great War
Eubank vs the master

The Master fights Eubank the Mouse, equipped with its triangular blade

Grunt vs the master

The Master fights two versions of Grunt

The Master was one of three US Robot Wars competitors, along with Thor and La Machine, to be invited to compete in the 1995 UK Open Competition. It fought in numerous battles alongside its fellow American compatriots, as well as future Stock Robots Grunt and Eubank the Mouse, with considerable success. Various clips of these battles were shown in the First Great War video release, while The Master's battle with Thor was also televised as part of the first British series of Robot Wars.

"We'll revisit the 1995 Robot Wars UK Championships in London, featuring two of the most powerful robots in the world today! The Master, built by Mark Setrakian, and Thor, designed by Shilling Robotics, both from America, and what a night it was!"
Jonathan Pearce in Series 1, Heat D
The Master vs Thor

The Master slices through Thor's armour

The Master vs Thor 2

The Master's disc sheds upon impact with Thor

The Master initially turned to face Thor using its lifting panel, but Thor made no aggressive movements, and The Master bumped into it, before continuing to circle around Thor. After a sustained period of hostility, The Master made the first move and drove up the surface of Thor, burying its circular saw through the armour of Thor, which could only flail its weapon at no target in defence. The Master's attack also caused Thor to start leaking fluids. The Master withdrew its saw, and bumped into Thor using its left wheel. After Thor retreated, The Master held off until it found the right moment to charge in with its saw, shearing a loose piece of armour from the top of Thor.

"And there, surely a killing blow! Smashing right to the heart of the hydraulic cabling!"
— Jonathan Pearce
The Master vs Thor 3

The Master attacks Thor's exposed wheel

The Master celebrates

With no saw remaining, The Master celebrates its victory

While Thor pushed back, The Master brought its saw onto the top of it, causing damage while shearing the circular saw in the process, creating a shower of dust. The Master continued to grind away in spite of the damage, cutting into the top of Thor's weapon, and briefly throwing sparks. The Master almost managed to drive up the side of the retreating Thor, but The Master brought what remained of its saw onto the front of Thor, creating a gash, before finally sacrificing the remainder of its saw to cut into a front wheel of Thor. These last attacks had immobilised Thor, and The Master won the battle.

"And The Master is surely one of the most powerful robots in the world, and for me, the star of the 1995 UK London Robot Wars!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Later into Heat D of Series 1, The Master was also seen competing on American turf in the 1996 US Championship, as part of a montage of the competition. Footage of its appearances there was also used in the official video release, American Robot Wars 1996, including its full battle against Tazz and both of the Heavyweight Melees, all of which The Master lost.

The master weapon loss

The Master's weapon rolls around the arena

One particular battle in the 1996 Championship saw The Master fight against La Machine, BioHazard, DooMore and Vlad the Impaler. The Master did well for the first few moments of the rumble, using its saw to slice DooMore and Vlad the Impaler, however at one point in the battle, as The Master swings down to attack Vlad the Impaler, La Machine spins and slams into The Master tearing off its saw blade arm entirely, causing the arm to dart across the arena. La Machine would go on to win the battle.


Robot Wars 1995
1995 UK Open Competition
Battle aired as part of Series 1, Heat D
Final vs. Thor Won

Outside Robot WarsEdit


The Master at Robot Wars 1994


The Master battles TMZ in 1994

In the 1994 Robot Wars championship, The Master defeated TMZ in the first round, but lost to eventual runner-up The Beetle, effectively leaving The Master in third place.

In the 1995 US competition, The Master initially defeated Painful Wedgie and Mauler 95 in the first two rounds to reach the semi-finals, where it fought Thor. As with their UK Open encounter, it emerged victorious after immobilising Thor, despite having its saw badly damaged during the battle. The Master was due to fight Blendo in the final, but both robots were declared co-champions of the 1995 competition after Blendo was deemed too unsafe to compete.[1] During the same competition, The Master also won the Best Design Award.[2]

The Master

The Master shortly before Robot Wars 1996

After becoming the joint-champion of the 1995 Robot Wars competition, The Master returned in 1996, where it initially received a bye to face Tazz in its first battle.[3] However, it ultimately lost to Tazz after the latter used its arm to pin The Master in place for thirty seconds. The Master also fought in a second battle against Red Scorpion, but again lost after Red Scorpion pinned it using its claws. It would later compete in two Heavyweight Melees, but lost each one to La Machine; the first after having its circular saw detach partway through.

  • The Master in BattleBots Season 2.0
  • The Master in BattleBots Season 2.0 with its spiked lifter
  • The Master in BattleBots Season 2.0 with its hammer
  • The Master in BattleBots Season 5.0

The Master also competed in two seasons of BattleBots, in the Middleweight division. It was initially drawn against The Emasculator in Season 2.0, and advanced via forfeit. The Master then defeated Subject to Change Without Reason in a comfortable 36-9 Judges' decision, advancing to the quarter-finals. The Master collected another win, defeating Blade Runner on a 28-17 Judges' decision to reach the semi-finals. There, The Master should have fought El Diablo, but a burnt out motor forced The Master to forfeit the battle, eliminating the robot prior to its semi-final battle.

After a two-year gap, The Master returned in Season 5.0 and was seeded to advance beyond the preliminary rounds automatically. Its first opponent was Jack Rabbit, and The Master won a close 24-21 Judges' decision. In the Round of 16, The Master fought Ankle Biter, which was able to trap The Master under the spikes lining the arena wall, where it was counted out. The Master was eliminated at this stage.

  • Gigan at Robot Wars 1994
  • Gigan 2 at Robot Wars 1997
  • Snake at Robot Wars 1997
  • Snake at BattleBots

Team Sinister also competed with various other robots. Mark Setrakian entered the 1996 Robot Wars competition with a featherweight named Gigan, although this was unsuccessful. Rather than competing with The Master, Mark Setrakian built Gigan 2 to enter the heavyweight division of the Robot Wars 1997 competition. Gigan 2 competed alongside Snake, a super heavyweight robot armed with a drill, using its entire body to provide locomotion, with no wheels or legs present. Although Snake lost its only battle to Scorpion at Robot Wars, Snake also entered Season 2.0 of BattleBots and defeated Anubis. Within the Round of 16, Snake was eliminated by War Machine.

  • Ronin at Long Beach
  • Ronin in Season 1.0 and 2.0
  • Ronin in Season 3.0
  • Ronin in Season 5.0

Gigan 2 was converted into Ronin, which entered the 1999 BattleBots events in Long Beach, and Las Vegas. After this, it was able to compete in all five seasons of BattleBots during its original run. Over this long history, including the Long Beach and Las Vegas events, Ronin collected six wins and nine losses, alongside a draw. Its peak performance was in Season 1.0, where it reached the semi-finals by defeating Odin and Ginsu, also reaching the Round of 16 in Season 4.0.

  • Mechadon at BattleBots Las Vegas 1999
  • Mechadon at BattleBots TV filming

Team Sinister's other super heavyweight robot was Mechadon, a 480lb robot with six spider-like legs providing movement. Although it was present at every BattleBots event in the original run, it only fought at the Las Vegas 1999 event, and in the first season. At Las Vegas, Mechadon defeated Ginsu, but was forced to retire ahead of its battle against Ricon. In Season 1.0, Mechadon defeated Prompt Critical without even needing to make contact with its opponent, but it then lost to Rammstein.

When BattleBots aired its 2018 season on Discovery Channel and Science Channel, Mark Setrakian was invited to be a guest judge within the opening battles of the series, alongside static judge Derek Young and recurring judge Naomi Kyle. The first three battles of the series were all Judges' decisions, in favour of Bite Force, DUCK! and HUGE, allowing Setrakian to decide the victors for close, albeit unanimous, battles.


  • Robot Wars competitors such as Sumpthing and Xenomorph bore very similar designs to The Master, potentially taking design cues from it.
  • For pioneering the axlebot design and the concept of interchangeable weapons, The Master was inducted into The Combat Robot Hall of Fame in 2011.[4]



External LinksEdit

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