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"There's a cutting blade on the nose to inflict maximum damage when ramming - and a pneumatically-powered axe with interchangeable heads! OUCH!"
Robot Wars Fun Fax on The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger (later written as Steel Avenger) was a heavyweight robot that appeared in the British TV Show Robot Wars. The team competed in Series 3, 4, 5 and 7 of Robot Wars, also entering both series of Robot Wars Extreme.

The Steel Avenger maintained a consistent run throughout its lifespan on the show; it reached Heat Finals in Series 4 and 7 and also finished as runner-up in the first Tag Team Terror tournament in Extreme 1. One of the longest serving veterans in the show, The Steel Avenger appeared in eleven episodes across its time (the most of all non-UK Finalists alongside Diotoir) and notched eleven combat victories, the second most successful robot (again after Diotoir) not to make a finals appearance.

Outside of combat, The Steel Avenger collected the Best Engineered award in Series 4, and also a special Best Costume Award in Robot Wars Extreme.

DesignEdit

Steel avenger

The Steel Avenger's Series 3 appearance, with the pickaxe

The Steel Avenger was a two-wheel driven, plough-shaped robot armoured with aluminium and stainless steel panels and polycarbonate bulletproof casing, armed with a large pneumatic axe as its weapon. The design of the robot was so that when at its maximum speed, a charge and impact from the bladed, arrow-shaped end would cause severe damage. The best example of this was its Mayhem battle, where it sheared a wheel off King B Powerworks. In addition to its weaponry, The Steel Avenger often sported a brightly-coloured feather duster, to "keep the arena clean", however, this was permanently removed from the robot after Series 5. It was powered by two 750w industrial Bosch motors in every appearance.

SA3broadaxe

The Steel Avenger in Series 3 with the broad axe head, before Round 2

The bodywork was originally covered in a silver coating, with Evo-Stick bonded stainless steel on top and aluminium sides, as the robot was originally made to vaguely resemble a medieval knight's suit of armour complete with steel chassis. It originally had two interchangeable axe heads in Series 3, a pick and a broad axe, which were mounted on a hinged arm, to function like a mace. A third axe head was built, a mace, but this was not brought to Series 3, although it was mentioned by Jonathan Pearce. The top speed was 25mph, making it one of the series fastest robots, but due to a lack of control, this was reduced in later wars. The robot had a ground clearance of over 4cm, which allowed both of its opponents to get under it easily, which led to its defeat by Diotoir.

"After getting my design together in January, I started collecting scrap metal and cut my first bits on Valentine's day. The Steel Avenger was basically up and running by the Auditions in May, but then there followed months of further development of the weapon system, re-working of the axles and bearings (the first design of which proved to be totally inadequate), fitting a gyro system and so on. The whole thing was also stripped down and drilled to bits to lose some weight as well! Our entire project was carried out on the floor of my garage, with me working all day every Sunday and most evenings, sometimes until 2 in the morning just to get it all done. Having said that, I am a perfectionist and I will spend time tidying up and polishing a part that other people would not bother with. I must say here that Tony was doing 110 mile round trips every Sunday for three months to get as much done as he could."
— John Willoughby, interviewed on Tectonic Robot Wars[1]
Steelavenger s4 arena

The Steel Avenger in the arena in Series 4

For Series 4, The Steel Avenger underwent a lot of improvements. The hinged arm was scrapped, having been deemed too week by the team, in favour of the sharp steel axe on a solid arm that was featured in all subsequent appearances. The axe mechanism was improved, and the interchangeable axe heads were replaced with a single axe head, made of 5mm steel with a hardened edge.

"Obviously the main weapon is the duster on the front here, we've got bulletproof polycarbonate casing, twin Bosch motors, 75, and this [the axe] will come down on you with the force of Dawn French in a pair of stilettos!"
Julia Reed describes The Steel Avenger
SA4selfrighter

John Willoughby demonstrates the self-righting spikes

The stainless steel top “doors” and sides were replaced with 10mm thick polycarbonate, as it was lighter. Aluminium side bumper bars were added to protect the robots sides, which the team had viewed as too soft. The gearing was improved, reducing the top speed to 15mph, making it much more controllable and responsive. The batteries were changed for lighter ones, and the robot was lengthened by six inches to make room for a self-righting mechanism, operated by cables, where one cone on each side would come out to tip the robot over[2]. However, the ground clearance was just as high as in Series 3.

"…and this year, we’ve made some improvements; we’ve got a bigger ram inside, which fires the axe. The ram delivers 500 pounds of thrust. We’ve got a new up righting mechanism, which is these two arms that come out, and they’re joined to a lifter which is our second weapon for this year. It can easily lift 100 kilos, so we’re hoping to do some damage this year!"
— John Willoughby lists the improvements to The Steel Avenger in Series 5
SA5rearlifter

John Willoughby demonstrates the rear lifter. Note the axes moving as well

For Extreme 1, the team added a rear lifter to The Steel Avenger, and an improved self-righting mechanism with two mini axes, one on each side. The self-righting mechanism worked by braided steel wire, which was attached to the lifter, so when the lifter fired, the side axes would fire. The internals were improved, with a new drive assembly, new radio and gyro interface[3]. The chassis' original length was shortened by five inches to meet these requirements, and to accommodate the new 100kg weight allowance. The side bars were removed permanently. The ground clearance was reduced, though it was still vulnerable at 2cm.

"The plan was to get the new robot – SA2 - ready for Series 7 and go back in there with all guns blazing. As it happened it was never going to be finished in time, so we reluctantly dragged old Steely out of retirement for one last time so we could take part again."
— John and Jacky Willoughby
Steel Avenger Series 7

The Steel Avenger, with its modifications for Series 7, in the arena

The Steel Avenger underwent minor modifications for Series 7, borrowing components from its planned successor SA2, such as a gas bottle which had a different dip tube system and allowed a full 1.1 kg gas fill without problems. The old bottle only used to allow a 500gm fill which was why The Steel Avenger often ran out of gas and got stuck. The axe head from SA2 was also fitted in Extreme 2 and Series 7, a 3/4 inch thick lump of steel. The last change was to strip down the rear lifter to just a skeleton so that the weight saved allowed for the other changes. After Robot Wars was cancelled at the end of Series 7, SA2 was given back the parts that the original robot had borrowed for the series, but ultimately SA2 was never completed.

The TeamEdit

"I became gradually more hooked on the programme as I watched series 1 and then series 2. I was lying in bed in January '99 with Flu and doodling with a few ideas for a robot and suddenly decided 'What the heck - let's go for it'. All my life I have been building mechanical and electronic things, and this seemed like something which would be right up my street and would bring together all the various skills and interests which I love. I sent off my Robot Wars Club membership application and the ball was now rolling."
— John Willoughby on joining Robot Wars[4]
SAteamS3

The team in Series 3

The Steel Avenger was entered by a team from Essex, captained by John Willoughby, who drove the robot. The other ever-present member of the team was Tony Bates, the team's co-builder and mechanic. Tony Bates actually lived over 50 miles away from John Willoughby, in Suffolk[5]. In Series 3 and 4, the axe was operated by Kevin Cockerill.

SAteamS5

Team Steel Avenger in Series 5

After Series 4, Kevin was replaced by John's wife Jacky, who had previously been in the audience at Series 3.

"I was staying at home, getting jealous of them having so much fun. So as soon as I got a chance I was in there."
— Jacky Willoughby in Ultimate Real Robots Magazine
Best costume rw extreme

The Steel Avenger team and Julia Reed with their Best Costume Award

From Extreme 1 onwards, the team wore breastplates, with John and Jacky wearing silver ones, and Tony wearing a black one. At the end of Extreme 1, the team were awarded with the Best Costume Award, an award made specifically for them. However, the presentation of this award was not shown on the televised show.

"We had about two weeks before Extreme and they said to us, would we like to make some costumes, and we thought "You've got to be kidding"."
— John Willoughby, interviewed in Ultimate Real Robots Magazine

The team also had help from Ian Swann of Team Chaos. The two teams met when their robots were drawn against each other in Series 5, and after socialising after the battle, they became good friends. Ian Swann helped modify the machine for Series 7, cutting the lifter from the plough shape it had previously been to more of a lifting arm[6], and building an interface board and 4-QD speed controllers[7].

QualificationEdit

Unseeded for Series 4, The Steel Avenger entered a preliminary qualifying battle. There it met newcomers Rotraktor[8]. In a closely fought contest, The Steel Avenger was constantly offensive, creating a decent amount of successful axe blows, ramming, and in turn withstood Rotrakor's shoving attacks. The fight ended in a stalemate, and The Steel Avenger was declared the overall winner by an applause vote from the audience, and therefore secured its place in the Fourth Wars.

"...it was a fairly even match with no clear winner. They decided based on the amount of applause - which we were doomed to fail as an unknown!"
— Simon Rafferty[9]

The Steel Avenger went on to qualify for every other series it applied for. However, the team chose not to enter Series 6, having been exhausted after all the repairs they had to do for Series 5 and Extreme 1.[10]

Sa2

The base design for SA2, which was to enter Series 7, but was not completed in time

The team intended to enter Series 7 with a new build, SA2 (Steel Avenger 2), which was armed with a front lifter as well as an axe. However, it was not finished in time, and the team instead qualified for the series with a modified version of The Steel Avenger.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 3Edit

"Series 3 was our first attempt after finding the programme on TV and thinking “I can do that!”"
— John Willoughby

For its first Robot Wars appearance, The Steel Avenger was placed in the penultimate heat of the Third Wars, and was placed up against a returning team with Schumey Too, in its first round battle.

"Heavy, but nippy. Strong, with aluminium and stainless steel panels. Dangerous, with an axe, mace or pick at the end of the pneumatic arm. Two electric motor driven, is the new avenger of Robot Wars."
— Jonathan Pearce describes The Steel Avenger
Shumey Too lifts The Steel Avenger

Schumey Too lifts The Steel Avenger after it nearly pitted itself

The two robots started by charging at each other, but both robots swerved to try and get at their opponents side. The Steel Avenger hit Schumey Too's side, but missed with the axe as it was facing the wrong way. Schumey Too turned and pushed against the side of The Steel Avenger, but The Steel Avenger reversed away as it tried to get its lifter underneath. The two robots turned to face each other, but The Steel Avenger turned too far and missed its axe blow. Schumey Too pushed The Steel Avenger towards the pit of oblivion, but The Steel Avenger reversed away just in time, after its front ram hung over the edge. It was helped by being caught on the lifter of Schumey Too, which reversed away.

"How many robots has the pit caught in this series of Robot Wars? It's big, it's open, it's black; everyone in the world can see it, apart from the Robot Wars drivers!"
— Jonathan Pearce
SchumeyunderTSA

Schumey Too gets under The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger then turned off the lifter of Schumey Too, then reversed away, but drove close to Shunt. It reversed quickly to dodge the axe blow of the House Robot, then charged up the arena, driving into the wall. As The Steel Avenger reversed away from the wall, Schumey Too caught up and got under The Steel Avenger, which fired its axe, but to no effect as it could not reach its opponent. The Steel Avenger fell against Schumey Too's side, and Schumey Too drove past. The two robots turned to face each other again, and The Steel Avenger missed another axe blow as Schumey Too pushed against one of its front corners. The Steel Avenger reversed away, then kept its distance as Schumey Too chased it. The Steel Avenger turned around as Schumey Too drove at it, and though the axe did hit the top of its opponent, it bounced off. Schumey Too lifted it up and pushed it, but The Steel Avenger reversed off the lifters. The Steel Avenger tried to axe Schumey Too, but Schumey Too pushed against The Steel Avenger, causing it to miss again with the axe.

"Interesting that The Steel Avenger is built like some great knight from Camelot, because John Willoughby is a great fan of King Arthur, castles and knights of the Round Table. His role model: John Steed, the old character from the Avengers series."
— Jonathan Pearce
SApitsSchumey

The Steel Avenger pushes Schumey Too into the pit

The Steel Avenger landed another blow as Schumey Too drove past it, which failed to puncture again, though did do some superficial damage. Schumey Too turned and drove head-on at The Steel Avenger, which fired its axe, but missed. The Steel Avenger turned away as Schumey Too tried pushing it, then missed with the axe again, having turned too far as Schumey Too turned around. Schumey Too got at the front corner of The Steel Avenger, and The Steel Avenger fired another axe blow that missed. As Schumey Too lifted The Steel Avenger, The Steel Avenger reversed off and away up the arena. Schumey Too drove onto an arena spike, which flicked it up a couple of times. Schumey Too seemed unaffected as it turned around, but it drove close to the pit, and The Steel Avenger charged at its side, pushing it over the edge of the pit, axing and denting its spoiler as it did so. Schumey Too fell into the pit, putting The Steel Avenger through to the next round.

Kevin Cockerill: "I thought we were going to lose the first minute, we nearly got chucked down the pit."
John Willoughby: "Yeah, we nearly got tipped, and then we're hanging in the pit and Kev said "Back up!" - my mind had gone there, if he hadn't said that..."
Tony Bates: "I think the other guy helped us out, didn't they? They pulled us out."
— The team reflect on their brush with defeat in the post-battle interview

The Steel Avenger was then placed up against Team Nemesis with their new Diotoir machine in the second round. Before the next battle, the team had to mend the pick, which had become bent by its repeated axe blows.

"I counted that Kev got in 11 full whacks with the pick, about three of which made contact"
— John Willoughby
SAonwall

The Steel Avenger is flipped onto the wall

Despite this, The Steel Avenger used its broad axe in the fight. The two robots slowly approached one another, then Diotoir stopped. The Steel Avenger tried to drive around Diotoir to attack their side, but Diotoir turned and blocked them with their lifting arm. Diotoir tried to get under its opponent, but The Steel Avenger reversed, but then drove straight into Dead Metal. The Steel Avenger swung its axe to defend itself, and was able to quickly reverse away before the House Robot could grab it, but went into a spin and drove into the wall.

"Working its way away from danger, but Dead Metal has a long memory."
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger escapes Dead Metal
The Steel Avenger toppled

Diotoir topples The Steel Avenger

As Diotoir closed in, The Steel Avenger reversed, driving over the flipping arm. It turned around, but in doing so drove onto the flame pit, then reversed into the wall. It turned to fight Diotoir, but turned too far, hitting the fence with its axe. Diotoir got in with its flipper and lifted The Steel Avenger up against the arena wall. The Steel Avenger fired its axe to try and get itself down, but to no effect. However, Sgt. Bash then came out of the CPZ and knocked The Steel Avenger back down. The Steel Avenger drove away from the wall, trying to get behind Diotoir, but Diotoir turned. Its flipped fired too early and missed, and The Steel Avenger fired the axe, which merely bounced off the flipping arm. Diotoir pushed The Steel Avenger into Dead Metal, but the House Robot merely pushed it out of the CPZ. The Steel Avenger charged at Diotoir, but glanced off the side. It turned around, but missed its charge and drove past Diotoir. When Diotoir tried to get under the side of The Steel Avenger, which charged forwards to get away, it crashed into the wall. As it turned away, Diotoir got underneath it and used its wedge to turn The Steel Avenger on its side. The Steel Avenger had no means of self-righting, so it was deemed immobilised.

"That was their only viable tactic, and it's paid off!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Diotoir tips The Steel Avenger over
Steelavenger house robots

The House Robots attack The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger was ambushed and attacked by Shunt (which was not shown on TV) and had a huge hole smashed into it, as well as having the axe head cut off by Sgt. Bash. Cease was eventually called and The Steel Avenger was eliminated from the competition.

"I would just love to get my own back on them [The House Robots], and avenge the damage they do to our robots. Maybe next time."
— John Willoughby

The Steel Avenger was also due to take part in the Tag Team Terror event, where it was due to be partnered with More Panda Monium. However, the event was cancelled due to a behind-the-scenes accident that caused a delay in filming[11].

Series 4Edit

"Back to avenge defeat by Diotoir last time!"
Jonathan Pearce

Competing in Heat M of the Fourth Wars, The Steel Avenger now featured a pair of self-righting spikes. In its first round battle, it faced the eleventh seed Wild Thing and newcomer Humphrey.

Wild, steel

The Steel Avenger is pushed down the arena by Wild Thing

The Steel Avenger did not start as soon as activate was called, pausing until Wild Thing drove towards it. The Steel Avenger drove down the arena, veering towards the arena wall. It held back as Wild Thing attacked Humphrey, then drove past the front of Humphrey, taking a light bash. The Steel Avenger kept its distance, but Wild Thing went after it, getting under the side. Although Wild Thing missed with its lifter, it was able to push The Steel Avenger up the arena, towards Dead Metal, but The Steel Avenger turned off of Wild Thing's wedge. As The Steel Avenger fled down the arena, Wild Thing went back after Humphrey. The Steel Avenger drove back up the arena and rejoined the fight, chasing after Wild Thing, which drove around The Steel Avenger and went back after Humphrey.

"...The Steel Avenger, slow to turn, and Wild Thing has the speed advantage over these two opponents"
— Jonathan Pearce
Steel Avenger Arena Wall

The Steel Avenger on the arena wall, under pressure from Matilda

The Steel Avenger tried to get behind Wild Thing to axe it, but turned too far, so it was in the wrong position, and its axe simply twitched. Wild Thing then turned around, getting under The Steel Avenger and pushing it into Matilda. Matilda flipped The Steel Avenger up, and its front landed on the arena wall, leaving it stuck. Matilda knocked it off the wall, then flipped it back onto its wheels with her tusks. The Steel Avenger drove into the wall, then quickly reversed, and as it drove past Matilda, she flicked off the duster with her tusks. The Steel Avenger drove to the opposite side of the arena, and after attacking Humphrey with its axe which remained unseen, Wild Thing got under it again, pushing it down the arena, using its raised lifter to hold The Steel Avenger in place. Meanwhile, Humphrey appeared to have stopped, and was only making small movements.

"If it goes to the judges, Wild Thing have done enough, I don't think it'll go to the judges, because Humphrey, they've gone haven't they?"
— Jonathan Pearce confirms Humphrey's immobilisation
WildThingSteelAvenger

Wild Thing pushes The Steel Avenger around as Humphrey is attacked by the House Robots

Wild Thing tried to push The Steel Avenger into Sir Killalot, but The Steel Avenger managed to turn away and drive off Wild Thing's wedge. Wild Thing soon caught up with The Steel Avenger again, and got at The Steel Avenger's side, using the lifter and the wedge together to push it around the arena, until The Steel Avenger fired the axe to help itself turn away. Wild Thing tried to force The Steel Avenger into Matilda, but The Steel Avenger reversed away in time, and Matilda flicked Wild Thing up with her tusks. Meanwhile, the limping Humphrey drove into Dead Metal, and after being cut into, it stopped moving altogether. Wild Thing continued to chase The Steel Avenger as the House Robots attacked Humphrey. The Steel Avenger rammed into the pre-occupied Dead Metal, before moving away, then threw its axe at Wild Thing, but was just out of alignment. Humphrey was finally put onto the floor flipper and tossed, before cease was called. The Steel Avenger and Wild Thing were through to Round 2.

In the second round, The Steel Avenger faced the twenty-seventh seed, and fellow Essex entry, Sir Chromalot.

Julia Reed: "Well, there's not an obvious tactic against Sir Chromalot, what are you thinking right now?"
Tony Bates: "Err, House Robots I think, basically."
— Pre-battle interview
Sir Chromalot axed

The Steel Avenger uses its axe on Sir Chromalot

Sir Chromalot started quicker, driving towards its opponent, but then turned away as The Steel Avenger drove towards it. The Steel Avenger rammed into Sir Chromalot, but merely deflected off its round body. Sir Chromalot was slow to get away, so The Steel Avenger got behind it and rammed it, pushing it across the arena, against a spike on the arena wall. Sir Chromalot moved away from the wall as The Steel Avenger drove away for another attack. Sir Chromalot drove at the front of The Steel Avenger, and The Steel Avenger threw a glancing axe blow as Sir Chromalot passed it. The Steel Avenger reversed, then charged into Sir Chromalot, but was unable to push it because of its opponent's round shape. The Steel Avenger's high ground clearance also caused it to drive over the front spike. It quickly turned around for another attack, but missed with the axe. The Steel Avenger chased Sir Chromalot, and when it missed a charge, Sir Chromalot hit the side with its front spike, then drove past. The Steel Avenger tried to axe Sir Chromalot again, but missed. Sir Chromalot drove down the arena, and The Steel Avenger followed, trying to push it, then firing the axe, only to narrowly miss again. It reversed, then drove back at Sir Chromalot, but Sir Chromalot turned away in time, so The Steel Avenger missed another axe blow. The Steel Avenger held back for a moment, waiting for Sir Chromalot to drive at it. Sir Chromalot reversed into the front of The Steel Avenger, and The Steel Avenger missed with the axe again.

"It's a mighty axe, isn't it? But, now listen Steel Avenger, the object is: you knock the opponent out, you don't take on the arena..."
— Jonathan Pearce
Sir Chromalot pitted

Sir Chromalot topples into the pit after a shove from The Steel Avenger

The pit opened, and The Steel Avenger tried to line up another attack on Sir Chromalot, only to narrowly miss again. The Steel Avenger turned around, and finally managed to hit Sir Chromalot with the axe, though Sir Chromalot was not damaged. The Steel Avenger reversed, but drove into Dead Metal, quickly escaping before the House Robot could attack. Sir Chromalot appeared to have slowed, and The Steel Avenger started ramming its opponent around, first using the front, then reversing into it and managed to bend its drill weapon as a result. Sir Chromalot could not get away, and The Steel Avenger started pushing it towards the pit. Sir Chromalot was completely immobile as The Steel Avenger pushed it by the pit, then, after turning around to line up a push, The Steel Avenger pitted Sir Chromalot.

Craig Charles: "You're fighting Wild Thing in the next round, do you think you stand a chance?"
John Willoughby: "I think we could give him a run for his money."
Craig Charles: "That axe of yours seems quite ... quite tough, really."
John Willoughby: "We had problems earlier on, and it just wasn't working in the last round. We've sorted all the bugs now, it's going really well."
— In the post-battle interview

John Willoughby would later assert that a lot of footage demonstrating The Steel Avenger landing successful axe blows on Sir Chromalot was cut from the televised battle.

"Kevin got stuck in with the axe-swinging, landing strikes on it [Sir Chromalot] several times. Great stuff. However, when it came around to watching the recorded fight on TV most of our strikes were cut out, and the rest of the time just showed us not hitting him properly. So I don't know what has happened with that missing footage there."
— John Willoughby[12]

In the Heat Final, The Steel Avenger faced Wild Thing once again.

Julia Reed: "Now we don't think you've really been tested yet. What do you say to that?"
John Willoughby: "I don't know, I think this could be the time to prove what we can do."
Tony Bates: "This is going to be our toughest battle, I think, so just wait and see. We've got a new duster anyway, so hopefully that'll help us!"
— Pre-battle interview
WildThingRamsTSA

Wild Thing rams The Steel Avenger

SAaxesWildThing

The Steel Avenger axes Wild Thing from atop its wedge

Wild Thing started quicker, and The Steel Avenger burst forwards as Wild Thing charged past it. The two robots turned to fight, and Wild Thing tried to get at The Steel Avenger's side. Despite The Steel Avenger turning away, Wild Thing got at its side, getting under with the wedge and, as it did in the first round, using its lifter, which was slightly raised, to hold The Steel Avenger still as it pushed. Wild Thing pushed The Steel Avenger up the arena, but as it turned, The Steel Avenger got off the wedge. The Steel Avenger drove down the arena, with Wild Thing chasing after it. The Steel Avenger turned to fight, but Wild Thing got at its side again, using the wedge and lifter to push The Steel Avenger around. However, as Wild Thing turned around, The Steel Avenger slid off the wedge. The Steel Avenger turned around, and Wild Thing drove at the front, but reversed as The Steel Avenger turned away. Wild Thing then charged at The Steel Avenger and tried to get underneath it, but didn't get the wedge under its opponent properly, so when it tried to push, The Steel Avenger slid off. The two robots had driven close to Sir Killalot's CPZ, where The Steel Avenger hesitated in axing Wild Thing, which didn't matter as the weapon twitched and Wild Thing evaded, so both drove away before the House Robot could attack. The Steel Avenger drove up towards the top of the arena, with Wild Thing in close pursuit. Wild Thing tried to get under its opponent, but The Steel Avenger kept turning away, and missed an axe blow in doing so. The Steel Avenger then charged head-on at Wild Thing, and the front was lifted by the latter. The Steel Avenger fired the axe again, which hit Wild Thing's wedge, but had little effect. The Steel Avenger reversed off, speeding backwards across the arena and into the arena wall. Wild Thing chased after it, but The Steel Avenger charged up the arena to avoid it. Wild Thing followed, and The Steel Avenger turned to face it as it caught up, and the two slammed together. Wild Thing got under the front, and though The Steel Avenger managed to turn off of the wedge again, Wild Thing was still able to push The Steel Avenger around, despite The Steel Avenger's attempts to turn away.

"Wild Thing nudging underneath The Avenger, got a ground clearance of a couple of inches, now that is quite high for Robot Wars, actually."
— Jonathan Pearce as Wild Thing pushes The Steel Avenger around
Wild Thing vs Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger is tipped over by Wild Thing

The Steel Avenger managed to get off the wedge as Wild Thing tried pushing it towards Dead Metal, and it drove away to the centre of the arena. The Steel Avenger turned to face Wild Thing as it caught up. Wild Thing got under the side, but The Steel Avenger turned off the wedge. The Steel Avenger initially managed to keep its distance as Wild Thing chased, but Wild Thing soon caught up, drove under The Steel Avenger and tip it on its side. The right-hand self-righting spike was working, but not the left-hand side one the robot needed to right itself, and the axe was stuck in the floor, leaving The Steel Avenger unable to right itself.

"The right side cone flicks out, there's nothing on the left, the axe can't lift The Steel Avenger..."
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger fails to self-right
Steel Avenger piited

Wild Thing topples The Steel Avenger down the pit

The House Robots closed in, with Sir Killalot grabbing the top, ripping the top panels loose. The Steel Avenger was placed by the pit by Sir Killalot, and Wild Thing was allowed to add the final touch by pushing The Steel Avenger into the pit.

"They've come a long way, via Humphrey, via Sir Chromalot, they've been great fun, The Steel Avenger team, but it ends here and now for them."
— Jonathan Pearce as Wild Thing prepares to pit The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger was therefore eliminated, with Wild Thing going through to the Semi-Finals.

Kevin Cockerill: "They were just too fast for us."
Craig Charles: "That's what I was thinking, a very nippy robot that, isn't it? And every time you tried to get your axe on it, he was right behind ya!"
Kevin Cockerill: "That's right, yeah."
John Willoughby: "Difficult to turn around and get a good shot at it before he was in there."
— Post-battle interview

At the end of the series, The Steel Avenger won the Best Engineered Award, beating out the other nominees, including the previous year's winner Chaos 2 and another Series 4 Grand Finalist, Stinger.

"The team knew nothing about it until it was announced on TV. When they heard the news, they leapt around the room as though they had just won the lottery!"
Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide

Extreme 1Edit

"...we've come along here to do some serious damage to other robots, and kick some serious "ro-butt"!"
— John Willoughby in the team's introduction

The Steel Avenger took part in three tournaments during Extreme 1. It made its first appearance in Extreme Series 1 by in the Challenge Belt. This battle was the main event in the first episode of the series. The Steel Avenger was the first robot to challenge the original holders Behemoth.

"Will they dust off Behemoth, or be a feather in the cap of the belt holders?"
— Jonathan Pearce before the battle
Steel Avenger vs Behemoth 1

The Steel Avenger lands an early axe blow on Behemoth

Behemoth vs Steel Avenger 1

The two competitors briefly lock together

At the start of the battle, both robots drove straight at each other, with The Steel Avenger turning away as it hit Behemoth's scoop, dodging a blow from Behemoth's axe. The Steel Avenger drove behind the flame pit, with Behemoth close behind. The Steel Avenger drove up the arena, and as Behemoth followed it drove straight at Behemoth's side, hitting the top with its axe and pushing against Behemoth. Behemoth could not get away, and The Steel Avenger continued pushing it, landing a series of blows on Behemoth's top with the axe. Behemoth fired its scoop, but this did nothing to help it get away from The Steel Avenger's front, and The Steel Avenger kept pushing it around and axing it. Eventually, after being pushed into Refbot, Behemoth was able to reverse off of the front of The Steel Avenger. The Steel Avenger drove after it, but drove straight onto the scoop, allowing Behemoth to hold it up. However, Behemoth could not seem to tip it over, so dropped it. The Steel Avenger turned around to try and bring its lifter into play, but as it tried to drive around Behemoth it ran into the corner of the scoop. Behemoth lifted it, but The Steel Avenger tipped back down and drove past. As Behemoth turned around, The Steel Avenger drove at the front of Behemoth, but this proved to be a mistake, as it missed with the axe and Behemoth was easily able to flip it over, pinning it down with its scoop. As The Steel Avenger struggled to self-right, Behemoth pushed it, also hitting it with its axe. The feather duster fell off as The Steel Avenger was being pushed. Behemoth flipped The Steel Avenger back over, then immediately flipped it over onto the flame pit. The Steel Avenger's axe was stuck in the floor, so Refbot gave it a push, which also righted The Steel Avenger.

"Oh, what's the Refbot doing? He's nudged The Steel Avenger off the flame pit there! The crowd don't like it and neither do I, should have been left to lie, I think!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Refbot rights The Steel Avenger
Behemoth Steel Avenger near OoTA

Behemoth lifts The Steel Avenger onto an angle grinder

Behemoth vs. The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger balances on an angle grinder following one of Behemoth's flips

The Steel Avenger pushed against Behemoth's side, landing a blow with its axe as it pushed it up the arena, but then The Steel Avenger turned, leaving Behemoth free to tip its opponent over again. Before The Steel Avenger could right itself, Behemoth lifted it up against an angle grinder to try and get it out of the arena. The Steel Avenger managed to stay in, as it held onto one of the fence posts with its axe and one of its self-righting arms, then used its axe to push itself down from the fence. Behemoth pinned The Steel Avenger in the corner and lifted it up, then Sir Killalot came in. The Steel Avenger actually hit the House Robot on the helmet with its axe, knocking out both of his blinking red light eyes. Sir Killalot pushed it out of the CPZ, and The Steel Avenger escaped as Sir Killalot tried to grab it with his claw.

"...and The Steel Avenger, taking on Sir Killalot, hardly wise! Foolhardy! Jetting away, just escaping."
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger axes Sir Killalot, then escapes
Behemoth vs steel avenger

The Steel Avenger gets flipped by Behemoth

The Steel Avenger drove to the arena centre, and Behemoth chased after it. The Steel Avenger drove up the arena, but Behemoth soon caught up with it and flipped it over, pinning it down with the scoop by an empty CPZ. Behemoth reversed as Sir Killalot came over to their side of the arena, and as The Steel Avenger tried to right itself, Behemoth pushed it into the House Robot. Sir Killalot knocked The Steel Avenger back onto its wheels as it turned around, and The Steel Avenger charged at Behemoth's front. Behemoth flicked it up, but could not get it over. The Steel Avenger sped across the arena away from Behemoth, with Behemoth following, then turned to fight, only to drive straight into the scoop again and be flipped over.

"Moving quickly, trying to avoid trouble, knowing that it is the "second best" out there, really"
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger tries to keep away from Behemoth

The Steel Avenger was pushed into an empty CPZ by Behemoth, which tried to lift it against the fence, but didn't have the power. Behemoth left The Steel Avenger, which was overturned and could not right itself, as Sir Killalot came in, grabbed it with his claw and took it out of the CPZ.

"For me, The Steel Avenger's self-righting mechanism is finished, it looks immobilised."
— Jonathan Pearce as Sir Killalot grabs The Steel Avenger
Behemoth Steel Avenger Sir Killalot

The Steel Avenger is attacked by Sir Killalot as Behemoth tries to intervene

As Sir Killalot tried to lift up The Steel Avenger, Behemoth took advantage and got behind Sir Killalot, lifting it and causing the House Robot to fall forwards. Sir Killalot reversed and fell back, and continued attacking The Steel Avenger, but Behemoth continued trying to lift him, getting his scoop under his claw arm, so Sir Killalot dropped The Steel Avenger and chased Behemoth, so Behemoth drove away down the arena.

"We were actually trying to rescue Steel Avenger"
— Anthony Pritchard explains his motives for attacking Sir Killalot after the battle

Matilda pushed The Steel Avenger, before Behemoth came in and flipped it back over. The Steel Avenger reversed straight into Refbot, then reversed into the arena wall. Behemoth tried to get under the side, but The Steel Avenger reversed as Behemoth tried to flip it. The Steel Avenger tried escaping, but Behemoth was close behind and flipped it onto its side again. The Steel Avenger could not self-right, and Refbot counted it out as Behemoth opened the pit. Behemoth tried to push The Steel Avenger into the pit, but accidentally righted its beaten opponent by the pit, and The Steel Avenger sped away up the arena before cease was called.

Craig Charles: "What's all this about Behemoth being "pants"?"
John Willoughby: "Well, they are, aren't they?"
Craig Charles: "Well, if they're pants, you're knickers, I tell ya!"
— An interview that arose from Behemoth's team initially dismissing The Steel Avenger as a "pretty pants robot" before the fight

The Steel Avenger also fought in the Extreme Series 1 Tag Team Terror tournament, where it was teamed up with Suicidal Tendencies.

"We teamed up with Suicidal Tendencies to do the Tag Team event, as we had met each other before at Debenham and fought there. It seemed like a good idea to join forces and see what we could do together."
— John Willoughby[13]

In the first round, the pair went up against Napalm and Sir Chromalot.

"We are very confident, we're going to trash them in there! We're going to axe them to death"
— John Willoughby before the fight
Steel Avenger vs Napalm

The Steel Avenger buries its axe into Napalm

The Steel Avenger went out first against Napalm. The Steel Avenger charged at Napalm, but missed with its axe. The Steel Avenger reversed, and Napalm pushed against it, so The Steel Avenger fired the axe blow, which hit the front of Napalm, puncturing it.

"...and in goes that smashing axe of The Steel Avenger, denting the front of Napalm..."
— Jonathan Pearce

The Steel Avenger reversed, then rammed Napalm, pushing it back. After missing with the axe, The Steel Avenger reversed for another charge. Napalm turned around to try and bring its rear axes into play, and The Steel Avenger charged into it. However, its axe was blocked by Napalm's axes, so The Steel Avenger reversed for another charge. Napalm was rocking its rear axes up and down, but was not moving. The Steel Avenger pushed it a couple of times, clipped the side armour with the axe, then pushed it into an angle grinder.

"Napalm has the sort of twin fangs at the back, rocking it forwards in the axing motion, Napalm almost off balance, and The Steel Avenger coming in with a thrust to take advantage of that ill balance."
— Jonathan Pearce as Napalm 2 rocks back and forth, then is pushed by The Steel Avenger
SirCTSA

The Steel Avenger stuck on top of Sir Chromalot

Napalm reversed, but drove onto a CO2 vent by Suicidal Tendencies’ CPZ, and Suicidal Tendencies came out. The Steel Avenger went into the CPZ as Suicidal Tendencies fought Napalm, ripping the side loose, and The Steel Avenger came out as Napalm drove into it. Suicidal Tendencies returned to the CPZ as The Steel Avenger axed Napalm, but the House Robots had come out of the CPZs by this point, and Shunt pushed Napalm into Sir Killalot and axed The Steel Avenger. Sir Chromalot came out to fight The Steel Avenger as Napalm was lifted up by Sir Killalot and dropped out of the arena. The Steel Avenger tried unsuccessfully to use its lifter as the two fought by Sir Killalot's CPZ. and Suicidal Tendencies also came out to attack Sir Chromalot, which was slowing down. The Steel Avenger pushed against Suicidal Tendencies to urge it to stop and return to the CPZ. Sir Chromalot managed to flip up The Steel Avenger, getting it onto its top, but became stuck, so Sir Killalot and Suicidal Tendencies came out to push them apart. The Steel Avenger briefly became stuck on the scoop of its Tag Team partner, but Suicidal Tendencies managed to reverse and turn to get The Steel Avenger off.

TSAstuckonST

The Steel Avenger stuck on Suicidal Tendencies

"Oh! And the two team-mates having a bit of a dust-up here!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Sir Killalot opened the pit, as Sir Chromalot was barely moving, and Sir Killalot pushed Sir Chromalot into the pit.

Craig Charles: "...two people in the ring at once, flouting all the rules!"
Andrew Jeffrey: "Yeah, well, it's war! There's no rules in war!"
John Willoughby: "These things happen in war, don't they?"
— Post-battle interview

In Round 2, the pair were drawn against Cerberus and Thermidor 2.

Julia Reed: "It's The Steel Avenger and Suicidal Tendencies, up against the dog from hell and the lobster. Is that scary?"
John Willoughby: "I don't think so, I reckon it'll be dog and seafood on the menu."
Julia Reed: "Okay, do you think you're a good match for their match?"
John Willoughby: "Yeah, I think we're pretty well matched, or a bit better. I think we'll have the edge."
— Pre-battle interview
CerberusThermidorvsSteelAvengerSuicidalTendecies

The Steel Avenger attacks the lifeless Thermidor 2

Suicidal Tendencies went out first this time, against Cerberus. After some clashes between the two, Thermidor 2 came out of its CPZ, drove into Cerberus, then drove towards The Steel Avenger. Suicidal Tendencies pushed Thermidor 2 into the CPZ and pinned it against the wall. The Steel Avenger did not attack as Thermidor 2 escaped, but as Suicidal Tendencies fought Thermidor 2, The Steel Avenger attacked Cerberus, which had come out of its CPZ, axing its ramming head. The Steel Avenger then took on Thermidor 2 as Suicidal Tendencies attacked Cerberus.

"It's absolute mayhem! There's only supposed to be two robots out there at any one stage, and not for one moment in this semi-final has that happened!"
— Jonathan Pearce as all four robots fight
Steel Avenger vs Cerberus

The Steel Avenger barely misses the pit

The Steel Avenger dodged Thermidor 2's flipper, but then Thermidor 2 broke down, rolling onto the flame pit. The Steel Avenger axed between Themidor 2's wheel and body, and Cerberus rammed into them from behind, only for The Steel Avenger to push them back. Cerberus pushed Thermidor 2, but it was still immobile, and The Steel Avenger tried axing Cerberus but the blow deflected. As Cerberus fought Suicidal Tendencies, The Steel Avenger axed Thermidor 2 whilst it was being counted out by Refbot. It tried a second axe blow, but missed, and the axe became briefly stuck in the floor. After some rocking, The Steel Avenger got free. With Thermidor 2 counted out, The Steel Avenger reversed away as Sergeant Bash came in to attack Thermidor 2. Suicidal Tendencies pushed Cerberus, and The Steel Avenger opened the pit. Cerberus pushed The Steel Avenger against the wall, but The Steel Avenger used its lifter to lift Cerberus and turn itself off the wall. The Steel Avenger tried to push Cerberus into the pit, but pushed at the wrong angle, so Cerberus turned away and The Steel Avenger nearly fell into the pit itself.

"Both robots have to be immobilised of course to go out, there's the pit descending and The Steel Avenger nearly drove itself in!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The Steel Avenger pushed Cerberus up the arena and axed a large dent on it as the House Robots attacked Thermidor 2, and as The Steel Avenger reversed, Sir Killalot accidentally threw Thermidor 2 into it as he span the beaten robot around and threw it aside. Cerberus pushed against The Steel Avenger, and The Steel Avenger pushed it in reverse and lifted it up. The Steel Avenger left Cerberus as Suicidal Tendencies attacked it. Thermidor 2 was thrown by the floor flipper, straight into The Steel Avenger. As time ran out, The Steel Avenger chased after Cerberus until 'cease' was called. The battle went to a judges' decision, where The Steel Avenger and Suicidal Tendencies were declared the victors.

"...The Steel Avenger has an astonishing axe, and Suicidal Tendencies has that Razer-type claw. They're well balanced, and I'm going to go for them."
— Jonathan Pearce gives his prediction of the winners before the Final

The Steel Avenger and Suicidal Tendencies were then drawn against Diotoir and Pussycat in the Final. Both robots were concerned by Pussycat, but The Steel Avenger team also had to fight a grudge match Diotoir, which defeated it in Series 3.

John Willoughby: "We're gonna get in there, we're going to chop him [Pussycat] while they hold him."
Julia Reed: "And have got a message for Diotoir?"
John Willoughby: "I have. Watch out Diotoir, we're going to even the score!"
— Pre-battle interview
AllPartnersOut

Diotoir and The Steel Avenger come out without being tagged

Suicidal Tendencies went out first against Pussycat, grabbing hold of it with its crusher, but as Suicidal Tendencies pinned Pussycat against the wall, Diotoir came out to help its partner without being tagged, so The Steel Avenger also joined in the fight.

"They're all out there in the arena! All is fair in love and Tag Team Terror war!"
— Jonathan Pearce as the rules go out the window again
DiotoirPussycatvsSteelAvengerSuicidalTendencies

The Steel Avenger is flipped by Diotoir

Diotoir vs The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger is pinned down by Diotoir

However, before The Steel Avenger could reach Pussycat, Diotoir got under its side and flipped it over. The Steel Avenger tried to right itself, but the axes failed to push it onto its wheels. Diotoir then used its flipper to pin The Steel Avenger down as it tried to self-right. The Steel Avenger also started swinging its axe to try and self-right, but Diotoir kept pinning it down. Suicidal Tendencies pushed Pussycat between Diotoir and The Steel Avenger, which gave The Steel Avenger a moment to self-right.

"Tony Bates there, in the Steel Avenger team, will be pleased with the way they self-righted."
— Jonathan Pearce
SThelpsTSAselfright

Suicidal Tendencies helps The Steel Avenger to self-right

However, The Steel Avenger then drove into the side of its Tag Team partner, which allowed Diotoir to get under the side again and flip it over. Pussycat was ready, and started using its saw on the top of The Steel Avenger. Suicidal Tendencies charged at Pussycat, pushing it back to get it away from The Steel Avenger, but as The Steel Avenger tried to right itself, Diotoir pinned it down again. After a while, The Steel Avenger stopped trying to right itself, having seemingly lost power to its self-righting arms, so Suicidal Tendencies pushed it back over. Diotoir immediately tried to get under it, but The Steel Avenger turned away from the flipper. Pussycat opened the pit, and Suicidal Tendencies grabbed hold of it, then The Steel Avenger rammed into Pussycat, sending both robots spinning. The Steel Avenger went after Diotoir, but missed an axe blow, then drove up the arena. Diotoir drove up the arena, and tried to get under Suicidal Tendencies, but The Steel Avenger rammed into it, pushing it into Pussycat, before time ran out.

"Interesting how it worked out. Suicidal Tendencies locked with Pussycat almost all the way through, and Diotoir locked with The Steel Avenger. Diotoir won that battle I think, but the crucial element here is did Suicidal Tendencies get the better throughout over Pussycat?"
— Jonathan Pearce, analysing the battle

After a remarkably close battle, the Judges gave the win to Diotoir and Pussycat, consigning The Steel Avenger and Suicidal Tendencies to second place.

"I thought that, with the last thrust of the fight on our part, and the great control that ST was showing over Pussycat, we might have got the judges' decision. Craig kept us on tenterhooks as the result came through and it went to..... Pussycat and Diotoir! Ah well, we tried!"
— John Willoughby

The Steel Avenger later fought in a Mayhem qualifier battle for the right to fight in the second Annihilator of the series. It was placed up against Tornado and King B Powerworks, both of them being invertible 4-wheel drive 36 volt machines armed with small vertical spinning weapons.

Julia Reed: "Who are you most scared of?"
John Willoughby: "They're pretty evenly matched, I reckon, very different to us. It's going to be a tough fight, but there's only one robot comes out of this arena under its own power, and I wanna be that robot."
— Pre-battle interview
Tornado vs The Steel Avenger

Tornado pushes The Steel Avenger

Tornado drove at The Steel Avenger, but The Steel Avenger was fast enough to speed around it. The Steel Avenger tried to attack with its axe, catching the inside of Tornado's wheelguard, just as Tornado rammed into the side of The Steel Avenger, hitting it with its drum. The Steel Avenger was knocked onto the top of Tornado, which pushed it onto the flame pit, but The Steel Avenger drove off the top and chased after Tornado. Tornado dodged an axe blow, and kept its distance from The Steel Avenger for a moment, then turned around. When the two collided, they bounced off each other. The two turned around, and The Steel Avenger mistimed an axe blow, so Tornado hit the front with the disc. This lifted The Steel Avenger on top of Tornado, but hanging off the side, so as Tornado tried pushing it, The Steel Avenger slid off. The Steel Avenger tried to axe Tornado, but missed, then turned away as Tornado tried to push it. The Steel Avenger then turned its attentions to King B Powerworks, which had been following its two opponents but holding back. The Steel Avenger got behind King B Powerworks, but King B Powerworks got away before The Steel Avenger could fire the axe. The Steel Avenger then chased after Tornado, hitting it with its axe, but this did no damage. Tornado rammed The Steel Avenger into the arena wall, then pushed them top an entry gate. The Steel Avenger reversed away, past Refbot, with Tornado following it. The Steel Avenger managed to get its lifter under Tornado, and flicked it up. Tornado almost got at the side of The Steel Avenger again, but The Steel Avenger drove away. Tornado rammed King B Powerworks, then The Steel Avenger. As it pushed The Steel Avenger, Tornado cut a huge hole in the side armour.

"They hit us broadside on and our right-hand side panel just exploded! That was a 10mm sheet of new polycarb which just shouldn't do that. The result was a big hole in our side, but no damage done to any of the works."
— John Willoughby
The Steel Avenger vs King B Powerworks vs Tornado

King B Powerworks rams an immobile Tornado

The Steel Avenger reversed away, with Tornado chasing after it. Tornado was right in front of The Steel Avenger, but as it fired the axe, King B Powerworks rammed the side of Tornado, so The Steel Avenger missed. Tornado broke down from King B Powerworks' attack, and The Steel Avenger landed an axe blow on it.

"So, we're left with two, I would think, The Steel Avenger and King B. Certainly the Refbot has come in now, to count Tornado out. They're going and this is a great contest now."
— Jonathan Pearce
King B loses wheel

The Steel Avenger's ram breaks one of King B Powerworks' wheels off

King B Powerworks' forks briefly became stuck in the side of Tornado, but it managed to reverse itself free. The Steel Avenger reversed into King B Powerworks, lifting it with its rear lifter and pushing it into Shunt. The Steel Avenger and King B Powerworks continued to fight, each ramming each other, and trying to get the best position to attack, whilst Tornado was put on the floor flipper, counted out by Refbot and then thrown by the floor flipper. Eventually, King B Powerworks got its forks into the front of The Steel Avenger, and dragged it to the pit release button. The Steel Avenger axed the front wheel of King B Powerworks and slid off the fork as it hit the button, and after reversing into Shunt, The Steel Avenger rammed into the front wheel, which broke off.

"The side-on assault by The Steel Avenger, coming in on King B, and there goes the wheel! That hit that with the full power of 100 kilos at fifteen miles an hour, and there are three wheels on that particular wagon now!"
— Jonathan Pearce watches the replay of King B Powerworks losing a wheel
Steel Avenger vs Matilda

The Steel Avenger is thrown by Matilda

The Steel Avenger pinned King B Powerworks against the wall, and continued to axe it. King B Powerworks could not get away or attack effectively due to its missing wheel. However, as it was attacking King B Powerworks, it accidentally drove into Matilda's CPZ. Despite only driving on the edge, Matilda hit it with its flywheel, throwing it aside and ripping a large gash in the front.

"The clock ticking down, and certainly for me The Steel Avenger has won this one … oh! But look at that right at the end! Well surely Matilda should not have been able to do that anyway! I don't think The Steel Avenger goes into the CPZ and I don't think Matilda can go on the attack. Let's have a look. Red warning line, but not into the CPZ! Matilda, you should not have thrown The Avenger!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Time ran out, and the judges were required to decide which of the two mobile robots would go through. The Judges judged up to the point where Matilda intervened, and went for The Steel Avenger, which was through to the Annihilator, but ten hours of solid work was needed to get it ready.

Craig Charles: "What did you think when Matilda hit you then?"
John Willoughby: "Felt like another flying lesson!"
Craig Charles: "You need a parachute when Matilda hits you with that flywheel!"
John Willoughby: "I didn't realise we were so close, otherwise I'd have sort of kept away."
— Post battle interview

In the Annihilator, The Steel Avenger was up against Panic Attack, Fighting Torque, Disc-O-Inferno, Napalm 2 (which it beat in the Tag Team Terror) and Spirit of Knightmare.

Julia Reed: "Looking forward to this?"
John Willoughby: "Yeah, should be a good fight. We're going to go in there and chop anything that comes near us with the axe, and we're not gonna give up, we're gonna go out fighting! Death before dishonour!"
— Pre-Round 1 interview
SoK vs Napalm 2

The Steel Avenger approaches Napalm 2 as Panic Attack lifts it

TSAaxesSOK

The Steel Avenger axes Spirit of Knightmare

The Steel Avenger started by getting behind Panic Attack as it was lifting Disc-O-Inferno. The Steel Avenger fired the axe, but Panic Attack dodged it as it was pushing Disc-O-Inferno. The Steel Avenger reversed, before charging into Fighting Torque, pushing it to the arena wall. The Steel Avenger followed Fighting Torque as it reversed, and tried to axe it, but Fighting Torque pushed past The Steel Avenger, causing it to miss. The Steel Avenger drove around its opponents, getting behind Napalm 2, which was on top of Spirit of Knightmare, and being lifted by Panic Attack. As The Steel Avenger prepared to attack Napalm 2, Disc-O-Inferno hit the side of Napalm 2 with its disc then hit The Steel Avenger, ripping a part off Napalm 2, but merely bouncing of The Steel Avenger. The Steel Avenger hit Napalm 2 with the axe, but failed to do much damage, and missed another axe blow as Panic Attack pulled it back. Panic Attack pulled Napalm 2 off Spirit of Knightmare and dropped it off its top, then rammed into The Steel Avenger. The Steel Avenger reversed into Napalm 2, trying to use its lifter, but was blocked by Napalm 2's axes, and then Fighting Torque rammed into it. As Spirit of Knightmare got under Napalm 2 and pushed it, The Steel Avenger fired the axe at Napalm 2, but both of their axes crossed together, then it axed Spirit of Knightmare.

"...the main brunt of the attack is on Spirit of Knightmare and Napalm 2"
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger axes Spirit of Knightmare
PAliftsTSA

Panic Attack lifts The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger turned away as it got near to Sir Killalot, but turned onto Panic Attack's skirts. After getting free, The Steel Avenger drove at Panic Attack, but was lifted up and pushed around.

"...once again The Steel Avenger, with the feather duster, tell-tale insignia on the back, is in the mix of things."
— Jonathan Pearce as Panic Attack lifts The Steel Avenger
SAramsHippo

The Steel Avenger rams Hippobotomus

Panic Attack dropped it, and The Steel Avenger followed Panic Attack as it pushed Fighting Torque, but reversed away without attacking. The Steel Avenger then drove at the front of Fighting Torque and started pushing, but Spirit of Knightmare briefly got under it as it pushed, allowing Fighting Torque to turn away. The Steel Avenger kept chasing Fighting Torque, but upon catching up with it, it drove away to escape Disc-O-Inferno. As Panic Attack tried getting under Fighting Torque, The Steel Avenger drove at the front of Panic Attack, then went after Fighting Torque as it escaped up the arena. Panic Attack followed The Steel Avenger, trying to get under it with the forks, so The Steel Avenger drove away. The Steel Avenger drove after Napalm 2, but Spirit of Knightmare followed, so The Steel Avenger turned to fight them instead. As The Steel Avenger turned, it drove onto the wedge of Spirit of Knightmare, and missed its axe blow. Spirit of Knightmare could not flip, and The Steel Avenger got free. The Steel Avenger then held back as Fighting Torque's plastic armour was ripped apart by Disc-O-Inferno. The Steel Avenger managed to axe Spirit of Knightmare's flipper, however this attack wasn't properly shown as the attention was drawn to Panic Attack and Disc-O-Inferno tussling. Spirit of Knightmare then forced Disc-O-Inferno into Matilda's flywheel. Both Fighting Torque and Napalm 2 were immobilised, but as the former was immobilised first, it was counted out, putting the other five through to the next round.

Napalm 2 was forced to withdraw from the Annihilator due to the damage that it sustained in the first round battle, putting the other four through to the next round.

Julia Reed: "What about you, team? Word in the pits is you've done the least work."
John Willoughby: "Well, we changed the batteries, tightened a few bolts, but we took a lot of stick from the Disc-O boys, there's a big bend in the back, all the chassis' bent, but I think it still runs ok."
Julia Reed: "But you could be holding up the strongest."
John Willoughby: "We hope so."
Julia Reed: "Good luck"
— Pre-Round 3 interview
Panic Attack vs The Steel Avenger

Panic Attack pins The Steel Avenger against the wall

In the second round, The Steel Avenger started by turning towards Panic Attack, but then reversed up the arena. Spirit of Knightmare slid under The Steel Avenger and flipped it onto its side. The Steel Avenger landed on the forks of Panic Attack, which had also drivin up the arena after it. Panic Attack pushed The Steel Avenger against the top arena wall, and lifted it up, holding it upright. Panic Attack then reversed, dropping The Steel Avenger, which righted itself. The Steel Avenger drove in front of Panic Attack, then turned around and drove past before it could attack, but then turned away from Spirit of Knightmare, driving straight onto Panic Attack's forks, allowing Panic Attack to lift it up.

"Panic Attack senses though, that The Steel Avenger is the weakest here."
— Jonathan Pearce as Panic Attack lifts The Steel Avenger
Panic attack vs steel avenger vs spirit of knightmare

The Steel Avenger gets its axe in on Panic Attack

Panic Attack tipped The Steel Avenger onto its side, but then reversed, and The Steel Avenger righted itself, helped by a ram from Spirit of Knightmare. As Panic Attack lifted Disc-O-Inferno, The Steel Avenger charged into its side and fired the axe, hitting just below the forklifts. Spirit of Knightmare rammed into the back of Panic Attack, getting underneath it, but then The Steel Avenger charged into the side of Spirit of Knightmare, ramming it into the top arena wall. The Steel Avenger then drove down the arena and rammed into Disc-O-Inferno, pushing against the side, before driving up the arena to attack Panic Attack. The Steel Avenger got at the side of Panic Attack as it pushed Spirit of Knightmare, hitting the top with the axe. Disc-O-Inferno suddenly charged at The Steel Avenger, sending it spinning onto Spirit of Knightmare, which pushed it down the arena. The Steel Avenger managed to turn itself off the flipper, then rammed into the back of Panic Attack. Panic Attack turned against The Steel Avenger, causing it to miss with the axe, and The Steel Avenger reversed, then attacked Spirit of Knightmare. The Steel Avenger pushed it, then turned and got at the side of Panic Attack after it opened the pit, hitting the top with the axe.

"In goes The Steel Avenger axe, the pneumatic axe, John Willoughby was saying it's just about to axe anyone!"
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger axes Panic Attack
SoK vs The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger is fatally flipped

The Steel Avenger reversed for another charge, but Panic Attack drove away. Spirit of Knightmare reversed into The Steel Avenger, trying to use its rear axes. The Steel Avenger pushed back against it, but Spirit of Knightmare turned away, causing The Steel Avenger to miss with the axe. The Steel Avenger then drove up the arena, and tried tilting Disc-O-Inferno with its lifter, before taking a buffeting from the flywheel. Disc-O-Inferno drove back down the arena, dodging an axe blow. The Steel Avenger then tried to axe Panic Attack, but Panic Attack reversed. The Steel Avenger then drove onto the forks and fired the axe, puncturing one of Panic Attack's skirts. Spirit of Knightmare took advantage, getting under The Steel Avenger, pushing it away from Panic Attack and flipping it over. Disc-O-Inferno then hit Spirit of Knightmare and bounced into the base of The Steel Avenger. The Steel Avenger could not self-right, having exhausted most of its gas, and was counted out.

Craig Charles: "We thought you and Panic Attack would be the last two men standing."
Jackie Willoughby: "Yeah, we did as well!"
— Post-battle interview

However, after the battle, Panic Attack was also forced to withdraw, due to damage from The Steel Avenger and Disc-O-Inferno, although this did not lead to The Steel Avenger's reinstatement.

"As it turns out, we didn't go out alone. We had all caused so much damage to Panic Attack that he was out of it as well. We had hit them very hard, and Kim said that we had broken their front fork actuators. They were indeed smashed very badly and it was more than a pits job to put it back together. Also Panic Attack's back end had been hit so hard by Disco that it was very badly damaged and the magnets had gone in one of the motors...but it was good to be instrumental in taking out one of Robot Wars' most celebrated machines"
— John Willoughby

Series 5Edit

"Next, gleaming under the warzone lights, it's the sleek and shiny Steel Avenger. A powerful axe, and this year back with an improved srimech and a breastplate or two."
— Phillipa Forrester introduces The Steel Avenger at the start of the Heat

The Steel Avenger returned for the corresponding main competition and was surprisingly unseeded for the Fifth Wars, despite reaching the Heat Final of the previous series and winning an award. The robot competed in Heat A of the main competition and was placed up against Scottish newcomers, The Tartan Terror, in the first round.

Steel Avenger vs Tartan Terror

The Steel Avenger axes The Tartan Terror

The Steel Avenger started slowly, as its opponent was having steering problems, driving into the wall before reversing into The Steel Avenger as it approached. The Steel Avenger swerved around it, getting behind it as it span, and firing the axe, but it merely glanced off. The Steel Avenger backed off, then charged, pushing The Tartan Terror towards Sir Killalot, axing it as it did. The Steel Avenger reversed for another push, but The Tartan Terror span, deflecting The Steel Avenger, causing it to miss with the axe. Sir Killalot pushed The Tartan Terror away from the CPZ as it span, and The Steel Avenger tried to axe it, but missed as it was not close enough. The Tartan Terror reversed straight into Sir Killalot, who blocked it with its claw, allowing The Steel Avenger to come in and axe The Tartan Terror. As Sir Killalot let The Tartan Terror go, it drove into The Steel Avenger, which missed with the axe. The Steel Avenger reversed for another attack as The Tartan Terror span. The Steel Avenger got at the side and axed the top of The Tartan Terror, then reversed for another charge. The Steel Avenger charged at The Tartan Terror as it span, but was knocked aside by the spinning Tartan Terror, causing it to miss with its axe.

"...The Tartan Terror? Who's it terrorising then? Certainly not The Steel Avenger! Even a feather duster can do that sort of damage!"
— Jonathan Pearce
The Steel Avenger vs The Tartan Terror

The Steel Avenger uses its rear flipper

The Tartan Terror then stopped moving as The Steel Avenger turned around to use its lifter. The Steel Avenger lifted The Tartan Terror up a couple of times, then pushed it towards Shunt. Shunt axed The Tartan Terror, and after missing a couple of axe blows, The Steel Avenger hit the top of The Tartan Terror as Shunt pushed it away.

"Bravely carrying the Scottish flag, but will The Steel Avenger send them homeward, to think again?"
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger pushed The Tartan Terror into Shunt, referencing the song "Flower of Scotland"

Shunt and Sir Killalot came out of their CPZs to attack as it became clear The Tartan Terror was immobile, with Shunt axing it, as well as The Steel Avenger. The Steel Avenger then held back as Shunt continued to attack and Refbot counted The Tartan Terror out. After Shunt put The Tartan Terror onto the flame pit, The Steel Avenger landed another axe blow on it, before Shunt put it on the floor flipper. Sir Killalot put it back on the floor flipper again, and The Steel Avenger was through. However, The Steel Avenger limped out of the arena with a flat tire, from running over one of the Tartan Terror's studs that had come loose.

After the team fixed the machine, The Steel Avenger's next opponent was the two-time Robot Wars winner and reigning champion, Chaos 2.

"We have become good friends with the Chaos team, and they are really nice people, but that wasn't going to stop us trying to do whatever we could to win"
— John Willoughby
Steel avenger vs chaos 2

The Steel Avenger's axe pierces Chaos 2

The Steel Avenger started by driving down the arena as Chaos 2 drove at it, turning to face Chaos 2, then reversing away and driving up the arena as Chaos 2 chased it. The Steel Avenger turned around to fight Chaos 2 head-on, but Chaos 2 got under the front, and just as The Steel Avenger hit the top of Chaos 2 with the axe, it was immediately flipped over with ease.

"Can anyone stop Chaos 2's rampage to glory, once again? The Steel Avenger, not with form like that!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Chaos 2 flipped The Steel Avenger over
Chaos 2 vs Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger gets flung into the air by Chaos 2

As The Steel Avenger tried to self-right, Chaos 2 flipped it again, sending it somersaulting over. The Steel Avenger righted itself, and dodged Chaos 2, then turned to fight, driving straight onto the flipper, only to be flipped again before the axe could even land on its opponent. The Steel Avenger tried to self-right, only to be thrown by Chaos 2 again. The Steel Avenger landed with its self-righting arms and lifter open, so was stuck, but Chaos 2 flipped it again, and The Steel Avenger landed on its wheels. Again, The Steel Avenger dodged Chaos 2 as it came in, then turned to fight and was flipped over.

"Another buffeting and bashing by Chaos 2, brilliantly controlled as ever by George Francis, on the attack. Once and twice and thrice. The Steel Avenger, all chrome and shiny steel, but all that glitters is not gold perhaps, for John and Jackie Willoughby and Tony Bates, because already they're up against it."
— Jonathan Pearce as Chaos 2 flips The Steel Avenger around
Chaos 2 Steel Avenger 2

The Steel Avenger edges Chaos 2 aside

The Steel Avenger self-righted straight away, then as Chaos 2 chased it, turned around drove over the flipper as Chaos 2 tried to flip it, so Chaos 2 only managed to lift it a little. The Steel Avenger kept its distance from Chaos 2, then turned and fired the axe at Chaos 2, puncturing the flipper, but was flipped over again. It self-righted on the first attempt, but Chaos 2 was ready, so The Steel Avenger tipped itself straight onto its flipper. Chaos 2 flipped again, but The Steel Avenger landed on its wheels. The Steel Avenger turned around for another attack, but it was clearly hobbling. It tried to get at the side of Chaos 2, but drove onto the flipper and was tipped up and over.

"Once again though, that 2cm ground clearance is the Achilles heel..."
— Jonathan Pearce
Steel avenger oota

The Steel Avenger lands outside the arena

The Steel Avenger righted itself again, and reversed away as Chaos 2 chased it. The Steel Avenger turned, driving into the flipper, but turned away before Chaos 2 could flip, and after driving into Refbot, turned to attack Chaos 2, but hit the side instead of the front and missed with the axe. However, it was able to push Chaos 2 towards the arena wall. Chaos 2 reversed, as did The Steel Avenger, then The Steel Avenger drove straight into the flipper of Chaos 2. Chaos 2 got at The Steel Avenger's side and flipped it over, and when The Steel Avenger righted itself, Chaos 2 was waiting, positioned so The Steel Avenger would tip itself onto its flipper. With one push, Chaos 2 rammed The Steel Avenger into the corner and flipped it onto the fence. The Steel Avenger toppled over the fence and fell out of the arena, landing on a studio light.

"...and there they go! I thought that was the way it was going to end and even they [The Steel Avenger team] loved it! Systematically pushed towards the arena side wall, and in the end over and out!"
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger is flipped out of the arena

The Steel Avenger was therefore eliminated from the Fifth Wars.

Craig Charles: "Fantastic self-righting! And you know something? When I saw the draw, I thought you're in with a chance, because one thing Chaos 2 is vulnerable to, it's axes."
John Willoughby: "Yeah, he's very nippy though, I mean I got him once, I think!"
— Post-battle intervew

Extreme 2Edit

"We teamed up with the Lightning boys...their first appearance on Robot Wars and we were pleased to be partnering such a well-built machine."
— John Willoughby

The Steel Avenger came out of retirement, for what was intended to be the last time before it was to be replaced with SA2. It returned to compete in the Tag Team Terror tournament, without the feather duster this time, but since Suicidal Tendencies was no longer competing in Robot Wars, The Steel Avenger fought alongside a new Tag Team partner, newcomers to the televised show Lightning. For this tournament, The Steel Avenger had Lightning bolt stickers added to the sides to match Lightning, and the Lightning team wore silver breastplates to match The Steel Avenger team.

Phillipa Forrester: "What are your tactics?"
John Willoughby: "Get in there and smack 'em hard!"
— Pre-battle interview

In the first round, the pair was placed up against Nasty Humphrey and Stinger.

SAStinger

The Steel Avenger pushes Stinger

At first in the battle, Lightning went out to fight Nasty Humphrey. After a promising start from Lightning, which pushed Nasty Humphrey around, Stinger came out. Stinger slammed the top of Lightning, then started spinning, so Lightning tagged The Steel Avenger. The Steel Avenger drove into the centre of the arena, and dodged Stinger as it swung its mace and missed. The Steel Avenger got at the side of Stinger, but missed when it fired the axe.

"Worthy opponents, Steel Avenger, down comes their heavy axe. They were Tag Team finalists before in Robot Wars."
— Jonathan Pearce
Stinger Steel Avenger pit

The Steel Avenger pits Stinger...

Steel Avenger pit

...and falls in with it

The Steel Avenger reversed, and as Stinger span on the spot, The Steel Avenger charged into it, which stopped their spinning. After reversing for another charge, The Steel Avenger rammed Stinger; this impact also caused Stinger to lose drive in one of its wheels. The Steel Avenger drove down the arena and opened the pit, then used its plough shaped front to nudge Stinger towards the pit, as it rocked back and forth. The Steel Avenger eventually pushed Stinger into the pit, but drove too far forwards, causing it to topple into the pit as well.

"Stinger on the brink! And down! Oh, and Steel Avenger follows through and goes down into the pit as well! So they're out of it, leaving Nasty Humphrey and Lightning to fight again, and the bout will end as it started..."
— Jonathan Pearce

This left Lightning alone to fight Nasty Humphrey once again, however Lightning managed to defeat Nasty Humphrey on a judges' decision, meaning that Lightning and The Steel Avenger were put through to the second round of the competition.

In the Semi-Final round, The Steel Avenger and Lightning were placed up against Robochicken and Bulldog Breed, who had previously defeated the reigning Tag Team Terror champions in the first round of the competition.

Phillipa Forrester: "What are you going to do? I mean, you can't chop up a chicken if you're vegetarian?"
John Willoughby: "Well, we can chop it up, but we can leave it there."
— In the pre-battle interview
Lightning bash Steel avenger

The Steel Avenger rescues Lightning

Again, Lightning went out first, against Bulldog Breed. Bulldog Breed flipped Lightning against the fence trying to get it out of the arena, and Lightning was left stuck, right side up, against the wall angle grinder. Bulldog Breed then reversed away as The Steel Avenger came out to help Lightning down from the wall.

"I said to John, "Get Steel Avenger out and pull us off, you know - cheat!" Because you're meant to tag, but there was no way I could tag him"
— Laurie Calvert on YouTube[14]
BBramsTSA

Bulldog Breed rams The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger pushed Lightning off the wall, and Sgt. Bash came out and pinned them against the wall for this rule breach. The Steel Avenger reversed against Sgt. Bash as Bulldog Breed continued to flip Lightning, and returned to the CPZ. Bulldog Breed continued flipping Lightning against the fence, trying to get it out, then took on Growler when it became clear that Lightning was out of action completely from a lost radio battery. Bulldog Breed then got underneath The Steel Avenger and rammed it into its CPZ, flipping it against their partner Robochicken. The Steel Avenger righted itself, but Robochicken flipped it. The Steel Avenger reversed out of the CPZ, straight into Bulldog Breed, and despite managing to push Bulldog Breed back a little, when they tried to lift Bulldog Breed, the flip merely lifted up their flipper, and Bulldog Breed got under them, driving under them, with The Steel Avenger falling over the top. Bulldog Breed drove back at The Steel Avenger, which missed an axe blow by turning too far. Bulldog Breed then went after Lightning as it was counted out.

"It'll leave Steel Avenger to fight on alone."
— Jonathan Pearce as Lightning is counted out
Robochicken steel avenger

Robochicken plucks The Steel Avenger from the ground

The Steel Avenger followed, but missed with the axe and Bulldog Breed flipped it on its side. The Steel Avenger self-righted, and tried to reverse away, but Bulldog Breed blocked them, and the two robots drove into Sgt. Bash. The Steel Avenger got away from Sgt. Bash, but Bulldog Breed got under The Steel Avenger again, and flipped it onto its side, pinning it there with its flipper. The Steel Avenger self-righted as Robochicken came out, but drove straight onto the flipper and was overturned.

""Who Did That?" Well you're out of c-luck, because it was the Robochicken on the attack, and it's two against one at the moment."
— Jonathan Pearce as Robochicken flips The Steel Avenger
Steel avenger lightning

The two beaten machines

The Steel Avenger righted itself again, and tried to attack with its axe, but the first blow was blocked by Robochicken's axe, then the second blow missed. Robochicken then flipped it onto its side, from which it could not self-right due to low gas.

"...and I don't think it's going to do too much avenging for its fallen team mate, Lightning."
— Jonathan Pearce as The Steel Avenger is flipped onto its side

Cease was soon called, and The Steel Avenger and Lightning were eliminated from the competition.

Craig Charles: "You got the axe working, eventually."
Jackie Willoughby: "It was working all the time!"
Craig Charles: "Well it wasn't hitting anything at first, you started getting a few hits in."
Jackie Willoughby: "Well, they kept getting out of the way."
— Post-battle interview

Series 7Edit

"...Steel Avenger, very experienced in the eye of survival over the years, one big question, why has it never really succeeded?"
— Jonathan Pearce before Steel Avenger's first battle

SA2 was due to attempt to qualify for the Seventh Wars, but it wasn't completed coming up to the time of the qualifiers, so the team brought the original version of The Steel Avenger - now known simply as Steel Avenger - back out of retirement once again to fight for one last time, with a few modifications.

"It turned out that we were in the 'Heat of Doom (or Death)' as various people had called it, being grouped with some nasty spinners such as Shredder and Supernova. Storm 2 was also in this heat and was a very powerful rambot. As it turned out, the first fight of the group was between Supernova, Storm 2, Mayhem and Rhino, which kept us out of the worst of it, thank goodness. There were some awful noises coming out of the arena from where we were standing."
— John Willoughby

In its first round melee, Steel Avenger was placed up against previous heat finalist Shredder Evolution and new robots to the main competition in Trax and Sub-Version 1.1.

Jayne Middlemiss: "Here you are again, it's four years old, the robot. Is it gonna cope with the new technology and the hardness of this years Seventh Wars?"
John Willoughby: "Well, it might do, it's as tough as old boots, this thing. It's been kicked around, it's been flying through the air from Chaos 2, it stands a good chance of getting somewhere."
— Interview before Round 1
Steel Avenger axes Shredder Evolution

Steel Avenger drags Shredder Evolution onto the flame pit

Steel Avenger started by staying away from its opponents, but then as Shredder Evolution attacked Sub-Version 1.1, Steel Avenger rammed into its side, pushing it across the arena, with the help of Sub-Version 1.1. Steel Avenger rammed Shredder Evolution into a CPZ, then reversed away up the arena. Shredder Evolution hurtled after it, so Steel Avenger turned and reversed down the arena. Trax drove after it, and soon caught up by an empty CPZ. Steel Avenger managed to get off the front wedge as Trax tried to get under it, but then turned to attack as it drove up Trax's wedge again, brought its axe down on top, and Trax flipped it over.

"The Steel Avenger has the mighty axe down, and you've seen there, the flipper straight away, of Trax. The Steel Avenger can self-right."
— Jonathan Pearce as Trax flipped Steel Avenger
Steel Avenger Trax

Steel Avenger is thrown onto its side by Trax

Steel Avenger quickly self-righted, and drove to the top of the arena where the other three robots were fighting. It drove at Sub-Version 1.1, but glanced off the side and missed with its axe. It then got at the side of Shredder Evolution, but as it tried to line up its axe, Shredder Evolution turned away. Steel Avenger turned after it, and hit the top with the axe. The axe bounced off the top, but landed by one of the wheels, stopping that wheel turning and allowing Steel Avenger to push Shredder Evolution.

"The axe of Steel Avenger has caught hold of Shredder Evolution. I thought those tyres always looked exposed."
— Jonathan Pearce as Steel Avenger gets its axe stuck in Shredder Evolution

Steel Avenger pushed Shredder Evolution onto the flame pit, and Steel Avenger held it there, despite Trax pushing against its side, before letting go. Steel Avenger reversed for a charge, then drove into Shredder Evolution, which bounced off. Steel Avenger drove into Sub-Version 1.1, which drove away, so Steel Avenger got at the side of Trax instead. Trax kept away from Steel Avenger, so Steel Avenger missed with its axe, off-screen however it tried again and managed to hit the top of Trax. Steel Avenger chased after Trax, but Trax turned to face Steel Avenger, and Steel Avenger drove straight onto the flipper, and Trax flipped it onto its side. As before, Steel Avenger self-righted straight away, then got at the side of Shredder Evolution, landing an axe blow on the top.

"Been around a long time, Steel Avenger, Robot Wars 3, 4 and 5 … good pedigree, then. Durability, all four of them have shown that."
— Jonathan Pearce reflects on Steel Avenger's history as it axes Shredder Evolution
Subversion gets pitted

Steel Avenger watches on as Trax pits Sub-Version 1.1

Steel Avenger kept Shredder Evolution pinned after a second axe blow, and tried dragging it, but Shredder Evolution managed to shake itself free of the axe. Steel Avenger reversed away from Shredder Evolution, but its axe arm got bent as it was hit by Shredder Evolution's disc, while Trax pitted Sub-Version 1.1, just as time ran out. The battle went to a judges' decision, which ruled in favour of Steel Avenger and Trax.

"Controversy reigns again on Robot Wars, what are you thinking?"
— Craig Charles, to the judges, upon hearing the decision

The second round saw Steel Avenger drawn against the experienced Team Reactor, with their limping Rhino machine.

Jayne Middlemiss: "How much damage did you take in Round 1?"
John Willoughby: "Not an awful lot, Shredder cut us up around the front, but Tony's done all the panels, I've hammered it all flat, so we're all back together again."
Jayne Middlemiss: "You caused a lot of damage, I must admit."
John Willoughby: "Yeah, I thought we did better than maybe a few people thought we would, so I was quite pleased. I didn't think we'd be standing here now, ready to go into another round, I thought we'd be on our way home."
Jayne Middlemiss: "Well, you are standing here, this is Round 2, this is for a place in the final. How are your nerves?"
John Willoughby: "Not too bad, not too bad."
— Interview after the first round melee
SAaxesRhino

Steel Avenger axes Rhino

Steel Avenger started by driving at Rhino's front, just by the flipper, so Rhino missed when it fired the flipper. Steel Avenger then quickly drove behind Rhino and axed it a couple of times, puncturing Rhino's armour.

"They wanted to come into this series of Robot Wars with a new machine, they've gone with the old guard, and it's served them well so far."
— Jonathan Pearce as Steel Avenger axes Rhino
Steel Avenger Rhino

Rhino pushes Steel Avenger. Note that Rhino is covered with dents and holes

Rhino turned against Steel Avenger, causing it to miss with the axe. Rhino tried to push past Steel Avenger, but this allowed it to land another blow on its top. After reversing close to Growler in the CPZ, Rhino quickly moved away, but drove into the arena wall. Steel Avenger got at Rhino's front as it tried to turn away from the wall, and though Rhino missed with its flipper, Steel Avenger missed a couple of blows and Rhino drove past. Steel Avenger drove after it, but Rhino reversed, and Steel Avenger missed with the axe again. Rhino got its flipper under the front of Steel Avenger, but only managed to flick it up a little. Rhino tried to use its raised flipper to pin Steel Avenger down, but Steel Avenger pushed it and axed the side. Rhino pushed Steel Avenger, and Steel Avenger turned away to get free of the flipper.

"They're locked together. This is very close so far, because Rhino's doing the pushing there."
— Jonathan Pearce

Steel Avenger was suffering from leaking batteries, but still managed to activate the pit release button. Steel Avenger then drove at the side of Rhino's flipper, which failed to lift Steel Avenger as it fired. Rhino tried pinning Steel Avenger down with its flipper again, then drove up the arena. Steel Avenger followed, and Rhino was now moving very slowly. Rhino tried reversing away from Steel Avenger, but Steel Avenger pinned it against the wall and axed the top. The axe pierced Rhino's top, allowing Steel Avenger to turn it away from the wall before letting it go.

"Steel Avenger, beginning now, just to put points on the board, should it go to a judges' decision. Hurtling after Rhino. The Rhino, very much an endangered species out there in the warzone."
— Jonathan Pearce as Steel Avenger axes Rhino
SAnearlypitsitself

Steel Avenger nearly pits itself

Rhino reversed away, but Steel Avenger was close behind it, and after missing with the axe a couple of times, punctured the top with the axe. At this point, Rhino stopped moving completely, so Steel Avenger pushed Rhino to the edge of the pit. Steel Avenger tried using its lifter to tip Rhino into the pit, but as it pushed it nearly drove into the pit itself.

"Oh! Steel Avenger, nearly went straight on through, and into the pit!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Steel Avenger nearly falls in
Rhino Steel Avenger 1

Steel Avenger is flicked up by Rhino

The steel avenger pits rhino

Steel Avenger pushes Rhino into the pit

Steel Avenger drove around the pit to the other side of Rhino, and after axing it again, drove at the front and tried pushing it into the pit. Rhino did manage to lift Steel Avenger up, but Steel Avenger slid of the flipper, and the raised flipper then made it easy for Steel Avenger to push it into the pit.

Craig Charles: "Well, you heard me say you're a good robot, but you're not a brilliant robot, but do you know why? It's because you never improve it! You come back, year after year as the same thing!"
John Willoughby: "Well, it's the same old robot, I've got another one that's halfway complete, but I couldn't get it finished in time for this series."
Craig Charles: "Okay, so we've got a new robot for the next series, have we?"
John Willoughby: "I hope so, SA2, it's going to be."
— Post-battle interview

Steel Avenger was therefore through to the Heat Final, where it was drawn against the number 16 seeds Storm 2, a team which lived locally to Team Steel Avenger.

Jayne Middlemiss: "How are you going to defend against that?"
John Willoughby: "Well, every time they get in front of us, we're going to hit them with the axe, and ... I don't know. If everything lands in the right place, bit of luck, we might get something vital!"
Jayne Middlemiss: "How are you feeling? You feeling nervous or confident?"
Jackie Willoughby: "I feel great! We're here for a good time, and we're gonna really give it our best!"
— Interview before the Heat Final
Steel Avenger vs Storm 2 1

Steel Avenger pins itself in the arena floor

At the start, the two robots circled each other, and when Steel Avenger drove onto Storm 2, Storm 2 quickly drove under Steel Avenger. When Steel Avenger fired its axe, it missed its strike, and also catching the axe pick in the arena floor. After a struggle, Steel Avenger managed to pull its axe free of the arena floor.

"Steel Avenger, has pinned itself onto the arena floor, and was lucky to get away!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Steel Avenger gets its axe stuck in the floor
Steel avenger vs storm 2

Storm 2 effortlessly shoves Steel Avenger

Storm 2 was behind it, and Steel Avenger turned around, but exposed its side to Storm 2, allowing it to ram it into the arena wall. Storm 2 drove across the arena, then pushed Refbot a little, with Steel Avenger following it. As Steel Avenger caught up with Storm 2, it fired the axe, but Storm 2 easily dodged, and easily got under Steel Avenger as its opponent drove at it, driving underneath. Storm 2 then got under the side of Steel Avenger and pushed it across the arena, into Growler. Growler blocked Steel Avenger, but Steel Avenger reversed away. The two robots charged at each other, missing, then turned and charged at each other again, but Steel Avenger bounced off the front of Storm 2.

"...Steel Avenger, as we've mentioned time and time again, so experienced. Fighting in a fourth wars, and buffeting Storm 2. Not causing great damage, I would imagine. What are they trying to do - just wear Storm 2 down by dancing away?"
— Jonathan Pearce
Steel Avenger Storm 2 1

Steel Avenger is driven across the arena...

Storm II OotA

...and is rammed out of the competition

Storm 2 then got at the side of Steel Avenger again and pushed it back into Growler. Steel Avenger reversed up the arena, then drove towards Storm 2, but as it drove around its opponent, it exposed its side, and Storm 2 rammed it across the arena, slamming it into the arena wall in the CPZ, and the impact sent Steel Avenger flying over the arena wall.

"Steel Avenger running away, and again, turning, for safety and space, in the warzone pursuit! Crumpled out! Gone!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Storm 2 crashes Steel Avenger out of the arena

This was Steel Avenger's last appearance in Robot Wars before being finally retired to make way for SA2 (which would never be completed after Robot Wars was ultimately cancelled).

"I thought Steely had done really well this year for such an old machine. To have made the Heat Final was more than I had expected we could achieve and I have to remind myself that we only went along to have some fun!"
— John Willoughby

ResultsEdit

THE STEEL AVENGER - RESULTS
Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat O, Round 1 vs. Schumey Too Won
Heat O, Round 2 vs. Diotoir Lost
Series 4
The Fourth Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat M, Eliminator vs. Humphrey, Wild Thing (11) Qualified
Heat M, Round 2 vs. Sir Chromalot (27) Won
Heat M, Final vs. Wild Thing (11) Lost
Extreme 1
Challenge Belt
Challenge vs. Behemoth Lost
Tag Team Terror
with Suicidal Tendencies, Runner-up
Round 1 vs. Napalm 2 & Sir Chromalot Won
Round 2 vs. Cerberus & Thermidor 2 Won
Final vs. Diotoir & Pussycat Lost
Mayhem & Annihilator
Fourth Place in Annihilator
Mayhem vs. King B Powerworks, Tornado Won
Annihilator, Round 1 vs. Disc-O-Inferno, Fighting Torque, Napalm 2, Panic Attack, Spirit of Knightmare Qualified
Annihilator, Round 2 vs. Disc-O-Inferno, Napalm 2,
Panic Attack, Spirit of Knightmare
Qualified (by default)
Annihilator, Round 3 vs. Disc-O-Inferno, Panic Attack, Spirit of Knightmare Eliminated
Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat A, Eliminator vs. The Tartan Terror Won
Heat A, Semi-Final vs. Chaos 2 (1) Lost
Extreme 2
Tag Team Terror
Competing with Lightning, Round 2
Round 1 vs. Nasty Humphrey & Stinger Won
Round 2 vs. Bulldog Breed & Robochicken Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat I, Round 1 vs. Shredder Evolution, Sub-Version 1.1, Trax Qualified
Heat I, Round 2 vs. Rhino Won
Heat I, Final vs. Storm 2 (16) Lost

Wins/LossesEdit

  • Wins: 11
  • Losses: 8

The second round of the Annihilator, skipped because Napalm 2 withdrew from damage, is omitted from the wins tally.

Series RecordEdit

  • An article in Ultimate Real Robots, showing The Steel Avenger's design and construction
  • The Steel Avenger's first ever test run, May 1999
  • The Steel Avenger during construction, with the interchangeable axe heads
  • The Steel Avenger's first ever axe test
  • John Willoughby and The Steel Avenger from Series 3, with the broad axe head
  • The Steel Avenger in the pits during Extreme 1
  • The Steel Avenger being rebuilt for Series 5
  • The Steel Avenger in the pits during Extreme 2
  • Team Steel Avenger and Team Lightning
  • Official Series 7 photo
Main Series The Steel Avenger Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Heat, Round 2
The Fourth Wars Heat Final
The Fifth Wars Heat, Round 2
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Heat Final
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Entered
Series 2 Entered

Outside Robot WarsEdit

  • The Steel Avenger as Tin Tackler, in Techno Games
  • The internals of The Steel Avenger
  • The Steel Avenger fighting Chaos 2 armed with a giant novelty hammer at Oundle Mill in 2001
  • The Steel Avenger amongst robots on static display at a live event in Colchester in 2006
  • The Steel Avenger as a static display in Colchester in 2007
  • Steel Avenger at a Roaming Robots event in 2011
  • SA2 in 2012, when it was put up for sale by John Willoughby

Like many Robot Wars competitors, The Steel Avenger team entered Techno Games with a weaponless Steel Avenger called Tin Tackler. It entered the Football event, teaming up with its Robot Wars Tag-Team Terror partner Lightning (known as Thunder in Techno Games). In Techno Games, the team was joined by Ian Swann from Team Chaos[15].

Suicidal Tendencies vs The Steel Avenger 2000

The Steel Avenger is overturned by Suicidal Tendencies

The Steel Avenger competed at the Debenham Robot Rumble 2000 after Series 4, appearing in one battle. It first righted itself after an early flip from Suicidal Tendencies. Despite ramming, and hitting back on one of Suicidal Tendencies' treads with the axe, The Steel Avenger was lifted and pushed around by its future Tag Team partner, before it got flipped onto its side again, and held in place against the arena wall. Suicidal Tendencies then axed the baseplate repeatedly, until The Steel Avenger lost the Judges' decision. At Oundle Mill in 2001, The Steel Avenger fought Chaos 2, Tornado, and Onslaught, using a novelty hammer.

"ST lifted and pushed the Avenger about, at one point even turning them on their side and peppering their underside with holes. Suicidal Tendencies were the clear winner."
— Team Tornado website (archived) [16]

After Robot Wars was cancelled, The Steel Avenger was retired and regularly appeared as a static display at the annual Debenham robot rumbles, alongside all three Cassius models, Chaos 2, and other famous Robot Wars robots that are now retired.

DSCN0188

Steel Avenger on display in March 2014

In 2011, The Steel Avenger was sold to Team Enigma, and has since been entered into various robot events such as Robots Live! and Roaming Robots, with the feather duster attached again for some battles.

It again changed hands to John Findlay, who allowed the robot to fight at Robot Wars live events before The Steel Avenger became part of the Extreme Robots Platinum VIP package, allowing fans to drive The Steel Avenger against other past competitors. If an Extreme Robots events is low on competitors, The Steel Avenger occasionally fights during the show, defeating Halo in September 2018 at the Chatham event. The robot is now painted black on the front, with a face seen on torpedoes.

Steel Avenger 2 2014

SA2 in 2014

SA2 armour

Team Shock's planned design for What SA2, using Manta's colour scheme

SA2 was sold to Team Shock with the intention of finishing it and competing with it in the future. It was planned to return in September at the Bluewater event, to be renamed Shockwave. SA2's axe setup was later purchased by Gareth Anstee, while the current whereabouts of the machine remain unknown.

The original Steel Avenger made an appearance on Dave TV show Storage Hunters UK in 2015, where it was "sold" to a bidder alongside Ripper, Bulldog Breed, Beast, Major Damage and more for £1400.

Robot Wars Live EventsEdit

The Steel Avenger vs Halo

The Steel Avenger battles Halo at Extreme Robots, John Findlay's successor to Robot Wars live events

The Steel Avenger competed in the first live event of the new Robot Wars at Portsmouth in March 2013, where it took part in the main competition and fought Bullfrog, Weird mAlice & TR2 in the heats, but it fell at this stage after Bullfrog flipped it against the arena wall, where it could not self-right. It also fought at Guildford 2013, where it fell in the Heats of the competition after being flipped out the arena by Manta. Also in 2013, The Steel Avenger featured as a static display at the Gloucester and Newport events, alongside several other Robot Wars veterans like Axe-Awe, The Big Cheese, X-Terminator and Stinger.

It returned to fighting again in 2014 at the Guildford event with both its axe and rear lifter working. As of November 2014, The Steel Avenger has been reserved as a retro class robot only- along with fellow Robot Wars veterans Stinger, X-Terminator, Bulldog Breed, Mr Nasty & Schumey Too.

TriviaEdit

KillalotTicklestick

Sir Killalot with the feather duster

  • The Steel Avenger (along with Diotoir) is the only robot to collect more than ten UK combat victories without once winning a heat.
  • Originally, The Steel Avenger was intended to have many cones on each side, giving the robot an appearance like a hedgehog. However, in order to keep to the weight limit, only three were used on each side.
"We had the idea the cones might somehow deflect axe blows, but with the axes around today they wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference."
— John Willoughby in Ultimate Real Robots Magazine[17]
  • Also, in the original design, The Steel Avenger had a face painted on, to go with the hedgehog appearance. This was not used on the robot when it appeared on television, but after being sold, a face would be painted on.
  • The Steel Avenger and Plunderbird are the only Award winners to defeat the previous year's winner, as The Steel Avenger defeated Chaos 2 to win Best Engineered.
  • On the way to filming Series 3, the team's van broke down. When they finally arrived at the hotel, their rooms had been given away. They booked into another hotel at around 2am, but found people in their rooms, due to a booking mix-up[18].
  • After The Steel Avenger's defeat in Series 4, the feather duster was lent to Sir Killalot, who can be seen with the duster on his lance in the Heat Final of Heat P.
  • The Steel Avenger was the first and only returning robot to win the Best Engineered Award.
    • Despite its good reliability throughout its Robot Wars career, five of The Steel Avenger's eight losses were the result of it being flipped, with four of those being attributed to its self-righting arms failing to work.
  • The Steel Avenger, Terrorhurtz and Thor are the only robots armed with bladed axes to have immobilised an opponent with this weapon type.
The Steel Avenger error

The Steel Avenger's combat record is misconstrued in Extreme 1

  • In Extreme 1, The Steel Avenger was incorrectly stated as having gone out in the first round in both Series 3 and 4 ahead of its Challenge Belt match against Behemoth, when it had actually reached the second round and Heat Final in each.
  • In addition to its main appearance in Series 4, The Steel Avenger made an additional cameo appearance in the German broadcast of Heat K, where it appeared in a behind-the-scenes segment explaining the Robot Wars scrutineering process.[19]
  • John Willoughby was part of The Steering Committee.
  • In Extreme 2 and Series 7, Steel Avenger had the message "Who Did That?" on its underside.
  • In the Extreme 1 Tag Team Terror, The Steel Avenger had a slightly different feather duster to the one it normally had in its other competition appearances.
  • In both Tag Team Terrors that The Steel Avenger took part in, it reached at least the semi-final and Sgt Bash appeared in the semi-final battle both times.
  • The Steel Avenger fought every other team in Heat M of Series 4 except Scorpion at some point.
    • The Steel Avenger also appeared in the same episode as every other team in Heat M of Series 4 at least twice (Wild Thing in Series 4 and Extreme 1, Sir Chromalot in Series 4 and Extreme 1, Scorpion in Series 4 and Extreme 1, Humphrey in Series 4 and Extreme 2 and Team Reactor in Series 4 and Series 7).
  • Along with Chaos 2 and S.M.I.D.S.Y., The Steel Avenger appeared in both the first episode of Extreme Series 1 and the first heat of Series 5.

HonoursEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. Tectonic Robot Wars - Interviews
  2. The Steel Avenger website
  3. Ultimate Real Robots magazine, issue 78
  4. Tectonic Robot Wars - Interviews
  5. Ultimate Real Robots magazine, issue 77
  6. Ultimate Real Robots magazine, Issue 78
  7. Ultimate Real Robots magazine, Issue 78
  8. Rotraktor website (archived)
  9. Private correspondence between Simon Rafferty and Toon Ganondorf
  10. Steel Avenger repairs after RW Series 5, YouTube
  11. News page, Robot Wars 101 website
  12. Added to Robot Wars Wiki by John Willoughby
  13. http://web.ukonline.co.uk/jwrobots/robentry.htm The Steel Avenger website
  14. [1]
  15. Thunder Robot Football in Techno Games, YouTube
  16. https://web.archive.org/web/20160108205300/http://www.teamtornado.co.uk/rumble2k.htm
  17. Ultimate Real Robots magazine, Issue 78
  18. Ultimate Real Robots magazine, Issue 78
  19. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jueBG7fiPLk#t=11m03s German dub of Heat K, YouTube

External linksEdit

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