Tracked Robots are a type of robot which use treads or caterpillar tracks instead of wheels. Mortis was the first of its kind to appear in Robot Wars, debuting in Series 1 and winning the Series 4 War of Independence in its final appearance. Other successful tracked robots include Series 2 Semi-Finalist Plunderbird 2, Series 3 Semi-Finalist 101 and Dutch Series 1 champion Slicer. The House Robots Sir Killalot and Mr. Psycho also used tracks as their means of locomotion.
Definition[edit | edit source]
Tracks refer to sets of linkages which are connected to drive gears, wheels, rollers or sprockets, allowing them to run a certain length along the robot's chassis in a similar manner to a conveyor belt. This enables them to pull the robot along when driving forwards or backwards and turning sideways, as well as giving it the ability to drive over opponents if its ground clearance is high enough. Tracks can vary widely in design, usually being made out of metal or rubber, and featuring grooves, treads or screws built into them to provide traction along the arena floor.
Tracks in general, particularly treads, are not to be confused with simple drive chains, which merely provide drive power by connecting the motor output shaft to a robot's wheels or gears.
Advantages and Disadvantages[edit | edit source]
- Tracks can give much more traction on the arena floor than wheels, offering better acceleration and making robots with them generally more capable of pushing opponents. Plunderbird 2's Series 2 Heat Final against The Mule was particularly illustrative of this, with its tracks enabling it to maintain enough traction to negate The Mule's low ground clearance and push it around the arena.
- Depending on their designs, tracked robots can also maintain contact with the arena floor at all times, enabling them to continue driving and steer away from opponents if they were lifted. Many of 101's victories - particularly those over Overkill and Panic Attack - resulted from its tracks having enough traction to drive itself away from its opponents when being lifted and pushed towards arena hazards. In the case of the latter, 101 was able to steer Panic Attack into the pit after being lifted and hooked by the Series 2 champion's forks.
- In earlier series featuring Gauntlet and Trial events, this advantage, combined with a suitably high ground clearance, could also be especially beneficial in events featuring ramps. Rameses II team captain Chris Crosskey believed that the robot's tracked design would negate the clearance issues found with its wheeled predecessor Skarab, though its higher clearance would prove disadvantageous in combat.
- Tracks can easily be compatible with invertible designs, as proven by Suicidal Tendencies, 101 and Slicer.
- Tracks can offer better balance than wheels as a result of their length and larger mass. The US Season 2 version of Cyclone adopted tracks in order to resolve the stability issues of the original two-wheeled Season 1 version.
- Tracks are usually much more fragile against spiked, overhead, spinning and crushing weapons, which can either result in them becoming dislodged, seized, punctured or torn apart completely. 101's loss to Fluffy in Series 5 was particularly illustrative of this issue, as was Track-tion's defeat in the Series 10 10 Robot Rumble at the hands of Concussion.
- Tracks can also be caught on and/or damaged by arena hazards. Mortis infamously had one of its tracks damaged by an arena spike at the start of its initial Series 2 Pinball run, resulting in it attempting the trial a second time.
- Lifting, spiked and drilling weapons can easily hook underneath the exposed gaps between the tracks and the drive mechanism, enabling them to be caught or damaged as the robot is lifted. Sir Killalot's lance, for example, could easily hook Panzer and Plunderstorm by their tracks following their defeats in Series 3, while Panic Attack's forks also performed similar actions on 101 and Mortis during its battles against them.
- Most tracked robots had a high ground clearance as a result of their tracks protruding from underneath the robot's chassis, making them considerably more vulnerable to getting lifted or flipped over unless they were fully concealed. Several of Mortis' defeats resulted from it being lifted or flipped over by opponents which exploited its ground clearance, such as Gravedigger, Behemoth and Steg 2.
- Ironically, this feature could negate clearance issues with ramps in Gauntlet/Trial events, as was the reasoning behind Rameses II's design.
- Robots with fully-exposed tracks are more susceptible to driving up and being lifted by opponents as a result of their even higher ground clearance. 101, for example, was easily lifted by Panic Attack once it drove up its forks during their First World Championship battle.
- Because they are usually custom-made, tracks are much more difficult to repair or replace than wheels if they become damaged during battles.
List of Tracked Robots[edit | edit source]
Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background. House Robots are listed with a yellow background.
|Robot||Series Appearances as a Tracked Robot||Notes|
|101||Series 3-5, Extreme 1||Tracks made from a milk bottle washing machine, with metal screws built in to increase traction. Series 3 Semi-Finalist and Series 4 Tag Team Terror co-champion.|
|Beaverbot||Dutch Series 2|
|Crippler||Series 3||Tracks made from a conveyor belt and industrial chains.|
|Cyclone (Dutch)||Dutch Series 2|
|Cyclone (Extreme Warriors)||US Season 2||US Season 2 Annihilator Champion.|
|Demon Duck||Series 2||Super Heavyweight Championship only. Tracks made from high-tensile steel.|
|Flextreme||Dutch Series 1||Designed to resemble a fish tank.|
|Hefty||Series 3||Cost £2,000 to build, based on a miniature tank-like chassis.|
|Iron-Awe||Series 4||Series 4 version only. Later versions had wheels for locomotion.|
|Kater Killer||Series 3-4|
|Lightning Tracks||US Season 2|
|Limpet||Series 2||Tracks made from motorcycle chains.|
|Mortis||Series 1-4||Series 2 Semi-Finalist and Series 4 War of Independence Champion. Also received the 'Best Engineered Robot' award in Series 1. Tracks featured injection-moulded pads in Series 3-4.|
|Mr. Psycho||Series 6-7, Extreme 2, Dutch Series 2, German Series.|
|Pain||Series 2||Some parts were carried over to the robot's successor Judge Mech.|
|Panzer||Series 3, Extreme 1||Tracks made out of rubber.|
|Plunderbird||Series 1-4||Series 2 Semi-Finalist as Plunderbird 2. The final incarnation, Plunderbird 5, switched to wheels in Series 5/Extreme 1.|
|Rameses II||Series 2||Designed specifically to counter clearance issues with its Series 1 predecessor, Skarab.|
|Reckless Endangerment||Series 2||Replaced by Griffon in the main heavyweight championship. Competed in the Super Heavyweight Championship.|
|Rhino||Extreme 1||Modified bomb disposal vehicle.|
|Robo Doc||Series 2||Stainless steel tracks made out of a milk bottle washing machine, lined with spikes for extra traction. Allowed the robot to climb obstacles up to 50cm in height.|
|Shear Khan||Extreme 1||Failed to qualify for Series 4.|
|Sir Killalot||Series 2-10, Extreme 1-2, US Seasons 1-2, Nickelodeon, Dutch Series 1-2, German Series||Used its tracks to drive over other robots, sometimes crushing them with its extreme weight.|
|Slicer||Dutch Series 1||Dutch Series 1 Champion.|
|Suicidal Tendencies||Series 3-5, Extreme 1||Series 3-4 Heat Finalist, Extreme 1 Tag Team Terror co-runner-up with The Steel Avenger.|
|Terminal Ferocity||Series 3||Had honey applied to the drive rollers to improve traction.|
|The Sentinel||Series 2||Essentially a modified JCB digger, primarily used as an obstacle in The Gauntlet. While the digger's tracks remained intact and were visible from certain camera angles, they were purposely enclosed and thus were never used as a form of locomotion on-screen. Shortest run of any House Robot.|
|Thud||Series 2||Entered the Super Heavyweight Championship after being unable to compete in the main competition.|
|Tomahawk||Series 7||Modified from a four-wheel drive robot, and became a two-wheel driven robot in the reboot. Final tracked competitor in the classic series alongside Trax.|
|Track-tion||Series 10||Only tracked competitor robot in the rebooted series. Modified from a Securotrack unit, powerful enough to pull a school minibus.|
|Trackzilla||US Season 2|
|Trax||Series 7||Final tracked competitor in the classic series alongside Tomahawk.|
|Trilobyte||US Season 2|
|Whirlpool 70||Extreme 1||Robot made from a swimming pool cleaning device.|