- "Drive safely, lest your tyres be shredded by The Tragic Roundabout!"
- — Isaac Sharp
The Tragic Roundabout was a featherweight robot which intended to enter the Featherweight Championship during Series 10 of Robot Wars, before the event was ultimately cancelled. It was entered by a Middlesbrough-based team who were new to the sport, after commissioning Team Shock to initially build the robot.
- "The Tragic Roundabout was my first combat robot, and I wanted to make a flail spinner as I didn't feel prepared to work with powered weaponry on my first robot, but didn't want to run down the wedge route either - the roundabout theme followed!"
- — Isaac Sharp
The Tragic Roundabout is an invertible robot driven by two wheels, which were not positioned in parallel to each other, in order to make room for the robot's comparatively large drill motors. The outer HDPE rim of The Tragic Roundabout was fairly thick, providing strong side armour, where the removable link was also accessible. Two lengths of chains were attached to these rims, and outfitted with padlocks at the ends, so that the robot could function as a sit-and-spin thwackbot, although these padlocks were prone to flying off the chains upon contact with robots. A 2.2s lithium polymer battery powered the robot, and it was controlled by a Spectrum transmitter. The robot's top armour was made from aluminium, and used stickers to resemble a mini roundabout sign, while the side armour resembled road chevron.
Although the robot's flails gave it high reach, The Tragic Roundabout suffered from several critical design flaws. At only 4.9kg, the robot was extremely underweight, and its top armour was relatively weak. In practice, The Tragic Roundabout was revealed to become beached on its own flails frequently while driving, and so the robot would enter its fights inverted in an effort to combat this issue, although this still would not totally prevent the robot from becoming stuck. Entering the arena inverted also meant that the robot's internals were directly attached to its 'top' armour, creating a large weakness to overhead weaponry. Its top speed was reasonable for driving around the arena, although the tip speed that it provided to the weaponry was somewhat low.
The Tragic Roundabout is named after the children's TV show The Magic Roundabout, the third Robot Wars competitor to take inspiration from this show, after King Buxton and Ruf Ruf Dougal. Isaac Sharp's desire to implement a roundabout design onto a robot stemmed from a documentary he had made as a Creative Media student in 2014, We Love Roundabouts. Having created the documentary about the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society, Sharp thought that a roundabout theme would be appropriate for a sit-and-spin design when tasked with making a robot on an educational course run by John Findlay which could feature no active weapons.
- "'TaleOfTheToaster' is my YouTube channel where I make videos on the football RPG series "Inazuma Eleven" - it doesn't have much to do with Robot Wars, but I already had the logo and brand, plus people in the online Robot Wars community know me by this name, so it made sense for the team name!"
- — Isaac Sharp
The TaleOfTheToaster team was captained by Middlesbrough-based Isaac Sharp, who has used the 'TaleOfTheToaster' name for his YouTube channel since late 2010, hence the team name. At the time of Series 10, Isaac Sharp was a 20-year old Marketing student at Teesside University, while teammate Robert Gaylor studied International Politics at the University of Hull. Together, the team sought to stress that anyone could get involved in robotics, regardless of their engineering background, which the TaleOfTheToaster team lacked.
Isaac Sharp was the designer and driver of The Tragic Roundabout, while Robert Gaylor assisted with the maintenance of the robot. Outside of the televised competition, the team were greatly assisted by Team Shock who built the basis for the machine under commission, and by Adam Hamilton who helped the team bring their robot into fighting form.
The Tragic Roundabout was among the intended participants for Series 10's Featherweight Championship, and the team brought a fully working robot to the filming of the series, even being involved with the official photo-shoot. However, the Featherweight Championship was cancelled during the filming of the Heavyweight Championship, and ultimately The Tragic Roundabout would not compete in the series.
- "Gutted! It would've been nice to have some advance warning that the Featherweight Championship would be cancelled, but these things happen! We still had a great time at filming, meeting the other teams and learning from them."
- — Isaac Sharp
|Series||The Tragic Roundabout Series Record|
|Series 1-7||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Not selected with Iron Heart 88|
|Series 10||Event cancelled|
Outside Robot Wars
The first prototype of The Tragic Roundabout was built in February 2016, as part of an educational course run by John Findlay. Using Findlay's stock components, the cardboard prototype of The Tragic Roundabout fought three other cardboard machines; Mario King of Kings, Biohazard and Shovelhead. Of the three, The Tragic Roundabout defeated Shovelhead after it was thrown out of the arena by House Robot Rip, but interference issue caused The Tragic Roundabout to lose its other fights via being flipped over by Rip.
Prior to its combat debut, The Tragic Roundabout was modified with assistance from Team Immersion, and fought their featherweight robot Amnesia in two practice battles to test the robot's durability, exposing an issue with the placement of The Tragic Roundabout's removable link which was later amended.
The Tragic Roundabout made its combat debut at the Robodojo Autumn Featherweight Championship, held in November 2018 at Sherburn-in-Elmet. It entered the Sportsman division of the event, and fought White Dwarf in its first battle. The Tragic Roundabout's padlocks humorously flew into the arena wall while the robot was spinning, and after being pinned against the arena wall and slammed around the arena by White Dwarf, The Tragic Roundabout lost the Judges' decision. In the losers' bracket, The Tragic Roundabout fought a fellow thwackbot, Bob II, which was armed with a saucepan. Although The Tragic Roundabout held a lead for most of the match, landing several direct hits, it ultimately became beached on its own flails and lost via KO. The Tragic Roundabout was eliminated from the competition here, but fought Red Hot Tilly Pecker to determine the final ranking of the competitors. After being overturned by the powerful axe, The Tragic Roundabout's internals came under immediate pressure from the overhead weapon, and its flails also fell below the arena wall, preventing the robot's escape. The Tragic Roundabout took significant damage from its opponent, suffering terminal damage to one of its speed controllers, and lost the battle as it was unable to free itself from the corner of the arena.
The Tragic Roundabout was repaired in order to compete at the Sportsman division of the Robodojo Featherweight event in January 2019, using new speed controllers and HARDOX cutting teeth. In its first battle, The Tragic Roundabout fought Mattock, its second match in a row battling an axe-wielding featherweight driven by Shane Lale. The Tragic Roundabout was outfitted with the baseplate of Telekinesis for additional protection, but was running at a very low speed and was easily pushed out of the arena. The issue of low speed was not solved before The Tragic Roundabout's loss to Tantrum, although the team discovered afterwards that the automatic mixing of the robot's transmitter was reducing the robot's speed significantly. This was amended for The Tragic Roundabout's battle with Chimera's Revenge, where it collected its first combat victory after Chimera's Revenge became stuck on the lip of the pit. In its final competition fight, The Tragic Roundabout took an early lead against Crota, but again became stuck on its own flails, and was counted out. The Tragic Roundabout also competed in the six-way Sportsman Rumble, where it survived for the full seven minutes of the battle, as it was freed by other competitors whenever it became stuck on its flails or the pit.
After this event, The Tragic Roundabout was modified to feature shorter chain flails, and its wheels were wrapped in bicycle tread to provide extra ground clearance, with the screws holding its blades in place also shortened in an effort to stop the robot from becoming beached on its own weaponry. This paid off at the Robodojo event in March 2019, where The Tragic Roundabout never became stuck on its flails in any of its four fights. Nevertheless, it still fell off the side of the arena in back-to-back losses against Barghest and Forge Master II, and lost a close Judges' decision to Boring Wedgebot #9 in its third fight, but The Tragic Roundabout redeemed itself by collecting a victory against Dino in its final fight.
Unmodified, The Tragic Roundabout entered four more fights at Robodojo in May 2019. It was initially drawn against Amnesia, at the time the UK featherweight champion, and lost by knockout after being spun into an arena wall, and stranded on its side. In its second fight, The Tragic Roundabout lost to Piece De Resistance by knockout, due to its speed controller being knocked loose by Amnesia, which caused a receiver wire to be severed by The Tragic Roundabout's own wheel and lid. The Tragic Roundabout was repaired, but nevertheless suffered back-to-back losses to Luna-Tic and Pressure Point.
In June 2019, The Tragic Roundabout competed in a total of five featherweight melees at the Robots Live! event in Grantham, battling over ten robots on every occasion. It was pitted by Midas in its first battle, and withstood hefty blows from the arena hammers in its second battle, but survived until the end of the fight despite spending most of the fight stuck in a corner behind a beaten robot. In its third battle, The Tragic Roundabout's flails fell through the arena floor and trapped the robot against the wall, and The Tragic Roundabout then fell through the floor flipper in its fourth battle, but finally survived and contributed to a full battle in its fifth melee, landing blows on Explosion and Cobalt in the process.
The Tragic Roundabout made its next Robodojo appearance in July 2019, where it was also photographed alongside Milly-Ann Bug. After earning a win by default over Comet, The Tragic Roundabout earned a surprise win over GERTY which was suffering from a faulty speed controller, putting The Tragic Roundabout at a positive 2-0 record. However, The Tragic Roundabout was pushed out of the arena by Harald, and lost the use of a wheel in battle with Reaver, for a tenth place finish out of 24.
As a static display piece, The Tragic Roundabout was brought to Robonerd in August 2019 to pose for photo opportunities with robots such as The Four Horsemen, Tornado, Carbide, Bigger Brother, Pussycat, Wedgehog, Spectre and Wheely Big Cheese. It made another competitive appearance at Robodojo in November 2019, but was required to fight in an open arena without its flails, and won only one of its four fights, against Crota.
The Tragic Roundabout returned to Robodojo in January 2020, now under the full control of Robert Gaylor. Its first match saw it drawn against the team's own successor Euphoria, which The Tragic Roundabout ultimately defeated when Euphoria reversed out of the arena. After a loss to Scrapster, The Tragic Roundabout also avenged its previous loss to Piece De Resistance, which after a final defeat against BAW 3, left The Tragic Roundabout's record at an unexpected 2-2 for the event. This placed the robot in joint ninth place, while successor Euphoria went on to achieve sixth.
Aside from The Tragic Roundabout, Isaac Sharp also competed in the FRA UK Featherweight Championship 2019 as a member of Team Reckless Crabandon, driving the minibot of Crabsolutely Clawful, which finished in the top eight of the competition. Isaac Sharp is also a regular teammate of Team Immersion at live events when competing with the heavyweight Immersion. Isaac Sharp's primary featherweight competitor as of January 2020 is Euphoria - for more information, see its own article.
- The HDPE armour that protects the side of The Tragic Roundabout was sourced from the same pipe that the alternate lifting scoop of Shockwave in Series 8 was made from.
- Aside from his featherweight robot, team captain Isaac Sharp's largest contribution to the robotics community is operating the Robot Wars Wiki, having administrated the site since 2012 under the identity ToastUltimatum.
- The Tragic Roundabout takes inspiration from T-Wrecks and Nuts. When tasked with creating a "weaponless" robot on John Findlay's educational course prior to Series 8 of Robot Wars being filmed, Isaac Sharp recalled that the Series 7 sit-and-spin design T-Wrecks was technically weaponless, while still having a means of offence, and so Isaac Sharp decided to create a sit-and-spin design, settling on the roundabout theme shortly afterwards. After Nuts used chain flails to improve upon this concept on Robot Wars, the decision was then made for The Tragic Roundabout to be a flail spinner.
- TaleOfTheToaster on Twitter
- TaleOfTheToaster on YouTube
- The Tragic Roundabout's battles at the Robodojo Autumn Featherweight Championship (November 2018)
- The Tragic Roundabout's battles at the Robodojo Featherweight Event (January 2019)
- The Tragic Roundabout's battles at the Robodojo Featherweight Event (March 2019)
- The Tragic Roundabout's battles at the Robodojo Featherweight Event (May 2019)
- The Tragic Roundabout's battles at the Robodojo Featherweight Event (January 2020)