A long time ago I did two blogs ranking the Series 9 and the Series 10 competitors by looks, and thanks to TG's blog ranking names in heats, I thought it'd be a fun contest to do the same with the looks of robots.
Before we begin, keep in mind that how good or bad a robot looks is purely subjective and so there are bound to be some disagreements, but that's what the comments are for. I'll also be listing all-time great looking robots and all-time worst-looking up here. Best will be Bold Italics and worst in Bold only, with all timers in both categories being put in all-caps.
- CHAOS 2
- PANIC ATTACK
- MAX DAMAGE
- THE IRON MASK
- TWN TRWN
- Heat A: The first ever heat of Robot Wars and already there are 3 classic looks on display, the first appearance of the red spotty fur on Nemesis, some would say Killertron is a classic look if they prefer S1-4, but nobody can deny the iconic look of ROADBLOCK. Whichever producer told them to keep the road sign look should be given a medal since without their input this classic design would be lost. In terms of worst though the other half aren't great lookers. Tough choice but I'm going to give it to Grunt, the superbly elongated wedge never really appealed to me, not to mention all the random gubbins at the top of the robot.
- Heat B: It's funny, the robot called Uglybot is not the robot in this heat I'd consider the ugliest. Granted, it's not a very pleasing to look at machine, but in my opinion Scrapper is much uglier than Uglybot or Detonator. In terms of best, while Mortis is here it's not gotten its more iconic look yet, so the clear winner has to be RECYCLOPSE. In the same way Roadblock did, Recyclopse actually took its name and designed perfect aesthetics to go alongside it.
- Heat C: From two very great heats in terms of looks variety, this one is just bland. Worst is a clear winner for Robot the Bruce since it is literally just a box with no colour, hard to root for a robot that is that bland-looking. In terms of the best-looking however it was very close between Plunderbird 1 and my (almost certainly controversial) winner Wedgehog. While name did not match aesthetics even slightly (except the wedge shape I guess), the sleek black colour scheme combined with the yellow chevrons made for a very pleasant-looking design
- Heat D: This one was fairly easy to pick out, the ugliest design being Krayzee Tokyo. I know Cunning Plan is just two wedges and the Demolisher had that ugly lip, but Krayzee just looks worse than both of them. The best-looking was a clear winner in SAT'arn. Once again the sleek black design made the other colours used really pop.
- Heat E: In comparison, this heat was tough to pick since all the robots had at least some charm to them, there was no clear ugliest and prettiest at first. After a lot of thinking, I decided that Wharthog was the ugliest robot here with my win going to the similarly shaped Full Metal Anorak. This was really a demonstration as to why colours are important when designing a robot. FMA's sleek silver with the splash of red for the mouth works while in comparsion Wharthog's yellow to be used with the face design does lose me a little and the spikes that you knew wouldn't work just made it worse.
- Heat F: It should come as no surprise to anyone that my ugliest design here goes to ELVIS. While the bodyshell is okay, it would be much better if it was actually on the robot fully, as such this is the first all-time ugly robot on the blog. Best-looking was tougher, since when it was finished Prince of Darkness looked nice, Eubank the Mouse had some charm, but at the same time I found myself drawn to Skarab more than the others. The colours popped nicely with the red backdrop the series had and the black lower half of the robot made those colours more emphasised.
- Heat A: Alrighty, the first ever heat of the new series, with the only robot the series could hype up being the return of the Detonator team, y'know, the team that lost in the second round of a heat. Looks-wise however this was an interesting heat for me to look at since this heat really puts into perspective the term "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". As such, while the ugliest is the hopefully agreeable Piece de Resistance, the best-looking robot in this heat was in my opinion Victor. The red lawnmower blade might not have been a devastating weapon but that and the yellow wheelss really helped it to stand out. And before people ask why I didn't consider Caliban, it's because I went with how it appeared in the arena. Had we seen it compete in that fbs form then I would say it's the nicest-looking.
- Heat B: It should come as no surprise that Wheelosaurus takes the wooden spoon of ugliness here. When a robot looks like something that just came out of the scrapheap, it can either be nice or not, and this is not nice. As for the prettiest robot in the heat, it came down to 3 machines: Tantrum's interesting wheel design at the front looked good but it was ultimately a box; Mace looks nice enough but the asymmetrical flail was a slight nitpick (yes my reasoning was that petty); but ultimately I found the design of Leighviathan to be the nicest of all. Funny that that team upgraded to be the best aesthetically and name-wise, but looks-wise it wasn't enough to win all-star status.
- Heat C: Mortis was starting to take form in a very noticable way but was sadly not as pretty-looking as the upgraded Dreadnaut. In terms of the least pretty, one could make the argument for Oblivion or Griffon as they are just wedges or a box. But the biggest loser here was Rameses II, a robot that was the upgraded version of a previous pretty robot Skarab. What happened there team? They went from a robot with a nice colour scheme to one with an ugly one, a hammer too big for the machine, and treads that did not help the visuals even slightly
- Heat D: I know it might seem like an obvious pick, so I'm just gonna say that no, Razer is not the prettiest robot in this heat. While the design is iconic, it isn't iconic YET, there's still some things that need to be done to it to be iconic. So what is the prettiest bot of Heat D? Well it was very close, as Elvis REALLY changed itself to look relatively nice, but ultimately Milly-Ann Bug was the nicest robot in this heat. As for the ugliest robot, while Behemoth didn't look particularly nice in this heat, it at least had some comedy to it with a Friends reference, meanwhile Bodyhammer just looked like a stealth traffic cone at this point, the little asymmetrical saw sticking out like a sore thumb.
- Heat E: Killertron easily took the win for this heat since it was a great splash of colour in a predominantly grey and black heat. As for the ugliest robot it ironically went to the other colorful robot of ORAC (Note: not an all-timer, name is already in all-caps). The pram-like wheels as well as the overall shape and colour scheme just did not look nice at all on this bot.
- Heat F: This was another tough choice to call, since much like Heat D we had an iconic machine in Panic Attack that wasn't in its iconic guise yet. That being said, it was still a very nice box to look at, but the bi-wedge design of Disruptor was a very pleasant machine to look at, plus the black colour scheme worked for this bot. Meanwhile for the title of the ugliest bot this heat it was really a two-horse race, because while The Parthian Shot just broke down before it could do anything, it at least looked nicer than the two that fought it out: Whirling Dervish and ultimate loser, the discount RC car of Ron.
- Heat G: I know there's the already iconic ROADBLOCK, but I want to give the other robots a fighting chance, so if we discount the iconic robot, then I find myself instantly drawn to the zebra stripes of Limpet. It's a very pleasing design to look at, and the tracks fit to the striped aesthetics perfectly fine. Nemesis was another pleasant design as per usual, but more from the comedy status. Killerhurtz was another one to consider, but it was in the Razer syndrome of "not yet the iconic design". As for the least nice-looking, ROCS was just a splash of too many colours that ultimately looks not very pleasant.
- Heat H: No surprises here that Rampage is the ugliest robot here, and it's lucky for Loco that Rampage was in this heat, otherwise it would have won. Groundhog looked rather novel as a machine, comical even, thus I wouldn't regard it as unappealling. The prettiest robot of this heat was a toss-up. I love the look of Sting a lot, but it just cannot compete with the iconic CASSIUS that revolutionised the roboteering world and did so with a sleek design, an iconic logo and catchphrase put onto the robot.
- Heat I: If was a heat to remind me how bland designs were back in the day, this heat and Heat E were the ones to remind me, with only Cruella being colourful enough to mention. The only other robot with any colour on it was the prettiest looking robot in Robo Doc. It wasn't just the splash of yellow on the sides that won Robo Doc the award though, it was the tracks and the overall pleasing design that helped it out; King Buxton having the "not iconic yet" status. And as for the ugliest of the bland designs, then the one to stand out was sadly ROTTWEILER. A very clever name that is entirely lost with the uninspired design, the cherry on top to secure its award was the picture of a dog plastered on the front with the awful weapon setup. In fact, looking back at the heat I have decided to award it all-time ugly status since it truly was not a pretty sight.
- Heat J: A far more colorful heat after Heat I that was surprisingly easy to decide both awards for. In terms of ugliness, while G.B.H was weirdly thicc and bulbous, and Talos was just a wedge, at least those two had had colour, something that BROOT lacked. A weaponless box with thin wooden wheels with ugly little nubs on the top, simply the least attractive bot in the heat, and one of the ugliest bots ever, hence all-time status. As for the prettiest robot here, it was an easy win for Ivanhoe, with the knight helmet simply inspiring.
- Heat K: It might seem odd, but MEGA-HURTS gets all-timer status as pretty, since for me the computer look has always been iconic from both a comical and a pleasing aspect. The body was the the proper computer, the lifter was the keyboard and the monitor and mouse was added to complete the iconic look. Now that I've finished gushing over one of my favourite classic robots, time to put one of these robots under the spotlight as the least pleasing. While The Mule's dual colour scheme could be considered ugly, the robot's kicking legs and "Buck off!" message made it pleasing. Enzyme could be considered ugly, but I personally like it as a design. But one robot I think we can all agree is not so pleasing to look at it the bland wedge of Demon.
- Heat L: Here's how this series goes out, not with a bang but a whimper. Very few bots here stood out as particularly pleasing or ugly, they were all okay-looking. But to just say "meh, can't choose" would be awful of me to do, so if I have to be fully critical here, I would say that Angel of Death was the blandest design, with Flirty Skirty a close second for ugliest; while in the beautiful category Vercingetorix did the best job of being pleasing without being too flashy *coughTenderCaresscough*
- Heat A: With the Gauntlets and Trials gone and now the series is fully combat-orientated, this should open up the looks contest as well. And for the first heat of this new series, there actually was a fair divide this time. The ugliest robot here was a toss-up between Forklift's Revenge and Brimhur, who eventually won between the two of them since Brimhur was just a trapezoid box with a spike. The prettiest robot here was a no-brainer in Raizer Blade. Not a great name but a fantastic paintjob and a beautiful custom chainsaw were a clear choice for the winner here.
- Heat B: It's with this heat I approach an impasse. While I love the design of Pitbull and long to give it the award, it was in this heat that we first got the more iconic look of BEHEMOTH, a robot that you instantly think of when you think of "Robot Wars". If it weren't for behemoth here Pitbull would have won easily. The ugliest robot simply has to be the neon atrocity of the new Technophobic. I personally despise neon colours, and this robot's shape as well as the colours did not help it in being a looker.
- Heat C: It's a no-brainer of the worst-looking bot again, despite there being two very ugly bots in Spike and MAX DAMAGE, at least Spike tried to have a theme with the weapon whereas Max Damage just stuck a chainsaw in front of a box and stuck a Triceratops head on it. A nice Triceratops head, don't get me wrong, but it's so clearly uninspired in design and name. The best-looking bot is also a no-brainer here, since while I do like blade and Agent Orange, RAZER is a true icon of Robot Wars. By the way, you can expect a lot of "all-star" statuses given in this series since this series kicks people right in the nostalgia of the iconic robots.
- Heat D: And from the first three pretty clear heats we fall straight into a group of robots that are hard to truly categorise. As much as we have previous winner Milly-Ann Bug, she's lost the hair and the pincers that made her win last time. At least we can all hopefully agree that Bumblebot is a clear loser in the beauty contest. The pretty side was a tough one that once again questions what could be considered beautiful. Shell Shock and Ultor have nice colourful designs, but is colour the key factor here? Big Brother has a sleek wedge shape, but is shape the main factor? In the end I decided that Grim Reaper did the nicest job of combining a sleek design with a fantastic thematic colour scheme.
- Heat E: Do I even need to say why CHAOS 2 wins this award? It is an all-star. However Chaos 2 will come with a caviat that although it is an icon of the show, the design itself will quickly become dated in later series as it soon becomes evident that there are nicer designs. As for the ugliest bot here, there were a few to pick from: Sonic and Miss Ile for example. But then along came a boring bland box in the form of Shrapnel which easily took the cake.
- Heat F: Finally I could give Mortis the prettiest robot award it had been deserving of for so long, while in the ugly robot category, I rally badly wanted to give it to Gravedigger for being a clear ripoff of Cassius' design, but at the same time, I could not ignore edgy train T 2, nor could I ignore the splash of ugly colours that is Manic Mutant
- Heat G: Once again we come to a "beauty is subjective" heat since I personally adore the design of Kater Killer with the theming and colour scheme while Robopig really doesn't work for me, though Bulldog Breed was close to getting it here. This was by far the hardest heat to decide at this point.
- Heat H: Right. The heat with Death Warmed Up. This robot is objectively hideous, although there was an uglier robot in this heat: Tut's Revenge. From the team that made the iconic Mega-Hurts, that mega-hurts my heart. As for the prettiest robot, I really want to give it to Hypno-Disc, since it is such an iconic robot; however in doing so I would be ignoring the beautiful and appropriately themed Stealth, as well as my soft spot for Ally Gator. So I decided that for this heat Stealth would get the award, although Hypno-Disc's time will come soon...
- Heat I: Two previous winners with Beast of Bodmin and Vercingetorix, but a surprise newcomer in the looks department in Armour Geddon. I had to really think about it, but I decided that while Beast of Bodmin looked really nice, Vercingetorix looked much nicer, especially from where they came from as previous robots. Beast of Bodmin looked good, but compared to Roadblock it wasn't as nice, whereas Vercingetorix improved on an already pleasant design; while in the ugly department there was only one winner of this, the bland Crusher. The Witch came close, but Crusher is just too bland to ignore.
- Heat J: This was an easy one to choose from as the prettiest robot was the very simple yet pleasant 101 while the ugliest was the absolutely awful THE IRON MASK. This robot has always stuck out to me as a perfect example of an ugly robot design, so now I'm glad to put it on the list of all-timers. And don't worry Shuntposters, I do like the design of Eric, as well as Excalibur (a criminally underrated robot in my personal opinion), but they couldn't compete with 101.
- Heat K: Here we had another heat H situation. I really wanted to give the award to Panic Attack, but Axios is such a nice-looking robot that it can't be ignored. This time however I decided that although Axios had a lovely design, PANIC ATTACK looked incredible this series (though not as good as later series), so it got the award. As far as ugly bots went, it could have gone to the bland grey box of Toe cutter, or the bizarrely coloured Hefty, or the fluffy Purple Predator; but all of those look at least marginally nicer than the ugly first Judge Shred.
- Heat L: We just had Panic Attack, yet still I liked the design of Evil Weevil enough to give them the award for the nicest robot here. The ugliest robot however was a contest and a half, with many potential takers such as Wild willy or Panzer or Triterobot. But like the previous heat all of those robots had at least something positive to say about them in comparison to Atlas, which was not a pleasant sight to see.
- Heat M: A previous winner in Cassius 2, soon-to-be icons of Pussycat and Thermador, and a colourful yet surprising heat winner in Scutter's Revenge. So why is it that among all of that, my mind and heart immediately crowned Dundee the prettiest bot here? Well it had a very nice design that adhered to the theme well, alongside a good colour scheme. To know that this bot came from the team that had the almost-losing Loco last series makes you wonder "why didn't they do the same level of detail last series?". The ugly bot was no contest here in Zeus.
- Heat N: Thing 2 might look nice but it's only a wedge, whereas as much as we can agree that the robot is flawed, we can surely all agree that Cerberus is a sleek and shiny and pretty puppy, even if it should have three heads. At the bottom it was a scrap between the bland Crippler and the tape recorder Griffon, the latter only just losing out.
- Heat O: Sleek and shiny couldn't apply twice in a row, so Steel Avenger was out; Fire Storm already had the iconic paintjob, but the conveyor belts ruined the look; Terminal Ferocity looked nice and so did Facet. But a robot that was truly taking me aback by looking more fun and nice? Diotoir. Even if you remember the scoop more than the first version we all remember the face in the fur combined with a great design, while Crasha Gnasha and Sting 2 both looked awful, with Sting 2 being the worst of the two.
- Heat P: The final heat of this series, and the obvious loser is TWN TRWN, a robot that you can't produce that looks like most modern art (aka, like rubbish). That being said, Victor 2 did not look nice this series, had Twn Trwn not been in this heat it would have lost. Rattus Rattus and Dreadnaut could have won the nicest looking robot this heat, but the shiny look as well as the unique wheels and design of Trident was lovely.