- "...looks like it could spell danger for any robot, with that massive spinning disc that towers over smaller bots, and a wide body that has virtually no weaknesses ... the Force may be strong with this one..."
- — Robot Wars: The Official Magazine
Vader was a heavyweight robot that competed in Series 6-7 of Robot Wars, and the second series of Extreme. It was most successful in the Sixth Wars, reaching a Heat Final where it was eliminated by the seeded Wild Thing, but fell in the first round of the Seventh Wars to M2 and Tiberius 3.
- "If I had a penny for every time a bloke said to me "I've got a magnificent weapon", I would be rich by now!"
- — Philippa Forrester meeting Vader
Vader was a reverse wedge-shaped robot, clad in 8mm transparent polycarbonate sheet armour which was quite resistant to most weapons, despite being thinner to the average thickness of that particular armour. It had been shaved down to fit the weight restrictions which made it especially vulnerable to axes and it could not self-right.
It had a large, 16kg vertical spinning disc at the front in a similar design to 259, which could spin at 850rpm in Series 6, allowing it to inflict 1.6Kw of power onto to other robots. Additionally, at the base of its wedge were two ramming spikes and scoop. The Series 7 model had a lighter disc at 10kg (the 16kg spinning disc had been irreparably damaged during Extreme 2), and an improved weapon motor along with thicker armour, now 12mm polycarbonate. The weapon motor for Series 7 was estimated to be operating the new disc at around 1,300rpm.
- "The biggest weakness we have is against flippers, because our machine isn't particularly low at the front."
- — Paul Rose confesses Vader's weaknesses
Vader was named after Darth Vader, one of the main antagonists of the Star Wars series of movies. This was a running theme for all entries from Team Vader, as their robot IG-88 was also named after a character from the same franchise.
- Main article: Team Vader
Vader was entered by Team Vader, which was captained by Paul Rose in Series 6 and Extreme 2, the lead builder of the robot. However in the Seventh Wars, Paul Rose had entered the series as the captain of his new robot IG-88, so as a result, Simon Latham took over the captaining role for Series 7. Nevertheless, the three team members Paul Rose, Simon Latham and Phillip Calthorpe were present in all of Vader's appearances.
Vader previously attempted to enter Series 5, but failed to qualify. In its qualifier, it fought Dome and began quite well, causing considerable damage and even disabling Dome's weapon. However, due to its extremely low ground clearance, it got trapped on the raised floor section of the pit and lost mobility, therefore giving Dome the win.
The Vader team planned to enter a "completely new robot" for Series 6 called The Emperor, according to their website. However, the team instead opted to stick with Vader. Although very little is known about the team's qualifier, Vader is known to have faced a robot from "The West Thames College Team", dominating the college team thanks to their unfortunate drive problems, causing them much damage and winning the match to qualify. It is unknown if any other robots where present in this match.
For Series 7, Team Vader built a new machine, IG-88, and originally did not plan to enter the series with Vader. However, as IG-88 borrowed no parts from Vader, new captain Simon Latham decided to enter the qualifiers with Vader, while the usual Team Vader captain Paul Rose qualified with IG-88. Vader won its qualifier battle in dominant fashion, and was entered into Series 7 by Simon Latham. Paul Rose was still named on the robot's statistics board.
- "...I entered Vader separately to Paul Rose who entered IG-88. Whilst I was involved in assisting with the build of IG-88, I never appeared with the machine or was listed on the entry forms. My entry of Vader was a fairly late decision as I was at a loose end and the machine was just sitting in the garage, and then surprisingly during the qualifying "auditions" it was unbelievably dominant in it's heat."
- — Simon Latham on Facebook
Vader was tentative in the opening stages, getting its weapon up to spinning speed. The Stag was grappling with Wild Thing, however a clever slice from Vader's weapon cut off one of The Stag's tyres, leaving it spinning around in circles. The vertical spinner also bent The Stag's front pincers. With The Stag effectively immobilised, UFO activated the pit release button, but got stuck with its front pincers until Vader knocked it free. However, as the battle progressed, Vader's disc stopped spinning.
- "Has Vader's disc stopped spinning? It has! Now what has happened here to the weaponry of Vader? It has stopped spinning. It is 20kg in weight, but that doesn't mean one jot if it's not spinning at all!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
UFO, Wild Thing and Vader spent a while locked together against the arena side wall near the flame pit, but it was evident that Wild Thing's blade was stuck in the armour of Vader. The judges opted in favour of Vader and Wild Thing.
Simon Latham has since confirmed that the disc was in fact still functioning at the end of the fight, and was powered down to conserve battery when required, as with the disc motor turned on constantly the run time of the machine was estimated to be very close to the 5 minute time limit and they didn't want it running flat during a bout.
- Philippa Forrester: "But Aggrobot, not worried?"
- Paul Rose: "Well it's much less worrying than the other one we could have gone up against."
- — Pre-Aggrobot battle, Team Vader was much relieved at not having to fight 259 in Round 2
The battle was extremely straightforward for Vader, only requiring one hit on Aggrobot 3 to immobilise it - the blow knocked Aggrobot 3 into the air and it flew several feet. Vader attacked with its disc several more times before the House Robots took over, and Vader safely qualified for the Heat Final.
- "I would say it was very carefully aimed blow, but I think I'd be lying if I said that."
- — Paul Rose after the Aggrobot 3 fight
In the Heat Final, Vader fought Wild Thing for a second time, after the ninth seed had eliminated 259, the team's biggest fear in the heat.
This time, Vader's disc got stuck in the armour of Wild Thing, after colliding with its armour side-on. Eventually, the House Robots helped to free the pair, but Vader looked to have stopped moving for a little while, but got going again immediately before Wild Thing's disc got trapped in the shell of Vader, in the exact fashion as it did in the first round.
The seeds used this to its advantage this time, though, pushing Vader into Shunt's CPZ. A powerful axe blow stopped the spinning weapon of Vader in an instant, but the stoppage was temporary. Shunt's scoop lifted up Vader, but didn't manage to flip it. A retreating Vader pushed the pit release button, but failed to get its foe down. The judges put Wild Thing in the series Semi-Finals.
- "We wanted destructability, boo-hoo they stuck like glue!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
- "The Dark Lord cometh..."
- — Jonathan Pearce's formidable introduction
- "Hit and hope."
- — Paul Rose's "tactics"
Terrorhurtz rapidly began reigning axe blows on Vader but was saved from taking much damage by Iron-Awe 2, who flipped Terrorhurtz on its side before it came down. Iron-Awe 2 was squeezed between the vertical spinners of Vader and Barber-Ous 2, and got flipped over, but self righted speedily. Vader was then hacked by the axes of Terrorhurtz and Shunt and this appeared to be too much for the pyramid shaped machine. Shunt's axe eventually hit a blow directly inside the void beside the spinning disc of Vader, causing Vader's cutting blade to bend and impale itself into the framework of itself. After Refbot counted Vader out of the competition, Matilda's flywheel tossed Vader out of the arena.
The new robot started aggressively, getting underneath Vader and flipping it, but not turning it over. Vader's spinning disc made a huge gash in the side of Shell Shock, but M2 then flipped Vader into the air twice, although it managed to land on its wheels both times, with Vader even slicing through the lip of M2's flipper in the process. However Vader displayed little movement after this, while M2 flipped Shell Shock onto its side. Vader sat motionless by the arena wall after its remote control receiver became unresponsive. After M2 flipped Shell Shock out of the arena, Vader then suffered the same fate at the hands of M2, becoming the first of the previous year's Heat Finalists to fall in the first round.
Not shown during the episode was that after landing in the camera run, the relay controlling Vader's weapon motor became jammed on and had to be disabled by the removal of the safety link from the machine. After the match it was discovered that the receiver batteries had flown loose of their housing during one of the flips.
- "I upgraded the weapon motor to a 1.2kw one and used parallel truck relays for series 7 and that was where the problems started (when one of the weapon relays welded closed whilst in the arena at series 7 filming after being flipped onto the camera run, resulting in the link having to be pulled whilst the vertical disc was running full tilt!)"
- — Simon Latham on Facebook
|VADER - RESULTS|
|The Sixth Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat E, Round 1||vs. The Stag, UFO, Wild Thing (9)||Qualified|
|Heat E, Round 2||vs. Aggrobot 3||Won|
|Heat E, Final||vs. Wild Thing (9)||Lost|
|Extreme Series 2|
|Round 1||vs. Barber-Ous 2, Iron-Awe 2, Terrorhurtz||Eliminated|
|The Seventh Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat A, Round 1||vs. M2, Shell Shock, Tiberius 3||Eliminated|
- Wins: 2
- Losses: 3
|Main Series||Vader Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fourth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fifth Wars||Failed to qualify|
|The Sixth Wars||Heat Final|
|The Seventh Wars||Heat, Round 1|
Entered with IG-88
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Did not enter|
|Series 2||Challenge Belt, Round 1|
Outside Robot Wars
Vader appeared at the Debenham Robot Rumble 2002, using curved scoops in place of a flywheel due to a ban on spinning weaponry. Vader defeated GBH 2, Behemoth, Lambsy, Knuckles, Velocirippa and The Grim Reaper, but lost in a melee to Dantomkia and Bigger Brother, and was also flipped by Wolverine.
Vader also appeared in an event at Neward Kit Car Show in 2002, again using the curved scoop.
- All of Vader's losses involved a robot that had or would make it to the semi-finals at some point.
- In Series 7, Vader and IG-88 were both thrown out of the arena by a robot who lost in the first round of the semi-finals and the winner of that battle lost to the robots who would finish first and third respectively.
- Both Vader and IG-88 made it to the heat final and lost to robot who fought Razer in Series 6.
- Shunt was present in all battles Vader lost.
- Vader is one of four machines Thrown Out of the Arena by both a competitor and a house robot (M2 and Matilda respectively). It shares this with Stinger, Napalm and King Buxton.