Walkerbots (also known as Walkers, Walking Robots or Legged Robots) are robots which use legs and/or feet as locomotion instead of traditional wheels or tracks. They first appeared in Robot Wars: The Second Wars, with Jim Struts competing in - and winning - the Reserve Rumble shown at the end of that series. The most successful walkerbot to have ever competed on the show was Anarchy, which reached the Heat Final stage and won the 'Best Engineered' award in Series 6.
Walkerbots were relatively uncommon in Robot Wars, with fourteen traditional walkers having appeared across all series. They have also proved largely unsuccessful in combat, with only Anarchy and Clawed Hopper having progressed beyond the first round in the main UK series.
As their name implies, walkerbots use 'legs' and/or 'feet' as their sole method of locomotion, which enable them to 'walk' across the arena floor. The 'legs' and 'feet' can assume a variety of forms, including metal beams, bars, box-sections or pipes, and can be powered by a variety of walking mechanisms, such as gears (Anarchy), cranks (Stomp) or hydraulic actuators (Jim Struts, Eleven).
To encourage innovation and creativity, walkerbots were initially allowed to enter one weight class below their actual weight, or weigh more than conventional robots in the main heavyweight category. Both of these breaks also ensured allowances for the extra weight of the walking mechanisms they used. For example, heavyweight walkerbots were allowed to weigh up to 136kg/300lbs between Series 1 and 4, 350lbs/160kg in US Season 1-2 and 200kg between Series 5 and 7. However, some walkerbots competing in these series, such as Jim Struts and Series 4 entrant Millennium Bug, weighed substantially more than the maximum heavyweight walkerbot limit.
Between Series 8 and Series 9, the maximum weight limit for walkerbots was reduced to 135kg - only 25kg higher than the limit for conventional heavyweights - somewhat discouraging them from those series of the rebooted Robot Wars. Stricter rules for walking mechanisms also applied, stating that legs were required to have 'at least 2 degrees of freedom' in order for robots to be eligible for the new walkerbot weight allowance. For Series 10, the weight limit for heavyweight walkerbots was increased to 145kg, in order to encourage more robots of their kind to be entered. However, no traditional walkerbots would appear in Series 10, and it is currently unknown whether any attempted to apply for that series.
|Weight Category||Series 1-4||Series 5-7/
|US Season 1-2||Series 8-9||Series 10|
NOTE: Walkerbots participating in Series 1-4 and US Season 1-2 were allowed to enter one class below their actual weight.
A variant of the walker, the shufflebot, substitutes legs for long sections, or 'banks', of feet positioned in line with each other. The 'feet' move in an elliptical pattern, guided by a camshaft mechanism, enabling the robot to 'shuffle' across the arena. Although no shufflebots ever competed in the UK Championship, robots from international series, such as the American Drillzilla, the German Ansgar and the Dutch Scarab utilised this 'shuffling' mechanism with varying degrees of success. Of these, Drillzilla was the most successful, winning the US Season 1 Annihilator and Tag Team Terror competitions, as well as finishing runner-up in The Second World Championship. Unlike traditional walkerbots, shufflebots tended to be much faster and have more room for tougher armour and more efficient weapons, as well as being much more successful in competition.
Shufflebots were originally classified as walkers and allowed double the weight limit in the heavyweight classes. However, in 2001, the distinction between them and walkers was officially recognised in the American robot combat show BattleBots, after a shufflebot, Son of Whyachi, won the Season 3.0 heavyweight championship there. As a result, shufflebots were no longer given the weight advantage shared with traditional walkerbots, a rule which came into effect in later versions of Robot Wars starting with UK Series 6.
Despite the weight increase being abolished, the 200kg shufflebots Ansgar's Revenge and Ansgar 3 were still allowed to compete in German Robot Wars and The Third World Championship, which were filmed around the same time as Series 6 and Series 7 respectively.
Shufflebots were given further handicaps from Series 8 onwards, with the heavyweight limit for the new series being 120kg; a mere 10kg heavier than a wheeled or tracked heavyweight robot, and 15kg less than a conventional heavyweight walker. The heavyweight shufflebot limit was further amended to 125kg for Series 10 - although one robot, Apex, entered the latter series as a shufflebot, it was converted to its original two-wheel drive system shortly before filming began.
|Weight Category||Series 1-4||Series 5/
|US Season 1-2||Series 6-7/
|Series 8-9||Series 10|
NOTE: Shufflebots were classified as walkerbots prior to UK Series 6.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The primary advantage of walkerbots is their additional weight over conventional robots, while their primary disadvantage is their slower speed. Shufflebots like Drillzilla often achieved a compromise which enabled them to gain a weight advantage without sacrificing speed.
- Extra weight could make walkerbots much more difficult to flip than conventional robots. Notably, Anarchy was considerably heavier than the maximum lifting capacity of Judge Shred 2½'s flipper, and proved difficult to flip over when both robots fought each other in Series 6.
- Walkerbots could offer exceptional pushing power with their greater weight - even early walkerbots like Clawed Hopper were able to easily outpush opponents such as Hammer & Tong and Twister.
- Shufflebots combined this extra pushing power with faster and lighter cam-driven mechanisms. Drillzilla was especially notable for its pushing power and high top speed, which ensured its success in The Second World Championship and numerous competitions in Extreme Warriors.
- "...it's going to be mayhem on legs. Robot 101 is good, it's very reliable, but let's face it, despite its pneumatic stabber, it's not nearly nasty enough. Anarchy on the other hand is a walking weapon! Twice the weight limit means 4 times the weapons capability..."
- — Mike Franklin, explaining the benefits of the walkerbot weight allowance on Anarchy's damage output
- Especially under the Series 5-7 build rules, the walkerbot weight allowance could still enable competitors of those designs to employ effective and damaging weapons. Team 101 captain Mike Franklin conceived Anarchy as a more potent successor to their previous machine 101, at one point quoting its high-pressure pneumatic axe as being equally powerful as the flipper of two-time UK champion Chaos 2.
- "Don't make any plans for next summers holidays cos...Clawed Hopper will still be here. Err very probably."
- — Jonathan Pearce on Clawed Hopper's lack of speed
- Walkerbots generally tended to be considerably slower and less manoeuvrable than conventional wheeled or tracked designs, as a result of their more complex, cumbersome and generally inefficient walking mechanisms. Clawed Hopper was easily outmanoeuvred by Bigger Brother during their Series 4 eliminator, and was unable to turn front on in time to prevent it from being flipped by the latter.
- Earlier walkerbots had a tendency to become unstable while walking, as a result of their heavier weight and lack of balance. Ian Inglis of Team EyeEye discovered these issues while testing Jim Struts, and acknowledged them in an interview shown before the Series 2 Reserve Rumble.
- "It's not very stable. It keeps on falling over in the garden, we've crashed a few rose bushes and things like that."
- — Ian Inglis explains Jim Struts' stability issues to Philippa Forrester
- If exposed, the 'legs' of a walkerbot can be easily damaged or destroyed by most weapons. Millennium Bug in particular had its legs damaged by Judge Shred 2 and X-Terminator 2 during its Series 4 eliminator, while Black Widow's legs were smashed by Hypno-Disc.
- Most early walkerbots featured minimal or no weaponry, making them largely or fully incapable of damaging opponents. Some, such as Jim Struts and Stomp, were capable of using their walking mechanisms as weapons in spite of this, although their effectiveness was limited.
- While more difficult to achieve, walkerbots with a high ground clearance and/or centre of gravity are still susceptible to being toppled or flipped over. The featherweight Mammoth's defeat to DTK in the Series 7 Featherweight Championship was indicative of this.
List of Walkerbots/Shufflebots
Robots are listed alphabetically. Walkerbots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background. Shufflebots are listed with a blue background.
|Anarachnid||Series 3||Walker Battles only. Six pairs of legs driven by rotary mechanisms.|
|Anarchy||Series 6||Eight legs made out of hardcoat-anodized 6082 T6 aircraft-grade aluminium, operated by gears, sprockets and chains. Rubber feet made from hose cuts. Armed with a pneumatic flipper and axe operating at 800psi. Series 6 Heat Finalist and winner of the 'Best Engineered' award in the same series.|
|Ansgar's Revenge||Series 6, German Series|
|Ansgar 3||Series 7||Competed exclusively in The Third World Championship. Armed with a horizontal spinning blade.|
|Apex||Series 10||Arrived at Series 10 as a shufflebot and qualified under these grounds, but only one side of the shuffling system worked in testing. Following this issue, Apex was hastily reverted to its original two-wheel drive system before filming began.|
|Black Widow||Series 5||Armed with a 180-degree axe and spikes.|
|Clawed Hopper||Series 4-5||Walking mechanism consisted of a rectangular frame moving in an elliptical pattern, and a turntable for turning round with a zero-degree circle. Frame equipped with spikes and steel claws. First walkerbot to win a battle in the main UK Series championship.|
|Drillzilla||Extreme 1, US Season 1||Banks of four cam-driven 'feet' running on four 20hp electric motors. Top speed of 30-40mph; armed with cutting jaws and a rear drill. Second World Championship runner-up, US Season 1 Annihilator and Tag Team Terror co-champion.|
|Eleven||Series 5||Four legs powered by hydraulics. Armed with a set of lifting/grabbing jaws.|
|Jim Struts||Series 2||Reserve Rumble winner. First walkerbot to appear – and win a battle – in Robot Wars. Four legs operated by hydraulics and featuring 'ski-lift' feet. Feet were used to lift and clamp opponents.|
|Mammoth (46kg)||Series 3||As a 46kg robot, the eight-legged Mammoth was 0.6kg over the Middleweight limit for Series 3, technically making the machine a heavyweight, but was likely considered a middleweight.|
|Mammoth||Extreme 1-2||Used two strips of metal as 'feet' and tubes as stabilisers. Entered into the Middleweight Championship in both series of Extreme despite being a lightweight.|
|Mammoth (Featherweight)||Series 7||Featherweight Championship only.|
|Millennium Bug||Series 4||Eight legs made from scaffolding pipes.|
|Miss Struts||Series 3||Walker Battles only. Four legs powered by actuators.|
|NAMAZU||Dutch Series 2||Eight legs. Armed with a vertical crushing arm.|
|Neoteric||Extreme 2||Featherweight Championship only. Armed with a large vertical cutting disc.|
|RT 81||Extreme 2||Chassis made out of a lorry tyre. Armed with an electric hammer mounted on a 360-degree rotating turret.|
|Scarab||Dutch Series 2||Armed with large front pincers.|
|Stomp||Series 3||Walker Battles only. Pair of box-sectioned 'feet' designed to move together the end of three cranks. Turntable used to turn the robot round and hit opponents with its 'feet' as it spun.|
- Although robots such as Anarchy were considered to be walkers in the original series, it would nowadays be classified as a shufflebot due to lacking a certain degree of freedom with its purely horizontal leg system.
- Each of the three international versions of Robot Wars featured one shufflebot in their domestic championships - Drillzilla in Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors, Scarab in Dutch Robot Wars, and Ansgar's Revenge in German Robot Wars. If Apex had competed as a shufflebot in Series 10, this would have represented every domestic championship with one shufflebot.
- Run Amok website - Series 5 rules and regulations
- Run Amok website - Series 2 rules and regulations
- Run Amok website - Series 3 rules and regulations
- Run Amok website - Series 4 rules and regulations,
- Run Amok website - US Season 1 rules and regulations
- Run Amok website - US Season 2 rules and regulations
- Run Amok website - Series 7 rules and regulations
- Series 8 build rules
- Series 9 build rules
- Series 10 build rules
- Although the Series 5-7 build rules did not mention increased weight limits for Featherweight walkers, the Series 7 version of Mammoth was quoted as weighing 24kg by Jonathan Pearce.
- Although the Series 5-7 build rules did not mention increased weight limits for Lightweight walkers, the Extreme 1-2 versions of Mammoth, originally built for the category, weighed 42 and 38kg respectively.
- Run Amok website - Series 6 rules and regulations
- Ultimate Real Robots magazine, Issue 36, pp.12-13.