Not to be confused with Kronic the Wedgehog

"Featuring a deadly pickaxe! This middleweight entry clocks a top speed of 4 miles an hour. Wedgehog runs off 2 9.6 volt domestic electric drills, and weighs in at a power-packed 24 kilograms!"
Jonathan Pearce introduces Wedgehog

Wedgehog was a lightweight robot that singularly participated in the first series of Robot Wars. At the time, it was actually a Middleweight. Although Wedgehog was substantially lighter than the rest of the robots in its heat, it defeated Dreadnaut in the Arena, which was 64kg the heavier, to reach the Heat Final. However, it lost there to Robot the Bruce.

Design[edit | edit source]

"We knew that the weapon wasn't going to be a major part of our design and so its shell had to be designed with an offensive feature.  A wedge shape in other words, (cut to the chase). But we didn't want another boring wedge shape box on wheels, so we put a curve on the back and angled sides, it didn't fool anyone.”"
— Chris Glaister on the Wedgehog website [1]

Wedgehog in the arena

Wedgehog was a black wedge-shaped robot, with a pneumatic pickaxe as its weapon. However, this weapon was not very powerful and was referred to as a "toothpick" by both Jeremy Clarkson and Jonathan Pearce. It had two wheels, powered by Bosch drill motors.

"Wedgehog were very lucky as Bosch gave them two free drills worth £250 each. They used the same speed controllers as I did as they had a slight problem getting rid of the braking function. The pneumatic axe was quoted by Jeremy Clarkson as a "toothpick" and that gives an idea of its effectiveness."
— Oliver Steeples of University of Reading[2]

The shell of Wedgehog in 2018

Wedgehog was built on a low budget, so the team relied on a lot of second hand parts, including some from a local junk shop. The wheels were taken from a Mothercare Pram, the solenoid valves were taken from an old washing machine, and the armour came from a scrapped aluminium British Rail sign, and abandoned steel shelving. The overall cost of robot was £275.40[3].

"Our entire budget for the project was £250 pounds plus anything else we could muster from our fluff filled pockets. This was helped though by having access to the Shadow Work Shop where we could use tools and machines and some material resources for free."
— Chris Glaister on the Wedgehog website

The insides of Wedgehog

The electronics were housed in protective aluminium box, with heat sinks for speed controllers. The chassis was made from 1/4 inch thick wood for ease of construction.

"We decided to make the chassis out of wood as it meant we could kind of design it as we went along (cutting edge stuff I know)  by cutting holes where we wanted and screwing things in easily using wood screws.  If we had chosen a metal chassis I think too much time would have been spent drilling and working the metal, which is a lot less forgiving and much more expensive to use.  …  As it tuned  {sic} out the chassis was easily strong enough to support me standing on it even with {sic} the amour on top."
— Chris Glaister on the Wedgehog website

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The name Wedgehog, like Kronic the Wedgehog's and Edge Hog's, is a pun on hedgehog, referring to the robots wedge shape.

The Team[edit | edit source]

"The team consisted of me, Chris, and two very good friends Joe and Hugo. We all love fiddling with things, taking them apart [sometimes with explosives], and putting them back together to see how they work. Some day we hope to set up some kind of special effects company."
— Wedgehog website on the team[4]

The team with Wedgehog

Wedgehog's team (sometimes referred to by Robot Wars competitor websites as The Shadow Project) consisted of three students, all of whom lived in Central London, within a five minute bike ride of each other.

"The construction of Wedgehog was very 'make it up as you go along'. We had a vague idea of the set out of the components we had, but no exact designs were ever made. I find this approach much more fun and much faster as long as you know what you're doing."
— Wedgehog website [5]

Team captain Chris Glaister was the lead designer of Wedgehog, and builder of the weapon system, also being responsible for sourcing two £200 Bosch motors for free as part of a sponsorship. He controlled the robot throughout Wedgehog's Heat.

"I did most of the research and general design of Wedgehog starting from meeting some Robot Wars people at Robotix '96. I hassled Bosch in to giving us two battery drills worth about £200 each for free which were used as the main drive for the robot. I also designed and built Wedgehog's weapon, which despite looking quite threatening in the workshop turned out to be as useful as a tooth pick in the real competition. I designed and built most of the drive system and radio control set up for Wedgehog."
— Chris Glaister on his contributions

Chris Glaister was part of "The Shadow Project", a robotics company in London, which allowed him to use their workshop, tools and machines to build the robot, and take parts from the stores.

Teammate Joe Wentworth constructed Wedgehog's shell and wheel mounts, and helped to provide second-hand parts for Wedgehog.

"Joe's good at 'heavy' engineering, like bending massive pieces of steel between his teeth and making accidentally drilling halfway through his leg look as painless as breaking a fingernail. Joe's main part in the construction of the robot was the construction of the armor shell and wheel mounts, both excellent jobs. Joe is a bit of a chemical and explosives expert, which you can see from the array of chemical burns and scars on his arms and the natural asbestos coating on his hands."
— The Wedgehog website on Joe Wentworth

The Wedgehog team being interviewed after the Arena Semi-Final, with Hugo Elias on the left

Third team member Hugo Elias assisted with construction, designing the shape of Wedgehog's shell and also the team's logo. A talented graphic artist, he also came up with some concept designs for the robot, though these were not used.

"Hugo's good at building cool things, electronics, is fantastic at computers and can draw a very nice spaceship. ...  Hugo helped a great deal on the building of robot as well as designing the shape of the armor and the damn good Wedgehog Logo."
— The Wedgehog website on Hugo Elias

He was not present for the team's introduction or Gauntlet run, but was present for both the Arena stage battles.

Qualification[edit | edit source]

Wedgehog at the Series 1 auditions

Due to the shortage of available competitors for the first series, every robot that was working for Series 1 qualified automatically, although all the competitors had to attend the audition before filming so the producers could inspect them, and to do a driving test to prove they were working. Wedgehog attended the auditions, unpainted, and had to do a maze as a driving test.

"You can see a maze drawn on the floor in chalk, which was later converted in to a game for the TV show.  Wedgehog managed to spread the chalk all over the floor before we were told to take it off by the floor manager."
— Chris Glaister describes the audition on the Wedgehog website

Hugo Elias drove the robot for the audition, which was its first proper test. Despite driving over the lines, making a mess of the chalk, Wedgehog qualified for the series [6]}.

Robot History[edit | edit source]

Series 1[edit | edit source]

Shunt drives towards Wedgehog, knocking the corkscrew lance box askew

Wedgehog fought in Heat C of the First Wars. In the Gauntlet, Wedgehog drove off the turntable as soon as it was pointing forwards, taking the maze route. Wedgehog carefully drove through the maze, and got through without the House Robots coming into the maze to block it.

"This'll need some tricky control, and some clever driving."
— Jonathan Pearce as Wedgehog steers through the Gauntlet

Wedgehog breaks down on the spikes

As it left the maze, Shunt came towards it, but he drove into the corkscrew lance box and knocked it askew. This distraction allowed Wedgehog to drive around the springs, and past the grille, but when it drove over the spikes, the spikes rose, blocking it. The spikes lowered and Wedgehog moved forwards, but the spikes raised again, lifting Wedgehog off the ground.

"...now, this is a surprise though, I'm not sure if they've read this right! They need to get their drive wheel motoring up and over the spikes... and they're impaled, and in pain!"
— Jonathan Pearce as the spikes lift up Wedgehog

The spikes lowered again, and Wedgehog tried driving off the spikes, but the spikes raised again, lifting the back of Wedgehog up off the ground again. Time ran out before it could get off, and Wedgehog had covered 13.23m. Fortunately for the team, that was more than enough to see them through, with Wedgehog finishing as third on the leaderboard.

Jeremy Clarkson: "Well not a bad performance there, but tell me, what do you think of those spikes, then?"
Chris Glaister: "I had a bit of trouble, lifted up the drive wheel so we couldn't get any drive, but we got far enough!"
— Post-Gauntlet interview

Fortunately for the team, that was more than enough to see them through, with Wedgehog finishing as third on the leaderboard.

In the Football Trial, Wedgehog had attached panels to its front wedge to help control the ball.

Wedgehog and the other competitors in the Football Trial

Wedgehog gets close to scoring, before Dead Metal deflects the ball away

At the start of the Trial, Cruella turned into Wedgehog as the robots moved forwards, blocking it, whilst Robot the Bruce got to the ball first. After some pushing between Wedgehog and Cruella, Wedgehog got away, and got to the ball, which was at the side, very close to the goal. However, as Wedgehog got close to the ball, Cruella rammed into its side, pushing it against the ball. The ball rolled along the side, right in front of Wedgehog. Wedgehog pushed the ball, but Dead Metal span, knocking the ball over the top of Wedgehog, and it rolled away.

"Oh, good save by Dead Metal, get it away! Magnificent stuff!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Dead Metal knocks the ball away from Wedgehog

Wedgehog drove around the ball, but when it turned, it knocked the ball aside instead of getting it between the panels. The ball rolled to Robot the Bruce, which pushed the ball to Wedgehog, then pushed past Wedgehog, rolling the ball onto the side walls. The ball rolled back, and because Dead Metal was off his line, this left a clear path for Robot the Bruce to push the ball in for the first goal.

Wedgehog controls the ball around Wedgehog

In the second round, the ball was put back in the middle, and because the robots started from the same spots they finished the last round in, Wedgehog started furthest from the ball. WYSIWYG got to the ball and pushed it to the side of the arena, but then turned incorrectly and drove to the top of the arena, and Wedgehog rushed up the arena, getting behind the ball. However, before it could start pushing, Cruella reversed into the ball, pushing it up on the side fences, and it rolled away. Cruella got to the ball as it rolled back and pushed it towards the goal, but WYSIWYG rammed into it and struggled with Cruella to get the ball. Cruella turned against WYSIWYG, but in doing so it lost the ball, as Wedgehog drove behind, firing the axe, which could not reach Cruella because of the added panels. WYSIWYG turned around, driving in front of Cruella. As it did so, Dead Metal span, hitting WYSIWYG and pushing it against the ball, knocking it into the side of Cruella. Cruella turned, knocking the ball aside, but before Wedgehog could get to the ball, Dreadnaut reversed into the ball, knocking it to Wedgehog's side. Cruella and Wedgehog drove around Dreadnaut to get to the ball, and Cruella pushed the ball into Dreadnaut, which had broken down, then reversed into Dreadnauth and the ball as Wedgehog tried to get control of it. Wedgehog then got the ball between its panels, and pushed the ball around Dreadnaut, into the side fences.

"...here's Wedgehog, good control by Wedgehog too. Can he finish? It's an open goal, you've got to score here!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Wedgehog controls the ball around Dreadnaut

Dead Metal pushes the ball into the goal, putting Wedgehog through

Wedgehog went for the ball, but got stuck on the side fences. Dead Metal got to the ball and moved it away from Wedgehog, but then Cruella rammed into the side of the House Robot, and the ball rolled to the goal. As Dead Metal tried to stop it going in, he pushed the ball in himself. Wedgehog was awarded the second goal because it had been the last competitor to touch the ball last of the remaining competitors before Dead Metal inadvertently pushed it in.

Philippa Forrester: "Now what would you say, would you say that was luck?"
Chris Glanister: "It was luck, but it was also the extra panels on the side of the robot controlling the ball throughout the thing, but in the end I got wedged on the side, lost control. Bit of luck that it bounced off me on the way in!"
— Post-Trial interview

Wedgehog went through to Heat Semi-Final, where it fought Dreadnaut. Wedgehog was at a disadvantage as its opponent was over 68 kilos heavier than it, but Dreadnaut had suffered from reliability problems twice before this stage, burning out after the Gauntlet, then breaking down in the Trial.

"Dreadnaut, the big slug, against Wedgehog, the piece of cheese, and the Dreadnaut boys look worried, they know they have to get this over and done with very early because the motor may not last."
— Jonathan Pearce at the start of the battle

Dreadnaut pushes Wedgehog into Sergeant Bash

Sergeant Bash's saw slips off whilst attacking Wedgehog

At the start, the two robots drove towards each other, then paused as they got close to each other. Dreadnaut drove around Wedgehog as it charged at it fired its axe, causing Wedgehog to miss. Dreadnaut reversed a little, then pushed Wedgehog, but Wedgehog turned. Dreadnaut reversed past Wedgehog, into the centre of the arena, and as Wedgehog turned around, Dreadnaut charged into it, getting the forks under the side and pushing it inot Sergeant Bash, who turned to use his saw. The saw failed to do any damage, bending against Wedgehog, then falling off onto Wedgehog's top as Sergeant Bash turned.

"That's like a halo!"
— Jonathan Pearce as the saw blade rests on top of Wedgehog

Shunt drags both robots away from the grille

Dreadnaut pulled Wedgehog away from Sergeant Bash, dragging it to the other side of the arena, and tried pushing, but it could not get Wedgehog off its forks. Dreadnaut managed to turn Wedgehog around, and began pushing it to the grille, but when it pushed Wedgehog over the grille, it could not get its lifting forks out from under Wedgehog. Shunt came out to push the two robots apart, pushing the two away from the grille. Shunt couldn't separate them, and Matilda pushed against Wedgehog.

"Don't take on the little one Matilda! You ought to see her at the disco, she does that down there too!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Matilda pushes Wedgehog

Wedgehog was able to struggle free from Dreadnaut's forks, and smoke was rising from Dreadnaut. With Dreadnaut immobile, Wedgehog was through to the Heat Final.

Jeremy Clarkson: "Chaps, you've won, and that's what matters, but I've got to ask, that toothpick you fitted to the front, it's pathetic!"
Chris Glanister: "Oh, give us a break!"
Jeremy Clarkson: "It is, but Dreadnaut, I mean really the whole event, has been on fire or broken down. You must have been relieved when you were drawn against it."
Chris Glanister: "We were happy to see the smoke coming out, yeah."
— Post-battle interview

Finally, it met Robot the Bruce in the Heat Final, the first product to come out of Team Chaos. Like Dreadnaut, Robot the Bruce was a superheavyweight, being 60 kg heavier than Wedgehog.

Philippa Forrester: "Wedgehog, what is your strategy going to be?"
Chris Glaister: "Try and make him run up the front, we've got no chance any other way, he weighs four times our weight, and we haven't got the power that he's got. If he drives up the front of us, we might have the chance of him rolling off sideways and being beached."
Philippa Forrester: "But you've got the weapon."
Chris Glaister: "We've got a weapon, I'm fairly certain it won't get through the armour, but we'll have a go!"
— Pre-battle interview, the unedited version included in Robot Wars: The First Great War[7]

Wedgehog and Robot the Bruce circle each other

After making an incorrect turn at the start, Wedgehog drove to the centre of the arena as Robot the Bruce charged at it. As Robot the Bruce got close, Wedgehog drove around to Robot the Bruce's side, trying to get underneath. The two robots turned together, and Robot the Bruce reversed away. Wedgehog drove after it, but Robot the Bruce charged at its side, and easily bulldozed it across the arena, pushing it onto a grille. Wedgehog was unable to get off the grille, leaving it immobile, and it fired its pickaxe at the grille.

"Sheer brute force, against the toothpick! (laughs) It could all be over very, very quickly. He's on the grille, I don't think he's gonna get out of there. Are you sure, taking on a grille with that thing?"
— Jonathan Pearce after Wedgehog gets shunted onto a grille

Robot The Bruce rams Wedgehog onto the grille

Matilda and Sgt Bash slice into Wedgehog

The House Robots closed in, with Shunt pushing it with his plough, and Robot the Bruce ramming into it. Sergeant Bash got behind Wedgehog and used his saw on the top of Wedgehog, causing sparks. Shunt axed Wedgehog, then went to fight Robot the Bruce. Matilda got around the side of Wedgehog and used her chainsaw to cut through the armour. Cease was called and Robot the Bruce was through to the Grand Final.

Philippa Forrester: "Are you very depressed?"
Hugo Elias: "No, not in the slightest, we never thought we'd here!"
— Post-battle interview, shown during the credits

Wedgehog was eliminated, and did not return.

"Wedgehog's only hope against the giant clear lexan box was to run it up the Wedge.  This failed due to a slow starting left drill which skewed it to the right on the first charge.Oh well, we'll be back.  Wait for the next one in 99."
— Wedgehog website on the team[8]

Results[edit | edit source]

WEDGEHOG - RESULTS
Series 1
The First Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat C, Gauntlet 13.23m (3rd) Qualified
Heat C, Trial (Football) Scored 2nd Goal (2nd) Qualified
Heat C, Semi-Final vs. Dreadnaut Won
Heat C, Final vs. Robot The Bruce Lost

Wins/Losses[edit | edit source]

  • Wins: 1
  • Losses: 1

NOTE: Wedgehog's successful Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included

Series Record[edit | edit source]

Series Wedgehog Series Record
The First Wars Heat Final
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter

Outside Robot Wars[edit | edit source]

Wedgehog's shell in 2018

Wedgehog at Robonerd 2019

Wedgehog is no longer active as a competitor, but it is shown at Robots Live events. However, only its shell is displayed, without the internals. The shell still has the cut from Matilda's chainsaw, which was never repaired. As of 2018, it is currently in the possession of Team MAD, and has been owned by the team for several years. Team MAD displayed the shell of Wedgehog at Robonerd 2019 alongside their active heavyweight machines.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide mistakenly states that Wedgehog was entered by the Kronic the Wedgehog team, when it actually came from a completely unrelated team.
  • Only four parts of Wedgehog cost more than £10, with most of the parts costing less than £5 or being free. Most of the cost was the £140 radio control set[9]
    • According to the team's website, the pickaxe weapon cost just £2.
  • Due to the team’s lack of experience of speed controllers, whilst building the robot, they burnt out five speed controllers. It was only after the fifth time they realised they were burning out the speed controllers because they had been buying the wrong kind of speed controller – they had bought Teamline  'Piranha Scale' speed controllers, which are designed for model boats[10].
  • The statsboard listed Wedgehog’s speed as 4mph, but the website claimed it had a top speed of 7mph.
  • Wedgehog was the only robot in Heat C of Series 1 that did not return for any other series, discounting WYSIWYG, which could not return as it was a stock robot.
    • The Wedgehog team were also the only team in the Heat not to appear in any other series, as WYSIWYG's driver, Michelle Wheeley, joined the Cruella team in Series 2.
  • In return for providing the team with two battery drills, the Wedgehog team promoted Bosch on their website, and on the side of the robot. Bosch featured articles on Wedgehog in their monthly magazine[11].
  • Team member Hugo Elias' name was misspelt as "Hugo Eilas" on Wedgehog's statistics board.
  • Wedgehog covered the most distance of all the robots that failed to complete the Gauntlet across two series.

References[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.