"We spent a couple of weeks scribbling on beer mats but had not really come up with anything decent until I was sitting, waiting to have my hair cut. I looked at the the barber's pole rotating outside and imagined it several thousand times faster and covered in sharp, spiky barbs. The name 'Barber-Ous' came to me at the same time. After the haircut, I rushed home and drew what became Barber-Ous."
— Simon Rafferty in the Robot Wars Club magazine, on the inspiration of Barber-Ous' name and design

Barber-Ous was a uniquely-shaped robot that competed in three series of Robot Wars, also competing in the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. The original robot lost to Series 2 champions Panic Attack in the first round of Series 5, but not without damaging the latter's lifting forks. Barber-Ous 2 was more successful, making the Heat Final in Series 6, before being "mashed" by Hypno-Disc, while the third and final version, Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit, also fell in the first round of Series 7 after its outrigger shattered, causing its removable link to detach.

Versions of Barber-OusEdit


Barber-Ous during construction

The team decided to design Barber-Ous after their previous entry, Rotraktor, failed to qualify for Series 4, with a producer explaining the robot looked boring. The team wanted to build a robot with an unusual design, and Simon Rafferty was inspired by seeing a rotating barber's pole.

"We wanted a design that combined the versatility of a flipper with the destructive force of a spinner. The obvious answer is a vertical spinner with the barbs on the spinning weapon arranged so as to hook under your opponent and either flip them over, or tear through their armour."
— Simon Rafferty in the Robot Wars Club magazine
Barber-Ous 2 internals

The insides of Barber-Ous with the drum removed

All versions of Barber-Ous that appeared on Robot Wars shared the same theme and design. It was a unique, two-wheeled cylinder-shaped robot with a top speed of 10mph and a full-bodied spinning drum painted red and white to resemble a barber's pole. The 'full-body drum' acted as both Barber-Ous's weapon and body, and was fitted with metal barbs in order to flip and cause tremendous damage to other robots.

"The strengths; it's made of plastic, the weaknesses... oh, it's made of plastic. Curious."
— Jonathan Pearce on Barber-Ous 2's statistics

Barber-Ous 2, unpainted, during testing

The robot's main body was made out of plastic, a rare choice of material for robot armour.

"I had seen another robot on Robot Wars that used half a plastic barrel as Armour. Axe weapons just seemed to bounce of it rather than piercing. I realized that reflecting or deflecting the energy of weapons was potentially more effective than making something strong enough to absorb it. I talked to a local company who after some explanation kindly gave me a length of plastic (polyethylene) water pipe, which they said was flexible, elastic and very resistant to damage. This pipe became both the armour and weapon thus saving some weight."
— Simon Rafferty in the Robot Wars Club magazine




""A vicious twisty-turny spikey barber's pole on its side and on wheels" one description. A horizontal rotating drum covered in barbs with a hammer mace. Lack of experience though - could bring a "close shave" or two!"
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Barber-Ous

The original Barber-Ous that competed in Series 5 featured a much narrower drum than its later incarnations, as well as thin transparent wheels and two large yellow guiding bars with wheels which presumably helped the robot steer forwards and backwards if it was inverted.

Barber-Ous 2Edit


Barber-Ous 2 in Series 6

Barber-Ous 2 was rebuilt for Series 6 with a much wider drum and smaller, but thicker wheels, enabling it to have a greater surface area to attack robots more effectively. It also initially had red, black and white frames with castors which surrounded the wheels, similar in purpose to the previous guiding bars and offering both wheels some degree of protection. It could reach 10mph.


Barber-Ous 2 in Extreme 2

For Extreme 2, Barber-Ous 2 was fitted with flexible rubber wheels in order to better withstand side-on impacts, making those frames obsolete, and a pair of small yellow flanges were added in between the wheels and the drum to aid the robot's steering.

Barber-Ous 2'n a BitEdit


Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit in the pits

"So, a twisty-turny full-body spinner, now with rubber wheels and those barbs and teeth, 250 watt bicycle hub motors, it's made of plastic - HA HA HA, IT'S MADE OF PLASTIC!"
— Jonathan Pearce sums up Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit

Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit remained largely identical to the Extreme 2 version of Barber-Ous 2, however it featured a tougher construction and more flexible removable links which were intended to make it more resilient against the impacts of its own drum. However, the recoil of Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit's drum was still enough to immobilise it in the first round of the main competition in Series 7.


At the Series 5 Qualifiers, Barber-Ous fought Razer first. It also fought Invertabrat in another qualifier battle. It started well, throwing Invertabrat in the air with its drum, but then broke down and was pitted by Shunt. However, Barber-Ous was still chosen to compete, unlike Invertabrat.

"We've just competed in the trials at Wembly (Sun 12th Aug). I thought it went quite well, but nobody there was prepared to say anything other than that we would receive a letter in the next week. We were up against Razer (Why? It's seeded - but still did us some damage, but you could see them avoiding the rotating drum. ... There was also Invertabrat (sorry if it's not spelled right). We threw Invertabrat up in the air and it sustained superficial damage. Our drive failed and Shunt nudged us into the pit after trying to axe our drum. The drum was still spinning and only sustained a scratch - a testimony to the resiliance of polyethalene armour! The radio worked a treat (Thanks to Paul Hills) and although we sustained a fair bit of damage, we can rebuild it if need be."
— Barber-Ous website on the Series 5 qualifiers.
Barberous and cakes

Barber-Ous 2 in the pits at the Series 6 qualifiers

Barber-Ous 2 fought Demolition Man and ICU at the Series 6 qualifiers. It was also scheduled to face Killer Carrot 2 in the same battle, although that robot would be removed from the melee. The winner of the battle is unknown, but all three robots qualified.[1]

At the Series 7 qualifiers, Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit was drawn against Alchemy, Colossus and Lightning. Alchemy broke down at the start of the battle. Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit lost to Lightning when it lost a wheel and broke down, but both it and Colossus recieved discretionary places.

"Alchemy (spinner & grabbers) broke down going in. Barber-Ous (tough uprated spinning Barber's pole design) inflicted damage to our front scoop and a rear spike that can be hammered out and gave us lots of scratches and in the early part of the fight he was winning on damage. But we knocked the wheel off of Barber-Ous and he was immobilised after lots of contacts. Colossus was the other robot. Having flipped them earlier and them self-righting, we then got the chance to flip them again and this time they never recovered. So at the end of the fight no other robot was moving. Fantastic!"
Laurie Calvert on the qualifier battle[2]

The team had previously failed to qualify for Series 4 with Rotraktor after it lost to The Steel Avenger, also attempted to enter Series 5 with Office Party, but Barber-Ous was the successful qualifier out of the two.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 5Edit

Panic Attack vs Barber-Ous

Panic Attack grips Barber-Ous' axle

Barber-Ous vs Panic Attack

Barber-Ous nullifies Panic Attack's forks

Barber-Ous made its Robot Wars debut against sixth seeds and former champions Panic Attack. Panic Attack got underneath Barber-Ous and lifted it up, but the shape of Barber-Ous made it hard to get a grip with the lifting forks. Barber-Ous came on the attack, causing damage to the top armour of the Welsh robot and rendering the forks useless. The attack wasn't without damage to Barber-Ous itself though, because after a few more blows, the rotating drum came to a halt, with tears visible on the surface.

"And has the drum ceased? Well it's ripped. The weaponry has stopped of Barber-Ous."
— Jonathan Pearce

Barber-Ous is pitted by the former champion

Barber-Ous pressed the pit release button, but could not move from this position, and Panic Attack pushed it into Sgt. Bash, which gripped the yellow axle of Barber-Ous. The drum spinner was then pitted by Panic Attack, eliminating it from the Fifth Wars.

"Barber-Ous gets a pudding cut!"
— Craig Charles comments on the demise of Barber-Ous

Series 6Edit

Barber-Ous 2 vs Granny's Revenge 2

Barber-Ous nearly manages to get Granny's Revenge out

"An odd bod, it's the Robot Wars Sweeney Todd!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Barber-Ous 2 enters the arena.

Barber-Ous 2 returned much improved since the last series. Its first battle saw it against 4x4, Granny's Revenge 2 and Hypno-Disc.

Simon Rafferty: "The one thing we're most susceptible to, I would say, is horizontal spinning weapons. The one robot that I didn't want to be pitched against is Hypno-Disc!"
Philippa Forrester: "Lucky you! That's all I needed to hear!"
— The pre-battle interview

Nevertheless, Barber-Ous 2 went straight on the attack, almost flinging Granny's Revenge 2 out of the arena in the process. Leaving the wrecked robot, which Barber-Ous had immobilised, it hacked into 4x4, with 4x4's cloth snag getting tangled on Barber-Ous 2's weapon. At this stage, Barber-Ous had also immobilised 4x4, but shortly afterwards, Hypno-Disc landed a blow on Barber-Ous, shredding the cloth and the armour and causing the weapon to stop. Barber-Ous 2 had survived the attack, but more followed and Barber-Ous 2 broke down. However, as the last robot to have done so, it went through.

In-between battles however, it was revealed that the wheels of Barber-Ous 2 had been severely damaged by Hypno-Disc. The team could not repair them and were forced to equip a new, untested system. However, these wheels proved to be better as it effectively beat Kat 3.

Barberous kat 3

Barber-Ous knocks Kat 3 over

Barber-Ous 2 vs Kat 3

Barber-Ous prevents Kat 3 self-righting

At the start of the battle Kat 3 missed with its first axe blow and Barber-Ous 2 struck Kat 3's side removing a chunk of its side armour before overturning it and pushing the axe-wielding robot towards the wall.

"When Barber-Ous 2 moves with a menace, it can thrust anything away. It has just tossed 97 kilos of Kat 3 across the arena. I think if they could truly modify Barber-Ous so it was more better controlled, they could have a deadly weapon here!"
— Jonathan Pearce on Barber-Ous 2's impressive onslaught

Kat 3, on its side, attempted to self-right, but was unable to after the axe head was damaged. Kat 3 was subsequently counted out by Refbot and eliminated. Sir Killalot then dragged Kat 3 onto the floor flipper where in another attempt at self-righting the latter lost the end of its own axe after it had been almost torn off by Sir Killalot's claw. Kat 3 was then thrown into the air, and cease was finally called.

Craig Charles: "Surely, there's a way, there's a tactic, there must be some how you can beat them."
Simon Rafferty: "We have a plan."
Craig Charles: "What is the plan? come on, tell me, I won't tell anyone!"
Simon Rafferty: "I reckon the top shell of it is much thinner than the chassis and base, so if we can get up on top, we'll take it from behind, so to speak, and sort get up over on the top it may shred enough of the protective stuff for the motors and the radio and stuff like that. That's the plan!"
— Post-battle interview about the Heat Final
Hypno-Disc vs Barber-Ous

Barber-Ous gets a good hit on Hypno-Disc...

Barber-Ous 2 aftermath

...But ends up being shredded

In the Heat Final, Barber-Ous met Hypno-Disc again. Both robots got their weapons up to speed and circled around each other, before Hypno-Disc hit Barber-Ous 2, also getting thrown by Barber-Ous 2's drum, but Barber-Ous 2 had lost mobility after the hit from the 3-time UK Grand-Finalist.

"Has the one spin of the disc knocked Barber-Ous still? ... The drum is quitening, is stopping, has stopped, is being tattered! Plastic against metal? Hate to say we told you so, but we told you so!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Barber-Ous 2's drum was still spinning, so Hypno-Disc bashed it again which stopped it and also damaged the robot, which was left tattered. Hypno-Disc hit Barber-Ous more times, edging it closer to the pit, where Refbot counted out the immobilised Barber-Ous 2.

"Well, they've done brilliantly to get this far. I love the innovative design of it, I hope they come back with a stronger robot, but the basic principle seems sound to me."
— Jonathan Pearce as Refbot counts Barber-Ous out.

Shunt finished it off by finally shoving it into the pit.

Extreme 2Edit


Iron-Awe 2 is dragged over by the weight of Barber-Ous

Terrorhurtz vs Barber-Ous

Terrorhurtz pits Barber-Ous

Barber-Ous singularly competed in the Challenge Belt competition. In the eliminator, Barber-Ous 2 threw Iron-Awe 2 over with its spinning barber's pole weapon, however Iron-Awe 2 self-righted. Vader was then pinned by the two axes of Terrorhurtz and Shunt, also wedging Iron-Awe 2 in, allowing Barber-Ous 2 to attack without retaliation. Vader was hacked into submission by Terrorhurtz and Shunt. With Vader out, Barber-Ous was picked on by Iron-Awe and Terrorhurtz.

"The plastic shell ripped apart there, I thought it might be suspect, Barber-Ous 2 taking damage"
— Jonathan Pearce as Iron-Awe axes Barber-Ous

Iron-Awe 2 then flipped Barber-Ous 2, but ended up balancing on its rear after Barber-Ous 2 remained stuck in its axe. Terrorhurtz attacked Barber-Ous 2 as Iron-Awe 2 threw itself onto its back, with both it and Barber-Ous 2 still stuck together while Vader was thrown out of the arena by Matilda's flywheel. Once freed, Iron-Awe 2 was left unable to self-right and Barber-Ous 2 lay immobile, the latter being pitted by Terrorhurtz. With Terrorhurtz being the last robot still mobile, the judges were called to determine which other competitor would progress with it. The Judges ruled that Barber-Ous 2 was immobilised before Iron-Awe 2 was turned over, allowing Iron-Awe 2 through to the next round along with Terrorhurtz.

Philippa Forrester: "It was spectacular, and I was quite suprised you were out!"
Simon Rafferty: "Well, I'm not unhappy with the way it went. I think it was six and half a dozen, so I'm happy for them to go through."
— Post-battle interview

Series 7Edit

Barber-ous vs leveler 2

Barber-Ous sends Leveller 2 flying, but breaks down

Psycho Barber-Ous

Barber-Ous is held over the pit

"Got a short back and sides in the Sixth Wars."
— Jonathan Pearce as Barber-Ous enters the arena

Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit returned with a stronger construction than in the Sixth Wars. In its first round battle, Thunderpants broke down on entry to the arena, leaving Barber-Ous to fight Leveller 2 and Tetanus Booster in a three-way battle. It managed to hit the wedge-shaped Leveller 2 twice, flipping it over once. However, the aggressive attacks of Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit knocked out its own removable link, rendering it immobile. It was counted out by Refbot and left to the mercy of Mr. Psycho. Barber-Ous was carried through the air, and dropped into the pit.

Barber-Ous pitted

Barber-Ous is pitted during the Battle of the Spinners

Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit also featured in the "Battle of the Spinners" special event of Heat C alongside Infernal Contraption and Shredder Evolution.

"They're all quite evenly matched, I reckon. They'll all run the other way up, they have a certain similarity in the designs of them, so I think that it should be a good match!"
— Simon Rafferty on the opponents

It traded a few blows with the other robots, notably tearing off one of Shredder Evolution's wheel guards. It was performing well until Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit and Infernal Contraption were trapped by Mr Psycho in the CPZ, and the House Robot turned on the spot and inadvertently pushed Barber-Ous 2 n' a Bit into the pit using its claw. Shredder Evolution won the battle.


Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat J, Eliminator vs. Panic Attack (6) Lost
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat K, Eliminator vs. 4x4, Granny's Revenge 2, Hypno-Disc (4) Qualified
Heat K, Semi Final vs. Kat 3 Won
Heat K, Final vs. Hypno-Disc (4) Lost
Extreme Series 2
Challenge Belt
Round 1
Round 1 vs. Iron-Awe 2, Terrorhurtz, Vader Eliminated
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat E, Round 1 vs. Leveller 2, Tetanus Booster, Thunderpants Eliminated
NOTE: Thunderpants broke down in the entry gate and never made it into the arena, leaving the other three robots to fight alone.
Special Events
Battle of the Spinners
Battle of the Spinners vs. Infernal Contraption, Shredder Evolution Lost


  • Wins: 2
  • Losses: 5

Series RecordEdit


Team Rotraktor in the pits

Main Series Barber-Ous Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Failed to qualify with Rotraktor
The Fifth Wars Heat, Round 1 as Barber-Ous
Failed to qualify with Office Party
The Sixth Wars Heat Final as Barber-Ous 2
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1 as Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 Entered as Barber-Ous 2

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Barber-Ous was originally built for a Discovery Channel competition called Robots Revenge but was deemed too powerful to compete.

"We were contacted by the Discovery Channel who were making a series called 'Robots Revenge' following the build of a number of Robots culminating in a big battle at the end. They filmed both - though they needed to be separate. So I was filmed building Barber-ous and Guy Radford with The Office Party. In the end, Barber-ous was deemed too dangerous to fight, but The Office Party won the event."
— Simon Rafferty on Robots Revenge

After Robot Wars entered its hiatus, team captain Simon Rafferty kept Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit until 2015, in the hopes that Robot Wars would return to TV. The robot was eventually scrapped, just one year before Series 8 of Robot Wars was announced. However, he has stated his intention to build Barber-Ous 3 for a potential future series.

"Ironically Barber-ous 2 went in the scrap bin last year! I decided RW's was never going to happen again and wanted the space under my bench back! Probably time to build what we intended as Barber-ous 3 anyway!"
— Simon Rafferty on Facebook


  • In all five of its losses, Barber-Ous was pitted.
  • Barber-Ous 2'n a Bit, Iron-Awe 2.1, Sub-Version 1.1, Malc 1.5 and Judge Shred 2½ are the only robots to be named part sequentially, with Barber-Ous being the only one not to specify a decimal or fraction.

External LinksEdit


  1. [1]
  2. [2]

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