"Big Nipper is a powerful crusher/gripper robot, with the ability to pick up an opponent weighing up to 300kg and carry it around the arena. Big Nipper’s powerful brushless motors have resulted in four tonnes of crushing power, and, for its interchangeable vertical spinner, a 20kg spinning disc which can reach 4000rpm in just five seconds."
— The Robot Wars website on Big Nipper

Big Nipper was a competitor robot that fought in Series 5, 7, and 8 of Robot Wars.

Big Nipper's best performance came in Series 7, when it reached the heat final before losing to The Grim Reaper on a Judges' decision. It was defeated in Series 5 by Razer in the first round, and failed to reach the heat final in Series 8 after failing to score enough points in the head-to-heads.

Big Nipper received an Honourable Mention in The Combat Robot Hall of Fame in 2007, having twice won the UK live circuit championship.


"We like the idea of a crusher, but we wanted to build something different, so we thought if it could pick the robots up, it would be a good idea."
— Graeme Dawson

Series 5 appearance

Big Nipper was a flat, grey eight-wheel driven (four-wheel drive in its debut) box robot with strong armour, the ability to self-right and a unique lifting arm as its primary weapon. Mounted on the lifting arm was a pair of crushing claws, making it resemble a stag beetle. In Series 5, they were simple titanium spikes mounted on a simpler lifting mechanism and the robot could reach 10mph.

Big nipper

Big Nipper at the time of Series 7

"Our weapon system is not so simple to explain but it is basically a very large lifter with a crusher mounted on it."
— Mark Lumb

The lifter was a unique weapon, capable of lifting 200kg. Due to the weight distribution, Big Nipper usually lifted its own back end up as well, but this had the added advantage of placing all the weight on the front wheels which gave it a huge amount of grip to push the opponent where the team directed it. However, this also made it easier to flip, and left the top wheel exposed to overhead attacks. Big Nipper's weapon system was powered by a single motor, with an electromagnetic clutch that switched between activating the crusher and lifter, meaning that the weapons could not be used simultaneously. Although never tested, it is estimated that the crusher had 1.5 tonnes of pressure.

Big Nipper claws

Big Nipper in 2016 with its claws

Big Nipper crushing can

Big Nipper's claws crushing a dustbin

In 2016, Big Nipper replaced its gray metal colour-scheme for a painted orange and black scheme. It was primarily built from titanium salvaged from a scrapyard. It increased its top weight by 10kg, doubled its top speed, and features a new array of interchangeable weapons. The claws remained an option, now with four tonnes of crushing power, as well as a new 20kg vertical spinning disc which could be applied, which spins at up to 4000RPM in just five seconds.


In its Series 7 qualifier, Big Nipper fought Araknia, Ewe 2, and the eventual champion Typhoon 2. Although the battle was won by Ewe 2, all four robots qualified for the Seventh Wars.

Big Nipper qualified for Series 8 by open application, although when Big Nipper applied for Series 9, it was initially not selected to compete[1]. Big Nipper was later selected as a reserve for the series, but went unused[2], alongside fellow live circuit champions TR2 and Gabriel. Team Titanium still appeared in the series when they helped Team Conker fix Crackers 'n' Smash.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 5Edit


Razer lifts Big Nipper into the air

Big Nipper was given a very unlucky draw in Series 5, coming up against the 4th seeds Razer in the first round of the heat. However, Big Nipper started better, driving up Razer's scoop and breaking one of the self-righting wings. Unfortunately, Big Nipper couldn't evade Razer for long and Razer quickly got its beak through the top of Big Nipper. Big Nipper escaped, but was quickly caught again and lifted into the air. Razer dropped Big Nipper over the flame pit, and bending one of Big Nipper's claws out of place. Razer pushed Big Nipper into Shunt's CPZ, where the house robot axed the top of Big Nipper, immobilising it completely. The Refbot then counted Big Nipper out, eliminating it from the competition.

""You've been nipped"?! You have been nipped in the bud, more like, for Big Nipper."
Jonathan Pearce mocks the phrase on the Big Nipper team's shirts as their machine is counted down.

Series 7Edit

"An improved version of an old machine once beaten by the great Razer in the fifth wars."
Jonathan Pearce on Big Nipper's past loss.
The Grimreaper vs Big Nipper R1

Big Nipper is flipped by The Grim Reaper

Big Nipper vs The Grimreaper R1

Big Nipper pushes The Grim Reaper

Big Nipper returned for Series 7 with a thicker body. In its first melee, it was against The Grim Reaper, Kan-Opener and Barbaric Response. Barbaric Response began by rushing in and tossing Big Nipper across the arena slightly. The Grim Reaper then came in and also flipped Big Nipper, but the invertible machine ran back into the action immediately. Big Nipper raised The Grim Reaper onto an angle grinder, before assailing Barbaric Response unsuccessfully. The Grim Reaper and Big Nipper continued their duel until cease was called, with all four robots still mobile. The judges then decided to put Big Nipper through to the second round of the heat along with The Grim Reaper.

Big Nipper vs Jackson Wallop 2

Big Nipper grips Jackson Wallop

Big Nipper vs Jackson Wallop 3

Big Nipper removes a wheel from Jackson Wallop

Big Nipper's team were not afraid of their second-round matchup, as it was noted that Big Nipper's height was lower than its opponents weapon. Big Nipper unfazed by Jackson Wallop's weapon as a result, was able to shunt its opponent into the arena walls repeatedly, stopping its spinner each time. Big Nipper made a conscious effort not to raise its lifter, as this would give Jackson Wallop a chance to make contact with its weapon. Big Nipper used its claws to destroy a tire on Jackson Wallop and pushed it into Dead Metal's CPZ, who sawed into it, and eventually pitted Jackson Wallop, putting Big Nipper through to the next round.

Big Nipper vs The Grimreaper

Big Nipper carries The Grim Reaper

Grim reaper flips big nipper

Big Nipper is flipped into Cassius Chrome by The Grim Reaper


Big Nipper stages a late comeback

The Grim Reaper vs Big Nipper

Big Nipper ends the stronger

In the heat final, Big Nipper met The Grim Reaper once more. It was able to get straight underneath The Grim Reaper and lift it, pushing it into the arena wall. After this, however, The Grim Reaper escaped and flipped Big Nipper several times. Big Nipper's invertibility meant it could continue driving, but The Grim Reaper was leading the battle at this point. However, Big Nipper made a late comeback, and slipped underneath The Grim Reaper, pushing it into a CPZ. Big Nipper's assault didn't end, and Big Nipper carried The Grim Reaper over to the arena wall on the opposite side, where cease was called. In one of the closest heat finals in Robot Wars history, the Judges voted for The Grim Reaper due to its higher aggression, eliminating Big Nipper from the competition, to the disagreement of Craig Charles and Jonathan Pearce.

"Poor old Big Nipper, couldn't get its claws, around the grimmest of reapers, on Robot Wars!"
— Craig Charles

Series 8Edit

Big Nipper with team

Big Nipper with its team

Big Nipper appeared in Episode 3, where it fought newcomer TR2, and veterans Or Te and Supernova. In the battle, Big Nipper debuted its 4200rpm spinning disc.

Dara Ó Briain: "Are you gonna win this?"
Glyn Dawson: "Course we're gonna win it, it's the toughest robot here!"
Dara Ó Briain: "Even to itself, that's how tough it is!"
— Confidence from Team Titanium
Big Nipper vs Supernova

The spinners collide

Big Nipper near escape

Big Nipper narrowly avoids the pit

Big Nipper's first move in the battle was to follow the movement of Or Te, but Supernova knocked out Big Nipper's opponent before its own disc had even made contact. Big Nipper was followed by Supernova, with their spinning discs clashing, the latter winning out, knocking Big Nipper backwards, so it pressed the pit release button, yet strangely the pit did not descend. Big Nipper clashed spinning weapons with the now toothless Supernova, but an attempt to push TR2 into the now-open pit nearly sent Big Nipper skidding into the pit itself - three of its four wheels luckily stayed grounded, and Big Nipper escaped, qualifying for the next round with TR2 when Supernova fell into the pit.

TR2 vs Big Nipper

Big Nipper is thrown by TR2

TR2 vs Big Nipper 2

Team Titanium's bad driving is punished

For its first head-to-head match, Big Nipper switched to its claws for the battle with TR2, the reason being that their disc shaft had bent in the opening melee. Big Nipper was thrown into the wall by TR2, and then flipped into the clutches of Dead Metal, which sliced into its top armour, nearly severing the safety link. When the pit was opened, Big Nipper drove right onto the edge of it again, escaping from TR2. This time, Big Nipper could not drive away, and was pushed in by TR2.

Big Nipper spiked

Big Nipper is attacked after being held on a spike

Big Nipper next faced King B Remix, and returned to its spinning disc armament, with much confidence.

"He's going home in a bin bag!"
— Graeme Dawson
Big Nipper vs King B Remix

A heavy blow from Big Nipper

Although it did not start perfectly, being slammed by King B, and being impaled on an arena spike after driving there themselves, and was pushed towards the pit, Big Nipper turned the battle around when it started tearing into the rear panel of King B Remix, throwing pieces of plastic across the arena floor. Two heavy hits threw King B into the air, removing its safety link. Big Nipper celebrated by spinning in the centre of the arena with its arm raised.

Big Nipper celebrates

Big Nipper celebrates its win

"We really did want to do some damage to him, but his link came out before we got the chance to do the damage, really!"
— Glyn Dawson on their win

Big Nipper had a chance to qualify for the Heat Final if they could defeat Dantomkia.

"Hopefully we'll trash it!"
— Glyn Dawson evaluates Dantomkia's armour
Killalot picks up big nipper

Big Nipper is held by Sir Killalot

Dantomkia flips big nipper

Big Nipper is thrown into the air by Dantomkia

It was flipped several times in the opening stages, gradually nearing Sir Killalot, which held Big Nipper above the flame pit. On a slam, however, Big Nipper ripped the end of Dantomkia's flipper off, despite being pushed back into Sir Killalot, which trapped Big Nipper before becoming stuck in the arena wall. Big Nipper's disc appeared to stop, and it was thrown into the air by Dantomkia. Avoiding Dead Metal, Big Nipper finally got its disc spinning again, ripping armour from Dantomkia and putting a bend in the flipper arm. Cease was called when Big Nipper was pushed into the arena wall, and the Judges were required to call a winner, unanimously voting in favour of Dantomkia, eliminating Big Nipper on a final score of 3 points.


Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heats, Round 1
Heat K, Eliminator vs. Razer (4) Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat B, Round 1 vs. Barbaric Response, Kan-Opener, The Grim Reaper Qualified
Heat B, Round 2 vs. Jackson Wallop Won
Heat B, Final vs. The Grim Reaper Lost
Series 8
Series 8 - UK Championship
Round 2, Third Place
Episode 3, Group Battle vs. Or Te, Supernova, TR2 Qualified
Episode 3, Head-to-Heads vs. TR2 Lost (0 points)
Episode 3, Head-to-Heads vs. King B Remix Won (3 points)
Episode 3, Head-to-Heads vs. Dantomkia Lost (0 points)


  • Wins: 4
  • Losses: 4

Series RecordEdit

  • Big Nipper in the pits
  • Big Nipper enters the arena in Series 8
Series Big Nipper 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 Heat, Round 1
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Heat Final
Series 8 Round 2, Third Place
Series 9 Unused reserve

Robot Wars Live EventsEdit

Big Nipper 2

Big Nipper before its 2016 redesign

Despite being a competitive robot in live events, Big Nipper has only fought in one of the newly branded Robot Wars live events. It fought at the Robot Wars live event which was held at Widnes in May 2013. It fought in the main competition where it lost its heat on judges decision against Turbulence, Maelstrom and Rattler after it only managed to overturn Rattler once and spent the entire fight getting flipped around by Maelstrom.

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Although keeping the same shape as Series 7, Big Nipper underwent a series of internal changes to the wheels, motor and armour after the original Robot Wars ended. It utilised the same motors as Razer, and during a change to the magmotor, the team replaced the top armour with thicker titanium to protect from machines like Terrorhurtz and Tiberius.

  • Big Nipper with claws down
  • Little Flipper 2
  • Little Flipper 3
  • Little Hitter 1 aka Blue
  • Little Hitter 2
  • Little Hitter 3
  • Little Spinner 2 aka Buzzbar
  • Little Spinner 3
  • Little Spinner 4
  • Big Nipper crushing a CRT monitor in testing.

With these changes, Big Nipper managed to win several smaller competitions. In the 2006 UK Championship, Big Nipper lost one battle to Hades, but escaped the heat by pitting Edge Hog, winning against Weird Alice, and then defeated Hades in a rematch. In the quarter-finals, it was immobilised by Scorpion, but fought its way to third place. It also finished third in the 2004 & 2008 UK Championships.

Notably, Big Nipper managed to defeat Terrorhurtz in the final of the Fighting Robots Association UK Championships hosted by Roaming Robots in 2007. On the 21st October 2012, Big Nipper became the 2012 FRA Heavyweight champion, making it the fourth robot to claim the title twice after Chaos 2, Terrorhurtz, and Iron Awe 5.

Big Nipper was very successful at Extreme Robots in Manchester, the first of these events to be held, in April 2017. It was the only robot capable of defeating Gabriel, catching it sideways and carrying it in the air, also managing to hold Expulsion aloft, although Gabriel would later defeat Big Nipper in a separate battle.

The team also compete or have competed with the listed featherweight robots below:

  • Little Flipper 2: A wedge bot armed with a flipper with a moon painted on one side.
  • Little Flipper 3: A low wedge robot armed with a flipper, which won the 2011 UK Championships.
  • Little Hitter 1: Formerly known as Blue, a box with a front wedge and armed with an axe which won the UK Featherweight championship in 2004.
  • Little Hitter 2: A wedged box armed with a axe, which won the 2004 UK Championships.
  • Little Hitter 3: wedged box (only more angled) armed with a axe.
  • Little Spinner 2: Also known as Buzzbar, a invertible blue t-shaped box armed with a yellow under cutting blade.
  • Little Spinner 3: A blue circular robot with yellow lines on the sides that is a full-body spinner.
  • Little Spinner 4: A silver circular full-body spinner with large silver blades.


  • Despite the naming similarity, Big Nipper was not related to antweight competitor Little Nipper.


Honourable Mention in The Combat Robot Hall of Fame



External LinksEdit

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