- "Cassius was named after Cassius Clay, (Mohammed Ali) the champion boxer, His catchphrase was 'I float like a butterfly and I sting like a bee'. The Cassius series of robots use air suspension that floats like a butterfly and a flipper that stings like a bee. So they had to be called Cassius."
- — Rex Garrod on Cassius
Cassius was a competitor robot which competed in the second and third series of Robot Wars. Named after the late legendary boxer Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali), it was a wedge-shaped robot from Stowmarket in Suffolk. Cassius reached the Grand Final in Series 2, where it placed second overall after being pitted by Panic Attack in the final battle, a major upset in the eyes of many. In both series, Cassius was intended to be in one of the earlier heats of Robot Wars, but technical difficulties caused it to be pushed back towards the latter end of the series.
Although not the first robot to attempt it, Cassius was the first robot to successfully utilise a self-righting mechanism, or srimech, in Robot Wars. When Sir Killalot flipped it over during the Pinball trial, Cassius used its flipping arm to throw itself back over onto its wheels, allowing it to score some more points. Cassius repeated this during its Grand Final battle against Roadblock. This was the first time a self-righting mechanism was used to allow a machine to continue, and ultimately win, a battle. After this, the srimech became something of an essential in Robot Wars and other robot combat competitions in the UK.
Cassius was created by former children's TV presenter and inventor Rex Garrod, whose claim to fame was designing the famous car Brum, that had its own television show for a number of years, as well as being the co-presenter of the TV show The Secret Life of Machines. He was considered by most one of the greatest sportsmen in the history of Robot Wars, and would prefer to attack a house robot rather than a competitor that had already been beaten, on many occasions diverting the attention of the house robots away from the defeated competitor by attacking them himself.
Versions of CassiusEdit
Its main weapon was a forward-hinged CO2 powered flipping ram, powered at 700psi, made out of a modified motorbike suspension fork. It produced 1.5 tonnes of lift, giving it enough power to overturn even the house robots, and for a long time held the distinction of coming closest to flipping Sir Killalot. Cassius' frame was made of mild steel box section covered in polycarbonate panels, which Oliver Steeples of the University of Reading team deemed "teletubby yellow". Cassius also had a 100psi pneumatic suspension. The machine ran at 24V by overloading the 12V motors producing very quick 25mph speed. Cassius was also one of the first robots to utilise a gyroscope as a method of improving the control of a robot.
Although a powerful robot, Cassius' main weakness came in the form of its gaping ground clearance, which at times caused it to struggle to get underneath opponents (later rectified by adjustable air suspension in Series 3), as well as causing it to do poorly in its Semi-Final Gauntlet run, after getting wedged on a pile of bricks. Sir Killalot also exploited this weakness by turning it over with its lance twice (although this did allow it to utilise its famous self-righting mechanism), and in the Grand Final, Panic Attack also exploited this weakness.
After its successful run in Series 2, the team built a second, separate robot called Cassius 2, which had a similar design to its predecessor, but with translucent armour, made of a litany of materials, but primarily polycarbonate and honeycombed aluminium. The new model also featured a wider and more powerful flipper (a flip-up paddle according to its statistics in Series 3) and a brand new rear weapon; a CO2 powered ¾ metre-length pneumatic spike at the back, allegedly powerful enough to catapult the whole robot out of the pit if it were to fall in backwards (this was never actually seen on-screen). Besides these more obvious changes, it had some more subtle differences between it and the original Cassius.
It was faster and more lightweight than the original, and was equipped with a unique variable air suspension system which it would use to adjust its ground clearance mid-fight, adjusting between higher clearance and lower clearance modes for manoeuvrability and getting underneath its opponents respectively, also allowing it to tilt to one side to turn more sharply. The system had three primary modes: one for just moving, one with the nose down for attacking, and one with all wheels completely retracted underneath the chassis for defending against other wedges. Unfortunately, it fell relatively early in Series 3 against Pussycat, after mistiming a charge that resulted in it reversing itself into the pit. Interestingly, every fight which Cassius ever lost was by being pitted, ending up there four times in all (although one of these battles had already been won before Cassius was pitted). This version of Cassius was nearly 2kg over the then Heavyweight limit.
Cassius began its Robot Wars début as the fifth seed for the Second Wars, due to the impressive performance of Rex Garrod's previous machine, the Series 1 Grand Finalist Recyclopse. Jonathan Pearce himself mentioned that amongst the roboteers, Cassius was dubbed the competition favourite.
- "Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee, power and pace is Rex Garrod's key"
- — Jonathan Pearce on Cassius' gauntlet run.
Cassius was originally meant to take part in the first "half" of the Second Wars, but mechanical problems forced it into a later heat, allowing Panda Monium to take part in Robot Wars: The Second Wars/Heat A. In the Gauntlet, Cassius easily darted straight past the Sentinel and then reached the endzone, despite being grabbed the claws of Dead Metal, who Cassius effortlessly brushed aside to claim the fastest run in the heat, putting it at the top of the leaderboard overall, easily putting it through to the Trial stage of the heat.
- "Rex- the goal's this way!"
- — Jonathan Pearce, as Cassius bumps the ball backwards
In this heat, the trial was Football. For the Trial, Cassius had been equipped with a basic plastic shovel to assist it in controlling the ball. Cassius was first to the ball, but was attacked by Matilda, who lifted Cassius' wheels off the ground, allowing Loco to steal possession and score. When the Trial recommenced, Cassius was again fastest to the ball, but this time the ball deflected off Wizard. Cassius then backed the ball onto the edge of the arena, and bumped it along the wall. At one point, Cassius was lifted up off its wheels after the nose got stuck on the top of the ball, but Matilda helped it down. Cassius made further progress down the side, but again Matilda halted its progress. Matilda bumped the ball away, but Cassius caught it and nudged it past Sergeant Bash into the goal.
Cassius went up against Wizard in the heat semi-final, and at the start of the battle showed no interest in attacking Wizard, choosing instead to attack Dead Metal, and succeeding in getting underneath the House Robot. Cassius had the clear power advantage, and pushed Wizard into the PPZ with ease early on in the battle. With Wizard showing no more signs of movement, Cassius went after the incoming house robots to protect the immobilised Wizard machine. Cassius made the most ground on attacking the gargantuan Sir Killalot, who weighed more than four times that of Cassius, although he also took on Sergeant Bash. Cease was soon called and Cassius was through to the Heat Final, and it was drawn against Loco.
- "We've almost got a pacifist on Robot Wars"
- — Philippa Forrester
During this battle, it was surprisingly Loco who got the first shove in, but soon the favourite Cassius took control of the battle, attacking and getting underneath Loco, before spinning away and returning to push it again. Then, the two robots charged at each other, and with a small flip from the ram, Loco was turned over and rendered immobile. True to his word, Cassius did no more with Loco, choosing instead to attack the House Robots, first exacting revenge on Dead Metal on Loco's behalf, before the House Robots left Loco alone, to focus on Cassius. Matilda fired her spark shooter, and then dragged Cassius into the arena centre, but Rex Garrod spun away, only to charge head on at the House Robots, getting underneath Dead Metal, and then flipping Matilda, following in the footsteps of Garrod's previous machine, Recyclopse. Shunt and Sergeant Bash then finally defeated Cassius, knocking it into the pit. With this, Cassius had qualified for the Semi-finals.
- "My money's on Rex"
- — Roadblock team member Peter Kinsey's prophetic comment during the Semi-Finals
In the Series Semi-Final Gauntlet, Cassius took the centre route, and charged through the brick wall, pushing the sphere into the pit as well, but was then pushed back by Shunt. It spent the rest of the time trying to pass Shunt again, but soon Shunt was joined by Dead Metal, and together they stopped Rex Garrod's progress, ultimately ending its run by wedging it onto a pile of bricks. The distance of 5.15 metres was sufficient to pass through to the Trial after beating the distances set by Haardvark and Plunderbird 2, the latter of which fell at this stage.
Cassius then went on to score 200 points in the Pinball, by smashing down bricks and barrels. Midway through, Cassius got stuck on a brick, allowing Killalot to hook his lance underneath Cassius and pick it up, dumping it down at the other end of the arena, upside down. It was here that Cassius made its name in Robot Wars history. Firing its ram, it flew into the air, landing right side up, and allowing it to continue to score points, knocking more bricks and barrels down, until a track dislodged, immobilising Cassius.
- Craig Charles: "What was that all about?"
- Rex Garrod: "It's a self-righting mechanism!"
- — All is revealed
By now, Cassius had become the favourites to win the Series since the demise of Mortis in the first Semi-Final. In the arena stage, Cassius was pitted up against Haardvark. Due to Haardvark's quite high ground clearance, Cassius tossed its opponent over with the first flip, but Cassius righted it. Cassius flipped Haardvark once again, and Shunt axed the top of it. Haardvark then nudged Cassius into Sir Killalot, and when the House Robot picked Cassius up, it could be seen that the drive chain had dislodged again. Sir Killalot then turned its attention to Haardvark, picking it up and grilling it over the flame pit. Cassius then took on Killalot again, nearly lifting the House Robot. Shunt pinned Cassius up against the wall as cease was called. Cassius was victorious, and through to the Grand Final.
Cassius was drawn against the reigning champions, Roadblock, in the Grand Final eliminator. Roadblock got beneath Cassius and pushed it a short distance. Cassius got stuck on the side of Roadblock, but fell off after driving round in circles. Cassius was then turned over by Sir Killalot again, and it used its pneumatic ram to flip itself back onto its wheels, allowing it to continue the fight. Meanwhile, Roadblock had got stuck in the PPZ. Cassius came in, got underneath Roadblock, and turned it onto its side for the win.
In the Grand Final, Cassius got under Panic Attack but could not flip it. On the second attempt at driving at each other, Panic Attack drove straight over Cassius, landing on its wheels. Cassius briefly attacked Dead Metal to escape, having been pushed into the House Robot by Panic Attack. The robots drove around, and then Panic Attack charged Cassius from the side, knocking it into the pit to claim the title.
- Craig Charles: "I had my money on you!"
- Rex Garrod: "Well, I'm terribly sorry - you've lost it!"
- — Jubilant in defeat
After the main competition of the Second Wars, Mortis and Cassius took part in a special Grudge match, which Mortis won due to Cassius accidentally driving into the pit after trying to pit Mortis, who was stranded on the side of the pit with a broken track. Even still, Mortis was pushed into the pit afterwards by Shunt, before the overturned Cassius fired its ram from the bottom of the pit to push Mortis back out. After the fight ended, the Mortis team tried to have the match restarted, as they felt that they hadn't won, due to losing a track and Cassius driving into the pit. However, a rematch never took place.
- "Sorry, we've declared it a dead heat, we've got to go again!"
- — Arthur Chillcot
- "The long-awaited appearance of the Runner-Up from the last series, Cassius and Rex Garrod! A Flip-up Paddle and CO2 Spike the weapons- motors from lawnmowers, will this cut the rest down to size?"
- — Jonathan Pearce
The first round for the newly-built Cassius 2 was a grudge match against Dundee, who entered Loco in the Second Wars. In this fight the robots started this battle by trading minor bumps and scrapes, before Cassius drove into Sir Killalot, but the House Robot let Cassius go. Cassius then rammed Dundee from the sides, but was unable to get underneath the crocodile. When Cassius eventually did get underneath Dundee, there was not enough of the machine underneath Dundee to flip it, instead the flip shoved Dundee into the hands of Sir Killalot, but once again the House Robot let its adversary escape. After moving the confrontation into the centre of the arena, Cassius then finally got underneath Dundee, and threw it clean over, and out of the competition.
- "A good battle, this- Dundee already doing better than Loco did, in the last series until then! And falling the same way!"
- — Jonathan Pearce mistimes his comment
After dispatching Dundee, it then drove off and attacked Matilda, dislodging the house robot's rear armour in the process before being itself attacked by Shunt, who axed straight through the flipper and pierced a large hole in the top of it. After Cassius 2 fired the flipper in a counter-attack, Shunt then took advantage of Cassius 2's ground clearance to push it backwards against the wall with its scoop, lifting it up and causing its wedge to point into the air. Cease was soon called and Cassius 2 was through to the next round of the heat.
The second round saw Cassius 2 get put up against the equally experienced Cold Fusion Team, with Pussycat. This was in fact technically a grudge match, as the two teams had met previously, but they had interacted little on that occasion. Cassius 2 started quickly and immediately smashed into Pussycat, knocking it over. The two traded small pushes and barges, Pussycat attacking the back of Cassius until eventually Pussycat attacked and bounced over Cassius 2, to which Cassius 2 then responded by using its new pneumatic spike, knocking Pussycat back a short distance. It then powerfully reversed at Pussycat in an attempt to ram it into the pit, but the feline-themed robot drove out of the way, causing Cassius 2 to overshoot and drive backwards into the pit instead. The pneumatic anti-pit spike was not able to work at this point because it fell in at the wrong angle, landing with its wedge and sloped back wedged sideways against the edge. This shock elimination of the previous series' runner-up was one of the most major upsets in the Third Wars.
Cassius 2 was intended to represent England in the Third Wars International League Championship, but was unable to compete, so Razer fought - and won - in its place.
Rex Garrod harboured his disagreements for some of the Robot Wars rules (see Garrod's Protest), this was the reason he did not return after Series 3.
|CASSIUS - RESULTS|
|The Second Wars - UK Championship|
5th Seed, Runner-up
|Heat H, Gauntlet||Completed (1st)||Qualified|
|Heat H, Trial (Football)||Scored 2nd Goal (2nd)||Qualified|
|Heat H, Semi-Final||vs. Wizard||Won|
|Heat H, Final||vs. Loco||Won|
|Semi-Final 2, Gauntlet||5.15m (4th)||Qualified|
|Semi-Final 2, Trial (Pinball)||200pts (2nd)||Qualified|
|Semi-Final 2, Arena||vs. Haardvark||Won|
|Grand Final, Eliminator||vs. Roadblock (1)||Won|
|Grand Final||vs. Panic Attack||Lost|
|Judgement Day||vs. Mortis||Lost|
|CASSIUS 2 - RESULTS|
|The Third Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 2
|Heat M, Round 1||vs. Dundee||Won|
|Heat M, Round 2||vs. Pussycat||Lost|
- Wins: 5
- Losses: 3
NOTE: Cassius's Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included
|Series||Cassius Series Record|
|The First Wars||Entered with Recyclopse|
|The Second Wars||Runner-up|
|The Third Wars||Heat, Round 2|
|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 WarsEdit
Team Cassius retired after Series 3 in protest against the poor health and safety standards, but competed in live circuits for a while afterwards as Cassius 3, which resembled Chaos 2, was altogether more angular than its predecessors, had two self-righting rams on either side of the machine, and it was the first and only Cassius with a rear hinged flipper. All three of the original Cassius robots still appear as display robots at the annual Debenham robot rumbles, alongside Chaos 2 and other famous competitor robots that are now retired. Cassius 3 had 1200w 36v motors that Bosch gave to Rex but never made it to production. Cassius 3 also had a rear disc, but it would not be equipped for when it fought in live events. Rex Garrod also built a featherweight called Cassius Junior as demonstrated in Ultimate Real Robots Magazine.
Appearances in MerchandiseEdit
- Cassius, which was able to flip Matilda in Series 2, was preceded by Rex Garrod's first machine Recyclopse in Series 1, which was coincidentally the first robot ever to flip Matilda or any house robot.
- Cassius is considered to be the pioneer of the self-righting mechanism.
- Cassius was the only robot in Series 2 with a front-hinged flipping arm and was the first robot in the UK Wars to be equipped with such a weapon.
- Cassius fought in the first rematch between two teams in Robot Wars when fighting Roadblock in the Grand Final.
- Cassius was the first robot to defeat a Robot Wars Champion, with its defeat of Roadblock in the Series 2 Grand Final.
- Cassius is the only runner-up to not reach the Semi Finals again after its initial appearance.
- In Series 3, Cassius 2's pneumatic ram was somewhat crudely described by Jonathan Pearce and its statistics board as a "flip-up paddle".
- In 2007, Cassius was inducted into The Combat Robot Hall of Fame, in honour of it being the first UK robot to use a self-righting mechanism.
|First robot to successfully self-right|
- Best Design Award - Robot Wars: The Second Wars
- Best Engineering Award - Robot Wars: The Second Wars