Dreadnaut (sometimes spelled Dreadnaught or Dreadnought and known as Dreadnaut XP-1 in Series 4) was a competitor robot that fought in the first four series of Robot Wars. Plagued by unreliability, Dreadnaut struggled in its Robot Wars career, but did make the Heat Final of Series 3 where it lost to Trident.

During Robot Wars' hiatus, Dreadnaut XP-1 was bought by Team Cookie Monsters, builders of Chompalot, but without its internal components. It is currently on loan to the Derby Silk Mill museum.

Versions of DreadnautEdit

"When did it all start? Well for us it started with a small advert in 'Sci-fi & Fantasy Model magazine', January 1996. "Robot Wars needs you!". After seeing a little of the American version sometime before, I couldn't resist the challenge and so duly sent off for some info. It must have been getting on for twelve months before I heard anything more. But eventually a meeting was arranged in Birmingham to come and see what it was all about, and so I took David ( my brother-in-law) along with me. There we met Steve, the producer and Mary-Jane and the crew and saw the only British robot ever to have competed in Robot Wars (USA) at that time (Wysiwyg). Well that was it! There was no stopping us and after a lot of work, and numerous filming delays, the first 'Wars' was filmed at Victoria docks in November 1997."
— Dreadnaut website on the origins of Dreadnaut

Series 1Edit


Dreadnaut in Series 1

Dreadnaut was a dome-shaped robot with a fibreglass shell intrinsically designed to look like a small tank, similar to the Dreadnaut tank from the PlayStation 1 game Future Cop LAPD. It initially featured a black and yellow shell, was armed with a set of small red lifting forks at the front, and was powered by a starter motor from a Morris Minor. In Series 1, Dreadnaut weighed 92.6kg, making it the second-heaviest robot in that series after Barry, and heavy enough for it to be considered a Super Heavyweight.

Series 2Edit

Dreadnaut 2

Dreadnaut in Series 2, with the enlarged forks and revised armour

In Series 2, Dreadnaut's front forks were replaced with hardened steel ones, which were designed to gouge welts in opponents' armour as well as lift them more effectively. The robot also had revised side armour and directional change relays added, the latter costing an extra £200 to install. Dreadnaut's weight was also reduced considerably in comparison to its Series 1 form, at 80.8kg, although this was still 1.4kg over the original Heavyweight limit.

Series 3Edit


Dreadnaut in Series 3, with the smaller silver shell and upgraded steel forks

After having its bodyshell seriously damaged by Sir Killalot in Series 2, Dreadnaut appeared in Series 3 with a new silver, green and orange/red shell, which was lower than the shell used in the first two series. Its forks also received an upgraded motor which allowed them to lift 70kg, which it demonstrated in its first round battle against Psychokiller.

Dreadnaut XP-1Edit

For Series 4, Dreadnaut was renamed Dreadnaut XP-1 - the 'XP-1' part stood for 'Experimental Prototype 1' - and featured a rebuilt chassis and new lifting forks which were slower, but more powerful than before.

While a powerful and consistent performer - never failing to progress beyond its Gauntlet runs or first round battles - Dreadnaut suffered many reliability problems throughout its appearances, breaking down four times throughout its first three series and losing its Series 2 battle against Oblivion after the team accidentally knocked out its removable link while preparing it. Additionally, it had a high ground clearance and lack of self-righting mechanism, which cost Dreadnaut XP-1 in its Series 4 battle against Thermidor 2.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 1Edit


Dreadnaut in the Series 1 Gauntlet

Dreadnaut breakdown

Dreadnaut, having broken down after running the Gauntlet

In the First Wars, Dreadnaut fought in Heat C. Despite the robot only having a top speed of 5 mph, Dreadnaut zoomed through the Gauntlet and completed its run superbly, placing it second on the leaderboard overall. However, it then caught fire after slamming the arena barrier at the end of the run. There was debate about whether or not Dreadnaut would be able to continue, and Plunderbird 1 would be reinstated, but Dreadnaut recovered just before the Trial stage was ready to commence and Plunderbird 1 was eliminated from the competition.

In the trial, which for this heat was Football, Dreadnaut started very sluggishly, and couldn't reach the ball to gain possession at all. Then, as Robot The Bruce scored the first goal, Dreadnaut suddenly became immobilised again, in the middle of the arena. Dreadnaut had the ball run into it, thanks to the lack of control from the remaining robots. After Wedgehog scored, W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. madly drove into the post of the goal, with both W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. and Dreadnaut immobilised, Cruella was left to score with ease. With the last two robots left, both being immobilised, cease was called and the judges had to choose which robot should go through. Despite being immobilised for longer, Dreadnaut was put through to the arena stage of the heat as it had more possession of the ball, even though this was mainly due to other robots hitting Dreadnaut with the ball.

Dreadnaut wedgehog shunt

Shunt pushes and drags Dreadnaut and Wedgehog away from the grille

In the Heat semi-final, Dreadnaut was put up against Wedgehog. Dreadnaut had a huge weight advantage of almost 70kg, and would be assured victory if its motors remained cool.

"Dreadnaut, the big slug, against Wedgehog, the piece of cheese."
— Jonathan Pearce

Both robots drove forward, and bumped into each other, not attacking properly. Dreadnaut rammed Wedgehog and crumpled its side armour, whilst Sergeant Bash attempted to intervene, but his saw snapped off just as it did against Killertron. Meanwhile, Dreadnaut had skewered itself to its foe, and attempted to finish the match by pushing it onto a grille. It succeeded, but could not release it. Shunt pushed Dreadnaut away, dragging Wedgehog to safety in the process. After intervention from Matilda, Wedgehog pulled free, but Dreadnaut had broken down, notable from smoke billowing out of it. Cease was called and Dreadnaut, who had broken down for a third time, was finally eliminated.

Series 2Edit

"The yellow and black bubble!"
— Jonathan Pearce on Dreadnaut's Series 2 version.

Dreadnaut in the Series 2 Gauntlet

An upgraded Dreadnaut returned for the Second Wars, again competing in Heat C. It started its Gauntlet run by charging into the wall, but only managed to dislodge one brick, but after a further strike it managed to knock most of the wall down. Dreadnaut then turned and took the house robot route, neatly dodging Shunt and then Sergeant Bash. Dreadnaut then managed to drive around Matilda and with a burst of speed made it to the end zone.

Dreadnaut joust

Dreadnaut in the Joust

Dreadnaut then went into the Trial, which was the Joust. Dreadnaut quickly drove up the ramp and got to the centre before Matilda, both robots came together and Dreadnaut was almost pushed off the platform. Matilda reversed and shoved Dreadnaut off the platform, but it had covered enough ground to go through to the Arena, where it faced newcomers Oblivion.
Oblivion dreadnaut

Oblivion lifts the immobile Dreadnaut

Dreadnaut's removable link

Dreadnaut's removable link, lying on the arena floor

Unfortunately, whilst putting Dreadnaut's shell back on, the team accidentally knocked out the robot's removable link, which was later found lying on the arena floor. Dreadnaut therefore failed to move at all, with Oblivion getting underneath it and the House Robots immediately attacking Dreadnaut as soon as its immobility became known. Dreadnaut was burned, flipped and axed, with Sir Killalot breaking a piece of armour off and cutting the bars for its lifting forks in half with his jaws.

"Dreadnaut? Deadnaut!"
— Jonathan Pearce after Dreadnaut is shifted from the spike it was stuck on.

Series 3Edit

Dreadnaut psychokiller

Dreadnaut rams Psychokiller

Dreadnaut appeared in the final heat of the third series, meeting Psychokiller first. Until Psychokiller lost its weapon the robots didn't make much contact, but pushing it onto the flame pit was enough to immobilise it.

Dreadnaut rattus rattus

Dreadnaut nudges the lifeless Rattus Rattus

In the second round it was drawn against another new robot to the competition, Rattus Rattus. However, most likely due to the damage sustained in its previous battle, it broke down right at the start of the fight and didn't move at all. Dreadnaut pushed it around the arena with its lifting forks, before leaving it at the mercy of the House Robots.

Dreadnaut trident

Dreadnaut gets attacked by Trident

However, in its final battle it encountered problems of its own, and though Trident's axe failed to cause much damage against the fibreglass shell, Dreadnaut gradually slowed down, before breaking down about halfway into the battle. Ironically however, while Dreadnaut sat immobile, the House Robots ignored it and began to attack Trident's gleaming armour instead, until cease was called.

Series 4Edit


Darke Destroyer uses its wagglers on Dreadnaut XP-1

Dreadnaut XP-1, the number 29th seed, participated in Heat G. Its first round melee pitted it against newcomers Warhog and returning team Darke Destroyer 2. Despite having its forks buckled, Dreadnaut XP-1 survived the clash with Warhog, who broke down and was eliminated. However, after Warhog was immobilised, Sir Killalot then grabbed Dreadnaut XP-1 in its pincers again, swinging it around and causing its entire armour shell to come off.

Thermidor close oota

Thermidor 2 throws Dreadnaut XP-1 against the wall

In the second round, Dreadnaut was almost immediately flipped over by Thermidor 2 and almost Out of the Arena within the initial charge. Dreadnaut couldn't self-right and was promptly set upon by all of the house robots, suffering major damage to its armour and underside from Shunt and Matilda in the process. After this battle, Dreadnaut was retired.


Series 1
The First Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Arena Semi-Final
Heat C, Gauntlet Completed (2nd) Qualified
Heat C, Trial (Football) Most touches (4th) Qualified
Heat C, Semi-Final vs. Wedgehog Lost
Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Arena Semi-Final
Heat C, Gauntlet Completed (1st) Qualified
Heat C, Trial (Joust) 5.4m (3rd) Qualified
Heat C, Semi-Final vs. Oblivion Lost
Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat P, Round 1 vs. Psychokiller Won
Heat P, Round 2 vs. Rattus Rattus Won
Heat P, Final vs. Trident Lost
Series 4
The Fourth Wars - UK Championship
29th Seed, Heat Semi-Final
Heat G, Eliminator vs. Darke Destroyer 2, Warhog Qualified
Heat G, Semi-Final vs. Thermidor 2 Lost


  • The team in Series 1
  • The team show the insides of Dreadnaut in Series 2
  • The team in Series 4
  • Dreadnaut XP-1 after Robot Wars with Chompalot- note the battle damage from Series 4
  • Dreadnaut XP-1 in 2015 (the date on the camera is wrong)
  • Wins: 3
  • Losses: 4

Series RecordEdit

Series Dreadnaut Series Record
The First Wars Heat, Arena Semi-Final
The Second Wars Heat, Arena Semi-Final
The Third Wars Heat Final
The Fourth Wars Heat, Round 2
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

Dreadnaut XP-1 was brought by Team Cookie Monsters in 2005, albeit without any components, and the robot remained inactive,

"Dreadnaut XP1 came in to our possession in 2005 when Simon bought him for the princely sum of £31.00! What we got for our money was the body, base frame, front shield and forks, no internal workings. Simon's original intention was to fix Dreadnaut up and take him out on the road again, when we thought about it however, we decided that maybe it would be better to keep him as a piece of Robot Wars history so he didn't take any more damage. "
— Team Cookie Monsters website

As of 2016, Dreadnaut was loaned to the Derby Silk Mill - Museum of Making, where it resides as a static display within the museum, and at special events run by the museum such as their Robot Triathlon.


  • The original Dreadnaut was finished the morning on the day of filming.
"After almost working through the night, Dreadnaut is finished in the early hours of the day we were due to take it to London. No time for a test drive, which was a shame as it was impossible to control until we fixed the rear castors."
— Dreadnaut website on finishing Dreadnaut
  • Dreadnaut is one of 23 robots to have completed The Gauntlet, and, along with Mortis, Nemesis and Roadblock, is one of four robots to have completed it twice.
  • Dreadnaut is one of the most infamous robots in terms of reliability.
    • From four breakdowns, three of them were in Series 1, making it the only machine other than The Blob to break down in every single round of a series it fought in.
    • Dreadnaut suffered breakdowns in both the odd-numbered series it fought in, having also broken down in Series 3.
    • Their loss in Series 2 was caused by the team knocking out the safety key accidentally before the battle, meaning that its four loss record only recorded one knock-out (against Thermidor 2).
  • Team member Ken Feltwell was absent for Series 3, having been on holiday at the time of filming.
"Series three was due to be filmed in July 1999. Due to many setbacks, such as the lack of a venue (the Victoria docks warehouses were taken over for Millenium Dome business.) the filming was postponed and was eventually set for the end of October. Unfortunately, I was so keen to be on the programme that I decided to avoid going on holiday in July and go away in...October! Typical isn't it. So Dave's daughter Faye was drafted in to keep him company and we carried on to complete Dreadnaut3."
— Dreadnaut website explains Ken Feltwell's abscence

External LinksEdit