Growler was one of two House Robots that were introduced in Series 6 of Robot Wars. He appeared in Series 6-7 of the original series as well as the second series of Robot Wars Extreme, and made his series debut alongside Mr. Psycho. Growler was designed by Robin Englebright to resemble a mechanical dog, featuring a set of crushing/clamping jaws shaped like his ‘head’ and a top speed of 17mph, the latter of which gave him the capacity to cause damage to competitors simply by ramming into them.
Throughout his appearances, Growler was often referred to as Mr. Psycho’s ‘pet’, and as with Mr. Psycho was inspired by a character from the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist, being based on Bill Sykes’ pet dog, Bullseye. Growler’s original working name during his design process was Pitbull, which is not be confused with the Series 3 semi-finalist of the same name.
Growler’s design was based around a mechanical dog, with four-wheel drive, a steel body and chassis, and a set of front jaws which formed his ‘head’ and had over four tons of pressure. The jaws were powered by hydraulic rams sourced from industrial excavators, and could be used to grab hold of competitors as he pushed, spun and dragged them around the arena. As they opened and closed, the jaws also emitted a growling noise, adding to his dog-inspired theme.
Growler’s primary method of attack, however, was to ram into competitors and cause extensive damage to their chassis and internal components, which was made possible through his weight of 375kg (also quoted as 300kg) and top speed of 17mph, which was the fastest for a House Robot until Cassius Chrome’s debut in Series 7. He also featured a skid-steer drive system similar to that used by Series 6 champion Tornado, which gave him exceptional traction and manoeuvrability along the arena floor. This was all made possible by Growler's E-tek drive; Growler was the first robot on the show to use an E-tek drive which is now a common form of motor (although US competitors such as Mad Cow Bot and Hyperactive used E-tek weapon motors).
Growler’s power source came from two 48V, 5kW motors, 300 ampere speed controllers and six batteries. He originally featured aluminium carriers for his wheels, but these were replaced for Extreme 2 with custom hardened steel ones for extra durability.
For the second series of Robot Wars Extreme, Growler was also equipped with a rear mounted flamethrower, which was positioned below his ‘tail’ and intended to set fire to defeated competitors. It was considerably smaller than Sergeant Bash’s flamethrower, consisting of a blow-lamp rig which charged a fuel reservoir and would shoot flames out of a small nozzle beneath the ‘tail’. However, it had a long charge time of between 30-40 seconds according to Chris Reynolds, which limited its capacity to about four bursts of flame per battle. This, combined with numerous reliability problems, saw Growler’s flamethrower being only used four times across Extreme 2, and it was removed ahead of Series 7.
Alongside Mr. Psycho, Growler made his debut in Series 6, and both House Robots were introduced entering the arena, spinning around and demonstrating their weapons together. Both of them made their first appearance in Heat A, where Growler used his jaws to bite down on Cyrax and drag it around the arena in its battle against Razer. He then rammed into Tetanus 2 and Raging Reality after they entered an empty CPZ during their second round battle. Growler also rammed into X-Terminator twice during its Heat B second round battle against Mega Hurts 2, while also grabbing hold of Mega Hurts 2, dragging it out of the CPZ and spinning it around in the middle of the arena at one point during the same fight.
In Heat D, Growler helped Shunt to dispose of ICU by grabbing hold of one of its self-righting arms and dumping it in the pit after it was re-righted by the Floor Flipper. Later on in Heat G, he rammed and dragged Thor around the arena after Tornado shoved it into a CPZ, before pushing Inshredable out of his CPZ when it strayed too close during its battle against Anarchy. After Inshredable was counted out, Growler then crushed and ripped part of Inshredable’s chassis open, before dragging it across the arena, putting it on the Flame Pit and finally dropping it down the opened pit.
Growler clamped and pushed Supernova to the pit in Heat H after it suffered mobility problems in the Heat Final; while in the first round of Heat I, he almost drove himself into the pit after pressing the pit release button. Later on in Heat I, he was responsible for immobilising Kronic 2 during its second round battle with Terrorhurtz. He initially drove up Kronic 2 when it attempted to lift him with its flippers, before backing away and slamming into Kronic 2 again after the latter lingered in a CPZ, leaving it completely immobilised.
In Heat J, Growler rammed Axe-C-Dent 2 and placed it on the Floor Flipper in the first round after it was flipped by Hydra, before grabbing Sumpthing by the wheel and dumping it in the pit shortly after it was counted out. Later on in the same heat, he slammed into Dominator 2 and S.M.I.D.S.Y. at full speed when both of them were in a CPZ during their heat Semi-Final, driving on top of and ramming S.M.I.D.S.Y. as Dominator 2 escaped. His charge was enough to cause severe damage to both robots; with S.M.I.D.S.Y. losing manoeuvrability for the remainder of the battle and Dominator 2's baseplate being detached and split in half.
Growler also made a few appearances in the UK vs Germany special, broadcast at the end of Series 6 and as part of German Robot Wars. He briefly pushed Judge Shred 2½ away from the CPZ before separating it and 259 after both robots became stuck to each other during their first round battle. He shoved 259 into the pit release button and dragged Judge Shred 2½ back as it was counted out, before pushing the latter onto the Floor Flipper and dumping it into the pit. Growler later repeated this with Corkscrew following its loss to Fluffy.
Equipped with his new flamethrower, Growler's first appearance in Extreme 2 came in Heat B of the All-Stars, where he grabbed hold of Hypno-Disc by its disc after it was counted out before slamming it into the pit release button and pushing it into the pit. He also appeared in the first round of the Minor Meltdown, grabbing Saw Point by the chassis before ramming it into the wall and breaking one of its wheels off. After Saw Point was counted out, Growler bit, dragged and spun it in his CPZ, ripping two of the remaining wheels off before letting Sir Killalot put Saw Point on the Drop Zone and dump it out of the arena.
Growler also made a few appearances in the Tag Team Terror, slamming into Mini Morg and rolling it back onto its wheels after Hydra flipped the Welsh robot into him during their second round battle. He nudged Mini Morg into the pit after the latter was immobilised, counted out and sustained damage from Dead Metal.
- "Piggyback, piggyback! It’s the clash of the two dogs out there! A real dogfight on the arena floor!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Growler rams and drives on top of Bulldog Breed
He then drove over Bulldog Breed twice during it and Robochicken’s second round battle against Lightning and The Steel Avenger, firstly when Bulldog Breed rammed him from inside a CPZ, then as he chased Bulldog Breed across the arena floor, with Bulldog Breed escaping both times by lifting Growler off with its flipper. Growler then bit and pushed the immobilised Lightning across the arena later on in the same battle.
In the New Blood Championship, Growler made appearances in Heats B, C, and D as well as the Grand Final. In Heat B, he backed towards the immobile Chip in an attempt to set fire to it with his flamethrower, but was unable to, instead deciding to ram Thor into the central entry gate after it attacked him with its hammer. In the process, Growler drove up Thor's side and got wedged on top of its hammer, pinning Thor down; the charge also resulted in him damaging the gate itself. After Chip was counted out, Growler was separated from Thor by Mr. Psycho. He proceeded to bite, drag and spin Chip across the arena, before placing it on the Floor Flipper and pushing it into the pit.
In the Heat C final, Growler grabbed the immobilised ICU by its axe as Mr. Psycho hammered it, before dragging it to the Drop Zone where ICU had an assortment of balls dropped on it. He finished ICU off by biting on one of its self-righting arms and pitting it. In the Heat D second round battle between Cedric Slammer and Fatal Traction, he pushed the heavily-damaged Fatal Traction trying to bite it, before he and Sir Killalot pushed it onto the Drop Zone and the Floor Flipper. Growler finished Fatal Traction off by holding it over the Flame Pit and taking it onto the Floor Flipper for another throw.
In the Grand Final playoff between Thor and Cedric Slammer, he slammed into both robots as they lingered in a CPZ, immobilising Cedric Slammer, before grabbing and dumping it into the pit.
Growler made two appearances in the Robot Rampage episode, dedicated to competitions featuring robots from lighter weight classes. In the Lightweight Championship Final, he shot flames at Typhoon Thunder and the immobilised Ellie's Little Pink-Bot, before grabbing Ellie’s Little Pink-Bot and the pit release button after the latter was counted out by Refbot and thrown by the Floor Flipper. Growler spun and held both over the Flame Pit before placing them on the Floor Flipper for a second throw, and proceeded to drive into Ellie’s Little Pink-Bot at full speed just after ‘cease’ was called, destroying it.
- "Oh dear… oh dear! Well, look, if you come into the warzone, and you don’t do anything, expect Growler to get angry!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Growler bites Ellie’s Little Pink-Bot and the pit release tyre
Growler made one appearance each in the Iron Maidens, University Challenge and Commonwealth Carnage tournaments. In the Iron Maidens final, he slammed into Chompalot as it attacked Pussycat near an empty CPZ, while in the University Challenge, he pressed the pit release button as Tiberius 3 and Infinity attempted to push Fluffy over it.
While his presence in the Commonwealth Carnage was minimal, Growler made several appearances throughout the European Championship, which was also broadcast as part of German Robot Wars. His most notable moment in the latter came when he nudged and grabbed PulverizeR by the wheel as it was pushed into his CPZ by Razer, pushing PulverizeR close to a flame jet before letting it go.
Growler made numerous appearances throughout Series 7, although his involvement in the series was considerably less than before. In the Heat Final of Heat A, he nudged Tiberius 3 and M2 against the wall before dragging them out, although not without separating or causing substantial damage to them. In Heat B, he rammed into Barbaric Response and Kan-Opener when they became stuck together during the first round - breaking Kan-Opener’s crushing jaws in the process – while in Heat G, he pushed and dragged the immobilised I Bot One Beta around the arena before it was placed on the Floor Flipper.
In the first round of Heat H between Ming Dienasty, Ceros, Scraptosaur, Metalis, Growler left his CPZ to nudge the inverted Ming Dienasty towards the Flame Pit as it was trying to self-right, before chasing and dragging Metalis across the arena after the latter was flipped over by Ceros. Later on in the same heat, he and Dead Metal pinned St. Agro against the wall after the latter pushed Mega Hurts LT into a CPZ, before grabbing the immobilised Mega Hurts LT and spinning it round, throwing it towards an angle grinder when he let go of it. After Mega Hurts LT was flipped by St. Agro and counted out, he proceeded to place it on the Floor Flipper before dragging it and dropping it down the pit.
- "...but it all got locked up. The memory was lost. And as for a byte, there's a mega bite...from Growler."
- — Jonathan Pearce makes a barrage of computer puns as Growler disposes of Mega Hurts LT
Growler played a small part in the Heat I final between Storm 2 and The Steel Avenger, ramming The Steel Avenger against the wall after Storm 2 pushed it into his CPZ. He also pushed Firestorm 5 out of his CPZ during its Semi-Final battle against Storm 2, his last appearance in the main series.
In the first heat of the Featherweight Championships, broadcast as part of Heat B, Growler rammed into Kitty and Mini Maul, before grabbing hold of Alpha with his jaws and opening the pit with it in place. In the concurrent Middleweight final, broadcast as part of Heat K, he pushed Phoenix onto the Floor Flipper after it was immobilised by Typhoon. Growler also appeared in the Third World Championship qualifier between Hard and Riptilion, where he rammed and dragged Riptilion out of the CPZ before pulling Riptilion by its spinning weapon onto the Floor Flipper after it was counted out.
- "Gravity thinks he can take on our dog of war – oh, and he can! Ah, Growler’s rolled over for a… tummy tickle! Err, this is not going according to plan!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Growler is flipped over by Gravity
Along with Mr. Psycho and Cassius Chrome, Growler also appeared in the House Robot Rebellion, fighting Behemoth and Gravity. However, he played very little part in the Rebellion, as he drove over and was flipped onto his back by Gravity after ramming into the Dutch machine in the opening seconds. This was the final battle Growler took part in in order of filming, although his last televised appearance came in the Third World Championship, where he pinned Ansgar 3 into the CPZ before nudging it out during its heat against Storm 2 and Tornado.
Dutch Series 2Edit
Along with Mr. Psycho, Growler made his Dutch Robot Wars debut in Series 2, and as with Series 6 and the German series made his first appearance in Heat A. He grabbed, pushed and spun Namazu around the arena following its defeat to Blackdevil Warzone before putting it on the Flame Pit and pushing it in the pit after it was pounded by Mr. Psycho’s hammer. Later on, he bit down on Hard's axe, causing it to topple onto its side as he dragged it away from the wall, leaving it close to the angle grinders for Refbot to count it out. Growler finished Hard off by grabbing it again and forcing it against the wall, where it was left pinned by its axe. He then rammed Neater when it strayed too close to his CPZ during its battle against Blackdevil Warzone.
In the Heat C first round battle between Flepser and Bamm Bamm, he dragged Bamm Bamm away from an angle grinder and slammed into Flepser as it pushed Bamm Bamm into his CPZ, before pinning Bamm Bamm against the wall at one point. Towards the end of the battle, he rammed Flepser as it and Bamm Bamm lingered in an empty CPZ, driving over Flepser’s wedge and pinning it against the wall until ‘cease’ was called. He slammed into Twisted Metal Evo later on in the same heat when it and Slamtilt entered a CPZ, before dragging and putting Slamtilt onto the Floor Flipper after it had one of its wheels ripped off by Twisted Metal Evo’s disc. In Heat E, Growler grabbed the immobilised Scarab and dragged it around the arena by one of its crushing claws, before placing it on the Floor Flipper. He later dragged Scarab off the Flame Pit and into Matilda’s flywheel, before pitting it.
In the Grand Final, Growler bit into Krab-Bot as it was pushing Philipper 2 towards an angle grinder, dragging and pushing both robots out of the arena before placing Krab-Bot onto the Flame Pit. Before the start of Philliper 2’s semi-final battle with Bamm Bamm, he turned towards Bamm Bamm and closed his jaws near it, and later rammed into Bamm Bamm during the closing stages of the battle as it and Philipper 2 separated. Growler finally dragged Scrap-2-Saur around and onto the Floor Flipper when it was counted out against PulverizeR, only for Scrap-2-Saur to burst back into life and drive away as soon as he let it go. He eventually nudged and chased Scrap-2-Saur into the pit after failing to grab it a second time.
German Robot WarsEdit
Growler made limited appearances in German Robot Wars, only appearing three times throughout the whole series. In Heat A, he joined Matilda in both of the first round battles, ramming the pit release button in each while spending much of the second melee driving around the arena outside of his CPZ.
He later appeared in the Grand Final Semi-Final battle between Tsunami and Tyke, where he grabbed hold of the immobilised Tyke and placed it on the Floor Flipper. After Sir Killalot pushed Tyke towards the pit, Growler finished it off by nudging it in.
Appearances in MerchandiseEdit
- Because of its limited usage in Extreme 2, Growler's rear flamethrower was never even acknowledged on the show.