- "Where there is harmony, may I bring discord. Where there is calm, may I induce fear. Where there is tranquility, may I summon chaos. Where there is order, may I wreak havoc. I am the necromancer and the rivet lancer, the soul taker and the circuit breaker, the foe fighter and the brain biter. I am Haardvark...and you're toast"
- — "Haardvark's Mantra", a slogan on the machine
Haardvark was a robot that competed in Series 2 and 3 of Robot Wars. It reached the Semi-Finals of Series 2, losing to Cassius in the arena stage, but it broke down in the final seconds of the first round of Series 3, and was eliminated. It was narrowly over the then Heavyweight Limit in both series. The team originally intended to update Haardvark and enter it into Series 4, but decided not to enter and build a new robot, Haardervark, which failed to qualify for Series 5 and 6.
Team Haardvark decided to enter Robot Wars on the recommendation of Owen Barwick's wife. Barwick formed the team with two colleagues from his workplace - Mike Evans and Liz Harrison, with Steve Farley, a friend of Evans, supplying Haardvark's armour and creating its artwork as Barwick built its chassis and Evans did its electronics.
- "The reason we got into this mess was Owen's fault, since an offhand comment led him to commit to building a remote-controlled box on wheels. We applied to enter Robot Wars shortly after the end of the first series. He asked two of his colleagues at Lucas Aerospace to join the team - Mike and Liz. None of us had had anything to do with remote control before. Mike came the closest to that, as he is an electronics engineer; Owen and Liz are both mechanical engineers."
- — The Haardvark website on entering Robot Wars
Haardvark's name was an obvious pun on Aardvark.
Haardvark was a large box-shaped robot featuring an aluminum and steel double chassis made from scrap metal and a three-wheeled scooter. It was initially armoured with 3mm aluminium plate sections, along with sections of "sacrificial armour" to prevent it from being damaged by cutting discs. The Series 2 Haardvark was also painted light grey and decorated with various danger slogans and team graphics along its body, while its main weapon was a pair of lifting forks (referred to as a front scoop) driven by a motorcycle starter motor. Haardvark also featured a custom speed controller made by Mike Evans, and travelled at 15mph in Series 2.
- "The essential components - chassis and motors - of the robot Haardvark came from a scooter and wheel-chair. But Captain Mike Evans built his own proportional speed controller, which allowed a variable acceleration. The central chassis was strengthened with strip steel and aluminium beams and was strong enough to carry a 114-kilogram person. In fact, Haardvark boasts a double chassis (the second being built around the first), which is enormously strong and resilient. Added to this are two layers of aluminium plating (three around the rear of the robot), which makes the robot flame-proof"
- — The Robot Wars Technical Manual
The Series 2 Haardvark also originally featured a circular saw mounted on an arm made from kevlar. However, the arm was removed before the series began as the team found that it pushed the robot over the weight limit.
For Series 3, Haardvark underwent an extensive rebuild, with the chassis being rebuilt with aluminium instead of steel, the armour upgraded to 5mm thick polycarbonate with an inner layer of Kevlar, the forks reprofiled and made out of hardened steel, and the electronics and gearboxes receiving several improvements. In addition, the cutting saw arm was refitted and upgraded, and equipped with two interchangeable cutting discs - a reinforced abrasive grinding disc and a diamond-edged saw. However, the diamond-edged saw was outlawed in Series 3, forcing Haardvark to use the abrasive grinding disc only.
The Series 3 Haardvark was also repainted black with the team's artwork, logo and mantra featured on the robot's armour, and cost £1,648.19 to build.
- "According to its stickers, its mission is to bludgeon, carve, destroy, disenbowel, decapitate and violate, with a cutting disc and front scoop! It's nippy at 12mph, but its tag as a full-on annihilation unit could be a little on the large side Craig."
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Haardvark.
Haardvark made a strong start in the Gauntlet and Trials, it finished top of the leaderboard in The Gauntlet stage of the heat as it covered a respectable distance of 10.6m. Haardvark followed that up by coming second in the Sumo trial, lasting after 17.9 seconds before being pushed off by house robot Dead Metal, who drove off itself in the process.
- "Wow, it's amazing! You do realize that our controller's been not terribly good, we had a big burn-out, so we only had forwards and backwards control on that, so we're thrilled we got through, and we took Dead Metal with us!"
- — Liz Harrison on their win in the Sumo
This put Haardvark through to the arena stage of the heat. In the Heat Semi-Final, Haardvark was placed up against fellow newcomers, yet also heat favourites, Vercingetorix. Despite a problem with its forks stabbing into the floor and preventing the robot moving forwards, Haardvark was able to defeat the Isle of Wight machine, as Vercingetorix stopped moving due to a transmitter problem very early on, allowing Haardvark to reach the Heat Final, where it was placed up against another newcomer in Havoc.
- "We're increasing our power, we've had so many problems, that we've decided to get a bit of speed up for this"
- — Mike Evans on the improvements to Haardvark before the Heat Final
In this battle, Haardvark was able to push Havoc around the arena with ease, quickly getting Havoc into the PPZ. Havoc was too sluggish in escaping from the PPZ, and it was flipped onto its side, courtesy of Shunt's scoop. Havoc was unable to self-right, and was therefore deemed immobilised. Cease was soon called and Haardvark was put through to the Series Semi-Finals.
- "I'm amazed we got this far!"
- — Liz Harrison on making the Semi-Finals
In the series Semi-finals, the Haardvark team's electronics engineer Mike Evans was called back to work, leaving it at a disadvantage from the start. It scraped through the Gauntlet stage after only covering 2.4 metres. It attempted the Sentinel route, but bumped into Matilda who dragged it back almost to the start. Ordinarily this distance would have eliminated them from the competition, but this was still enough to surpass Plunderbird 2's run of 0.9 metres. Haardvark did not have much more luck in the pinball stage of the Semi-Final. They started well, knocking over the barrels and bricks at the top of the arena, but were then overturned by Sir Killalot.
- Craig Charles: "Do you think you've done enough?"
- Owen Barwick: "Honestly, no!"
- — Before Craig Charles let them know the good news
Having scored 160 points, they just managed to surpass G.B.H., who scored 145.
In the arena stage of the Semi-Final, Haardvark was placed up against the number 5 seeds Cassius, and there was a problem right from the start for Haardvark, as the machine was only able to go in reverse. In the battle, after a long period of being thrown around by Cassius's flipping arm, Haardvark fought back strongly to push Cassius into the PPZ where Cassius' drive chain came off. This gave Haardvark the potential to take a surprise victory, although Cassius had enough mobility to move away and Haardvark was picked up by Sir Killalot (despite not actually being in the PPZ), flipped over, and placed onto the flame pit, eliminating it from the competition.
- "Hardy after the last wars, has hardened steel lifting forks, 5mm thick polycarbonate shell, uses two electric scooter motors, and cost exactly £1648.19 to build."
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Haardvark.
Due to health & safety regulations, the Haardvark team was not allowed to use the sawblade they had brought. They were forced to use an ineffective grinding disc in its place, which they attached to a bigger plastic blade to make it look more threatening.
Haardvark was placed up against newcomer Henry in the first round of the heat.
- "If Haardvark rely on Mike for some sort of advice, they're in trouble."
- — Jonathan Pearce, on Mike Evans, who was unable to attend filming
Haardvark's grinding disc did not cause tremendous damage, but it was enough to create scars on the surface of Henry's armour. Haardvark was very sluggish throughout the battle and Henry was able to have a few run-ups, but it didn't make the most of them, as Haardvark's blade was ready to halt a charge from Henry. However, despite dominating the battle and constantly attacking Henry with its weapon, Haardvark suddenly broke down completely with ten seconds of the battle remaining, and was controversially eliminated from the competition despite being immobile for less than 30 seconds.
- "Still, there's no justice in battle or war. Because Haardvark died so close to the end of the bout, and Haardvark had been so aggressive and done a good deal of damage, it went to a judges' decision (also not shown!). By default Henry won, and fair enough - that's the rules. Next year we'll put in bigger fuses! We thought Haardvark performed very well; The circular saw was working, and didn't break even when Matilda clouted it from the side. (That's one in the eye for all those non-believers of abrasive discs!) Admittedly they don't cut particularly well, but they look good, and that's the whole point. The forks were working as well, unlike in series two! They also survived unscathed, being made of aerospace-grade hardened steel as they are. Unfortunately though, the times when we were using the forks on Henry were not broadcast."
- — The Haardvark website
The reason for Haardvark breaking down was because it had blown a drive motor fuse. The fight also went to a judges decision, but it was not shown on the televised fight.
|HAARDVARK - RESULTS|
|The Second Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat L, Gauntlet||10.6m (1st)||Qualified|
|Heat L, Trial (Sumo)||17.9 Seconds (2nd)||Qualified|
|Heat L, Semi-Final||vs. Vercingetorix||Won|
|Heat L, Final||vs. Havoc||Won|
|Semi-Final 2, Gauntlet||2.4m (5th)||Qualified|
|Semi-Final 2, Trial (Pinball)||160 Points (4th)||Qualified|
|Semi-Final 2, Arena||vs. Cassius (5)||Lost|
|The Third Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat G, Round 1||vs. Henry||Lost|
- Wins: 2
- Losses: 2
NOTE: Haardvark's successful Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Semi-Finals, Arena|
|The Third Wars||Heat, Round 1|
|The Fourth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fifth Wars||Failed to qualify with Haardervark|
|The Sixth Wars||Failed to qualify with Haardervark|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
- Haardvark's name was originally going to be "Armourdillo", but because the name had been taken by another robot, the team chose to call the robot Haardvark instead.
- Haardvark's Gauntlet run in the Semi-Finals is the least distance covered by a robot that went past the Gauntlet stage.
- Owen Barwick's employers invested £1000 for the building on Haardvark, and donated more money for the upgrades for Series 3.
- The original Haardvark's armour was put on at 3 in the morning on the day of filming.
- "There is no armour on Haardvark because there was none to put on. It was put on later that night, at about 3am, and we had to get up at 6 to drive to London for the filming!"
- — The Haardvark website on the Series 2 Haardvark
- The Series 2 Haardvark was painted by the BBC visual effects department.
- Haardvark inadvertently caused one of the major accidents of the Second Wars, as during the preview roll out it reversed off a ledge and managed to injure one of the safety advisers.
- During Series 3, team member Mike Evans could not attend filming because he was in Australia, so the team brought along a cardboard cut-out of him.
- "Mike was there, in one form or another. Actually he was in Australia with his girlfriend for three weeks. Therefore we made a cardboard cut-out of him to get his face on telly again since he'd put so much work into the electronics. We even got his Robot Wars T-shirt and ID badge. Philippa was particularly pleased to see him, and seemed to prefer him in two dimensions. In fact, Mike got more air time than Owen or Steve!"
- — The Haardvark website on Mike Evan's abscence