- "The good-looking dodgem car!"
- — Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide
Major Tom was a robot from the Isle of Sheppey that competed in Series 4 to 7 of Robot Wars, also entering in both series of Extreme. It had previously failed to qualify for Series 3 despite a near perfect qualification run.
The Series 3 version of Major Tom was very different to all of its successors, mainly because it did not have its trademark head or Union Jack colours. It was white with blue, green and red triangle shapes painted on it. Its weapon was a lifting device that had a secondary usage as a split scoop. It was originally meant to be a tracked robot, but the rubber tracks were replaced with wheels for the qualifier. The robot was also 13kg overweight so the team had to replace the thick steel shell with aluminium. During its qualifier it navigated the assault course perfectly, but still failed to get through to the main competition.For Series 4 the split scoop of the Series 3 machine was taken off and half of a garden water barrel was added to the top armour along with parts from bicycles and lawnmowers. The weapon was converted into a lifting ramp powered by a golf caddy motor along with the main drive and was capable of lifting 12 stone.
- "Firstly, changes were made to the weapon. The splitting wedge was dropped from the robot in favour of the lifting arm. To this was added a hefty plate, turning it into a kind of wedge. Because of its weight and size, a much faster revving motor was used to achieve a quicker lifting action"
- — On the team's website
In Series 5, the robot became more box-shaped with a vertical spinning disc on the front, rotating at 35mph and the body was made from a cut-down 1977 bumper car body, found by team member Joe Brown and a garden water barrel, travelling at 10mph. A roll-bar was added to the top of the machine in Series 6 to act as a srimech. In Series 7, a new design known as Major Tom 3 was entered, which was an invertible box-wedge shaped robot with a double clamping spike on the front, it was much slower than its predecessor and only had a top speed of 4mph as a result of much stronger motors, low gearing and good pushing power. Although the robot took on three different forms, it was always painted in the colours of the Union flag in its televised appearances. Despite competing in 4 separate series of Robot Wars, Major Tom never reached a heat final.
Major Tom was also famous for its bubble-gum plastic dispenser head, present on every machine that featured on the televised show. Major Tom's most famous moment was in its Series 4 loss to 101. The head was pushed askew by 101, almost sawn off by Matilda, and shattered in one solid axe blow from Shunt. However, the head always managed to be replaced each wars. It had a cap in Series 4, a helmet and crown in Series 5, 6 and both Extremes, and just a crown in Series 7.
- "Certainly getting into the spirit of Robot Wars!"
- — Julia Reed comments on the team
In its first televised appearance, Major Tom was drawn up against the number 25 seeds Shadow of Napalm and fellow newcomers Disc-O-Inferno in its first round melee in Heat E of the Fourth Wars. Major Tom paraded through this first round battle, only making minimal contact with the others, as it largely left the other two to attack each other. Major Tom did ram into the seeded Shadow of Napalm from behind once, but did little more after that. It actually turned out to be was the most mobile machine at the end of the battle, due to the fact that Disc-O-Inferno had been fully immobilised, positioned on the arena floor flipper by Dead Metal and flipped. Major Tom had just enough time at the end of the battle to slam the limping Shadow of Napalm machine into the arena side wall before cease was called. Both robots moved through to the next round nonetheless. Major Tom was then drawn up against the number 9 seeds 101 in the second round of the heat. In this battle, 101 immediately ran up the body of Major Tom, pushing the bubblegum dispenser head askew. 101 then shoved Major Tom into the arena side wall, crumpling the front ram of Major Tom. Major Tom then slowed to a stop, and was declared immobilised just as house robots Matilda and Shunt then came in and cleaved the bubblegum dispenser head away, decapitating Major Tom, although little damage was done to the actual body of Major Tom. It was then pushed onto the arena floor flipper, thrown across the arena, and then eventually pitted by Matilda, eliminating it from the competition.
- "Ground control to Major Tom, goodness me, it's all gone wrong. The winners are 101!"
- — Craig Charles describing the team's loss to 101
- "We're really looking forward to it!"
- — Henry Ryan
Major Tom came back for Robot Wars Extreme Series 1, this time as a stripped-down 1970s bumper car. Its only appearance was in the Tag-Team Terror competition where it fought alongside Bigger Brother, Major Tom was actually only brought into the competition at the last minute and used as a substitute for Plunderbird 5 who'd broken down and damaged the entry gate going into the arena for the first battle. In the first round, Major Tom and Bigger Brother fought Comengetorix and Spawn Again, the fight started evenly with Bigger Brother and Comengetorix having a tug-of war contest before later all four robots went out. Major Tom got side swiped and flipped over by Spawn Again's only flip of the fight where it had its underbelly axed by Comengetorix. Major Tom was righted by its teammate, but it didn't move afterwards, was counted out by Refbot. The house robots put Major Tom on the arena floor flipper, where it was flipped, before then being pushed onto the pit, as it was too big to fit. Cease was called and Major Tom and Bigger Brother were eliminated from the competition.
- "...and the Italian dodgem car failed to dodgem...er...just about anything really"
- — Jonathan Pearce after Major Tom was flipped by the arena floor flipper
- "I can't remember a bumper car looking like that"
- — Jonathan Pearce
For the Fifth Wars, Major Tom kept the 1970s bumper car chassis that was used in Extreme Series 1, but the team cut a large chunk off the front to reduce weight to fit bigger motors in, this also meant that it could fit in the pit. Despite this, they still kept the flywheel weapon. In the first round of the heat, Major Tom went up against newcomers Kliptonite, another robot from the Isle of Sheppey. Major Tom had a stroke of luck in this battle, as its opponents broke down quite early on after just a few bumps from Major Tom's spinning disc weapon. Kliptonite was counted out by Refbot, allowing the house robots, Matilda and Sir Killalot, to rip up and destroy the newcomers' robot, before finally dropping it in the pit. This put Major Tom through to the next round of the heat. Major Tom then took on the more experienced Kat 3 in the second round. In this battle, Major Tom had a strong start, as it was able to push Team KaterKiller's machine around the arena floor with ease. However, Major Tom then slammed Kat 3 into the pit release button, and then reversed onto the descending pit and went down with it, eliminating Major Tom from the competition. Both teams were uncontrollably laughing in the post match interview of the battle, this fight was also voted the funniest battle ever in Robot Wars for the book, Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide.
- "Ground control to Major Tom! The pit's open, and you're gone! Talk about unlucky..."
- — Craig Charles describing the loss
- Ian Watts: "...Major Tom was our partners, in the Tag-Team, we can't fight them!"
- Philippa Forrester: "Forget about the past! Forget about the past!"
- Joe Watts: "They made us lose!"
- — The Team Big Brother pre-first round interview
The only changes made to Major Tom since its Series 5 state were that the Union Flags were removed and a roll cage was added on top. The teeth on the flywheel were also enlarged. In the first round of its heat in the Sixth Wars, Major Tom was forced to fight old Tag Team partners and number 2 seeds Bigger Brother, in addition to newcomers Riptillion and Killer Carrot 2. In the battle, at first, Major Tom was attacked by Killer Carrot 2. Despite four successive attacks, Killer Carrot 2 could only lift but not flip Major Tom over. Bigger Brother seemingly came to its aid, flipping away Killer Carrot 2, but then went on to attack Major Tom itself, succesfully flipping Major Tom into the CPZ, leaving it in Sir Killalot's hands, before Mr. Psycho came in. A severe blow from Mr. Psycho's hammer dented the rollcage. After its rollcage was ripped apart, it seemed that one of Major Tom's drives had stopped working. Major Tom was then counted out by the Refbot, as it could only drive in circles inside the CPZ. Major Tom was then left under the drop zone, where a colossal shower of balls of various sizes fell. Cease was finally called, and Major Tom was eliminated from the competition, along with Riptillion, who drove itself into the pit, earlier on in the battle.
- "Major Tom, stripped of its stripes and demoted to private..."
- — Craig Charles at the end of the fight
- "Will it lose ground control?"
- — Jonathan Pearce, as Major Tom enters the arena
Major Tom exclusively participated in the Annihilator in the second series of Extreme. At first, it was up against Typhoon 2, Thermidor 2, Kan-Opener, Revenge of Trouble & Strife and Raging Reality, and went in as underdogs. In the first round, Major Tom stayed out of most of the action, it drove into Raging Reality before being eyed up by Thermidor 2 and flipped into Typhoon 2's full-body spinner. Major Tom then reversed away but was intercepted by Revenge of Trouble & Strife and suffered several blows from their full-body spinner. After this, Major Tom could only spin in circles, but Typhoon 2 was already flipped over by Raging Reality and counted out by the Refbot, so Major Tom survived for the next round of the annihilator. It turned out that Major Tom needed to be stripped down right to the innards in the pits as considerable damage had been caused in the first round but they still managed to enter round two of the annihilator. In the second round, Major Tom tried shunting Raging Reality again, but was then flipped over by Thermidor 2. Its rollcage self-righted it, but it was hit again by Thermidor 2 making one of the front panels fly off due to the impact. Revenge of Trouble & Strife then spun Major Tom, forcing it into the path of house robot Sir Killalot, who then shoved Major Tom into an unoccupied CPZ. Major Tom tried to escape, but was then pushed back into the same CPZ by house robot Dead Metal. After looking like the hot favourite to go out next, Major Tom finally escaped from the CPZ and pressed the pit release button, but then Kan-Opener managed to immobilise Raging Reality with its jaws, Raging Reality was then later counted out by Refbot, flipped by the arena floor flipper and eliminated, meaning Major Tom survived for the third round. Before this round though, the team hesitated to whether they should just take the weapon right off, to make the robot quicker and more agile, however they eventually decided to keep the weapon on for the upcoming battle.
- "Bruised and battered, but the weaponry is still there. They haven't gone for the lightweight option!"
- — Major Tom's third introduction into the arena by Jonathan Pearce
In the Round Three battle, Major Tom tried attacking both Thermidor 2 and Revenge of Trouble & Strife, it tried to chase them down as they retreated from the arena side wall, but Major Tom was then intercepted and pushed across the arena from one side to the other by Kan-Opener. Thermidor 2 then flipped Revenge of Trouble & Strife over and Kan-Opener then pressed the pit release button for it to go down. Major Tom tried to then steer away from Thermidor 2 who still went on the attack of it. Kan-Opener then pitted Revenge of Trouble & Strife right before Major Tom lost control and drove backwards into the pit themselves. This was still enough to put Major Tom through to the Fourth Round, it was also a bit of a clue for what was to come.
- "We think it will be the last fairwell"
- — The Major Tom team's prophetic response to Philippa Forrester asking them about their feelings on the Fourth Round battle.
In the fourth round battle, it was pushed by Kan-Opener, before Thermidor 2 picked it up and flipped it into the arena side wall, onto its side. Major Tom's rollbars didn't work, but Kan-Opener righted it near a CPZ. Major Tom was then pushed into another arena side wall, and then one drive stopped, only one wheel was turning, but only enough to make the robot twitch. Mr. Psycho hammered its rollcage, knocking the crown of the head. Then Matilda came in and caused severe damage to its fibreglass shell, ripping it apart completely. Refbot then counted it out, before it was placed on the Dropzone, where a cooker crushed it.
- "And the tune we are singing tonight in the court is A. Flat Major"
- — Jonathan Pearce reviewing the replay of the dropzone
Matilda then hit Major Tom with her flywheel one more time, which ripped several pieces off and flipped the machine over onto its back, before pushing the carcass of the robot into a CPZ, and cease was called. Major Tom was finally eliminated from the Annihilator.
- "The words to the song are "Here I am, floating in a tin can", not "Turned into a tin can""
- — Craig Charles to the Major Tom team at the end of the fight.
After being completely destroyed, this bumper car version of Major Tom was retired to make way for Major Tom 3.
- "Very slow at 4 miles an hour"
- — Jonathan Pearce's only criticism
Major Tom 3 was drawn up against German runners-up Tsunami, the number 11 seeds X-Terminator and Diabolus in the first round of the Seventh Wars. Going against Major Tom created unmentioned revenge for Diabolus, not just because it was another robot from the Isle of Sheppey, but Major Tom defeated the team's previous robot, Kliptonite, in the Fifth Wars. In this battle, Major Tom's first collision with Diabolus caused an immediate effect as the head fell straight off Major Tom 3. X-Terminator toppled Major Tom 3 over with its disc, causing the front of Major Tom's wedge to crumple a bit. Major Tom 3 did not last much longer as it tried to run to safety, but its top speed of 4mph proved to be its undoing, as Tsunami then eyed up the sluggish Major Tom 3, pushed it side on towards the flame pit and flipped it straight out of the arena, eliminating it from the competition. Major Tom 3 was then soon followed out of the arena by a later picked on Diabolus.
- "Major Tom: Major Disappointment"
- — Craig Charles after the battle
|MAJOR TOM - RESULTS|
|The Fourth Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 2
|Heat E, Eliminator||vs. Shadow of Napalm (25), Disc-O-Inferno||Qualified|
|Heat E, Semi-Final||vs. 101 (9)||Lost|
|Extreme Series 1|
|Tag Team Terror|
with Bigger Brother, Round 1
|Round 1||vs. Comengetorix & Spawn Again||Lost|
|The Fifth Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 2
|Heat J, Eliminator||vs. Kliptonite||Won|
|Heat J, Semi-Final||vs. Kat 3||Lost|
|The Sixth Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat L, Round 1||vs. Riptilion, Bigger Brother (2), Killer Carrot 2||Eliminated|
|Extreme Series 2|
|Round 1||vs. Typhoon 2, Raging Reality, Kan-Opener|
Revenge of Trouble & Strife, Thermidor 2
|Round 2||vs. Raging Reality, Kan-Opener, Revenge of Trouble & Strife|
|Round 3||vs. Kan-Opener, Revenge of Trouble & Strife, Thermidor 2||Qualified|
|Round 4||vs. Kan-Opener, Thermidor 2||Eliminated|
|MAJOR TOM 3 - RESULTS|
|The Seventh Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat F, Round 1||vs. Tsunami, Diabolus, X-Terminator (11)||Eliminated|
- Wins: 5
- Losses: 6
- Series 1-2: Did not enter
- Series 3: Failed to qualify
- Series 4: Heat, Round 2
- Series 5: Heat, Round 2
- Series 6: Heat, Round 1
- Series 7: Heat, Round 1
- At 36 seconds, Major Tom 3's battle against Tsunami, X-Terminator and Diabolus is the shortest battle in UK Robot Wars to require two immobilisations. However, it did not make the top 30 list.
- Major Tom team has a member called Henry and Henry has a team member called Tom.
- Major Tom was twice in the same heat as Killer Carrot, Disc-O-Inferno, and Team Demon. Additionally, it was twice in the same show as Kat 3, Bigger Brother, Behemoth, and Thermidor.
- Every time Major Tom was in the same heat as Killer Carrot, it went out in the first round.