- "We are the crew and we're here to tell you - we're gonna bash them, we're gonna trash them. In the wars you know we're gonna thrash them. The forecast's bad. You better get running. It's gonna be tough. There's a Plunderstorm coming!"
- — Mike, Bryan and Ken's introduction in the Third Wars
Plunderbird was the name given to five separate box-wedge shaped competitors that competed in the first five series of Robot Wars - the only robot in Robot Wars to fight in all five of those wars. Whilst Plunderbird 2 enjoyed some success by reaching the semi-finals, the other models tended to be unreliable and the robots lost in the first round on frequent occasions. The even numbered series' versions of Plunderbird weighed over the then Heavyweight Limit.
Plunderbird was well known for its team, the International Wreck Crew, who portrayed themselves with a "tough-guy" attitude, and frequently sang raps. The two had a good-natured rivalry with the Sir Chromalot team over who could provide more entertaining personas. The team was nominated for the Sportsmanship Award on three occasions, winning the award in Series 2.
Versions of PlunderbirdEdit
The original Plunderbird was a basic box-wedge shape and was powered by a custom-built 12 volt engine to drive it up to 7 mph. It carried a range of interchangeable weapons built into box-like constructions called "Pods", which could be inserted into a cradle built into the front of the robot. The two shown on television were a retracting spike guided by a laser sight, much like 101's, and an electric circular saw on an extendible arm, which was usually concealed, but could flip out of the robot when operational.
- "Powered by a custom-built 12 volt engine, Plunderbird 1 worships Gerry Anderson! Travels at 7 miles per hour, and carries a lethal array of interchangeable weapons pods. A deadly design!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces the original Plunderbird
It travelled an insufficient distance in the Gauntlet after driving onto a grille and getting attacked by Shunt, but when Dreadnaut broke down, it appeared that Plunderbird 1 would qualify for the trial. However, Dreadnaut saved itself at the last minute, and Plunderbird was eliminated. However, the interchangeable weaponry gave it a nomination for the Best Design Award, which it won.
Plunderbird 2 was created from the shell of its original counterpart, but was wider, black in colour, and with thicker armour and more sloping sides. The aerial flexed, allowing it to bend away from House Robot attacks. Its main weapon was a steel screw ram. In addition, it had heavier and more powerful tracks as well as a steel bulldozer blade, both of which were added to prevent a repeat of Plunderbird 1's misfortune. The tracks were built by John and Fiona Ryland of Terminal Ferocity, who were friends of Mike Onslow and lived across the street from him. John and Fiona also created the shell for Plunderstorm/Plunderbird 4. To compliment the pushing capabilities of the bulldozer blade, the top of Plunderbird 2's wedges had notches to prevent robots from driving up it - a feature that was later carried over to Plunderstorm and Plunderbird 4.
- "The ram at the front was very effective as when they hit someone it effectively went to 0mm ground clearance and allowed it to get under other robots. "
- — Oliver Steeples
Plunderbird 2 was easily the most successful of the Plunderbird series, as it managed to reach the semi finals, knocking two House Robots off the ring during the King Of The Castle trial, the only robot to do so. Although defeated in the Gauntlet for the semi finals after Matilda cut off its radio control aerial, it won the Sportsmanship Award for the series.
Plunderbird 3, known as Plunderstorm, was entered in Series 3.
- "The boast is: this can go faster than time."
- — Jonathan Pearce's ironic introduction
Plunderstorm was created from a brand new shell and chassis. It was a steel wedged ramming machine that featured a series of ramming spikes and a circular saw weapon. This cost £4,000 over 500 hours and was mostly made from steel. However, due to the popularity of the team and the low success of the robot, details on Plunderstorm were neglected in favour of the team. Nonetheless, Plunderstorm lost in the first round of Series 3 after it broke down on entry.
After the loss of Plunderstorm in Series 3, the team, now consisting of only Mike and Bryan, shifted their attention more towards comedy and entertainment. As a result, both of their remaining robots were rather inefficient, and appeared so that the team could entertain the audience.
Plunderbird 4 was seeded 26th in Series 4, the only Plunderbird machine to be seeded for Robot Wars, the team arrived in a Chinook helicopter. The robot was built from the shell and chassis of Plunderstorm. Whilst retaining the basic box-wedge shape of all Plunderbirds, Plunderbird 4 was painted yellow and red (assumed to be in reference to Thunderbird 4, which was also primarily yellow and red in colour) and featured a hydraulic slicing claw, referred to as a "Slicer Dicer" (originally Plunderbolt), although the team humorously claimed that the robot's main weapon was "fear, surprise and brute force". The robot was armoured in aerospace aluminium and travelled at 15 mph. Much like Plunderstorm, Plunderbird 4 was neglected in favour of broadcasting the team's antics.
Plunderbird 5 was the final machine of the team. A brand new machine which was lower, wider, faster and more powerful than its predecessors, it was black and red and resembled Plunderbird 4, this was largely achieved by using a similar claw weapon to the previous robot. The weapon was now referred to as a "Plunderthocker", and the steel plate at the front of the machine acted as a lifter to trap a machine beneath the claw. Unlike all its previous incarnations, Plunderbird 5 ran on wheels but had a 2.5 cm ground clearance. However, it only won one of the five battles it fought in, and was destroyed in its final appearance by S3. The team joked in Extreme 1 that it had self-righting Sidewinder guided missiles.
- "We intend to kick some butt with this, and be afraid, there's a Plunderstorm coming!"
- — Mike Onslow
Plunderbird 1 had equipped the spike weapon for its Gauntlet run. It trundled out of the starting position and attempted to take the right pathway. However, Shunt bulldozed its rear ram into the side of Plunderbird 1, and pushed it across the side of the arena and up against the ramp, wedging it between it and the pyramid in front. Plunderbird 1 was unable to escape as Shunt came back forward and struck with its axe. Time expired and Plunderbird 1 had covered a distance of only 4.81m, putting it at the bottom of the leaderboard.
Dreadnaut broke down shortly after its own Gauntlet run, and it seemed like it would need to retire, which would have reinstated Plunderbird 1, despite the team claiming that "They would not want to benefit from someone else's misfortune", but Dreadnaut managed to recover in time for the Football trial, securing Plunderbird 1's loss.
- "We will be back and we will get them next time!"
- — Mike Onslow, on the House Robots
At the end of the series, Plunderbird 1 was awarded with the Best Design Award, largely due to its interchangeable weaponry.
- Mike Onslow: "...but that's not gonna happen this time, 'cos we've got: all new track system, a big bulldozer blade and..."
- Bryan Kilburn: "...wonky aerial."
- — The Plunderbird team after reviewing Plunderbird 1's early demise
In its Gauntlet run, Plunderbird 2 shot past the Sentinel with ease, before driving straight into the pit just beyond it. Despite this, it had covered 10.5 metres, enough ground to progress to the next round, finishing 5th on the leaderboard overall. This act prompted the other teams to call Mike, Bryan and Ken "chickens" back in the pits, because they believed it was performed intentionally to avoid damage from the house robots.
- Mike Onslow: "We're not chickens, we just wanted to get through to the next round!"
- Various Teams: "Bawk, bawk, bawk!"
- Mike Onslow: "SILENCE! How dare you! We're back and we're gonna stay! More violence!"
- — The Plunderbird boys Post-Gauntlet reception
Plunderbird 2 redeemed itself greatly in the Trial stage of the heat, which was King of the Castle for this heat. Plunderbird 2 was victorious in its run, after it was able to stand its ground after the initial shoves from the house robots. Plunderbird 2 then scooped up Dead Metal, carried it over to the edge of the ring and knocked it off. By which time, Sergeant Bash was very near the edge itself, and was thrown off balance by a nudge from Plunderbird 2, leaving just the latter on the ring. Plunderbird 2 was the only robot in the heat to be victorious, so went through to the next round.
- "Well maybe they're not all talk and no trousers...and the Sergeant goes!"
- — Jonathan Pearce as Dead Metal is knocked off the ring, followed by Sergeant Bash
Plunderbird 2 was placed up against Enzyme in the Heat Semi-Final. In the battle Plunderbird 2 immediately wedged underneath Enzyme using its bulldozer blade, before pushing Enzyme into Sergeant Bash in the PPZ, and then onto the flame pit. The two competitors were eventually picked apart by the house robots, with both then escaping the PPZ heading for Sir Killalot, until cease was called for a judges' decision. The judges unanimously gave the win to Plunderbird 2, putting it through to the Heat Final.
- "Well, you gave them a bashing!"
- — Craig Charles sums up the Heat Semi-Final
In the Heat Final, Plunderbird 2 was up against The Mule. In this battle, Plunderbird 2 once again immediately wedged underneath its opponent forcing The Mule to face to one side, unable to push back. Plunderbird 2 turned around, still with The Mule propped on its wedge, and pushed The Mule across the arena, almost into the pit of oblivion, whilst also withstanding the constant kicks from The Mule's weaponry. Towards the end, Plunderbird 2 nearly pushed The Mule into the PPZ, but The Mule began to slide off the wedge, and Plunderbird 2 was less able to push it, but cease was then called for a judges' decision. The decision went in favour of Plunderbird 2, putting it through to the Series Semi-Finals.
- "Just before the Plunderbird team go on, they've only got the whole audience clapping them, to their own song!"
- — Philippa Forrester
Prior to Plunderbird 2's appearance in the Semi-Finals, the team entered the arena to entertain the audience whilst the arena was being prepared. However, Plunderbird 2's great run in the Second Wars came to an abrupt end in the Gauntlet stage of the Series Semi-Finals as it only travelled 0.9m. Plunderbird 2 drove through the blocks, but was pushed right back to the wall by Shunt, before Matilda hammered the final nail into the coffin by slicing off the aerial with her chainsaw. There was hope in Haardvark's Gauntlet run when Matilda started dragging them back, but unfortunately for the Plunderbird team, Haardvark just scraped through after a distance of 2.4m.
- Mike Onslow: "We've got the grudge match, that's gonna be fun."
- Bryan Kilburn: "Its not quite the same, is it?...You were driving, its your fault."
- Mike Onslow: "Stop being so sensitive."
- Bryan Kilburn: "I can't help it, I'm a sensitive lad. Got a Kleenex?"
- — Bryan Kilburn turns on mock waterworks after being eliminated
At the end of the series, Plunderbird 2 won the Sportsmanship Award.
- "The forecast's bad. You better keep running. It's gonna be tough. There's a Plunderstorm coming!- Next year!"
- — Mike, Bryan and Ken after being eliminated from Series 3
Plunderbird 3 (Renamed Plunderstorm for this year) had a very brief war. Shortly before the fight, the team were asked by the crew to remove their saw blade as it had a risk of shattering, to which they begrudgingly complied.
The robot had only one fight against newcomers Thermador. It started off with only one track working, so struggled to move away from its starting position. It was rammed once by Thermador, who reversed to take a second attack, but a couple of seconds afterwards, Plunderstorm broke down completely, leaving it at the mercy of the House Robots and Team Lobster's machine, eventually finishing with Sir Killalot spearing the beaten Plunderstorm with its lance into one of the tracks, before lifting Plunderstorm up, carrying it around, and lowering it into the pit.
- "Plunderstorm? It's not even a shower!"
- — Jonathan Pearce
- "We had a mechanical malfunction, and we decided to leave and fix it! Some people might call that losing..."
- — Mike Onslow
At the end of the series, Plunderstorm was nominated for the Sportsmanship for the second year in a row. But this time, it lost out to Diotoir.
Despite the team's early exit from Series 3, Plunderbird 4 was seeded 26th for the Fourth Wars, due to their sportsmanship, popularity and status as former Semi-Finalists. The newest Plunderbird model did little in its first round battle with Vercingetorix and Fat Boy Tin. In the battle, Plunderbird 4 and Vercingetorix ganged up on Fat Boy Tin, forcing the huge machine into Sir Killalot's CPZ. Plunderbird 4 hung back whilst Fat Boy Tin was toppled onto its side. Vercingetorix then went on to attack Plunderbird 4, flipping it onto its side, before then being righted. Despite this, Plunderbird 4 went through to face Knightmare in the second round of the heat.
This was the only fight in which Plunderbird 4's claw was working, and even then, it was not working to its full potential. In the battle, Knightmare slipped underneath Plunderbird 4, backed away before ramming it again. The two constantly bumping each other but no significant attacks could be made at all. Plunderbird 4 got underneath Knightmare, rendering the robots stuck together for a short while. The pit suddenly opened and Refbot pushed Knightmare off of Plunderbird 4 to let the battle continue. Plunderbird 4 showed a little sign of aggression, lightly pushing Knightmare, but Knightmare darted away to attack again. Finally, in one fell swoop, Knightmare toppled Plunderbird 4 onto its side. The house robots closed in, before Sir Killalot dumped it into the pit, confirming that Plunderbird 4 was out of the wars.
- "Shout out loud, make lots of noise!
There's damage to be done by the Plunderbird boys!
Gonna stamp on you, gonna hit you hard.
Gonna send your robot to the breaker's yard!
What's the word? Plunderbird!"
- — Mike and Bryan's exeunt song from Series 4
Plunderbird 4 teamed up with Bigger Brother in the Tag Team Terror of Series 4. Against Firestorm 2 and Scorpion, the two faced a tough opposition. Plunderbird 4 joined the action as the rules disintegrated and pushed Scorpion around. Firestorm rammed Plunderbird 4 from behind, but was sent back to the Red Zone by Refbot. Plunderbird 4 backed away from Scorpion, as Firestorm rammed into it again. Firestorm got around to the side Plunderbird 4, pushing it all the way into the Red Zone and slamming it into the side wall. Plunderbird 4 was freed after Matilda lifted Firestorm away from it. Plunderbird 4 pinned Firestorm against the side wall, giving Bigger Brother a chance to flip it, but it didn't get it over. Plunderbird 4 and Scorpion came to blows, but Plunderbird 4 seemed immobilised after the attack. Firestorm almost flipped it over, flipping it onto its claw, before driving right under it, and being pinned momentarily. Plunderbird 4, still static, was gripped by Sergeant Bash and forced into the side wall. Bigger Brother and Plunderbird 4 were eliminated by a Judges' decision.
- Julia Reed: "What's your biggest weak point?"
- Bryan Kilburn: "The robot."
- — Before the Playoff
In the Play-off, Plunderbird 4 had problems internally, and therefore only played a small part in the upcoming battle. Plunderbird 4 watched on as X-Terminator flipped Bigger Brother, who self-righted. Bigger Brother came back and lifted up X-Terminator and slammed it into Plunderbird 4. Refbot bumped the lifeless Plunderbird 4, then left it touching the side wall. After a long time of battling between Bigger Brother and X-Terminator's, X-Terminator bumped into the corpse of Plunderbird 4, but then drove straight into the pit. Despite doing little in the entire battle, Plunderbird 4 and Bigger Brother took third place.
- Craig Charles: "Talk me through your contribution."
- Mike Onslow: "It was passive. Our strategy, we were just going to play dead and let him (Bigger Brother) get on with it."
- — Post-playoff interview
At the end of the series, Plunderbird 4 was nominated for the Sportsmanship Award for the third consecutive series. But, for the second year in a row, it lost out to Diotoir.
- "As you will know, we are the Plunderbird boys! This is a new robot, for a new fight, but it's got the same attitude!"
- — The Plunderbird team
Plunderbird 5 made a variety of appearances in Extreme Series 1.
Plunderbird 5 was due to compete in the Tag Team Terror alongside Bigger Brother, they were to enter as one of the favourites for finishing third in the last competition, but was forced to withdraw after it charged down the entry gate, damaging the robot and the entry gate in the process. It was replaced, quite hastily, by Major Tom. However, this new duo didn't fare well in the competition after going out in Round 1.
It fought in two vengeance battles: The first was against Sir Chromalot, who they called 'a bunch of girlies' to spark a vengeance. In the proper battle, Plunderbird 5 and Sir Chromalot did a lot of pushing and shoving around the arena, until Plunderbird 5 tried to grab Sir Chromalot, but was lifted up by Sir Chromalot's flipper instead. It did manage to grab on to its opponent, and started pushing it towards the pit, nearly pushing it in, but missed, accidentally reversing over the edge of the pit, where it was pitted by Sergeant Bash. Plunderbird 5 still wanted a rematch afterwards, though. At the end of the battle, Plunderbird 5 sang their new theme tune, which was only really planned to be sung if they won the battle, but was used nonetheless.
- "This was a vengeance battle to show who were the biggest showmen in Robot Wars - Plunderbird committed suicide!"
- — Craig Charles
Plunderbird 5 fought Mega Morg in another vengeance battle, this time relating to who sang better. The two teams had a singing contest in the pits before the battle.
- "Mega Morg boys are dressed in yellow
They think they're hard as mustard!
But that robot's about as useful
As a big blob of yellow custard!"
- — The Plunderbird boys song to the Mega Morg team before the Vengeance Battle
Again this battle mostly consisted of the two robots pushing each other around the arena. Both robots dodging each other at the start of the battle and attempted to attack, before Plunderbird 5 was lifted by Mega Morg's improved lifter. It then tried to grab hold of its opponent, and eventually did so. Plunderbird 5 then forced Mega Morg's lifter to jam open. Sergeant Bash then came in and burnt the Ninja Sheep on top of Mega Morg, Shunt then followed that up by piercing Mega Morg's top, but for a while couldn't get its axe out. When Shunt eventually broke free, Plunderbird 5 then tried to prise open Mega Morg's front armour, until cease was called, and Plunderbird 5 won on points in a very dull battle. This would be Plunderbird's final victory in Robot Wars.
- "That was just pushing and shoving and calling names. I would show you some highlights...but there weren't any!"
- — Craig Charles
Alongside Stinger and Scorpion, Plunderbird 5 fought Shunt and Dead Metal in the first House Robot Rebellion. It rammed Dead Metal, but was caught by the House Robot and sliced in punishment. As Plunderbird 5 escaped, the floor flipper activated, sending Plunderbird 5 flying up into the air and landing on top of an out of control Stinger. It was then seized by Shunt and finally pitted, and was soon followed by Scorpion just as Matilda entered the arena.
Plunderbird 5 was also due to compete in a Mayhem battle to qualify for the second Annihilator, however, it was unable to compete in this too, as it had suffered irreparable damage from its battle against S3 in the heats of Series 5.
Plunderbird 5 was drawn against new machine S3. It got an initial shove on S3, but one of its tyres burst, destroying its manoeuvrability and ground clearance. S3 flaked off pieces of its armour off its sides before breaking the piston mechanism on its weapon. Plunderbird 5 was pushed into the CPZ, where Sir Killalot held it down while S3 continued to eat into its right side wheels. Sir Killalot dragged Plunderbird 5 along the arena floor with Plunderbird 5's right wheels dropping off in the process, before placing it on the floor flipper. Refbot counted the ravaged Plunderbird 5 out before it was tossed by the floor flipper, and S3 attacked it one final time. This was the team's last appearance.
- "Well, it was slightly worse than we thought it would be. I have to admit, we slightly underestimated the militant wing of the Salvation Army...we now have a clusterbot."
- — Mike Onslow
US Season 1Edit
Plunderbird 5 (sporting a Union Flag on the top of the robot for this competition) briefly competed in the first season of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors, representing the UK in the War of Independence special. In its first round battle, Plunderbird 5 started well as it was easily able to push back US competitor Rosie the Riveter, knocking off several of its ornaments. Rosie the Riveter retaliated by slamming it into the arena wall and side grinders. Both robots ended up severely limping by the end of the battle, with Rosie only being able to drive forwards and reverse, and Plunderbird 5 losing its left hand drive. However, Rosie the Riveter got caught on the arena floor, and its movement was restricted as well. The judges were called upon at the end of the battle, a close judges' decision put the American team through, eliminating Plunderbird 5 from the competition.
|PLUNDERBIRD 1 - RESULTS|
|The First Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat C, Gauntlet||4.81m (6th)||Eliminated|
|PLUNDERBIRD 2 - RESULTS|
|The Second Wars - UK Championship|
|Heat K, Gauntlet||10.5m (5th)||Qualified|
|Heat K, Trial (King of the Castle)||Victorious (1st)||Qualified|
|Heat K, Arena Semi-Final||vs. Enzyme||Won|
|Heat K, Final||vs. The Mule||Won|
|Semi-Final 2, Gauntlet||0.9m (6th)||Eliminated|
|PLUNDERSTORM - RESULTS|
|The Third Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat M, Round 1||vs. Thermador||Lost|
|PLUNDERBIRD 4 - RESULTS|
|The Fourth Wars - UK Championship|
26th Seed, Heat, Round 2
|Heat L, Eliminator||vs. Fat Boy Tin, Vercingetorix||Qualified|
|Heat L, Semi-Final||vs. Knightmare||Lost|
|Tag Team Terror|
With Bigger Brother, Third Place
|Round 1||vs. Firestorm 2 & Scorpion||Lost|
|Playoff||vs. Inverterbrat & X-Terminator 2||Won|
|PLUNDERBIRD 5 - RESULTS|
|Extreme Series 1|
Vengeance & House Robot Rebellion (with Scorpion & Stinger)
|Vengeance||vs. Mega Morg||Won|
|Vengeance||vs. Sir Chromalot||Lost|
|House Robot Rebellion||vs. Dead Metal & Shunt||Lost|
|The Fifth Wars - UK Championship|
Heat, Round 1
|Heat C, Eliminator||vs. S3||Lost|
|War of Independence|
Representing UK, Round 1
|Eliminator||vs. Rosie The Riveter (USA)||Lost|
- UK Wins: 5
- UK Losses: 6
- US Wins: 0
- US Losses: 1
NOTE: Plunderbird 1's Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included
|Main Series||Plunderbird Record|
|The First Wars||Heat, Gauntlet as Plunderbird 1|
|The Second Wars||Semi-Finals, Gauntlet as Plunderbird 2|
|The Third Wars||Heat, Round 1 as Plunderstorm|
|The Fourth Wars||Heat, Round 2 as Plunderbird 4|
|The Fifth Wars||Heat, Round 1 as Plunderbird 5|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Did not enter|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Robot Wars Extreme||Appearances|
|Series 1||Entered as Plunderbird 5|
|Series 2||Did not enter|
Outside Robot WarsEdit
Mike Onslow, the team captain, who was a model maker for a living, still has the shells of Plunderbirds 2 and 4 (Which were made from those of Plunderbird 1 and Plunderstorm respectively, but no longer has the shell of Plunderbird 5 due to it being destroyed by S3.), along with the weapon pods from Plunderbird 1, and occasionally brings them to various live events.
Appearances in MerchandiseEdit
- Plunderbird/Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction
- Plunderbird/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (PC/Xbox)
- For Series 8, Mike Onslow joined 'Team. Ablaze', and applied with their existing machine Dystopia, although it was not chosen to participate.
- Plunderbird and Firestorm are the only machines to name a Model 5 machine. Other machines such as Bulldog Breed entered five versions of the machine, but Plunderbird and Firestorm were the only two to designate their machine as the fifth in the series, rather than a general name.
- Plunderbird is one of two robots to win two different awards, along with Gemini, having won the Best Design and the Sportsmanship Awards.
- Plunderbird was the only robot to fight in Series 1 and 5.
- In testing, Plunderbird 2 pulled a Range Rover and a Ford Transit mini bus.
- Plunderbird 5 was the only Plunderbird model not to be nominated for an award.
- Plunderbird's first and last appearances were in Heat C.
- Plunderbird 1 and Mortis were the only robots in Series 1 to have tracks.
- Although none of the five Plunderbird robots had a srimech, only one of Plunderbird's nine losses was the result of being flipped over.
- Plunderbird 4 had a brief cameo on the sitcom Spaced in the episode "Mettle".
- Out of all the competitors that fought in the Vengeance battles held throughout Robot Wars Extreme, Plunderbird 5 was one of the only two competitors that fought in two of those battles. The other being Mega Morg, also both of those robots would fight each other in one of their two battles.
- Plunderbird lost in the first round in three of the five wars they entered, which curiously were the odd-numbered wars, the same pattern suffered by the Ming robot series and Adam Clark's machines.
- During an interview in the Robot Wars Magazine, Brian Kilburn said that he was working on a robot named Plunderbug One, an eight-legged walker.
- Plunderbird and Thermidor 2 are the only robots to have reached a semi-final of at least one War and yet lose in the first round of three other Wars. This was a statistic solely born by Plunderbird until Series 8.
- One of Plunderbird's first round losses was actually to Thermador.