Before the main competition of Robot Wars: Series 8 was filmed, a pilot episode was held in front of a live audience, allowing the production crew to practice running the programme, ahead of the televised episodes. It was filmed on March 1st 2016, within a single day, and no footage of the episode has been publicly released.

Competing robotsEdit


Weight 99.7kg
Weapons Flipper
From Leicestershire
Team: Team MAD
Weight 100kg
Weapons Static hammer
From Leicestershire
Team: Team MAD
Tanto 2016
Weight 108kg
Weapons Single tooth spinning disc
Defence HARDOX
From Wiltshire
Team: Adam Hamilton, Matthew Pearman, Jack Tweedy, Craig Croucher
Weight 98kg
Weapons Flipper
Defence HARDOX and titanium
From Leicestershire
Team: Ed Wallace


Weight 110kg
Weapons 11kg electric hammer
Defence HARDOX wedge
From Oxford, Oxfordshire
Team: John Reid
Ka-Pow! 2
Weight 98kg
Weapons Medium-pressure flipper
Defence RAEX 400
From Bedfordshire
Team: John Wilkinson, Alan Wood, David Wood
Weapons Flipper
From Nottingham
Team: Calum Jones, Kane, Toby
Wraith Pits
Weapons Crusher with harpoons
From Cambridgeshire
Team: John Freeman, Chris Freeman

Round 1Edit

Basher vs Ka-Pow! vs Tanto vs TurbulenceEdit

In the opening moments of the battle, Tanto charged towards Ka-Pow!, completely driving over the top of the wedge, somersaulting through the air and landing with an impact. Tanto's removable link fell out upon landing, and it was immobilised. The pit was opened, and Basher pushed Tanto into it, but overbalanced in the process, and both robots fell into the pit. Ka-Pow! and Turbulence qualified, having needed to do very little.

Qualified: Ka-Pow! & Turbulence

Merlin vs Monte vs Reaper vs WraithEdit

Before the match began, Wraith was powered on, but caught fire internally. This damage forced Wraith to withdraw from the competition, and the battle went ahead with just Monte, Reaper and Merlin.

"Link was plugged in and followed by flame. A lot of flame."
Craig Croucher

Monte could not stand up to the power of the two flippers, and it quickly lost drive to one of its wheels. Left spinning around in circles, Monte was pitted by Reaper. Although Merlin and Reaper had now qualified, both robots fought a head-to-head battle until cease was called at the end of three minutes.

Qualified: Merlin & Reaper

Round 2Edit

Turbulence vs ReaperEdit

Reaper entered the battle with an immediate disadvantage, as prior to the battle, the valve that fires its flipper had ceased up. This led to issues with regulating gas within the robot, although Reaper managed to self-right after Turbulence's first flip. After this, however, Turbulence flipped Reaper again, and it could not self-right, so Turbulence won the battle via KO.

Winner: Turbulence via KO

Ka-Pow! vs MerlinEdit


Dead Metal cuts into Merlin

The main contest between the two robots was very brief, as Ka-Pow! drove directly into the pit, not long after the battle had started. As the match was so short, Merlin changed its focus to the House Robots. Merlin drove into the clutches of Dead Metal, which caused sparks to fly as it attacked with its saw. Regardless, Merlin was still victorious.

Winner: Merlin via KO

Merlin vs TurbulenceEdit

In the longest battle of the Pilot, Merlin and Turbulence fought a relatively even match, trading flips on each other. However, Turbulence was the more effective throughout, and cease was called at the end of three minutes.

The Judges had to declare a winner, the first example of a Judges' decision from Professor Sethu Vijayakumar and Dr Lucy Rogers. Turbulence was deemed to have the upper hand in aggression and control, and won the battle.

Winner: Turbulence via Judges' decision


All main episodes of Series 8 were filmed across several days, but due to the pilot episode being completed within a single day, time constraints proved to be a problem in the pilot episode. Ultimately the second round was settled despite only half of the six planned battles being filmed. Reaper was eliminated after only participating in a single battle, while the undefeated Turbulence progressed to the Heat Final. Despite Merlin having defeated Ka-Pow! in their head-to-head, Ka-Pow! was chosen to progress to the Heat Final, creating a new match-up.


Turbulence vs Ka-Pow!Edit

Turbulence and Ka-Pow! were drawn against each other, having qualified through the same first-round battle. After a valiant performance, Ka-Pow! was ultimately pitted by Turbulence, which had won the pilot episode without losing a single match.

Episode Winner: Turbulence

Trivia Edit

  • Every episode of Series 8 featured a single semi-finalist from the Seventh Wars, and the Pilot was no exception, featuring Reaper.
  • This episode would have created an undefeated robot, as Turbulence lost no fights during the episode - however, it would later lose a whiteboard fight to Infernal Contraption.
  • The pilot episode was the only instance of a robot reaching the Heat Final despite not winning a battle in the second round.
  • Unlike the main series competitors, the roboteers in the pilot episode were not compensated for their participation.
  • This episode marked the only time where Reaper and its predecessors won and lost matches without involving a Judges' decision.