- "All over the globe, engineers, designers, technicians, students, and anyone with a lust for wanton violence are designing and building radio-controlled mechanised warriors. Why? So they can destroy each other in our hi-tech arena"
- — Craig Charles
The Series 3 Robot Wars Set was the third incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena, designed, once again, by Steve Clark. For this series, the location was moved to Elstree Studios, the previous location was razed to the ground to make room for the new Millennium Dome (now the 02 arena). The arena was heavily modified from its last incarnation, mostly due to the fact that the arena no longer needed to be set up to accomodate the Gauntlet, only being required for the main wars and some small side competitions. As with previous years, the arena was a made from plywood, and the relative weakness of the arena floor meant that several robots got their axes stuck in the arena during this series. However, according to the Robot Wars Fun Fax this set was only used for this series, because the producers decided the set was too small. Filming was moved to Park Street in St. Albans for Series 4, although Elstree would again be used to film Series 5 and Extreme 1.
As always, the arena was a large square made of plywood, surrounded again by a small metal barrier, however this time the large metal bars that lined the wall had been replaced with a more solid fixture, save for small holes cut in the side. The neon scrap metal sculptures remained a feature, although there were noticably less than in the first two series. The entire arena was less well-lit than previous and future sets, giving the arena a dark, mysterious aura. The setup of the balcony remained the same, although there was a significant change in its appearence. The cherry pickers were now wider, and consisting of a roofed compartment, for controlling the robots, and open area, for being interviewed, because there was no longer room on the balcony for anyone except Craig Charles, who talked from the balcony to the contestants on the cherry pickers. The large Robot Wars sign remained, however was used only once during this series, for Craig Charles and the Chaos 2 team to enter the arena and be presented with their champion's trophy. For this series, robots entered the arena via ramps on the other side of the arena.
The third incarnation of the Robot Wars Arena featured fewer hazards than the previous series, mostly due to the retiring of The Gauntlet. Hazards that were retired include: the pendulum; the slow moving arena spikes; the PPZ; and the pyramids.
The flame pit made another appearence in this series, once again located in the bottom right hand corner of the arena. As the robots developed and became more sophisticated, the flame pit made noticably less impression on the robots during this series.
Perhaps the most controversial of all arena hazards was an upgrade of a previous hazard, the arena spikes. In previous series, the spikes slowly raised, and pushed a robot's wheels off the ground, at worst dislodging a track, as happened twice with Mortis during Series 2; however in Series 3 the spikes were upgraded, and now fired very quickly and with enough force to lift a robot clean off the ground, often onto its side. This manipulated the results of many competitors, notably ruining the chances of Behemoth, Thing 2 and Pitbull.
Also returning was the infamous Pit of Oblivion, which remained the same size and decoration, but was different in that for this series sparks were activated when a robot was pitted, unlike the smoke screen the preceded and followed it. For this Series, the pit was open for the first two rounds of a heat, but was then closed for the duration of the heat final, Semi-finals, and the Grand Final. The decision to close the pit could be viewed as controversial, as it gave an unfair advantage to certain competitors, and detracted from the otherwise impressive killing power of robots such as Pitbull, Steg-O-Saw-Us and The Big Cheese.
The Corner Patrol Zones made a comeback after the Perimeter Patrol Zone was retired. These zones was markedly different from the original CPZs, in that they were now much smaller, rounded zones, coloured with black and yellow chevron markings, in contrast to the large squares lined with black and yellow ticker tape that appeared in the first wars. Like in the previous wars, it was very dangerous to stray into the CPZ, and the House Robots immobilised many robots over the course of this series.
The Series 3 arena was lined with circular saws that could cause damage to the side of a robot, although it was largely superficial damage, it did tend to throw impressive looking sparks into the air, which made good entertainment. These circular saws were first seen in the very first battle of Series 3, when the seemingly out of control Stinger smashed into the arena wall.
The final addition for this series was the least noticable, but became one of the most prominent of all. The Floor Flipper in series 3 was little more than a concealed panel in the arena floor, marked only by yellow and black ticker tape. It served as the cover for the pit in battles where the pit was closed. When an immobilised robot was defeated, the house robots occasionally put the robot onto the flipper, which would then be fixed by a spotlight, and the robot would be thrown, although in this primitive guise was far less powerful than it would later become. The first robot to be flipped was Behemoth, at the end of its controversial battle with Pitbull.
As with the rest of the arena, the perimeter of the arena had been totally revamped as well. The neon sculptures had been cut down to only a few, and the Robot Wars sign became defunct as an entrance, although it still worked, as was seen during the Grand Final.
The balcony had also been replaced, and was now much thinner and was not connected to the cherry pickers. From here Craig Charles could communicate with roboteers, and talk to the camera as well. The balcony was now protected by metal guard rails, as a replacement for the old solid wall, incidentally the opposite of the change to the arena wall.
The first of two changes to the perimeter of the arena that had practical implications was the revamping of the cherry pickers. Previously, the cherry pickers were static, and were accessed via the balcony, where as in this series, the cherry pickers moved and were accessable by the arena floor itself. The cherry pickers themselves had three levels: the ground level, where roboteers would get into and exit the cherry pickers, the middle level, where robots would be controlled from, and the higher level, where interviews would be conducted from. This was not without its faults however, the cherry pickers would noticably wobble during battles, even causing the driver of Anorakaphobia to be sick.
The other change was the audience stands, which were now better protected on four sides, perhaps due to the greater focus on combat that was one of the greatest changes for Series 3. This proved important especially when Firestorm was thrown from the arena by Chaos 2. However, the audience were still seated above the ground, looking down on the arena.
Changes from the Previous SeriesEdit
- Floor flipper introduced.
- CPZs reintroduced, to replace the PPZ.
- Circular saws on the edge of the arena.
- The pit now fired sparks after the submersion of a defeated robot, instead of smoke.
- The arena wall was replaced by a solid wall, instead of metal rails.
- The balcony and cherry pickers were disconnected.
- The cherry pickers now moved.
- The audience were now better protected.
- The large Robot Wars sign was now cosmetic, roboteers accessed the arena via a ramp on the other side of the arena.
- The arena was less well-lit in this series.