- "A power-packed robot capable of pulling a Land Rover and cleaving all opponents in two with that sharpened steel axe"
- — Jonathan Pearce in Heat A of Series 1, the introduction of Shunt.
Shunt was one of the four original House Robots from the UK TV show Robot Wars. Present for every series of Robot Wars, Robot Wars Extreme and all international versions, Shunt had a reputation as one of the most powerful and reliable House Robots, and was distinguished by his set of bulldozing scoops and ploughs, and a powerful overhead axe.
Shunt drew inspiration from railway shunting engines and bulldozers, hence his name.
Shunt proved to be a very reliable robot, more so than the other House Robots, and was often used to push immobilised robots to the edge of the arena at the end of a battle, as a quicker alternative to bringing out the official cleaner/sweeper Shove, which was believed to be an early prototype of Shunt.
- "As producer I needed Shunt - it was totally reliable. We needed it to get the disabled robots off the stage."
- — Tom Gutteridge
In all versions, Shunt featured a front snow plough and rear scoop, used to ram and lift competitors out of CPZs or onto their sides or backs. He was described in the Robot Wars Technical Manual as a cross between a snowplough, a bulldozer and a steam-powered tank. Shunt's chassis and scoops were made of steel, while his superstructure was made out of moulded fibreglass. Shunt was the lightest of the original four House Robots, although he still remained over the weight limit for competitors.
- "The axe was put on afterwards, as a little after thought, and its been gradually modified and improved each year, so its now become its major weapon."
- — Malcolm Tierney, who created and maintained Shunt.
Shunt's main weapon was an overhead axe, though the axe did not feature in early design sketches, and was added onto the back of Shunt during production at the suggestion of Chris Reynolds. In Series 1, this axe was a low-impact bladed axe, which was replaced for Series 2 with a spiked pickaxe which was capable of punching holes through competitors' armour, and was similar to those later found on Dominator 2 and Kat 3.
In Series 3, the pickaxe was replaced with Shunt's signature pneumatically-powered "diamond-edged axe", which featured a distinctive head combining elements of bladed and spiked axes, and was capable of firing at over 500 kgf/cm² (7,000 psi). His scoop was also made able to lift through its own pneumatics system, and could also be used to free Shunt's axe in the event it became embedded in a competitor robot's armour. Shunt had a low ground clearance from the front and rear, although this sometimes resulted in him getting stuck on ramps during the Gauntlet in earlier series.
Shunt's power source was repeatedly described as a "cold fusion" engine, referring to the hypothetical but elusive method of creating nuclear energy at room temperature. This was inspired by his fictitious backstory in the Technical Manual, where he was perpetuated to be a Soviet drone that became sentient during a nuclear disaster.
For Series 8, the original Shunt was retired and a new model was built alongside newer versions of Matilda, Dead Metal and Sir Killalot. Although still the lightest House Robot, Shunt now weighs 327kg, has been significantly enlarged and has a top speed of 11mph, further improving his pushing power. His new axe is made from titanium, and strikes in a quarter of a second, often producing sparks on impact. Meanwhile, his 300psi HARDOX scoop can now lift up to 350kg, and has the power to pull a van. Shunt's design remains similar to his earlier incarnations, but with a taller body, revised wheel guards and exhausts, a new paint scheme and treaded tyres. In Series 9, Shunt's scoop was modified with smoother, wider edges in order to give extra protection to his sides, while his exhaust pipe has had a new decoration added.
Though House Robot weaknesses were never mentioned in earlier series, Shunt's was consistently listed as being "unable to self-right" in later series, despite this weakness being shared by all House Robots. This was of particular relevance to Shunt, as he often became a target for flipping and lifting robots, such as UK Champions Chaos 2 and Apollo, usually when they celebrated victory.
Shunt was the first House Robot to be introduced in Robot Wars, as he was the first featured in the roll call. He was also described by Jeremy Clarkson as being the most powerful House Robot in this series.
- "If he were a car, he'd be a tank"
- — Jeremy Clarkson on Shunt
Because of this pushing ability, Shunt was used in the Sumo trial in the very first heat. However, he did not get off to the best of starts, only succeeding to push one competitor (Shogun) off the ring, with Roadblock and Nemesis pushing him off, Killertron stalemating him and stock robot Grunt driving off the ring deliberately.
In Heat B, Shunt's pushing power was primarily responsible for the early exit of Uglybot, who was struggling to leave the turntable at the beginning of the Gauntlet. He temporarily impeded Leighbot in the British Bulldog competition, but Leighbot was able to pass through. In the final, Shunt was the one to immobilise Mortis, forcing the battle to go to the judges as Recyclopse was pinned on top of Mortis.
In Heat C, Shunt dominated the House Robot route of the Gauntlet and ended the runs of Cruella, WYSIWYG and notably Plunderbird, who would go on to be eliminated. It also engaged in a push and shove with Robot the Bruce in the heat final.
In Heat E, Shunt was particularly effective in the Labyrinth, helping to prevent Bodyhammer from reaching the end. However, in the heat final, after Bodyhammer became immobilised on the grills (which had been previously deemed a legitimate knock out win for robots like Bugs and Wedgehog) Shunt pushed Bodyhammer free, only to become immobilised himself. In trying to prevent Bodyhammer's escape, REALI-T broke a wheel on the grills and went on to lose the battle at the hands of Sergeant Bash. This event was notable in that even the House Robots were unable to drive on the grills.
Shunt's axe was seen to cause notably more damage this series (for example, he managed to damage Milly-Ann Bug, causing puncture wounds to its eye) and he also was finally able to prove his worth in the Sumo trial, pushing two robots off the platform. Shunt would also start to use his rear bucket scoop to overturn other robots, which he did to Havoc in the Heat L Final.
Despite his improved axe and pushing power, Shunt did suffer from a few driving problems throughout Series 2. During the King of the Castle trials of Heat E he would often drive straight off the platform, often from the entrance ramp. During the second Semi Final, he also drove into the pit by mistake, allowing King Buxton to complete its run.
Shunt also gained something of an arch-rival in this series, in the form of eventual champion Panic Attack. During the Heat F Gauntlet, Panic Attack had got stuck on Dead Metal after leaping off the see-saw, and Shunt was quick to come in and leave numerous holes through its top armour. Both robots met again in the Sumo Trial, where Panic Attack got its revenge after Shunt accidentally drove himself off the platform after they spent several seconds pushing each other around.
As this series dropped the Gauntlet and Trials from the main competition, the House Robots, Shunt included, were given a redesign. Although still largely focused on its strength and pushing abilities, Shunt's axe was enlarged significantly and tipped with a diamond-edged blade, allowing it to puncture all but the hardest of armours (notably Blade and Berserk 2 went unaffected by Shunt's attacks).
Thanks to his new axe, Shunt often played crucial roles in the outcome of fights, causing significant damage to the competitor robots. In the first heat of the series, his axe caused some significant damage to Suicidal Tendencies after Mace 2 pushed it into his CPZ. The axe also knocked out All Torque's receiver after it was pushed into Shunt's CPZ by Thing 2, and even the new flip-up paddle of Cassius 2 suffered damage, although this was thankfully minor. Shunt also humorously knocked off the head of the action figure of Atlas and destroyed the walking Anarachnid.
However, Shunt began to become a victim for competitor attacks, most notably being flipped along with Matilda by a newly crowned UK Champion Chaos 2 in the Grand Final of the Third Wars. As Shunt tried to recover, he knocked off his own top armour. Razer also crumpled Shunt's bucket scoop out of alignment, while American competitor Tentomushi even cut off his aerial after getting stuck on top of him during the Middleweight Melee.
- "A slice is nice for Shunt."
- — Jonathan Pearce in the International League Championship
Shunt returned for Series 4 with a few improvements. This included new subtly redesigned fibreglass amour, to incorporate new drive motors and pneumatic valves, which would serve Shunt for the remainder of his original run, and a new front scoop, after the damage it took in the previous series.
Arguably the earliest and most deadly use of Shunt's axe was during the defeat of Hypno-Disc in the Grand Final. After being pushed into Shunt's CPZ, Hypno-Disc's spinning flywheel was struck by the axe and severely damaged. This not only cost Hypno-Disc the battle, but prevented it from participating in the playoff for third.
Shunt also participated in the Sumo Basho side competition, appearing in every run as the House Robot the competitors had to survive against. In contrast to earlier series, he was able to push thirteen opponents out of the ring, often in less than 10 seconds. This included vengeance against Team Nemesis, with Diotoir falling in less than four seconds. However, Shunt was not able to reign completely supreme - X-Terminator and Behemoth survived the full time thanks to powerful drives and scoop fronts, and Panic Attack (which had attacked him a few times during the main competition) managed to win the Sumo Basho by pushing Shunt off. Though Panic Attack fell of itself, Shunt hit the ground first.
With the weight limit being increased to 100kg for this series onwards, just 5kg lighter than him, Shunt began to lose his effectiveness. He caused very little notable damage this series and did get involved in some of the contestant robots' frustrations - most notably when he was nearly flipped out of the arena, then overturned completely, by Chaos 2, even though it had lost drive to one side.Shunt participated in the first House Robot Rebellion with Dead Metal and Matilda, against Stinger, Scorpion and Plunderbird 5. Tussling with Scorpion all the way through, he eventually pitted it and Plunderbird 5, but was unable to finish off Stinger despite assistance from Dead Metal and Matilda.
Shunt's attacks on cosmetic decorations continued, including the destruction of Mega Morg's inflatable sheep during the vengeance battle with Plunderbird 5.
Shunt appeared the most out of the House Robots in the Fifth Wars, appearing in every episode except Heat G and as such had many notable moments in Series 5. The first was when X-Terminator took on Immortalis in the first round of Heat F. After Immortalis was immobilised, Shunt struck the white globe like ornament on its back, completely destroying it in a similar fashion to Major Tom's head the previous series.
- "He was there!"
- — Ian Watts' excuse for attacking Shunt
Shunt's third notable appearance this series came during a battle in Heat K, where Destruct-A-Bubble broke down against Rick. Shunt attacked Destruct-A-Bubble before it had been counted out, which resulted in a red card from Refbot. Shunt, apparently unhappy, tried to pursue Refbot.
Series 6EditShunt returned for Series 6 with an improved pneumatics system and a new blade for his axe. The blade was no longer "diamond edged" as had been often boasted in previous series. Once again, Shunt did not have a great deal of involvement during this series. However, he bore the brunt of one of the few House Robot attacks in this series, where Firestorm 4 got underneath and turned him onto his side following its victory over X-Terminator in the Heat Final of Heat B. Firestorm 4 then drove him round the arena a few times before overturning him. Fittingly, Shunt was able to get some revenge on Panic Attack, dragging it to the Floor Flipper and then the Drop Zone.
There was also a somewhat comical moment during one of the heats, when Sir Chromalot drove into the arena and bumped into Shunt. Shunt seemed to take offence to this and chased Sir Chromalot to its starting spotlight.
Shunt appeared frequently during the second series of Robot Wars Extreme, but, just like in Series 6, notable moments involving him were genuinely limited. He was, nonetheless, involved in a rather controversial moment during the Iron Maidens tournament. During the second round, Behemoth had flipped Chompalot over and it appeared as though Chompalot would be unable to right itself, but Shunt came out of his CPZ and flipped the dragon-based robot back onto its wheels. Later, Shunt clashed with Behemoth after it drove into a CPZ. With Chompalot holding it in place, Shunt axed through Behemoth's top, eventually knocking its link out. As the House Robots are not meant to "help" an immobilised robot unless it is stuck on an arena hazard or the arena wall, Shunt's actions were criticised by the Behemoth team in particular after the battle.
In an earlier episode, the Robot Rampage, Shunt was flipped by the Floor Flipper in the first round of the Middleweight championship when he drove onto it just as Doom Too and Mammoth were thrown by it.
Although Shunt had some minor moments such as axing a hole in Herbinator, in the seventh series, Shunt had to bear the brunt of several competitor attacks, more so than any of the other House Robots. Ceros, Hydra and Raging Knightmare all flipped him over during the course of the series (a clip from his on-board camera had been playing as Raging Knightmare flipped him) and Ripper flipped him onto Sir Killalot where he got stuck. During the match between Big Nipper and Jackson Wallop in Heat B, Shunt was struck by the spinning blade of Jackson Wallop which put a massive hole in Shunt's scoop. The hole was never repaired and can even still be seen during the Meet the House Robots preview episode for the 2016 series.
The most notable attacks on Shunt came during Heat D and the All-Stars special. During the heat final of the fourth heat, Lightning had broken down after constant flipping by Gravity. The House Robots moved in to attack Lightning as Refbot counted it out, when Gravity caught Shunt unaware and flipped him over. Shunt landed heavily on his top end and various parts, including his camera, broke off. During the first round of the All-Stars, all four robots ignored each other and attacked the house robots, Shunt being their first victim. He was easily flipped over by Firestorm, whereupon Bigger Brother tried to flip him out of the arena, with no success.
Rather fittingly, as the first House Robot to be introduced, Shunt also appeared in the Grand Final of the World Championships, the last episode of Robot Wars' original run. During the match, Supernova stacked itself against the arena wall. As both the Storm 2 team and the House Roboteers believed that Storm 2 had won, Shunt stacked it against the arena side wall for fun. This lead to a rather controversial finish (see Storm 2/Controversy), but Storm 2 was given the win anyway.
- "Shunt. The arena bruiser, perfectly equipped for pushing people around. If that's not enough his titanium tipped axe lands with a tonne of force, right on top of your cherished shiny robots head."
- — Robot Wars Facebook
Shunt was shown in the third teaser. He has been enlarged and upgraded to meet the standards of modern competitors, as with the other returning House Robots, and features a faster and more powerful axe and scoop as well as a revised design. Shunt also takes a role similar to Shove where it can help clean up the debris as noted after Chompalot was knocked out in its Head to Head.
In Episode 5, Shunt, along with Ironside3, were responsible for immobilising Thermidor 2 on one side. After it was pushed into the CPZ by Chompalot, Shunt's axe penetrated Thermidor's wheel, putting it out of the competition. Shunt would later attack the battered Chompalot in the next round, contributing towards its eventual battery fire and withdrawal from the series.
In the Grand Final, Shunt played a large role, featuring in seven out of the nine battles, and striking blows on Thor, Pulsar and Carbide at various points with his axe as well as stacking Carbide against the wall during its Head to Head against TR2. Shunt was also seen in the final, causing damage to both Carbide and Apollo throughout the battle - Apollo even intentionally received a blow from Shunt's axe in order to flatten its flipper back down.
Battle of the StarsEdit
In Episode 1, he rammed Interstellar MML into the wall and axed its flipper after it became immobilised by Arena Cleaner during its first Head-to-Head battle. Later on, he axed and pinned Arena Cleaner against the wall after the latter had its wheels sliced by The Cat, only to have his right-hand wheelguard and rear plough badly damaged by Arena Cleaner following its victory over Jar. This appeared to immobilise Shunt.
In Episode 2, Shunt flipped Robo Savage over into a CPZ following its Head-to-Head defeat to Kadeena Machina. When both robots fought each other again for the Grand Final, he axed Robo Savage just as it was being picked up by Sir Killalot following its immobilisation.
Shunt appeared in a teaser trailer for Series 9, uploaded on 10th February 2017. The teaser showed him and the other House Robots destroying household appliances, with Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble" playing in the background.
- "He's an axe to the max - it's the titanium tipped axe of Shunt!"
- — Jonathan Pearce introduces Shunt before his first appearance in the Ninth Wars
In Episode 1, Shunt became the first Rogue House Robot in the Head-To-Head between Terrorhurtz and Sabretooth, attacking Terrorhurtz and damaging its firing ram and leading to the robot being counted out after Sabretooth pressed the Arena Tyre. He also made the most appearances of the House Robots in Episode 1, playing a part in 6 battles. Other notable moments for Shunt from the first episode included tossing over Sabretooth in its Group Battle involving TMHWK, Crank-E and Aftershock, while later in the episode, an altercation with Aftershock in the CPZ sent sparks flying from the House Robot's front scoop.
In Episode 2, during the group battle between Cherub, Draven, PP3D and Push to Exit, Shunt was responsible for knocking Draven out completely, penetrating the armour and hitting the receiver of Draven. Later in the episode, during a head to head match between Behemoth and PP3D, Shunt went "rogue" after Behemoth triggered the switch. Shunt slammed PP3D around, which soon caused it to burst into sparks, but in turn Shunt was damaged by PP3D's blade.
In Episode 3, Shunt made two appearances. It had no involvement in the group battle between Thor, Concussion, Tauron and Chimera2, but during the Head-to-Head battle between M.R. Speed Squared and Heavy Metal, Shunt's axe punched straight through the top armour of M.R. Speed Squared and barged it into the arena wall.
Shunt had a very busy Episode 4 as he made an appearance in every battle bar one. Shunt's most notable moment came during the first Head-to-Head battle of the episode between Frostbite and Supernova, as he slammed through the top armour of the immobile Frostbite before pulling it clean off. He also axed Wyrm and dented the top of Supernova's armour in their Head-to-Head battles against Ironside3.
Shunt's appearances in Episode 5 was limited, as he was being repaired after suffering damage from Arena Cleaner in the previous day of filming. Shunt filmed a Grandstand view of Smash damaging the Arena wall after an attack by Carbide in their Head-to-Head.
Shunt appeared in 6 battles in the Grand Final, and used his axed on the beaten Concussion during the second Group Battle, with Ironside3 also forced to bear the brunt of the House Robot's weapon while it fought Carbide in the Head-to-Head stage.
Shunt also appeared in the championship deciding fight between Carbide and Eruption, and was forced to help Sir Killalot out after Carbide attacked the House Robot. Shunt used his bulldozer scoop and axe to attack the new champion, and drove it against the arena side gate.
Shunt made numerous appearances in both series of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors and the one-off series of Nickelodeon Robot Wars. He is the only original House Robot to compete in all three Robot Rebellions that took place in Extreme Warriors and the Nickelodeon series. In the first Rebellion, held in Extreme Warriors Season 1, he spent a majority of the fight attacking Tut Tut but towards the end ran out of power and was beaten into submission by Tricerabot. The damage he had taken proved to be quite severe, putting him out of commission for some time.
He had better luck in the Season 2 Robot Rebellion against Snake Bite and Snookums where he used his axe on Snake Bite before being stabbed in the side by Snookums' sword. Sir Killalot came in to the arena and forcefully separated Snookums from Shunt who was nearly overturned. Shunt managed to survive to the end of the match after Snookums was crushed by an organ and Snake Bite was pitted.
In the Nickelodeon Robot Rebellion, Shunt was sent flying by the spinning maces of Humdrum but managed to recover. He then spent much of the fight attacking Squirmin Vermin, lifting it up into the air until Sir Killalot once again came in and threw Squirmin Vermin out of the arena and sent Humdrum to the Drop Zone.
Appearances in MerchandiseEdit
- Shunt/Robot Wars: Metal Mayhem
- Shunt/Robot Wars: Arenas of Destruction
- Shunt/Robot Wars: Advanced Destruction
- Shunt/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (GBA)
- Shunt/Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (PC/Xbox)
Outside Robot WarsEdit
On July 21st, 2016, Shunt and the rest of the Series 8 house robots appeared on BBC's The One Show, to promote the new series of Robot Wars. They battled three remote controlled cars piloted by the cast of The Rebel. Sir Killalot flattened all three cars, and won the battle for the house robots.
Both Shunt and Matilda appeared in the 6th March 2017 edition of The One Show along with Dara Ó Briain, in order to promote Series 9.
- During filming for Series 8, the version of Shunt used in the original run of the series was put on display in the waiting tent.
- Shunt's light weight compared with the other House Robots in the original run of the series made him a common target for competitors, especially flippers. Shunt has notably been flipped over more times than any other House Robot, having suffered from this misfortune 11 times.
- Shunt is the only house robot from the show's original run that is lighter than the new maximum heavyweight limit (per Series 8).