"Hardly a clean machine-- good, it'll need to fight dirty, here!"
Jonathan Pearce

Sumpthing (also spelled Sump Thing) was a competitor from the third through to the sixth series of Robot Wars, also entering in both series of Robot Wars Extreme. Because of its low-tech design, Sumpthing never fared too well in any competitions; In its whole Robot Wars career, including both series of Extreme, Sumpthing only managed to win one Robot Wars battle. Despite this, it was nominated for the Most Original Entry award of Series 4, losing out to the clusterbot Gemini.

The robot's name is a pun on the word something. Team captain Richard Dig was one of the only roboteers to use a stage name in Robot Wars, going simply by Mr Dig.


Sump thing

Series 3 appearance

Sumpthing 4 arena

Series 4 appearance

Sumpthing Extreme1

Sumpthing during Extreme 1

Sumpthing 5 arena

Series 5 appearance

Sumpthing was deliberately designed to be as low-tech as possible, described by the team as "Part of the war against the high-tech computer age". Its speed was 15-20 mph and its main weapon was a large pickaxe mounted on a base through a multi-purpose hydraulic system that swung forward when it made contact with opponents. Part of the weaponry was a makeshift forklift and a rear wedge, the latter having spikes added in Series 4. The axe weapon was interchangeable with a swinging arm tipped with two saw blades, that were only used in Series 5 and Extreme Series 1. The little armour on Sumpthing was made from heavy duty steel plate.

Not only did its lack of real armour leave its machinery exposed, and its somewhat non-threatening arsenal left the robot feeble, but it also had the habit of knocking itself out, which it did twice in its four years of competing.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 3Edit

Pitbull vs sump thing

Sumpthing drives into the wall

"Sumpthing, which cost a tenner, until decorations were added on, and now it's over 60 quid!"
Philippa Forrester quickly reviews Sumpthing at the start of the heat
Sumpthing Sir Killalot

Sumpthing is dropped into the Pit by Sir Killalot

In Sumpthing's first appearance in Robot Wars (Heat B of the Third Wars), it was placed against Pitbull in the first round. It charged towards Pitbull straight away when "activate" was called at a high speed. Sumpthing launched its pickaxe at Pitbull, missing it as Pitbull just managed to escape. However, this strike of the axe caused Sumpthing to break down. It was then edged towards the arena flame torch near Sir Killalot's CPZ by Pitbull and left there for a few seconds before Sergeant Bash came in and almost cut it in half, Sir Killalot then picked it up with his lance, twisting it around and then dropped it into the pit, eliminating it from the competition.

"You're going down, Sumpthing! You're going down! ...and you've gone!"
— Jonathan Pearce, as Sumpthing is pitted

Series 4Edit

"Greatly improved from last year, hopefully more reliable"
— Mr. Dig reviews Sump Thing
Welddor sump thing

Sump Thing hits Weld-Dor 2 with its axe

A revised Sumpthing machine (renamed Sump Thing for this series) participated in Heat K of the Fourth Wars, and was placed against the number 28 seeds Weld-Dor 2 and newcomers Little Fly in its first round battle. In the battle, Sump Thing kept attacking Little Fly with its pick axe which bounced off Little Fly's blade. Sump Thing changed target and hit Weld-Dor 2 on an exposed part of electronics and, coupled with the damage already inflicted by Little Fly, the seeded machine subsequently stopped moving. Sump Thing and Little Fly then retreated, as Weld-Dor 2 was attacked and later pitted by the house robots, after being deemed immobilised, therefore, Sump Thing qualified for the next round of the heat, along with Little Fly.

"We're overjoyed we made it through the first round!"
— Mr. Dig celebrates what proved to be Sumpthing's only win ever

Mousetrap traps Sump Thing

Sump Thing was then placed up against Mousetrap in the second round of the heat. In this battle, Sump Thing (without success) tried to use its pick axe weapon to break Mousetrap's spring which powered the trap mechanism. During the battle, Mousetrap was proving less mobile and active than Sump Thing, the latter appearing to be on top early on. The turning point came after it charged at the dormant Mousetrap from the other side of the arena: Mousetrap moved (just enough to get out of "firing range") before Sump Thing struck its pick, causing Sump Thing to jump up and the forklift underneath it to swing down, lifting the wheels off the ground. The forklift stayed in place, meaning Sump Thing's wheels were unable to come down, therefore the robot couldn't move, thus making it technically immobilised, as decided by the judges. Sump Thing was subsequently hoisted up by Sir Killalot and thrown before being pitted by Dead Metal, similar to its demise in the previous series, putting an end to Sump Thing's best ever run in Robot Wars.

"Well, I thought that Sump Thing was gonna nick your cheese"
Craig Charles to Team Mousetrap afterwards

At the end of the series, Sumpthing was nominated for the Most Original Entry Award, but it lost out to Gemini.

Extreme 1Edit

"Built from bits, scavenged from rubbish skips, but the crusher, axe and new circular saw could leave opponents in the scrapyard."
— Jonathan Pearce
Sumpthing attacks Bash

Sumpthing charges into Sergeant Bash, in the mayhem

Sumpthing participated in the Mayhem and Tag Team Tournaments in the first series of Robot Wars Extreme, with a mediocre performance in both. In the Mayhem, it faced S.M.I.D.S.Y. and Pussycat, who were more favoured machines. Sumpthing started by staying away from the blade of Pussycat, but the chain for its own blade sustained damage from Pussycat. Sumpthing then escaped the pit, before trying to hammer down on opponents. After getting stuck upon Sergeant Bash, Sumpthing escaped as Matilda (in her first televised appearance with her new flywheel weapon) separated it. Sumpthing then attacked Bash, before reversing into Pussycat, and staying stuck to it, before breaking free towards the end. Sumpthing survived to a judges' decision and was up against Pussycat only as S.M.I.D.S.Y. had already been pitted. However, the judges gave the win to Pussycat.

"The Grease-Monkeys!"
— Jonathan Pearce describes the Tag-Team pairing
Sumpthing SMIDSY

Sumpthing damages its own team-mate

Sumpthing and S.M.I.D.S.Y also participated in the Tag Team Tournament together, where they were described in the pits as 'the grease-monkeys' of the competition. In the first round of the competition, the pairing were drawn up against Cerberus and Thermidor 2.

Julia Reed: "Your opponent's are calling you a bunch of greasy, grimy, dirty no-hopers."
Mr Dig: "Well, apart from the "no-hopers", I think they're absolutely right about the dirt"
— Before the battle
Thermidor Sumpthing

Sumpthing, about to be flipped by Thermidor 2


Sumpthing beaches itself on its own spikes

Cerberus and S.M.I.D.S.Y. started this battle, but after S.M.I.D.S.Y. finally managed to put a slice in on Cerberus, sparks came out of S.M.I.D.S.Y.'s disc weapon, and it retreated at speed back to its team's corner, colliding with its team mate Sumpthing, before running to the other end of the arena, and breaking down altogether. Sumpthing then stormed out and charged into Cerberus, just as Thermidor 2 came out to join the battle. Sumpthing then backed into Thermidor 2's flipper and was flipped, coming to a rest on the two front spikes. Sumpthing subsequently couldn't move, so it was counted out by the Refbot, along with its team-mate, eliminating Sumpthing and S.M.I.D.S.Y. from the competition.

"Well, we've got this slight problem..."
— Mr. Dig attempting to justify the loss

Series 5Edit

"Widow's Revenge have also advertised their machine as extremely attractive, slim and looking for a similar robot for cosy nights in! Well, Sumpthing has no plans for a cosy night in, I can tell you!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Sumpthing slices Widow's Revenge

Widow's Revenge vs Sumpthing

Sumpthing struggles to move away from the pit release button

Sumpthing returned to Series 5 with two discs on an arm. In its first round battle, Sumpthing was placed up against Widow's Revenge. Sumpthing started the stronger, bringing its saws down onto the body of Widow's Revenge, although the damage caused was minimal. Eventually Widow's Revenge's drum collided with the saws, damaging them, and sparks were thrown when the circular saws of both robots connected. Sumpthing moved towards the pit release, where one of its gears slipped, limiting its mobility. Widow's Revenge was also contributing very little, so Sir Killalot picked up Widows Revenge and dumped it on top of Sumpthing. By the end of the fight, Sumpthing was spinning only in tight circles but still survived to a judges' decision. The judges voted in favour of Widow's Revenge, eliminating Sumpthing from the competition.

"Has something gone wrong with Sumpthing?"
— Jonathan Pearce's concern on the damage inflicted on Sumpthing, in the closing stages of the battle

Series 6Edit

Sumpthing entered Series 6, reverting to an axe rather than the circular saws used in Series 5 and Extreme Series 1. Sumpthing had qualified for the series by immobilising two opponents in its qualifiers, before defeating Terror Turtle by attacking its exposed wheels at the end of the battle.

"We started in Wars 3, and when we entered Wars 3 we were low tech then. We are positively archaic now!"
— Mr. Dig noting Sumpthing's continual low tech design.
Sumpthing pushes Dominator 2

Sumpthing pushes Dominator 2

In its heat, Sumpthing was placed against Dominator 2 (seeded 6th), Axe-C-Dent 2 and Hydra in its first round battle of the heat. In the battle, Axe-C-Dent 2 was quickly defeated after being flipped by Hydra in the opening seconds, so the remaining three were left to fight it out alone. As Hydra and Dominator 2 smashed into each other, Sumpthing remained largely in the background. Hydra rammed Sumpthing, who fled to the other side of the arena. Driving into the CPZ, Sumpthing was hit with Shunt's axe, and pushed against the wall. At Shunt's mercy, Sumpthing was dragged around the arena, but then got away just as Shunt was about to shove it into the CPZ. Sumpthing and Hydra then decided to team up and attacked Dominator 2. However, Sumpthing was slammed by the house robot Growler, without even being in the CPZ, forcing it to only go round in circles as only one of its wheels was left working. Eventually, the Refbot closed in and counted out Sumpthing, before Growler seized the robot by the wheel and pitted it, along with Axe-C-Dent 2, eliminating it from the competition.

"Once again, beaten in the heats in Robot Wars"
— Jonathan Pearce, as Sumpthing is pitted by Growler

Extreme 2Edit

Mr Dig: "We have actually, unprecendently, completely stripped it down, to every single nut and bolt, put it all back together again using mainly grease and whale blubber."
Philippa Forrester: "And then it didn't work?."
Mr Dig: "No! It's not broken down in testing once!"
— Mr. Dig on repairs to Sumpthing
SMIDSY Sumpthing Refbot

Sumpthing counted out, right before time is up

Sumpthing was involved in the Tag Team Terror alongside S.M.I.D.S.Y. for the second tournament in succession. In the first round of the competition, the pairing were drawn up against two former Tag-Team participants from different teams, in X-Terminator and Mini Morg. S.M.I.D.S.Y. and X-Terminator started this battle, and S.M.I.D.S.Y. was axed constantly by the former UK Semi-Finalists, so Sumpthing came into the action. S.M.I.D.S.Y. then attacked Mini Morg, but was still being axed by X-Terminator, before Sumpthing was axed by Shunt when trying to tag it. Dead Metal and Shunt then chased Sumpthing over the flames and into another CPZ, but eventually managed to escape and join the other three competitors in action. Sumpthing then stopped moving, as the three converged in another CPZ, and was counted out by the Refbot just before the timer ran out. This eliminated Sumpthing and S.M.I.D.S.Y. from the competition. This was Sumpthing's last appearance in Robot Wars.


Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat B, Round 1 vs. Pitbull Lost
Series 4
The Fourth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat K, Eliminator vs. Little Fly, Weld-Dor 2 (28) Qualified
Heat K, Semi-Final vs. Mousetrap Lost
Extreme Series 1
Tag Team Terror
with S.M.I.D.S.Y., Round 1
Round 1 vs. Cerberus & Thermidor 2 Lost
Mayhem & Annihilator
Mayhem Qualifier vs. Pussycat, S.M.I.D.S.Y. Lost
Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat K, Eliminator vs. Widow's Revenge Lost
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat J, Round 1 vs. Axe-C-Dent 2, Dominator 2 (6), Hydra Eliminated
Extreme Series 2
Tag Team Terror
with S.M.I.D.S.Y., Round 1
Round 1 vs. Mini Morg & X-Terminator Lost

Sumpthing and its team


  • Wins: 1
  • Losses: 7

Series RecordEdit

Main Series Sumpthing Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Heat, Round 1
The Fourth Wars Heat, Round 2
The Fifth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Sixth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Entered
Series 2 Entered

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Sumpthing 2013

Sumpthing in 2013

Dig's second bot

A robot Dig built for a event in Newark in 2004.

Sumpthing was retired after Extreme Series 2, possibly after Sumpthing was refused entry for the Seventh Wars (due to its lack of an actual powered weapon). After a number of odd appearances at certain live events around the country, Sumpthing is currently on display at the Enginuity Museum in Coalbrookdale, along with S3 and Sting 2.

Recently, in 2017, Sumpthing had appeared at a local vintage vehicle festival which marks the first time Sumpthing has been out of the museum.[1]


  • Only three of Sumpthing's eight battles were head-to-head battles.
  • Sumpthing has the most losses out of all of the robots from Leicestershire.
  • Six of Sumpthing's seven losses featured a past or future UK Semi-Finalist (only Widow's Revenge was not).



Reference Edit