The Drop Zone was an arena hazard introduced in the UK and international series of Robot Wars filmed around 2002. Immobilised robots would be placed on a black square with a yellow cross and red border placed roughly in the centre of the arena, close to the Pit, where heavy objects including ovens, washing machines, ocean buoys and assortments of balls would be dropped on them.
The objects used for the Drop Zone varied in between series; for Nickelodeon Robot Wars, less serious objects such as scrap metal and sports equipment were used in an effort to maintain the series' appeal to younger audiences. Meanwhile, at one point during the Grand Final of German Robot Wars, previously-defeated competitor Golem was used as an item after it withdrew prior to the Losers Melee for fifth place.
The last competitor to have an object dropped onto it was Hard in the first round of the Third World Championship, filmed and broadcast at the very end of Series 7. When Robot Wars returned in 2016, the Drop Zone did not feature as part of the new arena, and has effectively been retired as an arena hazard.
The Drop Zone was originally intended to have a button which competitors and House Robots could press to activate it, in a similar way to how the Pit and Disc of Doom were activated. However, this idea was not implemented.Citation?
Throughout its appearances in the show's original run, the Drop Zone was immortalised in various pieces of Robot Wars merchandise. An accessory for the MinibotsArena playset based on the hazard was released, consisting of a frustrum-shaped assembly and an assortment of miniature items - including cones, tyres, balls and a washing machine. The Drop Zone assembly could be clipped onto the outer edges of the Arena playset, and the available items attached to the top, allowing the items to be 'dropped' in a similar manner to the real-life hazard. The Drop Zone accessory was available as a stand-alone set (complete with all of the aforementioned items) and as a bundle with the Arena playset (with the balls only).
The Drop Zone square in 'Melting Pot', an arena in Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (GBA)
The Drop Zone square (behind Tractor) in Robot Wars: Extreme Destruction (PC/Xbox)
In the Game Boy Advance version, it operates exclusively in 'Tournament' mode, and as in real-life drops objects onto defeated robots once they have been placed onto the square by a House Robot. The Drop Zone square also appears in the other fictional arenas available in the game, although the hazard itself remains inactive. In the PC and Xbox versions, items are dropped on mobile robots if they drive over and stay on the cross for a certain length of time. Additionally, multiple items can be dropped in one fight, including a washing machine, a safe, an anvil, a barrel which can explode if attacked, and a grand piano.