"Standing with Death himself, this is The Grim Reaper."
— Jayne Middlemiss

The Grim Reaper, also known as The Grimreaper, was the name of two robots that fought in Series 3 and 7 of Robot Wars. Although unremarkable in its debut in the Third Wars, it returned in The Seventh Wars and reached the Series Semi-Finals, losing to eventual runners-up and future world champions Storm 2. Under ownership of a new team, it also competed in the pilot episode of Series 8, known as Reaper.

The team played up to their name, as the team captain wore contact lenses to make his eyes appear menacing in Series 7, where they were also accompanied by a tall, threatening Grim Reaper mascot, who stood beside the judges.

Versions of Grim ReaperEdit

Grim Reaper (Series 3)Edit

"A name to spell doom and gloom. An air ram at the front and spike at the back are the weapons. The shell is steel plate and a wire case. Will the Smith family reap the dividend?"
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Grim Reaper in Series 3
Team Grim Reaper

Grim Reaper with its team in Series 3


The rear of The Grim Reaper

The team competed in the third series with a rectangular, three-wheeled robot known simply as Grim Reaper. It cost £400 to build and was armed with a front mounted 250PSI air-driven spike ram and rear mounted lifter/ramming spike. Like many other competitors in the early wars, Grim Reaper was built around its own name and featured a skull design. Grim Reaper travelled at 20mph, driven by two car starter motors, but it had a large turning circle and the wheels were easy to dislodge, as shown in its only battle in the series.

The Grimreaper (Series 7)Edit

"You can't outrun the reaper"
— Tag line on the rear of the Series 7 version of The Grim Reaper
Grim Reaper rear slogan

The Grim Reaper's rear slogan


The Grim Reaper in the pits in Series 7

The team's redesigned robot, known on stat boards as The Grimreaper, was driven by a 24V 750W motor. It was a bright green octagon and featured a CO2 powered full-pressure flipper capable of flipping 100kg easily, and capable of flipping a maximum weight of 250kg. It was also far more compact and quick than its predecessor. Because of the design of the ram-turned-flipper, The Grim Reaper was capable of clamping and pushing, which it did several times against Gyrobot and Big Nipper. It featured spikes similar to Bigger Brother's on the flipper and serrated blades on below those spikes.

Reaper (Series 8)Edit


Reaper at the time of the Series 8 pilot

Under the new name of Reaper, the robot returned to Robot Wars in 2016. It used a black and white colour scheme, covered in skulls, and kept the main design of the previous robot, but featured modern-day internals. The robot was fully rebuilt for the series, despite the team having owned much the same machine as the Series 7 competitor up to that point. Although Reaper did not take part in the main series of Series 8, after not being selected to compete, it fought in the pilot episode, where it recorded one win and one loss.



The Series 4 version of The Grim Reaper

Grim Reaper first qualified for Series 3 by running the obstacle course audition. A new version of the machine attempted to qualify for Series 4, running on tracks while being armed with a scythe-like axe. This version of The Grim Reaper competed at the first Dutch Robot Games, painted black and armed with a flipping arm instead of the scythe.

"We came back, tried again, didn't get through, and the last time we came back, we couldn't self-right, it was about 3 o'clock in the morning, and we phoned up and said, we can't come..."
— Simon Smith on Grim Reaper's failure to qualify in Series 4 and 6, in a Series 7 interview

After skipping Series 5, the team returned again to attempt to qualify for Series 6. However, the pneumatics on their new robot failed to work, so the team withdrew the day before the qualifiers. The Grim Reaper successfully qualified for Series 7 through the touring qualifiers, and entered the Series 8 pilot after completing an online application.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 3Edit

In its first round battle, Grim Reaper was drawn against fellow newcomers Big Brother.

"Oh, tremendous start there by Grim Reaper, straight on the attack! No spluttering or a cough in that engine!"
— Jonathan Pearce towards the start of the battle
Grim brother

Grim Reaper is pushed by Big Brother

Grim Reaper Big Brother tyre

Grim Reaper loses a tyre

Grim Reaper had the much faster start, but Big Brother had more power and pushed it into Sgt. Bash. Grim Reaper escaped and attempted to circle around Big Brother, but Big Brother dodged and Grim Reaper drove into Sergeant Bash instead. At this point, Grim Reaper's front wheels started to wobble. Grim Reaper then reversed onto Big Brother, who pushed it towards the pit, but just managed to avoid it as Big Brother misjudged its push. Grim Reaper crashed into Big Brother's front wedge, causing it to bounce up off the floor. Grim Reaper came in for another ram on Big Brother, but as it slammed Big Brother against the arena wall, its left-hand wheel came off.

"Grim Reaper has lost a wheel! The wheel's come off! Slamming then, into the back of Big Brother, and the wheel comes spinning off, and no time for a pit change here. That's wheely stupid driving."
— Jonathan Pearce as Grim Reaper's wheel comes off
Killalot crushes bb and gr

Sir Killalot drives over Big Brother and Grim Reaper

Big brother vs grim reaper

Both Grim Reaper and Big Brother lie immobile

Still mobile thanks to its rear wheel, Grim Reaper came back on the attack with its pneumatic spike. This attack seemed to immobilise both Big Brother and Grim Reaper, and Sir Killalot flipped Grim Reaper over just before time ran out.

With neither robot operational, the judges voted in favour of Big Brother, eliminating Grim Reaper in the first round.

Series 7Edit

"Not seen since the Third Wars when it lost in its heat."
— Jonathan Pearce introduces The Grim Reaper for the first time since Series 3
The Grimreaper vs Big Nipper R1

The Grim Reaper flips Big Nipper

The Grimreaper vs Big Nipper vs Kan-Opener vs Barbaric Response

The Grim Reaper almost flips Big Nipper into the pit

After having a four year interval away from Robot Wars, The Grim Reaper team returned with a brand new Grim Reaper machine for Series 7, completely redesigned with a flipper as its weapon. It fought in Heat B of the main competition, its first round battle saw it placed up against Kan-Opener, Barbaric Response and Big Nipper. The Grim Reaper's first attack was on Kan-Opener, flicking it up, but failing to flip the invertible machine over. They were then unable to flip Barbaric Response over as Kan-Opener had grabbed them and held them down. The Grim Reaper spent the rest of the battle tussling with Big Nipper while Kan-Opener and Barbaric Response were dragging each other across the arena.

"That's a great little tussle between the two of them, evenly matched"
— Jonathan Pearce on The Grim Reaper and Big Nipper

The Grim Reaper flipped Big Nipper several times, while Big Nipper responded by pushing The Grim Reaper into the wall and getting its claws underneath the flipper. The Grim Reaper almost flipped Big Nipper into the pit later on, but they just escaped. At the end of the fight, no robot had been eliminated, so it went to the judges, who decided that The Grim Reaper went through with Big Nipper joining it.

The grim reaper clamps gyrobot

The Grim Reaper clamps Gyrobot with its flipper

Grim reaper vs gyrobot

The Grim Reaper flips Gyrobot

For its Round 2 match, The Grim Reaper was drawn against Gyrobot. The Grim Reaper started more aggressively, immediately driving into Gyrobot and flicking it up, causing the circular machine to spin away, but because it was invertible, it was unharmed. They then slammed into the spinner, pushing it towards Sir Killalot, but Gyrobot escaped. The Grim Reaper flipped the invertible machine over again several times, but no damage was sustained. They were then able to clamp their weapon on top of Gyrobot and pushed them towards Sir Killalot's CPZ again. A missed flip allowed Gyrobot to sneak underneath The Grim Reaper, but they retaliated by flipping it into the House Robot.

"It'll be worrying for The Grim Reaper team should they go on, and I think they will, that they can't finish off Gyrobot"
— Jonathan Pearce
The Grimreaper vs Gyrobot

The Grim Reaper fails to KO Gyrobot

Grimreaper Damage 2

Damage caused by Gyrobot

Gyrobot was able to get away and spin up to speed, but The Grim Reaper used its rear armour to bash into Gyrobot and slow the spinner down, taking less damage than a frontal charge would have inflicted. Gyrobot ran away again in an attempt to spin up to speed, but crashed into the arena wall, while The Grim Reaper activated the pit release. However, The Grim Reaper simply could not immobilise Gyrobot with its numerous attacks, even failing to flip it onto the arena wall late on, with steam venting from the floor underneath The Grim Reaper. Eventually, the fight went to a judges' decision where, once again, The Grim Reaper was awarded the win.

Jayne Middlemiss: " Tell me a little bit about your tactics in this final."
Simon Smith: "There's no such thing as tactics, we're just gonna go in and do what we need to do, and just make it up as we go along basically."
— The Grim Reaper team reveal their battle plan against Big Nipper
The grim reaper rolls over

The Grim Reaper flips itself off of Big Nipper's claws, rolling over as it does so

The Grimreaper vs Big Nipper

The Grim Reaper flips Big Nipper onto the arena wall

In the Heat Final it met Big Nipper again. The battle began with Big Nipper pushing The Grim Reaper into a CPZ before being picked up and piggy-backed on Big Nipper's claws as their opponent drove across the arena. The Grim Reaper flipped itself over to escape, rolling over in the process. They then came in for an attack on Big Nipper, flipping it over into a CPZ as Cassius Chrome came in for an attack, but both machines escaped. The Grim Reaper attacked Big Nipper again, pinning Big Nipper with its flipper between itself and Cassius Chrome. The Grim Reaper tried to get Big Nipper out of the arena, but it was to no avail.

"The Grim Reaper can't get any effect out of that flipper that can hoist easily the 100 kilos of Big Nipper."
— Jonathan Pearce
Grim reaper flips big nipper

The Grim Reaper pins Big Nipper in place

The Grim Reaper vs Big Nipper

The Grim Reaper loses its advantage

It was at this point that Big Nipper began to fight back, using its claws to lift The Grim Reaper and push it into the corner of the arena and against the wall, but The Grim Reaper quickly self-righted. However, Sergeant Bash then grabbed The Grim Reaper and caused minor damage before being pushed by Big Nipper yet again into a CPZ. Then in the last 10 seconds, The Grim Reaper was given a second piggy-back by Big Nipper. The fight went to a judges decision where, on the basis of aggression, The Grim Reaper was declared the winner and went through to the Semi-Finals, to the disagreement of Craig Charles and Jonathan Pearce.

Grim reaper vs Storm 2

Storm 2 lifts The Grim Reaper up against an angle grinder

Storm 2 Grim Reaper 3

The Grim Reaper is slammed into the arena wall again

The first round of the Series Semi-Final saw The Grim Reaper pitted against 16th seed Storm 2. From activate, The Grim Reaper was easily pushed into the arena wall by Storm 2 before being lifted up against an angle grinder. The Grim Reaper escaped, but was unable to penetrate Storm 2's ground clearance due to its side-skirts. The Grim Reaper was slammed into the arena wall again, before Storm 2 nearly repeated its feat against The Steel Avenger and almost sent The Grim Reaper hurling out of the arena with another huge slam into a CPZ.

""You can't outrun the reaper" says the logo on the side of the green machine, and Storm 2 is furious."
— Jonathan Pearce
Sgt bash grips grim reaper

Sergeant Bash grips The Grim Reaper

Another slam by Storm 2 sent The Grim Reaper into the pit release, activating it. Storm 2 reversed underneath The Grim Reaper, pushing it near Shunt's CPZ, where The Grim Reaper sustained an axe blow. It then managed to use its flipper on Storm 2, but could not flip it over. The Grim Reaper was slammed into another side wall, the power of it damaging one of the angle grinders. The Grim Reaper then sustained more minor damage, this time from Sgt Bash, who clawed into the back of the green machine.

"I think The Grim Reaper is doing splendidly just to hold on here."
— Jonathan Pearce, just as Sergeant Bash begins to cause minor damage The Grim Reaper
Storm 2 vs grim reaper s7 semi final 2

The Grim Reaper is stuck in a precarious position

Defying the odds, The Grim Reaper continued to function, but Storm 2 continued their brutal assault. The Grim Reaper had some brief respite as Storm 2 gave them a piggy-back, but they jumped into the air after another slam into the arena wall, before being lifted by Storm 2 onto their rear near Shunt's CPZ. The Grim Reaper was unable to successfully use its flipper to right itself, and Storm 2 pressed against them to keep them in balance on their rear, before Shunt pushed The Grim Reaper back onto its wheels.

The grim reaper mascot lurks

The Grim Reaper looms over the Judges as they review the fight against Storm 2

The Grim Reaper briefly stopped over a flame jet, but survived to the end of the battle, so the fight went to another judges' decision, with the Grim Reaper mascot looming over them as they made up their minds. This time the win was awarded to Storm 2, putting The Grim Reaper out of the Seventh Wars. It was nearly reinstated when Storm 2 suffered from technical difficulties back-stage, but ultimately Storm 2 made it to the arena.

Series 8Edit

Reaper 2016

Reaper with Tanto in the pits

Although Reaper did not qualify for the main series of Robot Wars in Series 8, it was regardless invited to attend filming of the pilot episode on March 1st, giving it the opportunity to compete in front of a live audience as part of a camera test. It was taken along by new owner Calum Jones, with his teammates Kane and Toby.

In the first round, Reaper was drawn against Merlin, Wraith, and Monte, although Wraith withdraw at the last moment due to an internal blaze. The fight started out well for Reaper, and after a minute or so, Monte lost drive on one side, leaving it to be pitted by Reaper. Reaper and Merlin fought a one-on-one tussle until cease was called at the end of the 3 minutes. From this, Reaper and Merlin went through to the next round.

Reaper next fought Turbulence. However, it suffered from technical problems, as the valve that fires the flipper started ceasing up. Turbulence flipped Reaper over, and it successfully self-righted once, but once Turbulence managed to overturn Reaper again, it was unable to self-right for a second time, leaving Turbulence as the winner of the battle. Although the usual format of Series 8 should have led Reaper to battle Merlin and Ka-Pow! in head-to-head battles, it was instead eliminated at this stage due to time constraints.


Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat D, Round 1 vs. Big Brother Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Semi-Finals, Round 1
Heat B, Round 1 vs. Barbaric Response, Big Nipper, Kan-Opener Qualified
Heat B, Round 2 vs. Gyrobot Won
Heat B, Final vs. Big Nipper Won
Semi-Final 2, Round 1 vs. Storm 2 (16) Lost
Series 8
Series 8 - Pilot Episode
Round 2, 4th Place
Pilot Episode, Group Battle vs. Merlin, Monte, Wraith Qualified
NOTE: Wraith withdrew prior to the battle
Pilot Episode, Head-to-Head vs. Turbulence Lost


  • Wins: 3
  • Losses: 2

NOTE: This tally does not include the Series 8 Pilot

Series RecordEdit

  • The team with their robot in Series 3
  • Grim Reaper before Series 3
  • The mascot of The Grim Reaper
  • The insides of Grim Reaper from Series 3
  • The Grim Reaper, damaged by Gyrobot
Series The Grim Reaper Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Heat, Round 1
The Fourth Wars Failed to qualify
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
The Sixth Wars Withdrew from qualifiers
The Seventh Wars Semi-Finals, Round 1
Series 8 Pilot only, Round 2, Fourth Place
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter

NOTE: Calum Jones, captain of Reaper's team in the Series 8 Pilot, went on to enter Series 9 and 10 with Coyote.

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Grim reaper4

Grim Reaper when it entered BattleBots

  • Grim Reaper in 2001
  • The Grim Reaper fights Arnold, Arnold Terminegger in 2001
  • Grim Reaper, Roobarb and Barbaric Response fighting at the first Dutch Robot Games
  • Storm lifts The Grim Reaper at Dutch Robot Games 2001
  • The Grim Reaper from the Dutch Robot Games 2003
  • Grim Reaper from Series 7 painted grey at the Roaming Robots Newark 2004 event
  • Grim Reaper's appearance at a Newark event in 2004
  • The new version of The Grim Reaper
  • Grim Reaper Evo

A black version of The Grim Reaper fought in the final season of BattleBots, losing its only battle by knock-out to Agitator, which later became an Extreme Warriors Finalist as Propeller-Head, after having its aerial chopped off by its opponent's spinning blade. This version fought in events around the UK during the same year. A grey version still fights today.

Simon and Gary Smith (working with Mike Lambert of Team Dantomkia) also competed in two different series of Scrapheap Challenge. They entered Series 10 as the Cyborgs where they were eventually disqualified. They then entered Series 11 as the Scrappy Whacky Doodaas in the first Chariot Jousting challenge of the series, which they won.

The original builder of The Grim Reaper later built a new version with the same name. This prompted the Series 7 version to be renamed Reaper by its new owners, when they bought it from the team.


  • Every battle in which The Grim Reaper competed across the televised show's history (including its one battle with Big Brother during the Third Wars) ended with a judges' decision, so their mascot had to do a lot of standing beside the judges during the Seventh Wars.
  • The Grim Reaper is one of nine UK Series Competitor robots to have fought in BattleBots.
  • Having skipped three full wars and both series of Extreme, The Grim Reaper was the longest retired machine to return to the wars (Constrictor being built by the longest retired team), until its record was broken in 2016 by The General.
  • Every opponent The Grim Reaper fought in the Seventh Wars (apart from Barbaric Response) was invertible.
  • Both wars that The Grim Reaper fought in were the only two to feature one hundred and twenty-eight robots.
  • Both versions of The Grim Reaper featured the slogan "You can't outrun the reaper".

See AlsoEdit

External Links Edit