"There's a cutting blade on the nose to inflict maximum damage when ramming - and a pneumatically-powered axe with interchangeable heads! OUCH!"
Robot Wars Fun Fax on The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger (later written as Steel Avenger) was a heavyweight robot, driven by Team Steel Avenger, formerly known as The Pneumatic Fanatics. The team competed in Series 3, 4, 5 and 7 of Robot Wars, also entering in both series of Extreme. During this time, it reached two heat finals and finished as runners-up in the Tag Team Terror of Extreme 1 alongside Suicidal Tendencies.

The team often sported shiny metal breastplates, which garnered them the untelevised "Best Costume" award in Extreme 1. It also won the award for Best Engineered robot in Series 4.


Steel avenger

The Steel Avenger's Series 3 appearance, with the pickaxe


The Steel Avenger in the Series 3 arena with its feather duster

The Steel Avenger was a two-wheel driven, plough-shaped robot armoured with aluminium and stainless steel panels and polycarbonate bulletproof casing, armed with a large pneumatic axe as its weapon. It originally had two interchangeable axe heads in Series 3, a pick and a broad axe which were mounted on a hinged arm, to function like a mace. This idea was scrapped in favour of the sharp steel axe on a solid arm that was featured from Series 4 onwards. The bodywork was originally covered in a silver coating as the robot was originally made to vaguely resemble a medieval knight's suit of armour complete with steel chassis.


The Steel Avenger from Series 4

Steel Avenger Series 5

Series 5 and Extreme 1 appearance

In addition to its weaponry, The Steel Avenger often sported a rainbow-coloured feather duster, to "keep the arena clean", however, this was permanently removed from the robot after Series 5. In Series 5, the team added a rear lifter to The Steel Avenger, a new drive assembly, and two mini axes on each side for a self-righting mechanism (its previous srimech, one of the spikes on either side of the robot operated through a unique pulley system used in Series 4, failed to be of much use), also the chassis' original length was shortened by five inches to meet these requirements, and to accommodate the new 100kg weight allowance. The design of the robot was so that when at its maximum speed of 15 mph, a charge and impact from the bladed, arrow-shaped end would cause severe damage. The best example of this was its Mayhem battle, where it sheared a wheel off King B Powerworks. The robot however suffered from having a 1–2 cm ground clearance in later wars.

"The plan was to get the new robot – SA2 - ready for Series 7 and go back in there with all guns blazing. As it happened it was never going to be finished in time, so we reluctantly dragged old Steely out of retirement for one last time so we could take part again."
— John and Jacky

The base design for SA2, which was to enter Series 7, but was not completed in time

Steel Avenger Series 7

The Steel Avenger, with its modifications for Series 7, in the arena

SA2 (aka Steel Avenger 2) was planned to enter the Seventh Wars, but it was not finished in time so the team decided to bring the old Steel Avenger out of retirement and try for another wars. A few small changes had been done to The Steel Avenger to make it perform as well as it could. A gas bottle was borrowed from SA2 and fitted in. This bottle had a different dip tube system and allowed a full 1.1 kg gas fill without problems. The old bottle only used to allow a 500gm fill which was why The Steel Avenger always ran out of gas and got stuck. The axe head from SA2 was also fitted, a 3/4 inch thick lump of steel. The last change was to strip down the rear lifter to just a skeleton so that the weight saved allowed for the other changes. After Robot Wars was finished at the end of Series 7, SA2 was given back the parts that the original robot had borrowed for the series, but ultimately SA2 was never completed.


"I became gradually more hooked on the programme as I watched series 1 and then series 2. I was lying in bed in January '99 with Flu and doodling with a few ideas for a robot and suddenly decided 'What the heck - let's go for it'. All my life I have been building mechanical and electronic things, and this seemed like something which would be right up my street and would bring together all the various skills and interests which I love. I sent off my Robot Wars Club membership application and the ball was now rolling."
— John Willoughby on joining Robot Wars[1]

Unseeded for Series 4, The Steel Avenger entered a preliminary qualifying battle. There it met hopeful newcomers Rotraktor. In a closely fought contest, The Steel Avenger was constantly offensive, creating a decent amount of successful axe blows, ramming, and in turn withstood Rotrakor's shoving attacks. The fight ended in a stalemate, and The Steel Avenger was declared the overall winner by an applause vote from the audience, and therefore secured its place in the Fourth Wars. The Steel Avenger went on to qualify for every other series it applied for.

The team however did not enter Series 6, having been exhausted after all the repairs they had to do after Series 5 and Extreme 1.[2]

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 3Edit

"Series 3 was our first attempt after finding the programme on TV and thinking “I can do that!”"
— John Willoughby
Shumey Too lifts The Steel Avenger

Schumey Too lifts The Steel Avenger after it nearly pitted itself.

For its first Robot Wars appearance, The Steel Avenger was placed in the penultimate heat of the Third Wars, and was placed up against a returning team with Schumey Too, in its first round battle. In the battle, The Steel Avenger missed most of its axe blows, and was almost pushed into the pit of oblivion quite early on in the battle by Schumey Too, but The Steel Avenger reversed away just in time, after its front ram hung over the edge. The Steel Avenger then drove far away from the pit and charged into Schumey Too, but the robot then drove right over the top of Schumey Too. Again, The Steel Avenger recovered and soon gave a good axe hit on the centre of its opponent's bonnet, removing a piece of armour. Overpowering Schumey Too, The Steel Avenger then left Schumey Too bouncing on an arena spike, before charging in again, axing and denting the 'spoiler' of Schumey Too, and pitting it just as Schumey Too drove to escape, right past the pit of oblivion. This put The Steel Avenger through to the next round of the heat. Before the next battle, the team had to mend the pick, which had become bent by its repeated axe blows on Schumey Too.

"I counted that Kev got in 11 full whacks with the pick, about three of which made contact"
— John Willoughby
The Steel Avenger was then placed up against Team Nemesis with their new Diotoir machine in the second round.
The Steel Avenger toppled

Diotoir topples The Steel Avenger

Before this battle, The Steel Avenger exchanged the pickaxe for the broad axe. In the battle, The Steel Avenger advanced, axe swinging ready before Diotoir flicked The Steel Avenger onto the arena side wall, getting it stuck there. However, Sergeant Bash then came out of the CPZ and freed The Steel Avenger and the fight continued. However, The Steel Avenger was almost caught by Dead Metal, swung its axe defensively and repeatedly in retaliation, and was eventually flipped onto its side by Diotoir's wedge. The Steel Avenger had no means of self-righting, so it was deemed immobilised. The Steel Avenger was ambushed and attacked by Shunt (which was not shown on TV) and had a huge hole smashed into it, as well as having the axe head cut off by Sergeant Bash. Cease was eventually called and The Steel Avenger was eliminated from the competition.
"I would just love to get my own back on them [The House Robots], and avenge the damage they do to our robots. Maybe next time."
— John Willoughby

Series 4Edit

"Back to avenge defeat by Diotoir last time!"
Jonathan Pearce

Wild Thing pushes The Steel Avenger around as Humphrey is attacked by the House Robots

Competing in Heat M of the Fourth Wars, The Steel Avenger now featured a pair of self-righting spikes. In its first round battle, it faced the eleventh seed Wild Thing and newcomer Humphrey. The Steel Avenger started tentatively, staying out of the action as Wild Thing and Humphrey initially drove around each other. Wild Thing then got underneath The Steel Avenger and pushed it around the arena, holding it in place with its new self-righting lance until The Steel Avenger escaped, darting over a flame jet. The Steel Avenger circled around Wild Thing in an attempt to axe it, but could not get into position, and was pushed by Wild Thing into Matilda, who thrust The Steel Avenger onto the wall, where it was left on its side. Matilda re-righted The Steel Avenger, before flicking its feather duster off and out of the arena as it escaped and again drove onto a flame jet. After this, Wild Thing continued to push The Steel Avenger around the arena and into Matilda again, while Humphrey became immobilised and was attacked by the House Robots after suffering control problems throughout the battle. Unseen on the televised broadcast, The Steel Avenger had also bumped and axed Humphrey before Wild Thing's intervention. Even so, it was continuously pushed and lifted by Wild Thing for the remainder of the battle, at one point ramming Dead Metal while he was slicing into Humphrey. At another point missing Wild Thing's wedge with its axe, before being pushed into Sir Killalot. Needless to say, both The Steel Avenger and Wild Thing progressed to the next round, as Humphrey was flipped by the Floor Flipper and paraded around the centre of the arena by Sir Killalot.

Sir Chromalot axed

The Steel Avenger uses its axe on Sir Chromalot

Sir Chromalot pitted

Sir Chromalot topples into the pit after a shove from The Steel Avenger

In the second round, The Steel Avenger faced the twenty-seventh seed, and fellow Essex entry, Sir Chromalot. It immediately pushed Sir Chromalot into the side wall spike, was picked up and spun round the circular body, and rammed it a few times before attempting to axe it several times and missing. As the pit descended, The Steel Avenger finally managed to strike Sir Chromalot's wheel hub body with the axe, only causing minimal damage, although the full battle saw The Steel Avenger inflicting several more blows which were edited from the televised broadcast. The Steel Avenger then pushed Sir Chromalot around again, breaking its drill weapon in the process, before nudging it towards the pit, where Sir Chromalot toppled in.

"Kevin got stuck in with the axe-swinging, landing strikes on it [Sir Chromalot] several times. Great stuff. However, when it came around to watching the recorded fight on TV most of our strikes were cut out, and the rest of the time just showed us not hitting him properly. So I don't know what has happened with that missing footage there."
— John Willoughby[3]
Wild Thing vs Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger is tipped over by Wild Thing

Steel Avenger piited

The Steel Avenger is nudged into the pit

In the Heat Final, The Steel Avenger faced Wild Thing once again. It dodged Wild Thing's initial charge before being shoved around the arena numerous times, at one point being driven into Sir Killalot's CPZ and landing an axe blow on Wild Thing's wedge as it was lifted up after an inaccurate first attempt. Yet more bumping, pushing and circling round ensued, before Wild Thing got underneath The Steel Avenger again and tipped it over using its wedge. However, The Steel Avenger's self-righting spikes failed to work, and the tip of the axe blade was stuck in the arena floor, rendering it immobilised on its side and open to attack from the House Robots. Sir Killalot promptly crushed and dislodged The Steel Avenger's top armour with his jaws, destroying one of the self-righting spikes in the process, before he backed away to allow Wild Thing to push The Steel Avenger into the pit. Following this defeat, The Steel Avenger was eliminated from the Fourth Wars, but won the 'Best Engineered' award at the end of the series, beating the previous year's winner Chaos 2. This order of merit had also granted The Steel Avenger a discretionary placement in the next series.

Extreme 1Edit

Steel Avenger vs Behemoth 1

The Steel Avenger lands an early axe blow on Behemoth

Behemoth vs. The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger balances on an angle grinder following one of Behemoth's flips

Behemoth vs steel avenger

The Steel Avenger gets flipped by Behemoth

Behemoth Steel Avenger Sir Killalot

The Steel Avenger is attacked by Sir Killalot as Behemoth tries to intervene

The Steel Avenger now had side-axes to replace the self-righting spikes, and was also equipped with a rear flipper. It made its first appearance in Extreme Series 1 by challenging Behemoth for the Challenge Belt, this battle being the main event in the first episode of the series. In the battle, despite striking Behemoth several times with slams and strikes from the axe, The Steel Avenger was flipped over and over by Behemoth, almost out of the arena at one point, before managing to lever itself back on the floor with its axe, but was then left immobilised in the CPZ. Refbot didn't count The Steel Avenger out so Behemoth self-righted The Steel Avenger, but then toyed with it from then on before flipping it over again, cease was then called and the outcome of the battle was obvious, the winner being Behemoth. Still, The Steel Avenger gained some credit in the battle, by knocking out Sir Killalot's blinking red light eyes, when a swing from the axe blade clipped against the house robot's helmet.

The Steel Avenger also fought in the Extreme Series 1 Tag Team Terror tournament, it fought alongside Suicidal Tendencies.

"We teamed up with Suicidal Tendencies to do the Tag Team event, as we had met each other before at Debenham and fought there. It seemed like a good idea to join forces and see what we could do together."
— John Willoughby[4]
Steel Avenger vs Napalm

Steel Avenger buries its axe into Napalm

In the first round, the pair went up against Napalm and Sir Chromalot. The Steel Avenger chopped and rammed Napalm, before tagging out Suicidal Tendencies. Suicidal Tendencies crumpled what was left of Napalm, and Sir Killalot then came in and picked up and dumped Napalm outside of the arena. Much of the action was edited out of the The Steel Avenger and Sir Chromalot fighting, but both The Steel Avenger and Suicidal Tendencies were then locked together, briefly, while Sir Chromalot was dumped in the pit of oblivion by Sir Killalot. This had The Steel Avenger and Suicidal Tendencies progressing through to the second round.


The Steel Avenger attacks the lifeless Thermidor 2

Steel Avenger vs Cerberus

The Steel Avenger barely misses the pit

They then fought Cerberus and Thermidor 2. The Thermidor 2 machine and The Steel Avenger rushed out to interfere with Suicidal Tendencies and Cerberus' battle, so it turned into a free for all. After a lot of bashing and receiving a couple of axe blows, Thermidor 2 broke down completely, and both Suicidal Tendencies and The Steel Avenger had dealt decent blows to Cerberus. The Steel Avenger then tried lifting Cerberus, before attempting to push Cerberus into the pit, and almost falling in itself, but survived. Yet, both sides held on for a judges' decision, and the duo won the overall decision, and met Pussycat and Diotoir in the final.


The Steel Avenger is flipped by Diotoir

Diotoir vs The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger is pinned down by Diotoir

Both robots were concerned by Pussycat, but The Steel Avenger team also had to fight a grudge match Diotoir. Suicidal Tendencies held its own against Pussycat, but Diotoir intervened without a tag and The Steel Avenger rushed out to meet it. However, during the confusion Diotoir flipped over The Steel Avenger over and pinned it down, with Pussycat cutting into it as well, but missing the vitals. The Steel Avenger struggled to self-right, and needed assistance from its partner, only to be flipped again afterwards. When free, The Steel Avenger rammed Diotoir and Pussycat, and landed a few axe blows on Diotoir which went unaired, but cease was called.

"I thought that, with the last thrust of the fight on our part, and the great control that ST was showing over Pussycat, we might have got the judges' decision. Craig kept us on tenterhooks as the result came through and it went to..... Pussycat and Diotoir! Ah well, we tried"
— John Willoughby
Tornado vs The Steel Avenger

Tornado pushes The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger later fought in a Mayhem qualifier battle for the right to fight in the second Annihilator of the series. It was placed up against Tornado and King B Powerworks, both of them being invertible 4-wheel drive 36 volt machines with cutting discs as weaponry. In the battle, Tornado cut into The Steel Avenger with its disc, but The Steel Avenger managed to hold its own and landed axe blows on both opponents. Tornado then cut a huge hole in the side of The Steel Avenger, but The Steel Avenger retaliated using its rear lifter.

"They hit us broadside on and our right-hand side panel just exploded! That was a 10mm sheet of new polycarb which just shouldn't do that. The result was a big hole in our side, but no damage done to any of the works."
— John Willoughby
King B loses wheel

The Steel Avenger's ram breaks one of King B Powerworks' wheels off

Steel Avenger vs Matilda

The Steel Avenger is tossed by Matilda

Not long afterwards, Tornado broke down from damage inflicted by King B Powerworks' forks, leaving The Steel Avenger and King B Powerworks to fight alone. The Steel Avenger then charged at full speed and the 100 kg mass of The Steel Avenger did its job; breaking a wheel right off King B Powerworks, and threw more axe blows. As time ran out, The Steel Avenger approached Matilda's CPZ, without going inside it, and Matilda hit The Steel Avenger with its flywheel and knocked it onto its side, but this was not taken into consideration in the judges' decision that was to follow. The decision went in favour of The Steel Avenger, putting it through to the Annihilator.

"Now this is, I've been informed, a really close call. But they've gone for Steel Avenger!"
— Craig Charles
SoK vs Napalm 2

The Steel Avenger approaches Napalm

In the Annihilator, The Steel Avenger was up against Panic Attack, Fighting Torque, Disc-O-Inferno, Napalm 2 and Spirit of Knightmare. The Steel Avenger managed to get through the first round after only taking a few hits from Disc-O-Inferno, and delivering axe blows on Napalm 2 and Spirit of Knightmare, but Fighting Torque and Napalm 2 turned into the centre of attention. Napalm 2 was sliced by Disc-O-Inferno and rammed by Spirit of Knightmare and was moving only in circles by the end of the fight. However, Fighting Torque was charged and axed by The Steel Avenger, shunted across the arena by Spirit of Knightmare and finished off by the disc of Disc-O-Inferno. Fighting Torque was counted out by the Refbot and subsequently eliminated from the first round.

However, The Steel Avenger automatically qualified for the third round as Napalm 2 was forced to withdraw from the Annihilator due to the damage that it sustained in the first round battle.

Panic Attack vs The Steel Avenger

Panic Attack pins The Steel Avenger against the wall

Panic attack vs steel avenger vs spirit of knightmare

The Steel Avenger gets its axe in on Panic Attack

SoK vs The Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger is fatally flipped

In the third round, The Steel Avenger started under pressure from Panic Attack, as it was lifted onto its side and pinned against the wall briefly, before righting itself. It returned to the battle by attacking Spirit of Knightmare, missing its gas bottle by just a few centimetres, and then attempting to axe Disc-O-Inferno, but the latter easily sped away. The Steel Avenger then targeted Panic Attack, failing to break through its armour but landing blows on its side skirts and forks. However, in retaliation, Panic Attack raised and pushed The Steel Avenger, who was then flipped by Spirit of Knightmare into Disc-O-Inferno's spinning flywheel weapon and onto its side. With so much gas having been used up already in the battle, The Steel Avenger was unable to self-right with its side axes and was eliminated after later being counted out by the Refbot.

"As it turns out, we didn't go out alone. We had all caused so much damage to Panic Attack that he was out of it as well. We had hit them very hard, and Kim said that we had broken their front fork actuators. They were indeed smashed very badly and it was more than a pits job to put it back together. Also Panic Attack's back end had been hit so hard by Disco that it was very badly damaged and the magnets had gone in one of the motors...but it was good to be instrumental in taking out one of Robot Wars' most celebrated machines"
— John Willoughby

Series 5Edit

Steel Avenger vs Tartan Terror

The Steel Avenger axes The Tartan Terror

The Steel Avenger vs The Tartan Terror

The Steel Avenger uses its rear flipper

The Steel Avenger returned for the corresponding main competition and was surprisingly unseeded for the Fifth Wars, despite reaching the Heat Final of the previous series. The robot competed in Heat A of the main competition and was placed up against Scottish newcomers, The Tartan Terror, in the first round. In the battle, The Steel Avenger was the better driven robot as it first rammed the spinning Tartan Terror about for a short period, and axed it three times in succession. Then using its rear lifter, The Steel Avenger shoved the barrel-shaped robot into the CPZ with ease, where house robot Shunt joined The Steel Avenger in axing the newcomers' machine. Between the two axes, The Tartan Terror ground to a halt and suffered cracked ribs, before Sir Killalot and Shunt had it lifted onto and then off the side wall. Despite taking the damage well, The Tartan Terror still broke down and was counted out by the Refbot. Shunt then wrapped up the fight by pushing the Tartan Terror onto the flame grille and floor flipper, leaving it thrown and torched, and The Steel Avenger went through to the next round. The Steel Avenger limped out of the arena with a flat tire, from running over one of the Tartan Terror's studs that had come loose. After the team fixed the machine, The Steel Avenger's next opponent was the double reigning champion, Chaos 2.

"We have become good friends with the Chaos team, and they are really nice people, but that wasn't going to stop us trying to do whatever we could to win"
— John Willoughby
Steel avenger vs chaos 2

One of The Steel Avenger's few attacks

Chaos 2 vs Steel Avenger

The Steel Avenger gets flung into the air by Chaos 2

Steel avenger oota

The Steel Avenger lands outside the arena

In this battle, The Steel Avenger got flipped straight away by Chaos 2, but self-righted quickly. This was a recurring incident as The Steel Avenger was being flipped repeatedly by Chaos 2 throughout the battle, but the side srimechs surprisingly kept working and so did the robot. The Steel Avenger also put up a decent fight, taking some colossal impacts without breaking down. At the start of the fight its axe just caught the back compartment of Chaos 2, narrowly missing the electronics, and also managed to get a good hit on it down the side of the flipper later on. The Steel Avenger had then forced Chaos 2 near to a CPZ before getting flipped once more. Suddenly, whilst The Steel Avenger was self-righting, Chaos 2 slid beneath and shoved it over to the corner where it launched it up onto the rail. The Steel Avenger teetered on the brink for a moment, but then fell over, out of the arena, landing on one of the lights, this eliminated The Steel Avenger from the competition. This was supposed to be this version's last appearance, but this turned out not to be the case.

Extreme 2Edit

Steel Avenger Extreme 2

The Steel Avenger during Extreme 2 in the Tag Team Terror, with the Tag Team logos

The Steel Avenger came out of retirement, for what was intended to be the last time before it was replaced with SA2. It returned to compete in the Tag Team Terror tournament, without the feather duster this time, but since Suicidal Tendencies was no longer competing in Robot Wars, The Steel Avenger fought alongside a new Tag Team partner, newcomers to the televised show Lightning.

"We teamed up with the Lightning boys...their first appearance on Robot Wars and we were pleased to be partnering such a well-built machine."
— John Willoughby
Stinger Steel Avenger pit

The Steel Avenger pits Stinger...

Steel Avenger pit

...and falls in with it

In the first round, the pair was placed up against Nasty Humphrey and Stinger. At first in the battle, Lightning went out to fight Nasty Humphrey. After a promising start from Lightning, The Steel Avenger tagged out to fight Stinger. The two robots attempted to hit each other with their weapons and missed, before Stinger started spinning on the spot. The Steel Avenger charged at its opponent and stopped it from spinning; this impact also caused Stinger to lose drive in one of its wheels. The Steel Avenger took advantage of the situation and nosed Stinger towards the pit using the aid of its plough shaped front. Once Stinger dropped into the pit of oblivion however, gravity caused The Steel Avenger to follow it in as well. This left Lightning alone to fight Nasty Humphrey once again, however Lightning managed to defeat Nasty Humphrey on a judges' decision, meaning that Lightning and The Steel Avenger were put through to the second round of the competition.

Robochicken steel avenger

Robochicken plucks The Steel Avenger from the ground

Steel avenger lightning

The two beaten machines

In the Semi-Final round, The Steel Avenger and Lightning were placed up against Robochicken and Bulldog Breed, who had previously defeated the reigning Tag Team Terror champions in the first round of the competition. In this battle, Bulldog Breed quickly put Lightning out of commission with one very powerful flip in particular, and The Steel Avenger rushed over to aid its ally. However, it soon became clear that Lightning was out of action completely from a lost radio battery, and The Steel Avenger was left alone to fight Robochicken, as Bulldog Breed took on Growler. The chicken put some huge flips in, and whilst The Steel Avenger righted itself each time, the previous Tag Team Terror finalist finally succumbed to low gas, and had failed to axe either of its opponents. The Steel Avenger was overturned once again by Robochicken, right onto its back, and with limited gas left on board, The Steel Avenger couldn't self-right. Cease was soon called, and The Steel Avenger and Lightning were eliminated from the competition.

Series 7Edit

"...Steel Avenger, very experienced in the eye of survival over the years, one big question, why has it never really succeeded?"
— Jonathan Pearce

SA2 was due to attempt to qualify for the Seventh Wars, but it wasn't completed coming up to the time of the qualifiers, so the team brought the original Steel Avenger machine back out of retirement once again to fight for one last time, with little modifications.

"It turned out that we were in the 'Heat of Doom (or Death)' as various people had called it, being grouped with some nasty spinners such as Shredder and Supernova. Storm 2 was also in this heat and was a very powerful rambot. As it turned out, the first fight of the group was between Supernova, Storm 2, Mayhem and Rhino, which kept us out of the worst of it, thank goodness. There were some awful noises coming out of the arena from where we were standing."
— John Willoughby
Steel Avenger axes Shredder Evolution

The Steel Avenger drags Shredder Evolution onto the flame pit

Steel Avenger Trax

The Steel Avenger is thrown onto its side by Trax

In its first round melee, The Steel Avenger was placed up against previous heat finalist Shredder Evolution and new robots to the main competition in Trax and Sub-Version 1.1. At first in the battle, The Steel Avenger took on Shredder Evolution, in an attempt to take out what the team considered to be the most potent of the robots. The Steel Avenger shoved Shredder Evolution into the CPZ, along with Sub-Version 1.1. Next, The Steel Avenger ran up the front of Trax, and quickly landed an axe blow before being flipped. However the Essex machine managed to self-right. The Steel Avenger then chased down Shredder Evolution again, and pierced its axe inside Shredder Evolution's left wheel guard and The Steel Avenger dragged Shredder Evolution over to the flame pit. It held the previous heat-finalists over the flame pit for a while, before the other two competitors swarmed in, after having their own private encounter. The Steel Avenger turned back to Trax, giving it a good axe slam just off-screen, and was soon flipped again by Trax, but once again swiftly self-righted. Then The Steel Avenger struck the titanium top of Shredder Evolution, narrowly missing a wire, and then struck again to drag it around, but let go and reversed away just as time was running out. As cease was called, Trax pitted Sub-Version 1.1, Shredder Evolution hit The Steel Avenger's axe and put a large S-Bend in the arm. However, the judges' decision put The Steel Avenger through to the next round of the heat along with Trax, and eliminated Shredder Evolution.

Steel Avenger Rhino

The Steel Avenger litters Rhino with dents and holes

Rhino Steel Avenger 1

The Steel Avenger is flicked up by Rhino...

"Controversy reigns again on Robot Wars, what are you thinking?"
Craig Charles, to the judges, upon hearing the decision
The steel avenger pits rhino

...before finally pitting it

The second round saw The Steel Avenger be placed up against the experienced Team Reactor, with their limping Rhino machine. This battle proved much more tentative, particularly in comparison to both of their battles in the first round. In the battle, despite taking a few flicks from the Rhino lifter, The Steel Avenger recovered each time and managed to land around a dozen successful axe blows, causing fine damage, whilst shoving it around the arena. These axe blows were eventually enough to slow Rhino down to a halt, immobilising Rhino, although its weaponry was still working. The Steel Avenger was suffering from leaking batteries, but still managed to activate the pit release button, and The Steel Avenger eventually line up and shove the immobilised Rhino machine down into the pit of oblivion for the win, this sent The Steel Avenger through to the Heat Final.

Steel Avenger vs Storm 2 1

The Steel Avenger pins itself in the arena floor

"As I said, it's not a great robot, your robot, but do you know why? It's because you never improve it! You come back, year after year as the same thing!"
— Craig Charles to The Steel Avenger team
Steel Avenger Storm 2 1

The Steel Avenger is driven across the arena...

Storm II OotA

...and is rammed out of the competition

It was now that The Steel Avenger was placed up against the number 16 seeds Storm 2. In this battle, Storm 2 immediately ploughed straight into and underneath The Steel Avenger, just as The Steel Avenger fired its axe, therefore missing with its strike, but also catching the axe pick in the arena floor. Once The Steel Avenger eventually came free of the arena floor, Storm 2 rammed it again, but The Steel Avenger then retreated towards the CPZ, dodging around house robot Matilda. Storm 2 did the same as it was in hot pursuit. As The Steel Avenger came broad side onto Storm 2 again, and fired with the axe again, Storm 2 rammed The Steel Avenger once again, this time the seeded machine had a long run up and rammed it at speed right into the corner of the arena, into the CPZ. The Steel Avenger flew straight over the arena side wall from the impact of the seeded machine, and was therefore eliminated from the competition. This was The Steel Avenger's last appearance in Robot Wars before being finally retired for good to make way for SA2 (which would never be completed).

"I thought Steely had done really well this year for such an old machine. To have made the Heat Final was more than I had expected we could achieve and I have to remind myself that we only went along to have some fun!"
— John Willoughby


Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat O, Round 1 vs. Schumey Too Won
Heat O, Round 2 vs. Diotoir Lost
Series 4
The Fourth Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat M, Eliminator vs. Humphrey, Wild Thing (11) Qualified
Heat M, Round 2 vs. Sir Chromalot (27) Won
Heat M, Final vs. Wild Thing (11) Lost
Extreme 1
Challenge Belt
Challenge vs. Behemoth Lost
Tag Team Terror
with Suicidal Tendencies, Runner-up
Round 1 vs. Napalm 2 & Sir Chromalot Won
Round 2 vs. Cerberus & Thermidor 2 Won
Final vs. Diotoir & Pussycat Lost
Mayhem & Annihilator
Fourth Place in Annihilator
Mayhem vs. King B Powerworks, Tornado Won
Annihilator, Round 1 vs. Disc-O-Inferno, Fighting Torque, Napalm 2,
Panic Attack, Spirit of Knightmare
Annihilator, Round 2 vs. Disc-O-Inferno, Napalm 2,
Panic Attack, Spirit of Knightmare
Qualified (by default)
Annihilator, Round 3 vs. Disc-O-Inferno, Panic Attack, Spirit of Knightmare Eliminated
Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat A, Eliminator vs. The Tartan Terror Won
Heat A, Semi-Final vs. Chaos 2 (1) Lost
Extreme 2
Tag Team Terror
Competing with Lightning, Round 2
Round 1 vs. Nasty Humphrey & Stinger Won
Round 2 vs. Bulldog Breed & Robochicken Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat I, Round 1 vs. Shredder Evolution, Sub-Version 1.1, Trax Qualified
Heat I, Round 2 vs. Rhino Won
Heat I, Final vs. Storm 2 (16) Lost


  • Wins: 11
  • Losses: 8

The second round of the Annihilator, skipped because Napalm 2 withdrew from damage, is omitted from the wins tally.

Series RecordEdit

  • The Steel Avenger's first ever test run, May 1999
  • The Steel Avenger's first ever axe test
  • John Willoughby and The Steel Avenger from Series 3, with the broad axe head
  • The team in Series 3
  • The Steel Avenger being rebuilt for Series 5
  • The Steel Avenger in the pits during Extreme 2
  • The Steel Avenger's cameo in the First World Championship
  • The Steel Avenger in the pits during Extreme 1
Main Series The Steel Avenger Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Heat, Round 2
The Fourth Wars Heat Final
The Fifth Wars Heat, Round 2
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Heat Final
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

  • The Steel Avenger as Tin Tackler, in Techno Games
  • The internals of The Steel Avenger
  • The Steel Avenger fighting Chaos 2 armed with a giant novelty hammer at Oundle Mill in 2001
  • The Steel Avenger amongst robots on static display at a live event in Colchester in 2006
  • The Steel Avenger as a static display in Colchester in 2007
  • Steel Avenger at a Roaming Robots event in 2011
  • SA2 in 2012, when it was put up for sale by John Willoughby

Like many Robot Wars competitors, The Steel Avenger team entered Techno Games with a weaponless Steel Avenger called Tin Tackler. It entered the Football event, teaming up with its Robot Wars Tag-Team Terror partner Lightning (known as Thunder in Techno Games). In Techno Games, the team was joined by Ian Swann from Team Chaos[5].

Suicidal Tendencies vs The Steel Avenger 2000

The Steel Avenger is overturned by Suicidal Tendencies

The Steel Avenger competed at the Debenham Robot Rumble 2000 after Series 4, but it was flipped against the wall by Suicidal Tendencies and axed repeatedly, until The Steel Avenger lost the Judges' decision. At Oundle Mill in 2001, The Steel Avenger fought Chaos 2 using a novelty hammer.

"ST lifted and pushed the Avenger about, at one point even turning them on their side and peppering their underside with holes. Suicidal Tendencies were the clear winner."
— Team Tornado website[6]

After Robot Wars was cancelled, The Steel Avenger was retired and regularly appeared as a static display at the annual Debenham robot rumbles, alongside all three Cassius models, Chaos 2, and other famous Robot Wars robots that are now retired.


Steel Avenger on display in March 2014

In 2011, The Steel Avenger was sold to Team Enigma, and has since been entered into various robot events such as Robots Live! and Roaming Robots, with the feather duster attached again for some battles.

It again changed hands to John Findlay, who allowed the robot to fight at Robot Wars live events before The Steel Avenger became part of the Extreme Robots Platinum VIP package, allowing fans to drive The Steel Avenger against other past competitors. If an Extreme Robots events is low on competitors, The Steel Avenger occasionally fights during the show, defeating Halo in September 2018 at the Chatham event. The robot is now painted black on the front, with a face seen on torpedoes.

Steel Avenger 2 2014

SA2 in 2014

SA2 armour

Team Shock's planned design for What SA2, using Manta's colour scheme

SA2 was sold to Team Shock with the intention of finishing it and competing with it in the future. It was planned to return in September at the Bluewater event, to be renamed Shockwave. SA2's axe setup was later purchased by Gareth Anstee, while the current whereabouts of the machine remain unknown.

The original Steel Avenger made an appearance on Dave TV show Storage Hunters UK in 2015, where it was "sold" to a bidder alongside Ripper, Bulldog Breed, Beast, Major Damage and more for £1400.

Robot Wars Live EventsEdit

The Steel Avenger vs Halo

The Steel Avenger battles Halo at Extreme Robots, John Findlay's successor to Robot Wars live events

The Steel Avenger competed in the first live event of the new Robot Wars at Portsmouth in March 2013, where it took part in the main competition and fought Bullfrog, Weird mAlice & TR2 in the heats, but it fell at this stage after Bullfrog flipped it against the arena wall, where it could not self-right. It also fought at Guildford 2013, where it fell in the Heats of the competition after being flipped out the arena by Manta. Also in 2013, The Steel Avenger featured as a static display at the Gloucester and Newport events, alongside several other Robot Wars veterans like Axe-Awe, The Big Cheese, X-Terminator and Stinger.

It returned to fighting again in 2014 at the Guildford event with both its axe and rear lifter working. As of November 2014, The Steel Avenger has been reserved as a retro class robot only- along with fellow Robot Wars veterans Stinger, X-Terminator, Bulldog Breed, Mr Nasty & Schumey Too.


Best costume rw extreme

The Steel Avenger team and Julia Reed with their Best Costume Award.

  • The Steel Avenger (along with Diotoir) is the only robot to collect more than ten UK combat victories without once winning a heat.
  • At the end of the first series of Extreme, The Pneumatic Fanatics (The Steel Avenger team) were awarded with the best Costume Award for the series, however the presentation of this award was not shown on the televised show.
  • The Steel Avenger was the first and only returning robot to win the Best Engineered Award .
    • Despite its good reliability throughout its Robot Wars career, five of The Steel Avenger's eight losses were the result of it being flipped, with four of those being attributed to its self-righting arms failing to work.
  • The Steel Avenger, Terrorhurtz and Thor are the only robots armed with bladed axes to have immobilised an opponent with this weapon type.
  • In Extreme 1, The Steel Avenger was incorrectly stated as having gone out in the first round in both Series 3 and 4 ahead of its Challenge Belt match against Behemoth.
  • In addition to its main appearance in Series 4, The Steel Avenger made an additional cameo appearance in the German broadcast of Heat K, where it appeared in a behind-the-scenes segment explaining the Robot Wars scrutineering process.[7]
  • John Willoughby was part of The Steering Committee.



  1. |[1]
  2. |[2]
  3. Added to Robot Wars Wiki by John Willoughby
  5. |[3]

External linksEdit