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"The girl power group want to be a role model for girls to take up engineering and robot building."
Robot Wars website

Tomahawk (later abbreviated to TMHWK), was a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 7 and Series 9 of Robot Wars, alongside Robot Wars: World Series, part of Series 10. In Series 7, Tomahawk was eliminated in the first round after becoming immobilised by IG-88, before being smashed open by an ocean buoy, while Sabretooth immobilised TMHWK with similar speed in Series 9. TMHWK proved more durable in the World Series, but still lost its head-to-head battle to Terrorhurtz.

The robot's name came from the Tomahawk, a type of hatchet-like axe known for its origin and use by Native Americans.

Versions of TomahawkEdit

TomahawkEdit

Tomohawk

Tomahawk in Series 7

Tomohawk site

Tomahawk in the pits, note the website address

Tomahawk was originally a tracked, box wedge-shaped robot with a low profile, making it one of the most recent robots to use tracks as locomotion. Its weapon was a double-headed pneumatic axe modeled on the Native American axe, with a bladed head on one end and a spiked one on the other. The axe was said to double as a flipper and had fast self-righting capabilities. Tomahawk itself was powered by a 750w electric motor, weighed 97kg and was armoured in aluminium and polycarbonate, measuring 0.51m x 1.12m x 0.76m in diameter. However, the robot was untested, and did not prove durable during its only appearance in the original Robot Wars.

TMHWKEdit

Tmhwk turntable

TMHWK's turntable photo in Series 9

TMHWK S10

THMWK during the World Series

TMHWK substituted its former tracked design in favour of a two-wheel drive system, while featuring a more powerful axe with a near-identical arm and double head configuration. Dependent on TMHWK's opponent, the team can reverse the direction of TMHWK's axe head, which by default strikes using the bladed end, to choose the most effective impact. The robot was now painted in a striking purple, grey and orange colour scheme, and featured two guiding wedges added specifically for Series 9. TMHWK's armour now consisted of HARDOX and HDPE, making it more durable than the original Tomahawk, although its wheels were exposed from the top and it still suffered from reliability issues at live events, and ultimately the televised series. Shortly before their first battle in Series 9, the team added googly eyes and pink eyelashes to the bladed axe, adding a feminine touch. The Ardunois controllers within TMHWK offer the team four different types of hit they can administer to their victims to conserve carbon dioxide.

For its appearance in Robot Wars: World Series, TMHWK gained a set of orange 'leaves' around the sides and front, which were attached to the robot's top panels using wires. These extra additions were used in its Head-to-Head against Terrorhurtz, although it is unclear as to whether they were intended to be used as an entanglement device.

During Robot Wars: World Series, John Reid of Team Hurtz claimed that TMHWK's axe arm was a modified version of one he used for an older version of his own machine, Terrorhurtz. He claims that he had given it to Tomahawk's original owner, Paul Kendrick, after its appearance in Robot Wars, although Kendrick claims that Tomahawk's axe arm was of his own creation throughout the time in his possession.

The TeamEdit

Team LazerusEdit

TomahawkTeam

Paul Kendrick and Stuart Barnwell

Tomahawk was entered into Series 7 by Paul Kendrick, builder and team captain. He was to be joined by his wife, but she was heavily pregnant during filming of Series 7, so Kendrick asked his friend, and captain of the Cold Fusion team, Stuart Barnwell, to take her place in the team. Barnwell initially agreed to operate Tomahawk's axe, but ended up driving it instead, as he had previous experience driving the robot at live events. As captain of the Cold Fusion Team, Barnwell also drove Pussycat in Series 7, and Kitty in the accompanying Featherweight Championship, later competing with Dantomkia and Push to Exit as part of Team S.Tek.

Team Dutch Robot GirlsEdit

Team Dutch Robot Girls

Esther, Annita, Carla and Caroline (left-to-right)

"The girl power group entered their [application] video with the soundtrack of ‘Beyoncé Who run the world-GIRLS’; they want to be a role model for girls to take up engineering and Robot Building"
— The Robot Wars website

Team Dutch Robot Girls, as their name suggests, is comprised of four women from The Netherlands. They were captained by Caroline van der Meer (natively Carlijn) in Series 9, who had previously competed in an all-female team in Series 2 of Dutch Robot Wars with IDO. Caroline van der Meer has competed on the live events circuit with various lighter robots, including the first Dutch featherweight (see Outside Robot Wars) and is TMHWK's driver.

"There are so many male teams or male-female teams, but no female teams. And now, we have this mission, like, we want to do this ourselves. You have all the tools, all the power tools, so I really want to encourage all the females out there, all the female roboteers plus all the new females – come and start your own female robot team."
— Annita van der Meer
TMHWK with team

TMHWK with Team Dutch Robot Girls in Series 9

Tmhawk s10

TMHWK with Annita van der Meer and Esther Tissing in Series 10

Annita van der Meer had originally intended to enter Dutch Robot Wars: Series 1 alongside her husband Marien, as the two had collaborated to build Scraptosaur, although she could not attend filming. Annita is a bachelor in mechanical engineering, and has also built various antweight robots. As Caroline van der Meer and Carla van den Broek could not appear in Robot Wars: World Series due to their ongoing pregnancies, Annita van der Meer became the team captain and driver of TMHWK during Robot Wars: World Series.

Esther Tissing and Carla van den Broek were both competitors on the live circuit, and were invited to join the team by the van der Meers. The all-female team received support from Professor Noel Sharkey via Twitter[1], who is keen to encourage women to become engineers.

"Other than Caroline the captain and driver, there are no designated roles within the group, all are equally qualified to fix the robot and operate weapons."
Robot Wars website at the time of Series 9

QualificationEdit

Lazerusprof

Lazerus

Lazerus live

Lazerus, with the spiked axe, at a live event

Tomahawk initially attempted to enter Series 6 under the name Lazerus. At the qualifiers, Lazerus fought C.V., G-Man and Inshredable, with Inshredable winning the battle despite Lazerus surviving to the end of the battle. Lazerus was selected as a reserve, but did not get a chance to compete in Series 6. Lazerus was armed with a spiked axe, which the team replaced with a heavier, bladed axe when they modified it into Tomahawk, which successfully qualified for Series 7.

Tomahawk

TMHWK under the ownership of Marien van der Meer

"Lazerus is a reserve - may be called up. Thursday night, just before loading the car up I noticed the sound of a gas leak during a final test. Won't give you the frantic details, suffice to say that it was a late night! Lazerus has entered quite a few events this year and has been very successful, never broken down or taken any damage - ironic that the first fault of the year manifests itself in a leaking solenoid valve hours before the qualifiers, wots all that about? We would have made it through easily today if not for the leak which I was unable to lock down. As previously posted - CV, Lazerus, Inshredable, Gman. Inshredable and Lazerus were still pushing eachother around at the end - count yourselvs lucky boys that we had lost our gas. Thanks to everybody for the compliments (and the disbelief that we didnt win) We'll be back"
— Paul Kendrick on Lazerus' failure to qualify for Series 6, on the Robot Wars forum

TMHWK, under new ownership of Marien van der Meer, also applied to participate in Series 8 of the rebooted Robot Wars, but was not selected to compete. For Series 9, Marien van der Meer entrusted TMHWK to his wife's team, Team Dutch Robot Girls, who successfully qualified with the machine. According to the Robot Wars website, Team Dutch Robot Girls submitted their application video to the theme of Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé.

Although TMHWK did not appear in the main competition of Series 10, it instead qualified for the World Series[2].

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 7Edit

"They sent a warning by fax: "We'll cleave you with our axe!""
Jonathan Pearce introduces Tomahawk
IG-88 vs Tomahawk

Tomahawk is knocked out by IG-88

Tomahawk competed in Heat C, fighting IG-88, The Stag and Scorpion in its first-round battle. In order to withstand blows from the spinning weapons of IG-88 and Scorpion, the team bolted on extra armour panels to Tomahawk's sides in an attempt to give it further protection. In the battle itself, it immediately charged into Scorpion and The Stag, but missed its first axe blow on the latter, and was hit from the sides and rear a few times by IG-88. These attacks buffeted and immobilised Tomahawk, which fired its axe in an attempt to show signs of mobility.

"...but Tomahawk is more statuesque. I wonder if it's going to be quick enough, and I wonder if...Tomahawk is okay?"
— Jonathan Pearce as he realises Tomahawk's immobility
Tomohawkdropzone

Tomahawk after having an ocean buoy dropped onto it

IG-88 briefly nudged Tomahawk before Tomahawk axed Scorpion, getting its axe embedded through one of the latter's wheels. Tomahawk was then pushed back across the arena by Scorpion and The Stag, before Scorpion and Cassius Chrome shoved it towards a CPZ. Refbot counted Tomahawk out as The Stag drove itself into the pit, before Cassius Chrome punched its sides and pushed it into Sergeant Bash and onto the Drop Zone. There, an ocean buoy was dropped onto Tomahawk, which dislodged one of its top panels and buckled its chassis as it bounced.

"Ooh... buoy, oh buoy! That is no longer, a roboteer's toy! The aluminium, on polycarbonate body - popped, ooh, and the innards revealed! "
— Jonathan Pearce as Tomahawk sustains damage from the ocean buoy

As a result, Tomahawk was eliminated from the Seventh Wars, along with The Stag.

Series 9Edit

Aftershock hits crank-e

TMHWK and Aftershock make a 'pincer movement' on Crank-E

TMHWK competed in Heat 1, fighting Sabretooth, Aftershock and Crank-E in its Group Battle. It immediately charged towards Crank-E as the latter approached Aftershock, forcing Crank-E into Aftershock's flywheel and sending it flying through the air. As Aftershock continued attacking Crank-E, TMHWK momentarily drove up the side of Aftershock's wedge, before ramming Sabretooth head-on. The impact spun and immobilised TMHWK instantly, allowing Sabretooth to push TMHWK from the side and churn into one of its side panels with its drum.

"Just keep hitting."
— Esther Tissing as TMHWK is pushed and damaged by Sabretooth
Sabretooth vs tmhwk

Sabretooth rips into TMHWK's side

TMHWK, despite its lack of drive, was still able to fire its axe, lifting it off the floor and allowing Sabretooth to get underneath and push it more freely. Another hit from Sabretooth ripped TMHWK's HDPE side panel off completely, before Sabretooth pushed TMHWK into Shunt and left it over the arena spikes, tearing one of its wedges off in the process. THMWK was flipped over by one of the spikes and left unable to self-right, with both it and Crank-E being counted out and eliminated from Series 9 as a result.

Crank-E TMHWK

TMHWK and Crank-E lie beaten

"Immobilised machines... certainly TMHWK, and the Netherlands team, it's all double Dutch for them."
— Jonathan Pearce as TMHWK and Crank-E are counted out

Series 10Edit

Although it did not appear in the main competition, TMHWK instead represented The Netherlands during Robot Wars: World Series, filmed and broadcast at the end of Series 10. It was partnered with Belgian entry and fellow Series 9 returnee Cobra, ahead of their Tag Team battle against the British representatives Apollo and Gabriel 2.

"I need to think of my tactics. If I’m not such a good driver, if I’m new, I need to find, like a real roboteer, another way around it. And another way around it is letting him believe… "Ah, she’s new, let’s be gentle." Bang! And after that, I can’t do that. That’s only a one-time trick."
— Annita van der Meer prior to her first battle as TMHWK’s driver
TMHWK Cobra Apollo

TMHWK (right) waits in the corner as Cobra is flipped by Apollo

Gabriel vs TMHWK

The weapons of TMHWK and Gabriel 2 lock together

With Cobra and Apollo fighting each other first, TMHWK initially remained out of the action as it waited in its corner. This was until Apollo threw Cobra against the Arena Tyre mount, which TMHWK responded by driving towards and attempting to axe Apollo. It missed, ending up in the clutches of Dead Metal as it fired its axe again and rolled into the opposite CPZ. Bumping into the Arena Tyre, it activated the Fog of War, dodging an approaching Gabriel 2 before unsuccessfully attempting to axe the latter numerous times. In doing so, TMHWK exposed its axe arm and top armour to several blows from Gabriel 2 – it continued to spin around as Gabriel 2 bumped it towards and over the Flame Pit. TMHWK fired its axe after another sword blow from Gabriel 2, causing both competitor’s weapons to lock together as they spun round over the Flame Pit. In doing so, TMHWK caused Gabriel 2 to lose balance as it tried to force its axe down, the competitors quickly separating before Gabriel 2 slammed down on TMHWK again.

Apollo flips TMHWK

TMHWK is thrown into the air by Apollo

World Series Episode 1 Tag Team Battle 1

TMHWK (left) sustains another attack from Gabriel 2 as Apollo (centre) throws Dead Metal over

TMHWK and Gabriel 2 eventually returned to their corners as Apollo and Cobra resumed their duel. However, it was later tagged by Cobra again, albeit still unable to land an axe blow on Gabriel 2’s wheels, and sustained a few more hits from the British axlebot before the latter drove over it as all four competitors converged. A split-second later, TMHWK was flipped into the air by Apollo, but landed back on its wheels, and sat in the centre of the arena before Gabriel 2 approached and hit it a few more times. TMHWK finally landed a hit on Gabriel 2’s body as the two competitors exchanged blows; it momentarily stopped moving with seconds to go, only to suddenly reverse itself into the open pit. The battle ultimately went to a Judges’ decision, which went against the Rest of the World team, leaving them with no points.

TMHWK self-pitting

TMHWK reverses itself into the pit with seconds to go

Angela Scanlon: "It wasn’t the plan, I assume, to end up in the pit."
Annita van der Meer: "No, I had a little technical problem."
Angela Scanlon: "A little technical problem."
Annita van der Meer: "Yeah, we’re gonna solve it."
Angela Scanlon: "You are?"
Annita van der Meer: "We’ll come back."
— As Angela Scanlon and the Dutch Robot Girls push TMHWK back to The Pits

In the Head-to-Head round, TMHWK faced fellow axe-wielding robot and UK representative Terrorhurtz, a competitor whose original axe arm was repurposed for TMHWK's own weapon. For this battle, it was equipped with ‘leaves’ attached to its top armour, while Annita van der Meer and Rest of the World team captain Peter Redmond agreed to target the exposed spaces between Terrorhurtz’s axe and top panels.

"John Reid is a very experienced driver. He is really amazing and I admire him. And what I did over the years, I watched his performance time and again, learned from him and I know that he will expect other roboteers to know what he will be doing. So, l need to get him off balance. But then, at the moment that he least expects it, come in and hit him where he is least armoured."
— Annita van der Meer explains her tactics for the Head-to-Head
Terrorhurtz pins TMHWK

TMHWK is pinned between Terrorhurtz and Sir Killalot

Terrorhurtz vs TMHWK

TMHWK sustains one of Terrorhurtz's axe blows

In the opening seconds, TMHWK turned away from an approaching Terrorhurtz, spinning around as the Team Hurtz machine pushed it into Sir Killalot. It escaped, bumping into the nearest entry gate, constantly dodging Terrorhurtz and Matilda as the latter shepherded it into her CPZ and sustained a blow from her flywheel. TMHWK quickly reversed into the Arena Tyre, activating the pit, but was pinned against the Arena Tyre mount by Sir Killalot and Terrorhurtz, allowing the latter to strike its top panel. It escaped, reversing over the Flame Pit, but bumped into Terrorhurtz again and sustained more damage to its armour and axe from the Team UK entry. TMHWK repeatedly missed with its own axe, which began to bend following another succession of blows from Terrorhurtz.

Peter Redmond: "Try not to be between him and the…"
Annita van der Meer: "Stop talking!"
— Annita van der Meer tries to concentrate on the battle at hand
Matilda flips TMHWK

Matilda flips TMHWK, causing the Dutch machine's axe arm to break

TMHWK broken axe

TMHWK's axe arm lies on the floor after snapping in two

It was eventually pushed over the spark jets and into Matilda’s CPZ again, Terrorhurtz axing its armour once again in the process. This time, TMHWK retaliated with an axe blow of its own, but was flipped violently by Matilda’s tusks – the flip being sufficient enough to snap TMHWK’s axe arm in half as it landed back on its wheels. Weaponless, TMHWK was shepherded towards the open pit by Terrorhurtz, sustaining another blow to the remains of its axe arm before eventually getting pushed over the edge. It remained there for several seconds before a final axe blow from Terrorhurtz caused it to fall in.

Terrorhurtz pits TMHWK

The weaponless TMHWK is finally pitted by Terrorhurtz

"It was a pity that our axe broke down, because else we might have won. We might have hit them in the right place."
— Annita van der Meer after the battle

Although the Rest of the World team scored no points once again and would ultimately lose the competition to Team UK, the Dutch Robot Girls were gracious in defeat. In The Pits, Annita van der Meer shook hands with John Reid before handing back the axe arm as a souvenir.

"They are a very nice team, so it’s a bit of a shame. But they’re new, you know, so it’s good experience, all good experience. Though I’m sure they’ll come back better and stronger."
— John Reid praises the Dutch Robot Girls following TMHWK’s battle against Terrorhurtz

ResultsEdit

TOMAHAWK - RESULTS
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat C, Round 1 vs. Scorpion, IG-88, The Stag Eliminated
TMHWK - RESULTS
Series 9
Series 9 - UK Championship
Round 1
Heat 1, Group Battle vs. Aftershock, Crank-E, Sabretooth Eliminated
Series 10
World Series, representing The Netherlands
Partnered with Cobra in Tag Team
Episode 1, Tag Team vs. Apollo, Gabriel 2 Lost via Judges' decision (0 points)
Episode 1, Head-to-Head vs. Terrorhurtz Lost via KO (0 points)

Wins/LossesEdit

  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 4

Series RecordEdit

  • Tomahawk as Lazerus fighting Tornado and Spirit Of Scorpion at the Robot Roadshow in 2002
  • Tomahawk without its top at a live event
  • Tomahawk shortly after Robot Wars
  • Tomahawk being restored in 2012
  • Team Dutch Robot Girls with Professor Noel Sharkey
Series Tomahawk Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
The Sixth Wars Unused reserve as Lazerus (Team Lazerus)
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1 (Team Lazerus)
Series 8 Not selected (Marien van der Meer)
Series 9 Heat, Round 1 (Team Dutch Robot Girls)
Series 10 World Series (Team Dutch Robot Girls)

NOTES:

  • Stuart Barnwell entered Extreme 2 with Pussycat and Katnip, entered Series 7 with Pussycat and Kitty, Series 8 with Dantomkia, and Series 9 with Push to Exit.
  • Marien van der Meer entered both series of Dutch Robot Wars, and UK Series 7, with Scraptosaur.
  • Caroline van der Meer entered Dutch Series 2 with IDO.

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Tomohawk

Tomahawk shortly after Robot Wars

Tomahawk continued to fight in certain live events after Robot Wars finished, undergoing several rebuilds. It found a good degree of success at the Roaming Robots event in Denbigh 2005 where it managed to immobilise Tornado and heavily damage Kan-Opener in a 3-way melee. It was also seen at one of Roaming Robots' events at Birmingham 2005 where it did a demo in the arena damaging computer monitors with its axe.

Tomohawk Maidstone 2012

TMHWK, rebuilt by Team VHS for Maidstone 2012

A few years after Robot Wars, Marco Van Hek (builder of Cobra) purchased Tomahawk. In August 2012, he and a few other roboteers from Belgium and the Netherlands began restoring Tomahawk to fighting form, at which point it was renamed to TMHWK. It came out of retirement and competed in the 2012 Winter Tour held by Roaming Robots. TMHWK was then passed on to Marien van der Meer, and finally, Team Dutch Robot Girls, remaining active to this day.

Manta vs TMHWK

TMHWK is flipped by Manta at Extreme Robots

Esther Tissing and Annita van der Meer took TMHWK to Russia in 2017, to compete at Bronebots. A different team borrowed TMHWK to compete with it in Extreme Robots at Maidstone, the last robotic live event of 2017, where TMHWK's new axe head was broken in battle. In different fights, TMHWK was immobilised by a flip from Eruption, a flip from Iron-Awe 7, and a blow from the spinner of Tauron, but defeated Audacious and Expulsion by pitting the former, finishing in fourth place after being pitted by ThunderChild, having entered without a weapon.

Team Dutch Robot Girls own a vast number of light robots between their members, and compete at Dutch events with them. Annita van der Meer has built various antweights and raptors, which weigh 6kg. Carla van den Broek has built at least one robot. Esther Tissing's first robot was a featherweight named Bad Blood, and has also built antweights called James and Little Miss Sunshine. Caroline van der Meer's robots are listed below.

  • EFWAH (Everything Fits With a Hammer)
  • Mini-Pizzabox - Antweight
  • Fuzzy Buzzy - Antweight
  • Maniac - Raptor
  • YES (You'll Eventually Smile) - Featherweight
  • Something - Raptor
  • AND (Another Now Diskbot) - Antweight

Caroline van der Meer also built the very first Dutch featherweight, known as Pizzabox. This won the Mad Metal Machine 2 event, and even fought heavyweight Tough as Nails in an exhibition match.

Robot Wars Live EventsEdit

The overhauled TMHWK made its first appearance in fighting at the Robot Wars live touring show at the Robot Wars World Championships 2015 at Colchester where it fought Behemoth, Eruption and Cherub in the first round of its heat. TMHWK quickly lost mobility to one wheel, and was rendered immobile. Behemoth and Cherub were both thrown out of the arena before Eruption threw TMHWK out, but regardless TMHWK was eliminated due to its lack of mobility. It also took part in a separate Annihilator competition at the event where it was immobilised very early on in the fight before being thrown out by Beast 2.

TriviaEdit

  • Tomahawk's statistics board in Series 7 misspelled the robot's name as Tomohawk.
  • Tomahawk was one of only two competitor robots in Series 7 to run on tracks, with the other being Trax.

ReferencesEdit

  1. https://twitter.com/NoelSharkey/status/805429379190947840
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2018/01/robot-wars-international

External LinksEdit