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Tough as Nails

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Tough as Nails (originally Tough As Nails, or abbreviated to TAN) was a Dutch robot that competed in Series 7-8 of UK Robot Wars, and Series 2 of Dutch Robot Wars.

Tough as Nails originally entered the second series of Dutch Robot Wars, but was defeated in the first round by Scrap-2-Saur. However, it did win a major robotic event in the Netherlands prior to the Seventh Wars and was dubbed as a favourite for the series by Jonathan Pearce. Tough as Nails won its heat in the main series, defeating former UK champion Panic Attack along the way. It was eventually defeated in the semi-finals by Bulldog Breed. It also defeated two other Dutch robots to qualify for The Third World Championship at the end of the series, in which it reached the semi-finals and was defeated by the eventual champion, Storm 2.

A favoured tactic which was used by the Tough as Nails team was to immediately activate the pit release button, grab hold of its opponents and dump them into the pit. The team attempted this tactic in many battles, successfully pitting Disc-O-Inferno and Robochicken in the heats (although Robochicken was already through to the next round) and Scraptosaur, Gravity and Rawbot in The Third World Championship, before finally being given a taste of its own medicine as it was pitted by Storm 2, also being pitted in its 2016 loss.


"When offered the chance in 2002 to build a robot as a graduation project, I had half a year time to design and build TAN."
— Jeroen van der Loo[1]
Tough As Nails mechanism

Tough As Nails' clamping mechanism during Dutch Series 2

Tough As Nails

Tough as Nails in Series 7

Tough As Nails was essentially a large horizontal crusher on wheels, allowing it to run invertible. The robot was built and designed around the mechanism, which operated within the robot's axle. As the crusher closed, the mechanism expanded, sliding Tough As Nails' wheels further apart. Tough As Nails' crusher was one of the largest in Robot Wars history, and was capable of crushing 200kg as of 2016.

Tough As Nails with team

Tough as Nails with Team KODOX in 2016

Tough As Nails was the first robot to introduce HARDOX (brand name SSAB Sweden) as armour plating for robots. As a result it had very strong armour, was fast and controllable, but had a limited CO2 supply and electrical problems as well. The robot cost £2,500 to build, and the wheels provided by sponsors were finished by Jeroen who has found his own way to vulcanise HDPE.

In 2016, Tough As Nails' weight increased from 97kg to 107kg, and its former 1600W electric motors were upgraded to 3000W, with its top speed falling by 3mph. Its HARDOX armour was thickened to 3.2mm.


In its qualifier battle for Series 7, Tough as Nails fought German entry I Bot One Beta, Team Death's new robot Metalis, and non-qualifier Skorpizoid. Tough as Nails became immobile after colliding with Metalis, breaking down. The qualifier battle was won by I Bot One Beta. Despite this, Tough as Nails, as well as Metalis, was awarded a discretionary place.

Robot HistoryEdit

Dutch Series 2Edit


Tough as Nails grabs Scrap-2-Saur

Scrap2saur flips tough as nails

Scraptosaur flips Tough As Nails

Tough As Nails fought Scrap-2-Saur in its first round of Dutch Robot Wars. Tough As Nails was flipped once before driving over the flame pit. Due to a thermal cut-off from the speed controllers, Tough As Nails's motors shut down, and it was counted out by Refbot. Mr. Psycho put Tough As Nails on the Drop Zone, where two barrels fell onto it. At this point the speed controllers had cooled down, so Tough As Nails was able to move again, though it had been eliminated. Tough As Nails grabbed one of the Drop Zone's barrels and carried it around the arena, until Mr. Psycho came in and smashed Tough As Nails's rear with his hammer. The hit caused a small fire, burning out a speed controller and one of the hydraulic tubes, effectively immobilising Tough As Nails again. Dead Metal pushed Tough As Nails, barrel still in its claws, down into the pit.

"To repair it the houseroboteers borrowed me a hydraulic tube from Sir. K, but I had to give it back after not being selected for the wildcard."
— Jeroen van der Loo[2]

UK Series 7Edit

Tough As Nail pits Discoinferno

Disc-O-Inferno falls victim to Tough as Nails's party trick

In its first fight, Tough as Nails pressed the pit release button, and then grabbed Disc-O-Inferno and dropped it down. It then did the same to Robochicken, however Robochicken had already flipped and immobilised B.O.D., so it still qualified.

Tough as Nails Panic Attack 1

Panic Attack's prongs are buckled by Tough as Nails


Tough as Nails grapples Panic Attack

In the next round, Tough as Nails faced the seeded Panic Attack. It grabbed Panic Attack, and after hitting the pit release, attempted to push it into the pit, but Panic Attack wouldn't let it. Panic Attack tried to flip Tough as Nails, but Tough as Nails' shape wasn't prone to being flipped. Tough as Nails grabbed Panic Attack again and bent its lifting device. Left without any means of attack, Panic Attack was helpless as Tough as Nails pushed it around the arena. It couldn't get Panic Attack to go into the pit, but it still won the judges' decision.

Tough as Nails Robochicken 2

Robochicken attempts to topple Tough as Nails over the arena wall


Tough as Nails pushes Robochicken into the CPZ.

Tough as Nails had reached the heat final, where it met Robochicken again. Tough as Nails was tossed repeatedly by Robochicken's flipper, but since it was invertible, it was wholly unaffected. Robochicken's gas supply began to dwindle, so Tough as Nails opened the pit and clamped down on Robochicken. It spent the rest of the match with Robochicken in its claws, pushing it around the arena. The judges had to choose a heat winner, and they ruled in favour of Tough as Nails.

Bulldog breed vs tough as nails

Tough as Nails is flung into the air by Bulldog Breed.

In the Semi-finals, Tough as Nails met Bulldog Breed, sporting part of Robochicken's head. Tough as Nails was flipped a few times, but did manage to get its pincers around Bulldog Breed. However, it couldn't get enough traction to push Bulldog Breed, and so its opponent pushed it around instead. Tough as Nails was nearly flipped out of the arena, and the two robots continued pushing each other until time ran out. The judges ruled that Bulldog Breed had won, eliminating Tough as Nails.


Tough as Nails puts Gravity in the pit.

Tough as Nails also competed in the Third World Championship. In its qualifier battle, it employed its usual tactic of pressing the pit release button at the beginning of the match. After doing do, it grabbed Scraptosaur and pushed it into the abyss, avenging its first round loss in the Dutch Series. It was flipped once by Gravity, but it still managed to grab the Dutch flipper bot, and push it into the pit too.


Rawbot is pitted by Tough as Nails

Through to the, Tough as Nails went straight for the pit release, and Rawbot could not resist Tough as Nails' pushing power, so found itself prey to the pit.


Tough as Nails' removed tyre


Storm 2 pushes Tough as Nails towards the pit

In the semifinal, it found Storm 2 to be a much more difficult opponent. Indeed, Storm 2's speed and traction made it nearly impossible for Tough as Nails to grab and hold Storm 2. Storm 2 slammed Tough as Nails against the wall until one of its tyres came off. Tough as Nails got its pincers around Storm 2, but it was Storm 2 in control, pushing and pulling Tough as Nails around the arena. When it tried to put Tough as Nails into the pit, Tough as Nails refused to loosen its grip, allowing it hover over the pit and stay in play just a little while longer. However, it eventually let go, and plunged into the pit, taking The Netherlands' hopes with it.

"The wheel's finally come off Tough as Nails' drive for world domination"
— Craig Charles

Series 8Edit

Tough as Nails competed in Episode 2 of Series 8, the only Dutch entry to qualify. In the first round, it fought newcomers Shockwave, and veterans DisConstructor and Thor.

Angela Scanlon: "Ready to represent Holland?"
Jeroen van der Loo: "Yes, show them who's boss!"
— Team KODOX fly the flag
TAN Trio

Tough as Nails pushes two robots at once

When the battle started, Tough as Nails replicated its first UK battle by targeting the spinner, DisConstructor, although Tough as Nails was deflected backwards by the spinning disc. Tough as Nails dodged an attack from Thor, but was caught by Shockwave, which allowed Thor to come in and attack. Tough as Nails was wedged upwards slightly, and grabbed the top portion of Thor, waging an even battle. When Thor gained proper purchase, however, Tough as Nails was slammed into an empty CPZ, and only missed Thor's axe blows due to its shape.

TAN Teamed

Tough As Nails is positioned by Shockwave to sustain blows from Thor

This turned into a two-way attack, as Shockwave helped to push Tough as Nails into the wall after having pitted DisConstructor, although this put Thor on top of Shockwave, allowing Tough as Nails to push both robots backwards. In retaliation, Tough as Nails was pushed into the corner by Shockwave. Tough as Nails grabbed Thor and pushed it towards Shunt, as Tough as Nails was too lengthy to be hit by its opponent's weapon. Yet when Tough as Nails grabbed Thor, Shockwave would respond and assist Thor with its push, this time sliding Tough as Nails up the arena wall. Thor pushed back, and held Tough as Nails against another wall, and Shockwave helped create the position where Tough as Nails would sustain axe blows from Thor.

Thor vs Shockwave vs Tough as Nails vs DisConstructor

Tough as Nails joins DisConstructor in the pit

These repeated blows had immobilised Tough as Nails, which lifelessly rolled across the arena. Thor pushed Tough as Nails onto the lip of the pit, and edged it on on a second attempt, with just eleven seconds left on the clock.


Dutch Series
Series 2
Dutch Championship
Heats, Round 1
Heat D, Round 1 vs. Scrap-2-Saur Lost
UK Series
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Semi-Finals, Round 1
Heat M, Round 1 vs. B.O.D., Disc-O-Inferno, Robochicken Qualified
Heat M, Round 2 vs. Panic Attack (8) Won
Heat M, Final vs. Robochicken Won
Semi-Final 1, Round 1 vs. Bulldog Breed (12) Lost
The Third World Championship
Representing the Netherlands, Semi-Finals
Qualifier vs. Gravity (NED), Scraptosaur (NED) Won
Heat vs. Rawbot (SWE), Typhoon 2 (UK) Won
NOTE: Before the battle had started, a lack of available batteries forced Typhoon 2 out of the competition, leaving Tough as Nails and Rawbot to fight alone.
Semi-Final vs. Storm 2 (UK) Lost
Series 8
Series 8 - UK Championship
Round 1
Episode 2, Group Battle vs. DisConstructor, Shockwave, Thor Eliminated


  • UK Wins: 5
  • UK Losses: 3
  • Dutch Wins: 0
  • Dutch Losses: 1

Series RecordEdit

UK SeriesEdit


Tough as Nails enters the arena in Series 8

Series Tough as Nails 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 Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Semi-Finals, Round 1
Series 8 Heat, Round 1
Series 9 Did not enter

Dutch SeriesEdit

Series Tough as Nails Record
Series 1 Entered with Arena Killer
Series 2 Heat, Round 1

Robot Wars Live EventsEdit

Since the launch of the Robot Wars Live Events in 2013, Tough as Nails has attended only a few of the events due to the team residing in The Netherlands. It first competed in the second live event of the new Robot Wars at Portsmouth in March 2013 where it fell in the heats after being flipped out the arena by Maelstrom.

In 2015, Tough as Nails fought in the Robot Wars World Championships, held in Colchester. In the first round, it was drawn against Rybot, Kan-Opener and Maelstrom. Rybot was quickly flipped over, and a combined attack from Tough as Nails and Kan-Opener immobilised Maelstrom, allowing the two pincers to qualify for the second round, although Kan-Opener was able to immobilise Tough as Nails by trapping it in the arena wall. In the second round, Tough as Nails fought Beast and Gabriel. Tough as Nails damaged the tyre of Beast, and pitted it, but regardless lost the Judges' decision to Gabriel, the more aggressive robot. Tough as Nails had a second chance to qualify, in a losers' melee against Eruption and Tiberius. Tiberius was quickly stranded on the wall by Eruption, leaving Tough as Nails and Eruption to fight alone. Tough as Nails fought well, grabbing hold of Eruption while it was self-righting, and dragged it around. Eruption eventually pushed Tough as Nails into the pit, but the Dutch robot escaped. Tiberius was freed from the wall, and it pitted Eruption, leaving Tough as Nails as the winner, which also pitted Tiberius. However, in the quarter-finals, Tough as Nails was flipped out of the arena in seconds by Manta.

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Tough as nails

Tough as Nails at the Dutch RobotGames

Tough as Nails won the Fighting Robots European Championships twice in a row in 2003 and 2004, and also won the International Special held in the 2011 UK Championships held at the O2 Arena, London.



Tough as Nails pulls a forklift during testing

  • Tough as Nails' main tactic was to grab robots and then dump them down the pit, however, ironically, Tough as Nails was the last robot in Robot Wars history to lose a battle by being pitted for twelve years, until the series was rebooted.
  • Tough as Nails is one of two semi-finalists from the Seventh Wars that lost its original qualifier battle and had to rely on a discretionary place from the producers. The other was the eventual champion, Typhoon 2.
  • The basic materials for the wheels were arranged by Maddox's former employers.
  • Along with Razer, Tornado, Storm 2, Behemoth, 101 and Manta, Tough as Nails is one of only seven robots to finish in the top four of a World Championship and reach the semi-finals of the domestic championship.
    • However, it is the only one of the six not to finish in at least the top eight.

External LinksEdit


  1. Correspondence with User:Toon Ganondorf
  2. Correspondence with User:Toon Ganondorf

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