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Walkerbots

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Walkerbots (also known as Walkers or Walking Robots) are robots which use legs and/or feet as locomotion instead of traditional wheels or tracks. They first appeared in Robot Wars: The Second Wars, with Jim Struts competing in - and winning - the Reserve Rumble shown at the end of that series. The most successful walkerbot to date is Anarchy, which reached the Heat Final and won the 'Best Engineered' award in Series 6.

Walkerbots were relatively uncommon in Robot Wars, with fourteen traditional walkers having appeared across all series. They have also proved largely unsuccessful in combat, with only Anarchy and Clawed Hopper having progressed beyond the first round in the main UK series.

DefinitionEdit

Jim struts

Jim Struts, the first walkerbot to appear in Robot Wars

Clawd Hopper Twister

Clawed Hopper slowly pushes Twister towards the pit

As their name implies, walkerbots use 'legs' and/or 'feet' as their sole method of locomotion, which enable them to 'walk' across the arena floor. The 'legs' and 'feet' can assume a variety of forms, including metal beams, bars, box-sections or pipes, and can be powered by a variety of walking mechanisms, such as gears (Anarchy), cranks (Stomp) or hydraulic actuators (Jim Struts, Eleven).

To encourage innovation and creativity, walkerbots were initially allowed to weigh twice as much as conventional robots, which also allowed for the extra weight of the walking mechanisms they used. For example, in the main Heavyweight class, they were allowed to weigh up to 160kg between Series 1 and 4, and 200kg between Series 5 and 7: double the weight limits enforced in those respective series.

Between Series 8 and Series 9, the maximum weight limit for walkerbots was reduced to 135kg - only 25kg higher than the limit for conventional heavyweights – somewhat discouraging them from those series of the rebooted Robot Wars. For the forthcoming Series 10, the weight limit for heavyweight walkerbots was increased to 145kg, in order to encourage more robots of their kind to be entered for that series.[1]

Weight ClassesEdit

Weight Category Series 1-4 Series 5-7/
Extreme/
International
Series 8-9 Series 10
Featherweight 24kg 24kg N/A 17.6kg
Lightweight 54kg 54kg N/A N/A
Middleweight 108kg 108kg N/A N/A
Heavyweight 160kg 200kg 135kg 145kg

ShufflebotsEdit

A variant of the walker, the shufflebot, substitutes legs for long sections, or 'banks', of feet positioned in line with each other. The 'feet' move in an elliptical pattern, guided by a camshaft mechanism, enabling the robot to 'shuffle' across the arena. Although no shufflebots ever competed in the UK Championship, robots from international series, such as the American Drillzilla, the German Ansgar and the Dutch Scarab utilised this 'shuffling' mechanism, with Drillzilla being the most successful, winning the Annihilator and Tag Team Terror and coming second in the Second World Championship. Unlike traditional walkerbots, shufflebots tended to be much faster and have more room for tougher armour and more efficient weapons, as well as being much more successful in competition.

Shufflebots were originally classified as walkers and allowed double the weight limit in their respective weight classes. However, in 2001, the distinction between them and walkers was officially recognised in the American robot combat show BattleBots, after a shufflebot, Son of Whyachi, won the Season 3.0 heavyweight division there. As a result, the weight limit for heavyweight shufflebots was reduced from 200kg to 150kg, only 50kg more than standard heavyweights, a factor which resulted in Drillzilla not returning for the second season of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors. However, this rule change was not immediately recognised by Mentorn themselves, and therefore not enforced in UK and European domestic competitions until Series 6.[2]

Even following the introduction of the reduced weight limit, the 200kg shufflebots Ansgar's Revenge and Ansgar 3 were allowed to compete in German Robot Wars and The Third World Championship, which were filmed around the same time as Series 6 and Series 7 respectively.

Shufflebots were given further handicaps from Series 8 onwards, with the heavyweight limit for the new series being reduced from 150kg to 120kg; a mere 10kg heavier than a wheeled or tracked heavyweight robot, and 15kg less than a conventional heavyweight walker. The heavyweight shufflebot limit was further amended to 125kg for Series 10 onwards.

Weight ClassesEdit

Weight Category Series 1-4 Series 5/
Extreme 1/
International
Series 6-7/
Extreme 2/
International
Series 8-9 Series 10
Featherweight 24kg 24kg N/A N/A 15.1kg
Heavyweight 160kg 200kg 150kg 120kg 125kg

NOTE: Shufflebots were classified as walkerbots prior to Series 6

Advantages and DisadvantagesEdit

The primary advantage of walkerbots is their additional weight over conventional robots, while their primary disadvantage is their slower speed. Shufflebots like Drillzilla often achieved a compromise which enabled them to gain a weight advantage without sacrificing speed.

AdvantagesEdit

Anarchy vs Judge Shred 2 vs Thor

Anarchy's weight prevented Judge Shred 2½ from completely flipping it over

Drillzilla and firestorm

Drillzilla rams Firestorm 3 into the pit release button

BiggerBrotherClawedHopper

The gyroscopic motions of Clawed Hopper kept it on its feet even as its slow speed made it vulnerable to getting flipped in the first place

  • Extra weight could make walkerbots much more difficult to flip than conventional robots. Notably, Anarchy was considerably heavier than the maximum lifting capacity of Judge Shred 2½'s flipper, and proved difficult to flip over when both robots fought each other in Series 6.
  • Walkerbots could offer exceptional pushing power with their greater weight - even early walkerbots like Clawed Hopper were able to easily outpush opponents such as Hammer & Tong and Twister.
    • Shufflebots combined this extra pushing power with faster and lighter cam-driven mechanisms. Drillzilla was especially notable for its pushing power and high top speed, which ensured its success in The Second World Championship and numerous competitions in Extreme Warriors.

DisadvantagesEdit

AnarachnidMammothWalker

Anarachnid's (right) slow speed ensured that it took over forty seconds to approach Mammoth (left) during their Series 3 Walker Battle

S4HeatN2.1

Millennium Bug has one of its leg guards flicked off by Judge Shred 2

"Don't make any plans for next summer...Clawed Hopper will still be here"
— Jonathan Pearce on Clawed Hopper's lack of speed
  • Walkerbots generally tended to be considerably slower and less manoeuvrable than conventional wheeled or tracked designs, as a result of their more complex, cumbersome and generally inefficient walking mechanisms. Clawed Hopper was easily outmanoeuvred by Bigger Brother and unable to turn front on in time to prevent it from being flipped.
  • Earlier walkerbots had a tendency to become unstable while walking, as a result of their heavier weight and lack of balance. Ian Inglis of Team EyeEye discovered these issues while testing Jim Struts, and acknowledged them in an interview shown before the Series 2 Reserve Rumble.
"It's not very stable. It keeps on falling over in the garden, we've crashed a few rose bushes and things like that."
— Ian Inglis explains Jim Struts' stability issues to Philippa Forrester
  • If exposed, the 'legs' of a walkerbot can be easily damaged or destroyed by most weapons. Millennium Bug in particular had its legs damaged by Judge Shred 2 and X-Terminator 2 during its Series 4 eliminator, while Black Widow's legs were smashed by Hypno-Disc.
  • Most early walkerbots featured minimal or no weaponry, making them largely or fully incapable of damaging opponents. Some, such as Jim Struts and Stomp, were capable of using their walking mechanisms as weapons in spite of this, although their effectiveness was limited.
  • While more difficult to achieve, it was not entirely impossible for a walkerbot to be toppled or flipped over if they had a high ground clearance and/or centre of gravity. Featherweight Mammoth's defeat to DTK in the Series 7 Featherweight Championship was indicative of this.

List of Walkerbots/ShufflebotsEdit

Anarachnid

Anarachnid

Anarchy

Anarchy

Ansgar 3

Ansgar 3

Clawedhopper

Clawed Hopper in Series 4

Eleven

Eleven

Miss struts

Miss Struts

Namazu

Namazu

Stomp

Stomp

Robots are listed alphabetically. Walkerbots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background. Shufflebots are listed with a blue background.

Robot Series Appearances Notes
Anarachnid Series 3 Walker Battles only. Six pairs of legs driven by rotary mechanisms.
Anarchy Series 6 Eight legs operated by gears, sprockets and chains. Armed with a pneumatic flipper and axe. Series 6 Heat Finalist and winner of the 'Best Engineered' award in the same series.
Ansgar's Revenge Series 6, German Series
Ansgar 3 Series 7 Competed exclusively in The Third World Championship. Armed with a horizontal spinning blade.
Black Widow Series 5 Armed with a 180-degree axe and spikes.
Clawed Hopper Series 4-5 Walking mechanism consisted of a rectangular frame moving in an elliptical pattern, and a turntable for turning round with a zero-degree circle. Frame equipped with spikes and steel claws. First walkerbot to win a battle in the main UK Series championship.
Drillzilla Extreme 1, US Season 1 Top speed of 40mph, armed with cutting jaws and a rear drill. Second World Championship runner-up, US Season 1 Annihilator and Tag Team Terror co-champion.
Eleven Series 5 Four legs powered by hydraulics. Armed with a set of lifting/grabbing jaws.
Jim Struts Series 2 Reserve Rumble winner. First walkerbot to appear – and win a battle – in Robot Wars. Four legs operated by hydraulics and featuring 'ski-lift' feet. Feet were used to lift and clamp opponents.
Mammoth (Lightweight) Series 3, Extreme 1-2 Walker Battles only in Series 3. Series 3 version propelled by eight legs; Extreme versions used two strips of metal as 'feet' and tubes as stabilisers. Entered into the Middleweight Championship in both series of Extreme despite being a lightweight.
Mammoth (Featherweight) Series 7 Featherweight Championship only.
Millennium Bug Series 4 Eight legs made from scaffolding pipes.
Miss Struts Series 3 Walker Battles only. Four legs powered by actuators.
Namazu Dutch Series 2 Eight legs. Armed with a vertical crushing arm.
Neoteric Extreme 2 Featherweight Championship only. Armed with a large vertical cutting disc.
RT81 Extreme 2 Chassis made out of a lorry tyre. Armed with an electric hammer mounted on a 360-degree rotating turret.
Scarab Dutch Series 2 Armed with large front pincers.
Stomp Series 3 Walker Battles only. Pair of box-sectioned 'feet' designed to move together the end of three cranks. Turntable used to turn the robot round and hit opponents with its 'feet' as it spun.

ReferencesEdit

  1. https://soundcloud.com/insidethebot/13th-march-2017-robot-wars-rule-change-special-ft-henry-imbert-grant-cooper-james-cooper
  2. Run Amok Website - Who Won, Series 7 rules and regulations

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