Wedges are a common design element found in many combat robots which competed in Robot Wars. They exist as both a full-sized body shape and as a smaller element of various other body styles, which can be doubled to function as a static weapon capable of fulfilling many different purposes.
Before the beginning of the televised UK Championship, robots like Wedge of Doom and La Machine enjoyed considerable success in tournaments through utilising their wedges in tandem with their drive power. Roadblock was the first Robot Wars competitor to achieve success through its wedge shape, winning Series 1 of the original UK TV show and finishing third in Series 2. Other robots, such as its successor Beast of Bodmin, would also achieve similar successes in the earlier series of the original UK Series.
As Robot Wars progressed, wedges became less effective on their own with the prevalence of invertible machines and self-righting mechanisms. After Series 4, most wedges were either combined with other weapons, such as flippers or lifting weapons, or added to invertible machines. Series 6 champion Tornado and Series 7 runner-up Storm 2 were among the invertible robots to use armoured wedges to breach ground clearances, even if the traditional tactic of overturning opponents was no longer the end result.
A wedge or ramp is a body shape or attachment which slopes to the ground and creates a triangular shape from the side profile. The bottom of the wedge is designed to negotiate an opponent's ground clearance in order to let it run up the top and be lifted off the arena floor. Depending on the angle in which an opponent is positioned on the robot's wedge, it can be either driven around the arena towards walls and arena hazards, or - as commonly demonstrated by full-sized wedges - turned over completely.
Quite often, a wedge can also be classified as a ramming blade.
Advantages and DisadvantagesEdit
- Wedges are among some of the easiest weapons to design and build, being only as expensive as the robot's chassis.
- Wedges offered a useful synergy when combined with another weapon, especially flippers, crushers, vertical spinners or overhead weapons such as axes and hammers. As robot designs evolved, traditional wedges would inherently assume some form of front- or rear-hinged flipping or lifting weapons, such as the designs for Spawn Again, Firestorm and Apollo.
- In the event of a robot's main weapon becoming disabled or damaged, a wedge can still prove an effective back-up weapon if it is used to push opponents around. For example, US Season 2 competitor The Bat was still able to push Mad Cow Bot with its rear wedge after its vertical flywheel stopped functioning during their second-round battle.
- In earlier series, wedges were very effective knock-out weapons, as few robots had self-righting mechnanisms. Roadblock, Beast of Bodmin and Thing 2 were especially effective at defeating their opponents in this way.
- Heavily-armoured wedges could prove to be very durable defensive weapons against powerful spinning weapons. Tornado's 'charity scoop', for example, was able to withstand Hypno-Disc's flywheel as well as exploit its ground clearance during their Series 6 Semi-Final battle.
- Even in later series, smaller wedges could be used to push very effectively. This is best shown in Storm 2's successes in Series 7 and Extreme 2, where it used its front wedge to breach ground clearances and push opponents around. Tornado also managed this to great effect in Series 6-7 and Extreme 2 using its interchangeable 'charity scoop'.
- With the invention and popularity of srimechs, the traditional tactic of using wedges to overturn other robots became very ineffective on its own.
- Additionally, without the use of a srimech or a weapon with a self-righting capability, they were unable to allow the robot to right themselves when flipped. This was particularly telling in the defeats of Roadblock and Thing 2 in Series 2 and 3 respectively, with both robots succumbing once they were overturned.
- Low wedges are often problematic when navigating uneven surfaces, often being hindered by slight imperfections in the arena floor. Vector of Armageddon's was unable to complete its Gauntlet run in Series 1 after getting beached on the second ramp due to its low ground clearance, while robots such as Storm 2 and Firestorm 4 would later get themselves wedged under the Floor Spinner/Disc of Doom at various points during Extreme 2.
- Although they can be incorporated into invertible designs, an inverted wedge was usually far less effective and often counted against a robot. Tornado's scoop had considerably less potency once it was flipped over by Bigger Brother in the Extreme 2 All-Stars, allowing Bigger Brother to resist its shoves and pit Tornado with ease. Some exceptions to this do exist, such as the invertible flippers of St. Agro and Wheely Big Cheese.
- From Series 7 onwards, basic wedges were effectively outlawed unless paired with an active weapon. While the majority of wedge-shaped robots inherently featured moving weapons to begin with, this rule change resulted in Storm 2 and Tornado needing to adopt a lifting arm and a flail respectively in order to remain eligible to compete.
- If the wedge sustains a significant amount of damage, it will bend and therefore be no longer able to get underneath opponents. The most severe case of this occurred during Bulldog Breed's loss against X-Terminator in Series 7, where repeated attacks from X-Terminator's flywheel buckled Bulldog Breed's wedge and flipper plate to prevent it from doing so.
List of Robots with WedgesEdit
NB: Many famous wedge-shaped robots, such as Firestorm, Chaos 2 and Apollo, are excluded from this list due to them incorporating other prominent weapons such as their flippers. Only robots whose wedges were considered to be their primary weapon are included below.
Robots are listed alphabetically. Robots which are not heavyweight entries are listed with a green background.
|Robot||Series Appearances with Wedges||Notes|
|Aggrobot||Series 3||'Tongue' acted as a front wedge; later versions were invertible robots with lifting wedges (Aggrobot 2) or invertible wedge-shaped robots with small lifting arms (Aggrobot 3, Series 7 version).|
|All Torque||Series 3|
|Ally Gator||Series 3||Weapon acted as a ramming blade.|
|Beast of Bodmin||Series 3||Also featured a very narrow flipping ram on the wedge tip, which was rarely used. Series 3 Semi-Finalist and successor to Roadblock.|
|Big Brother||Series 3||Also featured a chain-flail mace, which was rarely used. Predecessor to Bigger Brother.|
|Chimera2||Series 9||Armed with a torque reaction axe and front wedge.|
|Corporal Punishment||Series 3|
|Crippler||Series 3||Featured front and rear ramps.|
|Cunning Plan||Series 1||Series 1 Grand Finalist. Held the Shortest Battle Record until Series 3.|
|Darke Destroyer 2||Series 4|
|Demolition Demon||Series 2|
|Demolisher||Series 1-2||Series 2 Featherweight Champion. Very steep, never got under a robot.|
|Demon Duck||Series 2|
|Dominator||Series 3||Pinball Competition only. Design utilised a long traditional wedge at the rear, which was superseded by the distinctive bi-wedge design of its successor, Dominator 2.|
|Grunt||Series 1||Stock Robot.|
|Heavy Metal||Series 9||Built by Team 13. Equipped with a unique rotating arm, though relied more on the wedge to win battles.|
|Krayzee Tokyo||Series 1|
|Micro-Mute||Series 7, Extreme 2||Extreme 2 Featherweight Finalist.|
|Miss Ile||Series 3|
|Onslaught||Series 2||Converted into a lifting scoop for future series.|
|Prometheus (US)||Series 3|
|Revolution 3||Series 7||Interchangeable with a spinning drum weapon, but never seen in combat.|
|Roadblock||Series 1-2||Series 1 Champion and Third Place finisher in Series 2. Both the main wedge and the lower scoop-like lip were made out of road signs.|
|R.O.C.S. 2||Series 3|
|Storm 2||Series 7-8, Extreme 2||Later modified to incorporate the robot's lifting arm, added in order to comply with the active weapons rule. Combined with the robot's speed and pushing power. Extreme 2 New Blood Champion, Series 7 runner-up and Third World Champion.|
|The Bat||US Season 2||Unpowered hinged wedge was mounted at the rear and featured angled sides. The Bat primarily used its vertical flywheel to attack opponents, although the wedge was still used whenever the flywheel stopped working.|
|The Swarm||Series 10||One of the clusterbots named Skye was armed with no active weapon, using purely its parallelogram wedge shape to attack.|
|Thing 2||Series 3||Original wedge later had a lifter and horizontal flywheel added to it in various incarnations of its successor, Wild Thing. Series 3 Semi-Finalist.|
|Tornado||Series 6-7, Extreme 1-2, US Season 2||Nicknamed the 'Charity Scoop' due to its regular use at live events. Part of an interchangeable weapons set from Series 6 onwards, fitted with a flail in Series 7 in order to comply with the active weapons rule. Series 6 Champion and Series 7 third-place finisher, among several other championship victories, with this weapon.|
|Track-tion||Series 10||Swapped its horizontal crusher for an actuated wedge lent to the team from the robot Vulture in two fights of its Series 10 campaign.|
|Tyke||German Series 1||German Series Grand Finalist, finishing fourth. Wedge did not lay flat, rather was spiked at the front.|
|Vector of Armageddon||Series 1|
|WYSIWYG||Series 1||Stock Robot.|