On 12th November a crew came to film for the VT segment that would be shown if we progressed beyond the first round. Tom gave a long interview, then we went down to Turvey Motors to film Tauron spinning round, then back home for a load of mean and moody shots involving a blowtorch (Tom didn't laugh at this bit... honest!) and some slow head turns to look into the camera in a threatening manner. We weren't quite prepared for how long it would take, but copious mugs of tea, and a lot of cookies and banana & chocolate chip cake kept everyone going. As you can see, by this stage the welding was largely complete (we'd actually left a bit unfinished, specially for the filming), but we still hadn't painted Tauron or attached any of his armour.
Arriving in the Pits
So after a very long trip up north, we finally arrived in Glasgow (this was actually the second time I’d been up there for Robot Wars, as I’d been to the recording of the pilot episode back in the last series). The first thing that told us we were at Robot Wars was the noise – even outside the warehouse you could hear the crowd cheering and sounds from inside the pit. After making our way to the warehouse, we parked up outside and stuck our heads in. The whole area was filled with pit tables and robots I’d seen on TV… I think surreal was the best word to describe it all! And here we were, about to be very much amongst it all. So the warehouse door opened, we unloaded Tauron onto a trolley, and rolled on in.
It was at this point that I got a very convenient phone call – remember that dead weapon motor? Well, luckily, the person that I was buying the replacement motor from (Sean of Team Phantom) was also in the audience that day. So I met up with him just outside the pits where he handed over a very heavy box, and we got to work installing the new motor, with help from numerous other roboteers (what are all of your favourite drinks, as I’m buying!) The next day we were due to fight… and the rest is history. To find out what happened next, read on (spoilers, duh).
Tauron vs Robots
Well that could have gone better. Trust me, no one's more disappointed than I am!
If you've read everything this far, you'll know that we were in the pits with a new motor, courtesy of Team Phantom. There was of course the small issue of controlling the motor, as our speed controller was dead. It was at this point that we met up with Rory (Nuts), and Dave (Jellyfish) - you guys are awesome. They helped us source a powerful solenoid just in the nick of time to control the weapon motor. We went through safety and passed (the fire alarm actually went off at the exact same time I span up the weapon, does anyone in the audience remember this?) We carried the robot onto the table where Dara was waiting for our interview. If I come off as a little excited during our interview, that’s why - we had just passed safety, literally seconds earlier, after the most stressful couple of days of my life! It was just after this that I sent a very swear laden text to my mum, who was in the audience, saying that we were good to go into the arena (sorry, mum!) Also, thanks for putting up with us, safety Ed!
After a short walk down the lights, we made in into the arena. A few minutes later, 3...2...1.. Activate! We spin up the weapon. Death hum. We get a nudge from Thor, we get a good hit on him (look for those sparks!) and stun him. He can't move for a few seconds other than swing the axe. Then Concussion comes in and give us a good hit.
It was at this time that we lost power to both weapon and drive, and our power LEDs were out. We had been hit in just the right way to dislodge our link. Shortly after leaving the arena we put Tauron straight in the test box, put the link back in and voila! Worked perfectly. We even span the weapon up. We spent the rest of our time at Robot Wars helping other teams out whenever we could.
Anyway, we had an absolutely fantastic time at Robot Wars. It was a genuine childhood dream of mine to go on the show, and hopefully the dream isn’t over just yet. We’re also especially thrilled that Concussion have made it through - it’s great to see our pit buddies, and a fellow newbie team, do so well! Give em’ hell lads, we’ll be cheering for you in the final! :)
We’d love to come back for the next series. Hopefully the BBC will let this newbie team come back - as we have some unfinished business! One thing I can say though, is that we have applied for the next series and hopefully we’ll make it back, as we’ve been building Tauron (Mk.2) for some time now (literally since the day we got back from Glasgow) and quite frankly it’s a monster! We’d love to be part of the crazy roboteer family again, and as a wise machine once said... I’ll be back.
To all the roboteers we met and everyone else that helped us out (you know who you are!) - we love you all.