About The Battle Scars
We WON our battle!. You may have seen a glimpse of us (but not even a TINY glimpse of our competitors) on the UK TV Robot Wars Grudge Match Special on 12th March 1999
Suffice to say that Slippery Strana was knocked about quite a bit, particularly by the House Robots, and shrugged it all off. We will not be back next year.
The three house robots in our mêlée were :
With shovel and diamond edged axe
Hydraulic tusks and a chainsaw tail
Pneumatic pincers and circular saw
And our honourable competitors were (in no particular order) :
Dominic Horner and Peter Moseley
Eric James and Michael Corbett
Mark and Paul Feltwell
With hindsight, we much regret not taking photos of our competitor robots or roboteers. Not even 'phone numbers! Delighted to say we've heard from the Spartacus crew, but if any more of you good guys read this page then please do get in touch with us and give us your perspective on the mêlée. I'll be glad to include
your darned opinions(cough) your respected viewpoints here. (Seriously, please do get in touch)
Our neighbours in the workshop area were Haydn Allen and Tom James with Spartacus. And Spartacus had the most serious weapon - something like the giant beak on a Triceratops, with echoes of Mole-Grip pliers. We now know it was a modified car jack!
And now we are CERTAIN it was Spartacus that put the few seriously deep dents in Slippery Strana's shell. We salute you Spartacus.
Click on the Triceratops for some pictures of our noble competitors.
Earlier, we thought it was the axe wielding Shunt that did the damage. Shunt had grabbed us and pounded us repeatedly - only to drop us and let us run off ! But read on . . .
The battle (really a mêlée) started with the house robots humming menacingly in the outer edge of the arena, in their Perimeter Patrol Zone, and us five competitor robots arranged just inside. Someone hinted to Charlie that he should make a quick getaway at the end of the countdown - "Roboteers Stand By - - - 3 - 2 - 1 - Activate", because Matilda was sitting just a metre behind Slippery Strana and was likely to make a quick grab for us. So, as soon as he heard ". . . Activate" Charlie accelerated Slippery Strana at full speed towards the centre of the arena. This was cleverer than it might seem, because Charlie's view of our start-corner was blocked !
Whirrr - Thump - Whirrr - Thump - Oops!
Charlie put into practice all he'd learnt in our Sainsbury's Homebase car park rehearsals. Rule 1 - keep moving. Rule 2 - be aggressive. Rule 3 - don't get trapped etc., etc. He zipped the bright yellow and red Slippery Strana across the arena, joined in the push and shove with our dull grey metallic opponents, gave back as many thumps as he got and took time out for an occasional pirouette between the prangs.
Our nerves went through hoops as we watched all this from a distance - and then - Oh Dear !, Slippery Strana was spending too much time just spinning. Was it Charlie showing off ? Was he being aggressive with something we couldn't see ? No ! Slippery Strana had lost control of one wheel. Charlie was spinning in the vain hope of avoiding the "you're dead and we're coming to eat you" clause in the House Robot's rules. But sadly, Slippery Strana was crippled and the house robots closed in. We were doomed.
Audience Ooohs And Aaahs
To the accompaniment of ooohs and aaahs from the audience, we were assaulted first by Matilda, then by Shunt and then by them both at the same time.
Matilda tried to slice us in half with her chain saw, but the chain saw teeth just slipped off Slippery Strana's armoured shell. Shunt then used its scoop to ram us against the heavy Matilda, and began pounding us with its diamond edged axe. This got a lot of attention from the audience and the ooohs and aaahs increased as the bang bang banging got louder.
Shunt then tried to tip us over, but Ha! Ha! - our spikes dug into the floor and Slippery Strana never quite rolled past its centre of gravity. When Shunt withdrew, Slippery Strana dropped hard onto the floor, and to our delight, both wheels worked again !
(Don't ask us why the wheel stopped working (embarassed cough); we're keeping it a secret.)
Back On Two Wheels - Now For Revenge
As soon as Charlie discovered he had full control, he made a bee-line for Matilda's tyres. Like a terrier snapping at the ankles of an alligator, he rammed and jabbed Slippery Strana's spikes at Matilda's side. Oh, revenge is sweet ! and it was good to hear some of the audience giggle at his cheekiness. It didn't last long though, as Charlie knew the odds were against him, especially when Dead Metal came lumbering over. So Slippery Strana rejoined the mêlée to pick on someone its own size.
Back in the mêlée, life is so unfair because two of our opponents ganged up on us to try to push us out of the arena, into the reach of the hungry House Robots in the Perimeter Patrol Zone. How dare they ?! But their efforts were to no avail for two reasons: Firstly, Slippery Strana's wheels have excellent traction, and secondly (just as Charlie was winning the push, dammit!), the 'voice from above' commanded us all to "Cease - - - and deactivate robots." The battle was over.
Did We Do Well ?
All 5 robots obediently stopped, and we waited patiently for a judge's decision. And we waited some more. And some more. Then, to help the judges finalise their scoring, the 'voice from above' asked all roboteers to move around the arena a little. Charlie took this opportunity to spin another pirouette and to zip a couple of times - very visibly - across the arena. One of our competitors seemed to take offence at this and Charlie found himself in a dangerous post-battle push-and-shove, which mercifully didn't last long.
So - Who Won Then ?
I think all 5 of us Lightweight Class robots were still able to move after the mêlée, and the judges took a further few minutes to announce Slippery Strana as the winner (or maybe the delay in announcing the winner was deliberate, to enhance the atmosphere?) (who's an old sceptic?). We make no apologies for dwelling on Slippery Strana's plight in the story above, after all, we were set-upon by some big beasts, as well as by our fellow competitors !
In the heat of the battle, we can't recall who or what inflicted most damage, but everything is relative - and really, our robot came out relatively unscathed. I think Slippery Strana left the Arena with its tail (?) up, and it did us proud.
Late News - Slippery Strana can
With the battle behind us (for this year), we had a great time, and felt free to push Slippery Strana to the limit. We learnt that our robot can even fly - - - if you run it at full speed off a high kerb !
I can report that Slippery Strana is still running as well as ever, and the only part that suffered any 'damage' during our post-battle run-around was one of the new Mark 2 spikes. It bent when a wall refused to yield to a top speed charge.
A Good Fight
This page updated on 2007-04-15