Battlebots 2020 Episode 2 review Ghost Raptor vs Shatter

It’s great to see Chuck Pitzer back with Ghost Raptor. The unusual duel weapon design of Ghost Raptor combined with Chuck’s highly aggressive driving always made for a great fight in the first couple of seasons of Battlebots. However this year’s Ghost Raptor does look like a slightly rushed design with not a whole lot of armour. The drive pods way out on each side of the robot look particularly exposed and the first pictures I saw of Ghost Raptor had me worried. But Chuck is an experienced builder so maybe there will be more to Ghost Raptor than I first thought.

In contrast to the lack of armour on Ghost Raptor, Shatter is absolutely covered in soft, shock absorbing UHMW polyethylene armour. I think Adam Wrigley has made a mistake in describing the polyethylene as “ablative armour” implying that the armour is meant to be damaged and break off the robot to absorb energy from attacks. I am sure Adam was using this term to try and persuade the judges that any cosmetic damage to the armour is intentional and should not be counted against Shatter because the polyethylene will get torn up by anything sharper than a spoon. However I think that by repeatedly using the term ablative to describe the armour caused the judges to be hyper aware that Shatters armour will be damaged and the judges attention will be drawn to any marks made to the armour. In fact, before the fight even started, during the in-arena function test Shatter lost several reflective stickers from the polyethylene due to the stickers not being able to bond to the polyethylene. Chris Rose then stated that Shatters ablative armour was coming off as intended. I am sure if Adam didn’t use the term ablative to describe the armour then Chris would have just said that the stickers were falling off, which sounds a lot less serious. But Shatter has both an axe weapon and mecanum wheel based omni-directional drive so it will always be one of my favorites.

The fight starts with Ghost Raptor spinning up the bar spinner and Shatter taking an axe swing right into Ghost Raptors weapon after waiting for the weapon to get up to speed. This seems to be the end of the bar spinner as Ghost Raptor doesn’t spin the weapon again but instead concentrates on using its lifter to try and turn Shatter over. Shatter on the other hand continues to loose all of its stickers plus the 3D printed top covers. Again this is only cosmetic parts falling off Shatter but again Chris announces that Shatters ablative armour is being damaged.

After Ghost Raptor pins Shatter against a wall but is unable to flip Shatter over Shatter is able to turn and land a couple of hits on Ghost Raptor. At this point it seems that Shatter has lost one of its wheels as it seems to only be able to move diagonally. But it doesn’t matter as Ghost Raptor overheats and begins to burn it’s drive motors. After both robots are stuck against the screws Shatter wriggles free off-camera (hmmmm. And where did all the smoke go? I think the fight was paused here and Shatter dragged off the screws) Ghost Raptor is counted out. Winner: Shatter.

So, despite Shatter not being hit by Ghost Raptors bar spinner it was stated that Shatter took damage due to the cosmetics falling off. Maybe Adam should stop using the term ablative armour to describe the polyethylene armour. Ghost Raptor on the other hand looked to be right on the edge design wise with all the lightening holes drilled all over the chassis and lack of armour showing that Chuck was battling with the weight limit when building Ghost Raptor. Also Ghost Raptor loosing both drive motors spectacularly during a pretty standard shoving match make me think that the electrical design is pushing the limits of what the components are capable of a little too hard. So in conclusion I think Shatter has some minor teething issues while Ghost Raptor may need a major rebuild.

Battlebots 2020 Episode 1 review Fusion vs Mad Catter

Fusion is the anticipated dual weapon robot built by Reese Ewert of team Whyachi. Fusion has both a horizontal spinner on one end of the robot and a vertical spinner on the other making it look like a robot designed by a 5 year old. It is well built and very compact with the Whyachi robots being known for being quite pricey with no expense spared in either materials, components or manufacturing techniques.

Mad Catter is more of a classic 4wd vertical spinner design but does have a self-righter that doubles as a lifter. This shows a lot of thought has gone into the design as weight has not been wasted on a single purpose self-righter. While Mad Catters creator Martin Mason brings a lot of energy to his on-screen antics Mad Catters driving is more subdued. This might be more to difficulty Mad Catter seems to have turning.

The fight starts with a classic box rush from Mad Catter. However a box rush on Fusion is only going to hinder the front facing weapon unless it can be pushed back into the wall. In this case the vertical weapon was hindered but the horizontal spinner was allowed to get up to speed. Despite the vertical weapon on Fusion being stopped Reese still insisted on driving Fusion forward into Mad Catter rather than turning around. Since Mad Catter was sluggishly turning to face Fusion it would have been the perfect time to use the horizontal weapon. The seconds after the box rush shows the lack of awareness from both drivers. Fusion should have turned to use the faster spinning weapon and Mad Catter should have driven forward to put more distance between itself and Fusion before attempting the sluggish turn to face it’s opponent.

It doesn’t take Reese long to realise he is using the wrong weapon and turns to use the horizontal weapon. This is when we get to learn why having both a vertical and a horizontal spinner on the one robot is a bad idea. Normally when a robot hits with a horizontal spinner it is jerked sideways due to the hit. With the vertical spinner creating its own gyroscopic forces the sideways motion the robot twists around an axis perpendicular to the axis of both weapons and Fusion flips over. Fusion can’t have both weapons spinning at full speed at the same time and hit something with either weapon without the other weapon flipping Fusion over. The large shocks and twists Fusion takes seems to cause the electronics to short circuit. Seeing how little smoke was produced for the amount of fire that came out of Fusion my guess is that it wasn’t a battery fire.

Battlebots 2020 Episode 1 review Skorpios vs Bloodsport

Skorpios looks very similar to last year and is the classic overhead saw robot with a very solid wedge. Bloodsport on the other hand has been completely redesigned from last year. It is still an overheard horizontal bar spinner but no longer has the circular chassis but now looks like a smaller Son of Whyachi. I really liked Bloodsport last year but it had some reliability issues.

The fight starts with the usual box rush from Skorpios but Bloodsport was able to avoid it. Bloodsport is obviously afraid of Skorpios front armour and instead attempts to drive around the side to attack Skorpios’ wheels. Zachary Lytle was able to keep Skorpios pointed at Bloodsport so Justin Marple had to drive Bloodsport into Skorpios wedge. The hit didn’t damage the front armor but instead spun Skorpios around and Bloodsport was now able to attack the right wheel of Skorpios. The only damage made during this exchange was that Bloodsport lost 2 of its wedglets. This repeated a couple of times until Bloodsports weapon slowed and Skorpios was able to shove Bloodsport into a wall. However the overhead saw was damaged and Skorpios was not able to use it.

Zachary looks very confidant in the front armor of Skorpios and it looks well deservered as Bloodsports hits many times but does no damage. That is until Bloodsport caught the edge of the wedge and starts to peel it off. At this point Justin Marple is heard saying that Bloodsports weapon was overheating and needed to cool. This is not something I have heard very often with most robot drivers just repeatedly yelling “Spin Up!!” and damn the smoke, especially if the other robot is showing signs of damage. But Skorpios is not looking good with the right hand wheel clearly not working and smoke coming from the hole that had opened up on that side of the robot. Bloodsport starts the weapon up but does not use it and waits for Skorpios to be counted out.

This was a great fight between two solid robots. It really looked like it could have gone either way for most of the match. It also really shows how aggressive a driver can be when they are confident that their armor can hold up.

Battlebots 2020 Episode 1 Sporkinok vs Rusty

This is the opposite of the last match with two first time robots. Sporkinok is an axe or lifter robot. In this fight Lilith Specht decided to remove the axe and just run as a lifter. Rusty is a pure junk robot that lives up to its name. Rusty is also an axe robot built by David Eaton out of junk he found on his parents farm.

Sporkinok started the fight well despite having some control issues with the robot. This was probably due to the wheels being so far behind the centre of gravity of the robot. Sporkinok was able to flip Rusty onto its side and it took David a while to get Rusty upright. It seems that there is a several second delay from when David fires Rusty’s axe to when Rusty actually responds which is seen later in the march as well. After the first flip Sporkinok is not able to lower it’s lifter completely and also seems to have even more trouble driving. This allows Rusty to haphazardly drive around to attack the rear of Sporkinok and bring it’s axe down on the drive Sporkinok. I am not sure if Rusty’s axe actually did any damage but Sporkinok was unable to turn or reverse after this attack and become stuck against the side of the arena. K.O. to Rusty.

Battlebots 2020 episode 1 review End Game vs Tombstone

The first main event of 2020 is between two classic robots. End Game is a basic vertical spinner but with a beefed up front wedge for this fight and Tombstone is a basic horizontal bar spinner. Both of these robots are the simplest form of their respective class of spinner and robots like these two are in every competition. It is very strange then that any horizontal bar spinner with exposed wheels is called a Tombstone clone but vertical spinners are not called a clone of any other vertical spinner. This is probably because Ray Billings has been competing with Last Rites/Tombstone for such a long time and has always made an impression. In fact I still have clear memories of Last Rites from Robogames 2007 and the noise it made. I just don’t like calling robots Tombstone clones and feel that some new builders feel restricted from building a horizontal bar spinner in case they might be accused of making a clone. I think if you see another robot you like and want to copy the design then go ahead. But that doesn’t have anything to do with this fight.

With a classic match like this the tactics used by the drivers is well known. End Game wants to attack Tombstones wheels or rear while Tombstone wants to get to the side of End Games wedge. Both Ray and Jack are known for being good drivers who are confident in their robots so this was a fight I was looking forward to like the Saw Blaze vs Whiplash fight. But unlike Saw Blaze vs Whiplash both End Game and Tombstone are extremely hard hitting so I was predicting this fight to come down to the first hit and was expecting a few seconds of strategic manoeuvring.

This fight was quick, lasting just 10 seconds. It turns out that the first hit was a front on hit by both robots in the centre of the box. No careful manoeuvring or sizing up. Just spin up the weapon and drive straight at the other guy. Tombstone hit the wedge on End Game and was turned around to face away from End Game. Ray tried to spin Tombstone around to hit End Games side (Ray always spins right to do this?) but End Game continues to drive forward. End Game hits Tombstones right wheel and both robots are thrown into different walls of the arena. While End Game immediately recovers and drives straight at Tombstone again Tombstone shudders forwards and backwards but doesn’t get away from the wall which also prevents the weapon from spinning. Perhaps the hit on the wheel damaged something or Tombstone is caught on the wall. We don’t get a chance to find out as End Game hits Tombstone in the side again and flips Tombstone over the wall and out of the arena.

Before and after the match the End Game guys like to explain how much they studied Rey’s driving to develop the best tactics to beat Tombstone. After watching this fight a few times I guess the strategy they developed was to drive straight at Tombstone and hit him fast and often.

Battlebots 2020 Episode 1 review Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee vs Sharkoprion

Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, like Huge, is another example of a successful hobby weight class robot being scaled up to a heavyweight. I think for featherweights and lower as being a hobby robot while heavier robots as being being more professional due to the cost and labour involved in building them. But due to several density differences in the componants designs that work well in the hobby classes may not work so well in the prefensional classes. By density I mean things like the weight of a motor suitable for an antweight as a percentage of the robots total weight might be smaller percentage of the weight in a heavyweight. Likewise a battery that can handle the current draw of the antweight motor is easier and cheaper to buy than a battery for a heavyweight as the heavyweight motor can draw an exponentially larger amount of current. And not only do the electronics need to be larger and heavier for the current draw but also the wire and connectors. 0.5g of wire in an antweight getting jostled by an impact is different than 5kg of wire in a heavyweight. Fasteners like screws and bolts are proportionally larger in an antweight where a large 3mm bolt holding in a motor in an antweight would be at least 30mm in a heavyweight if scaled up directly and be deemed too heavy.

Basically parts of the robot that most people don’t consider behave completely differently when the size of the robot is scaled up to a larger weight class. The forces involved in an antweight are completely different relative to a heavyweight. A ridiculously wide antweight does not require much torque to turn on the spot but a 3m wide 100kg robot takes a lot of effort to turn. This isn’t even taking into account to speed that the wheels will need to turn to get the robot to turn at a reasonable rate. If Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee is 3m access then the wheels would need to run at 17km/h for Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee to make a complete turn in one second, and 1 second to turn around is not great.

So Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee is a comically wide wedge and it works well as a beetleweight. It is basically two smaller robots attached to each end of a long piece of steel that acts as a wedge. While this works well for a 1.3kg robot I am not sure that a 3m wide 100kg robot will be able to turn. The massive increase in the moment of inertia to turn the robot may be too much and Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee will just not be able to turn. Sharkoprion on the other hand is well known to be a quick and manoeuvrable robot. I know the idea of Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee is that it is so wide that other robots can’t get around it but we’ll see if it can turn fast enough to make that idea worthwhile.

When the fight starts Sharkoprion does not try to out manoeuvre Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee despite Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee demonstrating that it has trouble turning but instead attacks the centre of Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees wedge. Edward Robinson backs Sharkoprion off and then attacks the wedge of Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee a couple more times before trying to get around to the rear of Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. However Sharkoprion seems to have its right drive fail after driving over one of Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees weapons. The wheel doesn’t look damaged and the drive chain is still in place so I am not sure what happened.

Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee continues to try an push Sharkoprion around but does not seem to have any power. Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee either struggles to turn or when it does get in a position to push the spring loaded wedge prevents it from doing so. The fight continues for 3 the full 3 minutes with Sharkoprion spining to hit Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee with its tail or tries to bite the wedge and Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee trying unsuccessfully to wrap around Sharkoprion. The fight ends up going to Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee by a judges decision due to the lose of Sharkoprions drive being counted as damaged by Smeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Interesting to note how much the damage counted in this match over control.

Battlebots 2020 Episode 1 review Lok Jaw vs Captain Shrederator

This is a battle of the old guys. Donald Hutson and Brian Nave have been around for many years and have really refined their robots. Lock Jaw is a great modular robot that Donald can modify quickly to match any opponent. Donald is also a thoughtful but aggressive driver who can also addapt quickly to a changing situation during a fight. Captain Shrederator on the other hand has been having reliability issues the last few years. The reporting pre-fight explains that Brian is using an older version of Captain Shrederator but the shell design doesn’t look so old to me. Perhaps they are referring only to the mechanical/electrical design of the internals.

Donald has chosen to use the angled anti horizontal spinner bash plate for the rear of Lock Jaw. The design of the plate is the same as one we tried a long time ago on Scarifier and is made to deflect a horizontal spinner upwards. It is a proven design but Donald will need to be careful to not let Captain Shrederator around the sides of the robot as the bask plate does not extend far beyond the wheels of Lock Jaw. This shouldn’t be a problem as I said earlier Donald is a careful driver while Captain Shrederator is hard to orientate and has trouble with trying to manoeuvre around other robots.

Donald doesn’t start the fight with a box rush but instead carefully approaches Captain Shrederator to make sure that Lock Jaw connects with the bash plate. Donald was probably not worried about Captain Shrederator getting its weapon up to speed as the idea of the bash plate was to cause Captain Shrederator to damage itself. The shape of the plate worked as Captain Shrederator has thrown into the air. However the plate of Lock Jaw broke and exposed one of the rear wheels and the second hit damaged a tyre.

Donald must have seen that the damaged plate was not going to work and instead spins up to go for a weapon on weapon hit. The hit launched Captain Shrederator across the arena and into a corner of the box. The corner of an arena is the worst place a horizontal spinner can be when trying to start a weapon. Captain Shrederator as walls on 2 sides and Lock Jaw on another preventing preventing the weapon from starting. One of the changes Brian made to Captain Shrederator was to swap the weapon speed controller for a contactor. This means the weapon is either on or off and the current draw for the weapon motor trying to start must have been huge. This is obvious by all the smoke.

Brian manages to escape the corner and move to the centre of the arena but Captain Shrederators weapon is cooked. Lock Jaw is also having weapon issues but this is now a pushing match which Captain Shrederator can’t win. After a short time Captain Shrederator is caught on the screws and Donald holds back waiting for the ref to begin his count.

Battlebots 2020 Episode 1 review Malice vs Axe Backwards

This was a fairly straight forward and predictable match. Malice is a a basic horizontal spinner that is known for having what is described on the Battlebots website as a horizontal drum spinner. It is just a medium diameter thick disc but whatever. Axe Backwards is a lot more interesting as it is one of the only “full body” drum robots. Full body refers to the design of drum surrounding the whole robot with the motors, electronics and batteries being inside the drum with the wheels running on the drums axle out of the ends of the drum. The name of Axe Backwards refers to 2 tails shaped like axes sticking out the back of the robot that allow the drive motors to have something to push against but give the robot the appearance of a overhead thwack bot.

A great part of the full body drum is the same as a shell spinner like Megabyte or Spinderella. Since the weapon surrounds the robot all the weight of the armor can be put into the weapon. The problem with a full body drum like Axe Backwards is the wheels are so exposed unlike a shell spinner where the wheels are under the shell. Since the wheels are on the same axis as the drum the wheels diameter has to be larger than the drum + teeth to maintain ground clearance. This also means that the wheels also stick out in front of the drum and when fighting a horizontal spinner the wheels will be hit first. In fact Kurt Durjan needs to be very precise with his driving for Axe backwards to hit with its weapon before a wheel contacts the opponent. Unfortunately the worst opponent for Axe Backwards is a horizontal spinner like Malice.

The fight went exactly as I thought it would with Malice taking out one of Axe Backwards wheels in the first hit. Malice also damaged a fuel supply for a flame thrower that was mounted inside one of Axe Backwards axes but this didn’t seem to be critical. What seemed to be more critical is that the power switches for Axe Backwards, which must be mounted where they can be quickly accessed are in the axes where it was hit. But every time that Malice attacked Axe Backwards a wheel was the first thing to be hit. After 1 minute Axe Backwards was counted out.

Battlebots 2020 Episode 1 review Sawblaze vs Whiplash

I great fight to start the season. Both Sawblaze and Whiplash are very well driven and very reliable. Jamison Go has a very aggressive driving style with Sawblaze constantly ramming opponents to push them into walls and pin them. Matthew Vasquez of Whiplash is not as aggressive but has excellent situational awareness and is able to quickly take advantage of any weakness that his opponent shows while accounting for any problems with his own robot. I was looking forward to this match with my prediction being Whiplash to win.

When the robots are revealed a point is made of Whiplashes tall vertical front armour plates. The idea is that these will counter the overhead saw of Sawblaze. I was a little doubtfull of these as the tall armour would only protect from a head-on attack. After both robots attempted to manoeuvre around each other and then made a couple of head-on attacks it became clear that the tall armour also allowed Sawblaze to win the wedge game. Jamison repeatedly drove Whiplash into the walls but seemed to wait for a pin before using the saw. However Matthew realised that while being pushed from behind that Whiplash would be able to use its weapon as an overhead saw the same as Sawblaze and managed 3 or so hits on the top of Sawblaze. It was great to see the rapid adaptation to the driving and attacking style of Whiplash when it became clear that Sawblazes wedges where always going to get under Whiplash.

But Jamison Go was always on the attack and did not give Whiplash more than a couple of seconds to recover and it was always going to be Sawblazes fight. Once Sawblaze was able to get to the sides of Whiplash then is was very quick to cut into the top armour and take out the drive of Whiplash. Aggressive and powerful driving with effective wedging really won this match.

KOB2 Diary – Part 5

Day 19

  • Read the plan for the day on WeChat. The production crew plan an attrition style competition. So many teams complain about this style of competition. I have to go and watch. Relax day cancelled.
  • The main complaints (mostly from English teams) are based on not being able to recharge or repair between rounds and that this will make the competition boring to watch. The production crew disagree, and I actually agree with them.
  • I arrive at the event and go to the tv to watch the filming of the team selections. I’m the only international person watching, as per usual. I don’t understand why the international teams don’t want to watch the selection process. It seems that they don’t care about who they’ll be fighting, or care about the tv side of the competition. No wonder they don’t understand what is going on.
  • While watching the celebrities chose their teams, Emma insults the other celebrities, who end up ganging up against her. She yells and storms out of the film set. I burst out laughing and none of the chinese people around me understand why. I realise I was they only person watching who understood what she was saying as I was the only person who spoke english. The TV version of the team selections on the show was edited. When the Soccer commentator celebrity ran to join a team, Emma stamped her feet and screamed, yelled that it was all unfair and ran out the door before the chinese crew could stop her. The rest of the TV version was filmed the following day, which is why Emma noticeably changes.
  • When Emma left the filming set, she ran past the tv that I was watching and toward the real pit. Her security team were caught off guard and couldn’t keep up. She went through the pits and her teams thought she was coming to talk to them, but she pushed past and went through the catering tent and toward the main road. Everyone was confused.
  • While I am explaining what happened during filming to the other international teams we get news that the Chinese government have decided to ban Americans from appearing on Chinese tv. Donald Trump seemed to have had another anti-china press conference. Filming and production seems to stop. The entire area goes silent for the fist time since I have been there. The fights were scheduled to start at 3pm. Nothing was happening.
  • There seemed to be panic from the TV and KOB production teams. People start discussing that they might need to refilm the show with Americans removed, including Emma. But that seemed impossible.
  • The production crew start asking the American teams if they had someone of a different nationality on their teams. Every team had someone, except Megabyte. I jokingly said I could join the team. Would have been cool to drive Megabyte.
  • Production magically starts up again. Fights start at 7pm. In hind sight I think the anti-america thing was just misinformation and the actual problem was the missing Emma. It took over 4 hours to find her and production had to stop with one of its stars missing.
  • The attrition competition actually runs well, apart from the judge screwing it up and awarding a tie for one of the fights. There was supposed to be three judges, each awarding their own score that add up to an odd score. It should have been impossible to award a tie. But since the head judge was the only one actually submitting scores (he usually handed over the final score card before the other two judges finished writing), the tie was based on the fact that he was a boxing/mma judge and it is acceptable to have ties in that sport. Ties in robot combat, and especially an attrition competition, should never happen. He was an absolute muppet. The production crew had to convince him to re-score the fight and not ruin the show. He was angry that they told him he was wrong. I overheard him say that he has more experience judging fights than any robot builder and therefore he has the right to change the rules and we shouldn’t complain. (can you tell how much I hate this guy?)
  • Head back to hotel at 10:30pm. No chance to have another underground fight.

Day 20 (Ep 9,10 and 11 filmed during these 2 days)

  • Deicide to stay in the hotel and relax. Leslie has left on a pre-planned holiday and won’t be back for a few days. We didn’t tell the production crew that we let her go as it would have got her fired.
  • Ask Melissa for another fight. Keep waiting for time in the arena
  • Hear that fights are running late again. Also that Emma has been replaced. Probably slowing things down. She probably had more tantrums that the show was unfair or rigged against her. She didn’t need to leave early for study. This was a friday and filming finished sunday. How bad was your time management?
  • Don’t end up going in.

Day 21

  • Decide to keep waiting in the hotel as Leslie is still away. If I went to the competition without her, she would not get paid.
  • Hear that fights are running late, again.
  • Also hear that Orby missed out on an after-hours fight again. Lots of teams still asking for this. Hear that the directors have organised some 4-way rumbles, but no idea if that involves us.
  • Don’t end up going in.

Day 22 (Final day of filming)

  • We wait for the last bus to allow Leslie time to arrive from the airport.
  • When we arrive Melisa finds us to ask if we will be ready for a rumble at 6pm. This will be a warm up for the grand finale. Also included in the rumble is 2BBQ, Purple Minotaur and Pink Beater. I finally get another fight.
  • Spend 4 hours putting the batteries in and chatting to random people. Find that the battery with a hole in it is actually holding charge better than the good battery.
  • Told to weigh the robot and move it to the arena at 6pm, so far on time.
  • One rumble is scheduled before ours. 3-way with Orby, Fire Wheel and Earth Mover. Was thinking these were not to be filmed and just for fun, which is why I was allowed to officially drive.
  • Fights getting delayed. First see the referees and judges turn up. But then the presenters turn up and the audience get excited. Then 4 knocked out celebrities turn up. The 3 team captains have to film a walk-on introduction and we are moved to wait in a war-room. We suddenly realise that this will be filmed and will be our only fight in front of the audience/celebrities. Only had to wait until the last day of filming for this to happen.
  • Watch the previous fight in the war-room. Feels strange to finally be on set.
  • I was then told that I couldn’t be in the filming. Connie had to do the entrance and drive the robot. I was allowed to do the weapon and stand behind her. But because they waited until 10 minutes before the fight to tell me, I actually left Connie’s radio at the hotel. I run to the pits and ask Cat King if I could borrow a radio. I give it to Connie and she pretends to use it. She was driving the robot with another teams radio that wasn’t even turned on.
  • Fight finally starts. Plan to be calm and watch the spinners. But Pink Beater charges at us and I take a swing. I fitted the robot with the spiky axe (was the only chance to use it) and it got stuck in the floor. I didn’t realise that 2BBQ was also coming and hit a wheel while I was trying to retract the axe. I felt that the fight was screwed in less than 15 seconds, again. One side of the robot just didn’t want to drive.
  • Spend the rest of the fight trying to be mobile enough not to be counted out. End up breaking two count downs and taking a few swings at other robots. However I don’t remember any details and the tv view of the fight was focusing on the other robots as it was thought that we were out. We ended up outlasting 2BBQ and Pink Beater before being counted out. I didn’t realise that the referee was looking for 3m of movement from the point of counting. I was just trying to move toward the robot that was circling me. This means that I was moving the robot in circles during our third count out and the referee counted us out.
  • I did a nice spin and axe at the end that launched the robot a good distance into the air, as a victory dance, because I thought the referee counted the other robot out. This wasn’t shown in the final edit of the fight. And the fight didn’t make it to air, probably because the elimination torniment ran so well and filled the show.×480.24.0&trans_finger=24688dbb28e33d6dbc1a1e49b11ca05c&Expires=1589459660&ssig=e42zk3h0lv&KID=unistore,video
Link for rumble video (not on youtube)
  • While moving the robot to the pit I realise that a short has come back. But are then told to return to the arena for more filming before I can remove the covers and find the problem.
  • We get told that we have to film an advertisement for the energy drinks. Connie can’t drink it because she is pregnant, so I need to be a stunt drinker. Connie stuffs it up by pretending to drink.
  • Run back to the pit to make the robot safe and pack it in the crate. Connie wants to return to the hotel with Alice to begin packing there. I’ll stay at the competition to watch the finals.
  • The robot only takes 30 minutes to pack while watching fights on the TV. A lipo fire causes a delay, so I walk with Connie and Alice to the taxi.
  • Once back I follow the English teams to watch the fights from the audience. So much fun.
  • The final judge’s decision of the final fight between Vulcan and Drift is scripted. First close decision of the competition that was correct. I am sitting behind the judge and watch the whole thing happening. The fight involved a lot of attacks by Vulcan that caused it to drive up Drift’s wedge. Using the muppet’s judging system this would have given all the aggression point to Drift and thus he wanted to give the fight to Emma’s teams. The production team didn’t want this to happen and wanted the chinese team to win. I could see the main director tell the judge to make sure he scored the fight the correct way. So the aggression points went to Vulcan, which is how everyone is the audiance judged the fight. I could see the muppent going back to check his rule guidelines after handing over the envelope and looking upset that someone was telling him what to do.
  • The English guys that I was sitting with are told to move to arena to film a group of robot builders during the decision. I decide to follow and get in the way. I was in the group of cheering builders, see if you can find me. I walk out before filming has finished and the director’s laugh when they realise I was there.
  • We think there would be a bus for the hotel as a lot of teams need to catch early flights, but we are all told to stay.

Day 23

  • At 12:30am I am told I am needed for filming. Not sure why.
  • Realise they need to refilm the energy drink advertisement because Connie stuffed it up. They didn’t even use the add in the show.
  • Finally get on bus at 1:30am.
  • Wake up at 8am to finish packing.
  • At 11am I check the flight status of the flight to find that the flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou was cancelled. Message Leslie and Melisa to get it fixed. Lucky I checked, as no one was aware that it was cancelled.
  • Told we are moved to an earlier flight and to go to the airport immediately.
  • Arrive at airport at 12:30pm. 1.5 hours to get through check-in. Bloody slow line, trouble with Connie’s passport, extra check on suitcase and other stupid Chinese shit.
  • Check the ticket and find that it is for a 11:50am flight that started boarding 1:20pm. Fuck.
  • 30 minutes to get through security. Needed to have the batteries scanned twice. Why?
  • Arrive at gate at 3pm. Flight still delayed. WTF?
  • Go to find food. Eat quick. Hear the call for boarding. Arrive at gate and find everyone already boarded. How?
  • Get on plane, which sits on the tarmac for 30 minutes.
  • Arrive in Guangzhou with 3 hours to make the connection. Easy. No security checks and immigration was quick. Batteries stayed in the bag this time.
  •  Plane for Brisbane boards on time, but delayed on the tarmac for 45 minutes. What is wrong with Chinese air traffic control?

Day 24

  • Arrive back in Brisbane. Hooray.

Day 100

Once Huntsman arrived back in Australia I finally found what happened during the final rumble. The drive with the issue wasn’t the side that lost the tyre chunck. Instead it was a broken receiver wire that was cause intermitted loss on the other side. Should have added a cable tie to stop the wire from rubbing on the drive outrunner. No other damage and the robot was fine at the end of the rumble.

Day 365

Still haven’t received the second half of the build stipend.