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[Antweight Anarchy series 1 is available online here.]

So here’s something new from BattleBots Update, something that’s neither BattleBots nor Robot Wars nor even an “officially sanctioned” event like one of those crazy Russian or Chinese shows. No, this time we’re dialing things back a bit and focusing on the fandom surrounding robot combat on YouTube. Anthony “Ant Man” Murney (I don’t know if that’s his real nickname or not, but he’d make a better Ant Man than whoever played Ant Man in those godawful Marvel “movies”) has dedicated his free time to meticulously creating replicas and original designs of robots in the UK’s “antweight” class. (This is what we in the US would refer to as “fairyweight”, 150g, because “antweight” is a term that already exists to describe robots weighing one pound.) Together with the help of Stephen “Votesaxon07” McCulla as well as some other UK area builders who’ve lent their creations to the project they’ve come up with Antweight Anarchy, an original robot combat series that takes place in a miniaturized Robot Wars arena complete with its own pit, flipper, floor grate, and “drop zone”. There are also sections of the arena cutaway for out-of-the-arena flips. It’s… endearing.

It’s like the Giant Nut but not.

I’ve decided to include Antweight Anarchy on BattleBots Update because even though there are literally dozens of seasons of real TV shows out there I could be writing about I’ve always wanted this project to be all-encompassing. The fan series are just as much a part of the robot combat world as the real shows. Mark my words, both iterations of “Lego Robot Wars” will also eventually make their way to The Update some time before the heat death of the universe. I started watching Antweight Anarchy on a whim when I decided to check out the shows the fan community was putting together and eventually Anthony and I got to talking, the end result being that one of my own robots will be making an appearance as an authorized replica in an upcoming series of his. So I decided what better way to dip into the fan-side of robot combat shows than with Antweight Anarchy?

…it’s like the Giant Nut, but not.

So here’s the thing. I know most of the robots in Antweight Anarchy series 1 are made from BattleBots Hexbug toys. Hell, I know most of the robots are just literally hacked Hexbug toys in general because I recognize them. This had me wondering if I should participate in the “kayfabe” of the original series because certain robots are billed as having active weaponry when no such feat was possible given the bases the robots were made from. I think I’ll still list what the claimed weaponry is on the robots, but play it straight and call a spade a spade for this series. Also I’m sure you’ve noticed this says “Season 1 Part 1” as opposed to “Episode 1”. That’s because Antweight Anarchy didn’t follow a standard episodic release; each video is just one battle. Rather than eat up space on this website making articles featuring a whole one fight apiece I’ve elected to combine the videos into sets of three, of which there are ultimately six total sets. It just so happens with the “heat” fights and the semifinals and all that added up to 18 total videos and that’s nicely divisible by 3.

With that said, Stephen sounds like he’s got a bad case of “whisper screaming so I don’t wake up mom and dad” so that must mean it’s time for the first battle!


RUSTY vs. DIOTIOR vs. SMIDSY

RUSTY

Weapon: Plow

DIOTIOR

Weapon: Vertical spinning blade

SMIDSY

Weapon: Lifting wedge

A premonition of things to come, surely.

One thing you probably picked up on right away is Anthony is clearly a big fan of Craig Danby’s robots proving once and for all that no matter how bad a robot is someone will be its fan (see also: me, Abattoir). I don’t know if that hoodie he’s wearing is official Foxic gear or not, but it’s either that or he’s just really into Tails cosplay and I’m not hedging my bets on the latter. Rusty is a tiny 3D printed version of Robot Wars competitor Foxic and if this robot is anything like the real thing then it’ll be a disappointment, but a miniature one. Unlike Foxic, which featured a lifting wedge, Rusty has no such weaponry and is instead a simple angled plow.

Built from the remains of a Witch Doctor toy and styled loosely after the robot’s final Robot Wars appearance is Diotior, a machine whose name I will never – ever – spell correctly on the first attempt. I think “Diotior” is actually Irish for “underlined in red”, actually. The very last time we saw Diotior was in the Robot Wars series 10 “world championship” that I neglected to cover on this website because I was in the middle of moving and just didn’t have the time and let it fall through the cracks. Known for being armed with a spring-loaded bulldozer scoop this final iteration of Diotior was actually a two-wheeled drive robot with a nasty spinning vertical disc. I guess the team finally got tired of losing in the first round. This mini version of Diotior is based upon that final iteration and as such features a spinning bar and big toothy grin, as well as all the fur any of its opponents are willing to eat.

You can’t open the pit more than once, Rusty.

Rounding out this rumble is SMIDSY, an acronymic robot whose name literally stands for “sorry mate I didn’t see you”. Usually armed with a lifting plow and rear spinning disc that did fuck all, the Antweight Anarchy version of SMIDSY is instead an all lifter affair, no spinning disc on the rear end of this robot. Both SMIDSY and Rusty can drive either way up, and if this replica is close enough to the real deal then SMIDSY’s weapon ought to work inverted as well. The lifter has clearly been dumbed down a bit to be practical on a smaller robot (the actual SMIDSY had a wedge that opened like a pair of jaws), but the overall look is still there. It’s SMIDSY, though inexplicably there’s a sticker of Foxy from Five Nights At Freddy’s on top of the robot.

After a cycling of the video’s color hue, an effect I haven’t seen since the days of Windows Movie Maker, and a 360 spin of all the bots competing, it’s Rusty who lands the first successful punch by getting underneath SMIDSY and slamming it into the wall. Diotior backs away, presumably to spin its weapon up, though considering its opponents are both sporting a 3D-printed chassis I doubt the Hexbug motor has enough muscle to do any meaningful damage. SMIDSY and Rusty are taking turns knocking each other about and its at this time when we learn what our resident Jonathan Pearce’s favorite word is: pressurize. Once you hear Stephen say it, you’ll hear it every single time without fail. Anyways, Diotior meanwhile seems to have gotten itself hung up on the lip of the pit.

Told you so.

In the battle for wedge supremacy the more angular Rusty is defeating the flat plow of SMIDSY. This just comes down to simple physics as focusing the impact down to a point, i.e. Rusty’s goofy face, creates more force than the same impact being spread out across a much larger plow. SMIDSY’s pinned in the corner patrol zone, though I’m sure you’ve noticed by now there are no house robots in the arena so this doesn’t really mean anything. Rusty backs into the little RC truck tire which opens the pit and it looks like Diotior has managed to back away from the edge it was stuck on, though I kind of forgot the robot was even in this battle because it’s just sat there like a sack of shit covered in polka dotted fur.

Diotior must’ve known I was talking shit because it decides to come back to life and join the fray as Rusty slams SMIDSY into the pit trigger tire. Hot tip Rusty, opening the pit only works once unless you also made your own “fog of war” hazard that just fires off a CO2 fire extinguisher directly into the arena and blows all the fucking robots away. Despite Diotior coming back to life this is still firmly a battle between Rusty and SMIDSY, Diotior is just bumping into its opponents and bouncing off unable to really do much to them. Eventually SMIDSY gets pissed off and throws Diotior into the wall but fails to topple the robot over. Being built from a Witch Doctor Hexbug means that theoretically Diotior’s rear wheels ought to touch the ground if flipped, but even if that’s the case all that fur on top of it will get in the way so a flip would spell doom for the robot whose name I can’t spell without pressing CTRL+V to just paste it in from my clipboard.

Same shit, different day.

Rusty very nearly shunts Diotior into the pit but slams on the brakes before throwing itself down instead, letting the spinner get away. Rusty once again shoves SMIDSY over near the pit tire and Diotior is just along for the ride getting swept up in the current and swooshing over SMIDSY as the wedge tries to retaliate against Rusty. Now I know this is all just an independent project and all that, so I don’t know how “judging” works, but if I were SMIDSY I’d start taking my frustrations out on the much weaker Diotior because I feel like I’d have learned by now that fucking with Rusty just ends with a trip to the pit tire. Diotior is easy points for aggression and control, just keep away from Rusty while you’re doing it.

SMIDSY very nearly fucks everything up and pits itself but somehow manages to get a safe enough trajectory to pass completely over the corner of the pit without losing control and falling in. Since nobody’s stood up to offer the free points from beating up on Diotior, Rusty decides to come in and start pushing the littler robot around. After another near miss with the pit Rusty finally drops Diotior in such a way that half of its wheels are over the pit and the other half aren’t, though I’m guessing that the robot’s weight distribution has it balancing in such a way that none of its wheels are making contact with the ground anymore. Unable to get away, Diotior gets punched in the kidney by Rusty and is sent down the pit officially making this a battle between the two wedge bots. As soon as Diotior is pitted Rusty manages to back onto the lifter of SMIDSY who very nearly piggybacks Rusty into the pit but misses its shot.

Bye, Felicia.

What follows next is a series of attacks where both robots smash together and SMIDSY loses the ground clearance battle every single fucking time. If Rusty were a replica that featured Foxic’s lifting arm we’d probably have seen SMIDSY toppled at least a couple of times by now, but instead it’s SMIDSY just getting paraded around relentlessly by a robot based off of one of the worst heavyweights Robot Wars has ever seen. Hell, I’m convinced that Rusty could probably beat the real Foxic at this rate. SMIDSY is eventually knocked into the corner behind the pit which is not where it wants to be if it’s going to keep losing the wedge battle to Rusty. SMIDSY tries to back away and gets nudged sideways across the pit and the same thing happens to SMIDSY as Diotior, none of the robot’s wheels are touching the floor anymore.

With one final nudge Rusty sends SMIDSY down the pit officially winning more Robot Wars fights than its bigger brother.

WINNER: Rusty, KO


BETAS vs. STING vs. HIT

BETAS

Weapon: Dual hammers

STING

Weapon: Mace

HIT

Weapon: Lifting wedge

A flip in 0.1 seconds, nice.

Okay, so Betas is literally just the Beta Hexbug toy, except there’s two of them to make it a multibot. Nothing fancy has been done to these machines, it’s not like they were disassembled in order to be meticulously painted different colors to tell them apart. No, we just get two of the same robot, fuck you. It’s like getting doubles in a trading card pack. That said, Betas’ weapon are each a hammer… because it’s just the Beta Hexbug. They make these RC toys to be mostly safe for children so long as they’re past the age where they put shit in their mouths, so I really doubt either of the hammers is going to take anyone to Pound Town like the real Beta can.

Sting on the other hand, not to be confused with the musical artist of the same name, looks like it can do some real damage. This is a machine based off of the real-life Robot Wars competitor Stinger. Not sure why this one’s got a slightly different name when SMIDSY didn’t and Betas is just the plural form of the robot. I think this robot is also made from some kind of RC toy because it looks like it’s been heavily modified from something, but I have no idea what this thing was in a previous life. No matter, though, this robot has a multi-spiked hammer that it can whip around in place with to deliver some serious blows as well as swinging it overhead like an axe due to the shape of the robot’s chassis. This is the hammer the Betas wish they had.

The other Beta, doing fuck all while watching Hit’s plow land in front of it.

And finally we have Hit, a robot whose name is surely not going to cause any verbage confusion in the writing of this article. Hit is this battle’s obligatory “actually kind of a real antweight robot so it’s probably going to win” competitor as it’s another 3D-printed robot sporting proper drive motors worthy of pushing other robots around. Hit is yet another lifting robot and features a large scoop that it can raise and lower to either lift opponents up or clamp down on them, so it’s different enough from SMIDSY to at least be its own beast. Painted bright ass purple, Hit is who I’d be betting money on, though Sting comes in a close second if it turns out to be anywhere near as chaotic and powerful as its namesake.

Poor Stephen can’t even finish the phrase “looking to be such a good battle” before Hit has already floored it across the arena and flipped over one of the Betas, reducing the cluster bot to just one hilariously underweight competitor. You can see this is clearly just a straight up unmodified toy, so if you were ever planning on using a Beta as a base for a beginners’ combat robot of your own you might want to rethink that plan because it’s a fucking dumb idea. Sting seems like a robot that should be very hard to push around, but while I was mouthing off at the Betas it appears as though Hit has managed to shove Sting into the corner. Hit fires its flipping scoop and off comes the thin piece of aluminum that it was using as a ground scraper. Normally I’d say “this is IT for HIT” (shoot me) but Hit’s lucky in that its opponent basically has unlimited ground clearance. Also the remaining Beta poses no threat so it might as well just not be in the battle.

And there goes the surviving Beta. 0 hits landed.

Hit goes for the pit (this time I’m not trying to make it rhyme it’s just happening on its own help me) and drops it open, presumably because this is the only logical way to take Sting out of the battle. Afterward, Hit tries to flip the remaining Beta and misses but still has enough force behind its attack to knock loose one of the side panels on the Hexbug. Like I said, these are just straight up Hexbug toys, those pieces are only held on with small magnets. It looks like Hit has done some damage but really it’s all superficial, the only substantial damage Hit has done is to itself when it threw its plow across the goddamned floor. Hit goes in for layup number two on the surviving Beta and this time hits the mark, flipping the remaining cluster bot on its lid. Betas is hopelessly out of this fight, meanwhile Sting is spinning around like fucking crazy.

It’s a shame Sting can’t spin and drive at the same time because this thing looks like it hits like a motherfucker, instead all it can really do is get going and then let itself get deflected off of Hit’s front end. There’s a metal pointed tip poking out from each end of Sting’s hammer and you can tell there’s some force behind these impacts, so there’s a very real chance that Hit’s 3D-printed chassis might get dinged or one of the arms of its scoop cracked if it takes a bad stray blow. Sting takes some time to try and position itself in the upper half of the arena to strike at Hit but can’t seem to get anything going. While this is happening we get a nice close-up view of both of the Betas flopping around practicing their “Splash” move for their upcoming Pokemon tournament.

Hit turns its frustration toward Sting, who tries to fly away to escape.

Sting is whirling around like a maniac just whaling on the front end of Hit and Hit’s just taking the blows as it holds its ground and tries to go in for another flip. I can’t tell if Sting’s being flipped over or not but in the end it really doesn’t matter because the damned thing can drive either way up. Every time there’s a slow motion replay however just take in how much force Sting is imparting into Hit’s face. This speaks volumes to both the design of Sting and the design of Hit. It says nothing about the design of Betas because they’re both currently dead in the corner of the arena.

It’s hard to say who’s in the lead right now because Sting’s landed a flurry of hits and Hit has been aggressive for most of the fight. Sting rebounds off of Hit’s wedge and reels up onto one tire, still swinging its mace like fucking crazy, but eventually comes back down and is controllable once more. It gets dangerously close to the pit and you can see the immediate change in strategy from “spin around like the world’s about to fucking end” to “holy shit we need to get out of this part of the arena”. Sting stalls out near the edge of the pit presumably because its operator is trying to figure out just which direction is “forward” in the robot’s current orientation. Hit uses this time to throw the thwack bot up and over, but eventually Sting’s driver gets their bearings and backs the hell away from the pit. The fight moves back to the far corner of the field where the arena flipper would be (I know I said there was one, but that’s not until series 2).

‘Twas beauty that killed the Beast.

The thwack bot continues to be the whip to Hit’s nae nae until Hit gets tired of this shit and straight up chucks Sting into the air. As Sting falls down it again comes a little too close to the pit for comfort and the robot slows down so it can scoot away without dropping in. Sting is most confident spinning around and around when the fight is in the corner opposite the pit so it keeps trying to drag the fight back to that area, though for some reason the robot starts running massive circles and very nearly pits itself before smashing into the wall like a drunk elderly driver. This allows Hit to corral Sting back into the corner behind the pit which of course is where Sting’s plan changes from an all-out offensive to “get away from the fucking pit”.

Sting just starts taking blows from Hit left and right as it tries to very carefully maneuver out of the corner but because there’s not a fucking sticker or something on the robot to denote which way is “up” the driver just can’t seem to get out of the corner fast enough. Eventually Sting’s mace dips into the pit and one of the spikes catches on the lip of it meaning even with the world’s biggest wheels Sting can’t free itself from being stuck. Not without backing up and flooring it forward to use inertia to its benefit, but we all know by now that Sting is too squirrely to pull that off. Sensing the imminent demise of its opponent Hit lines up to try and knock Sting down the pit, but Sting winds up driving itself into the hazard in an effort to escape. We get to see this action replay both in PixelVision and StrobeVision thanks to the wildly different cameras being used to get all the angles and shots for these fights.

Sting’s in the pit and that leaves Betas in the upper corner but Stephen says they were “counted out” long ago. I’m not disagreeing with that assessment but I didn’t see a graphic or anything on screen to show that Betas was being counted down. So long Sting, and as for Betas maybe you could hack both of them together into a Frankenstein of a robot with two hammers and twice the drive power. Anything but just two out of the box Betas.

WINNER: Hit, KO


AIRSTRIKE vs. SCRAPPY vs. DONALD THUMP

AIRSTRIKE

Weapon: Wedge

SCRAPPY

Weapon: Inertia-powered axe

DONALD THUMP

Weapon: None

The Don gets brushed away while the adults do business.

I know there will probably be people in the comments correcting me on this, but I think Airstrike is a replica of Kronic? I say “in the comments” but this website no longer has a comments section or user accounts for that matter for security purposes, so I guess I mean “in the comments” on Reddit and Facebook and wherever else this guff ends up. Airstrike is a very angular wedge bot with a front lifting arm. Just from looking at it I can’t tell if it’s for show or if there’s really something to this robot, I’m too distracted by the candy corn that’s been glued all over it. If that flipper actually does have any muscle behind it we might be in for a repeat of the battle we just saw… except with slightly crappier robots.

Scrappy is basically Sting if Sting was made out of cardboard and hate. It’s literally almost the exact same robot, except Scrappy doesn’t have any side spikes on its axe so spinning around in place will achieve exactly nothing; it needs to get in close and then quickly reverse gears so it can swing its weapon down on top of its opponents. It’s a good thing there’s no one really capable of doing real damage in this fight because Scrappy’s tires look like the easiest possible targets imaginable. I say that knowing full well there’s a third robot in this match who’s basically a blank check.

Scrappy with a chop in the wrong direction, but I’ll take whatever action I can get.

Donald Thump, THE MEME MAN, is here. Armed with a “vertical spinner” I can tell you that much like the real Donald Thump this spinner is purely for show. You probably could’ve deduced that on your own during the robot’s introduction shot because there’s literally no pulley or anything visibly powering its bar. The weapon bar is there for the sake of accuracy, but it’s purely for show. Sticking out of Donald’s ass is the end of a Hexbug “Circuit Board” toy which were basically little RC Tech Deck skateboards, that was my dead giveaway for there being no weapon on this robot; there’s no third channel on the controller for there to be a weapon period. This robot is essentially “Automatic Points”.

Donald Thump turns out to be the bravest bot in the battle by going out for blood first and catches a stray blow from Scrappy’s axe as Scrappy tries to power forward to attack Airstrike. Donald Thump twitches slightly, and then dies. Stephen makes a political joke calling Donald Thump “just like the real thing” because it’s basically all talk, but I’d much rather Donald Thump be “just like the real thing” because it showed up, humiliated itself, and then promptly gave up and vanished. Yeah we’re going political with jokes on BattleBots Update now. We back the blue here. No, not that blue you fucking dillweed. The democratic kind.

Airstrike goes in for the pin… and just dies.

Anyways Scrappy and Airstrike continue to poke at each other but I don’t see a lot of action coming from Airstrike’s flipper which is leading me to believe it might just be for show as well. That’s all fine and dandy though because at least in this case Scrappy has an even stupider ground clearance than Sting so all Airstrike needs to do is ram into its opponent and hope that Scrappy gets caught up on those spongy spikes so Airstrike can cruise around and maybe drop Scrappy in the pit. Scrappy appears to also be built from a BattleBots Hexbug because I can tell from its bottom side, but I couldn’t tell you who it is because… this… doesn’t look like any replica I’ve ever seen. It could be a broken Tombstone with no weapon? Scrappy might be a junky looking robot but right now it’s holding its own against Airstrike because its axe comes down and lands a clean blow. It’s not with the right side of the axe, but at least it’s a hit.

Airstrike bashes Scrappy into the corner near where the pretend floor spikes are and Stephen bemoans Airstrike’s lack of weapon use. I feel like Stephen would be “in” on the designs of these robots so maybe Airstrike really does have a flipper and it’s just not working or whoever is driving it has no confidence in its efficacy. It’s also entirely possible that the weapon is being used and it’s just so weak that we can’t even tell. In any case Scrappy gets out of the corner and bonks Airstrike again. Scrappy starts to spin around even though its technically not a thwack bot and manages to lure an attack out of Airstrike that misses. I was thinking this might be some strategy on Scrappy’s part so it could feint and then come in for an axe chop but fuck me for putting that together in my head because that’s not what happens at all.

Just checking in on Donald to make sure it’s still dead.

Airstrike backs Scrappy into the pit trigger but it appears the robot isn’t strong enough to actually activate the pit. Well that’s embarrassing. Scrappy seems like it might be trying to open the pit intentionally as well but it too just doesn’t have the purchase needed to hit the tire with enough force for it to register. That means that the wheel really is mechanically attached to the pit and it’s not just like someone is standing by watching to see if it gets hit like on the actual Robot Wars show. That’s a fine bit of engineering that’s gone into this arena I must say. Props to the designers, for real.

Scrappy’s axe gets stuck in the pit trigger temporarily immobilizing the robot right as Airstrike parks its dumb ass in Scrappy’s face, so that’s a miss on technicality. Airstrike starts acting like it wants to win this fight and manages to dive underneath Scrappy’s right wheel and hit the pit trigger hard enough to actually set it off this time. Scrappy starts aimlessly twirling around and Airstrike drives to the complete opposite side of the arena for god knows what reason. Airstrike comes back around though and pins Scrappy against the wall and right here is where we ought to be seeing if that flipper does anything because this is just the perfect shot… and there’s nothing. So that’s two robots with non-functional weapons in this battle, but at least Airstrike can still fight as a wedge. Donald Thump is busy being the world’s ugliest doorstop, both in this fight and in real life.

This slam that Airstrike has delivered seems to have knocked out both remaining robots at the same time. You can see one of Scrappy’s tires twitching back and forth like it’s trying to get away, but its axe is caught on Airstrike and the weight of the wedge bot is weighing down the weapon in an awkward way to the point that Scrappy can’t escape. Airstrike as far as I can tell is just straight up dead, there’s no lip on the arena perimeter for a wedge to get stuck in so I think that slam just simply knocked something loose and cut power to the robot.

I have so few stills from this fight to use so here’s the judges.

No, that doesn’t mean Donald Thump wins. Much like Betas, Donald Thump was “counted out” off camera. The fight is ruled as a double KO meaning the judges have to step in to determine the winner. We’re introduced to our judges during this portion of the episode, they are Chantelle, who looks almost exactly like one of my exes which is unfortunate because I’m sure she’s an absolute darling, Elisabeth, who looks like she could pick any band T-shirt from a Hot Topic and rock it, and Professor Noel Barkey who can see through the fabric of time. Their verdict is returned and surprisingly it’s for Scrappy on the basis of damage and aggression. Perhaps Airstrike knocking itself out counted as “negative points” in its own damage category. I know it had to be negative points for fucking something, god damn.

WINNER: Scrappy, Judges’ Decision


And thus ends the first article of the first fan-made robot combat production here on BattleBots Update. So what did you think? Both, the show and the article. Had you ever heard of Antweight Anarchy before? Did you read this on a whim not knowing what this was but still knowing there’d be the snark and commentary you’re used to? All of Antweight Anarchy is online, both series 1 and 2, so if you want to shake the Christmas presents you can skip ahead of this website and go straight to watching the rest of the series, the link is at the top of the article but you can also click these words right here if you’re lazy.

“It was a good article, I guess.”

I stand by my original statement of “the show is endearing”. In the face of Robot Wars being cancelled by the BBC (again) this is how the European community has kept the spirit of the sport alive in their neck of the woods. They unfortunately are not as lucky as we are where BattleBots has just had its eleventh goddamned season taped with a confirmed twelfth season already on the books. You can tell Anthony, Stephen, and the rest of the crew have put forth a lot of effort to make this show even if it’s obvious that half the robots are just Hexbugs and there’s like four different types of cameras being used to film everything. They tried, damn it. And the end result really isn’t that bad when you enjoy it for what it is.

So that’s Antweight Anarchy for now. Next time around we’ll have three more 3-way rumbles featuring robots like Tombstone and Witch Doctor, but also the more cryptic Demon Dragon, Mantis, and Bane. Are those just more hacked Hexbugs? Are they the strange miniature 3D-printed robots like Rusty and Hit? We’ll find out next time! In the meantime, thank you for checking out BattleBots Update. If you want to support this project you can do so with a recurring pledge on Patreon or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. (You can also do the same to support Antweight Anarchy as well, the show has a Patreon of its own.) If stickers are more your thing then you can grab some official BBU swag at Redbubble, and remember to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook if you haven’t already!

– Draco