Steel Conflict Part 1

Robots in this episode:

RobotTeamWeight ClassWinsLoses
Uncle SammSamm1200
Mo-BotMo-Bot Combat Robots1200
Dizzy DeezGhetto Logic Robotics3000
Poo FlingerDeath By Monkeys3000
SC DoorstopN.E.R.D.3000
Terror Jr.TNT23000
Lil' ShockerSMC1200
Target PracticeVicious1200
Teams and/or robots that have appeared in Battlebots are displayed in red

Pre-fight ranting

Nothing today, let's just get to the first fight!

Uncle Samm vs. Mo-Bot

Uncle Samm is a Hazard clone, consisting of a 2-wheeled red and white striped box with blue top, and a striped spinning bar attached at sort of an angle on the front of the top of the box. Mo-Bot is a full-body spinner that looks like a rounded version of the old metal cake holder that my Mom used to have. It's a dull gray dome with a shiny metal belt around it.

Time to fight. Uncle Samm leaves the starting point and heads towards Mo-Bot while spinning the blade. Mo-Bot stays put while spinning to speed. Both bots give each other a few love taps, which is pretty amazing considering both weapons are at full speed. So much for effectiveness. Actually, Uncle Samm is getting bounced back a few inches after each hit, so I guess that something is happening. Wait. I think I saw a small bit of Uncle Samm armor fly off after that last tap. Wait, it looks like Uncle Samm has become immobile. Mo-Bot delivers a well placed hit on the corner of Uncle Samm. Now the spinning bar stops. Looks like Uncle Samm may be in some trouble. Uncle Samm tries to spin the bar, but that last hit appears to have bent the top armor so that it's in the way of the blade. I'd say that some trouble has just turned into insurmountable trouble. Countout ensues as Mo-Bot taps the hapless Uncle Samm. Game over for Uncle Samm in 39 seconds.

Dizzy Deez vs. Exo-Comp

Now we've got Dizzy Deez, which looks like a taller version of Low Blow. The main body is shaped like an inverted one of those white sleeves that you see around the heads of little yip dogs to keep them from harming themselves or something. There's a three pronged spinning bar on the top of it, with each prong being an L-shaped bracket like you might use to hold up a shelf. The other robot in this match is Exo-Comp. Exo-Comp is a two-wheeled silver box, with two metal "fangs" on the front. Team Neilson has a number of robots. They all are of the silver-box-with-fangs variety.

Time to fight. Both bots move out of their starting positions and circle and lurch a bit. Exo-Comp makes some forays towards Dizzy Deez. The brackets on the spinning bar clang against the fangs a few times without imparting damage. Now we've got the bots apart, and it looks like Exo-Comp's driver is not really very comfortable with his skills. Now some more forays and clanging, and then Dizzy Deez stops. Looks like Game Over for Dizzy Deez. Wait. Exo-Comp isn't moving either. The emcee asks both robots to show movement. No movement. The emcee asks again. No movement. Wait, a lurch from Exo-Comp. That's enough for the emcee. The countdown starts for Dizzy Deez. More lurching from Exo-Comp. Finally, Exo-Comp drives off as the countdown ends for Dizzy Deez. Game Over for Dizzy Deez in 1:43.

Helios vs. Poo Flinger

Helios is a flat 4-wheeled box with enclosed wheels and a big drum on the front that reminds me of an old mimeograph machine. (OK, everyone who is ancient enough to remember the era of mimeograph, pick up your worksheet, place it in front of your nose and take a good whiff....ahhh....). Helios' opponent is Poo Flinger, a flat red two-wheeled box with exposed wheels and a small horizontal plate on the front to serve as a scoop. There's a metal rod sticking off the back like a tail, and a cross-bar on the rod to serve as a kind of thwacker.

Time to fight. OK, for the first time in Steel Conflict history, it appears that we have two drivers who can reliably control their robots as long as the robots are in the center of the box. We go through some positioning, then Helios gets a hit in on Poo Flinger's thwacker tail. Helios collides head on with Poo Flinger, and then both bots drive directly into the wall. Helios bounces away, but we seem to have a situation with Poo Flinger. Some extra verbiage needed here to provide the background information to adequately describe Poo Flinger's situation. The Steel Conflict 1 battle arena has a two foot-ish wooden retaining wall where the spikes and the screws would normally be found on the BB battlebox. This is for safety reasons, so that the robots don't keep flying directly into the lexan, and possibly directly into the audience. There is apparently a gap between the bottom of the wooden wall and the arena floor, and Poo Flinger has firmly wedged that horizonal plate into the gap. Yup, he's stuck. That's the situation. Now Helios comes over and starts whaling on the side of Poo Flinger with the spinning drum. Whether that's to free him so that the fight can resume, or whether it's to further wedge him, oe whether it's just to score aggression and damage points, I'll never know. What I do know is that Helios does eventually succeed in freeing Poo Flinger from his situation. Poo Flinger is now piggybacked on Helios. Helios drives around a bit, and then Poo Flinger falls off and immediately scoops Helios, so now we have Helios piggybacked on Poo Flinger. Poo Flinger immediately drives into the pit (officially known as the "drop zone", but I like "pit" better. See the Kind-of-FAQ for a sentence or two on the pit.) Since Helios was completely piggybacked on Poo Flinger when Poo Flinger drove into the pit, Poo Flinger "forced Helios to leave the playing area", so Poo Flinger wins the match. Yes, that is the rule. Game Over for Helios in 31 seconds.

SC Doorstop vs. Terror Jr.

SC Doorstop is a really thin wedge. Really thin. More like a sliver. Sliver with 4 enclosed wheels. Terror Jr. is a flat box with 4 enclosed wheels, and three curved metal pieces on the front serving as a combo wedge/scoop. There are also three curved metal pieces stuck upside down on the back of Terror Jr.. Years ago, in crystallography class, I learned the technical term for this type of symmetry. Since crystallography class was too many years ago for me to remember this term, let's just say that Terror Jr. is the kind of bot that looks exactly the same inverted as it does rightside up.

Time to fight. SC Doorstop immediately shows off his poor driving ability by driving directly into the wall and getting the corner of the sliver stuck under the wood retaining wall. SC Doorstop eventually manages to work himself loose. Terror Jr. has yet to enter the picture. I have no idea what he's up to. I thought I saw him spinning in place at the very corner of one of the wide shots, but it was vague, and I'm not sure how spinning would enhance the performance of a wedge/scoop. Hmmm. Maybe Terror Jr. is off watching the Mighty Ducks or something. Yeah that's the ticket. Oh wait. We've cut back to full arena view. Ah, now I see what Terror Jr. is doing. Terror Jr. is imitating an armadillo in the path of an approaching car. Emcee calls for Terror Jr. to display translational motion while SC Doorstop drives backwards around the arena. While the Game Over car bears down on Terror Jr., SC Doorstop eventually manages to back into him and it briefly appears that SC Doorstop may try to play Shove-The-Armadillo-In-The-Pit. SC Doorstop decides that it would better to just let the Game Over car flatten Terror Jr.. Terror Jr. flattened in 50 seconds.

Lil' Shocker vs. Target Practice

These 12lb bots are really teeny. Not teeny like ants, but teeny like you could transport one by throwing it into your backpack. Lil' Shocker is a red thwackbot with a wedge on front. As Lil' Shocker is being announced, he slams it into reverse and drives directly into the pit behind his starting position. The words "Huh?" appear in the center of the TV screen. I couldn't have said it better myself. We get a replay of that brilliant move. I am still confused. Target Practice is a silver wedge with 2 enclosed wheels. While Target Practice is being annouced, he slams it into spin, and starts pivoting around his right wheel. trying really hard to fall into the pit behind his starting position. The words "Whoa! Hold on Don!" flash across the screen. My head spins. The word "D'oh!" flashes on the screen as Target Practice continues to pivot. The fight has yet to start.

OK, they've calmed the bots to the point where the fight can start. Fight starts, and all of a sudden we become able to drive forward. Bots position and look around a bit, then Lil' Shocker drives his wedge under Target Practice. OK, this is not funny but it is funny. Lil' Shocker does not have the traction to push Target Practice. So we have several seconds of Lil' Shocker pushing as a hard as he can, wheels spinning furiously, and Target Practice not moving one inch. Lil' Shocker wisely gives it up before burning up his motors, and then we briefly have Target Practice under Lil' Shocker. Lil' Shocker decides to try out the nifty thwacker attached to his rear and spins in place. Target Practice drives out of the picture. Target Practice drives back into the picture as Lil' Shocker stops spinning. Target Practice starts spinning. Maybe someone who is more versed in robotics can tell me what a wedge has to gain by spinning in place. Oh, maybe it's just personality projection and Target Practice all of a sudden thinks he's a thwackbot. Whatever. Eventually Target Practice stops spinning. Lil' Shocker drives over and pings him with the thwacker. Now we have a period of the bots pivoting around their wheels, and then Lil' Shocker gets behind Target Practice with the wedge again. We're once more back to the Little Engine That Couldn't. As we have a closeup of Lil' Shocker with furiously spinning wheels, the wheels suddenly catch and it's like a JATO unit appeared from nowhere. Both bots whoosh off the right side of the screen and Target Practice gets majorly stuffed into the wood retaining wall. Oof. Oops. Looks like a largish part just squirted out from under Target Practice. Target Practice pivots a bit, then backs into the wall, wedge side out. Lil' Shocker runs head-on into Target Practice with a nice wedge-on-wedge slam. Target Practice sits there while Lil' Shocker makes a really lame attempt at thwacking. I wonder whether Target Practice is dead. I guess the judges are wondering the same thing as the emcee calls out for Target Practice to show translational movement. Target Practice lurches thens starts spinning. Lil' Shocker feigns hits with the thwacker. So we have the thwacker tentatively advancing on the spinning wedge. What is wrong with this picture? Now we've got an extended period of bots staggering and intermittently spinning in place. It leaves one with the impression that neither bot has a purpose in this world. Target Practice eventually drives into the wall. Target Practice eventually removes himself from the wall and goes back to spinning. Lil' Shocker thwacks the wall. Hoo boy. We're back to Lil' Shocker feigning hits with the thwacker. Target Practice spins and thwacks Lil' Shocker's thwacker with his wedge. Target Practice had to have been made with spare parts cannibalized from a former thwackbot. Either that or his drivetrain was hosed before the fight started. Now we have an extended period of time watching Lil' Shocker thwack air, while Target Practice powders his wedge off camera. Then. as Lil' Shocker ponders the Laws of Thermodynamics, Target Practice whooshes into the screen backwards and rams into Lil' Shocker. This sends Lil' Shocker immediately back into thwack mode, but he continually misses Target Practice even though Target Practice is sitting there motionless only about a foot away. The amount of non-action in this fight is staggering to the mind. Now Target Practice spins again and we have synchronized spinning, and then Target Practice drives somewhere while Lil' Shocker thwacks a small wooden splinter that has come off the wall. Target Practice whooshes into the picture and...ohmygawd, uses the wedge as a wedge gets under Lil' Shocker, and pushes him a bit. Now Lil' Shocker sits there while Target Practice spins, and mercifully, time runs out. It's our first judge's decision of Steel Conflict, a 31-14 decision for Lil' Shocker.