Powerhouse Robotics - SCAR 4

This was my second proper event (after BotFest 4 in 2021), for this event I was joined by three friends of mine, each of whom was competing for the first time, having only driven the bots for the first time a few days beforehand. I was driving Death Grip, Impact and Karabos whilst anT-Minus, Bludgeoner, FireAnt, Omicron Mk6, Point101 and SideStrike were split amongst my teammates.

(And if you’re thinking that’s a lot of robots for one event, SCAR rules explicitly don’t have a limit on the number of entries you can have, hence why Powerhouse Robotics contributed 9 of the 80 robot field.)

Upon unloading each robot at the event and passing the tech checks, we did a quick test of the drive and found that anT-Minus’ left drive was being intermittent, a hurried replacement of the motor and gearbox (thank you to the person who let me borrow their soldering iron after mine wouldn’t heat up) wasn’t able to solve the issue, but we made the decision to press on as anT-Minus could still move enough not to be counted out and the weapon was functional.

SCAR 4 used a new format where the teams were split into Red and Blue teams, with a running points total kept throughout the event, we were on the Red team, which meant that during the fight night stage we would only fight Blue team opponents, so there are a few familiar faces popping up throughout (LumberThwack had its entire fight night against us!)

Now let’s get on with the many, many fights we had that day.

Fight 6: Death Grip vs LumberThwack

I used the nail jaw for this fight as it provides the best defence against overhead weapons. I kept the jaw closed at the start, but when I opened it after getting underneath LumberThwack’s body, LT managed to swing round and hit the jaw from the underside, removing a small section, one of the nails and causing some damage to the left drive. The jaw actually managed to maintain structural integrity and I was able to keep moving, positioning myself perfectly to take advantage of LT driving straight in front of the pit, taking a nice comeback victory.

Fight 10: Point101 vs You Can Shove Your 4 Inch Cube Where The Sun Don’t Shine

This was mainly a fight of surviving and everyone learning just how vicious the new screws hazard could be. Once 4 Inch Cube got one of their acetate “arms” dragged over the wall by the screws, they were unable to free themselves and found they were just getting pulled closer and closer until they were pulled over.

Fight 15: Omicron Mk6 vs Polaris

The screws claimed another victim, Omicron managed to land three hits, the final one helping to destabilise Polaris enough for the screws to grab hold.

Fight 19: FireAnt vs vidar

Turns out that vidar’s metal forks were able to beat FireAnt’s acetate. We managed to avoid any damage, but losing the ground game meant that it was a one way trip to the screws.

Fight 24: anT-Minus vs GNC

The drive issue really hampered anT-Minus here, preventing it from following up on its flips. After a back and forth that looked a lot closer than it probably should have been, GNC got us trapped in the corner, where it could get ahold of the chassis and drag us over to the pit.

Fight 25: Bludgeoner vs 3, 2, 1, Activate!

Not too much to say on this one, torque reaction thwackbot be hard to drive anywhere that isn’t towards the pit.

Fight 34: Impact vs Icefall

The third hit from Icefall manage to break the rear left mounting point for Impact’s chassis (which I didn’t realise until much later), this meant that only one of Impact’s wheels was reliably touching the ground throughout the fight, but the insane power of Impact’s drive kept it mobile as I could spin and brake to throw myself in a straight line. Luckily Icefall struggled to drive inverted allowing me time to adjust, I did manage to almost get Icefall in the pit at one point through a lucky rebound. Crabwalking defined most of the fight which went Icefall’s way due to damage.

Fight 35: SideStrike vs Sir Flipius the Third

SideStrike dominated the early part of the fight, using the lances to get behind Sir Flipius to push it into the corner. The higned wedge was even getting underneath acetate at points. Defeat came when reversing off Sir Flipius’ flipper a little too close to the pit.

Fight 37: Karabos vs Sheer Grab

There was one early point where Karabos did get under Sheer Grab’s sides, but I didn’t react in time. Not long after I got swamped by Sheer Grab who took me over to the screws.

End of Round 1

1-0: Death Grip, Omicron Mk6, Point101

0-1: anT-Minus, Bludgeoner, FireAnt, Impact, Karabos, SideStrike

Damage and Repairs: Death Grip had its nail jaw, left drive gearbox and wheel swapped for fresh parts, the body had taken some hits but was still usable. Impact’s aluminium wedge had a few nicks and needed to be bent back in a few places, the drive motors were reseated and there were a number of hits across the chassis, I just trimmed off the largest divots.

Fight 44: Impact vs High Five

A return to for Impact, nice long box rushes, fast twitchy turns and a near miss with the pit leading up to pushing High Five into the screws for a win.

Fight 49: anT-Minus vs Icebreaker Junior

The first hit Icebreaker Jr landed managed to bend up the steel lip of anT-Minus’ flipper, removing any chance of us winning this fight, even though we did get under their rear at one point, we couldn’t capitalise. anT-Minus then ended up taking a number of hits to the flipper and body before eventually being sent over the arena wall having taken quite a lot of damage.

Fight 53: Bludgeoner vs Time for crab!

At the beginning, Bludgeoner’s unusual shape was hard for crab to get a hold of. Eventually though after a brief bounce off the screws for both bots, crab managed to pin Bludgeoner against the wall and slide towards the pit.

Fight 56: Omicron Mk6 vs Iceberg

The first hit from Iceberg removed the right tire and completely seized the gearbox. A few more hits punched in the bottom of the front armour and eventually a hit to the left side sent Omicron over the wall.

Fight 59: SideStrike vs I Made This Robot To Procrastinate My Exam Revision

A lack of pushing power and failure to win the ground game meant that SideStrike was quickly pushed into the pit by Exam Revision.

Fight 60: FireAnt vs hex

After a bit of an awkward start from both bots, hex managed to remove the ablative armour on the right of FireAnt. More close misses and scrapes followed until eventually hex drove too close to the pit and teetered over.

Fight 63: Karabos vs Big Loader

I had swapped the grabber on Karabos for a longer version to try and clear the tracks on Big Loader, it worked as I did get a few good suplexes and managed to drag them around a bit. When Big Loader started to push me towards the pit, I managed to turn out of the way and almost succeeded in having Big Loader charge into the pit, but eventually I got caught next to the screws and forced over into the pit.

Fight 70: Death Grip vs Dissector

Going again with the nail jaw to try and protect against overhead attack, Dissector managed to catch me at an angle and being sawing into the cross bracing. I managed to get free, but had the jaw too low when I got to his side to get a grab. Dissector then managed to attack the rear and push us both towards the pit.

Fight 76: Point101 vs LumberThwack

Prior to this fight, Point101’s transmitter was knocked to the floor where it developed an issue where it drained the batteries in it, a fresh set later and we were able to get in the arena.

Both bots struggled to get a hold of each other at the start, LT did manage to land a few hits to Point101’s spike and a good hit to the top plate, but eventually it drove over the screws.

End of Round 2

2-0: Point101

1-1: Death Grip, FireAnt, Omicron Mk6

0-2: anT-Minus, Bludgeoner, Impact, Karabos, SideStrike

Damage and Repairs: Death Grip took a few more shallow slices to the nail jaw and rear of the chassis, but nothing needed to be replaced. I finally noticed that one of Impact’s chassis mounts had broken and replaced the top of the chassis. anT-Minus had its flipper and left wheel replaced and it had suffered hits to the left rear roll hoop, the rear and underside and had a split along the right front face. Point101’s spike had been bent and needed to be replaced but I rushed the repair job which left its spike largely non-functional, the top plate also had to be replaced. Omicron Mk6 had its right gearbox and wheel replaced, the part of the front steel armour and chassis which had been punched in was filed smooth, the rear armour had some large cuts but hadn’t been pierced, a part of the 2mm aluminium left-side armour had been curled up and the internal frame had broken about 4 places, but the design meant that it maintained structural rigidity and none of the armour needed to be replaced. FireAnt had a couple of scratches to the front armour, and the right-side armour panel was replaced.

Fight 83: Karabos vs Duck(ling)

A very quick fight, Duck(ling) got straight under Karabos and pushed me into the screws.

Fight 87: Bludgeoner vs Relativity

The first hit broke off Bludgeoner’s arm at the base, where it flew over to the opposite corner of the arena and the tip broke off. The second hit left a few marks one one of the wheels. The third hit split the chassis in half along the weaker points of the prints. Bludgeoner was still functional, if not exactly mobile, but tapped out to save the internals.

Fight 88: anT-Minus vs LumberThwack

When swapping over flippers, we forgot to adjust the steel blade, which meant that it was pushing anT-Minus’ already comprised drive off the ground. Raising the flipper did help with mobility, but a strike to the top caused the structural damage from anT-Minus’ previous fight to worsen, with the top right of the chassis visibly disconnected from the front, the decision was made to tap out before anT-Minus ripped itself apart anymore.

Fight 97: Death Grip vs Sheer Grab

A grabber vs grabber match is something I’ve had experience with. The tactic was to let my opponent grab hold of my weapon whilst I got underneath them, allowing me to lift them off the ground and hold them whilst I drove to the pit. In the initial engagement, this did happen, but at an angle so I overbalanced, just managing to get free before I could be pushed into the screws. After a couple near misses with the pit and quick self rights, I then managed to pull off my strategy, getting the lift on Sheer Grab, be put they were able to open their jaw wide enough to get free before I could do anything with them. Sheer Grab then managed to get a good hold of my weapon and lift one of my wheels off the ground, but I used my experience and drive power to keep us away mostly from the hazards. After about 20 seconds, I raised the point that I was being pinned and we separated, I then pushed Sheer Grab into and over the screws for a close win.

Fight 101: FireAnt vs Delta V

One hit to the rear right corner of FireAnt sent it flying into the pit and managed to remove the right-side armour, I assume the superglue hadn’t finished drying.

Fight 102: SideStrike vs Icefall (No Footage)

SideStrike did really well in this fight, using the hinged wedge to absorb almost all the hits from Icefall’s weapon and control Icefall around the arena. The lances were eventually broken off by a couple of stray shots and the only other damage was a couple of light scraps to the rear armour. Had SideStrike not been stranded on top of one of its lances in the dying seconds of the fight, it would have won the judges’ decision.

Fight 111: Impact vs GNC

GNC’s found game was consistently better than Impact’s and with only the rear wheels on the ground, pushing matches were 50/50. I did get a couple of good rams on GNC and helped to hasten the demise of the screws, which were getting slower and slower until one ram then got them going at full speed. GNC eventually managed to catch me right next to the screws where a quick tun sent me over and out. In hindsight I might have been better off using Impact’s social distancing forks, I still wouldn’t have won the ground game, but the may have interfered with GNC’s weapon arm, keeping Impact further away from the grabber.

Fight 115: Point101 vs KragWiel

After another fresh set of batteries in its transmitter, Point101’s front steel armour held up quite well at the start and the reciprocating spike did manage to last for a short while before dying. In the end KragWeil managed to use their scoop to get under Point101 and get us beached on a bit of torn up arena floor just in front of the pit, which they then pushed us into to.

Fight 118: Omicron Mk6 vs Dominic Cartridge

Omicron’s armour wasn’t really phased by Cartridge’s undercutter, but the drive was a bit squirrelly after the last fight. A simple driving mistake meant we went in the pit.

End of Round 3

2-1: Death Grip, Point101

1-2: FireAnt, Impact, Omicron Mk6

0-3: anT-Minus, Bludgeoner, Karabos, SideStrike

Damage: Point101 had numerous scratches along its sides, the weapon was dead again and the bottom right corner of the front armour had been peeled up. Bludgeoner had lost its weapon and been split in half, but the electronics were all still functional. FireAnt had a nice divot where Delta V landed its kill shot. SideStrike had its hinged wedge chewed up and its lances removed. anT-Minus had its chassis start to split open.


Death Grip and Point101 were among the 25 robots who went 2-1 and would contest the 3 remaining spots in the Round of 16. Due to the state of its weapon mechanism and the ongoing power issue with its transmitter, the decision was made to withdraw Point101 from the playoffs. This had the added benefit of meaning the playoffs could be 8 robots each, which the event organiser appreciated.

Playoff Rumble 2: Death Grip vs Sheer Grab vs Photosynthesis vs Expandabot vs Dominic Cartridge vs shapash vs Bish What vs Always gonna give you up. Always gonna let you down. Always gonna run around and desert you. Always gonna make you cry. Always gonna say goodbye. Always gonna tell a lie and hurt you.

I started by going after Protosynthesis, before switching over to Sheer Grab. Expandabot flipped me but I quickly selfrighted and then got flipped again, bouncing off shapash’s vert. Expandabot continued to hound me around the arena until he swapped targets. I then returned my attention to Sheer Grab, but that left Death Grip’s rear exposed to Bish What, who proceeded to tear Death Grip a new one. The drive was seemingly undamaged, but I spun out into the pit trying to gather my bearings.

Overall record: 7-21

Damage and future plans

anT-Minus: Chassis needs replacing and reworking due to the front separating from the top. Screw hole on base has split, numerous cuts and slices. Drive issue needs diagnosing. Both wheels have taken hits but are usable for now.

Bludgeoner: Long mace destroyed, both chassis halves have split at the joint. One wheel has a few slice marks. Electronics will be transferred to a fresh chassis and spares will be used up, but the design won’t receive any further revisions as the bot is neither competitive nor fun to drive.

Death Grip: Shallow slices on top of nail jaw and chassis. Large hole in rear of chassis and mounting point on base broken. Right wheel cut into. The rear of the chassis will need to be reworked as it is rather vulnerable for a crucial part of the design, I also need to finish the new shield jaw for fighting hammer saws.

FireAnt: Right side armour removed, shallow cuts to the front and sides. Divot on rear right corner, chassis is still usable. May swap drive from 50:1 to 30:1 to give it a bit more speed and try and stop it rearing up when accelerating.

Impact: Chassis top was replaced, chassis bottom has some nicks and cuts, will need to be replaced. Will need to change mounting system for the chassis halves, may swap over the holes and tabs so the parts most likely to break are on the bottom of the chassis, which is easier and quicker to replace.

Karabos: Didn’t fight any high KE opponents, so not a scratch on it.
At some point it'll be put to the fire

Omicron Mk6: Front, rear and left armour pieces damaged and to be replaced. Rear left upright, upper left mounting point for rear armour and outer right top rail detached. Fresh chassis needed, but the design philosophy of using the armour and internal bulkheads to support each other has worked as until the armour was removed, it remained solid enough to fight.

Point101: Spike mechanism needs refining, front steel armour peeled up at bottom right corner, but the double-sided tape held it on. Slices on chassis.

SideStrike: Hinged wedge chewed up, lances broken off and mounting need replacing. Only damage to the chassis is a couple of nicks to the rear armour. May swap the drive from 30:1 to 50:1 to give it some pushing power.

We had a lot of fun at SCAR 4 and definitely plan to take part again in the future (once I’ve finished repairing and upgrading all the bots). It was good to see how my designs hold up to spinners and getting advice from the other builders.

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