TupperScare - MiniBeasts In The East April 2024 - event report

(Watch all the fights talked about here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxu6s2o5mig )

Hey there, friends. Over a year since our last full combat event, whew. To say I was excited about this one would be an understatement. Normally this would be where I would go into upgrades made to TupperScare, but this time all that was done was install a new link mount (something I’ve been meaning to do since Battle In The Burgh 2, oop) and swapped out one motor which had been suffering since Scouse Showdown last year. Apart from that everything was still the same, right down to the same chassis since it was first built nearly two years ago- complete with multiple dents and battle scars from numerous spinners!

The day before the event, after a long drive down south I went over to the venue (the wonderful Productivity East building at the University of East Anglia) to help set up. Whilst there the topic of the draw came up and I asked what my line-up looked like. Event Organiser Jevan looked it up, then looked at me, laughed, and said “I’m so sorry”. Uh oh…

The format for MITE would follow the same that many beetle events in the UK are now using, with each competitor getting three “fight night” rounds, consisting of two 1v1s and a final three way fight. Points awarded for both if you win and how (i.e., more points for a KO win than a decision), with the 8 robots with the most points moving on to the championship knockout bracket. On the morning of the event after comfortably passing tech checks, the draw was revealed, and I realised why Jevan had been so apologetic – every single one of our opponents was a spinner. Including both opponents in the three way. That’s four spinners in three fights… this could get ugly. And as for our first opponent…


Sniper is a horizontal spinner built by Dylan Stanley. To say this was a nightmare first match-up would be an understatement- Sniper hasn’t been around long, but in that time it has developed a reputation as one of the two or three scariest horizontals in the UK beetle scene, including picking up a RoboDojo championship. I was fully prepared for TupperScare to come out of the arena in pieces after this one. The plan was to just get in there and try and survive as long as possible. Still, it was also a chance to put my chonky anti-spinner set up on against a horizontal, which I rarely got the chance to do, so who knew how well it would hold up?

At the start of the fight, as Sniper got its weapon up to speed and approached, I just wanted to keep the front of TupperScare pointed at the weapon. Somehow my driving prevailed on this occasion and the first connect from Sniper was on the wedge- there was a loud bang from the impact and TupperScare was sent spinning back into the wall, but I was able to drive away- we had survived first contact! Naturally I shouted at Dylan asking if that was all he got, and right as that happened one of our rear wheels came off- I had loctited all hubs onto the motors the night before, so I can only guess that the first impact had caused that one hob to wriggle free. No matter, we still had three wheels and a dream.

The second hit from Sniper once again connected with the wedge and this time knocked us back onto Sniper’s mini-bot, and we were temporarily beached and unable to move. Sniper came in and took a couple of little shots to the rear of TupperScare- I think Dylan took it easy on me there, he could have gotten the weapon up to full speed and annihilated me while I was stuck. I was eventually able to get free and keep moving, I span round and drove at Sniper’s weapon one more time- TupperScare was knocked back spinning again, and this time the power light went off and the controls were unresponsive. We were knocked out, although at first I wasn’t sure how as it didn’t appear the link had come out- it was only on closer inspection that I realised, the two wires connecting to the link mount had both been desoldered and knocked out of the connection points. As it turns out, the wires on the new motor I’d put in for the event had also been disconnected. As the robot seemed to be driving fine until that final impact, I can only guess that all four of those connections had been knocked out in that single hit. Whilst there’s something to be said about my soldering skills there, that should also highlight how much power Sniper is packing in that weapon. Scary robot.

This meant we had to do a fair bit of soldering after the fight, which was a pain because I hate soldering, but between two of us we managed to get it done. Other than that, we seemed to take fairly minimal damage- there were a couple of nice new gashes in the wedge, and Sniper had done a number on the rear motor faceplate that had been exposed, twisting the motor in the process, but on testing the motor seemed to function normally so I left it as is (more on that later) Even the Tupperware box we had on for that fight took minimal enough damage that I was happy to just leave it on for the next fight rather swapping to one of the spares – a rare treat after fighting a spinner! Repairs completed, and it was time for the next one-


Kilthane is a very cool robot that moves using a shuffling mechanism rather than wheels to move. This meant it got a weight bonus which all went into its rather scary looking vertical spinner. Of all our opponents this was the one I was perhaps least concerned about as I knew there was a fair chance I could keep away from the weapon and just get round to the sides and back to try and push/lift. On top of this, Kilthane’s builder Thomas had been having issues getting it to even move properly- he spent the build-up to our fight covering the shufflers in hot glue in an attempt to give them more grip on the arena floor. Still, I wasn’t taking anything for granted- one hit from that weapon could end the fight very badly for us.

As we loaded into the arena I realised we had our own drive issues- TupperScare was now veering to the right every time I tried to drive forward. It wasn’t until later I realised that we probably took more damage from Sniper to that rear motor than I initially thought, causing us to have very uneven drive. My plan of box-rushing Kilthane probably wasn’t going to work if I couldn’t drive in a straight line, so I figured I’d just move as best I could and see what happened!

It soon became clear that despite Thomas’s best efforts Kilthane was still having major mobility issues, mostly turning on the spot and not really able to leave its starting square. I left my square and tried making my way over to Kilthane, but my own drive issues meant this took longer than expected. It was announced that the two robots did need to make contact with each other for this to count as a fight, and eventually TupperScare did make it to Kilthane (whose weapon was up to full speed) and I managed to sort of tap the side of Kilthane with our wedge- and that counted as contact! I then repositioned and got the end of our lifter just underneath Kilthane and tried a lift- unfortunately the extra weight of Kilthane combined with bad leverage meant TupperScare just lifted itself forward, which got a laugh out of everyone at least. With Kilthane still unable to leave its starting square, it was finally counted out – and TupperScare was declared the winner by KO!

I’ll be honest, although this was Tupper’s 3rd ever fight win (the team’s 4th ever fight win overall), in the aftermath of the fight I mostly felt bad for Thomas- Kilthane is an awesome robot that just didn’t seem to want to co-operate on the day. If it had been a bit more mobile, we might have been able to make a bit more of show from our fight. But still, we now had three points on the board, and zero repairs after that fight, so we went back to the pits and waited for our final fight night round, which would almost definitely be our last competition fight of the day…



Oh boy. This was the big one. As if fighting two spinners in our last two fights wasn’t enough, now we were fighting two in the same fight- Hooligan, a drum spinner built by Martin Christopher, and Revolution, a vertical disc on a big wedge driven by Gareth Anstee. I had zero expectations for this fight, I just wanted to try and survive as long as possible with these two very good robots, and hopefully not take too much damage so I could get TupperScare back in the arena for maybe a whiteboard fight or two.

On activate, the two spinners focused on each other, clearly each seeing the other one as the biggest threat (understandably) I held back a little but honestly was trying to get stuck in with some attacks where I could, the drive issues I’d been having since the Sniper fight meant this was proving difficult. At one point, after dealing a big hit on Revolution, Hooligan turned its attention to TupperScare. The drum clipped the side of the wedge, and we were flipped onto our back, but I was quickly able to self right and continue the fight

(This was actually a pretty big deal for me- none of my robots have ever successfully self righted in a fight and so often I’ve lost just by being flipped over, so this seemingly minor moment was a big victory in itself- if you watch the footage, you may hear me shouting about “doing the thing”…)

Meanwhile, Hooligan flipped over Revolution and shoved TupperScare back when we tried to get more involved, then went back to causing more damage to Revolution. Somewhere in this Revolution lost a wheel and then stopped moving while on its back. Hooligan was next to Revolution and by the as yet unopened pit, and TupperScare was near the pit release button. Despite our wonky drive, I managed to drive into and press the button, right as Hooligan drove over the pit door… Hooligan drove off and was on the edge of the pit as it opened so didn’t go in… but then Hooligan stopped moving. And its weapon span down. And I was still driving TupperScare, showing it was still mobile. And then the referee started counting out both Hooligan and Revolution as the crowd slowly erupted into a cheer…

…and ten seconds later, TupperScare was declared the winner by knockout. WHAT.

For those keeping score, we were now 2-1 for the day, with both wins by knockout giving us even more points on the table. We’d fought four (four!) spinners, and somehow had beaten three of them. Even writing that down now feels surreal and I’m not sure I’ll ever get over it. As we headed back into the pits, we were met with a round of applause from the roboteers waiting there- apparently, the cheers from the crowd were loud enough to be heard in the pits, causing everyone there to turn to the screen and realise what had happened. I won’t lie- that felt really good.
There was even chatter that TupperScare might actually make it into the top 8 with the points we’d accumulated, but I figured that KO loss would be surely count against us and our tournament run would end here but we’d leave with our heads held high… right?


Yeah, about that. Once the final Fight Night rounds had concluded, the EOs came out to announce that as the points stood, there was a clear top 6 followed by 6 more robots all tied on the same amount of points. Therefore to complete the line-up for the top 8, there were going to be two final “play in” rumbles, with the six tied robots randomly drawn into each. And as it turns out, one of those six robots was TupperScare… and in our play-in rumble we were about to fight two more vertical spinners. Oh boy.

(Officially, this put us in the top 12 for the day, out of a field of 30 very good robots… insanity)

Delta V, a vertical disc built by Jake Randell which earlier in the day had hit its opponent so hard it sounded like a gunshot, and Bad Daddy, a beater built by Robot Wars & Battlebots alumni Tom Lloyd. Two very nasty robots that had a grudge against each other, with TupperScare caught in the middle. Maybe lightning would strike twice?

The start of this fight played out very similarly to the last, with the two spinners focusing on each other and me trying to engage but struggling against TupperScare’s limping drive. Believe me, I really was trying to get stuck in, at this point I had no qualms about what damage the robot might take and really just wanted to go for it, but the drive had other ideas. At one point we took a head on hit from Delta V and got flipped, but once again the self righter did the thing and got TupperScare back on its wheels, keeping us still in the fight.

We managed to survive for a bit longer as Delta V and Bad Daddy exchanged monstrous blows, and even withstood a few more smaller hits, however with a little over thirty seconds left in the fight, TupperScare’s lifting arm decided it’d had enough and fell off the robot- the forces endured throughout the fight probably caused the servo horn to wriggle free. Very quickly after this, we took a massive head on hit from Delta V which sent us into the air, and we landed upside directly onto Bad Daddy’s weapon, which ripped the entire front half of our poor Tupperware armour off, and TupperScare landed on it back. With no longer any means to self right and most of our internals (including lipo) now exposed, I tapped out. TupperScare’s ridiculous run at MITE had officially come to an end… although we did get one last unintentional trick in. During the final exchange, one of our wheel’s got ejected from the robot, and this ended up getting pulled in and jammed into Bad Daddy’s weapon, stopping it completely for the rest of the fight. I’m told this played a part in the judges giving the decision for that fight to Delta V… whoops. On further inspection in the pits, it was decided there was too much damage to try and repair for any whiteboard fights, but seeing as we’d gotten in four fights on the day any way, I wasn’t too bothered about that.

And that about wrapped things up for our time in Norwich. Across four tournament fights, we’d faced six spinners, and beaten three of them en route to a 2-2 record and a top 12 finish for the day. And through all that, despite bits of damage and dodgy repairs, little old TupperScare kept going- it took the hits, it successfully self righted (twice!), wheels only sometimes came off, the link never came out- and oh yeah, we re-used the same Tupperware shell for every single fight, never having to use any of the spares we brought! Okay that one I think was a lot more luck based, but still. I’ve never been more proud of my dumb lunchbox machine. Am I actually starting to get okay at this robot fighting thing…?

One last thing before I go- throughout the day, competing roboteers were encouraged to vote for a People’s Champion, as part of the awards that would be handed out at the end of the event. Come the award presentation, and which robot’s name is read out but TupperScare. Honestly, that probably means more to me than any fight win, thank you so much to everyone who voted, and special shout out to Sion for doing such an incredible job with the trophies!

That’s all from me, if you’re still reading thanks for once again for sticking through one of my marathon reports. As always not sure when our next event will be, but I’m hoping the break will be a bit shorter this time- MITE was an absolute blast, and I’m possibly more eager than ever to get back in the arena again.

See you soon guys!

  • James