August 1999


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I have set up a legal defense fund to help me pay for the legal fees in this recent event (see below). If you could help out at all, I would REALLY appreciate it! I am now facing upwards of $2000 in legal fees.
If you want to help, here's my mailing info:

Jim Smentowski
PO Box 2459
San Rafael CA 94912

In other news, I'm still collecting images and video for the '99 BattleBots-Long Beach Report and Archive. Our team took tons of pictures and video (unfortunately not the actual matches due to BB restrictions, but still lots of good stuff) at the event, and we have a play-by-play log of the robot battles that will accompany them. I've been pretty busy with this legal stuff, work, vacation plans, and repair/upgrades for my robots, so I cannot guarantee when the archive will be online, but I can guess within a month or so.

The Auto-Links page seems to be working fine, it needs a little babysitting still, but it contacts all my links each time and updates the page with the site modification dates. Its really very cool that it actually works! Check it out if you haven't seen it yet! I'll keep working out the bugs, you keep any changes or additions!

The BattleBots site has a bunch of video footage, even including my own robots- Nightmare and Junior! The ZDTV site is also a great source for this video and reports of the event.


At the beginning of August 1999, I was served a summons via Profile Holdings, Inc. for an examination under oath concerning the sources of information for the content of this website.

You can read the order here. The original date was set for August 16 (the day after BattleBots), but it has since been extended as per my request.

I am seeking the advice of my attorney in this case, who will be accompanying and representing me thoroughout this deposition. I appreciate in advance any and all help and support the readers of this website can provide.


Working on some site updates here at I've been slaving away on a script that will run each night, automatically checking all the links on my Links Page to verify connection and any updated pages. The theory is that the script will check all the links and then update itself so you can see what the newest Robot Combat related websites are out there. It is not completely bug free yet, but I'll be working on it in the next week or so. And, as always, if you see a bad link or want to add or modify information to the links page, please me!


Well, since the secret is officially out of the bag, I've added some more pictures and details to the Nightmare Page. Now's your chance to see what all my fuss was about! I will be adding more to it later, I'm still too tired to do anything else yet. Enjoy!


Hi, just a short update, cuz I have no energy left for the full one yet:

BattleBots- was AWESOME, a bit disorganized here and there, but that is understandable given the newness and short staff. It still pulled through as a fantastic show! I'm sure lots of notes were taken on what NOT to do, so next time will go even more smoothly.

The robots and builders- were also AWESOME, I saw so many cool robots, I wish I was able to have a chance to talk with everyone! Excellent cooperation and sacrifice of time and equipment in the Pit, guys! I appreciate everyone helping each other out, that is one of the best things to see at these events! Amazing amounts of time and effort went into each and every robot there- great job!

Nightmare- after one awesome fight against FrenZy on Saturday, the safety judges, saying that Nightmare was just too darn dangerous, gave me the choice to drop out of the competition with a special award, or to reverse the direction of the weapon, making it much more difficult to throw shrapnel into the audience. Well, I built him to compete, so instead of taking the Blendo-esque way out, I went ahead and reversed the weapon, making it only a fraction as effective. I hated doing that, it just made him bounce up on top of the other robots, but was still entertaining to watch.

Junior- Was doing very well, until Knee-Breaker started bashing him around- ouch that thing packs a whollop! After that, his saws stopped working and then later the lifter-arm stopped working too, but he was still driving around (with only one wheel!). I haven't opened him up since (too much repairing on Nightmare in the meantime), so I'm not sure what went wrong. Hey- he ripped Barbie off of Stuffie though, and got to parade around with Little Slice overhead!

Nightmare vs. FrenZy - won
Nightmare vs. Malicious Mischief - won
Nightmare vs. Killerhurtz - lost
Nightmare vs. Punjar - lost
Nightmare- won the "Most Aggressive Bot" award

Junior vs. Little Slice - won
Junior vs. Knee-Breaker - draw/rematch
Junior vs. Knee-Breaker - lost
Junior vs. Stuffie - won
Junior vs. Deadblow - lost

Neither of my robots were feeling up to the final robot rumble this time, sorry to dissapoint!

More details and event report coming soon. I will also be putting up the full Nightmare page too, now that he has been (mostly) revealed.

Thanks to everyone who made this event a success! See you at the next one!


Well, here we go! Heading off to the Pyramid to get safety inspected and weighed (crossing fingers tightly for Nightmare), so this will be the last update until afterwards. Tomorrow it starts getting really crazy, so far it REALLY looks like it's going to ROCK! The pyramid is WAY cool, the arena is WAY cool, the robots I've seen so far are WAY cool- I'll make sure to get tons of pictures for everyone and the archives and play-by-play account should be up in the coming weeks.

All my stuff is already at the pyramid (moved in several days ago when I drove down with the big truck). So all I have to do is set up my pit area. We had a TV appearance where several of the builders (and me after less than 3 hours of sleep) drove around our 'bots for the morning news crew of channel 5 L.A. Ronin, Maliscious Mischief, Ginsu, Agamemnon and Nightmare wowed the camera for a bit. It was fun. I couldn't activate Nightmare's weapon without protection, but he still put on a cool show. Oh, make sure to look for the shredded "Nightmare was Here" 50gallon steel drum at the pyramid! See you there!


Finished Junior today! He now has two weapon attachments on his tail that I can choose from (not bad for only two days' work!) I can now select between a double-saw attachment- (the same one taken from Herc '97), or a new additional flipping spike attachment. Unfortunately the spike attachment isn't nearly as strong as his main flipping arm, but it does make for some cool looking somersaulting action! And, he looks neat with both forward and backward arms moving up and down (although it is kinda hard to control...) I'm not sure if I'll even use either one of these new weapons in the matches, I guess I'll determine that depending on my opponent.
Junior's final weigh in (as if you can trust this crummy bathroom scale) is about 102 pounds with the spike attachment, and 100 pounds with the circular saws.

Nightmare is ready to go, I didn't need to do anything else to him today besides clean him up a bit, and I built him a nice new cart to roll around on, made from 2x4's and large caster wheels. I think it will be much easier to haul him around this way, and the cart doubles as a dolly for other equipment at the event and even Junior fits nicely in the middle (but he sure looks small compared to Nightmare!).

I finally got around to updating the Junior page, although not excessively. I just fixed the page a bit and modernized the descriptions to fit Junior's status for BattleBots.

Hope everyone else out there is finishing up their robots! Can you believe its only a WEEK left?! Here we go!!!!!


The domain is active!
I am proud to announce that you may now access this website with an easy to remember name. The Team Hercules website is now

Thanks for being patient for so long when dealing with long URLs in the past. In the coming months, I will be expanding and possibly even redesigning this entire site to include even more info, tips, FAQ, and a completely reconstructed interactive and automatically updating Links section.
But that's not all- special thanks go to Andrew Lindsey of Team Spike for passing the torch here to to document the '99 BattleBots contestants and play-by-play account of the matches during this event! Welcome honorary Team Hercules members Arthur Sanders and Ronni Katz, who will be focused (literally-with all the cameras they can carry) on nearly every move each robot makes at BattleBots! It may take time to put all this information together after the event, so thank you in advance for your patience! Of course, these changes are on hold at least until after BattleBots, I certainly have enough to do for a while...

Please continue to to any information you stumble across on the subject of Robotic Combat, especially any articles you might see in newspapers, magazines, TV, websites, newsgroups or whatever- your input is very valuable here!

A press release about BattleBots appeared yesterday on the comp.robotics.misc newsgroup- check it out! will be carrying live event footage during BattleBots on August 14-15, AND, they're giving away some free tickets! Get your thinking caps on, there's gonna be BattleBots trivia questions! Check out their official page!


Nightmare is DONE!

Construction is complete, and Nightmare is ALIVE! I finished both weapon configurations, and tweaked all the wiring, armor, drivetrain, frame, etc. this weekend. I even completed his paint job, took lots of pictures, tightened everything down, and shined up the weapons. Sure there is a little bit of fine-tuning I can do, actually there is a bit of a buggy interface with the weapon activation that I would like to adjust, but everything else is DONE.

Now, with less than two weeks to go til the event, I have essentially one week left to complete the adjustments to Junior. I am leaving town a week early to attend Siggraph in L.A. the week before BattleBots. Shouldn't be a problem really. I've gotten quite good at driving Nightmare around, it just bothers me that I still have not really all-out tested either of Nightmare's weapon configurations on a decent target

In case you didn't notice, since it is a new month (August- can you believe it?), I have archived the July updates below, if you've been away for a while, please go back and read through anything you may have missed

Still no further word from the folks over at Robot Wars about the cancellation, I really feel bad for all the people who had made travel arrangements and constructed their robots to attend that event. Let's hope that someday soon things will get straightened out so that event will get back on track

I'm not too sure if I'll be able to update this page again before BattleBots, so if not, I'll see you all there! Don't miss it! August 14-15 in Long Beach, CA! Tell your family, friends, co-workers, neighbor, dentist, florist, welder, and enemies not to miss out on this event, it will definitely be something to remember!