Jim Smentowski - Team Nightmare

Age unknown
Location Bradenton, Florida , USA
Occupation Self-employed owner of the Robot MarketPlace. Also do Video & Web development, Movie and TV Special effects, and of course- robot builder.
Started building combat robots 1996
Hobbies Robots (!), Computers, movies, electronic gizmos, video games, anything with power tools.
Likes Tinkering with stuff, new technology & gizmos, Macintosh computers (everything on this site is done on Macs), motorcycles, blueberries, good music, movies, animals, vacations, my wife Erica & my two sons, Nathan & Ian, and for all these I thank Jesus Christ.
Dislikes Snow, heights, spiders, predictability, horizontal spinners, cast aluminum and dead batteries.

I grew up tinkering with electronic and mechanical stuff whenever I could get my hands and a screwdriver near them. By the time I was 11, I had taken apart nearly everything in the house to figure out how it worked. (This, of course frustrated my parents immensely, because at that age, putting things back together is not normally included in the procedure). I always had a set of tools and some project of some kind sitting unfinished in my bedroom or in the garage. This, of course, has changed little, and I still have boxes of old projects that I will someday have time to complete (or more likely my wife will end up tossing them out and I won't notice)
I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and got really sick of the snow. (No, I am not a skier, I know it seems impossible that a native Coloradan doesn't ski, but hey, that's just the way it is). I lived in Phoenix, Arizona for about a year while attending a Technical School. After moving back to Colorado, I got married and finally got a real job at a prepress house. Then, in December 1995, I was miraculously accepted for a position at Industrial Light & Magic in California, so the day after Christmas, my wife and I quickly packed up all our belongings and headed West.

For 5 years, I worked at George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic. While I was there, I saw the company grow to well over twice the size it was when I first started. I helped contribute to several feature films and TV commercials, you can even see my name in the credits of such films as:

  • Mars Attacks! (1997)
  • Small Soldiers (1998)
  • Galaxy Quest (1999)

As well as design or other visual effects work or "extra" appearances in:

In 2002, after seeing there was a great need in the robot community for a central location to purchase robot parts, I created the Robot MarketPlace, and have been running it full time ever since.

In 2005, we packed up once again and headed East. All the way to Bradenton Florida, relocating the entire Robot MarketPlace with us. Since then, we've opened a local hobby shop called Hobby MarketPlace. If you're in the area, stop in and see us!

Building Robots

In 1996, some friends from ILM told me about Robot Wars, and that August, I went to see the carnage firsthand. After seeing such cool robots as LaMachine, Biohazard and others, I did what only came naturally for about 98% of the guys who attend Robot Wars- I started thinking to myself "Hey, I could do that!". The difference was that I took it VERY seriously, and had a good amount of time and some extra cash stashed away, so I immediately started building my low-budget robot for 1997. I decided to go all the way and begin with a heavyweight named Hercules. You can real all about how Hercules did at the 1997 event in the Hercules 1997 section.

Since that event, I have become completely hooked in Robotic Combat. I build and design robots in much of my spare time, and I like to think that I am getting better with each new bot. To date, I have built 12 robots! My lightweight bot, Backlash won 1st and 2nd place in his first two BattleBots events! My heavyweight, Nightmare was winner of the "most aggressive robot" award! I've also earned awards for my robots Whirligig, PipeDream, and Locust! I've also adopted another team's bot, Turtle, and made him into my own. See them all in the robots section.

I call myself "Team Nightmare", although I'm pretty much the only one on my team. However, there are some individuals that have helped me out in big ways over the last year or so, and I would like to give them some special thanks here. A big thank you to Dan Cherney, who helped with much of the critical (and awesome) machining on Backlash and Nightmare, and my sponsors, IFI Robotics, UGO and NPC Robotics. I also want to give credit to Jeremy Franklin, driver or Whirligig, and his dad, John, two great guys I've been proud to be associated with. There are countless other people out there that have played smaller, but still very important roles, too many to mention. Thanks to everyone who has helped Team Nightmare over the years!

About this website

This website was built for easy access to as much of the Robot Combat news, history, issues, links, and up-to-the-minute information as I can get my hands on. This site will be in constant states of upgrade, so make sure that you keep checking in, I usually update the What's New page fairly often. And, as always, if you have information to share about the sport of robotic combat that I might have missed and should be on the site, any time.

This entire site has been built and is maintained with Macintosh computers.

If you haven't already been looking around, I'll let you know in advance, there is a LOT to see here. At last count, there are over 500 pages of useful information (and a bit of boring nonsense here and there) that make up this site, so happy surfing! A first time visitor might want to check out the Welcome page.

Thanks, I hope you enjoy my robots and RobotCombat.com!

Jim Smentowski
Team Nightmare