BattleBots Long Beach - Megabot (middleweight) entry, 1999
Junior made it through
the 1999 BattleBots event in Long Beach, California!
Well, sort of.... He took one heck of a beating from a robot built by Christian Carlberg's- Knee Breaker, but he held his own and actually won a couple matches!
Here's his fight list:
Won Battle 1: vs Little Slice (another robot built by Christian Carlberg). A long match, Little Slice paraded around the floor (6-legged walking robot) to the delight of the crowd. Junior got a couple pushes in, and was able to catch Little Slice a couple of times with the lifting arm, lifting him completely off the ground a couple times, but poor Junior's drive motors are pretty weak, and he couldn't move with all that weight on top, so the referees had to separate the 'bots. A few minutes of this went on before Junior finally caught a good angle on Little Slice and completely flipped him over, winning the match.
Draw Battle 2: vs Knee Breaker (by Christian Carlberg- man, I can't stay away from this guy's bots!). I don't remember much from this match, it was a blur. Kneee breaker has a big T-bar out the front that, when he spins, provides a massive impact against the opponent. Junior took a couple hits from this spinning robot (I really should have stayed back out of his way until he slowed down or moved closer to a wall), and one hit actually knocked Junior's wheel off! With only 1 wheel moving, Junior could only go in a circle, but it turned out that Knee Breaker had the same problem, so two robots going in wide circles withouth touching each other, the judges declared the match a draw with intent to rematch. I pulled poor Junior out of the arena to fix him up for the next fight.
Lost Battle 3: vs. Knee Breaker. Not sure what happened with Junior during match 2, but his sawblades in the back stopped working, and it would have been too difficult for me to open him up and find out what went wrong, so I pretty much just put the wheel back on and pulled him back to fight Knee Breaker a second time. This match went almost the same as the first. Knee Breaker, with his excellent spining weapon aimed right at Junior's wheel again and knocked it off, also severely dentimg one rear corner. Junior was knocked out, with only the abilty to move with one wheel left.
Won Battle 4: vs. Stuffie. This cute robot, a plastic kid's car with stuffed animals inside and a Barbie strapped to the front, was a crowd pleaser because of its cuteness. Stuffie has no real weapon, just a sort of wooden wedge on the front, but not enough pushing power to do much with it. Junior, having been somewhat crippled by Knee Breaker, could not use his sawblades (I really wanted to get some red plastic flying, but couldn't fix the saws while I was frantic on working on my main robot, Nightmare), so I had to settle for lifting Stuffie. Junior easily picked Stuffie up, but couldn't get the power to carry him (darn cheap drive motors), and actually both robots got incapacitated when Junior couldn't get Stuffie off his back, so the refs once again separated us. One good point was when Junior got to rip the Barbie doll off Stuffie, much to the crowd's delight. At the end, we both got stuck together again, and the crowd voted Junior as the victor.
Lost Battle 5: vs. Deadblow. Deadblow is a nice little bot with a large hammering weapon. This was actually the second time Junior got to face Deadblow- his creator, Grant Imahara, works with me at ILM, and we had a test match back in '98. This time, Deadblow was tuned up and got a couple good hits on Junior, denting his armor, but not significantly doing any damage. Deadblow has the capability of running upside down, so Flipping him could do no good, and Junior's saws still didn't work, so, even though both bots were running at the end of the match, it didn't take much for the crowd to decide that Deadblow was the winner of this match.
Junior retreated to the pits to lick his wounds. I never got a chance to fix him up, and missed the Megabot Rumble.
You can see more about this event in my event report page.
Junior as you know him may not make it back after his appearance at BattleBots. Don't get me wrong, he survived enough that the only permanent damage was his saw control, but I was not satisfied with his performance and saw too many weaknesses I am not happy with, so if Junior returns to combat, he will be an all-new robot, I have some ideas on how to improve him significantly, starting with those darn drive motors! I think he will still live up to his name, as I will probably be building him out of hand-me-down parts my other bots like Nightmare! Someday Junior will return!!!
the top of this page, you can see some pictures of Junior as
he appeared around August, 1998. The first picture is Junior from the
front, you can plainly see his most effective weapon, the lifter arm.
The three spikes on the front look intimidating, but simply work as
'fingers' to grab anything extruding from the other robot, and then
lift with a LOT of force (this arm can lift a 200 pound robot, so a
100 pound middleweight is no problem at all). Don't underestimate his
size! He's a lot stronger than you might think!
The armor on the sides is some thick bronze plates with steel supports inside. The back armor is all stainless steel. The entire underside is also protected by thick aluminum sheets. Junior was a much lower budget robot than I have done before, as a matter of fact, most of him was completely finished in the first weekend that I started on him! I came up with the idea for creating Junior after completely rebuilding my heavyweight robot from 1997 for the 1998 Robotica event (that was cancelled)t. After I realized that I was basically using NONE of the parts from the 1997 version of Hercules in the new '98 Hercules, I thought to myself- "Hey, what a waste of perfectly good parts!", so I came up with the plan of using these spare parts in a smaller robot entry.
Well, the motors I used in Hercules '97 were fairly wimpy to push a 169 pount robot around, but when they would only have to push 110 pounds or less, they were not too bad, as long as he didn't have to carry a large load around. I found that once I added up the weight of the motors, batteries and other accessories, I was right about the weight needed for a Megabot entry!
When I finished Junior first in 1998, he only weighed in at 83 pounds, which was considerably short of the 110 limit for BattleBots '99, so I had to beef him up a bit to handle the competition there. I gave him a little more armor in certain locations, and added that modular weapon attachment I spoke about above. Even with these additions, Junior still was only about 102 pounds.
Well, this robot was almost the same concept as the '97 Hercules-including very similar design and incorporating almost all the old parts, so I was for a while calling him "Herc Jr.", then just shortened it to "Junior". Pretty simple, and not too creative, but hey, I liked it and my wife liked it, so the name stuck.
Junior was designed around the same concept as '97 Hercules. A compact body with a very powerful flipper arm in the front. The main difference was the creative way that I packed everything into a relatively small platform for Junior's base- this cut WAY back on the amount of armor and frame weight! Doing these things, I was able to bring a 169 pound robot down to only about 100 pounds! Junior tested out very well, he was remarkably easy to control (my wife had even been driving Junior in practice, and did very well!), and he was pretty quick as well. I've had my radio control programmed to switch so driving is normal whether he is upside-down, rigtside up, or even if I want backwards to drive like normal! (Often he was easier to control with the sawblade in front). And with his strong armor and extended wheels (can drive upside down if flipped), Junior was a pretty hard robot to disable. The flipping arm for Junior is the same as was in Hercules '97, so it is designed to lift up to a 180 pound heavyweight robot.
Check out the '98 article from the L.A. Times in which Junior appeared!