Bonfire was a robot from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom, which competed in Season 1.5, the debut of This is Fighting Robots. It was built by Team Immersion, who designed the robot upon the concept of their Robot Wars competitor Vulture. It impressed its celebrity captain Wu Chun in its preliminary rumble, and advanced to the main competition, where a faulty speed controller resulted in its breakdown under pressure from Blue. Following its loss, Bonfire became one of three robots to be eliminated from the Red team at the end of the first round.

Team captain Adam Hamilton and Thomas Long are consistent members of Team Immersion, with featherweight roboteer Andy Russell, and the captain of Team. Ablaze Gareth Anstee joining the team for the competition.

The name Bonfire is derived from the UK musicians Knife Party and their popular music track Bonfire, in line with the team's inspiration by Pendulum music, which features some of the key musicians from Knife Party.


Bonfire 1

Side view of Bonfire

Bonfire 2

Front view of Bonfire

Bonfire uses a wide, two-wheeled design, supported by a broad HARDOX scoop at the front, which can be replaced with a thicker 'anti-spinner' scoop which also protects its mean weapon. This weapon is a 30lb (14kg) single-tooth spinner, referred to as an 'axe head' due to the weapon's mounting on the end of an electrically driven arm. Bonfire initially spins its weapon at the rear of the machine, before firing its arm to bring the weapon onto the top of other robots. This spinner is fast at 260mph, which in combination with the electric arm, generates 20 horsepower of energy. Its drive system boasts 22 horsepower, for a top speed of 19mph.

Bonfire Pits

Overhead view of Bonfire

Bonfire 4

Bonfire after its first battle

Bonfire is also applicable with interchangeable weaponry, a result of its chassis being designed during the concept stage of a heavyweight design Team Immersion had intended to enter into future series of the British show Robot Wars. Despite this, Bonfire is a separate build, made from scratch.

"Introducing Bonfire, built especially for This is Fighting Robots! It’s another take on the complex hammer/spinner weapon, this time packing 14kg of ‘axe head’ spinning at 260mph with 20 horsepower behind it. It is the most complicated and most powerful robot we’ve ever built."
— Team Immersion on Facebook

Robot HistoryEdit

This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)Edit

Bonfire made a small appearance in Episode 1, where it was initially chosen by Zheng Shuang to join her team of robots. Bonfire was the first robot chosen by the presenter to represent her team, and was also the first robot chosen overall in the competition. However, in order to make room for Tungsten on her team, the presenter deselected Bonfire, requiring it to fight in a rumble in order to impress the celebrities. There, it fought the Mexican Blue Demon, the American Chronos and fellow British entry Sandstorm.

Sandstorm vs Chronos vs Bonfire

Bonfire stays out of trouble as Sandstorm launches Chronos into the air

Bonfire vs Sandstorm vs Blue Demon

Bonfire (left) traps Sandstorm in place while the latter sustains damage from Blue Demon (right)

Bonfire started by briefly driving towards Blue Demon; dodging Sandstorm’s initial charge in the process. It briefly joined its three opponents in the corner of the area before driving away, eventually shepherding Chronos into Sandstorm and being briefly pushed back by the American ring spinner. As it drove away, Bonfire spun round in front of Sandstorm, forcing its British compatriot off the floor and allowing Blue Demon to tear off Sandstorm’s rear panel. At the same time, it thrust its arm down on Sandstorm’s top, although without being able to cause any damage with its inactive spinner. Bonfire continued to battle Sandstorm for a large period of time, breaching its wedge, but a majority of the footage was not aired on television[1].

Bonfire vs Sandstorm 1

Bonfire strikes and pushes Sandstorm, an attack which secures its place in the main tournament

Sandstorm vs Bonfire 1

Sparks fly as Bonfire is thrust into the wall by Sandstorm

Eventually, Bonfire got its bar spinner rotating, and used its wedge to breach Sandstorm’s ground clearance as the latter drove up it again. With Sandstorm’s front wheels off the floor, Bonfire proceeded to thrust its spinner down on its opponent’s lifting weapon, while simultaneously pushing it into one of the grinders. This attack impressed Wu Chun, who promptly selected Bonfire to join the Red team. Bonfire tried to hit Sandstorm again, but missed as it was nudged towards the grinders in turn. It pursued Sandstorm across the arena, only for Sandstorm to get underneath, push and throw it into the wall spikes. Sparks few as Bonfire’s spinner hit the wall; Bonfire itself bounced off the bulletproof screen and landed back on its wheels, but the televised edit rendered Bonfire 'immobile' - nevertheless Bonfire was still active and continued fighting.

Sandstorm flips Chronos

Bonfire (right) battles Blue Demon while Sandstorm flips Chronos and itself

Bonfire wedges

The minor damage caused to Bonfire's wedge in battle

Bonfire then proceeded to strike Blue Demon with its arm as the latter pushed it into the corner. It escaped, and stopped over one of the floor flippers as Sandstorm pushed and tipped Blue Demon into the wall. By bringing its bar spinner into Blue Demon, Bonfire crumbled Blue Demon's weapon frame which crumbled the frame into the path of the Mexican spinner, jamming the weapon. In the final ten seconds of the fight, Bonfire's wires became stuck inside its wheels, briefly disabling the machine, but Bonfire had already been selected by a celebrity, advancing it to the main tournament.

Bonfire locked

Bonfire's weapon locks up

As part of Wu Chun's team, Bonfire was selected to battle two fellow British entries, Griffin Mk II and Ninja, and the American Blue. However, prior to the battle, Team Immersion realized that the weapon arm of their machine Bonfire was not working, and were given the option to withdraw from the battle, but competed nevertheless.

Wu Chun: "What's wrong with the machine?"
Adam Hamilton: "Well... we went to test the weapon, and just a little wire popped out."
Wu Chun: "If you don't fight, we can still do it tomorrow."
Adam Hamilton: "We'll stay in."
Wu Chun: "Alright, go for it!"
— Wu Chun cheers on the handicapped Bonfire
Blue vs Bonfire

Bonfire's wedge is struck by Blue

Ninja vs Bonfire

The lifeless Bonfire is pounded by Blue and Ninja

The battle began, and Bonfire first fought Ninja, although it later took a blow to the side of its weapon from Blue. Bonfire was also pushed into the arena saws sideways by Griffin Mk II, which gripped its weapon, but this brought Griffin Mk II's wheels from the floor, allowing it to be dragged by Bonfire. Edited out of the main battle, Bonfire was able to separately slam Blue and Griffin Mk II into the arena wall for large impacts. Blue swung its axe and hit the side of Bonfire's inactive weapon, although Bonfire briefly found its way under Blue. Bonfire edged Blue into the corner of the arena, but sustained a direct blow to its wedge from Blue's hammer. Blue then landed two direct blows onto the top of Bonfire, before briefly overturning itself, but Griffin Mk II abandoned its private battle with Ninja to slam into the back of Bonfire. At this stage, Bonfire had become immobile as a result of its speed controller failing, shorting out the entire robot. Nevertheless, Blue continued to pound the top of Bonfire, denting its weaponry, also forcing Ninja to attack Bonfire in the same fashion, despite Team Immersion conceding the immobility of their machine. When finally left alone, Bonfire was officially rendered immobile.

At the end of the first round, Wu Chun chose to eliminate Bonfire alongside Mr Hippo and Eater, ending its participation in Season 1.5.


This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)
Main Championship
Preliminary Rumble vs. Blue Demon, Chronos, Sandstorm Selected
Rumble vs. Blue, Griffin Mk II, Ninja Lost


  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 1

NOTE: Bonfire's preliminary rumble is not considered a win or a loss.

Series RecordEdit

Series Bonfire Series Record
Season 1 Did not enter
Season 1.5 Wu Chun's team
(0-1 record)
Season 2 Withdrawn (unspecified robot)
  • NOTE 1: Adam Hamilton competed in the King of Bots UK Featherweight Championship 2018 with Amnesia, Andy Russell competed with Telekinesis, and Gareth Anstee competed with Utopia.
  • NOTE 2: Adam Hamilton and Thomas Long competed in the King of Bots 2019 Opening Battle with Amnesia.
  • NOTE 3: Andy Russell competed in King of Bots II with Switch.

Outside King of BotsEdit



Team Immersion's televised debut was on the UK show Robot Wars, where Adam Hamilton and Thomas Long were joined by Jarvis Callister and Emma Thomas to compete with Vulture, a design using the same core concept as Bonfire. In the tenth series of the show, Vulture fought Terrorhurtz and Apex, but the axe of Terrorhurtz caused Vulture to lose the use of one wheel, and Vulture finished the battle in third place. Vulture was able to defeat Bucky the Robot when Team Tomco drove their robot over the floor flipper, but Vulture was eliminated on a Judges' decision after facing Terrorhurtz for a second time. Although Vulture should have faced Track-tion in the third place play-off of the episode, a faulty wire forced Team Immersion to forfeit before the battle took place. Team Immersion had previously competed in the pilot episode filmed prior to Series 8 with Tanto, where Adam Hamilton was joined by Matthew Pearman, Jack Tweedy and Craig Croucher. Tanto lost its only battle after its removable link fell out.

Amnesia 3

Amnesia 3

Team Immersion captain Adam Hamilton regularly competes at featherweight events with Amnesia, armed with an electrically-operated front-hinged flipper. For more information on the robot and its appearance in the 2018 UK International Championships, see Amnesia.

  • Immersion (heavyweight)
  • Side view of Immersion
  • Rear view of Immersion
  • Immersion with its weapon open
  • Immersion at Robots Live! Stevenage, September 2018
  • Immersion with Amnesia

In June 2018, the team completed a new heavyweight machine, named Immersion after the long-running team name. A scaled-up version of Amnesia's design, Immersion is armed with a two-stage front-hinged electric flipper, located behind a solid HARDOX wedge. Originally built for a presumed eleventh series of Robot Wars, Immersion was first test-driven at Robots Live! in Grantham, and also appeared at the 2018 UK Championship in Stevenage. There, Immersion won its first battle by ramming Luna-tic into the arena walls and pitting it, but although Immersion's brushless drive was running perfectly, its flipper was struggling as a result of a weapon control adaptor that the team had outsourced by commission. This faulty adaptor led to Immersion's second-round defeat to Iron-Awe 6, where it was unable to self-right after being flipped.


Immersion in June 2019

Immersion returned to Robots Live! in Grantham with a new brushless weapon system and adjusted wheel positions, in June 2019. Immersion enjoyed reasonable success, winning a four-way melee over Iron-Awe 8, Mean Machine and Real Steel to reach the semi-finals, where it completed several flips on Behemoth but lost the use of one wheel and lost the Judges' decision as a result. Immersion faced Iron-Awe 6 in the third place playoff and commanded the opening minutes of the battle, but was flipped a number of times in the closing stages, bringing the fight to a Judges' decision. The battle was considered so close that both robots were tied on 18 points, and the Judges needed to review the footage of the battle and announce the winner at a later stage of the event, ultimately deciding that Iron-Awe 6 had won, resigning Immersion to fourth place. In September 2019, Immersion once again returned for the FRA UK Championship in Stevenage, reaching the quarter-finals following victories over Behemoth, Weird mAlice and ThunderChild in the first two rounds. Drawn against YOTON, Immersion performed well at this stage, but again suffered from issues with its flipper which eventually caused it to stick open. As a result, it was left unable to self-right upon being flipped by YOTON in the closing stages, and was eliminated from the championship.

In late 2019, the team (now typically comprised of Adam Hamilton, Ed Hodges and Isaac Sharp) completed the second iteration of Immersion, using a machined aluminium and HDPE chassis and an improved weapon system. After a brief debut at Extreme Robots in Cheltenham, the new Immersion made its head-to-head debut in Dublin, January 2020. Using its extremely low wedges and driver control to good effect, Immersion reached the final by defeating Kan-Opener, Ripper, Diot-Awe and Beast in successive fights. In the final, Immersion lost an extremely close rematch with Beast, but with the scores level between the two, Immersion won its third and final fight against Beast to emerge as the Irish champion.

With assistance from Andy Russell, Adam Hamilton also creates CADs and occasionally fully-functioning robots under commission. Among these robots are:

  • Barghest, Christopher Lobley's featherweight
  • Barghest in 2018
  • Render for Barghest 2.5
  • White Dwarf, Joel West-Ward's featherweight
  • Slam, design for Matthew Pearman
  • Tempest in 2018
  • Renders of Slam with interchangeable spinning weapons
  • Force 7, Team Tilly's middleweight
  • Mad Rush, Alex Hall's featherweight
  • Early CAD render for Alex Hall's Mad Rush
  • Later render for Mad Rush
  • Render for Virus, a second featherweight for Joel West-Ward
  • Microswitch, as completed by Kevin Cleasby
  • Amnesia with Telekinesis, Barghest and White Dwarf
  • Barghest, a featherweight with an Uberclocker-style lifting jaw, designed for Christopher Lobley.
  • White Dwarf, an invertible featherweight with a lifter inspired by Panic Attack, designed for Joel West-Ward.
  • Virus, a second robot for Joel West-Ward, inspired by Spectre.
  • Tempest, an invertible featherweight armed with a horizontal bar spinner, designed for Matthew Pearman. Originally named Slam during Hamilton's design process.
  • Force 7, middleweight lifter built by Shane Lale to enter RoboGames and other middleweight events. Later became the 2019 UK middleweight champion.
  • Mad Rush, a featherweight lifter owned by Alex Hall, which entered the King of Bots UK featherweight championship before withdrawing.
  • Shogun, a featherweight robot with an axe designed for Alex Hall, with some inspiration from Beta.
  • Mad Rush, a featherweight clamper/lifter owned by Alex Hall, which entered the 2018 King of Bots UK featherweight championship prior to withdrawing. Later gifted to Anthony Murney.
  • Euphoria, a four-wheel driven featherweight designed and built for Isaac Sharp. Armed with a broad electric lifting scoop, or alternative lifting forks.
  • Microswitch, the second version of Kevin Cleasby's featherweight counterpart to Switch, armed with a drum spinner.

Thomas Long's Halcyon

Thomas Long is also a featherweight roboteer in his own right, competing with Halcyon, an two-wheel driven invertible robot. Its weapon is a drum spinner with a top speed of 10,000rpm. Halcyon was originally designed by Adam Hamilton, and Thomas Long occasionally assists Adam Hamilton with larger CAD projects. Halycon's only competition appearance thus far was at Insomnia 61, but it was defeated by Shard in its first battle, and did not participate in any further battles.

  • Push and Shove
  • Ion
  • Pendulum
  • The initial version of Telekinesis
  • Telekinesis 1.5 at King of Bots UK

Andy Russell is a roboteer in the beetleweight and featherweight classes, and has created many robots for events in these categories as well as assisting Adam Hamilton with the creation of commission-based robots. Robots which Russell has built for himself include Push and Shove, a four-wheel drive rammer, Pendulum, a featherweight armed with a 3.2kg TOOLOX 'egg beater', and Telekinesis (also known as Telekinesis 1.5 in later incarnations), which is armed with a pair of interchangeable undercutting spinners. For more information on these robots, and Russell's subsequent appearance in the 2018 UK International Championships, see Telekinesis and Pendulum.

  • Dystopia, Gareth Anstee's heavyweight
  • Utopia, a featherweight entered by Anstee and designed by Andy Russell
  • Utopia, as intended to appear in the 2018 UK International Championships
  • Render for the 2018 version of Utopia
  • Defector, featherweight built by Gareth Anstee
  • RPM, beetleweight owned by Gareth Anstee
  • Trolley Rage
  • General d'Meaner
  • Hamilton and Long's CAD render of General d'Meaner

Gareth Anstee is a successful roboteer on the UK live circuit, regularly competing with robots including heavyweight Dystopia and featherweight Utopia. He has also competed in Robot Wars as part of The Greenwich Greats, a team from the University of Greenwich who entered Series 9 with Trolley Rage, and collaborated with Team Immersion to design the university's subsequent heavyweight General d'Meaner. For more information, see Utopia.


  1. Private correspondence with Gareth Anstee

External LinksEdit


  • Bonfire was the first robot selected by Zheng Shuang, even though it was later dropped by her.
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