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Crabsolutely Clawful is a British featherweight robot which competed in the 2018 King of Bots UK International Championships. Built and entered by Joe Brown, the robot enjoyed limited success in the main championship, where it was eliminated in the qualification rounds after finishing third to Shrapnel and Aegis, and second to Get Shrekt in each of its opening battles. Crabsolutely Clawful also took part in two whiteboard battles, a Tag Team battle (partnered with Take Cover) and the Gladiator, but did not pick up any victories in these either.

The robot's name is a pun on the phrase 'absolutely awful', playing on its crab-based design and claw weapons.


Official shot of Crabsolutely Clawful

As its name suggested, Crabsolutely Clawful was a red, two-wheel drive robot designed to resemble a crab. Its weapon was a pair of horizontal grabbing arms modelled on a crab's claws, which opened and closed together using a linear actuator. The arms themselves had a reach wider than the robot itself, allowing Crabsolutely Clawful to grab and push even its largest opponents across the arena when they were in use. Crabsolutely Clawful's armor and chassis were entirely made out of 10mm and 20mm HDPE, while the robot's flat top and exposed wheels enabled it to run inverted.[1]

Robot History

King of Bots UK 2018

In its first qualification round, Crabsolutely Clawful faced Shrapnel and Aegis Mk II, decorated with one large and one normal-sized googly eye.

Crabsolutely Clawful holds Shrapnel at bay

Shrapnel throws Crabsolutely Clawful into the wall

It immediately drove towards Shrapnel, briefly pushing Jarvis Callister’s spinner forwards while trying to clamp it. Crabsolutely Clawful attempted to grab Shrapnel twice more, briefly pushing Aegis Mk II aside and getting one of its claws clipped by Shrapnel’s flywheel in the process. In response, Crabsolutely Clawful grabbed hold of Shrapnel’s wedge and pushed it towards the side rails; it avoided Shrapnel for some time, only for Shrapnel to remove its eyes and throw it against the railings with a powerful blow. Stranded, Crabsolutely Clawful sustained another blow from Shrapnel, which catapulted it across the arena and dislodged its removeable link.[2] Landing next to Aegis Mk II, Crabsolutely Clawful was left immobilized by this attack, and counted out; it finished the battle third and scored one point.

Following repairs to its chassis and one of its drive motor mounts, as well as the replacement of both of its eyes, Crabsolutely Clawful next faced Aegis and BANE, sporting a toy crab.

Crabsolutely Clawful tries to grapple with BANE and Aegis

Crabsolutely Clawful is left stuck on the wall following a shove from Aegis, despite the Chi-Tec Robotics machine's attempts to free it

In the opening seconds, it sped head-on towards BANE, but rammed the wall instead, causing the toy crab to fall off. Nonetheless, Crabsolutely Clawful quickly retreated to the center of the arena, proceeding to ram BANE and Aegis as it attempted to grab both of its opponents at once. For several seconds, it continued to drive around and nudge BANE and Aegis, eventually grabbing the former around the sides. However, Aegis quickly rammed Crabsolutely Clawful into the railings, forcing both of Crabsolutely Clawful’s claws through the gap and attempting to force it out of the arena. Despite Aegis’ attempts to lift and drag it free, Crabsolutely Clawful was left stuck against the wall, and as before was the first robot to be eliminated from the battle. Having finished third once again, Crabsolutely Clawful picked up one more point, entering its third and final qualification round with only two points.

There, it faced Get Shrekt and Utopia; before the battle, Crabsolutely Clawful received several pieces of extra armor on its front, sides and rear[2], as well as a sword-like attachment to its right arm, in order to offer additional protection against Sam Price’s vertical spinner.

Crabsolutely Clawful is thrown into the air following a pincer movement by Get Shrekt and Utopia

Crabsolutely Clawful wraps one of its arms around Get Shrekt

Crabsolutely Clawful initially approached and nudged Utopia aside, before attempting to use its sword to get underneath Get Shrekt. Almost immediately, it was surrounded by both of its opponents, with Get Shrekt throwing Crabsolutely Clawful over and removing its sword. Crabsolutely Clawful reversed and whacked the side of Get Shrekt with one of its claws, but was briefly pushed again by Utopia before hesitating in the top-right hand corner. It turned round and drove into the side wall, momentarily getting its left claw stuck through the gap in the railings while Get Shrekt violently threw Utopia over. With Gareth Anstee’s robot inverted and unable to self-right, Crabsolutely Clawful re-entered the fray, driving into the front of Get Shrekt and surviving a blow to the front which knocked it back over the flame jet.

Crabsolutely Clawful confronts Get Shrekt

Get Shrekt throws Crabsolutely Clawful into the air

Crabsolutely Clawful embraces and pushes Get Shrekt back

Crabsolutely Clawful keeps a firm grip on Get Shrekt

Crabsolutely Clawful is left stuck on the wall again

Crabsolutely Clawful hooked the side of Get Shrekt as the two remaining machines pushed and dragged each other across the arena. Upon separating, it approached a now-eliminated Utopia, before ramming and attempting to push Get Shrekt back again. Crabsolutely Clawful sustained more damage from Get Shrekt’s flywheel, before the green and black machine pushed and threw it backwards across the arena. In the process, Crabsolutely Clawful closed its claws around the sides of Get Shrekt, before proceeding to push it over the flame jet and into the wall. Upon impact, Get Shrekt ripped some of Crabsolutely Clawful’s light strips out, but Crabsolutely Clawful kept its grip, weathering more blows as the two robots pushed and dragged each other out of the corner. As they did so, Crabsolutely Clawful was flicked upwards again by Get Shrekt’s flywheel; this time, its right claw got wedged between the side rails, once again leaving it stranded. Crabsolutely Clawful was counted out, finishing second and scoring two points as a result. With a total score of four points, Crabsolutely Clawful finished the qualification rounds joint thirty-fourth overall, and was eliminated from the 2018 UK International Championships; nevertheless, Joe Brown was especially pleased with the robot’s durability and performance against Get Shrekt.

In addition to the main championship, Crabsolutely Clawful took part in a number of side competitions held throughout the event, including two whiteboard battles. In its first whiteboard, judged by members of the audience, it faced Satanix, Broadax 2, The Mighty Unicorn, Strix, Meow and Enigma.

Crabsolutely Clawful catches air after being rammed by Satanix and Meow

Crabsolutely Clawful (background, top-right) is stranded once again

Crabsolutely Clawful drove and turned over the flame jet in the opening seconds, only to be pushed aside by Broadax 2 and Meow as it tentatively made its way across the arena. At one point, it was launched into the air by a combined ram from Satanix and Meow, before surviving an axe blow from Broadax 2. Crabsolutely Clawful gingerly approached Satanix, only to drive towards the opposite side of the arena and weave its way close to the wall. Eventually, Crabsolutely Clawful turned into the wall and got both of its claws stuck in between the railings, leaving it vulnerable to attacks from Enigma, Broadax 2, Satanix and Meow. Crabsolutely Clawful played no further part in the battle as it tried to free itself from the wall, and was nudged a few more times by Enigma before time ran out. As a result, it lost the whiteboard to Broadax 2, which the guest judges unanimously ruled as the winner.

In its second whiteboard, dubbed ‘Farmageddon’, Crabsolutely Clawful fought alongside five fellow animal-themed robots – Furious George, Spank the Monkey, Nelly the Ellybot, Hedgebot and Meow.

Crabsolutely Clawful (top) is thrown by Furious George

Another blow from Furious George causes Crabsolutely Clawful to lose its grip on Meow and become immobilized

It began by driving towards the center of the arena, only to be attacked simultaneously by Nelly the Ellybot and Furious George, whose bar spinner threw Crabsolutely Clawful upwards. Crabsolutely Clawful briefly pressured Nelly the Ellybot, and weaved across the arena in pursuit of Furious George, eventually attempting to get its claws around the Team Smushed Banana machine. As before, Crabsolutely Clawful was jostled by Furious George’s spinner, before being ambushed by both Meow and Hedgebot; it proceeded to grab and push Meow shortly after the latter turned Spank the Monkey upside-down near the center of the arena. Crabsolutely Clawful sustained another blow from Furious George – this time to the rear – which caused it to release its grip on Meow and be left immobile. With this, Crabsolutely Clawful was counted out and eliminated from the ‘Farmageddon’ battle, which was eventually won by Meow on a Judges’ decision.

Crabsolutely Clawful, in the arerna with Tag Team partner Take Cover

Crabsolutely Clawful and Orpheus team up on Apex

Crabsolutely Clawful comes under pressure from Orpheus

Crabsolutely Clawful snags the axe of Broadax 2

Crabsolutely Clawful is left stuck on the railings yet again following a shove from Apex

Crabsolutely Clawful also appeared in one of three Tag Team battles, paired with fellow Bristol-based machine Take Cover. There, the duo faced Apex and Broadax 2, as well as Orpheus and Meow. Initially, Crabsolutely Clawful waited in its corner as Take Cover left and got itself up to speed; however, it was quickly tagged by Take Cover after the latter flung Meow across the arena with assistance from Apex, and proceeded to push Chris Danby's machine, itself suffering from weapon issues, into Orpheus. Crabsolutely Clawful grabbed and dragged Apex around in circles, briefly steering its red, white and gold opponent up onto Orpheus's grabbing arm. Letting go of Apex, it drove towards the bottom-left corner and into Meow; Orpheus proceeded to drive underneath and block Crabsolutely Clawful as it reversed. Once again, Crabsolutely Clawful got one of its claws stuck through the arena railings; however, it escaped, catching Broadax 2’s axe as the latter pushed Orpheus away. Crabsolutely Clawful was carried around by Broadax 2 for a few seconds before breaking free, at which point it drove up the front of Broadax 2 and was rammed into the wall. A collision with Take Cover sent Crabsolutely Clawful recoiling into Apex, which promptly pushed Crabsolutely Clawful into Take Cover and up against the railings.

Crabsolutely Clawful attempts to rejoin the battle

Crabsolutely Clawful attacks its own teammate

Crabsolutely Clawful tussles with Apex again

Crabsolutely Clawful weathers combined attacks from Broadax 2 and Apex

With its claws stuck yet again, Crabsolutely Clawful was counted out and eliminated from the Tag Team battle. However, its contributions to the battle did not end; a few seconds later, Crabsolutely Clawful was bumped off the railings by Take Cover, and attempted to grab Apex and Meow in the center of the arena. Broadax 2 proceeded to strike the top of Crabsolutely Clawful a few times while pushing it into the wall once again; in response, Crabsolutely Clawful grasped the sides of Broadax 2, only to be separated as its claws again made contact with Broadax 2’s axe. Immediately, the two robots rammed each other again, before Crabsolutely Clawful was pushed around and into Take Cover by Broadax 2. As it was being buffeted by Take Cover’s hammers, Crabsolutely Clawful lost a chunk of plastic and hesitated; it quickly recovered by grabbing and dragging Apex back once more, at one point steering the Team Danby machine into Take Cover. Letting go, Crabsolutely Clawful reversed into Take Cover, sustaining another blow from its teammate. It darted across the arena and resumed its duels with Apex and Broadax 2, sustaining more blows to its top panel from the latter. After being rammed into the wall by Broadax 2, Crabsolutely Clawful finished the battle by embracing and dragging Apex again, and pushed Take Cover back just as time ran out. However, as a result of being eliminated earlier on, both Crabsolutely Clawful and Take Cover lost the Tag Team battle to Apex and Broadax 2.

Finally, Crabsolutely Clawful took part in the Gladiator, an eighteen-way melee held immediately before the main UK International Championship final. There, it fought alongside Take Cover, Impact, Aegis, Barróg, Meow, Orpheus, Neon, Mini ACE, BANE, Binky, The Claw, DB12, Hedgebot, Sabre20, Satanix, Luna-Tic and Raving Luna-Tic.

Crabsolutely Clawful (top-right) is immediately scooped up by Luna-Tic and Impact

Crabsolutely Clawful (center) engages in the chaos as DB12 throws Neon out of the arena

Crabsolutely Clawful sustains light damage from Sabre20, in an attack which leads to its immobilization

Immediately, it charged into Luna-Tic, only to be pushed back as Impact and Meow rammed it within seconds. Crabsolutely Clawful took a hit to one of its grabbing arms from DB12’s flywheel, but survived, and attempted to grab BANE and Barrog simultaneously, without success. Seconds later, it grabbed and pushed Orpheus into the bottom-left corner, only to come under pressure from The Claw and DB12. Hesitating, Crabsolutely Clawful turned round, getting its right claw underneath The Claw and temporarily stopping Georgina Henwood’s machine from moving. In doing so, it reversed into Sabre20, taking light damage from the Team Legion robot’s drum. The attack stunned Crabsolutely Clawful, which was pushed into the wall by both Luna-Tic and Satanix.

Crabsolutely Clawful (background) is shoved into the pit release button by Orpheus, shortly after becoming immobilized

Luna-Tic is pushed on top of Crabsolutely Clawful's right claw by Aegis

While this shove resulted in Satanix getting stranded against the railings, Crabsolutely Clawful initially survived, spending several seconds hooked on the top of Luna-Tic before the Team Luna machine broke free. It was pushed forwards into the pit release button by Luna-Tic, then Orpheus, just as Take Cover sped and launched itself onto the top of one of its claws. Immobile, Crabsolutely Clawful was eliminated from the battle along with Take Cover; both robots were briefly nudged by Impact following their count-out. However, this was not the end of Crabsolutely Clawful’s involvement; at the three-minute mark, Aegis pushed Luna-Tic on top of its right claw, eliminating the latter in the process. Subsequently, Luna-Tic proceeded to push Crabsolutely Clawful around in circles while in its grasp, prompting Grant Cooper to instruct the former to stop moving.


King of Bots UK 2018 (Insomnia 63)
Main Championship
Qualification Rounds
Rumble vs. Shrapnel, Aegis Mk II Lost (1 point)
Rumble vs. Aegis, BANE Lost (1 point)
Rumble vs. Get Shrekt, Utopia Lost (2 points)
Whiteboard Battles
Whiteboard vs. Satanix, Broadax 2, The Mighty Unicorn, Strix, Meow, Enigma Lost
Farmageddon vs. Furious George, Spank the Monkey, Nelly the Ellybot, Hedgebot, Meow Lost
Tag Team
Paired with Take Cover
Tag Team vs. Apex & Broadax 2, Orpheus & Meow Lost
Gladiator vs. Take Cover, Impact, Aegis, Barróg, Meow, Orpheus, Neon, Mini ACE, BANE, Binky, The Claw, DB12, Hedgebot, Sabre20, Satanix, Luna-Tic, Raving Luna-Tic Lost


  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 7

Outside King of Bots

Built in the space of one week, Crabsolutely Clawful initially made its robot combat debut at the Extreme Robots Portsmouth event in May 2018, taking part in two featherweight rumbles. In each of its battles, it suffered from various issues with its drive and weapon systems, and would ultimately lose its second rumble after being pushed onto the edge of the pit by Aegis Mk II shortly before time ran out.[1] With the improvements made since its appearance at the 2018 UK International Championships, Crabsolutely Clawful returned for the Cheltenham event later that year, surviving to the end of its first rumble, getting pitted in the second and finishing runner-up in the third.[3]

In addition to the featherweight version, two versions of Crabsolutely Clawful were also built for lighter weight categories, sharing the robot’s design and weapon. An antweight version debuted in 2017, utilizing a low-profile servo for the grabber mechanism, and competed at various live events with reasonable success.[4] Following the antweight version’s debut, Joe Brown subsequently built a beetleweight incarnation of Crabsolutely Clawful in 2018, which first appeared at that year’s UWE Beetle Brawl. There, it won its heat after defeating Shu! and The Circle by knockout, but lost to Bourbon in the Round of 16 after being damaged and flipped against the wall by the latter’s drum spinner. The beetleweight Crabsolutely Clawful subsequently fought a losers’ melee against Mr Cat’s Mouse House, Hyperion and Ion, where it was eliminated after losing mobility in the later stages.[5]

As a member of the BEEES (Bristol Electrical and Electronic Engineering Society), team captain Joe Brown helped form the society’s 'Robot Wars' events, focusing on antweight combat. Initially taking on the role as presenter, he competed in the 2014 event with his first robot Little Prick, and would design the antweight version of Crabsolutely Clawful for entry into later events.[4] Other antweight robots built by Brown include Sgt Tash, a tracked robot with a moustache-shaped grabbing arm[6], an unnamed hammer-wielding robot[7] and Festive Flappyboi, a Christmas-themed robot armed with two 360-degree rotating candy canes.[8]

Joe Brown also directed the online web-series Bugglebots, dedicated to beetleweight class robots, and brought all three versions of Crabsolutely Clawful along to filming as static displays.[9] The featherweight Crabsolutely Clawful also appeared in the last episode of the first series, taking part in a whiteboard match dubbed 'Boss Battle'. Fighting a team of six beetleweights, it lost its top panel in the opening seconds, but recovered by swatting Drizzle into the wall and overturning the latter. After Sir Lance-A-Frog broke down, Crabsolutely Clawful proceeded to drag and push Snippers McGee, Zero Gravitas, a re-righted Drizzle, Anxt and Thunder Child into the pit, emerging as the victor of the 'Boss Battle'.

Crabsolutely Clawful in August 2019

Crabsolutely Clawful returned for the 2019 UK championships hosted by Robodojo in August 2019, partnered alongside a minibot built by Craig Croucher, and mostly driven by Isaac Sharp. Despite suffering two early losses against Barróg Doom and Mitternacht, Crabsolutely Clawful pulled off three consecutive pittings to defeat Nigel Barrage, Luna-Tic and Forge Master II to earn joint second in its heat. Crabsolutely Clawful was relegated to third due to the tiebreak situation favoring Mitternacht, so it entered a three-way melee against Barghest and Revolver to earn a place in the Top 16. With Revolver immobilized here, Crabsolutely Clawful advanced, and then defeated the fellow Bristol entry TRAC to reach the quarter-finals. There, Crabsolutely Clawful's five-match win streak was ended by Captain Jack Spinnah, leaving Team Reckless Crabandon with a respectable Top 8 finish.


  • At some point throughout the 2018 UK International Championships, Crabsolutely Clawful's name was misspelt as Crabsolutely Crawful on its battleboard images and statistics cards.


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