- "I've wanted to build this robot for years. It's a beast."
- — Ellis Ware
Sandstorm was a heavyweight robot which competed in Season 1.5, the debut of This is Fighting Robots. It was built by Team Ranglebots, captained by Ellis Ware, who previously entered Season 1 of King of Bots with Great White. Sandstorm was selected to compete in the main competition after fighting a four-way melee against Bonfire, Chronos and Blue Demon; its initial attack on Chronos impressed Zheng Shuang sufficiently for her to include it as part of her team.
Sandstorm is a scaled-up version of Ellis Ware's featherweight Tormenta, using an invertible design driven by four wheels. Sandstorm's weapon is a lifting wedge, which fires forwards to turn robots over in tandem with a set of larger, front-hinged bars. This weapon also allowed the robot to self-right from an inverted position. Sandstorm boasts great pushing power and maneuverability, with a high top speed of 24mph, made possible through its brushless drive system, and is protected around all sides by thick HARDOX armor.
This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)
Having not initially been selected by any of the celebrity team captains, Sandstorm first competed in a preliminary four-way melee to impress the celebrities and secure its place in the main tournament. There, it fought fellow UK entry Bonfire, American ring spinner Chronos and Mexican competitor Blue Demon. Immediately, Sandstorm charged into Chronos, momentarily launching the black and green machine into the air. The attack was sufficient to impress Zheng Shuang, resulting in her selecting Sandstorm to become part of the Green team. Sandstorm proceeded to push Blue Demon back as all four robots converged in the corner, and reversed into the wall spikes while pulling away from the latter. It briefly pushed Blue Demon from the side, then after weaving over the floor rods drove up the side of Bonfire’s wedge.
This exposed Sandstorm to a rear-on attack from Blue Demon, which resulted in its rear armor panel being torn off. At the same time, Bonfire thrust its arm-mounted spinner onto the top of Sandstorm, although Sandstorm survived without any further damage. Again, Sandstorm drove up Bonfire’s wedge; Bonfire proceeded to push it back into a grinder while simultaneously slamming its spinner down onto its lifting bars. As before, Sandstorm escaped unscathed, and briefly nudged Bonfire against the wall spikes before darting into Blue Demon and evading an approaching Bonfire. Spinning on the spot, Sandstorm proceeded to get underneath, push and throw Bonfire into the wall spikes and upper bulletproof screens; the attack eliminated Bonfire from the battle, although it was still mobile and had already been chosen by another celebrity beforehand.
Following this attack, Sandstorm rushed underneath Blue Demon, before proceeding to push and flip Chronos into one of the grinders. In doing so, it flipped itself, resulting in Sandstorm needing to self-right using its front-hinged arms. Recovering, Sandstorm sped away, before pushing, tipping and slamming Blue Demon into the corner. Towards the end of the battle, Sandstorm burnt out its rear motors, but the fight ended immediately after, with Sandstorm spinning and firing its lifting weapon in victory, its place in the main tournament already secured.
|SANDSTORM - RESULTS|
|This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)|
|Preliminary Rumble||vs. Bonfire, Chronos, Blue Demon||Selected|
- Wins: 0
- Losses: 0
NOTE: Sandstorm's preliminary rumble is not considered a win or a loss.
|Series||Sandstorm Series Record|
|Season 1||Entered with Great White|
|Season 2||Did not enter|
Outside King of Bots
Ellis Ware had previously competed in Robot Wars, during the show's eighth, ninth and tenth seasons. He debuted in Series 8 with Pulsar. This initially lost in the first round after taking a heavy blow to the rear, but following the forfeit of Chompalot, Pulsar was reinstated, and defeated Beast and Ironside3 in the second round, to reach the Heat Final, defeating Gabriel on a Judges' decision. Pulsar qualified for the Grand Final, but broke down in battle with TR2 and Thor. In Series 9, Pulsar qualified through its group battle by immobilizing Apex, after Crushtacean had already been immobilized by Ironside3. Another battle between Pulsar and Ironside3 was this time declared to have no winner, but Pulsar qualified for the Heat Final by defeating Supernova and Wyrm. In the Heat Final itself, a limping Pulsar quickly fell to Ironside3.
In Series 10, Ellis Ware entered with Magnetar, and quickly won its group battle over Hobgoblin and Push to Exit. Magnetar defeated Expulsion and Thor in succession to win its heat, but lost the group battle of its Grand Final to Eruption after encountering difficulties with its self-righting mechanism. Magnetar was eliminated when it was flipped over by Behemoth, despite immobilizing half of its opponent's drive. In Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars, Ellis Ware also mentored Paralympian Kadeena Cox with her robot Kadeena Machina ultimately winning the second episode with four consecutive wins.
Ellis Ware had previously competed with a variety of robots in lower weight classes. A series of featherweights named Tormenta have competed worldwide, later inspiring the design of Sandstorm, with Tormenta 3 most recently placing sixth in the 2015 World Featherweight Championship. Newton is a very successful beetleweight, twice placing second in a major championship. Ware also collaborated with Team Legion to compete with Rango and Django, the latter placing second in the 2016 World Featherweight Championship, losing to Explosion in the final.
Leading up to the FRA Featherweight World Championship in 2017, Ellis Ware made use of his spare components, intended for use in heavyweight robots, to build the featherweight Neon in just two days. Featuring a powerful undercutting bar spinner and a top speed of 26mph, Neon finished ninth out of fifty robots at the championship. Neon would later compete in King of Bots as Remora, alongside Great White.
- ↑ Private correspondence with Adam Hamilton