- "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 Relentless, captained by Ellis Ware (otherwise known as Team Ranglebots, 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. In the main competition, Sandstorm has so far earned two victories for the Green team; in a head-to-head battle against Chronos and a Tag Team battle against Zen Oh and Golden Hoops. It suffered a shock loss to Red River Hong, but still advanced to the Top 8, where it lost to the defending runner-up of King of Bots, Xiake.
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.
In the main competition, Sandstorm first appeared in the second round, where it initially fought a head-to-head battle against Chronos. Following on from their preliminary rumble, this battle marked the second time in which both competitors fought each other on the show. Immediately, it pursued Chronos as the latter retreated towards the spikes, but inadvertently drove up one of the floor flippers as it was activated by opposing team captain Sa Beining. Sandstorm recovered to deflect, push and get underneath Chronos close to the spikes, and proceeded to continuously chase and knock the American machine off-balance. At one point, it momentarily threw Chronos onto its side using its lifter, although without completely flipping it over. Sandstorm continued chasing Chronos across the arena, momentarily deflecting it away before slamming head-on into a set of rising floor rods.
Spinning, Sandstorm resumed its earlier attacks, deflecting a fully-rotating Chronos a few more times and causing it to bounce into the air. In an attempt to flip Chronos over, it accidentally drove fully underneath the latter and in between the circular saws, although without sustaining any noticeable damage. Sandstorm darted away to pursue Chronos yet again, and eventually drove into its spinning rim – the impact launched Chronos several feet into the air. Further deflections allowed Sandstorm to send Chronos recoiling into the spikes and slow down its weapon, before pushing it at high speed towards the corner. As Chronos struggled to escape, Sandstorm got underneath and tipped it against the wall spikes, which left Chronos stranded for several seconds as it tried to shake itself free. Despite raising its lifter to try and hold its opponent in place, Sandstorm was unable to prevent Chronos from landing back on its wheels, and so proceeded to ram and deflect it away again.
Sandstorm concluded the battle by ramming Chronos into one of the grinders, before giving chase and slamming into its spinning rim again just as time ran out. After a tense fight, both robots survived to a Judges’ decision. The decision went in favor of Sandstorm, enabling it to earn a point for an elated Zheng Shaung. Sandstorm's performance ensured that Shaung would extend her lead in the second round standings, with a total score of three points.
In the Tag Team round, Sandstorm was selected again to partner White Tiger Guardian of the Red team; together, they faced Zen Oh of the Blue team and Golden Hoops of the Yellow team. Having earlier assessed Zen Oh’s capabilities in testing, Ellis Ware expressed confidence in Shaung’s choice ahead of the battle.
- "We’re really excited. Actually, we had seen Zen Oh test previously and it’s a very scary robot. And I think Sandstorm was the most suitable to fight, so Zheng Shaung made a perfect decision, we think."
- — Ellis Ware on Sandstorm’s Tag Team selection
Sandstorm was initially hesitant, avoiding a charging Zen Oh as the latter caused significant damage to White Tiger Guardian. It proceeded to slam into and push Zen Oh into the wall spikes, jostling the Portuguese machine and disabling its bar spinner. The two opponents circled around each other, before Sandstorm charged underneath Zen Oh and into a spinning Golden Hoops, throwing the latter backwards. Sandstorm reversed away from Golden Hoops and the wall, only to be rammed into the spikes by Zen Oh. It drove forwards, eventually responding to Zen Oh’s slam by pushing it into the spikes, getting underneath and carrying it into the open pit. This temporarily eliminated Zen Oh from the battle; Sandstorm inadvertently pushed White Tiger Guardian sideways before resuming its attacks on Golden Hoops.
Slamming into the Chinese machine, Sandstorm reversed and rammed Golden Hoops into the wall spikes, causing Golden Hoops to rebound into the air. It followed on from this attack by constantly deflecting, pushing and throwing Golden Hoops over the flame jets, all while the latter caused damage to one of its side panels. With Zen Oh rejoining the battle upon being raised out of the pit, Sandstorm refocused on the Portuguese machine, throwing it off the floor with one slam before pushing, pinning and lifting it against the wall spikes. It survived a blow from a nearby hammer as it continued to pursue and push Zen Oh around, avoiding another attack from Golden Hoops’ weapon in the process. Sandstorm attempted to push Golden Hoops again, but missed its charge, spinning and dodging a second blow from the arena hammer.
All three robots continued pushing, bumping and hitting each other for some time, with Sandstorm chasing Zen Oh again moments before the latter drove itself into the pit. For the remainder of the battle, Sandstorm continued bumping and pushing Golden Hoops around; both robots survived to a Judges’ decision alongside a badly-damaged White Tiger Guardian. The decision went in favor of Sandstorm and White Tiger Guardian, securing a fourth Tag Team victory for Zheng Shaung and Wu Chun.
In its next battle, Sandstorm fought Red River Hong, which started the fight by driving around in circles, which allowed the approaching Sandstorm to momentarily push it towards a wall, but the Chinese machine escaped before anything more could be done by Sandstorm. Driving back out to the middle of the arena, Red River Hong landed a critical a
ttack on Sandstorm, using its drum to send the robot through the air, and despite the robot being otherwise mobile, the pinned Sandstorm was unable to move. Red River Hong remained in the background as the British machine was subsequently counted out, losing the battle.
It was later revealed that a belt had fallen loose from Sandstorm. Nevertheless, as Sandstorm was otherwise fully mobile, Ellis Ware explained his situation to Zheng Shuang, who was willing to put Sandstorm into the Top 8 of the competition.
In its quarter-final, Sandstorm fought Xiake, the successor to the King of Bots runner-up Chiyung Jinlun. The fight started with both robots charging at each other, and Sandstorm smashed into Xiake's drum head-on with an impact that not only threw it into the air, but also caused a wheel to become dislodged. Undeterred, the British machine started giving chase to Xiake, the latter initially succeeding in dodging all of Sandstorm's charges, but eventually Sandstorm succeeded in getting under its opponent.
Despite this effort, Sandstorm found itself unable to utilize this this attack, allowing Xiake to escape. After a few more attempts to get underneath the Chinese machine, Sandstorm finally succeeded in getting underneath it properly, and slammed Xiake into the wall spikes. As the Chinese machine managed to escape again though, a mistimed attack by Sandstorm meant it once again got hit by its opponent's drum. This impact caused another belt to fall from Sandstorm, as well as making it to land in such a way that Sandstorm's lifting wedge was propping the robot off the floor. Unable to self-right from this position, Xiake could be seen dancing in the background as Sandstorm was counted out and declared KO'ed. This eliminated Sandstorm from the competition.
|SANDSTORM - RESULTS|
|This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)|
|Preliminary Rumble||vs. Bonfire, Chronos, Blue Demon||Selected|
|Tag Team (with White Tiger Guardian)||vs. Golden Hoops, Zen Oh||Won|
|Head-to-Head||vs. Red River Hong||Lost|
|Top 8, Head-to-Head||vs. Xiake||Lost|
- Wins: 2
- Losses: 2
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.