- "Tungsten fits in with our theme, it's a metal used to cut through other materials in the industry, which is what we want the robot to do in the arena."
- — Dave Moulds on the etymology of Tungsten
Tungsten was a robot from the United Kingdom which competed in Season 1.5, the debut season of This is Fighting Robots. It was built by former Robot Wars champions Team Carbide, and draws inspiration from Sam Smith's earlier featherweight Shard. Tungsten was selected to compete in the main competition by Green team captain Zheng Shaung, following influences from Gabriel Stroud. Although it lost its first battle in a rumble won by Lieutenant Bam, it and Red River Hong would subsequently win their Tag Team battle against Saturn and Slash Boy, then Tungsten quickly defeated ORBY Blade in head-to-head combat, and won a four-way rumble against Ninja, Thunder and Lightning, and Vulcan to reach the Top 8 of the competition. Within the Top 8, Tungsten earned three straight victories against Red River Hong, Shrederator Tiger Claw and Tánshè in order to become the champion of This is Fighting Robots.
Tungsten is based upon Sam Smith's featherweight Shard, being a two-wheel drive robot armed with a large single-toothed vertical spinning disc. Its body incorporates a steep front wedge to draw opponents into the disc, which has two separate weapon motors and drive belts to ensure that it keeps rotating even if one motor or belt is damaged. An additional set of five interchangeable wedges can also be added to the front of Tungsten, each of them hinged and mounted directly in front of the disc. As well as its disc, Tungsten is also equipped with an overhead bladed axe attached to the top, which doubles as a self-righting mechanism and has its own separate drive system. The robot is painted in a white, blue and red color scheme, reminiscent of that of Team Carbide's BattleBots entry Cobalt.
Uniquely, a magnet is placed underneath Tungsten's wedge in order to pull it as close to the arena floor as possible.
This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)
Tungsten was initially unnoticed by the celebrities when they were building their teams of robots, but as Tánshè had already been selected by Zheng Shuang, its captain Gabriel Stroud was able to convince Shaung to pick Tungsten, using Team Carbide's success in Robot Wars as justification. After she agreed, Tungsten joined the Green team, alongside machines including Spectre, Tánshè and Megabyte.
In its first fight, Tungsten was up against its fellow UK machine Lieutenant Bam as well as the two Chinese machines Greedy Snake and Mr Hippo. After a brief clash with Mr Hippo, Tungsten found itself shoved against the wall by Greedy Snake who attempted to lift it, but thanks to the latter's lack of grip, Tungsten managed to escape Greedy Snake's jaws. Attempting to resume its attack on Mr Hippo, Tungsten once again found itself caught by the green machine, and this time it found itself hoisted of the arena floor by it. Luck was in Tungsten's favor though, as at that exact moment, Mr Hippo hit the side of Greedy Snake with its drum. This caused Greedy Snake to drop Tungsten and be lifted onto the side-wall spikes, rendering it immobile.
With Greedy Snake out, Tungsten continued in its attack on Mr Hippo, finally getting use out of its flywheel as it sent the Chinese machine flying several feet into the air and across a good chunk of the arena. A quick recovery by Mr Hippo resulted in Tungsten being sent flying through the air a few seconds later, courtesy of its opponent's drum. Using its axe to self right, Tungsten shoved Mr Hippo into the side wall, repeatedly smashing against it with its flywheel. Eventually, the Chinese machine seemed to be losing power, and it was declared knocked out.
As Lieutenant Bam finally entered the battle proper by repeatedly smashing its mace against the immobile Mr Hippo, Tungsten attempted to hit it as well, but only succeeded in being driven over by its fellow UK robot. As Lieutenant Bam briefly got itself caught by the arena saw-blades, Tungsten seemed to also be losing power as it was now driving very slowly. This allowed Lieutenant Bam to come in and smash its mace on top of it, its scoop catching onto the flywheel and seemingly stopping it. With the spinner disabled, Tungsten spent what remained of the battle trying to avoid Lieutenant Bam's mace with limited success, and it lost the following judges' decision. Tungsten would also emit smoke some time after the battle had concluded, implying further damage.
Tungsten would remain in the competition, next being selected to partner Red River Hong of the Red team in a Tag Team battle. Together they fought Slash Boy of the Yellow team and Saturn of the Blue team. Ahead of the battle, Dave Moulds of Team Carbide expressed optimism that Tungsten would perform better than in its initial appearance, while the robot itself entered the arena without any of its additional wedges.
- "Well, I think we’ve got pretty good odds… we’re pretty confident going into this."
- — Dave Moulds on Tungsten’s chances of success going into the Tag Team round
However, Moulds’ confidence was initially short-lived; in the opening seconds, Tungsten drove towards Slash Boy, only to suddenly turn round and lift itself close to the edge of the pit. As a result, it sustained a side-on blow from Slash Boy which knocked its on-board camera off and threw it into the pit; driving inside the pit, Tungsten was temporarily taken out of the battle while Red River Hong attacked and immobilized Saturn.
Several seconds elapsed before the pit was raised, enabling Tungsten to rejoin. Once freed, it drove away from an approaching Red River Hong before attacking the side of Slash Boy. With several successive hits Tungsten tore pieces of Slash Boy’s armor off and threw it over against the wall spikes, immobilizing Slash Boy in the process. Tungsten hit Slash Boy's weapon mount before driving away and gyro-dancing across the arena; its knockout blows securing victory for Team Carbide and their Chinese teammates.
- "And we think in the next match, with a bit of better driving, [we’re] capable of much more than what we showed today."
- — Sam Smith anticipates improved performance from Tungsten following it and Red River Hong's victory
In the head-to-head round, South Korean competitor ORBY Blade of the red team was the only robot to accept the challenge of Tungsten, and both robots fought. While both robots spun up their rotating weapons, Tungsten immediately tried to take advantage of its quicker spin-up time, and aimed for the back end of ORBY Blade, forcing the South Korean machine to flee. Tungsten then attacked the side of ORBY Blade's spinning bar, and sent the robot reeling away. Tungsten followed this up with another direct blow to ORBY Blade's spinner, which left the robot lifeless upon landing. Nevertheless, Tungsten attempted to ensure its victory, and struck the motionless bar spinner of ORBY Blade to throw the whole robot 1.35m into the air. ORBY Blade was completely immobilized as a result, and the robot was counted out while Zheng Shuang fired the smokescreen in front of the ORBY team, allowing Team Carbide to celebrate their knockout victory.
In its next fight, Tungsten fought in a four-way rumble against Ninja, Thunder and Lightning and Vulcan. Tungsten pinned Thunder in the corner of the arena, tossing it over while ripping metal away from it. In a bigger hit, Tungsten sent Thunder flying through the air, spinning around. In defence, Lightning rammed into the back of Tungsten, but this did not stop Tungsten from hitting the back end of Thunder. As Thunder landed on Tungsten's spinning disc, it immediately caught fire and lost mobility. Tungsten then started to focus on Lightning, throwing it over with a powerful disc attack, following this up with a lighter hit, and an attack which threw sparks from the wedge of Lightning, causing it to lose drive on one side. Tungsten pushed Lightning into a Grinder, overturning it, before abandoning the immobile target.
Suddenly, Vulcan rammed into Tungsten, and almost overturned it. Vulcan and Ninja seemingly collaborated, holding Tungsten in a corner, which allowed Vulcan to land a blow with its axe, although Ninja missed with its own attacks. Tungsten escaped, and again drove into Lightning, although its spinner was disabled at the time, and Vulcan barged into it. Although Vulcan landed a hit on Tungsten, it vented a large amount of gas while retracting its axe, and became trapped on Tungsten's wedge, as it was pushed into the wall, near the flaming Thunder. While Ninja kept its distance, Tungsten and Vulcan remained within proximity of each other, until a powerful drive from Vulcan allowed the wedge shape of the robot to overturn Tungsten.
Although it was momentarily motionless, Tungsten used its axe to self-right, and it then powered up its spinner once again, punching Ninja's wedge upwards to throw the whole robot over. Vulcan continued to push back, but drove into Tungsten's spinner, and was cast into the air. Tungsten held the central ground until time expired on the battle. Split seconds after the battle had officially ended, Tungsten landed a late hit on Ninja, which had already stopped moving, and threw it over one meter into the air. Although this battle was likely discounted, the battle was sent to a Judges' decision, which still went in favor of Tungsten, which advanced to the Top 8 of the competition.
In its quarter-final match, Tungsten faced is former teammate, Red River Hong. As soon as the battle began, Red River Hong sped towards Tungsten, and rode straight up its disc, careening into the air. Red River Hong landed on is side, and was buffeted into the arena wall by Tungsten. Already, Red River Hong was having trouble spinning its drum, and Tungsten smashed it across the arena, into a Grinder. Just as Red River Hong found slight movement in its drum, a huge hit from Tungsten tossed it into the plexi-glass wall, high above the ground. Red River Hong was temporarily suspended atop the box between the two Grinders, but eventually freed itself, and Tungsten's disc also stopped turning.
While Tungsten offered no offense, Red River Hong drifted around the arena and crashed into the front of Tungsten, but still lacked momentum to its own drum. On a direct charge after finally powering up its weapon, Red River Hong ripped away Tungsten's wedge and threw the robot over, forcing it to self-right using the disc it had only just revived. Finally, Tungsten retaliated by slamming into the back of Red River Hong to throw it into the arena wall, where Red River Hong was briefly balanced on its front end. Just as Red River Hong landed and attempted to drive away, it suddenly lost mobility without explanation. Tungsten used its axe self-righting mechanism to press Red River Hong's drum, then otherwise left it idle so that the referee could count it out, awarding the win to Tungsten.
- "I think we had a 70% chance of winning against Tiger Claw, so we were really looking forward to that. We wanted to smash him up."
- — Dave Moulds on fighting Shrederator Tiger Claw
Having qualified for the final four of the competition, Tungsten's semi-final match was against Shrederator Tiger Claw. Here, it entered the arena without its axe mechanism, and immediately charged into Shrederator Tiger Claw, forcing the American shell spinner into the spikes. As Shrederator Tiger Claw recoiled and got its weapon up to speed, Tungsten continued to chase it across the arena and towards one of the grinders. Tungsten drove into Shrederator Tiger Claw’s shell, launching it into the air, and proceeded to deflected a few more blows from its opponent's spinner. One of these hits, however, threw Tungsten off-balance, causing it to spin while lifted on one side. Tungsten recovered, Shrederator Tiger Claw retreated towards the spikes, proceeding to launch the Team LOGICOM machine into the air again as the two competitors continued to trade blows.
With another hit, Tungsten slammed Shrederator Tiger Claw into the grinder, causing it to recoil across the arena. However, the same blow threw Tungsten off-balance; the grinder carried and flipped Tungsten over, forcing the Team Carbide machine to self-right using its flywheel. Shrederator Tiger Claw struggled to drive away from the corner following this attack, allowing Tungsten to push it into another set of spikes and violently flip it over into the upper wall.
- "Yes! Yes! And again - get him! F**k him up!"
- — Dave Moulds, shortly after Tungsten flips Shrederator Tiger Claw
However, Shrederator Tiger Claw landed upright and got its shell spinning again; Tungsten recoiled as Shrederator Tiger Claw momentarily clipped its side. Tungsten immediately recovered, bumping into the spikes as it pursued, and exchanged more blows with, Shrederator Tiger Claw. These attacks caused Shrederator Tiger Claw to recoil and be left with significantly hindered mobility. Despite twitching occasionally on the arena floor, Shrederator Tiger Claw was counted out, putting Tungsten through to the final with this knockout victory.
In the final, Tungsten faced fellow British competitor - and Green team representative - Tánshè. Team Carbide again opted to enter it into the battle without its axe, and revealed that it had suffered technical issues in its previous battle, which they attempted to resolve in the pits beforehand.
- "We rated our chances of beating Tánshè at about 50/50. But, we know that Tungsten had been vulnerable to weapon motors burning out before the end of the match, and that was our big weakness."
- — Sam Smith unintentionally foreshadows Tungsten’s weapon issues
Both robots started tentatively - Tungsten was initially unable to land a blow on Tánshè as it pursued the Team Legion machine across the arena. This was until it hit the side of Tánshè as it turned round, flipping Tánshè over ripping one of its wheels off. Tánshè self-righted, seemingly unaffected by the damage inflicted, but Tungsten persevered, clipping Tánshè's rear end a few more times while causing further damage to its side armor. For a few moments, Tungsten continued to pursue its UK compatriot, at one point slamming into the wall spikes. However, it mistakenly drove up Tánshè's flipper, and was promptly thrown onto its disc. Tungsten recoiled back onto its wheels, and recovered by hitting and flipping Tánshè several more times. These hits damaged Tánshè's side panels even further, causing one of them to get underneath its opponent's wheels and leave it stranded on the arena floor. However, smoke poured from Tungsten as it spun its flywheel down and waited for Tánshè to regain mobility.
With Tánshè successfully throwing itself backwards and unfolding its right-hand side panel, Tungsten turned around and drove around the arena for several moments, its flywheel not spinning. The blows it had inflicted were enough to leave Tánshè immobile on one side and force the latter to weave across the arena; eventually, Tungsten got its flywheel up to speed again and slammed into the side of Tánshè, throwing Team Legion's machine into the air and towards the corner.
- "Come on, Gabe - come on, Gabe!"
- — Dave Moulds urges Team Legion to attack Tungsten
Tungsten proceeded to hit Tánshè a few more times, ultimately steering it towards one of the grinders. More smoke poured from the robot as its flywheel stopped turning again; after pushing Tánshè into the grinder, Team Carbide elected to 'stay away' from Tánshè as much as possible. With Tánshè still unable to drive properly, the two competitors avoided attacking each other any further for the rest of the battle, and spun round in celebration as time ran out. The final went to a Judges’ decision, which went in favor of Tungsten, ruling it the inaugural This is Fighting Robots champion.
- "It was great to win in England, and to come over here and to win in China is just incredible now, so… Yep, just want to thank everyone that’s supported us really… all our friends, especially the guys that we’ve met here and the girls that we’ve met here. It’s just been incredible, really, so… thank you!"
- — Dave Moulds following Tungsten’s championship victory
|TUNGSTEN - RESULTS|
|This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)|
|Episode 3, Rumble||vs. Greedy Snake, Lieutenant Bam, Mr Hippo||Lost|
|Episode 5, 2v2
(with Red River Hong)
|vs. Saturn & Slash Boy||Won|
|Episode 8, 1v1||vs. ORBY Blade||Won|
|Episode 9, Rumble||vs. Ninja, Thunder and Lightning, Vulcan||Won|
|Quarter-Final||vs. Red River Hong||Won|
|Semi-Final||vs. Shrederator Tiger Claw||Won|
|Grand Final||vs. Tánshè||Won|
- Wins: 6
- Losses: 1
|Series||Tungsten Series Record|
|Season 1||Did not enter|
Outside King of Bots
Dave Moulds has also participated in ABC's two rebooted series of BattleBots, both as part of Team Carbide and with different teams. In Season 1, he joined Team Robo Challenge when they attempted to enter with Beta, although Beta could not compete due to parts being lost in transit.
Dave Moulds and Sam Smith later produced a heavyweight for Season 2 of ABC's BattleBots, Cobalt, armed with an axe-like asymmetrical bar spinner. In its first battle, Cobalt was drawn against Season 1 quarter-finalist, Overhaul. Its spinner quickly reached top speed at the start, and a series of attacks on Overhaul's sides caused Cobalt to deflect away constantly. One hit and a loose set screw caused Overhaul to lose drive on one side, putting Cobalt through to the round of 32, further than Photon Storm, Team Storm's rebuilt version of Sam Smith's former heavyweight Tiberius. In the round of 32, Cobalt fought newcomer, wildcard recipient and eventual Season 2 runner-up, Bombshell. It tried to ram into Bombshell's overhead bar spinner rear-first to open up an opportunity to attack, but Bombshell's blade repeatedly cut through Cobalt's tires, hampering its mobility. While Cobalt managed to tear one of Bombshell's side panels off, it was eventually immobilized and eliminated after Bombshell continued to damage its tires. Due to filming clashes between This is Fighting Robots and the 2018 season of BattleBots, broadcast by Discovery Networks, Cobalt would not return for the latter season.
A new version of Cobalt competed in the 2019 season of BattleBots, borrowing the core design and some components of Tungsten, the team's second heavyweight vertical spinner. In its first battle, Cobalt fought SubZero and inflicted major damage to secure a quick knockout. Cobalt then caused severe damage to DUCK! in its second battle, throwing it through the air repeatedly and tearing away its entire front plough, but a collision with a seam in the floor led to Cobalt being counted out, losing the battle it had dominated until that point. Although Cobalt comfortably defeated Bombshell in its third fight to avenge a loss from its previous BattleBots appearance, Cobalt was defeated by End Game to conclude its Fight Night record at two wins and two losses, which was enough to give it the chance to fight a play-in match against former runner-up Minotaur, but it ultimately lost the fight on a judges' decision and did not qualify for the top 16.
Team Carbide are most well-known for entering the UK show Robot Wars, where they reached the final two of the competition on three occasions with their robot Carbide. This was also an invertible robot armed with a bar spinner, differentiated by its green-and-black color scheme, and symmetrical bar. In Series 8, it knocked out The General and Bonk in its Group Battle, before losing to Terrorhurtz in its next battle. Despite this, Carbide won consecutive matches against Nuts and Behemoth to qualify for the Heat Final, where it once again defeated Behemoth, winning the heat. In the Grand Final, it put Shockwave in a state of disrepair, and defeated both Thor and Apollo in the next round, only suffering its second loss to TR2. Carbide had won enough battles to qualify for the Grand Final, but after suffering damage across its previous battles, Carbide lost the use of its bar spinner in a rematch with Apollo, and lost the Judges' decision, finishing as the runner-up.
Carbide returned for an even more successful Series 9, quickly defeating Trolley Rage and Meggamouse in the first round. It defeated Apollo, Crackers 'n' Smash and Coyote in sequence to qualify for the Heat Final, where it collected its third win over Apollo. In the Grand Final, Carbide continued its undefeated run, immobilizing Concussion in the first round; Aftershock, Eruption and Ironside3 in the second, before knocking out Eruption again to win the UK Championship.
Entering Series 10 as the defending champion, Carbide suffered a near-loss in battle with Gabriel 2 and Big Nipper, but nevertheless qualified to defeat Aftershock and Eruption in its newest heat win. In the first round of the Grand Final, Carbide suffered a shock loss to Nuts 2, but after defeating Rapid in the redemption round, Carbide avenged its earlier loss to Nuts 2 with a knockout win. Once again in the final, Carbide faced Eruption, but on this occasion, it lost the Judges' decision, again relegating Carbide to runner-up position.
Sam Smith had previously competed in the classic series of Robot Wars with his vertical crusher, Tiberius. In Series 4, Tiberius emerged victorious in a melee over Evil Weevil 2, but broke down in the second round against Little Fly. Tiberius 2 competed in Series 5, and defeated Monad, but lost to the seeded Panic Attack. Tiberius III was built for Series 6, and lost its first battle to Supernova, but regardless won the University Challenge special in the second series of Robot Wars Extreme, by defeating Fluffy, C.V., and Infinity. In Series 7, Tiberius III escaped its melee against Shell Shock and Vader despite offering little input, and soundly defeated Roobarb, but despite its early lead, Tiberius III lost to M2 when it was flipped into the pit. While Robot Wars was off-air, Sam Smith built Tiberius 4, with a radically improved crusher. At the 2006 UK Championships, Tiberius defeated Steel Sandwich, and pitted Tough as Nails, but eventually lost the battle when Tough as Nails escaped the pit and put Tiberius in the same position.
On the live event circuit, Dave Moulds won the 2006 FRA Heavyweight UK Championships with the heavyweight flipper Turbulence. He has also fought with various featherweight robots since 2002. He has fought with various different versions of Turbine, armed with a flipper, which has since been retired. In full-combat events, Moulds has fought with a few spinner-wielding robots. These include:
- 360, a featherweight version of Hypno-Disc, with a horizontal flywheel.
- 540, a six-wheeled box-shaped robot with an interchangeable eggbeater and rammer configuration. The robot has since been bought and renamed Disturbance.
- 720, an octagonal-shaped robot armed with a spinning drum, now owned and renamed Sabre20 by Team Legion.
- 722, an improved version of 720 with a similar paint scheme to Carbide, which finished runner-up at the 2017 FRA Featherweight International Championships.
Sam Smith also fights in live featherweight events with NST, a horizontal bar spinner, and Shard, a vertical flywheel which inspired the design of Tungsten. Both robots have proved considerably successful; NST won the 2012 Featherweight UK Championships and the 2015 UK Featherweight Annihilator, while Shard recently finished tenth at the 2017 FRA Featherweight International Championships.
- Private correspondence with Gareth Anstee