Vega was a Scottish featherweight robot which competed in the 2018 King of Bots UK International Championships. Built and entered by Team Phantom, it was eliminated from the qualification rounds after encountering recurring issues with its full-body spinner, losing each of its battles to DB12, Barghest and Barróg respectively. Vega also took part in the Tag Team competition, partnered with Straddle 2; although it was able to get its spinner working, both robots still lost their battle to Saber-X and Get Shrekt.
Vega is a two-wheel drive robot armed with a full-body shell spinner, powered by a 3.5hp Propdrive 5060 motor. The 4mm thick, 650mm diameter HARDOX shell weighs 6.5kg, features two large teeth welded to the lower rim, and has a tip speed of approximately 200mph. Vega’s shell is decorated in tartan Christmas wrapping paper sprayed with lacquer, reflecting the robot’s Scottish origin. The robot’s chassis featured a 6mm polycarbonate top panel, as well as strips of blue (front) and red (rear) LEDs on either end, which help identify Vega's position when the shell spins. Drive power comes from two Argos drill motors, giving Vega a top speed of 10mph.
Vega was built within a timeframe of three weeks, although this resulted in a lack of testing which contributed to many reliability issues with its weapon and drive system.
Early design renders for Vega suggested that the robot was initially to feature a cylindrically-shaped full-body spinner, with large teeth protruding from the rim. However, this was changed to the cone-style shell spinner during construction, giving the finished robot a passing resemblance to American heavyweight competitor - and King of Bots Season 1 third-place finisher - Megabyte. The render used on Vega’s profile and statistics cards also depicted it in a dark green and gray color scheme, although this was changed to the tartan scheme prior to completion.
King of Bots UK 2018
In its first qualification battle, Vega faced the electric lifter Meow and Ed Wallace’s vertical spinner DB12. Problems began immediately when it was unable to get its spinner rotating, leaving Vega vulnerable to an early blow from DB12 which threw it into the pit release button. Vega drove away, bumping DB12 over the pit and briefly causing the latter to get stuck. However, DB12 escaped before the pit descended, with Vega proceeding to bump Meow before retreating back to the pit release button. Seconds later, another blow from DB12’s flywheel sent Vega flying out of the arena, eliminating the Scottish robot from the melee. Vega, therefore, finished the battle in third place and scored one point; Sean McGhee revealed that the hits from DB12’s flywheel had ripped one of the teeth out of its shell.
- "It’s never good to end up outside the arena, but, erm… we’re not home in a bin bag!"
- — Sean McGhee during a post-battle interview
Next, Vega fought Barghest and Forge Master. Still unable to get its spinner up to speed, it was immediately rammed by Forge Master, before driving into Barghest and getting clamped by Christopher Lobley’s machine. Vega was swiftly pushed into the pit by Barghest, which also fell in at the same time. The Judges ruled that Vega had touched the bottom of the pit first, once again relegating it to third place and one more point.
Finally, in the fifth qualification round, Vega was expected to face Apex and Barróg; Apex withdrew prior to the battle, leaving the Scottish and Irish machines to fight on alone. With its spinner unable to work once again, Vega attempted to dart away from Barróg, but was soon scooped up and gingerly lifted by the latter. Vega slipped off Barróg’s lifter and landed on its wheels; it proceeded to drive around in circles before being pushed and pinned against the wall by Barróg. One of Vega’s wheels fell off as Barróg lifted it into the air and reversed; seconds later, Barróg toppled over, leaving both robots suspended upside-down as Barróg unsuccessfully attempted to self-right. The battle was stopped while a member of the production crew separated the two competitors; Vega remained stranded upside-down as Barróg tried to self-right a few more times, but still without success. Nevertheless, with Apex’s forfeit, Vega would finish the battle in second place, scoring two more points.
With a total score of four points, Vega was eliminated from the 2018 UK International Championships at the qualification stage. However, it made one more appearance in a Tag Team battle, partnered with Straddle 2. Together, they faced the pairings of Aegis and Aegis Mk II, and Saber-X and Get Shrekt.
At the start, Vega initially stayed in its corner as Straddle 2 attempted to drive towards Aegis and Saber-X. However, it briefly moved when it became clear that Straddle 2 could not move properly, and began spinning its shell up before being tagged by the Bedfordshire axlebot. Vega swiftly drove across the arena towards Saber-X and Get Shrekt, only to be sent recoiling into the wall when Aegis charged into its shell. The impact caused Vega’s shell to detach from its mountings, momentarily leaving the robot’s internals exposed as it weaved around the corner of the arena. Vega recovered, initially pursuing Saber-X before reversing into Get Shrekt’s bar spinner. The impact sent the Scottish machine recoiling into and alongside the wall; for several seconds, Vega lingered near the pit as it got its shell up to speed again.
Eventually, Aegis Mk II approached and hit Vega’s shell, temporarily destabilizing Vega as it was sent reeling into the wall once more. With this Vega hopped as its teeth clipped the wall twice more, and veered precariously towards the edge of the pit before charging into Aegis Mk II. Again, Vega was launched into the air upon hitting the wall, striking the side of Aegis Mk II in mid-flight. These attacks immobilized Aegis Mk II on one side, leaving it vulnerable to a few attacks from Get Shrekt. Vega proceeded to exchange a few blows with Get Shrekt itself, which again sent it recoiling across the arena. Vega then clattered into the already side-stranded Aegis, and hesitated in the corner before withstanding a few more hits from Get Shrekt.
This enabled Vega to damage one of Get Shrekt’s front forks and immobilize Sam Price’s machine on one side; Get Shrekt stopped moving shortly after. With this, Vega waited for several seconds as Saber-X approached and twice drove into its shell; these impact caused Vega to recoil close the pit edge. After this, Vega appeared to be struggling for mobility, twitching forwards before driving around in circles and getting its shell up to speed once more. It was deflected into the corner by Saber-X, and hesitated for some time, before the King of Bots Beijing featherweight champion launched Vega out of the arena with a powerful flip. With this, Vega and Straddle 2 both lost their Tag Team battle to Saber-X and Get Shrekt.
|VEGA - RESULTS|
|King of Bots UK 2018 (Insomnia 63)|
|Rumble||vs. Meow, DB12||Lost (1 point)|
|Rumble||vs. Barghest, Forge Master||Lost (1 point)|
|Rumble||vs. Barróg, Apex||Lost (2 points)|
Partnered with Straddle 2
|Tag Team||vs. Aegis & Aegis Mk II, Saber-X & Get Shrekt||Lost|
- Wins: 0
- Losses: 4
Outside King of Bots
Prior to competing at the 2018 UK International Championships, Team Phantom built a heavyweight robot, Vortex, with the initial intention of entering Series 9 of Robot Wars. Armed with a vertical flywheel and built with assistance from PP3D Robotics, Vortex was not selected to compete in that series, but later entered the Extreme Robots Gloucester event in October 2017. There, it fought 2017 FRA UK champion Manta, Tauron and Two-Headed Death Flamingo in one battle, but lost after getting immobilized by Manta.
Both Vortex and Vega remain active at live events in the UK, appearing together at the Extreme Robots Cheltenham event in November 2018. There, Vega enjoyed a reasonably destructive run, causing severe damage to several of its featherweight opponents in its first battle of the event. However, it was violently flipped over by the recoil of one of its own hits and eliminated; Vega’s performances in its other two battles were affected by various reliability issues.
Vega competed at the Robodojo featherweight event in March 2019, fighting in four head-to-head battles. However, Vega was relatively unsuccessful at the event, after being flipped over by Graffiti, resisted by Plastic Fantastic, and immobilised by the spinners of Aegis Mk II and Telekinesis in its final battles.
- Correspondence with Sean McGhee, Team Phantom, 19th December 2018.