Fans of Robot Combat can easily point out the major countries where the sport of professional robot combat is located.
The big 3 that are most commonly discussed are the United States, Great Britain and China. This of course being the locations of Battlebots, Robot Wars and King of Bots respectively.
However, one country is often overlooked, and that is Russia.
In June of 2015 the entire robot fighting community was blown aback when ABC aired the first episode of the Battlebots Reboot. Almost instantly, a new generation of fans emerged.
Following the Battlebots reboot we saw the return of Robot Wars. And in early September of 2015. Serveral former Russian politicians came together and with a small sum of money, the very first BroneBots; Rise of the Machines event was held in Perm, Russia on November 6th through November 10th! And the impact it had was astronomical! Over 45 robots attempted to compete despite the competition only able to allow 36.
Nobody could have perdicted that Russia would have a serious passion for Robot Combat! It also must be considered that the prize money for the event was incredibly small. First place won a small 10kg trophy sculpted out of scrap metal and very small pool of money, various cites claim different numbers, but the average says somewhere around $1,000
Rules for BroneBots were incredibly straight forward. Judging criteria was as simple as "which robot do you think won?" It's basically as simple as the judges shouting "THAT GUY WINS!"
The simplicity of BroneBots' rules is very fun and quite a breath of fresh air from BattleBots' and Robot Wars' rule book being larger than Les Miserables. If you can read fluent Russian, I'd recommend just paging through some of their rediculous rules! My personal favorite is that for the weaponry criteria they simply list "No Disruption" which implies everything from EMPs, Nets, Glue, Tapes, Corrosive Acids, ect. It's the most bare bone set of rules and I'd wish America and England would take a hint or two from our Russian buddies
Following the tremendous success of BroneBots: Rise of the Machines. Social event organizers from Moscow saw it's growing popularity and with a much much MUCH larger budget. Moscow held the a secondBroneBots event in November of 2016! Not only was the budget for the organization much higher, but so was the prize money! The arena also got a huge makeover, BroneBots was becoming more and more professional! And BroneBots also included a house robot simply dubbed "The BroneBot"
BroneBot's design is very similar to UK House Robot Sir Killalot and Mr. Psycho, with a humanoid torso, head and arms, and large tank tracks. They also seemed to take Mr. Psycho's design and make 10x more effective. with a 90kg Bronze Sledge Hammer and a sharpened bronze hydraulic crusher. BroneBot was the perfect Mascot!
BroneBots was EXTREMELY successful, not only getting a sold out crowd, but reports say that people were trying to sneak in via the emergency Exits, one blogger claims his friend tried to sneak in by crawling through a window!
After the tremendous success of BroneBots 2016. The organizers for BroneBots decided to hold several smaller events to hold fans over while the next BroneBots event was being organized.
These smaller events can be compared to the Robot Wars Live Circuit.
Speaking of Robot Wars. BroneBots was becoming VERY popular, and catching the attention of hundreds of other bot builders. Dozens of British competitors from Robot Wars entered.
Considering the entry fee was free, and a large prize money was also to be given to the victor. Across the 3 years of BroneBots dozens of top tier Robot Wars competitors would enter into the numerous different BroneBot events.
Personal favorites include Apollo, Thor, Kan-Opener, Foxic Tornado, even Stinger would all have their go at becoming BroneBot's Champion
But much like the first impressions during King Of Bots, professional competitors like Apollo and Thor were definitely in for a surprise!
This brings me into my most favorite part about BroneBots, the robots themselves!
One quick glance at a Russian made machine and it'll look like a robot that came straight out of Series 3 of Robot Wars. But much like the Soviet T-34. Appeal and good looks are the last thing on their minds! Russian robots are often janky, rugged and bulky. A Majority of Russian robots also seem to use a very interesting metal for construction, that being Bronze. Russia currently has a massive surplus of bronze and bronze seems to sell for little as $0.80 per pound. Compared to Aluminum which is selling for $1.10 per pound and Titanium selling for over $15 a pound!And Bronze is also lighter than steel so there seems to be little to no downside to the Russians Bronze obsession
We see the strategies of Axes, Spinners, Flippers, Wedges, Thwackbots and Clampbots be used in insane new ways. So to conclude my fanboyism I'll give you my Top 10 Favorite Russian Robots
Gosh is a good example of zany russian strategies. The robot is entirely made of Bronze and is incredibly dense too! There's almost a full inch of bronze in this compact little robot. Gosh is only about 5 inches tall, and the bot packs quite a punch! It uses a combine style blade. As in it's a steel rectangle frame that spins at about 100mph via an Internal Combustion Engine! Gosh is Icewave, Minotaur and Hobgoblin all crammed into a Bronze blender!
Hugo was built by a Russian construction worker that grew up watching Robot Wars on TV. As such Hugo was constructed entirely as a tribute to the builder's favorite robot Storm 2. Except for Hugo's case, it was made entirely of Bronze and used only 4 wheels instead of 6. Despite this, Hugo is the perfect robot for the Russian Brute Force strategy!
Punisher is probably one of the worst looking bots on this list. it's got 3 wheels. the wheel in the rear is just a small bronze cylinder while all the driving force is in the front. Shockingly, this robot is made of Aluminum and uses a very hefty spring loaded pickaxe. The pickaxe on it's own is terrifyingly powerful, able to puncture holes into 7mm bronze like it was punching holes in paper. But the robot's drive system is incredibly strong! Punisher has insane levels of traction and trying to push it around is like trying to push a refridgerator uphill. During Punisher's fight with the Austraillian robot RedBack. RedBack kept charging at Punisher, and despite RedBack having 6 wheels, the force required to beat Punisher in a pushing and shoving match almost blew out RedBack's motors!
Being one of the most well know Russian robots, Weber can also be described as a Cockroach. As it's been competing in BroneBots Robots Wars World Series, the Robot Wars live curcuit and has even been spotted in China and France! Weber was also rumored to have tried to compete in Robogames 2018. Weber is also very crazy looking. It's got a very exposed frame and looks very bulky. Since appearing on Robot Wars, Weber has gone through several upgrades. It's got much better motors, and most of the iron frame has been replaced with bronze (gee big shock)
In all honesty, SKY is one probably the worst robot on this list. It looks like an oldschool farm tractor, it's wheels are exposed and it turns like a boat. However, SKY seems to be the Russian equivelent to Vlad The Impaler 2. It's just indestructible. SKY has tanked hits from O.R.K, Matanga, Die-Hard and even the mighty Thor couldn't break SKY. SKY currently holds an abysmal win rate. It's documented SKY has only ever won 1 fight since it's first debut in 2015. However, SKY has never lost via incapacitation. The only way SKY ever loses is because the robot is very top heavy and it can easily be tipped over. SKY is also like the Cockroach of BroneBots, whenever there's an event, SKY rears it's ugly head into battle. It's been seen all across Russia, competing in small time local events. Rumors say it's been competing in Mongolia and France. I swear that if the SKY team could speak English, they'd be competing at literally everything.
Matanga takes some inspirations from Carbide and Last Rites, it's a large horizontal bar spinner with 2 wheels.
Everything about it just screams Tombstone! But, as they say, Imitation is the best form of flattery. And Matanga is one of the best "Tombclones." Matanga especially gets marks because of it's REDICULOUS engine. There is a monstrous 100 volt battery sitting comfortably inside Matanga. Matanga spins at 12,000RPM! Thats almost 140mph!
Matanga also gets major Meme points. As somehow during the professional photoshoot for BroneBots, some random kid holding a taco wanders onto the stage and photobombs Matanga! Now whenever Matanga enters BroneBots, their photograph shows Matanga's sidekick Taco Kid.
Shelby is everything Weber tried to be. In fact, Weber was inspired by Shelby.
Shelby runs on 2 wheels, uses a CO2 flipper and is made of a sort of Brozne scaffold. What makes Shelby so unique is that it just never wants to die! Despite being full of holes and having so much of it's internals exposed, Shelby takes so much damn punishment! The robot has been punctured, dented, mangled, contorted and rip to pieces, and yet it just keeps on going! In one event, Shelby's entire CO2 tank was punctured and throughout the entire match Shelby was leaking CO2. But despite this, Shelby just kept charging at it's opponent! It actually used it's flipper a total of 4 times AFTER it started leaking CO2! Apollo can learn a lesson from Shelby.
O.R.K is Matanga on steroids! It's very rugged, tough and takes way too much punishment! O.R.K is scary as hell too! Imagine if Carbide had an Internal Compustion Engine... yeah, it's that scary!
O.R.K is one of the most feared robots in Russia, ripping chunks out of bronze and steel like paper! it's also got some serious traction. I reckon if O.R.K swapped out it's spinning blade for a big thick bronze wedge it'd be just as scary!
O.R.K is a monster! Spinning at a whopping 200mph it could probably even give Captain Shrederator a scare!
As of right now, X-Force is the BroneBots champion. X-Force has only ever lost 1 fight. And that was against Apollo.
X-Force is both a CO2 flipper and a wedge. The chasis of the robot is made of Bronze and it's wedge is a full 2 inches of solid steel! The wedge is also rather steap. It's a terrifying spinner killer and the robot also has the most crazy power sources ever. As per normal, it's got the usual CO2 powered flipper, but instead of having an electric drive motor, X-Force decided to go balls to the wall and theres a monstrous deisel fueled engine to power itself!
This robot is beyond crazy and badass!
Yipee Kai Yay Mother Russia!
Die-Hard is every since of the word Awesome! It's a trapazoid shaped axe-bot that packs the most terrifying punch! Die-Hard has smashed holes into the arena floor and almost chopped a robot in half after repeatedly smashing it! It's as if Terrorhurtz and Beta were fused together! I love this robot like mad! It's a ruthless bronze destroyer! Even though it's first debut in 2016 wasn't the best. Literally 8 day after BroneBots 2016, Die-Hard got one hell of an upgrade! Everything about it has gotten stronger and meaner!
And being named after my favorite movie of all time helps too :3