This particular Matilda consists of the original robot shell, made by the BBC’s Special Effects Department and used in the first four series of the show.
Her design takes inspiration from a mutant alien dinosaur,
and is perpetuated in the Robot Wars Technical Manual to be a biomechanical creature unearthed from a lost Atlantean civilisation.
Previously, this shell had been acquired from the BBC by *David and Alan Gribble, of the Cold FusionTeam, who added new workings. Consequently since then, she has spent some time on tour, marshalling the featherweights. She also appeared in special events and competed as one of the house robots in the Roaming Robots tour..
She had literally been through the “wars” this one, consequently she looked quite downbeat!
Here she is…
at the auction house —>
When we finally arrived back at the workshop, she underwent a thorough inspection. It was apparent that certain things required attention.
Being the original bodyshell we were mindful of the need to retain as much historic scarring as possible.
(Who knows how many famous competitor robots have added to her distress over the years?) As a result, some parts were completely missing!.
From here on, the decision was made to reconstruct her as accurately as possible from studying video footage of early Robot Wars shows.
The horns were created from silicone coated foam as originally fitted.
The batteries were recharged and radio control gear fixed, before a test of the motors and lifting tusks. Fortunately, these all operated.
From studying early footage it also became apparent that certain upgrades would be more fitting. We sourced replacement wheels and tyres, fabricated some new steel tusks of accurate scale, and new foam eyelashes, as one had completely perished! Next we fitted new fins and finally a chainsaw blade! This for safety reasons is a dummy blade with a camshaft chain (no teeth)! In the show the chainsaw was later swapped out for a cutting disc, which proved more effective, but we wanted to stick with the original design.
We felt she was worthy of these improvements and now looks more like she would have back in the early series.
Here she is now pictured in the workshop.
Robot wars Matilda
Here she is, her first test outside the workshop…
She now has halogen lamp eyes, which can be seen in the video, to match the original. These can be set on timer to flash at random and can be hooked up to remote power source for when she is on display. (they were not connected during this clip)
Robot Wars Matilda had several casts made from the original mold for backups during the show, as she was on occasion subjected to some heavy weaponry from competitors. Some of the worst moments captured below!
*We would like to give a mention to the previous owners of this Matilda, Alan and David Gribble who have sadly passed away.