Tangled Marionette Deployment Report
BotBash 2001:

"That's a tough little 'bot!"
Bob Pitzer after my 30 second KO fight vs. Hyper Active

Wow, what a weekend. Secretly I was very afraid of a repeat performance of last year, some overlooked weakness that was going to leave me on the side of the road with nothing to show for months of work. Fortunately, it didn't come to that. By making weight and lasting more than 6 seconds into my first fight, I was already going better than last year, so I began to relax and just enjoy myself. Imagine my surprise when I actually won a few fights.

No report would be complete without giving a HUUUUGE "THANK YOU!" to Bob Pitzer, his family, and everyone else who worked so hard to put on Bash 2001. Bob described it as "a thrown together event", but it was a first class show and I was proud to participate. The Tournament Management Application (TMA) was a success and I'm sure all the participants at Battlebots next month will really appreciate it. We can't wait for next year!! Thanks everyone!

Fight Breakdown:

  1. vs. Kram - Won by KO
    Kram was a tough little 4-wheel bot that had excellent traction due to its foamy airplane wheels. We were literally the first fight of the tournament and things were rough for us. First, we had no idea the floor was going to be so slippery, I was doing 4-wheel burnouts every time I went to full stick. Second, there was no lighting into the box yet, so whenever we got up by the far wall we were in so much shadow there was no way to see that was going on. Third, there were a few gaps in the I-beam railing around the perimeter that Kram's driver Kelly Small knew about, but couldn't see. I won when I VERY luckily managed to knudge Kram into one of those gaps. I did manage to inflict a little damage when one of my spikes pierced his foamy tire though...
  2. vs. Hell on Wheels - Lost 5-4 Decision
    Jason Bardis' bot "Hell on Wheels" was a trip, made from two clamshelled halves of Carbon Fiber shell molded in a pyrex baking dish. His long pointy spears were good at keeping me at bay until I fit myself directly between them. I managed to get him pinned up against the railing at one point, but for whatever reason, decided to free him with a few seconds left in the match. This probably wasn't the best thing to do since the judges awarded him the win 5 points to 4. Jason's a great competitor though, and I'd like to think he'd have done the same.
  3. vs. Wedgenocide - Won 7-2 Decision
    It was hard to tell that this was an R/C car based bot, since it was covered in a plastic wedge and sported a grinding wheel protruding mid-wedge a la Ankle Biter. I owe these guys a big "thanks" since during the placement of my 'bot before the fight I found that I had a set screw that had come loose during my fight with Hell on Wheels. They were sportsman about it and let me run back and grab the right Allen wrench to tighten things up. Thanks guys, I appreciated it! They put up a good fight and managed to put a couple of good gouges in the front bulkhead and underside CF skin with their grinder. I'll try to find a photo of this to post. I think my Wife got one on her film camera.
  4. vs. Spike - Won 9-0 Decision
    Imagine my surprise to be facing a robot named 'Spike' when Andrew Lindsey wasn't even present! This Spike was an RC car with a wedge. It was fairly underpowered and very underweight, but it was quite agile. I did have to work to chase it around the ring, but in the end I was able to slam it into the wall a few times and got it close to the gaps a couple of times. It was almost too light to damage since every time I rammed it the thing would just fly like I'd punted it.
  5. vs. Hyper Active - Won by KO
    I was shaking in my boots coming into this fight. Jerome's Crazy 24 pound hexapod walking spinner was the only lightweight bot capable of REAL knock out power. I'd watched it tear the wheels off of Sake in an earlier round and it sent one flying 8ft off the deck. I actually had my entire lunch break to think about this fight, and my Wife (who's actually becoming quite a good strategist) and I agreed that my best and only shot was to be as agressive as possible and just hope to survive the whacks. I shot down the ring and went slightly wide so I could come in from the side (the walker couln't turn very well and I hoped to take out a leg or something). I caught a good whack in the front end that sent us bot back a couple of feet. Predecided strategy and instinct both said to get back in the fray ASAP so I flipped around and gave him another run. Somewhere in the first or second hit something had come loose inside Hyper Active, and the locomotion was gone despite the spinner being active. I gave one more ram before I heard from the other end of the stand that Jerome had conceeded. I couldn't believe it, I thought for sure I was in for my second loss. To Jerome's credit the hits I took REALLY rattled Marionette's teeth. It took me nearly the whole 20 minutes allowed to get the bolts all tightened back up in the chassis. Jerome gave me the Autographed blade from our fight that was so twanged I couldn't believe I'd taken the hit. I'll get a picture of that up soon along with everything else.
  6. vs. Sake - Lost 5-4 Decision
    Sake was a tough little wedge with overhung wheels. It was a tougher fight than I'd anticipated, mostly because Sake's driver did an EXCELLENT job of keeping the wedge pointed right at me ALL the time. I was constantly jiven' to get around the side, but nearly every time I went after him, there was that wedge. After bashing him into the wall a few times, I thought I'd done well enough for the win, but in the end the points were: 2-1 in my favor for Damage, 2-1 in my favor for Strategy, and 0-3 in Sake's favor for Agression. Bummer. That left me in 4th place behind Neutrino(1st), Alpha Pujo(2nd), and Sake(3rd).
  7. Lightweight Rumble vs. All - Winner
    The rumble was a total hoot! There were 9 bots left running at this point who wanted in on the rumble, so we did an informal one. (No prizes) Hyper Active started in the middle due to its slow speed and the rest on the perimeter. I spent much of the rumble trying to feed other bots to HA's blade, but managed to stick my nose in for myself a couple of times too, and I paid the price. A few more gouges in the drive rails and one VERY bent cap screw that held on the front bulkhead. My very efficient 22v drive left me with plenty of battery power for the fight. At one point when there were about 5 bots left I was asked to get "Carbon Conflict" off of the wall, which I obliged and almost regretted as much as freeing Hell On Wheels during the 1 on 1's since it came down to him and me at the end. Eventually I was able to get the win but only after a serious slugfest that left my drive chains dangerously slack.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Set screws still suck. Stop using them.
  2. Even 4 1-1/4" wide Colson's don't provide traction in a really slippery floor.
  3. Its more fun when you sleep ahead of time.
  4. My wife is an amazingly tolerant woman. I should buy her something nice.
  5. 1/8" Aluminum and 2-Mil CF is just about right for taking HEAVY whacks in this weight class.
  6. Capacitor Clamps make OK motor mounts, but not great ones.
  7. Never leave your spare good batteries sitting on the bench and pack your bad ones instead. Oops.
  8. Wear safety glasses when Garm's fighting.
  9. Bring a freaking Fan and a cooler when you'll be in Phoenix, this is the second year I've forgotten.
  10. No matter WHEN you start building, its never too soon. Make yourself a hard deadline of at least a week before and STICK TO IT!


Massive gouges in the drive rail courtesy of Hyper Active. Everything is still driveable but its just ugly enough that I might have to rebuild the rails for next time.
Again, scratches on the carbon fiber and aluminum from Hyper Active's blade. I think this particular set came from the rumble.
Spike curled under after the Kram Fight...
Kram's wheel. I thought this was good until I saw the chunk Jerome took out with Hyper Active. This is nutin'.
One of the frightening machines of SRL Alumni Christian Ristow.
Jerome Mile's Hyper Actve. It packed quite a whallop.
Alpha Pujo - 2nd place in the 12lb class.
Neutrino - Winner of the 12lb class.
Standing around for the driver's meeting Saturday Morning. The elevated combat box is in the background. Yes, its as high off the ground as it looks.
More Driver's Meeting.
Don Lariviere's Garm, voted "Most Dangerous" by the competetors. Besides giving "Subject to Change Without Reason" a major facelift, it managed to toss a couple of pieces of someone over the arena wall. Bob vows next year it'll have a roof...
Some of the gauges in Ziggo's shell after it fought Backlash. Personally, I had my money on Ziggo, I was surprised.
Looking down the Pit lane Sunday morning...
More images coming soon...

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