Five Memorable Moments of Team Plunderbird

I have just been watching The Great Model Railway Challenge on Channel 5, and spotted a rather nice surprise in one of the contestants. In the Steampunk Team of railway modelers, I spotted non-other than a Robot Wars Legend. The team captain of one of the most memorable teams in Robot Wars history: the International Wreck Crew, responsible for a series of Robots named Plunderbird.

The Plunderbird Team entered the first few series of Robot Wars, all with robots originally themed around Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds. The team was also known for their striking and tough looking demeanor; although behind this were known for being one of the more sporting teams in the shows history which garnered them a Sportsmanship award in Series 2. From the onset they looked like a tough group of lads but were in general just having some fun with their theme and provided some great/memorable as well as incredibly hilarious moments. Having just seen the Team Captain on The Great Model Railway Challenge, it brought back memories of some wonderful moments from Plunderbird’s time on Robot Wars, and I thought I would share some with you.

5. Chickens – Series 2 of Robot Wars was the most successful time for Team Plunderbird as they stormed through the heat all the way to the semi-final. Having been bowled out in the first series far too soon, it was great to see them go much further. Still portraying their ever-present tough guy look, they came back wanting revenge and were going to stop at nothing. During the Gauntlet however in the first round of the heats, they made a move that would brand them not as tough guys, but as chickens. While cruising up one side of the arena in the then Gauntlet round, they appeared to take a dive into one of the pits when they weren’t far from completing the course. They were questioned as if they were afraid of the House Robots who were in the way, to which they stated they weren’t in their usual manner (13:09).

4. Wonky – This moment comes from the very same episode as the one above. The team; who had returned this episode, were showing off their robot in one of the skits of the show. They were showing off how their new robot, Plunderbird 2 was not going to meet the same fate as their previous robot in series 1. They showed how it had an all new tracks system, a big bulldozer blade and…a wonky aerial. The way the word wonky was used and spoken made my Mam laugh and became my word for the following week – I was under the age of 10 at the time (11:58). 

3. Dissent in the Ranks – You will spot by now that most of this list features moments from Series 2 of Robot Wars: the team were at their best and some of their most memorable moments are (at least for me) from series 2. This moment comes from their Semi-Final attempt at the gauntlet. They didn’t do so well this time round and were in position to be out eliminated altogether. It came down to the last robot to run the Gauntlet: Haardvark. Despite a willed-on effort by the Plunderbird Team to make House Robot Matilda pull back Haardvark, it wasn’t successful and Plunderbird were sadly eliminated. This did make the lower ranking members of the team a little bit emotional who tried to blame their elimination on the team Captain, all in good fun of course (11:20).

2. P.O.O. – It wasn’t just Robot Wars the team entered, as they did enter the spin-off series Techno Games which was more focussed on Olympic styles of sports in comparison to Robot Wars which focused more on combat. The show therefore included events such as swimming, rope climbing, shot put and sprinting. Sprinting involved robots needing to have motorized legs instead of wheels to qualify for the event. The Plunderbird team entered series 2 and 3 of Techno Games as the mysterious Smith Twins. While obviously being the same team to both the audience and viewers, the team played up the idea of being two mysterious people not letting onto much information and claiming that no one had seen them. The team did very well in the sprinting event reaching the finals all to the surprise of presenter Ed Hall. Ed Hall was the only communicator with the two and asked them some questions which the two answered very little of. In the final though, they did let on one piece of information: what fueled their machine (33:29)? 

1. Theme Tune – Throughout the series, they were hugely entertaining and from series 2 onwards incorporated music into their performances, ranging from sing a-long’s, to tough raps. This though in more cases than one is their theme tune; debuting it in series 2, and even getting the whole audience clapping to it before their Semi-Final Gauntlet run.

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