Bonfire was a robot from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom, which competed in Season 1.5, the debut of This is Fighting Robots. It was built by Team Immersion, who designed the robot upon the concept of their Robot Wars competitor Vulture. It impressed its celebrity captain Wu Chun in its preliminary rumble, and advanced to the main competition, where a faulty speed controller resulted in its breakdown under pressure from Blue. Following its loss, Bonfire became one of three robots to be eliminated from the Red team at the end of the first round.

Team captain Adam Hamilton and Thomas Long are consistent members of Team Immersion, with featherweight roboteer Andy Russell, and the captain of Team. Ablaze Gareth Anstee joining the team for the competition.


Bonfire 1

Side view of Bonfire

Bonfire 2

Front view of Bonfire

Bonfire uses a wide, two-wheeled design, supported by a broad HARDOX scoop at the front, which can be replaced with a thicker 'anti-spinner' scoop which also protects its mean weapon. This weapon is a 30lb (14kg) single-tooth spinner, referred to as an 'axe head' due to the weapon's mounting on the end of an electrically driven arm. Bonfire initially spins its weapon at the rear of the machine, before firing its arm to bring the weapon onto the top of other robots. This spinner is fast at 260mph, which in combination with the electric arm, generates 20 horsepower of energy. Its drive system boasts 22 horsepower, for a top speed of 19mph.

Bonfire Pits

Overhead view of Bonfire

Bonfire 4

Bonfire after its first battle

Bonfire is also applicable with interchangeable weaponry, a result of its chassis being designed during the concept stage of a heavyweight design Team Immersion had intended to enter into future series of the British show Robot Wars. Despite this, Bonfire is a separate build, made from scratch.

"Introducing Bonfire, built especially for This is Fighting Robots! It’s another take on the complex hammer/spinner weapon, this time packing 14kg of ‘axe head’ spinning at 260mph with 20 horsepower behind it. It is the most complicated and most powerful robot we’ve ever built."
— Team Immersion on Facebook

Robot HistoryEdit

This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)Edit

Bonfire made a small appearance in Episode 1, where it was initially chosen by Zheng Shuang to join her team of robots. Bonfire was the first robot chosen by the presenter to represent her team, and was also the first robot chosen overall in the competition. However, in order to make room for Tungsten on her team, the presenter deselected Bonfire, requiring it to fight in a rumble in order to impress the celebrities. There, it fought the Mexican Blue Demon, the American Chronos and fellow British entry Sandstorm.

Sandstorm vs Chronos vs Bonfire

Bonfire stays out of trouble as Sandstorm launches Chronos into the air

Bonfire vs Sandstorm vs Blue Demon

Bonfire (left) traps Sandstorm in place while the latter sustains damage from Blue Demon (right)

Bonfire started by briefly driving towards Blue Demon; dodging Sandstorm’s initial charge in the process. It briefly joined its three opponents in the corner of the area before driving away, eventually shepherding Chronos into Sandstorm and being briefly pushed back by the American ring spinner. As it drove away, Bonfire spun round in front of Sandstorm, forcing its British compatriot off the floor and allowing Blue Demon to tear off Sandstorm’s rear panel. At the same time, it thrust its arm down on Sandstorm’s top, although without being able to cause any damage with its inactive spinner. Bonfire continued to battle Sandstorm for a large period of time, breaching its wedge, but a majority of the footage was not aired on television[1].

Bonfire vs Sandstorm 1

Bonfire strikes and pushes Sandstorm, an attack which secures its place in the main tournament

Sandstorm vs Bonfire 1

Sparks fly as Bonfire is thrust into the wall by Sandstorm

Eventually, Bonfire got its bar spinner rotating, and used its wedge to breach Sandstorm’s ground clearance as the latter drove up it again. With Sandstorm’s front wheels off the floor, Bonfire proceeded to thrust its spinner down on its opponent’s lifting weapon, while simultaneously pushing it into one of the grinders. This attack impressed Wu Chun, who promptly selected Bonfire to join the Red team. Bonfire tried to hit Sandstorm again, but missed as it was nudged towards the grinders in turn. It pursued Sandstorm across the arena, only for Sandstorm to get underneath, push and throw it into the wall spikes. Sparks few as Bonfire’s spinner hit the wall; Bonfire itself bounced off the bulletproof screen and landed back on its wheels, but the televised edit rendered Bonfire 'immobile' - nevertheless Bonfire was still active and continued fighting.

Sandstorm flips Chronos

Bonfire (right) battles Blue Demon while Sandstorm flips Chronos and itself

Bonfire wedges

The minor damage caused to Bonfire's wedge in battle

Bonfire then proceeded to strike Blue Demon with its arm as the latter pushed it into the corner. It escaped, and stopped over one of the floor flippers as Sandstorm pushed and tipped Blue Demon into the wall. By bringing its bar spinner into Blue Demon, Bonfire crumbled Blue Demon's weapon frame which crumbled the frame into the path of the Mexican spinner, jamming the weapon. In the final ten seconds of the fight, Bonfire's wires became stuck inside its wheels, briefly disabling the machine, but Bonfire had already been selected by a celebrity, advancing it to the main tournament.

Bonfire locked

Bonfire's weapon locks up

As part of Wu Chun's team, Bonfire was selected to battle two fellow British entries, Griffin Mk II and Ninja, and the American Blue. However, prior to the battle, Team Immersion realized that the weapon arm of their machine Bonfire was not working, and were given the option to withdraw from the battle, but competed nevertheless.

Wu Chun: "What's wrong with the machine?"
Adam Hamilton: "Well... we went to test the weapon, and just a little wire popped out."
Wu Chun: "If you don't fight, we can still do it tomorrow."
Adam Hamilton: "We'll stay in."
Wu Chun: "Alright, go for it!"
— Wu Chun cheers on the handicapped Bonfire
Blue vs Bonfire

Bonfire's wedge is struck by Blue

Ninja vs Bonfire

The lifeless Bonfire is pounded by Blue and Ninja

The battle began, and Bonfire first fought Ninja, although it later took a blow to the side of its weapon from Blue. Bonfire was also pushed into the arena saws sideways by Griffin Mk II, which gripped its weapon, but this brought Griffin Mk II's wheels from the floor, allowing it to be dragged by Bonfire. Edited out of the main battle, Bonfire was able to separately slam Blue and Griffin Mk II into the arena wall for large impacts. Blue swung its axe and hit the side of Bonfire's inactive weapon, although Bonfire briefly found its way under Blue. Bonfire edged Blue into the corner of the arena, but sustained a direct blow to its wedge from Blue's hammer. Blue then landed two direct blows onto the top of Bonfire, before briefly overturning itself, but Griffin Mk II abandoned its private battle with Ninja to slam into the back of Bonfire. At this stage, Bonfire had become immobile as a result of its speed controller failing, shorting out the entire robot. Nevertheless, Blue continued to pound the top of Bonfire, denting its weaponry, also forcing Ninja to attack Bonfire in the same fashion, despite Team Immersion conceding the immobility of their machine. When finally left alone, Bonfire was officially rendered immobile.

At the end of the first round, Wu Chun chose to eliminate Bonfire alongside Mr Hippo and Eater, ending its participation in Season 1.5.


This is Fighting Robots (Season 1.5)
Main Championship
Preliminary Rumble vs. Blue Demon, Chronos, Sandstorm Selected
Rumble vs. Blue, Griffin Mk II, Ninja Lost


  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 1

NOTE: Bonfire's preliminary rumble is not considered a win or a loss.

Series RecordEdit

Series Bonfire Series Record
Season 1 Did not enter
Season 1.5 Selected by celebrity, no wins

Outside King of BotsEdit



Team Immersion's televised debut was on the UK show Robot Wars, where Adam Hamilton and Thomas Long were joined by Jarvis Callister and Emma Thomas to compete with Vulture, a design using the same core concept as Bonfire. In the tenth series of the show, Vulture fought Terrorhurtz and Apex, but the axe of Terrorhurtz caused Vulture to lose the use of one wheel, and Vulture finished the battle in third place. Vulture was able to defeat Bucky the Robot when Team Tomco drove their robot over the floor flipper, but Vulture was eliminated on a Judges' decision after facing Terrorhurtz for a second time. Although Vulture should have faced Track-tion in the third place play-off of the episode, a faulty wire forced Team Immersion to forfeit before the battle took place. Team Immersion had previously competed in the pilot episode filmed prior to Series 8 with Tanto, where Adam Hamilton was joined by Matthew Pearman, Jack Tweedy and Craig Croucher. Tanto lost its only battle after its removable link fell out.

  • Amnesia 3
  • Amnesia's second version besides its 2017 trophy
  • Amnesia 1 (left) and Amnesia 2 (right)
  • Adam Hamilton's podium finish at Insomnia 61
  • Amnesia 3 with its trophy
  • Amnesia 3
  • Amnesia at the King of Bots UK featherweight championship
  • Amnesia 3 after winning the UK championship
  • Amnesia and Adam Hamilton with their trophy
  • All three Amnesia robots with their accolades
  • Amnesia at Robots Live! Stevenage, September 2018
  • Amnesia with fellow UK featherweight champion, Explosion

Team Immersion captain Adam Hamilton regularly competes at featherweight events with Amnesia, armed with an electrically-operated front-hinged flipper. For more information on the robot and its appearance in the 2018 UK International Championships, see Amnesia.

  • Immersion (heavyweight)
  • Side view of Immersion
  • Rear view of Immersion
  • Immersion with its weapon open
  • Immersion at Robots Live! Stevenage, September 2018
  • Immersion with Amnesia

In June 2018, the team completed a new heavyweight machine, named Immersion after the long-running team name. A scaled-up version of Amnesia's design, Immersion is armed with a two-stage front-hinged electric flipper, located behind a solid HARDOX wedge. Originally built for a presumed eleventh series of Robot Wars, Immersion was first test-driven at Robots Live! in Grantham, and also appeared at the 2018 UK Championship in Stevenage. There, Immersion won its first battle by ramming Luna-tic into the arena walls and pitting it, but although Immersion's brushless drive was running perfectly, its flipper was struggling as a result of a weapon control adaptor that the team had outsourced by commission. This faulty adaptor led to Immersion's second-round defeat to Iron-Awe 6, where it was unable to self-right after being flipped.

With assistance from Andy Russell, Adam Hamilton also creates CADs and occasionally fully-functioning robots under commission. Among these robots are:

  • Barghest, Christopher Lobley's featherweight
  • Barghest in 2018
  • Render for Barghest 2.5
  • White Dwarf, Joel West-Ward's featherweight
  • Slam, design for Matthew Pearman
  • Tempest in 2018
  • Renders of Slam with interchangeable spinning weapons
  • Force 7, Team Tilly's middleweight
  • Mad Rush, Alex Hall's featherweight
  • Early CAD render for Alex Hall's Mad Rush
  • Later render for Mad Rush
  • Render for Virus, a second featherweight for Joel West-Ward
  • Amnesia with Telekinesis, Barghest and White Dwarf
  • Barghest, a featherweight with an Uberclocker-style lifting jaw, designed for Christopher Lobley.
  • White Dwarf, an invertible featherweight with a lifter inspired by Panic Attack, designed for Joel West-Ward.
  • Tempest, an invertible featherweight armed with a horizontal bar spinner, designed for Matthew Pearman. Originally named Slam during Hamilton's design process.
  • Force 7, middleweight lifter built by Shane Lale to enter RoboGames and other middleweight events.
  • Mad Rush, a featherweight lifter owned by Alex Hall, which entered the King of Bots UK featherweight championship before withdrawing.
  • Virus, a second robot for Joel West-Ward, inspired by Spectre.

Thomas Long's Halcyon

Thomas Long is also a featherweight roboteer in his own right, competing with Halcyon, an two-wheel driven invertible robot. Its weapon is a drum spinner with a top speed of 10,000rpm. Halcyon was originally designed by Adam Hamilton, and Thomas Long occasionally assists Adam Hamilton with larger CAD projects. Halycon's only competition appearance thus far was at Insomnia 61, but it was defeated by Shard in its first battle, and did not participate in any further battles.

  • Push and Shove
  • Ion
  • Pendulum
  • The initial version of Telekinesis
  • Telekinesis 1.5 at King of Bots UK

Andy Russell is a roboteer in the beetleweight and featherweight classes, and has created many robots for events in these categories as well as assisting Adam Hamilton with the creation of commission-based robots. Robots which Russell has built for himself include Push and Shove, a four-wheel drive rammer, Pendulum, a featherweight armed with a 3.2kg TOOLOX 'egg beater', and Telekinesis (also known as Telekinesis 1.5 in later incarnations), which is armed with a pair of interchangeable undercutting spinners. For more information on these robots, and Russell's subsequent appearance in the 2018 UK International Championships, see Telekinesis.

Dystopia 2016


Gareth Anstee is a successful roboteer in the UK live circuit, first competing with the heavyweight machine Dystopia, which Anstee initially converted from a former heavyweight champion Ripper, before fully rebuilding the machine. Dystopia is fully capable of throwing robots out of the arena, allowing it to collect wins at various live events. It reached the Quarter-Finals of the 2016 Heavyweight FRA UK Championships before losing to Manta, before it was eliminated in the losers' melee by Nuts, and Gabriel.

Utopia 2

Utopia, Gareth Anstee's featherweight, designed by Andy Russell

Dystopia also has a featherweight counterpart, Utopia, which was initially a scaled-down replica of Dystopia, before Gareth Anstee worked with Andy Russell to create a new design for Utopia which Gareth Anstee built in time for the FRA Featherweight International Championships 2017, with assistance in welding from Adam Hamilton. The newest version uses an intentionally basic open-plan design to inspire new builders, as well as a front-mounted pneumatic flipper. After a long undefeated run, Utopia encountered a gas leak, and settled for fourth place when defeated by 722 in the semi-final, and Amnesia in the play-off.

  • Utopia, as intended to appear in the 2018 UK International Championships
  • Render for the 2018 version of Utopia

In August 2018, Utopia competed in the King of Bots UK featherweight championship, sporting a new 'exoskeleton' design after its newest version was not ready to compete. It performed strongly in its first battle against Barróg and Bane, only to be grabbed and pitted by the former, which also fell in the pit at the same time. However, the judges ruled that Barróg had hit the bottom of the pit first, leaving Utopia victorious. However, it was less successful in its following two matches, taking severe damage in its final loss to Get Shrekt, relegating Utopia to the eight-way battle to qualify for the Top 20. Utopia was one of only three robots active at the end of the time limit, but ultimately lost the Judges' decision to Barróg. However, after Tempest withdrew, Utopia replaced it within the Top 20 and fought the fellow substitute Calabash Bros, but it was quickly overturned and defeated, and was finally eliminated by DB12 during its losers' melee.


Defector, featherweight built by Gareth Anstee


RPM, beetleweight owned by Gareth Anstee

In addition to Utopia, Gareth Anstee also competes in featherweight events with Defector, which is armed with a longer and narrower flipper, and finished fourth at the 2014 FRA UK Championships. He has also competed in antweight events with DystopiAnt and DefectAnt, miniature replicas of Dystopia and Defector built by Alex Shakespeare. DystopiAnt won the Ant Freeze 4 event in January 2017, with DefectAnt finishing fourth at the same event.[2] One week after Utopia's fourth place finish in the featherweight division, Team. Ablaze competed at the European Beetleweight Championship with R.P.M., a past success which had been re-branded under the team uniform. Armed with a vertical spinner, R.P.M. finished fifth, when it was knocked out by the eventual champion.

Trolley Rage

Trolley Rage

Gareth Anstee competed on Robot Wars as part of his university's team, the Greenwich Greats. They competed with Trolley Rage, a robot equipped with an axe, which was initially built by Professor Simeon Keates, before being overhauled by Gareth Anstee. However, Trolley Rage was moved from its intended opening melee, and substituted for a withdrawal, placing Trolley Rage against the reigning champion Carbide, alongside Crackers 'n' Smash and Meggamouse. After a powerful blow from Carbide, Trolley Rage was immobilised, and it lost in the first round.

  • General d'Meaner
  • Hamilton and Long's CAD render of General d'Meaner

The University then gave a list of requirements and a budget to build a new robot to try and make a competitive entry that still inspired new engineers. After some initial designs and component selection by Gareth Anstee, he then worked with Adam Hamilton to produce the final design of General d'Meaner, which Anstee built over the two weeks leading up to its debut. General d'Meaner's design is based on a "Terrier" combat engineer vehicle; the robot features a 18hp drive system, a top speed of 20mph, and a low-pressure pneumatic flipper and grabbing arm as weapons. The completed General d'Meaner made its debut at the University of Greenwich Extreme Robots event in late September 2017, where it was used as a house robot for the final round of a schools' featherweight competition. General d'Meaner also fought in three battles at Extreme Robots in Maidstone, where despite some initial teething problems causing it to be plagued by issues with its weaponry - it managed to win its first fight in a 5 way melee against other experienced competitors.


  1. Private correspondence with Gareth Anstee

External LinksEdit


  • Bonfire was the first robot selected by Zheng Shuang, even though it was later dropped by her.