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Media Essays: The Career of Chaos 2

Updated: Mar 2


Title card for the essay

It's time to cover another Robot Wars legend and considering I did an essay for Hypno-Disc and Razer, it seems right I conclude the legendary trilogy by covering another robot who was one of the prime competitors of its time. Like Hypno-Disc and Razer, this robot is an icon amongst the fandom for a myriad of reasons and remains one of the most famous names in robot combat history. That robot...is Chaos 2.

A picture of Chaos 2

Created by George Francis and appearing in six seasons of the show plus both series of Extreme, Chaos 2 has quite the illustrious career to its name. It's the ONLY robot in Robot Wars history to win the title more than once, it was the first robot in history to flip another robot out of the arena, it inspired many flippers that came after it to become more powerful and it has a lot of wins throughout its time on the show. Like Hypno-Disc and Razer, it also spawned its own merchandise in the form of toys and its own Ultimate Warriors Collection DVD. Chaos 2 is famous for a reason and this essay will delve into why that is. We'll be covering Chaos 2's entire career from back in Series 1 all the way to Extreme II. This'll also be an interesting topic since Chaos 2 had previous forms and names so I won't just be talking about Chaos 2 in this essay, but its predecessors too.


So without further ado, let us dive into the career of Chaos 2...


Where It All Began

A picture of Robot the Bruce

Series 1 of Robot Wars began in 1998 and was quite a different show back then. There weren't just battles to win, but trials and games too. As Robot Wars was pretty new, the machines often come off as unremarkable and primitive by today's standards. Chaos 2's original form is one such example.


Before there was Chaos 2, George Francis entered the series with Robot the Bruce, the name an obvious pun on the historical Scottish leader Robert the Bruce. This made it the first machine to ever be named after a real person on the show. It was literally a box on wheels...and that was it. No weapons or anything, it's just a box on wheels that moved at 4 mph and had only brute force going for it. Not the most imaginative design ever but it worked out well for the team surprisingly enough. What's interesting to note is that George Francis may have constructed the robot, but he didn't do it alone. He actually worked with Team Cassius to build it with Red Garrod and Simon West building the mechanics while George Francis and Mick Cutter built the mechanics. Mick would even serve as the robot's second televised team member alongside George. The teamwork put into Robot the Bruce meant it only took four days to build it and in the series, George and Mick went under the name "The Village Idiots" as a team name. I wouldn't have gone with that as they're clearly not idiots but hey, it's a funny name so why not? XD


Robot the Bruce appeared in Heat C of the series where it was the overall winner. Yes, this robot that has no weapons managed to win its heat. That's pretty impressive. XD It cleared the Gauntlet, actually finishing FIRST amongst all the other competitors and showed great strength by pushing Dead Metal along the way. It then cleared the Football, scoring a goal during the match, and ended up in an eliminator round against Cruella. Cruella was a wedge-shaped robot with no weapons either so it was a case of who could push who into danger first. Robot the Bruce won when Cruella got stuck in a grate and couldn't move and it moved onto the Heat Final where it beat Wedgehog in order to qualify for the Grand Final. Who knew just brute force could get you into the Grand Final? XD This did set some records for the machine for this win made it the only UK heavyweight machine without a weapon to win a heat and also to reach a Grand Final in any series of Robot Wars. Cunning Plan was a featherweight before you ask why it's not counted.

The Series 1 Grand Final match-up

Robot the Bruce was in the Grand Final of Series 1 alongside Recyclopse, Roadblock, Cunning Plan, Bodyhammer and T.R.A.C.I.E. It managed to do well enough, becoming the last competitor to be eliminated when it drove up Roadblock and fell off onto its side so it couldn't move anymore. Roadblock and Bodyhammer were the only mobile competitors left so the judges had to declare a winner with Roadblock becoming the first ever UK Champion. Robot the Bruce pretty much finished third overall, which is certainly not bad for its first showing and it showed that George Francis had what it took to make a solid machine for Robot Wars. And it would only get better for him as the series continued...


The Original Chaos

A picture of Chaos

And so George Francis returned to Series 2 with a whole new machine.


Called "Chaos" this time, the machine was wedge-shaped and coated in polycarbonate and chequer-plated armour, was given two large wheels at the back and two small wheels at the front and was also given a weapon this time around. It was armed with a rather narrow pointed flipping blade that wasn't particularly powerful and caused the machine to tumble forwards when trying to flip anything. Its narrow point also made it hard to get under opponents so it proved to be largely impractical in battle. But that would change in its second incarnation a series later...


Chaos was seeded 6th for the series (which confuses me because it pretty much finished third so shouldn't it be seeded 3rd instead?) and appeared in Heat B of the Second Wars. It was able to clear the gauntlet just like last time despite being rather nimble and unwieldy to control and it made history in the Tug of War match where it was the ONLY contestant robot in the show's history to successfully pull Dead Metal into the pit. Just how strong is this machine when it can win a Tug of War match against a freaking House Robot?! That's quite a feat if you ask me!

Mace vs. Chaos

In the eliminator rounds, it went up against Wheelosaurus and won with relative ease and even had a go against the House Robots where it caused some damage to Dead Metal. Gee, Chaos really seems to have it out for Dead Metal, doesn't it? XD


Sadly, they couldn't get any further for in their Heat Final against Mace, they were pushed into the PPZ by them and Matilda flipped them over. Chaos tried to self-right only to get stuck on its back so they were immobilized and left at the mercy of Mace's flail and the House Robots. This match was a major whoopsie on George's part for he and his team mates forgot to put some pieces of plastic on the back of Chaos that should've allowed it to roll back on its wheels so that's why they got stuck on their back when they tried to self-right. Chaos were eliminated from the series but George and his team were back again next series with the robot that changed everything...


Chaos 2's First Big Win

Chaos 2's debut

And here we are, Chaos 2's grand debut at last.


Chaos 2 was given an entirely different design from its predecessor with a much large flipper, a more compact and sleek design, black and silver paint and its own logo printed across the flipper. The flipper was high-pressure and CO2 powered, the machine was powered by a pair of lawnmower motors and it was armoured in 10mm Dural plating. Chaos 2 was also noteworthy for being one of the pioneers of the rear-hinged flipper along with Facet. Most flippers before then were front-hinged with Chaos being the first robot to go with a rear-hinged flipper and Chaos 2 would show just how good this kind of weapon was going to be in this series.


The team had a change-up too. Mick Cutter left to join Cassius 2's team and George ended up with two new members in the form of Ian Swann and his son Richard. This team would remain together until the end of Chaos 2's career in Extreme II.


So how did Chaos 2's Series 3 run go? BRILLIANTLY, that's how. In its first round against Crocodilatron, it flipped it over effortlessly and left it stuck on its back in a corner while it had a toy around with the House Robots. The power of Chaos 2's flipper was already plain to see in this one match and it had quickly set itself up as one to watch. In the next round, they pretty much spent the whole fight just toying with Sonic by flipping them up and over several times while Sonic couldn't do much in response. Then they were in the Heat Final against The Big Cheese, a battle that was voted as the best battle in the entire series. Chaos 2 started off strong but The Big Cheese managed to tip them over with their own lifter at one point, forcing Chaos 2 to demonstrate its self-righting capabilities. Unlike Series 2, it worked perfectly and they were able to finish off The Big Cheese by flipping them over. The cheese tried but just couldn't get back on their wheels. So Chaos 2 won their heat and made it to the Semi-Finals where they effortlessly dispatched Trident and also got their revenge on Mace 2 for their loss in Series 2 by beating them. And so Chaos 2 was a Grand Finalist once more and in this Grand Final, they made history where...well, this happened:

Firestorm is flipped out

For context, this was the first time EVER in the show's history where a robot got flipped out of the arena. Chaos 2 was the first one to ever do it and poor Firestorm was the first victim of this method of defeat. How much must it suck to be stuck with the acknowledgement that your robot was the first to ever get flipped out like that? I know I'd feel pretty embarrassed if that were my machine. XD

Chaos 2 vs. Hypno-Disc

After that historical win, Chaos 2 would go up against Hypno-Disc in where it wasn't much of a Grand Final as Hypno-Disc barely worked and Chaos 2 just simply bode its time before flipping it over onto its back. Chaos 2 won Series 3 and gave George Francis his first Grand Champion trophy. After this fight, Chaos 2 also had some fun with the House Robots by flipping Matilda and Shunt over. Both flips caused their top coverings to come off so they were left in a bit of a sorry state as a result. XD Still, Chaos 2 was the third UK Champion in Robot Wars history after Roadblock and Panic Attack before it and looked to be a truly unbeatable machine. It would show up again in the World Championships representing England where it was truly set up for another easy tournament win and would easily bring England to victory...

Razer vs. Chaos 2

Oh right, that happened.


Yeah, Chaos 2 was never going to be a match for Razer, let's be realistic here. XD The robot even dived into the pit after getting pinched real bad by Razer just so they wouldn't get damaged even more.


While they didn't win that tournament, they did win the Best Engineered award and their battle with The Big Cheese was voted Battle of the Series so yeah, Chaos 2 scored some pretty big wins all-in-all. Series 3 was a good series for this machine. Could they keep it up in Series 4...


Lightning Strikes Twice For Chaos 2

Chaos 2 in Series 4

Chaos 2 returned as the king of the arena for Series 4. The reigning champion and the one everyone was itching to beat in order to take the title. Aside from a new set of covers, Chaos 2 didn't really have any modifications from last time. Well if it worked so well last time, why change anything now?


Seeded Number 1 (of course), Chaos 2 was in the very first episode of Series 4 where it went up against newcomers Atomic and Indefatigable in its first round melee. Neither machine stood a chance and were easily defeated with Indefatigable going out first due to being immobilized the longest of it and Atomic. Chaos 2 also performed its second out of the arena flip by flipping the forklift-shaped robot over the wall at the end. Talk about flexing because you can guys. XD Its second round melee was against Medusa 2000 and despite trying so hard, they couldn't flip them out but they dominated so much of the battle that it didn't matter and they won anyway. The Heat Final was against Atomic and because Series 4 Atomic is...well, not good, they broke down after Chaos 2 flipped them a few times and thus the plucky flipper bot made it to the Semi-Finals with no real challenge.


Fun fact: the producers were hoping that Chaos 2 and Gemini would face each other in this series, hence why Gemini was given the 8th seeding. Tornado threw a wrench in that plan by defeating them so sadly, that didn't happen. Imagine a Chaos 2 and Gemini fight though, that would've been fun and a nice way to bookend their brief rivalry with Team Mace...

Chaos 2 vs. Tornado

Chaos 2 was in the first bracket of the Semi Finals where they faced the 7th seeds Steg 2 in the Eliminator Rounds. Steg 2 was also a Grand Finalist in Series 3 so this was a big battle between the Series 3 Grand Finalists. Steg 2 did briefly give Chaos 2 some trouble by flipping them over once but Chaos 2 was back up on their wheels and they eventually managed to flip Steg 2 into submission when they were flipped onto their sides and their flipper stuck open. Chaos 2 was in the second round of the Semi-Finals against the newcomers, Tornado, and they flipped them out with ease. What's interesting to note here is that what we saw was the third of three attempts to film this fight. No joke, there were two previous cuts that we never got to see where one cut saw the arena getting damaged so they had to stop the fight to repair it and the second cut saw Chaos 2 getting pushed into the CPZ and losing a drive chain thanks to Shunt but Tornado also lost a drive chain at the same time so neither robot was able to move and the match was declared a draw. Talk about three time's the charm, right?

Chaos 2 vs. Pussycat

And so Chaos 2 was in the Grand Final for the third time in their career and the competition was looking TOUGH for them. Hypno-Disc and Pussycat were already serious contenders but there was also Stinger which ended up being a surprising wildcard that managed to beat the likes of Panic Attack to get here so Chaos 2 couldn't afford to mess around in this Grand Final! Chaos 2 was against Stinger first and it proved to be a tough battle since Stinger isn't easy to immobilize thanks to its design and it was able to get some good hits on the Ipswich machine, even tearing off their back panel with one brutal swing of their stinger! Despite the damage caused, Chaos 2 still won in the end and while the dream match was a rematch against Chaos 2 and Hypno-Disc, Pussycat was the one who won that match so Chaos 2 battled them for the Championship crown. Once again, it was a tough fight for Chaos 2 as invertible machines aren't so easily disposed of and Pussycat's aggressive, damaging battle style gave Chaos 2 more than a few scratches. George even said Pussycat had caused the most damage to his machine at the time of this battle. It was a tough, tenacious tussle but in the end, Chaos 2 won on a judge's decision and were the champions for the second time running. Even after the reboot, Chaos 2 are the ONLY UK Champions in the show's history to win more than once. Any other UK Champions who did this pulled it off in live-circuits outside of Robot Wars, not in the series itself.


Oh and there's a full uncut version of this battle you can watch on Chaos 2's DVD that you can see here too.


Chaos 2 also participated in the Northern Annihilator during the series of specials that aired after Series 4. It seemed like it would be a top competitor here but instead it went out in Round 1 when most of the axe-bots pretty much whaled on it and bashed it into submission, making this Chaos 2's first ever fight it lost via immobilization.


Still, Chaos 2 won the title again and were looking almost unbeatable as a result. But that would all change when the next few seasons rolled out...


An Extreme Hit And Miss Performance For Chaos 2

The Flipper Frenzy

Chaos 2 returned for Robot Wars Extreme with some big modifications. They made improvements to its flipper and armour, added titanium extra plating beneath the front polycarbonate wheel covers, a new 7mm-thick flipper plate to replace their original one after it became worn, new larger diameter rams, new valves and a larger CO2 canister to improve the power of their flipper. They also had smaller battries to replace the original ones in order to accommodate the bigger rams but this caused problems with weight distribution so Chaos 2 couldn't take advantage of the weight increase and thus despite the weight limit being changed to 100kgs, they could only reach about 83-84kgs. In some of its Extreme matches and in all of Series 5, they added an extra polycarbonate panel above the gas canister so axes and crushers would be less likely to puncture it.


Chaos 2 had some wins and some losses throughout Extreme. In the All-Stars Tournament, they fought X-terminator in Round 1 and had some flipper troubles where the flipper kept getting stuck open at times but X-terminator screwed themselves over by knocking it back down with their axe so Chaos 2 was able to flip them over and axe problems stopped them getting back up again. They fought Wheely Big Cheese in the quarter finals and had a disappointingly one-sided match with them. You'd think this version of the machine would've done better than its predecessor did but nope. However, Tornado stopped them dead in their tracks in an intense battle in the semi-finals that saw both sides giving it their all and Chaos 2 came close to flipping them out a second time but Dead Metal got in their way so they weren't able to. It went to the judges and Tornado was given the win, making the Chaos 2 and Tornado rivalry 1-1 for now.


Chaos 2 would face Tornado again in the Challenge Belt...and they lost again, making the score between them 1-2. This was also Chaos 2's last battle against Tornado so the rivalry ended in their favour. Hard luck, eh Chaos 2?


They fought in a one-off battle in the International Mayhem where they fought the Belgian Alien Destructor and the Dutch Philipper and won that battle with no real troubles, even with the machines planning to gang up on them. They would also compete in the World Championship Tournament representing England where they fought Mastiff (Italy), Manta (USA) and Ansgar (Germany). This seemed like an easy Round 1 victory for Chaos 2 and they proved it by tossing around Mastiff like a rag doll. But then they got too cocky and tried to flip them into the pit...only to miss and fall in themselves. Whoops. XD



And this people is why you don't flex unnecessarily. =P


Chaos 2's most notorious fight in Extreme was of course, the famous Flipper Frenzy in where it fought Thermidor 2, Wheely Big Cheese and Bigger Brother...actually no, that's not what happened. They all ganged up on the House Robots instead. Chaos 2 and Bigger Brother came close to launching Sgt. Bash out of the arena when they flipped it together but Matilda interfered just as Chaos 2 got Sgt. Bash against the wall and in the end, Chaos 2 flipped itself over and couldn't get back up again, ending the fight being stranded on its side after Matilda launched it up with her flywheel. Thermidor were the only ones still moving at the end so they were the winners. Like with Chaos 2 vs. Pussycat, you can see this fight full and uncut here for it was a DVD extra on the Sir Killalot and the House Robots DVD.


So yeah, Extreme was very hit and miss for Chaos 2 and they weren't looking so invincible anymore. Series 5 would only make things worse for them...


The King Is Finally Dethroned

Chaos 2 vs. SMIDSY

Series 5 saw Chaos 2 as the defending champion again and they were Seeded 1st as they were last time. They also appeared in Heat A of the series like before. Their first round was an easy curbstomp where they just tossed Storm Force around several times until it eventually broke and stopped moving. Chaos 2 also learned their lesson from their mistake with Mastiff by not flipping them into the pit and just opening it so Storm Force would go down it. The second round was also incredibly easy for them as they tossed The Steel Avenger around numerous times until the avenger was eventually thrown out. Humorously, this ended up breaking a light and the producers sent them the broken light a message that jokingly read:


"Presented to George Francis and Chaos 2 in memory of all the lights you've busted, and just to say, do it again, and you die."


Harsh. XD


The Heat Final saw them face S.M.I.D.S.Y., another robot that's practically gift-wrapped for them. However, things nearly went belly-up for the champions as Chaos 2 flipped themselves over and thanks to a damaged flipper panel, they couldn't get back up again. Now in the edited and aired version we saw, the match was ended and the judges called for a rematch. But what ACTUALLY happened was that S.M.I.D.S.Y. managed to get off the wall eventually and because Chaos 2 were stranded on their back, they were helpless to do anything as S.M.I.D.S.Y. pitted them. But the rematch still went ahead because S.M.I.D.S.Y. were still immobilized for longer than 30 seconds so their win wasn't legitimate. All this was cut out and we were given the rematch which saw Chaos 2 win after throwing S.M.I.D.S.Y. over the wall. So Chaos 2 are in the semi-finals again. Can they make another Grand Final?

Chaos 2 vs. Bigger Brother

No they can't!


The Grand Final saw them face up against Wild Thing, a battle that was so ridiculously nail-biting that it has to be seen to be believed. No joke, Chaos 2 nearly got pushed into the pit TWICE in that match and they still managed to stay in and win on a judge's decision! See for yourself, it's an insane fight! George Francis even considers this to be the best battle he ever had and many Chaos 2 fans agree this was easily its best fight ever.


The second round of the semi-finals saw them go up against Bigger Brother and...well, they lost as you can see. Chaos 2 is the prime example of its greatest strength being its greatest weakness for its powerful flipper ran out of CO2 and just couldn't get it back on its wheels after Bigger Brother flipped them over. The modifications just seemed to make the flipper more unreliable than before and it cost it dearly as we see here.


So the king was robbed of its crown and was no longer the undefeated champion. Bigger Brother would later go on to lose to Razer as I detailed last time and Razer were the new Champions. Chaos 2 wanted their crown back. Did they succeed?


Chaos 2's Last Stand

Chaos 2 Series 6

Chaos 2 returned for Series 6 with a virtually unchanged machine. The only real changes made were the addition of treaded tyres but that was only because George Francis couldn't really afford to make any real upgrades to Chaos 2 so with a tight budget, he had to work with what he had.


Seeded 5th this time round, Chaos 2 were angry and ready for revenge and they showed it by dominating their melee against Iron-Awe 2, Mighty Mouse and Destructosaur. They tossed Iron-Awe out and flipped Destructosaur over where it didn't roll back onto its wheels thanks to damage from Iron-Awe. This left them and Mighty Mouse as the winners of the match. Their second round saw them in a tough battle against Crushtacean where the crab-bot's awkward design made it very hard for Chaos 2 to even flip them. Crushtacean had them on the ropes but ultimately, Chaos 2 won when Crushtacean made a clumsy mistake and drove into the pit. This took them into the Heat Final against Dantomkia and...well, you know the drill:

Chaos 2 vs. Dantomkia

Talk about a taste of your own medicine, eh readers? Ironically enough, not only did Dantomkia beat Chaos 2 at their own game here, but they also went on to beat Chaos 2's record and to this day is the leader on the record sheet of Out of the Arena flips with nine in total compared to Chaos 2's 6! Really stealing their thunder, aren't you Danny? XD


And thus ended Chaos 2's shortest series yet. And let's not even bother covering Extreme II because they only had one fight in that series and look how well THAT went!

Chaos 2's battered frame

A thrashing from Razer, 13th Black and Mr. Psycho left the two-time champions a sorry, sad wreck and ended their career on a pretty depressing note. They really deserved a better send off. Chaos 2 never appeared again after this with no Series 7 appearance and George and his team couldn't afford to upgrade the machine and get it fighting fit by modern standards so the reboot was out of the question too. Chaos 2 only really had some charity appearances and that was it. They had their last showing at a live event in 2007 and then went into retirement from here on out. George still owns the machine to this day but don't expect it to battle anytime soon. Team Chaos also dissolved over time with Ian Swann admitting in 2022 he and George aren't even in contact anymore. Both have moved on to other ventures and have no interest in returning to robot combat. So we can say that the king's reign has truly ended and Chaos 2 will just be enjoying a peaceful, quiet life of retirement in George's possession...


Conclusion

Team Chaos

Chaos 2 is a legend in the robot combat world, and for good reason. Winning the UK championship TWICE in a row is a feat few others have repeated and even then, it was never on the main show, only in live events! But on top of that, they pioneered the rear-hinged flipper and changed the face of robot combat forever as many more powerful flippers came out in their wake and built on the foundation what Chaos 2 had set up beforehand. Flippers are the dominant weapon amongst the UK Robot Combat scene and it's mostly down to Chaos 2 and what they created back in the day that's lead to it. This is a machine that will forever go down in history among the Robot Wars greats and with its track record, it'll forever be known as a robot fighting legend. Chaos 2 is a flipping great machine that serves as an example of how great engineering and ingenuity can yield great results but you must never think you're invincible for if you can't keep up with the times, you'll get left behind in the end. Chaos 2 may not have had a great end to its illustrious career, but it has left behind one heck of a legacy that Robot Wars fans will talk about for generations to come...


And that's all I have for this essay. I hope you enjoyed this historical lookback on Chaos 2's career and feel free to share your thoughts down below. What are your favourite Chaos 2 battles? Did you find this interesting? I'd love to know.


Next time, I'll be counting down my Top 10 Favourite Pokémon Girls. See you then everyone!


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