Haynes manuals are best known for two things: extremely useful workshop manuals that detail everything you need to know in order to repair a popular motor vehicle, and their lifestyle manuals which take the highly detailed Haynes approach to things such as the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars or surviving the zombie apocalypse. So when one inspired by popular TV show Robot Wars landed on our desk, we were intrigued.
After all, who doesn’t love Robot Wars? The show has encouraged members of the public to build and design remote controlled battle machines and put them in arena battles for decades now. What’s not to love? Would this be a lifestyle book that simply gushes about the popular TV programme, giving us lots of pictures of the hosts and a rundown of the long running series. Or would it be a full strip down and repair of one of the robots?
Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot is a unique combination of both these things, and it’s rather delightful. It’s a book that not only tells you all about the show, it’s a highly detailed manual that has step-by-step instructions to construct and design your very own tiny mech of doom.
About a third of the book talks about the show and the Robot Wars phenomena, starting with San Francisco-based inventor Marc Thorpe way back in 1994 and his idea for RC robot battles, all the way to the modern high-tech arena battles we see on television today. The book focuses on robot design ideas throughout this bit, as it’s intended to inspire the reader.
The next stage consists of workshop safety guidance and three projects; a simple ‘bug bot’ which most people could make with minimal tools, a remote control flip bot which is also pretty achievable, and finally a full-on axe-wielding machine which could be a potential Robot Wars contestant. The latter requires a significant step up in skill, investment and time, but if you’re willing to invest in making the little flip bots, then it’s reasonable to expect you to step up to the next level.
For those of us who just find the whole thing fascinating, the detailed instructions are a treat. They’re tried and tested (as you’d expect from a Haynes manual) and an incredible insight into exactly what these things are. For those with grander ambitions, well this is your first step.
The book has appendices detailing an up-to-date (at time of print) set of rules for the show, a detailed list of winners and some useful contacts. Haynes’ Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot really is the ultimate treat for anyone, young or old, who wants to win this deadly game show. It’s a truly remarkable combination of Haynes nerdiness and Robot Wars geekdom. Recommended.
ROBOT WARS: BUILD YOUR OWN ROBOT / AUTHOR: JAMES COOPER / PUBLISHER: J H HAYNES & CO LTD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW