For other uses of the Scorpion name, see Scorpion (disambiguation).

"A 400mm high speed spinning disc, perhaps the most destructive in Robot Wars. Strong armour, can run either way up, a dark horse, perhaps!"
— Jonathan Pearce describes Scorpion in Series 7

Scorpion (known as Spirit of Scorpion in Robot Wars: The Sixth Wars) was a competitor robot that was based on the arachnid of the same name, fighting in Series 4, 6 and 7 of Robot Wars, in addition to the first series of Robot Wars Extreme. There were two primary versions of the robot - the fibreglass-shelled robot designed to resemble its namesake, and the flat-bodied, invertible robot which retained the scorpion as a mascot. Despite its powerful weaponry in the later series, its biggest claim to fame (and one of its few victories) is finishing as a runner-up in the Series 4 Tag Team Terror, paired up with Firestorm 2.

Versions of Scorpion[edit | edit source]

Scorpion (Series 4)[edit | edit source]

"They practised against an old tumble dryer to perfect the Scorpion's sting!"
Jonathan Pearce

Scorpion in Series 4

Scorpion was originally built of fibreglass in the shape of a large scorpion, having been constructed from its predecessor Locutus. It featured a chainsaw nose, a pair of cutting discs beneath the scorpion's pincers, and a "sting in the tail" rear spinning disc capable of spinning up to 140mph. The front discs were electrically powered and capable of cutting through "90% of things we come up against" (according to John Bell). However, it was slow, possessing a top speed of only 7mph.

Its vulnerability to being flipped and slow top speed cost it against Reactor, 101 and King B3, all of whom easily outperformed it in the battles.

Scorpion (Extreme 1)[edit | edit source]

The Extreme 1 model which also failed to qualify for Series 5

Scorpion in Extreme was designed more conventionally than its predecessor, using a flat high-box body with metal armour, though it retained the scorpion design and disc weapons. In place of the chainsaw and decorative head, Scorpion featured a lifting arm, with a long spear between the two prongs. It also retained the use of a rear cutting disc, now with more defined blades. This version of Scorpion was also noticeably faster than its predecessor. The sides of Scorpion were lined with a spiked rim, potentially allowing Scorpion to use sit-and-spin tactics. This version of Scorpion's statistics were never displayed on television and was the only version not to have had so.

Spirit of Scorpion (Series 6)[edit | edit source]

"Bright, colourful, strong armour, destructive spinning disc and front rams, is invertible, but is not too responsive when flipped."
— Jonathan Pearce introduces Spirit of Scorpion

Spirit of Scorpion, the Series 6 incarnation

Spirit of Scorpion was an entirely new robot, swapping the scorpion design for a flat arrowhead shape capable of running inverted. It retained the "sting in its tail" - a 40cm rear mounted cutting disc, capable of spinning at 7000rpm - and featured simple ramming spikes at the front, alongside the spiked rim retained from the previous Scorpion. The robot's weakness was noted as poor transmitter reception, especially when flipped. Its new weapon was potentially very destructive, but Spirit of Scorpion broke down in its only battle under mild pressure.

Scorpion (Series 7)[edit | edit source]

"Looks deadly, but others have drawn its sting in the past."
— Jonathan Pearce as Scorpion enters the arena

The Series 7 version of Scorpion in the arena

Scorpion in Series 7 used a very similar design to Spirit of Scorpion, but no longer used orange paint, optioning instead for a black colour scheme. It now used a lower profile than Spirit of Scorpion with a reduced height, but retained the core strengths and ideas. Scorpion's spinning disc was powered by a LEM motor at 36V and capable of running at a reduced speed of 5,500rpm which allowed for greater purchase. Scorpion's wheels were larger, being notably wider than those of Spirit of Scorpion, and this incarnation of the machine proved to be more reliable. Despite the visual similarities between the two machines, Scorpion was an entirely separate build from Spirit of Scorpion, and both robots co-existed for a time.

The Team[edit | edit source]

Scorpion was entered into Robot Wars by Team Scorpion, from Bardon in Surrey. The team was captained by engineer Geoff Smith, although a majority of the team's interviews were carried out by his teammate John Bell. For Extreme 1 and Series 7, John's daughter Sarah was also a member of the team, while relative Sean Bell completed the team in Series 6. Unfortunately, John Bell died in 2016[1].

Qualification[edit | edit source]

In Series 4, Scorpion was one of few robots to bypass the combat stage of the qualifiers, like 13 Black in Series 5. The producers believed that Scorpion would look good in the arena, and awarded it immediate qualification, which allowed the team to preserve Scorpion's delicate fibreglass shell. This was an immediate improvement from the team's Series 3 attempted entry Locutus, which was not selected to compete.

Scorpion attempted to qualify for Series 5 using the model of the robot which appeared in Robot Wars Extreme. However, Scorpion did not qualify for Series 5, appearing only in the House Robot Rebellion of Extreme.

In its Series 6 qualifier, Spirit of Scorpion fought the experienced King B Powerworks. As King B Powerworks lost power to its drive almost immediately, Spirit of Scorpion won the battle, automatically qualifying for the Sixth Wars, while its opponent would not appear in the series.

Official Series 7 photo

The insides of Scorpion in the Pits in Series 7

After causing the experienced King B Powerworks to miss out on the Sixth Wars, Scorpion was also able to deny another popular robot a place in the series, when it caused significant damage to the brand-new version of Sir Chromalot, also ripping apart Killer Carrot 2 and an unknown machine to win its qualifier battle for the Seventh Wars.

"I still have in my shed a piece of Killer Carrot that he gave us from the damage we caused him. As for Sir Chromalot, he was swept up with a broom!"
— John Bell

Robot History[edit | edit source]

Series 4[edit | edit source]

Scorpion's first ever fight in the UK tournament saw it up against the twenty-seventh seed Sir Chromalot, alongside another newcomer Reactor.

"A lot of loving, tender work has gone into the creation of Scorpion, and I wonder how long it'll last!"
— Jonathan Pearce just before Reactor topples Scorpion

Scorpion is toppled by Reactor

Sgt Bash closes in on Scorpion

Sir Killalot picks up Scorpion with a bit of its tail fallen off

Scorpion got into a close range pushing match with the other two robots, and Sir Chromalot speared through its armour and punctured its tyre. Reactor came at it from the rear and pushed it towards the arena wall. Sir Chromalot pressured it, and Reactor charged in and flipped it with its wedge. Unable to self-right, Scorpion was pushed onto the flame pit, where it was burnt and its tail was cut off by Sgt. Bash. The flamethrower then torched the stump that was once the tail, setting it alight as Dead Metal sliced into the baseplate. Sir Killalot plucked it off of the ground, dropping it in the centre of the arena as cease was called.

"They [the Scorpion team] would also like to thank John's wife Pip, she let them design and build Scorpion on the dining room table. She had to delay cooking cheese on toast, instead she has "Scorpion rarebit", about to be dumped into the pit by Sir Killalot!"
— Jonathan Pearce as Sir Killalot carries Scorpion around the arena, whilst Bash attacks Scorpion with his flamethrower

Scorpion is pushed off the Sumo ring

Scorpion also took part in the Sumo Basho tournament where it placed ninth. It survived Shunt's first blow, but was pushed off sideways in 9.23 seconds once its castor had lost purchase, with Scorpion landing neatly on top of the tyres. This put Scorpion's final position on the leaderboard at ninth out of sixteen.

"No sting in the tail for Scorpion."
— Jonathan Pearce

Scorpion later competed in the Tag Team Terror competition alongside Firestorm 2.

Graham Bone: "We are the Firestorm team from the north..."
John Bell: "and we are the Scorpion team from the south!"
Alex Mordue: "And we're here as a Tag Team to unite the country!"
— The teams on pairing up

The two were paired up against Bigger Brother and Plunderbird 4 in their first battle, with Scorpion starting against Bigger Brother.

Bigger Brother flips Scorpion

Sgt Bash torches Scorpion

Scorpion was immediately flipped over by Bigger Brother, although Firestorm 2 quickly re-righted it. Plunderbird 4 then grabbed hold of Scorpion and dragged it back towards Bigger Brother, but Firestorm 2 soon managed to separate the two. After the rules were abandoned, Scorpion struggled to keep up with the action as Firestorm 2 pushed both opposing robots into the arena wall but eventually bumped into Plunderbird 4, which broke down after the attack. Scorpion was then accidentally wedged on top of Plunderbird by Firestorm 2, but was soon freed, only to be overturned by Bigger Brother again whilst Firestorm was attacked by Matilda. As Bigger Brother fought to keep Firestorm 2 from rescuing its fallen teammate, Scorpion was set alight by Sgt. Bash's flamethrower. Despite finishing the battle immobilised, Scorpion, along with Firestorm 2, won the judges' decision, progressing through to the final.

Here, they were drawn against rivals-turned-allies King B3 and 101.

King B3 battles Scorpion

101 pushes a badly damaged Scorpion

The immobilised Firestorm and crippled Scorpion in their tag zone

Scorpion entered the arena with its armour still burnt, a plaster over its eye and the team admitting it was not working at full capacity. It started out against King B3 and attempted to use its chainsaw to attack the lower robot, but could not cause any significant damage. King B3 proceeded to push Scorpion around the arena before using its rear saw to damage Scorpion's fibreglass shell. Repeated rams eventually caused Scorpion's chainsaw to be disabled, and its rear spinning disc was dislodged. 101 took over and pushed underneath Scorpion. Firestorm 2 rushed out to aid its teammate, but was pushed back into its tag zone by King B3 and broke down not long afterwards, leaving Scorpion to fight the battle alone. Attacked by Dead Metal and suffering several more hard slams from its opponents, Scorpion lost drive on one side and its mobility slowed to a crawl, effectively rendering it immobilised. It was largely spared further damage when King B3 and 101 turned on each other and the House Robots were forced to separate them. Cease was called, meaning that Scorpion and Firestorm had taken second place.

Craig Charles: "Well, the Scorpion didn't appear to have a sting in his tail"
Geoff Smith: "No, not this time, but we got her back, we got her out there and she went the distance!"
— Post battle interview

Extreme 1[edit | edit source]

Julia Reed: "What's the plan, boys?"
Geoff Smith: "Well, we're gonna take on the House Robots, and when we're done with them, we're gonna take on the other two!"
Sarah Bell: "But please, Jules, don't tell anyone!"
— Team Scorpion to Julia Reed before the House Robot Rebellion

Team Scorpion in Extreme 1

Team Scorpion volunteered to compete in the House Robot Rebellion during Robot Wars Extreme, joining forces with Stinger and Plunderbird 5 (who it met in the Series 4 Tag Team Terror) to take on Shunt and Dead Metal, despite each competing team intending to attack their allies after defeating the House Robots. Sarah Bell also revealed that the battle would be a good opportunity to test Scorpion ahead of future battles.

The House Robot Rebellion begins

"As for Scorpion, no no no no no, the House Robots will crush the insect!"
— Jonathan Pearce predicts the outcome of the House Robot Rebellion

Shunt axes Scorpion

Scorpion, noticeably twitching before 'activate' was called, drove straight towards the nearest House Robot, Shunt, but was largely just pushed around by the bulldozer despite Scorpion's efforts to stab Shunt's wheels. Scorpion took an evasive approach and backed into the CPZ, but was pushed into the pit release button by Shunt. Scorpion accidentally backed into Plunderbird 5 with its rear disc, and briefly interacted with Dead Metal before Plunderbird 5 was pitted. Shunt then buried its axe into the top of Scorpion and dragged it towards the pit, further pushing Plunderbird 5 in, also taking Scorpion into an act of friendly fire by Stinger. Shunt held Scorpion over the flame pit, and refused to withdraw its axe while Matilda made a surprise appearance in the centre of the arena. At this stage, Shunt finally withdrew its axe, using its lifting scoop to flip Scorpion straight into the pit, joining Plunderbird 5.

"Were you brave, or were you foolhardy? Who volunteers for anything these days, you did, haha, we've got you now!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Although Stinger survived for the full duration of the Rebellion, Scorpion had already been immobilised, and the battle had no official winner.

Series 6[edit | edit source]

"Fought in Series 4, now back with an extra sting in the tail, his name is Sean!"
— Jonathan Pearce

In Heat B of Series 6, Spirit of Scorpion fought the experienced X-Terminator, Robochicken, and Barbaric Response.

Spirit of Scorpion is lifted by Robochicken

Spirit of Scorpion quickly entered the fray, spinning up its disc to target Barbaric Response, although the two flippers of Robochicken and Barbaric Response lifted Spirit of Scorpion together. In response, the front prongs of Spirit of Scorpion breached the front wedge of Barbaric Response, pushing it into the pit release button, but this left Spirit of Scorpion vulnerable to another flip from Robochicken. After Barbaric Response flipped Spirit of Scorpion up, the invertible machine responded by wedging Barbaric Response under the pit release button, then striking the back of X-Terminator with its disc. Spirit of Scorpion lingered in the CPZ, and was again lifted by Robochicken and Barbaric Response until Dead Metal brought its saw down on Spirit of Scorpion.

"I wonder now, if these machines are playing for a Judges' decision, just a little bit tentative!"
— Jonathan Pearce

The immobile Spirit of Scorpion sits alongside Barbaric Response

After this, Spirit of Scorpion was largely evasive as the timer on the battle ran down, eventually grinding to a halt in the centre of the arena, around the same time that Barbaric Response also lost mobility. The latter still had the use of its flipper, pressing down on the serrated edge of Spirit of Scorpion. Although Barbaric Response was then rolled into the pit by X-Terminator, there was no life in Spirit of Scorpion and it was rendered immobile. After the battle concluded, the Judges declared that Spirit of Scorpion had been immobilised before Barbaric Response, and it was eliminated in somewhat controversial fashion at the first hurdle.

Philippa Forrester: "You see, I thought you were clear winners there!"
John Bell: "I thought we were, especially when the others were put down the pit. We all seemed to lose our drive systems at about the same time, but there we go, that's part of it, I suppose!"
Philippa Forrester: "It is, it's terribly sad, are you disappointed?"
Sean Bell: "Yes, it was a very good battle, and a tough one too!"
Philippa Forrester and Team Scorpion state their confusion at Spirit of Scorpion's elimination

Series 7[edit | edit source]

John Bell: "All the weight's on [the disc]'s outer edge, we run it at way over 4-5000rpm, so it will go through quite a lot! And that one's dangerous within two seconds."
Jayne Middlemiss: "I'm getting a bit scared now, Scorpion!"
John Bell: "Well, you know, it's an arachnid, they're very hard to kill!"
— Team Scorpion discuss their improved machine in Series 7

In Series 7, Scorpion competed against Team Vader's new robot IG-88, returning entry The Stag and newcomers Tomahawk in Round 1, where Jonathan Pearce called Scorpion a dark horse.

Scorpion attacks Tomahawk but loses the use of its disc

Scorpion is grabbed by The Stag. Note the broken spinner

Scorpion and IG-88 are declared the winners of their melee

IG-88 rips off the front panel from Scorpion

Scorpion's first target was Tomahawk, landing a small blow with its disc. However, Scorpion's disc was almost instantly disabled after this, with Tomahawk retracting its axe directly into Scorpion's disc, which caused the spinner to jam and break out of alignment. Fortunately for Scorpion, Tomahawk was immobilised by IG-88 straight afterwards. Scorpion instead pursued The Stag, but was gripped by its opponent's horizontal pincers, and could only push The Stag once it had been struck by IG-88. Scorpion put time aside to push the beaten Tomahawk, then concentrated on pushing The Stag, which was flipped by IG-88 during Scorpion's push towards the arena wall. However, Scorpion backed into IG-88's spinning axe, so it then played a passive role, attacking Tomahawk until The Stag erroneously drove into the pit, awarding Scorpion its first victory since The Fourth Wars. In spite of this, Scorpion used its front wedge to challenge IG-88 head-on during Refbot's countdown of Tomahawk, pushing it back and stopping the spinning axe. This proved regrettable, as in retaliation, IG-88 ripped off Scorpion's front panel, exposing its batteries, and then tossed the armour out of the arena in a second hit.

"Oh, look at the damage now! What are they doing? They needed to keep out of trouble, surely, from IG-88, they were through, the Scorpion! And that could cost them later on! The batteries, there, exposed!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Despite the late damage sustained, Scorpion progressed to the second round with IG-88, where it then faced an unfortunate draw in the fifth seed, Dantomkia. Although Team Dantomkia were complimentary of Scorpion's weapon and driver, they declared that this would have been a less dangerous fight than a draw against IG-88. Team Scorpion had repaired their disc, which fell silent in the last bout, and welded its damaged armour back in place, and told Jayne Middlemiss that they were confident of the damage Scorpion could cause to Dantomkia, with Geoff Smith proclaiming victory.

"Scorpion's disk is very powerful. It's based on a car's flywheel and stores massive amounts of energy. It's not to be taken lightly. Also, Scorpion was well built and well driven by a team who know how to deliver their killer blow."
— Mike Lambert on Scorpion in 2015

Scorpion is thrust against the wall by Dantomkia

Scorpion briefly exits the arena

Scorpion powered up its disc, and used it in two successive attacks on the side of Dantomkia, tearing slices into the seeded robot. Dantomkia responded by flipping Scorpion onto the wall, where it was pinned, and then flipped Scorpion into the lights outside of the arena where it was up-ended but luckily fell back into the arena. Flipped back onto the arena wall, Dantomkia left Scorpion in place, where its prongs kept it. However, Scorpion was able to respond by using its disc to cut against the lights, and grind on the arena wall until it started to shake free, and eventually Shunt brought it back down.

"And Scorpion, very nearly had stopped having any interest in the twenty grand top prize! They were almost out of the arena!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Scorpion is flipped again by Dantomkia

Scorpion is fully lifted out of the arena

Scorpion span in place with its spinner active, ripping metal away from Dantomkia, but was charged into an angle grinder and flipped again. Scorpion was again reliant on the House Robots to free it, and Sgt. Bash was the robot to revive Scorpion before it was flipped again. Scorpion used its front prongs to push Dantomkia back, but this comeback did not last, and Scorpion was axed by Shunt, and flipped onto the arena wall by Dantomkia. The seeded machine finally lifted Scorpion over the wall, and out of the arena, knocking Scorpion out of its final Robot Wars campaign despite visibly damaging its opponent.

"Couldn't get the spinner to work effectively, could they, Scorpion, shame. But they did manage just to cause... yeah, there look! Couple little bits of damage on Dantomkia!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Results[edit | edit source]

SCORPION - RESULTS
Series 4
The Fourth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat M, Eliminator vs. Reactor, Sir Chromalot (27) Eliminated
Sumo Basho
9th
Sumo 9.23 seconds 9th
Tag Team Terror
(with Firestorm) Runner Up
Round 1 vs. Bigger Brother & Plunderbird 4 Won
Round 2 vs. 101 & King B3 Lost
Extreme 1
Other Battles
House Robot Rebellion (with Plunderbird 5 and Stinger)
House Robot Rebellion vs. Dead Metal, Shunt Lost
SPIRIT OF SCORPION - RESULTS
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat B, Round 1 vs. Barbaric Response, Robochicken, X-Terminator Eliminated
SCORPION - RESULTS
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 2
Heat C, Round 1 vs. IG-88, The Stag, Tomahawk Qualified
Heat C, Round 2 vs. Dantomkia (5) Lost

Wins/Losses[edit | edit source]

  • Wins: 2
  • Losses: 5

Series Record[edit | edit source]

Main Series Scorpion Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Not selected with Locutus
The Fourth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Fifth Wars Failed to qualify
The Sixth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 2
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 House Robot Rebellion
Series 2 Did not enter

Outside Robot Wars[edit | edit source]

Scorpion as Ridgeback at Techno Games

Scorpion competed in Techno Games, under the name Ridgeback, with no weaponry. Ridgeback entered the Tug of War competition and the Sumo. Ridgeback lost its first Sumo match to Hellbound, and its Tug of War match to Storm Chaser. The team built Colossus for the Tug of War in Techno Games 2003 but the event was cancelled.

Scorpion at the Dutch Robot Games in 2003

Between Series 6 and 7, Scorpion competed at the Dutch Robot Games in 2003, but lost in the first round to Tsunami. It also lost a non-competition rumble to The Grim Reaper[2], but did win its third fight over I Bot One Alpha and Reaper NP2[3].

Scorpion continued to battle on the live circuit after Robot Wars started its 11-year hiatus. For a while, it stuck to using the same design it had in Series 7, and refined the design for the 2006 UK Championship, where it defeated Ewe 2 and Big Nipper on its path to the semi-finals. However Scorpion eventually lost permission to use its disc because of safety concerns. As such, it was later rebuilt, and the old disc weapon was replaced with a new double-headed pickaxe weapon, similar to that of Terrorhurtz. This weapon came from Hammertime which became a circular ramming robot. It was rebuilt and combined with the Team's other Heavyweight, Fortis, in late 2012 to become Titan. The team also competed on the Featherweight circuit outside of Robot Wars with Scorpion Junior which started out as a vertical spinner but was redesigned with a horizontal spinner similar to Fluffy and renamed Scorpion Evolution.

They also built a heavyweight called BatterBot which sported Dantomkia's colour scheme before it was sold to Team Toon in 2007, around the same time in which Dantomkia was also sold. Team Toon then repainted and renamed BatterBot as And His Army, before it was rebuilt by John Findlay and renamed again as Toon Raider.

Although the team would no longer compete in robotic combat competitions following the death of John Bell in 2016, team captain Geoff Smith occasionally returns to live events in a judging capacity, most recently judging the FRA UK Heavyweight Championship in 2019.

Robot Wars Live Events[edit | edit source]

Although Scorpion itself has not appeared at any Robot Wars live events, its successor, Titan, fought at 2013's event in Guildford. Team Batter made their personal Robot Wars Live Event debut in June 2013 with Dantomkia mk4.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

"Scorpion still exists to this day, and it is Scorpion's fault that the arena build rules in this country were changed. She is just too powerful now."
— John Bell in 2015-16
  • When Robot Wars entered its 12-year hiatus, a ban was placed on spinning weaponry in heavyweight competitions for safety reasons. Scorpion proved to be the main cause for this movement.

Scorpion as it appeared in the opening of the show

  • The Series 4 version of Scorpion featured in the opening credits of Robot Wars Extreme 1 and 2 and also Series 5 and 6. This means that technically, Scorpion is the competitor robot that appeared in the most Robot Wars episodes at 68 (ignoring highlights reels).
  • The original Scorpion was built on team member John Bell's dining table.
  • The original Scorpion's fibreglass shell was burnt on a bonfire after filming; this proved to be regrettable, as the fire service had to be called.
  • Scorpion never appeared in a battle that featured Mr. Psycho or Growler.
  • Inverterbrat was the only robot in the Series 4 Tag Team Terror not to fight Scorpion or its teammate Firestorm.
  • Both times Scorpion made it past the first round were in episodes that King Buxton appeared in.
  • Scorpion is one of only two robots to use "Spirit of" in its title for its updated incarnation, the other being Knightmare.

References[edit | edit source]

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