- "The important thing to understand about Robot Wars is that it is a television program, not an engineering competition. Above all the robot must look good on TV. I therefore wanted a machine with a good image."
- — Andrew Wylie on designing Skorpizoid
Skorpizoid was a robot that attempted to enter Series 7 of Robot Wars. It ultimately failed to qualify for the series, after losing its qualifier battle following control problems resulting from it having to enter the arena with half of its weapons removed.
Skorpizoid was a two-wheel drive, box-shaped robot with a narrow rectangular chassis made out of 1-inch square steel tubing, and protected in steel plating between 1 and 3mm in thickness. It also featured a front plough, and was armed with a pair of rotating cutting blades that functioned similarly to drills, which were angled downwards and fixed onto metal plates mounted to either side of the chassis. Skorpizoid's unusual weapons were a result of Team Zoid captain Andrew Wylie deciding to build a robot that deviated from then-existing trends towards pneumatic flippers and large spinning weapons:
- "The most destructive robot weapons on the program are either gas-powered flippers or massive spinning disks. The former are just too dangerous for me: one mistake during construction or testing and you have lost some body parts. But on the other hand I did not want to make a boring clone of Hypnodisc (although there are plenty of teams that have). So I designed a unique device based on rotational storage of energy, but not a disk: instead a massive rotor is attached via a shaft to a pair of cutting blades that are intended to rip into anything they touch"
- — Andrew Wylie on Skorpizoid's weapons
Work on Skorpizoid began in December 2001, and the robot was finished shortly before the Series 7 qualifiers. The robot was originally planned to feature a triangular body, a tail section and removable weapons pods on either side, but over the course of construction, Wylie rejected his original concept and reworked the design to be more practical and achievable to complete in time for Series 7:
- "The original concept was really a cross between a scorpion and a stealth fighter: a narrow triangular-section body with an over-arching tail, and a removable weapon arm on each side. In the course of construction this changed: the body section became rectangular and the tail disappeared."
- — Andrew Wylie on Skorpizoid's original design concept
Skorpizoid was painted black with a Gothic-style face on its front plough, and its rotating blades weighed 10kg each and spun at up to 1000rpm. However, despite its unusual and innovative weapons, it had no self-righting mechanism, and suffered numerous problems that compromised its attempt to qualify for Series 7.
Prior to its qualifier, Skorpizoid faced numerous problems when it arrived at the Robot Wars studio. To begin with, Team Zoid realised upon arrival that they had forgotten the top armour plates to protect the wheels, leaving them vulnerable to overhead attacks. They also forgot to bring a method of covering the robot's cutting blades when it was stabled in the Pits, and resorted to cutting a plastic bottle in half and placing each half over Skorpizoid's rotors. This method received criticism from the Robot Wars production crew, who told the team to bring a more suitable method of protection if they were to qualify for the main series. The team also discovered that Skorpizoid was 10kg overweight, and had to remove one of its rotors to bring the robot under the weight limit. This resulted in a weight imbalance that gave Skorpizoid major control problems throughout its qualifier.
In its qualifier battle, Skorpizoid was drawn against I Bot One Beta, Metalis, Tough as Nails, and an unidentified robot constructed out of plywood. Tough as Nails and Metalis immediately collided with and immobilised each other, while I Bot One Beta attacked the plywood robot. Skorpizoid, meanwhile, was spinning in circles as a result of the weight imbalance affecting its driving, and was attacked by I Bot One Beta after the latter immobilised the plywood robot. I Bot One Beta slammed into Skorpizoid's remaining rotor and glanced off it, before using its spinning bars to leave a deep cut in its front and split apart its rear section. I Bot One Beta was declared the winner of the battle, securing its place in Series 7. Tough as Nails and Metalis were awarded discretionary places, while neither Skorpizoid or the plywood robot were given places in the main competition. Even so, Skorpizoid was still able to leave a large hole through I Bot One Beta's body, proving the rotor's destructive capability.
|Series||Skorpizoid Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fourth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fifth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Failed to qualify|
|Series 8||Did not enter|
|Series 9||Did not enter|
|Series 10||Did not enter|
- Andrew Wylie originally intended to equip Skorpizoid with a low-voltage high-current electrical discharge weapon. However, this was prohibited under the rules, so was scrapped in favour of the rotating blades.
- The team had come back from holiday in France the day before the qualifiers, arriving home in Purley in London at 23:00, before leaving for the qualifiers at 6:15 the following morning.