This article is about the Series 2 competitor. For other uses, see Spin Doctor.

"What Spin Doctor excelled in was spinning round very fast so that if anything hit it, they would be deflected off."
— Oliver Steeples [1]

Spin Doctor was a competitor in Series 2 of Robot Wars. Spin Doctor's main claim to fame was in its Trial, where it managed to break off and destroy one of Matilda's titanium tusks through use of its spinning attack.

After Series 2, the team built a second robot, Agent Orange, which fought in Series 3 and failed to qualify for Series 4 and 5, before the team retired.

Design[edit | edit source]

"We really hate Wedges, their dead BORING (we are very happy that they are virtually banned!) so we did not want to build one of then. At first we came up with a spinning robot with blades attached. This came about as we saw that most of the Robot seemed to suffer from a lack of all round attack or defence. By spinning the Robot has no undefended sides, but, we found out that this had already been done (Blendo!) and banned :("
— Spin Doctor website

Spin Doctor from the rear, displaying the chainsaw

Spin Doctor in the arena

Spin Doctor was a multi-sided wedge robot. At 66.6kg, Spin Doctor was one of the lightest heavyweights in Robot Wars and took 4 months to build.

"We lost the nice round body work due to it being a lot easier to us flat panels instead of molding and shaping rounded ones. We now have two discs which spin in opposite directions, left one spinning clockwise and the right one anti-clockwise. We hope that with will pull the opposition in and hold them on the discs. The chainsaw has now been turned on its side. this removes the need to have it move, which we where having trouble sorting out, and now means that we can spin around and hit people with it. We're currently working on a way of flipping our selves over if we get tipped over by a wedge. We'll tell you more when we know more!"
— Spin Doctor website

The insides of Spin Doctor with the chainsaw

The polyproplene shell had a stainless steel plate at the front, and the snowplough shape gave it an effective push. The robot was armed with a 20' chainsaw, but this was not seen in action, and it has been asserted that the chainsaw was added to bypass Mentorn's rule against having no 'passive wedges' appear in the series[2] Spin Doctor could, however, spin quickly on the spot to attack, using small maces to inflict considerable damage. This was how it gained its name. Spin Doctor was the first thwackbot seen in the UK. The front of the robot had a silver panel instead of white.

"The Doc although sturdy could do nothing offensively. Spinning on the spot is fine but it means I can't go after my opponent, it's a very defensive move. ... I still have a soft spot for the Doc and had plans to bring her back for series 4 but the huge number of Hypno-Disc clones (or should that be Spin Doc clones?) put me off the idea, it would have kicked ass though!"
— Pete Duncanson on retiring Spin Doctor

The Team[edit | edit source]

The Spin Doctor team

"The robots then where little more then toasters on wheels so I used to shout at the tv "I could do better then that!". After 2 shows the missus (now my lovely wife!) turned to me and said "If you think you can then enter, but shut up about it!". Needless to say she regretted those words as I'm now entering my 4 year of doing it."
— Pete Duncanson on entering Robot Wars, interviewed in 2001 [3]

Spin Doctor was entered by a team from Huddersfield. The Team Captain was Peter Duncanson, who designed the robot, acquired the parts and did the welding. Also on the team was Martin Griffin, the team's electrician, and Peter's cousin Phillip[4].

Qualification[edit | edit source]

Spin Doctor at the Series 2 rehearsals

Spin Doctor appeared for the Series 2 rehearsals without any armour. Despite being completely exposed and having only just fitted the motor in time for the rehearsals[5] it still qualified for the main series.

Robot History[edit | edit source]

Series 2[edit | edit source]

Spin Doctor is pressurised by Sir Killalot

Spin Doctor was the last to run in the Gauntlet stage and looked like it had opted for the right hand route, but then turned around and took on the ramrig, where it got stuck and was pinned by Sir Killalot until its time ran out, having only covered 3.8m. Spin Doctor looked certain to go out, but fortune smiled on the team as Pain failed to start and retired from the competition, allowing Spin Doctor to pass through to the Trial, King of the Castle.

"Spin Doctor - ooh, spinning, quite literally...Matilda doesn't know what to do"
— Jonathan Pearce

Spin Doctor snaps off Matilda's tusk

Spin Doctor's spinning technique was novel to the House Robots, and Shunt, whilst avoiding the spinner, drove off the edge. Matilda finally charged, glancing off the spinner. This happened twice more, and Matilda's left tusk was sheared in half. Matilda battered Spin Doctor feebly, but time ran out and Spin Doctor had convincingly held on to qualify for the arena stage.

Spin Doctor crashes against Technophobic

Spin Doctor went up against Technophobic, where the robot spun around, causing some damage to Technophobic, but Spin Doctor broke down. However Technophobic had also caught on fire, causing it to be immobilised as well. The resulting judges' Decision chose Technophobic to go through and face Killertron.

Results[edit | edit source]

Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Arena Semi Final
Heat E, Gauntlet 3.8m (5th) Qualified
Heat E, Trial Survived (2nd) Qualified
Heat E, Arena Semi-Final vs. Technophobic Lost

Wins/Losses[edit | edit source]

  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 1

NOTE: Spin Doctor's successful Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included

Series Record[edit | edit source]

Series Spin Doctor Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Heat, Arena Semi-Final
The Third Wars Entered with Agent Orange
The Fourth Wars Failed to qualify with Agent Orange
The Fifth Wars Failed to qualify with Agent Orange
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Spin Doctor with Milly-Ann Bug

  • Spin Doctor was originally supposed to have a rounded design, but availability of materials dictated a much more angular, octagonal shaped robot.
  • The original concept for Spin Doctor was a full body spinner like american robot Blendo, the second concept had a large spinning disc around the outside, also armed with a chainsaw[6].
"we came up with design number two. This working along the idea of having a huge cutting disc, as these seem quite effective, set horizontally in the center of the body and a chainsaw on the back for a bit of fun. The chainsaw will be able to move up and down, like Matilda's, if we can work out how! The body work is angled so other Robots are pushed up the body into the Disc. The idea seemed fine until we sobered up. Firstly it was a bit wedged shaped :( and the disc may deflect the opposition and not do as much damage as we would like."
— Spin Doctor Website
  • Spin Doctor was sponsored by the University of Huddersfield, which all the team members attended, and the weaponry was provided by Huddersfield Mowers, Saw and Tool Co., who also helped with the construction of the robot and supplied some parts[7].
"All the members of the team attend Huddersfield University, School of Computing and Maths. The Spin Doctor project was going to be done as a laugh over the summer break, but, then we realised that the University might give us some sponsorship if we do the kind of thing you're reading right now! They gave a fair amount which helped a great deal by allowing us to buy the expensive stuff!"
— Spin Doctor Website on their Sponsors
  • Spin Doctor was the largest competitor in the Second Wars, and suffered with getting stuck because of this.
"Once they had been selected for the Second Wars, the team discovered that Spin Doctor was the largest robot in the competition. Spin Doctor then proceeded to get stuck in various places on various occasions. The reason for the oversized shell was that the original motors were not powerful enough, and had to be replaced with the much smaller and more powerful starter motors. This left a great deal of empty space inside the shell, and Peter explained ruefully that the team could have put a lot more equipment in ther (such as weapons systems), or the could have made the body much smaller, and not got stuck so much. As is so often the case, however, time was against them."
— The Robot Wars Technical Manual
  • During the filming of Series 2, Martin Griffin put his foot on Spin Doctor and asked for full power, to see how powerful the robot was. Unfortunately, the speed controller burned out, but two other teams stepped in and donated replacements, saving Spin Doctor from having to withdraw.
  • Spin Doctor was erroneously referred to as a finalist by Jonathan Pearce whilst introducing successor Agent Orange, despite not even reaching its Heat Final.

References[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

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