Robot Wars Wiki

"Costing £400 to build on a basic tank configuration, powered by two starter motors from a scrapyard. The frame comes from the bracing from some benches thrown out at work. Look out for the front and rear spikes..."
Jonathan Pearce introduces The Parthian Shot

The Parthian Shot (also referred to as simply Parthian Shot) was a competitor robot which entered Robot Wars: The Second Wars. However, it never appeared beyond the Gauntlet stage as it suffered technical issues while being prepared for its run. Subsequently, The Parthian Shot's team ran out of time to repair it before it was officially eliminated.

The robot also successfully auditioned for and appeared in televised episodes of The Third Wars, but once again had to pull out at the last minute for unknown reasons. It was seen in The Pits, but not acknowledged in the latter series, and was discretely replaced by Flipper.


The Parthian Shot's Series 2 introduction

The Parthian Shot was a dark grey, two-wheel drive robot with a bodyshell featuring rounded front and rear ends, and a chassis made using braces from discarded benches. Costing £400 to build, its drivetrain included homemade speed controllers, three batteries of varying voltages (one 25A, two 7A) and starter motors salvaged from a scrapyard. The robot was armed with a large array of weaponry, including pairs of long front and rear spikes, rows of four additional spikes on its front and rear, and a top-mounted horizontal spinning weapon with two swinging balls and chains. The Parthian Shot was one of the largest competitors from Series 2, with a high quoted top speed of 15mph and a ground clearance of 25mm. At 79.6kg, it weighed 0.2kg over the original heavyweight limit in place at the time.

Despite its weaponry and potentially convincing speed statistics, The Parthian Shot would never be able to demonstrate its capabilities due to the difficulties encountered in preparation for its Gauntlet run.

For Series 3, the robot's appearance, armament and internals appeared to have been largely unchanged, save for the addition of dark red accents on its base frame and bodyshell.


The name comes from a military tactic made famous by Parthian horse archers in ancient Iran, whereby when retreating at a full gallop they would turn their bodies to shoot arrows at pursuing enemies. Through metaphor, this also became the name for an insult delivered as the speaker leaves.

Robot History[]

Series 2[]

Neil Savage in the test area with a disassembled Parthian Shot

The Parthian Shot was the sixth and last competitor to be introduced in Heat F of The Second Wars, but the fourth initially set to complete its Gauntlet run. Having arrived at filming in what Oliver Steeples described as a 'partially built' state, it required two days for the team to try and get assembled and operational in time for its series debut.[1]

Philippa Forrester: "Now... the test area is miles away from the arena. What are you still doing here?"
Neil Savage: "We only just finished building the robot and... a bit of a test run, we don't know how the thing's going to handle, and it didn't power up. The micro's completely... no voltage on it at all, basically."
— Neil Savage explains The Parthian Shot's failure to start up

Disaster struck as soon as the team began their first preliminary test for The Parthian Shot, in which they discovered that it could not power up at all. This was confirmed by Neil Savage to Philippa Forrester, who found him and the disassembled machine in the test area, a considerable distance away from the main Robot Wars Arena. To minimise delays to the filming schedule, Disruptor and Whirling Dervish were permitted to run the Gauntlet first to allow enough time for The Parthian Shot to be repaired.

"Disruptor, only 5.5 metres. Again, next should be Parthian Shot. Time is running out, boys..."
— Jonathan Pearce as Disruptor's Gauntlet results are announced

When Forrester next checked in on the team, they were actively repairing, welding and testing The Parthian Shot's electronics on their workbench, the fault being traced to a shorted circuit board caused by a jumped weld spot. However, test movements were hampered by the team failing to connect its drive systems to the rear electronics before the interview.

In the meantime, Disruptor and Whirling Dervish performed their Gauntlet runs, and by the time The Parthian Shot was due to begin its run, the robot could not be seen in the arena during the televised episode. As a result, it was ultimately eliminated from The Second Wars following a time-out countdown initiated by Stuart McDonald.

"5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Parthian Shot, your time is up!"
— Stuart McDonald, timing out The Parthian Shot

Philippa breaks the news of The Parthian Shot's elimination

Philippa Forrester broke the news to the Parthian Shot team, who were still busy preparing their robot. Upon being informed about this, they revealed that they had just got The Parthian Shot working, demonstrating its drive which showed one wheel to be visibly out of alignment.[1] Neil Savage admitted at this point that he did not believe that their machine would be manoeuvrable enough to qualify for the Sumo Trial stage. However, he still fitted The Parthian Shot's bodyshell and spinning weapon onto its chassis at Forrester's request.

"...The Parthian Shot - a passing shot."
— Jonathan Pearce announces The Parthian Shot's elimination

Though The Parthian Shot was effectively 'disqualified' from the competition, part of its internal electronics would eventually see use in later stages of The Second Wars. Its entire speed controller setup - including switches, microprocessor and wiring - would be transferred over into Spin Doctor, as a replacement for the latter's fire-damaged original prior to the King of the Castle Trial in Heat E. This was one of the behind-the-scenes moments shown in Episode 5 of Robot Wars Revealed, which was ironically broadcast before The Parthian Shot's official debut.

Series 3[]

"Flipper" in The Pits, in actuality a partially-assembled Parthian Shot; note that the team members of the real Flipper were a father, daughter, and son

In The Third Wars, The Parthian Shot was planned to return in Heat D, where it was to be drawn against Ultor in its first-round battle. However, it was forced to withdraw for as-yet unknown reasons and was replaced by Flipper, which ultimately lost the battle to Ultor.

The Parthian Shot's participation was confirmed during Philippa Forrester's walkaround through The Pits at the beginning of Heat D, which showed it as the first competitor to be introduced for that episode. Though Forrester once again highlighted and light-heartedly commented on its partially-assembled state, she did not mention it by name in this instance. Instead, a caption and image of Flipper was laid over the accompanying footage before Forrester moved on to the remaining competitors.

The front of The Parthian Shot during Milly-Ann Bug's introduction

A fully assembled The Parthian Shot behind Sonic during Philippa Forrester's Heat E introduction

Beyond this, The Parthian Shot made a few cameo appearances in The Pits during the remainder of its presence in The Third Wars. During Milly-Ann-Bug's team introduction later in the same heat, its front end is clearly visible in the background along with a team member wearing a black jacket over their usual blue shirts. Additionally, during Forrester's introductions for Anorakaphobia and Sonic in Heat E, a fully-completed Parthian Shot can be seen with its full team in the background.


Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Gauntlet
Heat F, Gauntlet Timed Out (6th) Eliminated
NOTE: The Parthian Shot suffered technical issues and could not be repaired in time to attempt The Gauntlet.
Series 3
The Third Wars - UK Championship
Heat D, Round 1 vs. Ultor Withdrew
NOTE: The Parthian Shot was originally supposed to fight Ultor, but was forced to drop out. It was replaced by Flipper.

Series Record[]

Series The Parthian Shot Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Heat, Gauntlet
The Third Wars Withdrew
The Fourth Wars Did not enter
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
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


  • Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide erronoeously refers to the The Parthian Shot as The Parthian Scott.
  • The Parthian Shot was originally Philippa Forrester's sweepstake robot for Series 3 prior to its withdrawal.
  • The Parthian Shot holds the distinction of being the only robot ever to make it to the televised show and having to withdraw twice.
  • In discussing The Parthian Shot's predicted Gauntlet performance, Neil Savage and his teammates mentioned a minimum distance of 3.8m as their benchmark to qualify for the Trial stage. In actuality, this had been set in the preceding heat by Spin Doctor, suggesting that they were unaware of the 5.5m minimum Disruptor had set.