"The Robot i have built will be one if not the most destructive Robots to grace the world of Robot Wars. It was conceived after the last series and after seeing the power of spinning disks. {sic}"
— Team Corkscrew website

Corkscrew was a Scottish machine that fought in three wars and a series of Extreme of Robot Wars. Primarily designed to look like its namesake, the robot was most well-known for its high powered full body spinner and trademark corkscrew bobble head, which indicated to the driver which way Corkscrew was facing.

The best performance of Corkscrew was its debut performance, where it defeated 13 Black and the seeded X-Terminator, before losing in the Heat Final to Dominator 2. Corkscrew's most powerful version was its second iteration, but it was unable to capitalise on this after driving into the pit in Series 6 and being defeated by Fluffy and Crushtacean.

Corkscrew was later redesigned as a flat, invertible disc shaped robot named Corkscrew Two. This version lost in the first round to Judge Shred 3.

Versions of CorkscrewEdit

Corkscrew (Series 5)Edit


Series 5 appearance

The original Corkscrew was designed to look like a corkscrew stuck into a cork, with a pair of rotating blades at its base made from a lorry wheel with tank-time steering. The cork acted as a direction indicator for the team (the green end pointed forwards and the red end pointed back), it remained static while the entire body spun. The original version was built with a Makita engine driving the weapon and featured a Scottish kilt draped around its body.

Corkscrew (Series 6, Extreme 2)Edit

"A completely revolving body with six big blades"
Jonathan Pearce in Series 6

Series 6 & Extreme 2 appearance

Corkscrew was upgraded in Series 6 to a spinning weapon with three pairs of blades each mounted at a different height, to deal with a variety of weapons including flippers. However, the new robot was so close to the weight limit that even the kilt pushed it over the weight limit, forcing it to be removed.

Despite the comical appearance of Corkscrew, it was incredibly potent, with a 360 degree killing radius. It was one of the most feared robots among roboteers, due to the damage inflicted on 13 Black, Kronic 2, Panic Attack and Bondi Titch. Despite its lethal capabilities, it suffered from poor manoeuvrability and was difficult to control with a top speed of 20 mph.

Corkscrew Two (Series 7)Edit

"The blade goes so fast, it looks like it's stopped."
— John Heatlie

Corkscrew Two in the arena

For Series 7, it was completely rebuilt as an invertible, disc-shaped robot, named Corkscrew Two, stylised as Corkscrew II on the robot's top armour. One wheel was placed on the left, right, front and back of the robot, but all faced in one direction for a four-wheel drive. This robot retained its high top speed of 20mph, and featured a thin steel outer rim for a weapon, which spun at up to 1000rpm, but it stopped spinning after little usage, and the robot was flipped out of the arena in its only battle. The cork was replaced with a large capital C, stylised like an arrow, once again to indicate the direction it was facing.


Corkscrew's début was at the Glasgow SEC Live Tour. Corkscrew fought with no weapon, as Robot Wars was too scared to let the team use the weapon. Its first fight was against Sub-Version, which it won.

"As we all climbed up to to booths the nerves were, well cant even describe them, i was nervous more for the boys than for myself but we were soon in the booth and the audience were screaming and it seemed to be ok. The Voice came from the dark ( 3-2-1-activate )and all the nerves came back with vengeance. The fight went very quickly with Corkscrew doing all the work and stopping Subverstion disk with one hit, sees {sic} was called to a great sigh of relief. Well that wasn't to {sic} bad, our first win."
— John Heatlie on the Corkscrew website[1]

Its second fight was Hippobotomus), which it also won.

"...we just took it to pieces, a few well placed hits and it was plastic everywhere. Easy win, but a win."
— John Heatlie on the Corkscrew website

Its third and final fight was against Spider, which it lost, despite bending Spider's weapon at the start of the fight.

"We drove straight it the weapon and bent it fight over we thought but he had other plans and gave us a good old kick round the arena. Spider won but i think it would have went to us on damage."
— John Heatlie on the Corkscrew website

In the qualifiers for Series 6, Corkscrew ran into the side wall and caused several of its teeth to stick in the polycarbonate. It took four men 20 minutes to free Corkscrew, but it still qualified.

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 5Edit

Corkscrew's first round battle was against a fellow new robot 13 Black, another spinner.

Corkscrew vs 13 black

Shunt attempts to separate Corkscrew and 13 Black

It spun up its blades, but was momentarily abated by hitting Refbot. Corkscrew spun up again and hit 13 Black broadside before retreating towards the arena wall. 13 Black struck Corkscrew, but it appeared unharmed. The two continued to collide, not making much of an impact on each other, until one hard hit jammed up one of 13 Black's discs.

"Its all mad, whirling and twirling out there, a Highland fling for Corkscrew!"
— Jonathan Pearce

After another hit, Corkscrew's blade became impaled in 13 Black's body. The two machines couldn't be separated, even with help from Refbot and Shunt, so the match was halted and judged up to that point. On a close decision, the judges ruled in favour of Corkscrew.

X-terminator vs corkscrew

Corkscrew and X-Terminator do battle

In Round 2, Corkscrew faced the seeded X-Terminator. Corkscrew's weapon motor had cut out, leaving the robot weaponless and forced to resort to ramming. X-Terminator struck it a few times in the beginning, not doing any damage except to the decorative cork handle. Corkscrew found its bearings, and began ramming X-Terminator violently until the seeded robot got stuck in reverse. X-Terminator started driving round in a circle, and crashed into an arena wall. Corkscrew pushed it free, but it was only partially mobile, so Corkscrew pushed X-Terminator into Shunt, who axed it and pushed it onto the flame pit. The match went to another judges decision, which was again in favour of Corkscrew.

Dominator 2 corkscrew

Dominator 2 tips Corkscrew over

Philippa Forrester: "And what did they do earlier?"
Lewis Heatlie: "Called our kilts skirts!"
Philippa Forrester: "That's enough to make them angry! And enough to give us a very good fight!"
— Pre battle talks

In the Heat Final, Corkscrew faced another seeded axe wielder in Dominator 2. Its weapon still wasn't working so it relied on ramming again. While trying to launch an attack, Corkscrew trapped itself in a CPZ where it was momentarily held up by Shunt and Sir Killalot. After pressing the pit release, Corkscrew lined up another charge and rode up Dominator's wedge, allowing Dominator to tip it over, immobilising it.

Broken corkscrew

Corkscrew catches fire

Sir Killalot loosened the top armour on Corkscrew before it was tossed by the floor flipper, landing hard and splitting the decorative cork. Corkscrew was pushed onto the flame pit which caused its petrol engine to catch fire, the kilt feeding the flames. Cease was called as Refbot put out the fire.

"That corkscrew will open no more bottles of vintage wine in celebration ... the bubbly belongs to Dominator 2!"
— Jonathan Pearce

Series 6Edit

"We...eventually met up again with John Heatlie and his sons with `Corkscrew`. When he showed us a home video of Corkscrew attacking a water cooler, I was just glad we hadn't had our qualifying match against that robot instead."
— The 13 Black team[2]
Corkscrew attacks Kronic

Corkscrew tears Kronic's wheel guard off.

In Series 6, Corkscrew fought the eighth seed Panic Attack, R.O.C.S., and Kronic 2. Corkscrew started off very aggressively in its first round melee, ripping a side panel from Panic Attack, and smashing off one of Kronic 2's wheel guards, freeing it from R.O.C.S in the process. Kronic 2 went for the pit release button, and Corkscrew continued to assault it. One attack caused Corkscrew to ricochet off Kronic 2 and land on top of the pit just as it was descending. Corkscrew could not escape in time to save itself, so it was eliminated alongside R.O.C.S.

Corkscrew pitted

Corkscrew's unlucky exit

"Down goes the pit...and Corkscrew goes with it! Oh, what an end to a machine that had started brilliantly"
— Jonathan Pearce as Corkscrew makes a premature exit

After the battle, John Heatlie requested to see the tapes of the match, as he believed that the pit had descended without the button being depressed. The crew complied, and the tapes confirmed that Kronic 2 had indeed pressed the release button - albeit with a 30-second delay between the button press and the pit's descent, the team apologised.

"John, Lewis, Laurence Heatlie, you wanted to see it, there you are, Kronic 2 quite clearly presses the pit release, and you fell for it! Bye bye."
— Jonathan Pearce
Corkscrew no pants

Corkscrew having been hurled by the floor flipper

Growler corkscrew

Corkscrew is pitted by Growler

Corkscrew also competed in the UK vs Germany special at the end of the Sixth Wars, which was also broadcast during German Robot Wars. In the first round, Corkscrew was beaten rather quickly by another spinner, Fluffy. After both machines got their weapons spinning, they came into contact and Corkscrew's weaponry stopped. It became immobilised soon after. After being counted out, the Scottish machine was tossed by the arena floor flipper and out of the special competition.

Extreme 2Edit

"Linked up with G-Bone [Graham Bone] from Firestorm to kick ass and gave Matilda a slap for good measure"
— John Heatlie[3]
Bondi-Titch vs Corkscrew

Corkscrew's damage to Bondi-Titch


Corkscrew shreds Matilda

Corkscrew represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Carnage event in the second series of Robot Wars Extreme. It stayed away from the action early in round one, attempting to get up to spinning speed. It drove near the pit immediately before slamming into Bondi Titch. Another devastating blow ripped off a side panel from Bondi Titch. Firestorm 4 flipped both Weld-Dor 3 and Bondi Titch out of the arena before Corkscrew caused serious damage to Matilda's front end.


Corkscrew is caught by Crushtacean


Crushtacean pits Corkscrew

In round two, it spun up to full speed and attacked Crushtacean, but the South African crab-like machine merely bounced off. Crushtacean stopped Corkscrew spinning by pinning it against the arena wall, and grabbing the blades with its claws, fulfilling the pre-match prophecy that Corkscrew would 'fit perfectly' in the claws of Crushtacean. Corkscrew was dragged around the arena, and eventually into the pit release tyre, causing the top decoration to fall off. Crushtacean then managed to push Corkscrew into the pit, but fell in itself after being nudged by Growler. The judges ruled that Corkscrew had gone in first, so it was eliminated.

Series 7Edit

Corkscrew, now known as Corkscrew Two, returned for Series 7 with a completely redesigned robot sporting a rim spinner. However, the team never got to demonstrate the new weapon, as the spin motor burned out before filming. In its first-round battle, Corkscrew Two was drawn against New Blood Championship runner-up Mute, the experienced Judge Shred 3, and the redesigned Demolition Man.

Jayne Middlemiss: "Now we don't often get smart people, very very smart! Look at you, aren't you worried about those costumes?"
John Heatlie: "No, of course we're not, we have to make the effort!"
— The interview prior to discussing Corkscrew Two's broken spinner
Judge Shred 3 vs Corkscrew Two

Corkscrew Two is thrown over by Judge Shred 3

Left with no means of attack or defence, Corkscrew Two could do little more than evade, which it did by avoiding the charging Mute. Near the floor flipper, Corkscrew Two seemed to halt, so Judge Shred 3 flipped it over and Mute drove straight under it, allowing Corkscrew Two to drive more freely when inverted, although it merely bumped into the angle grinder and then the opposite arena wall.

"That blade is moving so fast it does seem to, stopped. It isn't spinning, is it?"
— Jonathan Pearce realises something isn't right
JudgeShred OotA

Corkscrew Two is flipped out of the arena

Corkscrew OotA

Corkscrew Two sits out of the arena

Judge Shred 3 tossed it over again, so Corkscrew Two drove towards Refbot in its evasion. Mute used its wedge shape to turn Corkscrew Two over, and then Judge Shred threw it back over. While Judge Shred 3 and Mute left Corkscrew Two alone to flip the immobile Demolition Man, Corkscrew Two ended up in the claws of Dead Metal. Although it escaped without trouble, Mute moved away from Demolition Man, which was now being counted out, to trap Corkscrew Two near the arena wall. There, Judge Shred 3 flipped Corkscrew Two over the arena wall, leaving it out of the arena and the Seventh Wars.

"Corkscrew Two were bottled up and binned!"
— Jonathan Pearce


Series 5
The Fifth Wars - UK Championship
Heat Final
Heat F, Eliminator vs. 13 Black Won
Heat F, Semi-Final vs. X-Terminator (14) Won
Heat F, Final vs. Dominator 2 (11) Lost
Series 6
The Sixth Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat I, Round 1 vs. Kronic 2, Panic Attack (8), R.O.C.S. Eliminated
UK vs Germany Special
Representing UK, Round 1
NOTE: This competition was also broadcast during German Robot Wars
Round 1 vs. Fluffy (UK) Lost
Extreme Series 2
Commonwealth Carnage
Representing Scotland, Round 2
Round 1 vs. Bondi Titch (AUS), Firestorm 4 (ENG), Weld-Dor 3 (NIR) Qualified
Round 2 vs. Crushtacean (RSA) Lost
Series 7
The Seventh Wars - UK Championship
Heat, Round 1
Heat L, Round 1 vs. Demolition Man, Judge Shred 3, Mute Eliminated


  • Wins: 3
  • Losses: 5

Series RecordEdit

  • Corkscrew being made
  • Corkscrew in the pits during Extreme Series 2
  • Corkscrew Two without its top
  • Corkscrew in 2013
Main Series Corkscrew 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 Heat Final
The Sixth Wars Heat, Round 1
The Seventh Wars Heat, Round 1
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Did not enter
Series 2 Entered

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Corkscrew live

Corkscrew at the Robot Crusade 2003

The original Corkscrew robot fought in several live events during Robot Wars' run, such as the Robot Rumble in 2003.

Corkscrew Two was entered into the 2006 UK Championships, hosted by Roaming Robots. It was due to participate in Heat F with PulverizeR, Twister and the 10th seeds UFO. However, Corkscrew was forced to withdraw due to driving difficulties.


Corkscrew 2 as Hammertime

After this, Corkscrew Two was rebuilt as Hammertime, which kept the same circular shape, but had a hammer instead of the spinning body and two wheel drive. In 2009, Hammertime was sold to Team Batter. Hammertime's weapon was removed and is now used by Titan, meaning Corkscrew is now a circular rambot.

In 2010, John Heatlie still owned the original version of Corkscrew, and planned to rebuild it.[4]



A tiny replica of Corkscrew, seen at Robot Crusade 2003

  • On Corkscrew's début in Robot Wars, John Heatlie said he promised he would build a robot if his sons raised enough money, which they did by washing cars.



  1. Private correspondence with User:Toon Ganondorf, 6 February 2010
  2. 13 Black website
  3. Private correspondence with User:Toon Ganondorf, 6 February 2010
  4. Private correspondence with User:Toon Ganondorf, 6 February 2010