Sheffield Forgemasters’ Apprentices Attack the Scorpion

The hotly anticipated Scorpion statue which will become a gateway to Sheffield Forgemasters is taking shape as this sneak preview shows.

Twenty one Sheffield Forgemasters apprentices have volunteered their time to be part of the Scorpion design and build team, and production of the 14ft statue is now into its twelfth week.

The dynamic sculpture measures four metres high, two metres wide and six metres long and features clasping claws, an armoured body and a piercing arching tail. Recycled material found on the 64-acre site is being used to build the figure which will sit outside gate number two.

International sculptor Robin Widowson from Gotham-D is leading the project with associate artist Sara Bevan, he said: “The apprentices have handcrafted each piece of the Scorpion, which will bring a totally original piece of art to Brightside Lane.

“Currently the substructure has been built, with the legs and pincers fabricated and bent into position, and the exoskeleton of the Scorpion has been created using thin rolled sheets of steel. The tail of the Scorpion is now in place and a cast Sheffield Forgemasters logo has been produced and will be welded onto its body.

“The apprentices have been divided into teams to manage the pattern making, design, overall aesthetics and fabrication/welding. It has given them an opportunity to work together and overcome problems on the job and take on new responsibilities like marketing.”

The apprentices, who range from second to fifth year, all come from different departments within Sheffield Forgemasters, including, Forge, Foundry, South Machine Shop, Melt Shop and Research and Development.

Apprentice Charlie Laycock, 20, said: “I am privileged to be a part of this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to build what will be a piece of history. I’ll be able to look back on it in years to come and say ‘I helped make that.’”

Harry Pearce-Hurst, 20, Foundry apprentice welder, added: “It’s great to meet new people within Sheffield Forgemasters and I’m excited to be a part of the project. The artwork will be a great feature for years to come and symbolises the company’s commitment to apprenticeships.”

Andy Sylvester, Sheffield Forgemasters fabrication manager has been supervising the apprentices, he said: “The apprentices did well in picking up the skills needed to use the equipment safely, such as MMA (Manual Metal Arc) MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding and using burning equipment to produce the sections of the body to a high standard.

“They are working well as a team and I’m looking forward to seeing the final piece in position - all of the apprentices involved should be proud of what they have achieved.”

In the final weeks of production the apprentices will be cladding up the body of the Scorpion by fabricating steel components and will be giving the body and armour an even rust effect by grinding the shell with abrasive pads.

The Scorpion will then be transported into position and it will be up to the elements to give the statue a weathered coating.

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