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Shrapnel is the name of two fictional characters from the Transformers series. The original Shrapnel is one of the Insecticons introduced in 1985. The character has also been called by the names Insecticon and Sharpshot. A third-party Transformer named Thundershread was released by FansProject which was a homage to Shrapnel. There is a minor character in the Cybertron who also had the name Shrapnel.
Transformers: Generation 1
The noise of war and the scream of his foes are music to this loathsome Insecticon's audio-modules... has piercing battle cry... can be heard 8 miles away. In insect mode, can use antennae to control almost any electrical device. In robot mode, can attract lightning bolts to antennae and shoot them out hands. Grenade launcher shoots 30-pound steel balls that splinter into razor-sharp spikes. Insulation can stop his electrical blasts.
In the comics, Shrapnel was a lieutenant under the command of Lord Straxus. Unlike his cartoon persona this one could shrink, becoming the actual size of an insect.
Marvel Transformers UK Annual 1985 contained a story called Plague of the Insecticons. Optimus Prime lead Prowl and Warpath to a meeting with President Ronald Reagan in Washington D.C. to open a dialog between the Autobots and the US government. However Soundwave had intercepted word of the talks and informed Megatron, who decided send the Ravage and the Insecticons. The Insecticons did not attack the Autobots, but instead attacked the U.S. military in the name of the Autobots. Prowl was badly damaged by one of Shrapnel's grenades during the battle. Although the Autobots managed to chase off the Insecticons Optimus Prime gave up on explaining the misunderstanding to Reagan, thinking he would never be believed. Reagan had been ready to hear what Optimus had to say and was disappointed they gave up so easily.
Shrapnel debuted with the rest of the Insecticons in the first season episode, A Plague of Insecticons. The Insecticons were a group of Decepticons who fled the Nemesis four million years ago in an escape ship. The ship landed in Indonesia where the Insecticons reformatted themselves to resemble insects. The Insecticons' stomachs could absorb most forms of energy and matter and use it to fuel the robots.
Shrapnel, who always repeated the last word in a sentence, was often seen in a leadership capacity with the Insecticons (however as seen in Traitor, Bombshell often has periods where he is more of the leader). Shrapnel the ability to create and control an unlimited number of clones using just small pieces of scrap metal. He also had the ability to control lightning when storms were present. While an effective weapon, this ability was seen as ineffective against the Autobots while they were in vehicular mode, due to their rubber tires. At first, Megatron was very pleased with the Insecticons. However, once the tide of battle turned in the Autobots' favor, the Insecticons consumed the Decepticons' energon. This began a feud between the Insecticons and the Decepticons.
In "The Insecticon Syndrome" Shrapnel and the Insecticons were asked to help the Decepticons raid Iron Mountain, a fictional U.S. military installation which contained information regarding the world's energy. In return, Megatron would allow the Insecticons to consume the energy produced by the Nova Power Plant prior to engaging Iron Mountain. The Nova power caused the Insecticons to grow in strength and size. With their new power, the Insecticons plot to betray the Decepticons at Iron Mountain, which Soundwave overhears. However, before Soundwave could get away, Shrapnel captures him and instructs Bombshell to implant a cerebro shell. The Autobots attack the plant, but are successfully repelled by the Insecticons. Later, the Autobots discover that the nova energy, which is incompatible with their stomachs will cause them to explode, potentially destroying Iron Mountain with them. Meanwhile, Shrapnel and the Decepticons begin their raid on Iron Mountain. Shrapnel takes control of the human's defense batteries and uses them to break through the security.
Soundwave manages to download the data and thus Megatron's use for the Insecticons had ended. He orders them destroyed only to discover that Bombshell had injected cerebro shells into the Decepticons taking over their minds. Optimus Prime arrives and tackles Megatron before he could fire at the Insecticons. After learning of the imminent explosion, Megatron agrees to assist the Autobots. Wheeljack and Ratchet arrive on the scene with a cure for the Insecticons. Optimus Prime teams up with Megatron to deliver the antidote via Megatron's alt mode. They manage to cure all the Insecticons, except Shrapnel, who manages to knock Prime away with his bolt attack. After this, Shrapnel's condition turns critical, and he doubles over in pain. Spike Witwicky approaches Shrapnel and dumps the antidote into his chest. His attempted save, however, is unsuccessful, since Shrapnel explodes. Iron Mountain is undamaged, but the same could not be said of Shrapnel. Bombshell reassembles Shrapnel (complete with the corny line, "We Insecticons know how to GET IT TOGETHER!!") and the Insecticons flee with the Decepticons in pursuit.
The Decepticon/Insecticon feud continued throughout the second season.
In The Transformers: The Movie, Shrapnel and the Insecticons were involved in the battle of Autobot City. Shrapnel suffered major injuries after getting blasted by Blitzwing's cannon, smacked by vehicle-mode Hot Rod, knocked into the Autobot city moat by Kup and run down by Optimus Prime. As a result, he was among the Decepticons who were ejected into space on their return trip to Cybertron, and was transformed into one of the Sweeps by Unicron. Despite this, Shrapnel still pops up later in the movie at Starscream's coronation and during the Decepticon attack on the planet of Junk, most likely due to animation error.
Although Shrapnel himself does not appear in Beast Wars, he gets an honorable mention. When Rhinox (turned into a Predacon by a shell program), attempted to seize leadership of the Predacons from Megatron, he set about dispatching those loyal to Megatron. His second act was to throw a crate at Waspinator. The Predacon survives, but began referring to himself as Shrapnel ("I am Shrapnel, Decepticon Hero!") and talking with Shrapnel's familiar speech impediment. This lasted until he lands near Megatron and Blackarachnia, At which point Blackarachnia states that Shrapnel was a Decepticon from "the great war" three centuries ago.
Shrapnel also appeared in Dreamwave Productions' Generation One comics. He chronologically appeared first in the War Within comics hunting Optimus Prime alongside Soundwave and Ravage. He was shown to transform into a Cybertronian jet. Their failure forced Megatron to step in personally. He and the other Insecticons later stayed with the Decepticons after Megatron's disappearance.
In the third War Within series Shrapnel appeared among the Decepticon troops under the command of Shockwave.
Shrapnel and the other future Insecticons later came to Earth, encountering the Dynobots. The two teams battled and knocked each other into stasis. The Insecticons were later revived, receiving their familiar insect alternate modes. Bombshell later used his cerebro shells to take over the population of a town, only to be defeated by the Autobots, with Sideswipe dropping a building on Shrapnel. The closure of Dreamwave prevented any more stories of Shrapnel from being told.
Devil's Due Publishing
Shrapnel would also make a brief appearance in the third crossover between G.I. Joe and the Transformers. He was seen prominently trying to hold back the combined Autobot/G.I. Joe rescue force trying to recover Optimus Prime.
- Generation 1 Insecticon Shrapnel (1985)
- Shrapnel is originally from the Japanese Diaclone line. He was lated redecoed into the ehobby exclusive Zaptrap.
- This toy was later repackaged as a 2009 Toys-R-Us store exclusive with Kickback and Bombshell. This version was part of the Universe line.
- Universe Insecticon Sharpshot (2009)
- A Toys R us store exclusive packaged with Hardshell and Kickback. Renamed "Sharpshot" for copyright reasons.
- Hasbro Transformers: Generations Power of the Primes Legends Skrapnel (2017)
- Turns from humanoid robot to robot insect.
Although not seen as a toy or in the animated series, the cyber key information for Cybertron Undermine mentions how he framed and replaced a Transformer named Shrapnel as Scourge's bodyguard.
- Lenburg, Jeff (2009). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Third Edition. Infobase Publishing. p. 656. ISBN 978-0-8160-6599-8.
- Alvarez, J.E. (2001). The Unofficial Guide to Transformers 1980s Through 1990s Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition. Schiffer Publishing Ltd.. p. 25. ISBN 0764313649.
- Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. DK Publishing Inc.. p. 26. ISBN 1405304618.
- Lee's Guide to Loose 1985 Transformers: The Decepticons. Lee's Toy Review magazine, issue #201, August 2009