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Insecticons is the name given to a sub-group of fictional characters in the Transformers universes, referred to as Insectrons in the Japanese version. They are a unique group of Decepticons who transform into insects.

Transformers - Generation 1[edit]

Ratbat and his Ultracons Ransack and Venom.
Sub-group Scouts, Ultracons
Function Sentries
Partner Ratbat
Alternate modes Mechanical insects
Series Transformers: Generation 1
English voice actor Hal Rayle (Shrapnel), Michael Bell (Bombshell), and Clive Revill (Kickback).

The three original Insecticon toys were based on Diaclone toys made by Takara in 1984.[1] They were named among the top selling toys in 1985 by Playthings magazine.[2] Each of the basic Insecticons had a way to control other robots.

Insecticon members[edit]

  • Shrapnel/Insecticon/Sharpshot: Stag Beetle
    • Abilities: Shrapnel can control other robots (as well as almost any electrically run device) by remote with his antennas. In robot mode, his antennae can, in the proper weather conditions, attract massive bolts of lightning from the sky to augment his own electrical generating capacity, and then release that power through his hands. In insect mode, Shrapnel can use his twin antennae to generate an electric burst of up to 40,000 volts. A quirk of Shrapnel's is to repeat the last word in his sentences. Shrapnel's signature weapon is a Grenade launcher.
  • Bombshell/Hardshell: Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle
    • Abilities/Weapons: Bombshell has the ability of mind control, via the use of cerebro-shells. In his insect form, Bombshell uses his stinger to inject a micro-circuited device into a human’s head. It travels through the blood until it reaches the brain, whereupon it opens up and releases tens of thousands of connecting wires. The wires coil around nearby neural dendrites until the brain’s conscious functions are effectively rerouted through the cerebro-shell, which puts the mind of the victim under the remote control of Bombshell. Bombshell’s stinger is used in much the same way against other robots’ high-function mental circuitry. The major difference is that once the stinger is pressed against the metal casing of the victim’s head, the small laser torches on the sides of the stinger rotate rapidly to carve a small hole in the casing, allowing the stinger to inject a cerebro-shell. His signature weapon is a Head-mounted mortar cannon. In 2009, Bombshell was renamed Hardshell for trademark reasons.
  • Kickback: Grasshopper
    • Abilities: Kickback is adept at controlling others through blackmail. In his insect mode, Kickback can use his legs to leap up to heights of 40 feet and over distances of a tenth of a mile. Although small in this form, he can punch a hole in a one-quarter-inch steel plate with a single kick. Kickback's signature weapon is a Submachine gun.

There is a second team of Insecticons known as the Deluxe Insecticons. Venom, the leader, turns into a Cicada. Other deluxe insecticons include: Barrage (who turns into a Japanese rhinoceros beetle), Chopshop (who turns into a Stag Beetle), and Ransack (who turns into a Grasshopper). In 2004, the Japanese company eHobby released the original Insecticons molds together in their original Diaclone colors as Insecticon clones. Each set of 3 came with 3 energon cubes. The clone are Shothole (a Clone of Kickback), Salvo (a Clone of Bombshell), and Zaptrap (a Clone of Shrapnel).

Animated series[edit]

Originally, the Insecticons were three Decepticons that Megatron had left onboard his ship, the Nemesis, which was pursuing the Ark, as back-up. When the Nemesis crashed on Earth, the trio evacuated in an escape pod, which crashed in an Indonesian swamp. In order to survive, they scanned the forms of the surrounding area's insects. The insect forms they adopted enabled them to extract energon from organic life and metals, though they still ingest fossil fuels and energy-based matter (electricity, energon cubes, etc.) as well. Because they took on the forms of insects the size of Transformers, the three Insecticons caused terror for any humans living nearby. They even developed the ability to make clones of themselves out of any metal.

They were eventually found by Megatron centuries later and were re-recruited back to the Decepticons. However, they became more independent as a result of their long absence, making them loose cannons: their relationship with the Decepticons proper was one of betrayals and counter-betrayals. Originally appearing in "A Plague of Insecticons", they were discovered raiding human crops. They quickly joined up with the main Decepticons: unfortunately, the Insecticons swiftly decided this wasn't to their advantage and devoured Megatron's store of Energon instead, resulting in a battle breaking out between the two sides. After this, the Insecticons entered into a free-lancing relationship with the Decepticons, helping Megatron if they had something to gain from it. They were tricked by Mirage into attacking the Decepticons, later using Bombshell's cerebro-shells to control him and lure the Autobots into a trap. Another deal, with Decepticons and Insecticons working together to raid a military power plant, went awry when they overheard Megatron planning to betray them. Munching on a nova power core, they grew in size and strength. They then controlled all the Decepticons bar Megatron with cerebro-shells, forcing the Decepticon leader to team up with the Autobots to stop his mind-controlled troops. Using Megatron in gun mode, Optimus fired the antidote needed to restore the Insecticons size and prevent the nova core they ingested from overloading. However, even the Insecticons' rebellious streak was overlooked by Megatron, as the Insecticons could create clones of themselves, thus creating an instant army.

The Insecticons took part in the Battle of Autobot City in 2005, but were badly damaged, and were tossed out into space along with the injured Megatron, Skywarp, and Thundercracker. These discarded Insecticons, along with Skywarp and Thundercracker, were used by Unicron to create new Decepticon troops for Galvatron, with Bombshell possibly becoming Cyclonus (although the issue of whether Cyclonus was a recreated Bombshell or Skywarp is unclear or Skywarp may have become the armada of Cyclonus because of Unicron announced their names as he did so, "Cyclonus the warrior and his armada"), and Kickback and two of his clones became the Sweeps. Later in the film, the clone question comes into play when Shrapnel harasses Daniel Witwicky alongside Scavenger (during a battle that also included Cyclonus and the Sweeps). In the third season of Transformers, the Insecticons were still displayed in marginal roles, although their third season appearances are usually dismissed as animation error.

Marvel Comics[edit]

In the various Marvel comics series the Insecticons could shrink down to real insect size in beast mode. However, they did not exhibit the cartoon Insecticons' ability to create clones. They first appeared in Issues 17 and 18 in a story set primarily on Cybertron, acting as bodyguards to Straxus. The comic Insecticons' appearances would be limited, and most often would involve Bombshell and his cerebro-shells. Their only major appearance would be in Issues 21 and 22 of the U.S. comic. In those issues, the Insecticons have recently arrived on Earth; Bombshell, at Megatron's request, uses one of his cerebro-shells to mind-control a human worker at a dam as part of a plot to take it over. The human uses Megatron in gun-mode to threaten the Aerialbots, but the human's daughter is able to help him overcome the Decepticon control. Instead of retreating with the other Decepticons, Bombshell hitches a ride to the Ark aboard Aerialbot leader Silverbolt. Later in this arc, one of Bombshell's cerebro-shells is used on Optimus Prime. Although it is not able to control Optimus, Megatron is able to leech the energies of the Matrix to create the Stunticons and Combaticons as the Autobots reprogram the Aerialbots and create the Protectobots. Bombshell also appears (without the other Insecticons) in the four-issue limited series G.I. Joe and the Transformers, which is concurrent with Issues 23-27 of the U.S. Transformers comic.

The Insecticons appeared prior to this in the "Target: 2006" arc of the UK Marvel Transformers. In this they are among the Decepticons' most feared killers, and are earmarked for elimination by the Wreckers before a mass Autobot uprising. However, Megatron calling the Insecticons to Earth scuppered the plans of both Autobots and Decepticons. They also appeared as part of Megatron's and Shockwave's forces during the Earthforce strips.

Dreamwave Productions[edit]

The Insecticons would also appear in Dreamwave's re-imagining of the Transformers mythos. They originally appeared in The War Within miniseries as an elite group hunting Optimus Prime alongside Soundwave and Ravage. They failed, forcing Megatron to personally deal with the new Autobot commander. They were most likely not called "Insecticons" at this point, as their alternate modes were not insects. Shrapnel's alternate mode was a jet and although the other two Insecticons did not transform in the series, Bombshell appeared to have a tank alt-mode, while Kickback's was a dragster. In addition, the Deluxe Insecticons had cameos with alternate modes as jets, or in Chopshop's case, a wheeled tank-like vehicle. In the second volume of the War Within when the Autobots and Decepticons had split into several sub-factions following the disappearance of their leaders, Kickback, Bombshell and Shrapnel remained with the Decepticons under Shockwave, while the Deluxe Insecticons would join Ratbat's Ultracons.

Eons later, after the disappearance of the Ark, the Insecticons were dispatched to Earth to find out what had happened, and they encountered the Dinobots on a similar mission. The two teams battled, knocking each other into stasis lock. Unlike the Dinobots, it is unclear whether they were revived after the reawakening of the Transformers in the Ark. In Issues 7 and 8 of volume 3 of the comic the Insecticons appeared, attacking a team of Autobots led by Jazz. The original Insecticons appeared to be working for Shockwave and had created a huge number of clones. Their plans to control the population of a town was defeated by Jazz's Autobots. The Insecticon clones seemed unable to transform and were possibly techno-organic, as the clones were developed in larvae.

Devil's Due Publishing[edit]

The Insecticons would make their first Devil's Due appearance in the second G.I. Joe/Transformers crossover. When a team of G.I. Joes trying to fix a space-time tear arrived in a nightmare future where Shockwave had conquered Earth, they were almost immediately attacked by a swarm of Insecticon clones.

Both the Insecticons and the Deluxe Insecticons would also make a brief appearance in the third crossover between G.I. Joe and the Transformers. They were seen trying to hold back the combined Autobot/G.I. Joe rescue force trying to recover Optimus Prime.

IDW Publishing[edit]

The first in-continuity appearance of the Insecticons was in the The Transformers: Spotlight issue on Blaster. Probing the seeming traitor Beachcomber on his motivations, Beachcomber told how, at Soundwave's behest, he had been implanted with a cerebro shell by the shrunken Bombshell. Kickback and Bombshell were also seen among Megatron's troops in The Transformers: Megatron Origin.

The Insecticons also appeared in the alternate reality mini-series Evolutions: Hearts of Steel with a combined mode of a large battle-train. They are seen stealing a bullion train on Starscream's orders in the second issue. They were presumably destroyed with the rest of the Decepticon train convoy when John Henry and Bumblebee sabotaged the track to fall into a chasm.

Fun Publications[edit]

The character of Dirge, a repaint of Beast Wars Fuzor Buzzclaw was sold as an Insecticon. In the accompanying comic, "Descent into Evil", the Insecticons played a major role. In a possible future where the Autobots and Maximals had won the war, the Decepticon Deathsaurus planned to use the two last remaining Decepticons - Buzzclaw and Dirge - to restore the Decepticon Empire by unlocking their old ability to make armies of clones. The scheme was uncovered by a team of Autobots led by Ironhide and Ratchet. Although Deathsaurus defeated them the Autobot agent Ricochet, under orders from Bumblebee, had seeded the two Insecticons with a virus that would degenerate their clones, leaving the Insecticons defeated again.

Beast Wars II[edit]

The term Insectrons, the Japanese name for the original Insecticons, is used again. This time for a group of Maximals from the Beast Wars Second toy line and animated series. The Insectron toys all turn from robots into various insects or other bugs. The are commanded by Bigmos, a giant mosquito. The toys for the Insectrons are all recolors from Hasbro released Predacons from the original Beast Wars toy line.


  • Bigmos (same mold as Transquito in U.S.): The team leader. He was saved by Autostinger in his mercenary days. Beast mode is a mosquito, with a 'antion' mode. Bigmos' profile in the Transformers: Beast Wars Sourcebook describes him as a triple-changer.
  • Powerhug (same mold as Retrax in U.S.): Judo master who sets store by etiquette. Second in command of the Insectrons. Beast mode is a pillbug. His nemesis is the Predacon Autocrusher.
  • Tonbot (same mold as Jetstorm in U.S.): A affectioned scout, the fastest flyer in his group. Beast mode is a dragonfly. His nemesis is the Predacon Autojetter.[3]
  • Mantis (same mold as Manterror in U.S.): A lone samurai who doesn't hesitate to attack anybody who gets in his space. Beast mode is a praying mantis.
  • Drillnuts (same mold as Drillbit in U.S.): The team inventor, his beast mode is a wevil. The Beast Wars Sourcebook also places him as a member of The Pack under the command of Lio Convoy.
  • Scissorboy (same mold as Powerpinch in U.S.): The shatty and shrewd safecracker who becomes good friends with Tasmania Kid. Beast mode is an earwig.

Animated series[edit]

Beast Wars Second is a Japanese cartoon series.[4] The Insectrons were formerly mercenaries and ended up on the Antarctica region of the planet Gaia where they live peacefully. Starscream tricked them into fighting the Maximals until they the ruse was ruined by Galvatron's fits. They later allied themselves with the Maximals. They had encountered their sworn rivals the AutoRollers. The toys for the Insectrons was recolors of several Beast Wars Predacons with insect forms, but they don't seem to be the same characters at all.

Transformers film series[edit]

The Insecticons are a small insect-like Decepticon who appears in the live action Transformers film series.

Film series[edit]

An Insecticon first appeared in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, while searching for Sam and Mikaela in Egypt. However, when it located Sam, he pulled it out and rip it apart before giving the Decepticons his location.

More Insecticons appeared in Transformers: Age of Extinction in a scene where Brains narrates how Megatron used them to transfer his consciousness to KSI's Galvatron drone.


  • Transformers: Hunt for the Decepticons Scout Class Insecticon (2010)

Transformers: Prime[edit]

Function Sentries
Alternate modes Giant Hercules Beetle
Series Transformers: Prime
English voice actor Various Voices
Japanese voice actor Kenso Kato

The Insecticons are Decepticons who act as sentries and brute attack forces. So far, most of the Insecticons resemble Hercules beetles. The Insecticons that appear in Transformers: Prime are Hardshell and his clones.


The Insecticons are part of Shockwave's experiments in the novel Transformers: Exodus.

Video games[edit]

Insecticon clones will appear from a hive in the 2012 game Transformers: Fall of Cybertron along with the clone producers, Sharpshot (the new name for the Insecticon Shrapnel from Generation One), Hardshell (the new name for the Insecticon Bombshell from Generation One), and Kickback.

Hardshell, Kickback, and Sharpshot are three Insecticons modified by Shockwave that receive heightened intelligence. They join Shockwave in viewing Grimlock, as witnessed by Starscream before he set the Dinobot free. Hardshell confronts Grimlock and Swoop and uses a mech to attack them, however Swoop provides Grimlock with fuel pods which compromises his weapon and defeats him, and Grimlock uses the Insecitcon's face to open a door. Later Kickback volunteers to assist Shockwave in unlocking Grimlock's ability to transform, and sends several of his fellow Insecticons to attack the Dinobot. Eventually Grimlock's rage allows him to transform into a mechanical Tyrannosaurus, and once his legion is defeated, Kickback tries to escape, only to be partially crushed under a fallen door by Slug. Sharpshot uses Snarl as a hostage when the Dinobots arrive, and taunts Grimlock as wave after wave of Insecticons attack Grimlock, before he destroys the columns connecting Sharpshot to Snarl. Sharpshot pleads for mercy, but Grimlock ignores the plea and presumably kills him.

Animated series[edit]

An Insecticon first appeared at the end of the episode "Orion Pax, Part 2". The Insecticons serve as one of the soldiers of the Decepticons during the Cybertronian War. While traveling through the Decepticon capital of Kaon, Jack Darby and Arcee encounter an Insecticon when trying to get to Vector Sigma. Arcee fights the Insecticon while Jack makes his way towards Vector Sigma. The Insecticon knocks out Arcee and proceeds to follow Jack. The activation of one of the Insecticons reaches Soundwave who informs Megatron. The Insecticon catches up on Jack only for it to be attacked and devoured by Scraplets.

In "Crossfire", Starscream finds an Insecticon on Earth and tries to get it to obey him. The Insecticon ends up attacking him until Airachnid arrives and controls it where it gives him an Energon scrap. Airachnid states to Starscream that she and the Insecticon are like one. She plans to use the Insecticon to get revenge on Megatron and does a test run on it where she orders the Insecticon to eviscerate Starscream. When Megatron arrives at an abandoned Energon mine, Airachnid has the Insecticon attack Megatron as Megatron tries to get it to serve him. The Insecticon ends up damaging Megatron's cannon and starts to beat him up. Megatron starts to make a comeback and manages to behead the Insecticon just as the Autobots arrive. After escaping from Starscream, Airachnid discovers a whole nest of Insecticons underground.

In "Armada", Airachnid hatches the Insecticon nest that is underground in order to prepare for her retribution towards Megatron. The Insecticon swarm attacks the Nemesis at the time when the clones of Starscream attacks Megatron. Optimus Prime and Bumblebee are attacked by a rear guard for Airachnid. However when Arcee traps Airachnid in a stasis pod, she lost control of the Insecticons who instead proclaimed loyalty to Megatron upon begging for his forgiveness. Since this event, the Insecticons become the alternative foot soldiers alongside the Vehicons. In "Flying Mind", when the Nemesis comes to life, the Insecticons are among the Decepticons that get frozen into stasis.

In "Tunnel Vision", an Insecticon accompanied Knock Out to the subways of Manhattan to look for an artifact from the Vaults of Iacon, which turned out to be a Phase Shifter. Arcee managed to destroy the Insecticon by tricking it into stepping onto an electrified subway track.

The episode "Toxicity" introduces the Insecticon Hardshell (voiced by David Kaye), a fierce and intelligent Insecticon with many battle scars. Hardshell and the other Insecticons are considered mere savages by Knock Out and the Vehicons, causing more tension in the Decepticon hierarchy in the next episode called "Hurt". Hardshell is killed by Wheeljack and Miko. Hardshell's body is brought to Megatron as an Insecticon tells him that a human girl did this to Hardshell.

In "Project Predacon", an Insecticon named Bombshock leads some Insecticons in search of Energon before having to deal with the newly upgraded Optimus Prime.

In "Thirst", the Insecticons help to contain the vampiric Terrorcons spawned from their dead crew mates by C.Y.L.A.S. (Leland "Silas" Bishop in Breakdown's body) following Starscream and Knock Out's experiment that involved combining Dark Energon and Synthetic Energon. However, once C.Y.L.A.S. frees Airachnid from stasis, she takes control of the Insecticons once again and Soundwave is forced to use a Space Bridge to send them to the asteroid field orbiting Cybertron to keep them from overrunning the crew, cutting the number of Megatron's soldiers in half. Furthermore as Airachnid is revealed to have been infected by C.Y.L.A.S., the Insecticons present end up being her personal food supply.

Throughout the series, different voice actors have voiced the generic Insecticons: Steven Blum, James Horan, and Kevin Michael Richardson.


  • Generations Fall of Cybertron Deluxe Kickback (2012)
A Fall of Cybertron toy in the Generations line.[5]
  • Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters Cyberverse Commander Hardshell (2013)[6]
Part of the second wave of Prime: Beast Hunters Cyberverse Commander Class toys.
  • Transformers Prime: Beast Hunters Cyberverse Commander Bombshock (2013)
Recolor of the Cyberverse Commander Hardshell, homage to G1 Barrage.

Transformers film series

A Decepticon named Insecticon by the toy line appears in Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen searching for Sam Witwicky and is successful but is promptly deactivated.


  1. ^ Alvarez, J.E. (2001). The Unofficial Guide to Transformers 1980s Through 1990s Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. p. 25. ISBN 0-7643-1364-9. 
  2. ^ "Transformers named top toy of '85; buyers representing 3,564 stores cast votes for best-sellers in Playthings survey", Playthings, December 1, 1985
  3. ^ Tonbot (1998) - Cybertron Forced Reconnaissance -
  4. ^ Beast Wars II () Insectrons Transformers Characters
  5. ^
  6. ^ [1]
  • Furman, Simon (2004). Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. DK Publishing Inc. p. 26. ISBN 1-4053-0461-8. 

External links[edit]