|Specifics: other fictional appearances|
Reflector likes to watch. He lives (they live?) to observe anything and everything, from scenery, to wildlife, to architecture. But above all else, Reflector likes (like?) to watch his (their?) comrades, learn their dark secrets, and profit from them. Reflector is (are?) also very impressed with his (their?) own abilities both in the fields of observation and blackmail.
Reflector is (are) infamous as the king (kings) of mass-shifting - he is (they are?) THREE separate robots named Spectro, Spyglass and Viewfinder respectively - each only slightly shorter than Soundwave, and each one's alt mode being a different component of a camera small enough to fit into Megatron's hand.
Marvel Comics continuitySpectro, Spyglass and Viewfinder worked with the Decepticon medic to repair their fellow Decepticons. Subsequently, an oddly-colored Viewfinder was seen decorating the cavern floor of Mount Saint Hilary after all the Decepticons were rendered inoperable by Sparkplug Witwicky's poisoned fuel. They didn't even get to introduce themselves in painfully lengthy exposition. Alas, Reflector was taken away from us before his prime.
American cartoon continuity
Reflector is (are?) unique among the Decepticons: he is three robots who talk and act in unison as a single mind in three (give or take) bodies. His individual components are never named; they are all simply "Reflector."
He was (they were?) with Megatron on the Nemesis during its assault on the Ark. He was thus among Megatron's troops after their reawakening on Earth. Reflector and Thundercracker did some scouting shortly after the Decepticons left the Ark. Reflector demonstrated his (their?) ability to zoom-focus and print pictures, Polaroid-style, in camera mode.
He (they?) later spied on the laboratory of Dr. Alcazar, the mentor of boy genius Chip Chase. Using his (their?) zoom-focus and photographic powers once more, Reflector secretly obtained the entry-code for the laboratory's security system. Reflector later gathered valuable intelligence prior to the Decepticon attack on the Great Falls hydroelectric power plant.
Useful though his (their?) reconnaissance abilities were, he (they?) also provided a less glamorous contribution to the Decepticons' early Earth campaigns: force of numbers. Many Reflector-bots were seen in robot mode among Megatron's initial forces — far more than the core three. And in one instance, a reverse effect occurred: Two Reflector-bots were absorbed into a third when they forcibly collided. This suggests that Reflector has some sort of body-duplication power.
The nature of the duplicates is unclear, and the issue was made only muddier by one incident: When Starscream needed someone to guide a shipment of energon cubes on the still-experimental Space Bridge, he selected a lone Reflector-bot, who protested in panic. There was no implied connection to the other Reflector-bots, and his voice lacked the echoing modulation that Reflector usually possessed. Starscream seemed cavalier about the prospect of losing him; however, as he survived the trip to Cybertron, it's unknown what effect his destruction could have had on the other Reflector-bots. To make matters more ambiguous, Starscream referred to him as "warrior" in a manner that could've been either a description or a proper name. So whether he was truly a part of Reflector, or if he was an independent "Warrior" who simply bore an uncanny resemblance, remains uncertain.
Later, two Reflector-bots were seen on Cybertron assisting Starscream in transporting an injured Doctor Arkeville.
As time went on, Reflector-bots became scarcer and scarcer. Even the core three were seldom seen. The last, very brief sighting was during the Great Battle of Autobot City.
Fight! Super Robot Lifeform manga
Dreamwave comics continuity
Reflector was not part of Megatron's crew, but worked for Shockwave on Cybertron, monitoring the planet and its inhabitants for him from a central mainframe. They were seemingly destroyed by Starscream.
Keepers Trilogy novels
While one set of Reflector-bots was on Cybertron, another was on Earth. elsewhere in the multiverse.The Terran version was identified as the "true" Reflector, the Cybertronian version being a "copy." This echoes the body-duplication theme seen
IDW comics continuity
Spectro and Spyglass were seen aboard the Decepticon Orbital Command Hub, terrified of walking down the same hallway as Sixshot.
Eventually, the three found themselves on a ship, which crashed on LV-117. Viewfinder was killed in the crash when a large piece of the bridge's canopy shattered and impaled him through the chest. Spectro and Spyglass survived, and eventually they located Wheelie, who had previously crashed on the same planet and had been building an escape vessel with a friendly alien. They managed to hijack the vessel shortly before it launched by threatening to kill Wheelie's friend, but the tiny Autobot removed the safety catch from his energon converter before disembarking, causing it to violently explode shortly after take-off.
Reflector (looking and behaving like they do in the cartoon: as a unit speaking and acting in unison) are also seen together with Rumble in the remains of New York city where Rumble shoots a yellow WV beetle to pieces, remarking that it's too bad that it wasn't "the real thing"
And they later show up where intrigued by the terrified humans decide to "play a game" only to be disappointed on how easily "They fall apart" at which they decide to re-assemble them again.
- Reflector (Mail-away, 1986/1987; wide release in Japan, 1985)
- Japanese ID number: 21
- Accessories: Spectro's "Shutter Gun", Viewfinder's "Lens Laser", Spyglass' "Optic Blaster", flash cube/missile launcher, 3 missiles, telephoto lens.
- Reflector was available in the US only as a mail away promotion in 1986-1987 (ironically after his character [their characters?] had long since disappeared from the cartoon), at a cost of $10 and two robot points. It is composed of three distinct robots that combine to form a camera, Viewfinder as the central part with the lens, Spectro as the right side component with the shutter button and Spyglass as the left-side component with the flash. It includes a telephoto lens and old-style flashcube that doubles as a missile launcher, but of course, the Hasbro version has the spring-loaded mechanism neutered for safety reasons®.
- Takara, however, released Reflector as part of the normal retail line in 1985.
War For Cybertron: Siege
- Refraktor (Deluxe Class, wide release, 2019)
- ID number: WFC-S36
- Accessories: HPR Telefocal Shield, EMM Distortion Blaster, lens plate/camera stand mount.
- Reflector has been recently been given a modern update in 2019's War For Cybertron Siege line - this time under the name "Refraktor", presumably due to copyright issues as Refraktor. Unlike the toy, where Spectro, Spyglass and Viewfinder were all distinct toy molds, this version is a clear homage to the cartoon appearance and is sold as an individual Deluxe Class figure, rather than a set of 3 figures, with a removable lens plate in the chest, allowing for figure to be displayed as either Viewfinder or Spectro/Spyglass. Each individual figure has a space cruiser mode, however 3 of the figures can be purchased and combined to form a striking homage to the cartoon version of his camera mode.
- Reflector (Decoy, 1986)
- A small plastic decoy of Reflector was part of the Decoy promotion and given away with many smaller TFs. It was based on the cartoon design of the central (lensed) Reflector unit. He came in either red or purple plastic: the red version is much rarer and goes for a lot more on the secondary market.
- Reflector was originally the "Camera Robo" from Takara's Microchange sub-series of the New Microman line. The only noteworthy difference between the two releases, besides the whole missile-launcher-neuter-in-the-US thing, is that the Microman release has "MICROX" emblazoned on the center unit's decals instead of "REFLECTOR".
- Not so surprisingly, the Camera Robo was first designed as a single unit. Apparently, the primary designer of the final toy, and possibly this initial design, was mecha designer Shinji Aramaki, who designed the robots for Megazone 23 and Genesis Climber Mospeada.
- Reflector's role early in the cartoon makes it seem likely his toy was originally planned for inclusion in the original 1984 line. Why Hasbro decided not to release it so late in the game is unknown, as is what reversed the decision later to make it a viable mail-away.
- Reflector's original toy design was plagiarized in the bizarre South Korean propaganda cartoon Solar Adventure as the "Canon Robo" in which he fights along with a Whirl knockoff against Kim Il-sung and the North Korean Army.