The eccentric way in which Shrapnel parses his dialogue may seem endearing at first, first. Others are soon to discover that his seemingly benign tic is merely the gateway to a frighteningly twisted and perverse mind, even for a Decepticon, Decepticon. A master of electricity, his dark desires put this skill to use on his victims, victims. Nothing delights him more than to see how they squirm from his touch, touch.
- French name (Canada): Éclats D'Obus
- Portuguese name (Portugal cartoon): Metralha
- Portuguese name (Portugal comic): Estilhaço
- Portuguese name (Brazil comic): Metralha / Estilhaço
- Russian TV dub name: Шрапнель ("Shrapnel")
- Italian name: Rantrox
- Japanese name: Sharpnel (シャープネル, shaa-pu-ne-ru)
The mercenary Insecticons landed on earth in their own space pod before the Ark crashed to Earth. (It is unclear whether this pod was launched from the Nemesis or not, as the dialogue seems to suggest maybe it was, but the Insecticons and Megatron's Decepticons do not seem to know each other.) Their pod crashed into the region that would become known as "Demon Swamp" and their computers adapted them to transform into insects and eat organic food to survive. Though they were largely communal, Shrapnel was a leader among then, usually alternating with Bombshell (Kickback was out of luck). The "Insecticons" apparently lived in the swamp for millions of years until discovered by Megatron's Decepticons. They form an uneasy alliance with Megatron, never coming fully under his command but working with the Decepticons when they could be convinced there was something (usually food) in it for them.
The Insecticons were able to create vast clone armies of themselves at will, a formidable ability that may have been the reason they were able to maintain their autonomy from Megatron. They would use this ability once to create the Insecticon Army which early devastated the planet Earth but they were destroyed by the Morphobots. Even before this, they were shown to be very duplicitous and often betrayed Megatron or disobeyed him.
During the Combaticons' attempt at destroying Earth by sending it into the sun, the Insecticons were seen in large numbers, numbers, again and Shrapnel was responsible for taking apart the Space Bridge controls. He would later be tracked, tracked, by the combined Autobots and Decepticons after which he relinquished the controls.
Shrapnel, along with his Insecticon colleagues, attacked Autobot City on Earth, where he was badly damaged and had to be carried back to Astrotrain by Thrust. and dumped into space from Astrotrain. His floating body would be reformatted by Unicron into one of the Sweeps.
Marvel Comics continuity
Shrapnel was one of the top lieutenants of Lord Straxus at Darkmount on Cybertron, acting as his Executive Officer and supervising both the technicians that translated Soundwave's message from Earth & assisting on the Space Bridge project. He was also was responsible for capturing Autobot spy Scrounge before he could report back on the whereabouts of Spanner. Despite his rank, Straxus used Shrapnel's face as a stress ball when things went wrong and was willing to send him on a suicidal janitorial mission once simply out of petty spite, but Shrapnel managed to talk his way out of it.
In addition to his high rank, he was one of the most feared and dangerous killers on Cybertron, a key target for the Autobot resistance. The rebel plan Operation: Volcano was kicked off when Shrapnel tortured the information of a (fake) rebel meeting out of an informant, but was ruined by Megatron calling the Insecticons to Earth. (Yes, they were called Insecticons and had insect-like alt forms on a planet with NO INSECT LIFE.) Shrapnel arrived on Earth to play a key role in the Hoover Dam battle, and afterwards served on Earth under Megatron permanently .
Then he served under Shockwave, Ratbat, possibly Scorponok, Bludgeon, Megatron again...all while doing absolutely nothing of note besides being uncommonly easy to spot in crowd shots. He may have been killed by the Underbase-powered Starscream, or alternatively he could've just been really lazy and not gotten involved with things - he's one of Cybertron's deadliest killers, what does he have to prove?
Shrapnel and his Insecticon buddies served under Megatron in the Decepticon Civil War, but their spying mission against Shockwave was foiled by Starscream. Shrapnel got in a good electrified shot at Starscream's bum first, but then he caught them in a rustbug hoop. The treacherous Seeker then drafted them into helping him set up a clash between the two leaders.
While temporarily out of his mind (Well, more than usual, anyway), the Predacon Waspinator believed himself to actually be Shrapnel, and adopted his mannerisms and speech pattern, pattern.
Dreamwave comics continuity
One time Slag sucker-punched him so hard, Shrapnel's colors went wrong.
Shrapnel was part of a unit sent to Earth by Shockwave to guide the planet's development and prepare it for invasion. They were beaten up by the Dinobots on arrival, then played dead until Grimlock got bored and wandered off. Millions of years later, they were discovered by both the EDC and Autobots after kidnapping an entire town. Shrapnel was last seen getting a building dropped on him by Sideswipe.
Devil's Due G.I. Joe vs the Transformers comics continuity
IDW comic continuity
Shrapnel joined Megatron's forces on Earth, where he took part in destroying some human jets.
IDW Hearts of Steel continuity
Shrapnel, Kickback, and Bombshell robbed a train carrying cash and bullion from the Denver Mint, on Starscream's orders. They delivered the stolen property to Starscream and Tobias Muldoon the following morning.
Shrapnel forms one end of the "Insectrain" (as it is called in the concept art); the back end, in its one appearance. He has huge scissor blades mounted to destroy other trains on the railway. He speaks perfectly normally.
- Shrapnel (Insecticon, 1985)
- Japanese ID number: 42
- Shrapnel transforms into a robotic lamellicorn, or stag beetle. He doesn't do a whole lot more than that. Like the other Insecticons, he has a variation on his chromed parts, but this one is on his gun. Some Shrapnels have "fins" on the very back-end of the rifle and a more detailed main barrel, while others (obviously) lack those details. The extra-detail versions appear to be a later run.
- In Japan, Shrapnel and the other Insecticons were "re-released" as mail-order items from 1987 through 1988. They each cost 880 yen (their normal retail price) and two robot points.
- This mold was used to make the Zaptrap drones.
- Insectrons ("Bookbox" multi-pack, 2004)
- Japanese ID number: 16 (full set)
- Shrapnel was released as part of the Japanese Transformers Collection series in a set with Bombshell and Kickback. This set also included three energon cube accessories that fit inside their chest compartments.
- The Shrapnel in this set has the lower-detail rifle, probably in order to keep it closer to the original-original release, particularly for the redeco.
- Shrapnel (Decoy, 1987)
- Shrapnel was one of the Decepticon Decoys packed in with smaller carded Transformers toys. While the normal purple version could be included with any Decepticon toy, the rarer red version was available only on Throttlebot cards and only for a short while before the switch to purple.
- Destron Hero Collection-22 Set (Decoy multi-pack, 1987)
- The entire run of twenty-two Decepticon Decoys were sold as a single boxed set in Japan, only in purple.
- Rodimus Vs. Insecticon (2007)
- As part of the Robot Heroes line of PVC figurines, "Insecticon" (so named because Hasbro was unable to acquire the trademark to "Shrapnel") is a two-inch tall soft-plastic figurine in an adorable "super-deformed" style. He has swivels at the shoulders and neck.
- "Insecticon" is currently only available in a two-pack with fellow trademark-loss refugee, Rodimus.
- Shrapnel—like the other Insecticons—was originally a Diaclone "Waruder" evil-alien-piloted mech in different colors, which were eventually used when the trio were redecoed for e-Hobby release. Specifically, Shrapnel was the Kuwagattler (or Kuwagatra) mecha. This is also the genesis of those opening chest compartments.
- In the cartoon, Shrapnel was often shown as something of a leader among the Insecticons, while Venom is the official leader in other portions of Generation One.
- In The Transformers: The Movie, this guy got shot by Blitzwing (thanks to Kup), knocked into a moat by Hot Rod, AND run over by Optimus Prime. THEN he proceeded to get THROWN INTO SPACE by his fellow Decepticons. Poor guy sure had an off-day.
- Shrapnel, along with Starscream, had his gender switched from male to female in the French dub of The Transformers: The Movie. It is unknown why this change was effected, but it's most likely because of the character's high-pitched voice. The change did not happen in the cartoon, as it had used a different dubbing team from the movie. The change is especially ironic, given that only male stag beetles have the large pincers of Shrapnel's alt-mode.
- Waspinator, temporarily knocked into delirium, once declared that he was Shrapnel and spoke with his speech style, style.
- In the episode " The Insecticon Syndrome" Shrapnel utters the phrase, "A little heavy on the protons", while munching on the Nova power plant's main reactor. This was later referenced in The Transformers: The Movie while he and the other Insecticons tried to eat their way into the barricaded Autobot City. According to Shrapnel, the door was he was chowing down on was " A little heavy on the electrons, electrons."