The Combaticons are so named for their government vehicle alternate modes, and their proficiency in combat, working together as a smooth unit.
They are viewed as the counterparts to the Autobots' Protectobots, a team comprised of rescue vehicles. In addition to their individual abilities the team can combine their bodies and minds together to create the giant warrior, Bruticus.
The team's combined form of Bruticus is a successful merging of the minds of the Combaticons. He is perhaps the most successful combiner, in that he is not slow and awkward like some other combiners, and, with a leader he respects, will follow commands instantly and without question, with terrifying efficiency and awesome strength.
Megatron is pleased with his prowess, and wishes that he had an army of Bruticuses. The only problem is that without someone to tell him what to do, Bruticus will sometimes do nothing. However, if motivared enough, Bruticus will act independently, and will rarely listen to anyone whose military knowledge he does not respect - especially his creator Starscream.
Onslaught transforms into an anti-aircraft truck.
He forms the torso of Bruticus.
He is the leader who prefers to formulate strategies and tactics to defeat his opponents rather than sheer brute force.
However, when his plans fail, he can become a devastating force in battle, as his fury that his carefully laid out plans have been thwarted can inspire him to acts to violence.
Blast Off transforms into a Space Shuttle.
He forms the right arm of Bruticus.
Although he appears to be a cruel and ruthless opponent to the Autobots and a snob to his fellow Combaticons, he is somewhat lonely, as his missions in space shuttle mode leave him feeling isolated and left out. He conceals these feelings behind a protective shield of arrogance. Along with Swindle, he is quite intelligent.
Vortex transforms into a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
He forms the left arm of Bruticus.
He is the most out-and-out sadistic hothead of the Combaticons, and functions as their interrogator.
His favorite tactic is to trap Autobots in the huge wind funnels he creates in helicopter mode until they tell him what he wants to know.
Brawl transforms into a Leopard Tank.
He forms the left leg of Bruticus.
While he is something of a loudmouth and the least intelligent, he is only telling the truth about his abilities.
He has an extremely short temper, provoking bursts of uncontrollable fury that leave him as little more than a berserker in battle.
He transforms into a jeep.
He forms the right leg of Bruticus.
He is the most intelligent of the Combaticons.
He may look like he is the most friendly of the group - in reality he would sell his companions in a heartbeat if it meant he made some cash on the side.
He is blessed with a smooth tongue that means he can sell anything to anyone - even oil to an Arab sheik.
Millions of years ago, during the early days of the third Great War on Cybertron, a group of "Renegade Decepticons" attempted to overthrow Megatron and assume leadership of the Decepticons for themselves. Their coup met with failure, and as punishment for their treason, Megatron ordered Shockwave to extract the quintet's personality components and destroy their bodies. For millions of years, the Renegade Decepticons' personality components were held in the Decepticon Detention Center, Room 217, until 1985, when they were liberated by Starscream.
Starscream, having gone one step too far in his constant quest to depose Megatron and become Decepticon leader, had been exiled from the faction and dumped on the island of Guadalcanal, where he chanced to unearth some abandoned World War II vehicles left over from the battle there. Reminded of Blitzwing by a tank he came across, Starscream hit upon the idea of creating troops of his own. He travelled to Cybertron and acquiring the Renegade Decepticons' personality components, which he installed into the refurbished vehicles, reconfiguring them into modern-day forms. Some of the five he had to greatly change: e.g. Blast Off the space shuttle and Vortex the helicopter were made out of crashed World War II fixed-wing aircraft, and Onslaught the missile truck was built from a WWII-era half-track. Starscream deliberately neglected to equip the new bodies with energy absorbers, preventing the newly-christened "Combaticons" from refuelling, forcing them to obey his commands so that they could acquire them. After two strikes, capturing several Autobots and Decepticons, and in the process, making Megatron think that the Autobots were responsible, the Combaticons took their captives' energy absorbers and re-energised themselves, before coming under attack from Megatron's forces. As the Constructicons formed Devastator, Starscream revealed the new power he had given the Combaticons for just that eventuality, as they combined into Bruticus and bested Devastator, only to be blindsided by Menasor and defeated. Many believe that their rivalry with the Stunticons is far more intense than with the Protectobots, due to Stunticon interference causing their first defeat.
Captured by Megatron, Starscream and the Combaticons were exiled to an asteroid floating in deep space, but Onslaught soon conceived a plan for revenge and had Blast Off tow the asteroid to Cybertron. Enraged by his predicament and infuriated by the Combaticons' failure to perform, Starscream attempted to return to Earth under his own power, while the Combaticons successfully arrived on Cybertron and quickly and efficiently defeated Shockwave's sentinel army, seizing Shockwave who had been stunned while in his laser cannon mode, and actually wielding him as a huge hand-held weapon before blasting Shockwave into space and taking control of the planet.
Wiring his missile guidance systems into the space bridge, Onslaught manipulated Earth's orbit and sent it towards the sun. It took the unlikely team up of Megatron, Optimus Prime and Starscream to stop the Combaticons, distracting them with a hologram projector long enough to reverse the Earth's fate, then allowing Prime to strike at Bruticus's built-in weak spot (put there by Starscream in case Bruticus rebelled), identified by Starscream. The trio voted to destroy Bruticus, with Megatron delivering the fatal blast, but in reality had used the hologram projector to create an illusion to fool Optimus Prime, planning to reprogram the Combaticons to serve him.
The reprogrammed Combaticons were soon deployed on a mission to the Middle East, working with the local black market to smuggle jet parts to Megatron, which he used to build a drone jet army.
Later, in battle with the Protectobots, Bruticus was heavily damaged, and rather than repair his comrades, Swindle opted to sell their parts to assorted "clients." The enraged Megatron ordered him to reacquire the parts so that Bruticus could wield their new gravity-manipulating weapon, but when Swindle could not find Brawl's personality component, a bomb was installed in his body to give him extra incentive. Brawl's component, meanwhile, had inadvertently wound up incorporated into a high school science project robot nicknamed "B.O.T.", which caused it to run amok, drawing in Swindle and a team of Autobots; Swindle was eventually able to remove the component, but B.O.T.'s creators then used him to destroy Bruticus's new weapon.
When not squabbling amongst themselves, the Combaticons form the backbone of the Decepticon Assault Infantry division.
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