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Barring near-mystical or supernatural methods like quantum surges, shoving two sparks into one body, leveling up via The Matrix of Leadership, or intervention by Unicron, can Transformers be manually upgraded?

In Transformers: Prime, we see that biomechs (essentially organs) can be transplanted, but can systems be actually upgraded or given new abilities? Can Bumblebee be made bigger? Faster? Stronger?

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apt-get dist-upgrade –  DVK May 1 at 1:56
    
@DVK They use Windows. –  Sachin Shekhar Jun 3 at 16:56
    
More pressing, are upgrades backward compatible? –  Abulafia Jun 3 at 16:59
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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes.

In the IDW continuity several bots undergo complete body swaps and upgrades. In the old ongoing Megatron gets a himself completely new body built by Shockwave and Soundwave (with a completely different alternate mode and arm canon) after being badly wounded. It was a major operation, but it was not mystical in any way.

Before

Before

After

After

And he's not the only one. Optimus Prime went through several. More recently, Bumblebee, Prowl and Starscream got new bods as well.

However there are limitations to how much stress a spark can handle. So you won't be able to rebuild Wheelie as a Metroplex-sized titan. Only very few Cybertronians have an ability known as Load-Bearing that allows them to have massive upgrades.

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Yes, in the Transformers UK continuity after Bumblebee is destroyed by Deaths Head in Hunters (Transformers #117-118), Wreck -Gar rebuilds him as Goldbug.

enter image description here

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It was always my understanding that they just repaired him and gave him a new paint job. Did they actually upgrade him at all, too? –  phantom42 Apr 30 at 18:45
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This really depends on the continuity/universe you're looking at. If you're just looking for an example, you're able to start right at the beginning: Generation 1, Episode 1

Right at the beginning we see Bumblebee's vehicle mode for the first time, it's some kind of glider:

Cybertron Bumblebee

This is obviously no Volkswagen Beetle. However, later on on Earth Teletran 1 upgrades his vehicle form to better fit into his new surroundings (image from a later episode):

Earth Bumblebee

I don't remember there being any real explanation or anything, but in the classic animation series it's definitely possible, without any higher being or mystical stuff or whatever.

Also, later on during Generation 2, they introduce the so called Headmasters which were upgraded/modified transformers where their heads could transform into smaller robots (or in one case house Spike (if I don't confuse him right now)).

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The original Cybertronian mode vs the Volkswagon is more of a new alt mode. I'm not sure I'd count it as an actual "upgrade". –  phantom42 Apr 30 at 18:43
    
How were the Transformers altered to become the Headmasters? –  phantom42 Apr 30 at 18:44
    
@phantom42 - They were modified by Spike and the Nebulans without no mystical "you got the touch" fanfare. –  System Down Apr 30 at 18:46
    
@phantom42 I consider it an upgrade (in reverse order if you want). You're going from anti-gravity (whatever means) to wheels, which is a definitive change. And IIRC there've been instances where some floating thing would have been helpful, yet they didn't utilize it. As far as I remember the first transformers with two alternative modes were introduced in the 1986 movie (or possibly a bit earlier; don't remember). If you want another, significantly bigger example of the creation/modification of a transformer, consider Trypticon's creation during Generation 1 (built from earth houses!). –  Mario May 1 at 6:53
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In G1 Cartoon Bumblebee is rebuilt into goldbug

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Not wrong, but this has already been addressed in more detail in another answer. –  phantom42 Jun 3 at 17:30
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