Season 2 of the G1 Transformers show introduced the Triple Changers, who had two alt-modes in addition to their robot form. Unlike the Combiners, they were introduced with no fanfare, and just showed up as if they had been among the Decepticon ranks the whole time (Autobot Triple Changers would show up later).

g1 blitzwing

What makes the Triple Changers so different that they can have multiple alt-modes when the vast majority of Transformers cannot? I'm primarily interested in the G1 continuity, but will accept answers from later canons if nothing was ever explained.

*Note: This is not a duplicate of Why do the Transformers only become one type of vehicle?, which is similar, but asks why TF's don't change alt-modes, and is focused on the live-action movies.

  • Do you mean to ask about the G1 or Dreamwave version? In G1 it was indeed not explained (to my knowledge) - Dreamwave (I think it was there) had a completely improbably backstory: Shockwave created them but his first attempt resulted in the Duocons. As if he could get creating Triple-Changers so wrong as to give them two simultaneous alt-modes... – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Sep 11 '15 at 13:03
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    @Wikis updated the question to clarify – phantom42 Sep 11 '15 at 13:07
  • FWIW I think the six-changers just showed up as well. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Sep 11 '15 at 13:37
  • IIRC, the comics showed that Triple-Changer technology was an experiment by Shockwave that resulted in Astrotrain & Blitzwing. It was only semi-successful, since they consumed energon much faster than normal, and Blitzwing showed some fairly unstable personality traits. The Autobots used the process on a couple volunteers after they got it, but both sides abandoned the idea. – Omegacron Sep 11 '15 at 14:43

The "organ" that is responsible for a Cybertronian's ability to transform is the Transformation Cog (or T-Cog).


We've seen Cybertronians rendered unable to transform (or with limited ability) due to malfunction of the T-Cog, so it stands to reason that Triple Changers have unique T-Cogs that allow them to have more than one alt-mode. Now, why does Astrotrain and the rest have this unique T-Cog isn't very clear except in the Dreamwave continuity where it was the result of experimentation by Shockwave. They could be rare mutations, or abilities that are deliberately introduced through surgery or a similar process.

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  • Perhaps they have a SECONDARY cog? – Omegacron Sep 15 '15 at 13:25
  • @Omegacron - Not that we have seen so far. Along with the brain module and the spark casing, the T-cog seems to be a major organ that occurs only once. But TF fiction hasn't explored this area very well. – System Down Sep 15 '15 at 19:31

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