A combiner is a group of Transformers that assemble and combine their bodies into a single machine, or that composite machine itself. Most combiners form a larger Super Robot with its own unique personality (a character in its own right), but other varieties of combiner exist, forming vehicles, weapons, or other items. Combiners tend to be considerably larger and more powerful than the average Transformer, equivalent to strategic-grade weapons.
There are a number of combiner-related terms that can be easy to mix up, partially because some of them are used interchangeably. Additionally, most of them have no formal definition and thus may be used differently by different fans. Consequently, most of the discussion which follows should not be taken as the word of Primus, but as a rough description of common usage.
Combiners on the MUX
Terms for combiners
As above, a member of a group of Transformers who assemble into a composite form. Also refers to that composite form itself. This is the most general term for all combining Transformers. "Combiner" is the most common term for combining Transformers.
Fan-terminology for a certain class of combiners -- generally used only for "big robot" combiners with emergent personalities. The term is nebulously defined, such that some fans would consider a two-member combiner such as Squawkbox a gestalt, but other fans would not. This is probably the fandom's second most frequently-used term for combining Transformers. Its use in Transfandom is derived from the principle of gestalt psychology, which is sometimes simplified to mean "greater/different than the sum of its parts," though a few fans consider this term pretentious and obtuse. The term remained firmly in realm of fanon for years, although it did appear in some Energon design sketches implying that Hasbro designers used the term occasionally, until in 2007 "gestalt" made its first official appearance, in the bio of the Titanium Series Menasor toy.
Scramble City combiner
A specific type of Generation 1 giant gestalt that follows the five-member design featured in the Japanese “Scramble City” OVA. The team leader is larger than the other members and forms the main body of the combiner, while the others are smaller and form the limbs. The limbs are interchangeable, although there is always a generally-accepted “normal” formation. Further, the limbs are interchangeable from one Scramble City combiner to another, making for a large number of bizarre combinations.
Limbs are also able to attach to and augment Metroplex. Note that this term is purely descriptive rather than being a proper name.
A synonym for Scramble City combiner. When the Scramble City toys were marketed in Europe they were referred to as Special Teams, and the term even appeared in the UK comic book series. The term was used in some marketing materials in the US, such as packing lists for the toy case assortments, but never appeared in US fiction until the Ultimate Guide was published in 2004.
A robot which is formed through the combination of two or more Transformers. Powered-up robot modes composed of only one Transformer who combines with some of their own accessories are often also referred to as Super Robots, such as Powermaster Optimus Prime or the incarnations of Prime from Robots in Disguise and all three Unicron Trilogy series. It is probably safe to informally refer to any such mode as a Super Robot (thus including, say, Ultra Magnus and Energon Landmine). Note that this means Super Robots are not always combiners and do not have to have their own personality. Rather, Super Robot and combiner are two different categories of Transformer which sometimes overlap. A one-robot Super Robot may also be referred to as that robot's Super Mode.
Coined by Simon Furman in issue 9 of the Generation 2 comic to refer to the Combaticons. It presumably is meant to refer to all the Scramble City teams, as their combined forms consist of five robots. It may also apply to the Predacons, but it doesn't matter because nobody uses this term anyway.
Types of combiner
As mentioned above, most combiners form a super robot. However, there are many other types of combining in the Transformers multiverse.
Generation 1 contains many examples of combined alternate modes, including Reflector.
Not all cases of multiple things attaching to each other are combiners. As mentioned above, many Super Robots -- which are formed through a conglomeration of parts -- are not combiners.
A similar case can be found in Transformers who have two or more "components" which combine into a single entity. Sky Lynx has lynx and dino-bird components, and Omega Supreme has tank, base, and rocket components. However, all of these components are considered to be "part of" the overall Transformer, even though they can act independently. The Duocons are another case of this sort. All of these examples are not combiners because there is only one Transformer involved in each of them, regardless of how many bodies that Transformer may simultaneously operate.
To punish Starscream for his refusal to join the Autobots, Emperor Prime made Starscream watch as Prime destroyed Crystal City. After rescuing the Constructicons from Prime's Robo-Smasher, Starscream helped Megatron rebuild them into the first gestalt. However, soon after, the Decepticon Jetfire defected to the Autobots, taking Starscream's gestalt technology with him, allowing Emperor Prime and the Old One to build the first Autobot combiner, Superion.
| This page uses content from Teletraan I: The Transformers Wiki. The original article was at Combiner.