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The Battlechargers are a devilish duo of deadly Decepticon dragsters dedicated to destruction, demolition and deviance. Individually they are Runabout and Runamuck, collectively they are a copyeditor's nightmare.
Marvel Comics continuity
The Battlechargers were summoned to Earth from Cybertron by Megatron, who wanted a dramatic way to announce his challenge to Optimus Prime for a fight to the death. Ignoring their orders, the two reckless Decepticons left and began to raise a bit of random highway havoc. During a break in the mayhem, they rested in a parking lot and saw a defiant youngster expressing his disgust of family vacations through graffiti. His dad angrily escorted him back to the station wagon, and their holiday trip resumed. The Battlechargers, impressed by the boy's disregard for authority, began following the family on a road trip through the U.S., defacing any monuments they happened upon (such as Mt. Rushmore, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the Washington Monument). They wrote insults and jokes in Cybertronian, thus attracting the attention of RAAT, which had already captured thirteen Autobots.
RAAT caught up with them in Philadelphia, where Circuit Breaker engaged them in a battle that nearly killed the graffiti-inclined boy. Because of her disregard for civilian safety, Circuit Breaker was temporarily stripped of her command and ordered to stay out of action. Itching for revenge, she found her only allies to be the partially-disassembled Autobots in her RAAT lab. She didn't have time to rebuild them all properly, but she knew she could jury-rig them together into a single form which she could partially control. However, she needed the Autobots' consent, and they only agreed to do it if she would release them afterward. She agreed, and she soon fought an aerial battle with the two Decepticons at the Statue of Liberty (where, incidentally, they had written "humans are wimps" in poor English). The two hooligans met quick defeat at the hands of her makeshift gestalt, their charred bodies sent plunging into the harbor. Circuit Breaker's release of the captive Autobots cost her her job at RAAT, as well as that of Donny Finkleberg, AKA Robot Master, who had helped her do it. Donny had received a $50,000 reward for turning the Autobot Skids in, and he ended up using that money to help pay for the cleanup of the Battlechargers' antics.
For quite some time, the Battlechargers remained out of action (probably rusting under the sea). However, when Shockwave wanted to wrest control of the Earth-based Decepticons from Scorponok, the Battlechargers mysteriously returned and for unknown reasons joined his motley band of rebels. They attacked Scorponok's New Jersey base, and a battle ensued. Just as the battle ended, the combatants were transported to Cybertron by Primus, who was gathering his Transformer children to stand against the demigod Unicron. Runamuck died during the planet-rending battle that followed. .
Despite having apparently died, Runamuck was among the Decepticons under Megatron's command when they ran into Jhiaxus's second-generation Transformers. In a rather one-sided battle against the powerful second gen troops, he promptly died again.
The Transformers cartoon
At first, only Runamuck appeared in the cartoon. He attacked Kup and some other Autobots investigating a decimated Earth Defense Command station that had crashed on the planet Goo #8739B. Riding Blast Off, Runamuck strafed the Autobots with a death-crystal shooter (the station had been destroyed by death crystals, so it's possible that was Runamuck's work as well). The Autobots engaged the duo in a short space battle that ended when Runamuck blew up a comet with the death crystals, delaying the Autobots long enough to get away.
Both Runabout and Runamuck were next seen guarding Trypticon's city mode on Chaar. They were attacked by Scourge and the ghost of Starscream, who wanted to steal one of Trypticon's eyes for Unicron. Starscream possessed Runabout, shot Runamuck, then ran into a wall, knocking Runabout unconscious. Runamuck, however, was able to sound an alarm, and Dirge, Thrust, and Astrotrain arrived to help. Scourge got Trypticon's eye, and Starscream possessed Astrotrain and escaped. Later, under Unicron's orders, Starscream returned to Chaar and took control of Trypticon, not knowing that Dirge, Thrust, and the Battlechargers were inside. Starscream used Trypticon to bring Unicron's head down to Cybertron's surface, but Thrust sabotaged Trypticon from within before Starscream could connect Unicron to the planet. Starscream came out of Trypticon and demanded that Unicron give him a corporeal form so he could complete the connections. Just as Unicron did so, Autobot-planted explosives detonated and sent Unicron's head back into orbit. Starscream was also flung into outer space, where Galvatron began pursuing him. Trypticon (and the Decepticons inside him) were probably thrown into space as well. Although the Battlechargers never appeared again, Trypticon and the others did, so they most likely did survive.
The Battlechargers are indestructible. First, Gnaw ate them, but they survived and found Shockwave's lab. Then Sunstorm fried them, but they survived to become part of Shockwave's small army on Cybertron, which Megatron then took over.
Runabout and Runamuck were part of a Decepticon insurgent cell that had operated covertly on Earth for at least four years, working to destabilize Earth's governing organizations and create global anarchy. Along with Thundercracker, they were assigned by Starscream to intercept the human Stoker and retrieve his SM-40 palmtop PC, which contained data on their Nebraska operation. The team caught up with and killed Stoker outside Phoenix, AZ, by which time Verity Carlo had already stolen the SM-40. The Battlechargers' attempts to retrieve it from Verity and Ratchet blew their cover; they appeared in full public view both in primary mode and in a secondary alternate mode, where the panels of their sports-car disguises split apart to reveal weapons and ram-plates. While pursuing Ratchet, both Battlechargers were run off the road by a semi-trailer. They got better, but were no longer part of any major operations.
The Battlechargers continued their trend of being brutally off-lined when the Reapers attacked the Decepticon command bunker in Oregon. Runabout was electrocuted until he exploded and Runamuck was decapitated and then had his errant head crushed by a large boulder.
Only time will tell if they show up again intact...
Released in 1986, the primary gimmick of the Battlecharger toys is auto-transformation from car to robot mode through the use of a pull-back motor. The motor gimmick is still usable in their robot modes. Though they share exceedingly similar construction, it is highly unlikely one is actually a retool of the other since they had simultaneous production.
Neither toy was released as part of the original retail line in Japan.
- Accessories: "High-Energy Particle Beam Rifle"
- Runabout transforms into a Lotus Turbo Esprit sports car.
- Accessories: "Friction Rifle"
- Runamuck transforms into a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am sports car.