Tarn (Transformers Generation 1)

Transformers More than Meets the Eye Tarn You can't take anything from someone who has nothing to lose.

Decepticons faction symbol
Name: Tarn
Aliases: Glitch, Damus
Allegiance: Decepticons
Function: Decepticon Internal Affairs
Sub-group: Decepticon Justice Division
Timeline: Generation 1

Toyline: Third Party (Unofficial) Transformers


Transformers More than Meets the Eye Tarn robot mode
Among the Decepticons, Megatron has several fanatical followers - and few are more fanatical than Tarn. Taking his name from the city-state that Megatron originated from, Tarn leads the Decepticon Justice Division, tasked with finding the traitors, double-agents, and deserters with the Decepticon ranks, and subjecting them to discipline - Decepticon discipline. Tarn takes to his work with great zeal, meticulously working down his list of targets. Some claim they've seen Tarn close his eyes so as to not witness the tortures inflicted by the other members of the Decepticon Justice Division, suggesting he doesn't care for making his victims suffer. He's also been known to take in the odd hard luck case, such as Nickel. Tarn reportedly also enjoys classical music such as the human composers Bach and Rachmaninoff, as well as the Cybertronian composition the Empyrean Suite, which he often plays to his victims while giving them a chance to make their peace with Primus before carrying out their execution. Clearly, Tarn is not a typical Decepticon - he has principles and a moral compass, even if both are twisted. Nonetheless, Tarn has been linked to some of the worst atrocities ever committed by the Decepticons, including melting down Autobot prisoners to manufacture bodies for new Decepticon soldiers.

Transformers Tarn looking at his mask
Tarn's greatest secret is the identity of the warrior behind the Decepticon sigil faceplate. He was once a friend of Orion Pax named Damus, although most knew him by his nickname Glitch, due to his ability to cause machinery to malfunction. Glitch had always held anti-authority ideals, and was particularly attracted to Megatron's treatise on Cybertronian society, "Towards Peace". Glitch came to treat the book as something of a religious text, with Megatron as a prophet. When Orion Pax took up arms against Megatron, Glitch took it as a personal betrayal. As a result, Tarn has no love for Autobots, and will gladly slaughter any who cross his path. With pure ruthlessness and incredible physical power, Tarn is one of the most dangerous Decepticons.


Tarn is a gifted bureaucrat, running his team, the Decepticon Justice Division, like a well-oiled machine, with regular team brainstorming sessions and performance reviews for each team member (Nickel conducts Tarn's review). Tarn's approach to team leadership is a rarity among the anarchic Decepticon forces, and has been credited with making the Decepticon Justice Division one of the most feared units within the Decepticon army.

Fittingly for one who idolises Megatron, Tarn wields a double-fusion cannon, modelled on the same one that Megatron uses. A blast from either barrel can easily level a city block, and the weapon has an effective range of around 10 miles. Tarn is immensely strong and durable, capable of fighting on even terms with the strongest Autobot or Decepticon warriors such as Grimlock or Overlord.

Tarn is able to disable machinery around him with little more than a glance, although complex mechanisms sometimes require more effort or physical contact. This also works on other mechanical lifeforms and is the basis of Tarn's most feared ability - his "weaponized conversation". By using his voice alone, Tarn is able to coax a Cybertronian's spark into contracting and shrinking until, with a whisper from Tarn, it is extinguished.


Tarn has an addictive personality - his particular vices are transforming and an incredibly potent enriched version of Nucleon known as Nuke. Tarn's transforming addiction means he burns out key mechanisms such as his T-Cog with alarming regularity, and requires a steady supply of replacement parts and frequent maintenance to keep him in top condition. His abuse of Nuke can make Tarn unpredictable and prone to violent outbursts. Furthermore, Tarn's obsession with the /Decepticon code can cloud his judgment, leading to poor decisions and questionable alliances in pursuit of his goals.

Tank mode:

Transformers More than Meets the Eye Tarn tank mode

Additional images of Tarn:

Transformers More than Meets the Eye Tarn robot mode posed

Author notes:

Tarn is one of my favourite additions to the Transformers mythos in the last decade. From his sinister appearance with that Decepticon faceplate, to his introduction where he talks one of the most powerful Decepticons to death, Tarn made a strong impression on me early on, and the slow buildup to the showdown between him and the crew of the Lost Light was one of the highlights of the second half of the More than Meets the Eye comic series. Hats off to James Roberts, the creator of this character - with Tarn he's created a fantastic new addition to the Transformers mythos.

Tarn's a character with a bit of depth to him. His team, the Decepticon Justice Division, is basically the Decepticon's internal affairs section (or as one person put it, the Decepticon HR department). They're tasked with making sure the Decepticon forces stay true to the Decepticon code, and hammering anyone who steps out of line back into place. What makes Tarn fascinating is he's a zealot for Megatron, so he's got a very strong view of what it means to be a Decepticon. Watching Tarn spiral into insanity as he tries to come to terms with Megatron's own reform during the latter part of More than Meets the Eye was an excellent direction for the character and shows just how unstable Tarn's entire worldview was. But Tarn also has this softer side. You can see by the way he runs his team he's not your typical Decepticon, and he takes in Nickel to look after her, so he's got this soft spot for hard luck cases.

In writing this bio I've tried to encapsulate those different aspects of Tarn's personality while holding on to the fact that he is, at his core, one of the worst Decepticons out there, a brutal killer who if he were human would probably wear a nice suit and be into fine dining. I had a bit of fun with the abilities section. When I write that section I start by making a list of abilities and powers to mention. Tarn's list had "bureaucrat" at the top of it, and because it's a feature we don't see too often among Transformers characters (the only other one who immediately comes to mind is Ratbat) I went ahead and made it a full-on section of his bio.

As a newer character originating in the comics, Tarn doesn't have much in the way of toys. There is an officially licensed figure by Flame Toys which looks incredible but is quite large, quite expensive, and doesn't transform. So to give Tarn some representation in my collection, I needed to delve into the world of unofficial and unlicensed transforming robot toys, aka "third party". There's two third party Tarns - a tiny Legends scaled one by Iron Factory, and a larger one better scaled for Generations toys, which is the Mastermind Creations Kultur. As my main collection is Generations, the Mastermind version was the obvious choice. It does an excellent job of representing the character of Tarn, although I feel Mastermind made the character just a little too big - while a good scale it means the rest of the Decepticon Justice Division would need to be a similar proportionate scale - which means Helex and Tessarus are going to be huge figures and quite possibly exorbitantly expensive.

A pity, since I would love to have the whole team in my collection.