Female Transformers: News Round-up

So, a while back I posted a fairly passionate rant/ramble about female Transformers and being a female Transformers fan. It seems to have struck a chord for a lot of people as it got shared quite widely on Twitter, and continues to be one of our most viewed posts here. So it’s really nice to be able to follow up now by looking at all the femmebot-related news that has emerged since I wrote that earlier post because, happily, there’s quite a lot of it…

“TF ladies? Tell us more…”
Generations Arcee, Custom Slipstream, TF Prime Arcee

Female Combiner Victorion previews

Victorion Picture credit: IDW

Picture credit: IDW

Firstly: Victorion, the fan-built female combiner is set to make her comic appearance in IDW’s Combiner Hunters next month. The names of the female Autobots who will comprise her haven’t yet been revealed but a recent article on USA Today states that “the team’s alternate vehicular forms include two race cars, a pair of helicopters, a motorcycle and a rescue truck,” so that give a pretty firm idea of the various sizes of robots we can expect. I am especially looking forward to finding out more about the rescue truck since  – as I’ve stated before – chunkier female bots are something that the franchise has been severely lacking.

B and I haven’t bought many of the Combiner Wars toys (yet, although since there is a new Starscream coming and Bruticus has been confirmed, this is likely to change!) But it will be interesting to see how the Victorion toys look when they start previewing…. I guess they’re likely to be retools of some of the existing Combiner Wars figures, like Alpha Bravo for the helicopter ladies. Retools can be great, so long as they’re done with thought and sympathy. I’m hopeful that Victorion’s individual components will tick those boxes. As a fan built creation, and given the recent emphasis on bringing females to the franchise, there’s a lot of pressure for her to be something a little special. So I’m cautiously optimistic. But Hasbro has also been guilty of churning out some pretty lazy retools in the past – so these had better not just go down the tiresome  “accentuate the chest region and paint him pink” route. There are so many more interesting ways to signify gender than pastels and, uh, ro-boobs.

From the art revealed so far, Victorion certainly looks to be shaded in the softer end of the colour spectrum but I like her design in the panels that I’ve seen. She may be peachy but she certainly has gravitas, and I don’t think that’s just the big gun! Time will tell…

Alex Milne’s Female Transformer designs for MTMTE

Once again, it seems the Transformers comics are way ahead of the cartoons or toy lines when it comes to including female characters. B and I love IDW’s More Than Meets The Eye series, although with comics we tend to do the equivalent of the DVD Box set binge: wait to buy the omnibus editions then read in bulk (and yes we also like to read aloud to each other and do all the voices!) So we’re a little behind the latest with MTMTE plots but we’re getting through the saga, and I was really excited by the news that more new female characters will feature in the series.

Cover for IDW's MTMTE 41 featuring Firestar, Nautica, Roadmaster, Javelin, and Proxima Art by Alex Milne, colour by Josh Perez.

Cover for IDW’s MTMTE 41 featuring Firestar, Nautica, Roadmaster, Javelin, and Proxima Art by Alex Milne, colour by Josh Perez.

Last month artist, Alex Milne shared on his Tumblr some really cool designs for female Autobots who would be featuring soon in MTMTE: Firestar,  Javelin,  Proxima,  Roadmaster and Velocity. Check them out here. I think Proxima is my favourite of these designs, she immediately reminded me of Perceptor, just as Milne intended. I like his concept of her as ”an extreme multitasker” and it’s good to see a lady Autobot of a more scientific persuasion! But having said last time how much I wanted to see a big chunky lady, who would be the Autobot equivalent of Strika, I have to say I pretty much applauded when I first saw Roadmaster in whom Milne delivers exactly that.

It definitely feels like the tide is turning and female characters are becoming a much more intergrated part of the Transformers universe(s). Milne sums up that change nicely in a recent interview he did with Women Write about Comics:

I’m really happy for the inclusion of more female Transformers… Over the years I snuck in female Transformers in backgrounds. Megatron Origin, the Drift miniseries in the Circle of Light (a faction of Transformers). They make the world bigger; the more the merrier. Now it’s better that I don’t have to sneak them in, and I’m like, “Yes, they’re there!” I’ve been rooting for them for eight years now; we need more!

Amen to that! Amen, and welcome.

Takara Tomy Legends Nightbird, Blackarachnia and Slipstream figures

Finally (for now) there’s the news that Takara will be releasing toys of 3 female characters, Nightbird, Blackarachnia and – the announcement that was, predictably, received with most excitement Chez Addaltmode, Slipstream! Yes that’s right, just a day or two after I finally get my own Slipstream toy (a lovely, unique birthday present customised by B from a Beast Hunters Starscream), an official Slipstream figure gets announced. I’d insert a “Slipstreams are like buses” joke here if she wasn’t so much more like a jet!

Check out the images here.

The Slipstream figure is clearly a Windblade retool which – from what I’ve seen so far – works for the most part, but it is a little disappointing that her wings haven’t been modified more from the original mold. The prominent VTOL fans are an iconic part of Windblade’s design, but it’s not something I’d expect for a Seeker like Slipstream, so I really would have preferred the wings without the fans included. But other aspects of her design and colours seem pretty nice. Thumbs up, certainly, for that smug little smile! So, not perfect by any means but it’ll be great to have an official toy of one of my favourite characters and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t pre-ordered her already.

Our custom Slipstream assesses the competition

Our custom Slipstream assesses the competition

I can take or leave Nightbird to be honest but the Blackarachnia is also quite interesting. With the Prime Airachnid being one of the worst Transformer toys out there, it’s about time Decepticon spider ladies got some decent representation in the plastic. I like this Blackarachnia’s overall shape, which is highly reminiscent of her appearance in Transformers Animated. And her colours are mostly nice, though I am not sure about the transparent chest, and just what exactly is going on with that chest piece in spider mode?

Still, LADY DECEPTICON TOYS at last! Robothumbs up.

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