This blog is usually about gaming, and of late, has been mostly about converting and painting Warhammer 40,000 miniatures. I’ve never posted about another hobby of mine – collecting Transformers. But today, that changes.
Today, I got Victorion, the “fan-built” combiner set. Victorion, their gestalt persona, is female, and all six members of the team, “The Torchbearers,” are female. This is fairly unique for Transformers, which has had few female characters up to this point. I won’t get too much into all the geekery surrounding various characters and continuities – I just want to get into why Victorion is important to me as a Transformers fan, collector, father of a young girl who also loves Transformer, and general human being who believes the gender dichotomy of toys has a negative effect on our society.
Here’s why Victorion is so great:
- She’s female. Every member of the team is female. It’s good to have more female representation in Transformers characters. If you have to ask the reason, this is not the article where I explain that.
- She was chosen by fan vote. No one can say this was some toy company being politically correct – the fans wanted a female combiner. Good for you, Transformers fans!
- She’s not pink! There’s nothing wrong with pink (or purple, or fuschia). There is a prominent pink female Transformer already – Arcee. I love Arcee. We won’t talk about the layered problems with Arcee – that’s another article. The fans picked Victorions color scheme, but the important thing here is that she is not a toy that is already “gender color-coded” for girls to like and boys to hate. (The green and red wouldn’t immediately occur to me as a good combo, but it does look nice.)
- Neither she nor her component robots are feminized by being sexualized! Okay, it shouldn’t surprise me that they didn’t give robots mammary glands, but seriously, plenty of people have given robots (and ninja turtles, and any number of non-mammalian anthropomorphic characters) mammary glands… “because girls have boobs, and that’s how you know they’re girls,” I guess. Victorion herself has a feminine face and smaller hands with longer, thinner fingers. Her component robots also share those traits, except the tiny motorcycle (who is just a repaint of Groove, with no tooling changes). That’s it. You can tell they are intended to be female, but you don’t feel like the sculptor had no idea how to make characters look feminine.
- The names of her component robots aren’t all “girly.” Generally, Transformers’ names are not overly gendered. They tend to be two words slapped together, like “Jetfire” and “Ironhide” and “Slapchop.” I had a concern the Transformers that make up Victorion would have terrible gendered names, like “Helicopterette” or “Rumblina” or “Spinderella,” but the people at Transformer Town did not hurt me. The Transformers who make up Victorion are Rust Dust, Dust Up, Stormclash, Skyburst, Jumpstream and – the most feminine gendered name – Pyra Magna.
- These female robots don’t all share a face! Again, I was a little afraid the toy would be lazy, but it isn’t at all. Each of the Transformers who make up Victorion have their own, distinct faces, including Dust Up’s face being masked and Stormclash having goggles. This might not really sound impressive, but I’ve seen far too many shortcuts in toys (including many Transformers) to not realize this took thought, effort, and money, and I appreciate that.
- These toys aren’t just repaints. The basic molds for these toys have already been around for a while – the helicopter mold has been used at least 3 times, the roadster mold has been used about 5 times, and the sports car mold has been used 3 times (and that’s not counting weird exclusives). These toys got a full makeover, some of which was to add a slight feminine touch, but much of which was just to make them more awesome and more distinct. The weapons and their combined form, for instance, are amazing and unique to this toy, and so are the combiner’s hands and feet.
I’m not saying everything is rosey – Jumpstream almost has boobs, but not quite (and it’s a shape found elsewhere on male-gendered Transformers, so that’s just me being picky), and Rust Dust is just Groove repainted (and she fits on Victorion’s chest about as well as Groove fits on Defensor’s), but overall, I am floored by how great Victorion is. And my daughter loves her too… so I might have to buy one for her (she can’t play with mine!).
So perhaps this post makes me sound pessimistic about the whole thing, and I think I was fairly pessimistic about this little experiment called Victorion. But I am so happy to be wrong.
If you know a boy or a girl who loves Transformers or robots or whatever, consider getting them the Victorion boxed set.