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Transformers rolling out all-female fighting force this summer

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The Transformers are getting an all-new, all-female unit of six Autobots who will combine into a new super-robot, Victorion, says toymaker Hasbro. "Our female fans have demanded to be part of the story," a Hasbro representative told USA Today this week.

The team itself is as yet unnamed, and will debut in July in the Transformers: Combiner Hunters comic by IDW Publishing, then releasing in toy form.

Female personalities have been a part of the Transformers universe since its origins in toys, cartoons and comics in the 1980s, though in much smaller numbers than male characters. Three of them, Firestar, Chromia and Moonracer, appeared in a 1986 episode of the syndicated cartoon, though they didn't show up in toy form until two decades later.

The most recent female Transformer is Windblade (pictured above), a character introduced in 2013 and designed with the help of a community-polled effort in shaping her specs and abilities.

"Boys and girls should all be able to like Transformers whether there are female characters or not," said Constance Zimmer, who voices Strongarm, a female character in the current Transformers: Robots in Disguise series running on Cartoon Network. "Maybe we're coming to a time when it won't be such a big deal. It'll just be commonplace that there will be everybody."