(Click to view the lineup in all its glory!)
Ever since I wrote that meta-essay on gender and female-ness in Transformers, the concept of model-types has been preying on my mind. If femme is only one model type out of thirteen, what are the other twelve? What sociocultural significance, if any, do they have? Physiologically speaking, what even is a model-type?
Despite having many, many better things to be thinking about and doing, I found myself absorbed by the problem. It was certainly a challenging one. After all, there is already a “canonical” system of model types in place for Transformers: Prime. The show has already introduced a version of the original Thirteen Primes as created by Primus to help battle the Fallen, and word of god would have us believe that extant Cybertronian model types are derived from the Thirteen. At first I thought my task would be as easy as examining the in-show art depicting the Thirteen, determining their model types, and naming them.
It wasn’t that easy.
Almost none of the scant few in-show images of the Thirteen show all thirteen of the Primes at once, and none of them offer a particularly good look. Researching the Thirteen further as they’ve been presented in other canons revealed a lot of Primes that I wasn’t interested in using as prototypical model types, mostly because it would conflict with things I’d already established (or planned to establish) as part of my fanon in “Mercenary Medicine”. (The best example of this is the gestalt Prime, Nexus. Gestalts are a result of Decepticon technological innovation during the course of the war in my fanon, and so using Nexus Prime as a prototype for a model was out of the question.)
In the end, I set aside the Thirteen and concentrated instead on developing a system based on the designs of characters in the show. I separated the characters out roughly by size and by alt-mode, ending up with eight little clusters corresponding to what I had been thinking of as model type. Using that as my foundation, I went to work putting together a system that satisfied my personal insistence on “biological” soundness while still remaining recognizably rooted in what we’ve seen over and over again in canon.
It’s taken a lot of effort—and a lot of input from other people—but I think I’ve finally got something I’m happy with. So without further ado, allow me to present my fanon on the thirteen Primeverse model-types.
( Click through the cut to read on! )