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Source: BMC Toys

Six-year-old girl asks for green army women and the toy company obliged

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Sep. 19 2019, Updated 10:27 a.m. ET

Chances are that you played with those little green army men as kid. Everyone seemed to have a bag filled to the brim of the little guys. First launched in 1938, just before the Second World War, kids have been waging imaginary wars with the two-inch-tall figures ever since. 

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But 80 years later, the toys haven't really kept up with the times. While some women served as soldiers and pilots during the Second World War, most were confined to medical and support roles. It's far more commonplace for women to serve in combat roles on the frontlines now, but if you go and pick up a bag of toy soldiers from your local toy store, all the figures are still men. 

That's about to change, thanks to a 6-year-old girl from Arkansas. 

BMC Toys, the company that makes the green army men, is planning to release a range of green army women after they received a letter from the little girl that read: 

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“My name is Vivian. I am six years old. Why do you not make girl army men. Some girls don’t like pink, so please can you make army girls that look like women? I would play with them every day and my friends would too!” 

Vivian, who lives in Little Rock, told NBC that she sent the letter because there wasn't a single woman in her army. 

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Source: BMC Toys
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Jeff Imel, owner of BMC Toys, has been contemplating creating a line of female soldiers for a while, but Vivian's letter pushed the project past the finishing post. 

Imel shared Vivian’s letter in a blog post in August, and he said that the response was so overwhelming that he's now moving forward with plans to design and produce female figures. 

“It was a heartfelt letter. And it reminded me of being a kid and always wanting that toy that you couldn’t get in the gumball machine. So I really looked into it. Every kid wants to be the hero of their own story,” Imel told NBC News

Imel is now working with artists and military experts to create a line of female characters. Since the company is small, he plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign in November to help create as many different roles as possible. 

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Source: BMC Toys

He's already hired a sculptor for a female captain but hopes to add versions of other classic designs, including a bazooka trooper. He hopes the figures will be ready for kids by Christmas 2020. 

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Imel added: “What’s been really surprising to me is how many women have contacted me since Vivian’s story aired on national television to say they wish they had little Green Army Women when they were children back in the ’60s.”  

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Source: BMC Toys
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Unsurprisingly, people seem to love the idea on social media. 

“Absolutely thrilled with this project,” one user wrote. “I am a retired Army veteran who joined as a [Women’s Army Corps]! Will be ordering several sets — one for my military collection and also for my grandkids!” 

“This is the best thing to happen to plastic toy figures since Toy Story,” another added.

While one user wrote: “It’s about time!” 

And yes, Vivian plans to be one of the first kids to send her female troopers into battle. 

“I might just get the boy army men out of the way and just play with the girls,” she said. 

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