|Dustin the Aggregate Hopper
Dustin's such a sweet character - he's kind, well-meaning, caring, but big. He's not fat, he's just big-boned - well, that's just the way he was made! He's not the brightest penny either, bless him. Dustin is essential to the Freight train, he works hard, does what he's told. However he's shy - when it comes to his turn to introduce himself in "Freight", Control has to call him several times and Flat-top, or Caboose, also have to encourage him to come forward and introduce himself. Dustin's close friends with Flat-top, while Flat-top's larking around it's to amuse Dustin.
He is key to the storyline of Starlight Express - After Rusty's been eliminated/refuses to race (depending on version), Poppa decides to race to show him what Steam Can Do - but he needs a Partner. Rocky is already spoken for, Flat-top flat-out refuses, but Dustin wants to help- he's love to help! So Poppa races with Dustin in the last Heat, and they win. But the exertion has been too much for Poppa, and Dustin is racked with guilt- it was his fault, he was too heavy... Then later it's Dustin who was nearby when Rusty met the Starlight Express, and Dustin, in his dreams, had seen it too... and together they raced the DOWNhill final. And amazingly - They won!
|Dustin's costume has always evoked a hard-working, simple character. He's padded with a framework similar to a crinoline skirt support, apparently! As ever, the london costume designs were simpler and more anthropomorphically suggestive than the american-based version, which has his shirt open, and coals spilling out of his open stomach - a little too graphic for my liking. That's his innards pouring outwards!
A few years back, there was a run of fanfic stories written within the old Yahoo community, and within this fantasy setting, Dustin and Joule the dynamite Truck became a couple, as "opposites attract". There was nothing to prompt this relationship onstage, it was just a cute idea... some cute pics were drawn, a couple more stories written mentioning them as being together. Then one night, we saw Dustin and Joule flirting onstage. Most bizarre, and the actress playing Joule denied even knowing about the internet. The actor playing Dustin, however, suddenly turned very sheepish about answering if he'd seen the fan community!