My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Twilight Sparkle & Rainbow Dash
$5 each at Wal-Mart
My Little Pony has been a tiny part of my life since I was fairly small. I remember seeing the movie and being terrified by THE SMOOZE but even at that young age (I was 5) I knew firmly that these ponies were not actually mine. This was an icky GIRL’s cartoon about icky GIRL’S toys with their brushable hair, scented parts and AWESOME FLAPPING WINGS.
What? Ok fine, I’ll admit it. I played with my sister’s Ponies, Carebears and Wuzzles almost as much as my G.I. Joes, Thundercats and Transformers. In our house there were no separate universes where the girl’s toys were segregated from the boy’s toys. Ours was a toyverse where Bumble-Lion and Lion-O were buddies and the Cloud Car strafed HISS Tanks along side the Sky Striker.
And so this history led me to pick up Twilight Sparkle and later Rainbow Dash for my wife on a recent pair of trips to Wal-Mart. My wife is a fan of the ponies, though she won’t buy them herself, and I always enjoy a little peek into the world of girl’s toys. These are based on the newest cartoon, one that I have heard a lot of praise for, called Friendship is Magic. Lets see if the toys live up to the cartoon’s glowing reputation!
Honesty is very important to me, so I’m going to knock your socks off right away with the revelation that these are stock pictures I snagged from the interwebs. The packaging for our MLP figures did not make it home in one piece. Here, check it out, this is what’s left of Rainbow Dash’s packaging. I can’t even find a scrap of Twilight Sparkle’s, I’m assuming it was in much worse condition before it evaporated or spontaneously combusted.
What we’ve got going on here is essentially a clear plastic bubble on a basic, girly printed card. There’s a cute little print of the character from the cartoon and a bunch of big, swirly pink lines that cement this as a girl’s toy. And yet here I am.
The packaging also advertises one of the features of these basic ponies, in Rainbow Dash’s case it’s pointing to a little wagon that she carts her little Squirrel Buddy around in. Pony Pulls the Cart! Twilight Sparkle on the other hand totes her little Bird Pal on a back mounted throne, much like an Oliphaunt would carry the Southrons into war. Pony Wears the Saddle!
As a completely uninformed consumer, that is someone who has only seen small screen grabs and read some discussions about the cartoon, I like the sculpts a lot. To me they fall somewhere in between the look of the vintage MLP figures and the look of the ponies in the modern cartoon they’re based on. This brings to mind a very strange thought, that this is kind of the same concept that Mattel keeps preaching about for Masters of the Universe Classics.
Think about that for a second, rather than release completely new looking figures, Hasbro is using the nostalgia that any parent who grew up with ponies is sure to have to make them more likely to buy these for their kids! This is definitely a valid tactic for a retail product like MLP but it makes me wonder if the executive who laid down the VINTAGE ONLY verdict for MOTUC even realizes they aren’t at retail.
Enough of my foolishness, back to the toy review. There isn’t a ton of detail on anything in the set but I think that works well for it. There are a lot of soft, cartoony lines and rounded features to make the ponies and their little woodland friends as adorable and non-threatening as possible.
Each pony has “real” strands of hair coming from it’s head and ass just like the majority of the classic ponies did. Rainbow Dash has got the (gasp!) rainbows goin’ on while Twilight Sparkle’s rockin’ a blend of pink and purple that’ll bring all the foals to the yard. The hair is just bushy enough to give a bit of extra size to the relatively small pony toys.
There’s not much to speak of here, the only joint on either of the figures is a cut neck that lets the ponies look left a right. This is, has been and likely always will be par for the course for My Little Pony figures but I can’t help but imagine what a super articulated Pony would be like.
Ok, that’s freaky, lets move along.
Rainbow Dash comes with a little chariot for her squirrel taskmaster to chase her in while he cracks the whip. It clips onto either of her back feet and stays on tenuously while the weight of the rodent tries to pull it free. The little cart is one solid molded piece with no moving parts, much less wheels, and it’s generally cheap looking.
Twilight Sparkle comes with a saddle so that she can ferry about the bird-James-Spader in her life with ease. It, too, is one solid piece but it doesn’t feel quite so cheap (probably because there are no immobile wheels). Sadly she does not come with a pen, a worm or a miss-spelled bit of typing.
The squirrel and bird are both solid chunks-o-plastic that get all their color from paint. The paint job is surprisingly very good on both considering these things are non-named pack ins designed to make you feel better about plunking down your money for a 3” tall horse. They are very cute and match the style of the ponies very well. The squirrel sits in front of me as I type this review. Don’t judge me.
Finally, both ponies come with a stylish brush in their colors so that you can brush their long, luscious and stringy locks without having to explain to your family why you have rainbow colored hairs in your beard. The combs are sculpted to look like fancy antiques and they’re sure to be lost quickly and then found at the worst possible moment by a bare foot while you’re holding several ice cream sundaes.
$5 each for these small pony sets feels just about right considering what’s included in each. There is a lot of play time to be had between the woodland sidekick, the mode of transportation and the pony itself, plus any true MLP fan is going to spend a solid 15 minutes brushing the hair just right (or am I alone in this?).
Relative to other toys in that price range I think the MLP figures fall pretty squarely in the middle. I found them on the Easter Aisle at Wal-Mart along with a bunch of other toys (Lego sets, Littlest Pet Shop, etc.) intended for kid’s Easter baskets, they were all priced about the same. If I had to pick a toy for me from that aisle based purely on value the MLP sets would rank 3rd behind the Lego TIE Fighter and the Lego X-Wing.
I bought these little horses to make my wife smile and they definitely accomplished their goal. While they’re decidedly not aimed at adult collectors like so many of the products I buy on a regular basis, these My Little Pony figures have a definitely charm that’s hard to ignore.
I think any little girl would love to get one of these ponies whether they’re a fan of the cartoon or not, it’s an adorable horse they can play with and brush as well as a pocket sized critter to keep them entertained away from home. Who wouldn’t want that?!