REVIEW: My Little Pony Favorites Collection II and Rainbow Dash as a Shadowbolt

I have loved My Little Pony since I was a little girl of six, who got some pocket money from her grandparents and went with her mother to Lewis Drug in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and fell in love with a beautiful pink pegasus with blue hair and lightning bolts on her ass named Firefly. That little pony was my best friend all through my childhood, for real.  I watched Rescue at Midnight Castle more times than was sane. I fell out of pony collecting for a little while, other things began to hold my interest. But with the release of the Friendship is Magic 30-minute-toy-commercial TV show, I fell in love all over again. This being the age of the internet, something that I didn’t have when I was a little girl of six, I have made friends of my own age who love these little plastic horses just as much as I do.

I’ve gotten a weird little complex about these newest ponies though. They are my Pokemon. I GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL. Or, as I usually put it: PONY ALL THE THINGS! I’m not so much looking to collect EVERY variant there is but if they interest me, yeah, I’ll get them.  Mostly Playful Pony size ones, like the ones I’m showing here.  Fashion Styles too, mostly. This is why you can see on my shelf that I have an inordinate number of Pinkie Pie’s, since the Pinkie Pie’s Boutique line is made of girlyness and AWESOME and therefore, I love it.

I used to be worse about this, y’all. I used to insist on having the walking poses of each pony as well, but that just got silly and I stopped that. But this new Through the Mirror line is something I’ll definitely have to have, even if I already have Sunset Shimmer and Princess Twilight Sparkle. The only upcoming thing I know I’m skipping is this as-yet-unnamed playset because I already have every pony that’s in it. Yes, including Minty. A compare-contrast of the two Minty figures will come some other time.

So anyway, last week I broke down and ordered the newest Favorites Collection and special, more-expensive single pony from Toys R Us, and they arrived today, so that’s what I’ve got a review for you on!

ponyreview001So, we’ll start with Rainbow Dash, since unboxing that other thing is going to take some time. (I had no idea how much time at the start of all this.)

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Her box, near as I can remember, is pretty much identical to Zecora’s box last year, the same paisley pattern on the back. Just very obviously, the pony is different! I do get a kick out of the Shadowbolt thing. Mostly because on the community I run, there was a guy who insisted that the Shadowbolts were real and not just an illusion created by Nightmare Moon to make the ponies falter. He was kind of an idiot though.  But then she showed up in “Luna Eclipsed” in this as a costume and I thought it was perfect.  Face it though, to me, that episode was perfect anyway because they blew the brony theory of “Luna is a poor little woobie” completely out of the water by making her a complete ham that stole every scene she was in. And Prankster!Dash never goes out of style.

Sorry. Tangent.

When the pictures from Toy Fair were released, it was generally assumed that this Rainbow Dash as Shadowbolt was this year’s Zecora, an assumption that turned out to be correct. She retails for $10.99 and is a Toys R Us Exclusive, and I got her for half off because TRU had a Buy One Get One 50% Off sale going on.

A word before I continue. I didn’t take pictures of it, but the box my ponies were shipped in was a mess. Falling apart, barely taped on the bottom, coming open at the top. Toys R Us really needs to be looking at what the people in their warehouse are doing, because if I would have had missing ponies due to them not being careful, I would not have been a happy Snarker.

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Her box is pretty simple, just some advertisements for the other new stuff out this year for TRU, and a repeat of the gorgeous vector for Dash in her costume. I really do love that look on her.

The box opened easily enough, just slice through two pieces of tape holding it closed and it came right open.
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The insert slides out easily enough and Rainbow Dash is attached to a simple plastic mold to keep her attached. Her tail, like all My Little Pony tails (ha, Ponytails. I kill me.) is wrapped in a thin tube of plastic. I noticed before I even got her out of that thing that there were going to be some oddities here.

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It was pretty easy to free her from her plastic prison, but as you can see, being stuck in said plastic prison has given her legs a bit of a splayed look. Oh well, moving on.

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Her head turns easily, and here we see the second oddity. Her mane and forelock are waxed into place. As a long-time pony lover who finds brushing pony hair to be among the most soothing things in the world, this vexes me. I suppose one could attempt to wash the wax out, but you run the risk of washing the paint job away.

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A facial close-up reveals better the waxed hair. Her paint job around her muzzle is slightly messy, but not enough to make me mad about it. Like the DJ Pon-3/Vinyl Scratch toy from last year’s Favorite Collection, you can see the spots where her eye decals would go if they weren’t obscured by her painted costume. Apart from the messiness around her muzzle, the paint job is really excellently done.

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The paint job continues over the rest of her body. I love the Shadowbolt’s cutie mark, and the Frankenstein-esque stitching bits.

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Quick comparison to regular-flavor Rainbow Dash. This is actually one of the early Rainbow Dash toys, since they no longer make ponies with forelocks. I think that Shadowbolt Dash is just a little lighter blue, or it just may be that original-flavor Dash is several years old. I don’t know, but it looks that way to me.

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And a comparison to the Zecora toy from last year. Zecora uses the walking pose and is glow-in-the-dark, but other than that is your basic pony figurine. I really can’t pick which one I like better! Maybe if I was forced I’d say Zecora, because I think Zecora is awesome, but the Dash is mostly really well done.

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Even with her leg wonk, she can strike a pretty nifty pose!

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And the view from the back with the waxed into place hair. Is it me? Or does it look like all of Rainbow Dash’s body is actually painted, not just the costume? Hm. I will have to examine this more carefully.

All in all, I think Rainbow Dash as a Shadowbolt is a wonderful addition to my collection, and an enjoyable little shoutout to an episode that I truly loved. My biggest complaint is the waxed into place hair and the wonky leg, but even those are minor.

And now… the Favorites Collection!

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There it is from the front, all seven ponies nicely placed in their plastic! Going clockwise from the upper-right, we have Princess Cadance, Bubblecup/The Grey Lady*, Lyrica Lilac, Diamond Dazzle Tiara**, Shining Armor, Lyra Heartstrings and in the middle is Queen Chrysalis. This set retails for $36.99 on toysrus.com.

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Back of the box has commonly seen vectors of the characters and their names repeated. I LIKE that Hasbro just keeps The Grey Lady unnamed and represented by her muffin vector, that way whoever gets her can just call her what they want and that way everyone’s happy and Hasbro isn’t being ableist fucktards. 😀

My biggest complaint with this set is the inclusion of Lyra, Cadance and Shining Armor. It is not that I dislike these ponies. On the contrary, Princess Cadance is one of my favorites, because she’s a pretty kick-ass little pony! The My Little Pony comics have canonically turned Shining Armor into the biggest geek in Equestria, which makes me love him even more, and I even like Lyra quite a lot, for her nifty coloring, and the fact that the show-runners seem to have bought into this Lyra and Sweetie Drops are a couple thing, which is one of the few brony fanon things that I enjoy. I do like that. A lot. But… I already had Lyra, Cadance and Shining Armor. Have had them for at least a year. I can think of so many other ponies that would have been amazing to include in this set. The aforementioned Sweetie Drops (Lyra needs her woman!), a Big Macintosh or Time Turner for a boy, more of the Flower Trio (I would shank infants to get a brushable Rose). When we’ve already had three of these ponies for awhile, I really am not seeing the point in including them in this. On that tip… I would rather have seen Diamond Tiara in the upcoming Cutie Mark Crusaders and Friends set (instead of another fucking Cheerilee – I like Cheerilee a lot, but yeeesh!) than in this set. If they were dead set on putting a filly in this set, they could have put in Dinky Doo. But that’s just me being nitpicky.

But, Snarky, you ask! Couldn’t you have just bought the ponies you needed from Taobao or Ebay! AHAHAHAHAHA. Oh dear reader. I could have. If I wanted to spend more than I would have paid for this set alone. Looking on Ebay, people wanted $20 for just Chrysalis or The Grey Lady.  $20 APIECE. Oh haaaaaaaayyyyyyyyul no. It was cheaper in the long run for me to buy this set and throw the extras into the bait box.

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Have some shots of the back of the box.

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This box wasn’t as easy to get into. Once you got the tape on the outside dealt with, the insert was taped in several places to the outer box, so there was more snippage needed. But finally, this is what you get!

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*sigh* Every pony is held in not just by the plastic insert, but then by tape and in a few cases, twisty ties. And when I say tape…

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…I mean tape that goes over the little plastic strippy-do and GETS INTO THEIR HAIR. SO VERY NOT CUTE. I put my hand in some of the pictures just so you could see it. Look at how Chrysalis’ hair is stuck in the tape. UGH.

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Here’s the lot, freed from the plastic prison. But there’s still some work to do.

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This is the mess left after getting all the tape, strippy-do’s and rubber bands out of their hair. I’m used to this for the most part, since ponies are my Blue Sky Meth (though that would be cheaper!) but this is edging towards ridiculous.

So, first lets quick do some comparisons to the ponies I already have, before the other three are unceremoniously thrown into the bait box.

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Princess Cadance is identical. Maybe a slightly wider, slightly more crazed looking smile on the newer one (on the right), but otherwise, completely identical. I think the smile is just from the way her head is turned.

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Shining Armor has new paint on his hooves, a deeper blue for his eyes, and what looks to me to be a slightly less uniform way of having his fur come down over his hooves, but otherwise, is identical. Blue Hooves becomes Shining Armor of record on the shelf.

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Lyra Heartstrings is identical to the single Playful Pony release.

Into the bait box with you all!

Alright, now the new ponies!

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Little Diamond Tiara is first! She’s got a rather vibrantly colored pink body, the same as the one used for Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Star Dreams, and uses the Scootaloo head mold, with blue eye decals. I LOVE her delicate little eyelashes! Her mane and tail are purple and white and her cutie mark is a blue tiara. Her own tiara, which on the show is identical to her cutie mark, in this case is a paper job that looks quite a bit different. After these photos were taken it was tossed aside. I’m going to get her a crown, I’m sure I have one around somewhere that I can spray paint silver.

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Close-up on the cutie mark.

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And her non-display side. You can see where the tiaras and crowns and such hook around the bottom of the mane and the ears. Her legs are a little wonky but that’s okay.

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Lyrica Lilac is next! She’s got a purple body in the “walking pose” – slightly lighter in color than the Lily Blossom toy from a few years ago and just a touch darker than Daisy Dreams – a blonde mane and tail that are identical in color to Applejack, and uses the Pinkie Pie headmold, with purple eye decals usually used only on unicorns. Only other time I’ve seen this eye decal used on anything other than a unicorn is on the recently released Wysteria pony that’s part of the Pinkie Pie’s Boutique line. Her cutie mark is a lyre, identical to Lyra Heartstring’s, and she also has two necklaces. Her headpiece is identical to the one she usually has in her rather tall hair on the show.

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And a closeup of her cutie mark and necklaces. When I first saw the prototype in the Toy Fair pictures, I wasn’t sure I was going to like those necklaces, but now I really do, they’re such an identifier of her on the show, so it makes sense.

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Apart from some color variations, the cutie marks are identical. Lyrica also appears to have had a bit of a run in in the wrong direction there. Oh well.

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Then I noticed a big fucking black SMUDGE on her face. I’m not sure that this didn’t come from me? I was outside sanding my car headlights to clear them up and that may have been from that, but I really doubt it, because I did wash my hands thoroughly before unboxing my ponies. I may never know. A Mr Clean Magic Eraser cleaned it right up.

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Bubblecup/The Grey Lady (I tend to use both names interchangeably) is up next! I can’t help it. Even though I dislike that she is the brony side of the fandom’s representational child, and I dislike the extremely ugly*** side of the fandom that has borne out of a grey pegasus with bubbles on her ass, I do very much adore this little pony and so I’m very glad to have a real version of her in my collection! My custom was not great. She’s got a grey body, a head in the Pinkie Pie mold, and a blonde mane and tail that again, match Applejack completely. Her eye decals were, quite obviously, created for her to give her her wall-eyed appearance. Her cutie mark is seven bubbles.

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Cutie mark closeup.

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And here’s a comparison to the only other official version of her I have (I don’t collect the Funko vinyls and won’t until they release a Rarity and Applejack), the Fashion Style SDCC 2012 pony.  Apart from some obvious body differences, they’re pretty much identical. Fashion Style Bubblecup’s eyes are more detailed, but that’s to be expected on a pony that’s got more room to work with.

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Face on shot of the both of them.

And finally!

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Queen Chrysalis, the Changeling Queen! She’s only the second villain released in the My Little Pony line by Hasbro since the franchise began in 1983. I LIKE THIS. Her body is black, and shares the Princess Celestia mold. She has “holes” in her legs that are decals (a gripe about something about this in a moment), a new eye decal, some extra body paint around her back and abdomen, and utterly gorgeous dark turquoise hair. This picture is after some fiddling around with that crown to make her hair lay flat, otherwise it’s just kind of all over the place. I think she’s utterly majestic, with just the right touch of evil.

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This picture was taken before I fiddled with her hair and crown. There’s her eye decal. Fuck me, that is gorgeous. You can see more decals on her horn to signify the holes she had all over her body on the show.

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Wings close up. Again, there are “holes” there, to signify the holes she had in her wings on the show. Her wings on the show were a little more insect like than the Celestia mold’s wings, but I like these. There’s also a neat affect there in the clear part that I really dig, and you can see that her paint on her back goes over her hips as well. Nifty!

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Close-up on some leg decals.

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Comparison with Nightmare Moon from last years Favorites Collection. I actually do prefer Nightmare Moon? The picture doesn’t capture it at all but she’s this GORGEOUS dark blue instead of the black she looks to be, and looks a lot more evil than Chrysalis does. (I was a spooky little kid, okay? I want my villains to be EVIL INCARNATE.) Having said that, Chrysalis is STUNNING.

Alright, now… there’s been a lot of talk from bronoes**** about how Chrysalis looks cheaply made and mass produced and bla bla bla we make better customs ourselves and yadda yadda yadda.

She looks mass-produced because she is mass-produced, you nincompoops.

Let me show you something.

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See that? That is a glorious Princess Celestia custom made from the molded-hair Celestia that came in the very first playset. She was made by the extraordinary DeeKary on deviantArt, and when I bought her, I bought her and a Luna for $110 for the both, and I know her prices went up later. She later included Nightmare Moon, who involved a lot more work, and her price was considerably higher, so I can only imagine what a Chrysalis would cost if she was still doing customs for sale.

So yes, people are undoubtedly able to make more accurate customs of Chrysalis, and I’m happy for you! You rock on with your bad self there! But don’t expect Hasbro, an actual business, to spend that kind of money to make one that’s as show accurate as one you can make and still be able to sell her at a reasonable price that parents, poor college students, or children saving their allowances can afford.

Okay, done with my rant!

Anyway, the Favorites Collection is always a favorite of mine. Ha. I think it’s awesome to get so many ponies at one time for a reasonable price, and I love that they include villains. My complaints rest mostly with the inclusion of three ponies that have already been out long enough for everyone who wants them to get them, and with the paper crowns, but that part at least is a minor quibble. For the most part, this is a fun and enjoyable set that I’m glad is now gracing my shelves.

Until next time, friends!

* – I don’t use the brony fanon name for her, and I ask that you please don’t use it here. Call her Bubblecup, The Grey Lady, Bubbles, Ditzy Doo, whatever. Just do not use that other name.
** – Usually called simply Diamond Tiara on the show, that’s what I’ll be referring to her as here. Not getting Hasbro’s love of the word “Dazzle”… they’re even doing it to a Daring Do blind bag! Really don’t get it.
*** – I don’t cotton to ableism, and sending death threats to people because you think they had something to do with a pony’s name being removed from an episode is really, really fucking nasty.
**** – You heard me.

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