• Top 10 Best Sets of Official Merch So Far

    WeAreBorg here, finally back after recovering from the awesome that was BABSCon. I thought before Guardians of Harmony hits stores and replaces everything on my shelves because of how much better than Trixie awesome it is, I thought I'd recap with a list of some of the better pieces and sets of store mercsomeofhandise that Hasbro has offered over the years. Pieces that have that extra special aspect to them and really make them a better buy.

    Join me after the break for a glance at the pony merch you should get your hands on.

    #10 Blind Bags and Miniatures

    So back in the day, blind bags were some of the only pony toys with molded manes and tails, thus making them close to being considered show accurate. Sure the first Fluttershys were recolors of Rainbow Dash and all the non show ponies are still recolors of the Mane 6, but blindbags and the newer packaged sets are still a cheap and subtle way to bring a little show accurate pony to your homes. Be sure to grab the latest Friendship is Magic Collection: Nightmare Night sets hitting shelves soon.

    #9 IDW Comics

    The My Little Pony comics by IDW are amazing for 2 reasons: First, the comic covers are like mini posters making them great for displaying. Second, they are a perfect way to fill the time between airings with more pony adventures. With an unheard of number of variant covers across the Friendships is Magic, Friends Forever, FIENDship is Magic and the Micro Series, each comic is a work of art. The first issue alone had 20 covers! If you've yet to start collecting and want to get caught up on the stories, you can grab the digital copies from IDW here. If you're a con goer be sure to find one of the rare blank covers to get a commission by an in-the-flesh IDW artist, like Jenn Blake. Though, finding the earlier releases can be a bit of challenge for popular covers, so try eBay and convention resellers. While I pride myself with collecting with a vengeance, The Illustrious Q's collection can't be beat. (A great resource for a quick list of covers!)

    #8 Talking Princesses

    The classic Squeeze-My-Flank-Till-I-Talk toy has always been a riot. Between Celestia's "Let's fly to the castle," Chrysalis' maniacal laughter and Nightmare Moon's "Let's celebrate the night," you can't help but crack up at the stereotypical little girls toy. These large 8.5" figures let people know what you are about. While I'm not much into toys with hair that gets tangled, dirty, and needs to be styled, (which is why most of these are still in the box) Chrysalis's mane and tail are have that show style straightness to them. Also those socks are adorable. Nightmare Moon and Queen Chrysalis are the best of these. The large talking Princess Twilight however, is a totally different story, for a different list.

    #7 Lunchboxes

    The classic collectible of any fandom is the humble lunchbox. It's what you used as a kid to let those bullies know you didn't actually have any lunch money and to make sure the peanut butter and ham sandwich you got to make yourself that morning was safe and sound. Lunchboxes hold that nostalgia value, hard. These metal pony protectors of questionable meat products in bread offer art in a unique form; bas-relief, metalic and functional. Occasionally, these tins have a different picture on the other side, often with one side being a single pony and the other being a group. Most of these you can get online and are sometimes packaged with puzzles or Enterplay cards and there are a lot more than what I'm showing here. Who would you eat lunch with?

    #6 Ty, Aurora World and 4th Dimension Plushies

    It used to be only fandom made plushies existed in the non-spaghetti mane forms. Sure, picking up a Funrise Toys Cheerilee from Wal-Mart was what the 2012 brony did, but since then we have been getting a lot more higher quality and show accurate choices. In the picture, from the left to Starlight Glimmer and Coco Pommel are Aurora plushies. The Twilight Sparkle to the left of the big Rainbow Dash is a 4th Dimension (4DE) and the rest are made by Ty: The makers of Beanie Babies.  My personal favorites are the Auroras which offer more ponies, a variety of sizes, are easily available and most come with cloth manes instead of hair for those of you who are tired of picking out rainbow colored synthetic fibers from your vacuums. Ty plushies also come in a variety of sizes, and the hair manes are a great attempt at being show accurate, but they can sometimes vary in color. Just look at the pink and purple Twilights at the bottom right. Auroras and Tys, however share a flaw with the Funrise plushies in that they only have a cutie mark on one side. 4DE plushies fix this with a nice show accurate cutie mark on both flanks. Unfortunately, 4DEs sell out really fast and at the time of writing none are available from them directly.

    #5 Power Pony Brushable Collection

    This is the only single-item merch that made the list but with the Mane 6 in it, it's still a set. One of the oldest My Little Pony toys have been the medium-sized brushables. From G1 onward, they have been the stable staple of the MLP toy line. G4's 6" brushables, a.k.a "Style" size, are usually just a regular pony with long mane and tail rubberbanded together, packaged with whatever accessories or clothing was dartboard chosen for that season. The long hair needed to be styled to get any sort of show accuracy which has spawned tons of Youtube videos and even services to style them for you. SaaS - Styling as a Service. Warp to the Power Ponies toy line and the Target exclusive release of these amazing show accurate brushables of the Power Ponies with hair that comes pre-cut and pre-styled. Absolutely one of the best episodes in toy form and in display worthy packaging! All you need is the right sized Humdrum and Mane-iac, and we'll get to those down below. 

    #4 G. M. Berrow's Books

    Reading about a television show may not be your go to method of entertainment but these quick and cute reads can actually add some depth to pony lore and a few blocks toward world building. Here, we have a trade paperback of Twilight Sparkle and The Crystal Heart Spell, which despite it's name shares a lot of backstory about Princess Cadance. Princess Luna and The Festival of the Winter Moon offers a further look into the mind and heart of the immortal Dark Alicorn of the Night and reads just like an episode. The real treat, however, is summoning your inner egg head to enjoy a good Daring Do book written by A. K. Yearling and totally not G. M. Berrow. These books are great because they are regularly being reprinted and even the Daring Do boxset pictured is still available. While Berrow has written most of the chapter MLP books, new writers with new books are being released all the time.

    #3 WeLoveFine's Figurines and Chibis 

    WeLoveFine offers a number of small figurines, many created by independent artists, that break from the show style into something cuter or more epic. One of the first released was the Derpy shown on the right. While many went for the pure plastic, they also offered a flocked version, meaning it is fuzzy, like the one shown here. Fuzzy Derpy is best Derpy. Future Twilight, Fluttershy & Discord, Luna, Flutterbat and Vinyl Scratch each have their own figure in various states of "sold out". WLF's latest release are these adorable chibi ponies standing at just 2" tall and are perfect for a grand display in your collection or just best pony taking up a special spot on your desk. Look for Applejack to be the next cute chibi to be released.

    #2 Funko Vinyls

    Funko's vinyls are almost perfect in every way. Molded manes and tails in all the right colors, these are some highly show accurate toys. These are the toys older bronies were wishing for in 2011. A good quality, large size, unsealed packaging, and rare variants like the clear Scootaloo and Derpy pictured, make these vinyls great for collecting. With cutie marks on both flanks and appropriate accessories for ponies like Spitfire and Glim Glim's new P.F.F., Trixie, these are the toys to have if you get anything. The only thing I would change is the plump, puffy cheeks each pony sports. It's like they're chewing.

    #1 SDCC Exclusives

    The yearly Mecca of all things nerd and fandom is San Diego Comic Con, where often comic creators are the last people you go to see. A nexus of industry sneak peaks, reveals, and non-pony awesomeness like Loki strutting his stuff. Beginning in 2012, the Hasbro booth began selling their SDCC exclusive G4 pony toys starting with a brushable Derpy. Rumors speculate that Derpy almost wasn't the only pony to be released that year. In 2013, DJ-Pon3 was released with a light up base and for a limited time was sold online, outside of SDCC. In 2014, a molded pony version of Mane-iac and Humdrum Spike was released as well as an Equestria Girls Main-iac who actually had a pretty cool outfit. In 2015, someone got a kick out of offering up a brushable Pinkie Pie in her Nightmare Night chicken costume...inside a fried chicken bucket. Supplies of these are finite and require standing in line to purchase for over an hour or paying a premium on eBay. If you know someone who's going to SDCC 2016, be sure to bribe them to pick you up one.

    So those are best sets of official pony merch so far. Did you agree with my list? What was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below while I put all this stuff away.

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