One of the things I really wanted to do this month was talk about the differences between My Little Pony generations. To someone unfamiliar with MLP, the labels such as G1 or G4 can be rather confusing. I thought it would be fun to give you a very basic beginner's guide to identifying the differences between the various types of My Little Ponies. :)
There have been four major releases of the My Little Pony line through the years (not counting the G3.5 line, which we'll discuss in a bit). Each of these releases are referred to as generations. The generations will often be referred to, especially on eBay, as "G1" (Generation 1), "G2", etc. This is one of the easiest ways to label a pony for a potential buyer. But what's the difference between these ponies, anyway? Aren't they all the same?
I'm so glad you asked, my friend. ;)
Here are the four major types of My Little Ponies. You can see there are some pretty major variations from generation to generation.
Let's begin with the first generation.
The G1 ponies were the first My Little Ponies to come into existence. They were produced by Hasbro in 1982, and continued production until 1994. The ponies were very popular and quite collectible. These were the ponies I grew up with as a child. :)
Here are just a few of the G1 ponies in my collection. Many of these are ponies I've kept since I was a little girl. :)
The G1 ponies featured earth ponies (like Sundance), pegasus ponies, and unicorn ponies. There were also Sea Ponies who had MLP heads on bodies that resembled seahorses. Most of the ponies were all vinyl with a cutie mark on both sides of their hindquarters. Some, like Ribbon (the blue unicorn on the right), were covered with soft flocking. They were called the "So Soft" Ponies.
Here are pictures of both of Sundance's cutie marks:
There were many ponies who varied from the basic ones, such as Flower Bouquet, my Merry Go Round Pony pictured above. Some of the other special ponies included Twice As Fancy (or TAF) Ponies, Twinkle-Eyed Ponies, Sweetheart Sisters, and Flutter Ponies. There were even Big Brother Ponies who were male versions of the My Little Ponies. I could go on, but there are so many different ones that it might take up the whole post. ;) This at least gives you a basic idea of the wide variety of ponies that were produced. For an excellent overview of all of the G1 My Little Ponies, you can check out Ghost of the Doll's web page about them HERE. :)
One of the things I loved the most about the G1 ponies was that most of them had matching baby ponies. While there have been baby ponies in some of the more recent generations, they never match their mommies. Here are Heart Throb and Baby Heart Throb with Ribbon and Baby Ribbon. Heart Throb was a garage sale find, but the other three are all my ponies from when I was little. :)
Baby Heart Throb and Baby Ribbon were best friends in my pony world. I shared many adventures with them through the years. ;) The baby ponies were great because their small size made them perfect traveling companions for young girls. You could fit three or four in a small purse and take them everywhere with you. :)
I also loved the variety of baby ponies available. Baby Heart Throb and Baby Ribbon were two of the many babies with "Beddy-Bye Eyes", meaning they opened and closed like a doll with sleep eyes.
Hasbro also offered exclusive mail order ponies, like my Pearlized Baby Cotton Candy pictured above. One of the things I remember most as a girl was the excitement of getting the mail-order brochures and drooling over all the special edition ponies. ;) My mom loved it because they were so inexpensive. It was a win/win. ;)
In addition to the regular-sized baby ponies, Hasbro released a line of Newborn ponies that instantly became my favorites. As you can see from the picture above, they were a bit smaller than the Baby ponies.
This little gal is Wiggles, my absolute favorite baby pony of all time. :)
And as if the Newborn ponies weren't adorable enough, Hasbro also released the Newborn Twins. Double the cuteness! ;)
These two are Nibbles and Dibbles.
I could go on and on about G1, but I think we should probably head to our next category, the Generation 2 ponies.
The G2 ponies were produced from 1997-1999. These are the ponies I am the least familiar with. At the time they were produced, I was in high school and not into ponies anymore. I also didn't care for the way they looked. :}
The G2s are taller and skinnier with more rounded features than the G1s. They still featured cutie marks on both sides of their hindquarters. There were no pegasus or unicorn ponies released in the US, but there were several unicorns with wings released in Europe. In fact, from what I could gather from my research on Strawberry Reef, most of the G2 releases were in Europe. Out of the 187 G2 ponies listed on the site, only 10 of them were US releases. I don't know if this was because they were more popular in Europe or if there was another reason. It does explain why there were so many G2s I'd never even heard of, though. ;) There were prince ponies, baby ponies, and more that I'd never seen. Interestingly enough, at least one of the G2s I've found at Goodwill was listed as a European release, so it's possible that some of them made their way over to the US.
The G2s had "gems" in their eyes, and the standard G2s could turn their heads, unlike most of the G1 ponies.
Some of the G2s were made of harder plastic and featured special movement, like my Light Heart pony pictured above. They were called "Magic Motion" Ponies.
As I said before, this is the generation I'm the least familiar with, so that's about all the information I have. If you'd like to do a little more G2 research, you can see all of them on Strawberry Reef HERE. Just click on a pony to get started. :)
After the G2s finished production in 1999, Hasbro did not release any ponies again until 2003, when the Generation 3 ponies were introduced to the world. In the early 2000s, some of you may remember that many of the beloved toys from the 80s and 90s were revamped for a new generation. My Little Pony got on the bandwagon like everyone else. It was really fun for girls like me who had grown up loving these toys and could now share them with our children. I was thrilled to introduce My Little Ponies to my daughters. And while I still liked the G1s the best, the G3s were a definite improvement from the G2s (in my humble opinion, at least). ;) These were the ponies my girls grew up with. :)
The G3 ponies were unicorn ponies (like Sunrise Song), pegasus ponies (like Twilight Pink), and earth ponies (like Morning Glory). There were also smaller ponies called "Breezies" that reminded me a bit of the Flutter Ponies from G1. No boy ponies were ever released in the G3 line.
There were baby ponies, however, such as my "Mochanut", pictured above with Sunrise Song. The baby ponies were super cute, but most of them were larger in relation to the "grown up" ponies than the G1 babies had been. Also, even baby ponies that came with an older pony usually had different coloring and cutie marks. Of course, when I looked up Mochanut, she happened to be one of the ponies that did match her sister. ;)
And speaking of cutie marks, the G3 ponies only had them on one hindquarter (which I always found rather disappointing, to be honest).
The earlier G3 releases had magnets in their feet...
...which made them very fun to play with on the fridge or the washing machine. ;)
The earlier releases had heads that were stationary, but the newer G3s had heads that turned. There was variety throughout these ponies as well. Most of the standard ponies had small cutie marks, but there were some that had colors on their legs and cutie marks that ran all the way down one leg, called "Cutie Cascade" Ponies (these are the G3s I collect). There were many other fun variations, too. :)
If you'd like to see all of the G3 releases, you can browse through them HERE at Strawberry Reef or HERE at Dream Valley. Just be aware that Dream Valley only covers the G3s up until 2006, so the last three years of releases are missing.
In 2009, Hasbro decided to give the My Little Ponies a "new look". This short-lived attempt only lasted for one year (thankfully) and is referred to as the G3.5 line. I have to admit, I was not impressed with these ponies. I didn't care for their giant heads and thought they lost a lot of their appeal. I actually don't have any of the adult G3.5 ponies since I have absolutely no interest in collecting them, so the only ones I have from this line are the Newborn Cuties.
I have to admit that these ones are pretty cute. Still, I'm glad Hasbro moved on to bigger and better things.
If you're interested in seeing more of the G3.5 line, you can check them out HERE.
When the MLP G3.5 revamp was unsuccessful, I figured we'd seen the last of the little pastel ponies. But lo and behold, in 2010, Hasbro came up with another redo: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, or G4. :)
To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure what I thought about these ponies at first. They looked rather odd and were very different than the ponies we'd had before. It wasn't until I got into the TV show (especially Seasons 2 and 3) that I started getting interested in this particular line.
The G4s include unicorn, earth and pegasus ponies, as well as a few alicorns (unicorns with pegasus wings). As a tie-in to the "Equestria Girls" movie, there have also been fashion dolls with pony features, which I've reviewed HERE and HERE.
I feel like we've covered enough of G4 this past month that I don't need to go into as much detail on these guys. :) If you're interested in finding out more about them, you can check out all of the releases so far HERE, or you can go to the MLP Friendship is Magic Wiki page HERE. :)
For a complete list of all of my favorite My Little Pony research sites, you can read my earlier post HERE.
I thought I'd end this post with my overall thoughts on each of the Generations.
G1 will always be my favorite generation. These are the ponies I grew up with as a little girl, and just looking at them brings back all sorts of fun, nostalgic memories of the hours I spent playing with them and arranging them. I think they have the sweetest faces of all of the generations, and I love the baby ponies and all of the unique variety within the line.
Aside from the G3.5 ponies (which I'm not even going to cover in this overview), :} the G2s are my least favorite. I don't care for their molds as much. In fact, when I first saw these ponies, I thought they were a knock-off brand. :} Their limited release in the US makes them harder to find. I enjoy them enough to have a few in my collection, but I'm not necessarily going to go out of my way to add others to my shelf.
As far as the ponies themselves (and not the TV shows associated with them), the G3s are my next favorite ponies after the G1s. I think they come the closest to capturing the charm of the original ponies. They are well made and come in all sorts of interesting colors and designs.
I do really enjoy the G4s as well. While their design isn't my favorite out of all the pony releases from the past, they've grown on me. ;) The clever writing on the show has made this generation all the more endearing. Plus, the fact that they're currently available and I don't have to take to eBay to find them is fun, too. ;)
Sometime I would like to contrast the TV shows/movies from the different generations, but that's a post that will have to wait for a later time.
I hope this was helpful to you. I always find it fascinating to see the differences between a toy's lines through the years.
Now that you've seen them all, which Generation is your favorite?
This officially concludes our Lala-Pony-Palooza Month! Thank you for making this month so memorable. Would you like to see another themed month sometime, or do you like it best when I have a variety of posts? If I were to do another themed month, what sorts of themes would you like to see?