As a huge brony and fan of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon, there are few toys coming out that get me more excited than new cartoon-based character ponies from the TV show! While we get loads of original ponies as part of the Friendship is Magic line, ponies from the show are few and far between. In fact, this set gives us the only announced new show character for the toy line for the rest of the year so far! Last week I whined quite a bit about all the ways that Glimmer Wings Rarity fell short in her review, but this week be prepared for me to gush about how much I love the “School Pals” gift pack, which contains school teacher Cherilee and for the first time, the set of all 3 Cutie Mark Crusaders: Scootaloo, Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom!
Glimmer Wings Rarity was the first Friendship is Magic toy based on a specific episode of the cartoon–this is the second, as the set is inspired by the first-season episode “The Show Stoppers”, in which the Cutie Mark Crusaders attempt to earn their cutie marks in the school talent show (and fail).
The main attraction in this set is the all-new first official release of the third and final Cutie Mark Crusader, Scootaloo. As of right now, this “Pony School Pals” gift set is the only way to get Scootaloo. Scootaloo is the first pegasus filly released, and as such she has an all-new mold with adorable little pegasus wings coming off of her back. She’s molded in an accurate orange with hot pink hair, just as she appears in the show. Scootaloo’s colors make her the brightest and most eye-catching of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and as such she was worth waiting for.
As a little bit of extra incentive, the Cheerilee in this set is actually different from the Wave 2 Cheerilee. While Wave 2 Cheerilee was in the standard “standing” pose and molded in a very dark magenta, the “Pony School Pals” Cheerilee in this set is molded in a much lighter magenta and is in the “happily walking” one leg raised pose. I’m actually not convinced that this lighter pink color is accurate, but I appreciate that the option is there and that collectors are at least getting something different in this set rather than a straight repack.
Apple Bloom is also different from her prior release in the “Fun at the Fair” boxed set with Sweetie Belle. I literally never found that set at retail ever, so I’m pretty excited to see Apple Bloom re-released here with both of her Cutie Mark Crusader companions. The new Apple Bloom is in “happily walking” pose, whereas the “Fun at the Fair” Apple Bloom was in the standard “standing” pose. Again–I appreciate that this set isn’t full of straight repacks and one new pony. Nice move, Hasbro.
Sweetie Belle is exactly the same as her previous releases, except this time she doesn’t have the hair forelock that a past release did.
Valuewise, I’m thrilled with the gift set. For $14.99, you get 4 My Little Ponies–that’s only $3.75 per pony. Considering that the cheapest single-packed pony is $5, that’s a great deal. The quality is also here this time–I had zero quality control issues with all four ponies, which is much better than poor Glimmer Wings Rarity fared.
I have zero complaints with this set. It would’ve been nice if they’d added a comb for detangling hair, but I have so many from the other ponies that I can do without, especially if it means keeping the great low price-point.
The “Pony School Pals” gift set just started appearing in stores around the start of 2012, and is being found sporadically. I found mine at Target, and haven’t heard of the set being sighted in any other stores yet as of writing.
Ebay is a wonderful source for virtually every My Little Pony item ever made, and you can usually get a great deal on currently-released sets like this one. Check out all of the current ebay listings for the Pony School Pals/Cutie Mark Crusaders gift sets by clicking here!
Amazon is the only online store that has the Pony School Pals set in-stock. They have the set from various sellers with free shipping, but prices and availability change rapidly on Amazon so you’ll need to check for the current specifics.
Overall: This is all-around the single best boxed set thus far in the whole Friendship is Magic line. For a low price tag you get four canonical ponies outside of the Mane 6, all superbly scaled and authentic to their cartoon appearances. This is a fantastic offering of three of the hardest-to-obtain ponies in the line plus an all-new exclusive in Scootaloo. The remolded Apple Bloom and Cheerilee are different enough to be worthwhile for those who already have them, and Scootaloo is cute as a button and highly accurate. If you like the Friendship is Magic cartoon you will want to purchase this set, and you will be pleased beyond belief by it. The “School Pals” gift set earns the highest possible recommendation.