Non-pony fans beware: I’m about to rave about a My Little Pony product. Hasbro hasn’t graced us with any new My Little Pony product in the last few months, so I’ve been forced to fall back on something older to get my pony fix. Luckily, while the item I’m reviewing today isn’t just any old toy–it’s the awesome Applejack’s Sweet Apple Barn playset from 2011. If there’s one thing action figure collectors beg for that never get produced any more, it’s playsets. But where Star Wars, Marvel, G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, and He-Man fans will likely never get the playsets they crave for their figures to interact in, Hasbro has no qualms about giving My Little Pony fans what they want. One of the first playsets released in the My Little Pony G4 (Generation 4) line was Applejack’s Sweet Apple Barn, and it’s still one of the best and most fun toys in the whole My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic brand.
With the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic toy line, Hasbro is committed to not only giving bronies the ponies that they want, but the environments that those characters interact in as well. While I enjoyed the Sweetie Belle Ice Cream Train Car I reviewed a few months back, it wasn’t a playset featured on the show and thus lost a bit of its luster for me. However, the Apple family’s Sweet Apple Acres and Sweet Apple Barn are an integral area part of the shoe visited dozens of times each season. So for Hasbro to capture this important environment in the toy form is a real treat for fans and a definite “Right”.
First and foremost, let’s talk about a major inclusion in this set: the Applejack pony comes with an important accessory none of her basic Playful Ponies releases (no, the plastic-haired versions don’t count) include: her trademark hat! Considering that Applejack is wearing her beloved hat in 99% of her screen time, I think it’s a crime Hasbro doesn’t include the hat with every My Little Pony Applejack toy they release. If Hasbro can afford to include plastic luggage and animal friends and other accessories with the singles releases, they can afford a plastic hat. But–! If it’s a matter of getting Applejack’s hat in a My Little Pony playset or not at all, I’ll happily take the hat however I can get it. The hat fits snugly over Applejack’s ears and looks absolutely perfect from a sculpting perspective. I could have done without the apple sculpted onto the front of the hat, but the texture of the hat is very well-done. I’ll discuss the color of Applejack’s hat later, but for now I’m just excited Hasbro included it at all.
Applejack’s Sweet Apple Barn itself is just a facade of a barn and not a fully-built building, but since we almost always only see the Mane Six ponies standing outside Applejack’s barn in the cartoon, what we get here is absolutely perfect. The playset itself consists of the front of the barn with an opening gate that’s works great, as well as the side of the barn and an apple tree. Is this the most detailed barn facade ever? Absolutely not. But it does the trick, and fits in perfectly in my My Little Pony toys world. In addition to the opening gate, there’s also a spinning apple-themed weather vane and perches inside the apple tree for the mountain of animal companions you get with every pony to sit on!
The Applejack’s Sweet Apple Barn playset comes with a seriously insane amount of accessories. Besides her hat, Applejack also comes outfitted with a pink saddle. I wasn’t crazy about the saddle until I realized it had a peghole on the side so that you can attach Applejack’s lasso to her! The lasso is a fantastic character-specific accessory, and while I’d prefer the saddle not be pink, I’m psyched that it facilitates Applejack’s ability to “hold” the lasso.
But wait, there’s more! There are nine more accessories with this playset, including an apple that can be attached to the apple tree or “picked” at harvesting time, two carrots that can be pulled out of the ground in the playset, a bail of hay for Applejack’s barn, a trailer for Applejack to transport her harvest in, a white cat animal companion, a rooster animal companion that can perch on top of the barn, and a bucket and a shovel for doing farm work with. When you put it all together, this set’s value is as much about the accessories as it is the Apple Barn playset itself.
Sweetening the deal is that as all-inclusive and decked-out as Applejack’s Sweet Apple Barn playset is, this My Little Pony playset is a terrific value at just $14-$20 retail. Considering many action figures alone cost that much (or more!) these days, My Little Pony fans really luck out with the low price and great value of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic toys.
The biggest selling-point of this set is that it comes with Applejack’s signature hat. Just one problem–IT’S THE WRONG COLOR!!!! Even the box art portrays Applejack with the brown hat, because that’s what she has in the show. I just don’t believe that tomboy, earthy Applejack would wear a pastel blue hat. I’m lucky enough to have a wife who loved me enough to paint the hat on Applejack before giving me the set, but I can see a lot of people being really upset and disappointed to get their Applejack’s Sweet Apple Barn playset and have an Applejack with such an atypical hat.
The problem with the colors extends to the rest of the set as well. The Apple family barn shouldn’t be pink, a pastel blue pail makes no sense, and I’ve never seen carrots with blue tops in my life. I life all these pieces enough that I want them in my collection despite the colors, but I really might have to paint them. As it is, random pinks and pastel blue everywhere are making me nuts.
Overall: When it comes right down to it, a lot of collectors of “boy’s” action figure lines would kill for a playset as well-designed and full of play value as this one. You get a Playful Ponies-style Applejack pony with hat–something you can’t get anywhere else in the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic toy line. There’s a facade of the Sweet Apple Bar that’s not only cute, but has fun action features. You get an insane amount of accessories including a lasso for Applejack, two unique animal companions, a bail of hay, a cart, carrots you can really pick out of the ground, and so much more. For $14-$20 this set is just amazing, and unquestionably one of my favorite items in this whole My Little Pony G4 line. I’m a little irritated that you have to paint Applejack’s hat to get it to be the right color (not to mention the carrots), but for the most part this is a terrific set and earns a high recommendation for any My Little Pony fan who wasn’t picked it up yet.