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MLPArena Nirvana Spotlight: Italy by Roswita

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pinkkittywinks:
Mio Mini Pony: the world of MLPs made in Italy
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MLP's made in Italy are among the most popular “Nirvana” ponies. They range from fairly inexpensive and common (such a Italian Peachy) to extremely rare and sought after (such as blue Posey), making them attractive to both the new Nirvana enthusiast and the hard-core collector.

But who are they, really?

A brief history:

Ponies made in Italy, or IT ponies for short, are a line of early ponies made in Italy under Hasbro license approximately between 1983 and 1987. They were made in factories in various Italian locations (hence the large number of variants among them!), and were distributed in Italy by DAG (Distribuzione Associata Giocattoli).
 
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- Typical DAG boxes and cards -

In 1987 DAG stopped distributing ponies made in Italy, and started distributing ponies made in Hong Kong and China instead. So, many ponies sold at that time share the same, unique “DAG”-type box of early ponies made in Italy, although they are actually not “Italians” in the strict sense, but made in Hong Kong or China.
 
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- Princesses, boy ponies, flutters, baby ponies etc came in DAG boxes, but were actually made in Hong Kong or China! -

Not much later, DAG closed and all later ponies were imported and came in Hasbro packages.

Ponies made in Italy were distributed in several European countries, including: France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia.

However, several of them were exclusive to Italy and were never sold in other countries, including: Re Unicorno (a male counterpart to Majesty, available in Italy with the Castle playset) and so-called “hybrid” collector ponies (whose colours are different compared to their Hong Kong counterparts, i.e. magenta Blossom, brown Peachy, yellow Minty). As a consequence, these exclusives are some of the rarest (and often, prettiest) Nirvana ponies.

Now, how do you recognize a pony made in Italy?

Features:
 
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With a little practice, Italian ponies are usually easy to identify.

1 – marks on hooves
Italian ponies ALWAYS have “Italy” carved (as opposed to printed, such as on other ponies) on their hooves. Italian ponies in the collector pose (1982 pose) may have marks on two hooves only or on all four, and may or may not have the PAT PEND mark printed on them.

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2 – eyes
Regardless what colour their Hong Kong counterpart's eyes are, Italian ponies always have blue eyes. Typically, most Italians have cyan blue eyes, however a limited number of ponies in the collector pose have light blue eyes (Macau-like, Airbrushed eyes) or turquoise green eyes. Please note in such ponies, not only the eye colour is different, but also the mould used, hair and other features, making them not mere factory faults, but actual variants (see the classification below about bodies)
 
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3 – forelock
All Italian ponies lack a forelock, and have two plugs of hair on their forehead instead of one of the same length of the rest of their mane

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4 – symbol
Their symbol is often different in design, size or shape compared to their counterparts made in Hong Kong, and there are frequently many variants of the same pony with noticeably different symbols (including larger, fewer or more elements, reverse, different colour, etc).

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Unicorns and pegasi do not have a glittery symbol, but a metallic, painted-on symbol. In particular, gold and silver paint is prone to fading and often such ponies have a greenish symbol (e.g. Starshine, Sunbeam, Sunlight)

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5 – tail washer
Italian ponies do NOT have a washer! The tail is secured with a thread and pressed in a small metal cylinder and sometimes a bit of string.

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6 – body
Ponies made in Italy are usually well-manufactured. However, pink ponies (such as Twilight, Cotton Candy, Parasol and Wavebreaker) are prone to severe fading. Fading is so severe that it sometimes leads collectors to think they have found a variant!

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- Checking inside a pony's neck is a good trick if you are unsure whether it is faded or not! -

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It is also noticeable that Italian collector ponies were made in four different moulds. The most common of these are the “regular” and the “hunchback” moulds. “Regular” (A) Italian collector ponies look very similar to their counterparts made in Hong Kong, while “hunchbacks” (B) have feet wide apart, marks on two hooves only and no PAT PEND. So-called hunchbacks were likely made later and many rare “hybrids” (C) come in this mould.
 
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- Examples of "hunchback" ponies -

There are then two harder to find collector pony types, i.e. the “dwarf” mould and the “Macau-like”. As the nickname suggests, “dwarf” Italian collector ponies are smaller than regular ones, have a lower neck and look very similar to HK flat-footed ponies, except they have concave hooves. They are the better manufactured of all Italian ponies, and they have either cyan blue or greenish/turquoise eyes.
 
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- Some "dwarf" Italian ponies -

Finally, Macau-like ponies look extremely similar to Macau collector ponies: they have the same long and slender legs, long, thick hair, and always have light blue eyes. The reason of this similarity is a mystery yet to solve. They are extremely rare.

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- Examples of "Macau-like" Italian ponies -


A list of all ponies made in Italy:
Italian ponies are fascinating, but not many of them were made. In fact, only the early sets were made in Italy. Luckily, there are many variants to them, making a total of over 100 Italian ponies to collect!

Collector ponies
Blossom
Bluebelle
Butterscotch
Cotton Candy
Minty
Snuzzle
Lemondrop (sold with Stable playset)
Peachy (sold with Parlor playset)

(See the section below for hybrids and collector pony variants)

Early ponies (US-like)
Applejack
Bow-Tie
Bubbles
Seashell
Cherries Jubilee
Lickety-Split
Posey
Tootsie

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Early ponies (UK-like)
Applejack (collector pose)
Bow-tie (collector pose)
Snowflake
Hopscotch

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Unicorns & pegasi (set 1)
Moondancer
Glory
Twilight
Sunbeam
Medley
Firefly

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Unicorns & pegasi (set 2)
Sparkler
Powder
Skyflier
Gusty
Heart throb
Surprise

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Rainbow ponies (set 1)
Starshine
Skydancer
Parasol
Sunlight
Moonstone
Windy

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Rainbow ponies (set 2)
Pinwheel
Starflower
Trickles
Confetti
Tickle
Flutterbye

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Sea ponies
Sea Spray
Surf Rider
Wavedancer

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Variants, oddities and exclusives:
There are then a variety of ponies made in Italy that do not have a counterpart made in Hong Kong.
The most famous of them is probably Re Unicorno, a white unicorn with blue hair and a bunch of stars as his symbol, which was meant as an alternate to Majesty and sold in Italy with the Castle. He came in two different versions, in the high-stepping pose (Glory's pose) and walking pose (Moondancer's pose). There is also a version with a walking pose body and a Glory pose head.
 
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Other exclusives include blue Posey and blue Lickety-split, white Snuzzle/Polly (the first Italian issue of Snuzzle, later she was made grey) and Sparkler as an earth pony.
 
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Some rainbow ponies from the first set were released again with the second rainbow set and this second edition often varies: Parasol and Starshine were given alternate colours in their hair (second set rainbow colours), while Moonstone came in a different pose (proud pose, rather than walking pose). There are also two version of sunlight, one with freckles (rarer) and one without.

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Although Moonstone is known in two poses, the only known version of Windy is in the walking pose.
 
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Both versions of Moondancer (yellow and white) were made in Italy. By contrast, Tootsie was likely only made as a white pony.

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- Italian Tootsie is supposed to be a white pony. The only known variant to her has purple hair instead of blue -

A wide range of ponies in the collector pose were made in Italy in alternate colours. these popular but rare variants are known as “hybrids” because they often combine features of two or more ponies.
 
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- A selection of exclusive Italian collector ponies -

Did you know?

Many Italian ponies were intended to be male ponies, and instead of mommies and babies the Italian line had uncles/aunties and nieces/nephews.

The Italian line is one the richest and most fascinating international MLP lines. Unique boxes and cards, a wide range of variants and exclusive, make it the perfect goal for both MIB enthusiasts and variant addicts!

Source: Roswita's Once upon a Rainbow

PS thanks a bunch to Brigetsmum and LadyG. for this opportunity to talk about... my favourite obsession! 

_________________
 
A big thank you got Shelti  :missy: who saved each of the spotlights. This spotlight was first published on May 6 2007 .

Please respect the Nirvana Spotlights and the MLParena and do not take pictures or information for use on eBay, personal sales or webpages. The Nirvana Spotlights were kindly written and donated to the MLParena by members for use here only.

BlackCurtains:
These are always interesting to read! My first Nirvana was Italy Applejack (shy pose) and she's one of my fav :)

What's the name of the orange hybrid pony with purple stars?

maycrestmom:
I've thought the orange with stars is "applebelle" to combine the two :-)

I didin't know that all italians had "hippypony" cards ;-) that makes me smile just from an english-speaking perspective

tailrustedtealeaf:
This is so cool, I feel like I disregard Italians as being identical to the standard releases. I never knew about the two full rows of rooting!

Leave a Whisper:
I love ReUnicorno and blue Lickety is very pretty. I've never seen blue Posey before.

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