Thanks to the internet and lax security at Chinese toy factories, it’s easier than ever to collect variant and test run toys. These prototypes show up frequently on Chinese auction site Taobao, which is best thought of as a cross between eBay, Craigslist, Amazon Marketplace, and pure chaos.
I love figuring out the connections between the prototypes and the retail toys, which range from very obvious to a bit questionable. The following is a sampling of my collection of prototypes and one-offs and how they compare to the real thing. Without any official word, all my assertions about these toys are my own speculation and nothing more. Check behind the cut to read more about these special toys.
Fashion Style Earth Dash
Possibly a test run to make sure her hair and graphic appliques looked correct. Possibly someone snagged a box of Dashes before they got to the en-wing-ening machine. The red-orange-yellow-green progression of colors in her mane and the violet and blue mix of her tail are exactly the same as the production version, as are the eye and cutie mark appliques. The only difference is the missing wing piece.
Prototype/variant of Fashion Style Rainbow Dash
Fashion Style Celerity
Front half Celestia, back half Rarity. Likely testing the eye applique and hair colors for Celestia on the most appropriate available blank, Rarity. If you compare it to the production version the blue stripe is absent and the light pink line at the bottom of her eye was changed to black, probably so it would show up better on a light-colored base. The prototype also sports Rainbow Dash’s blue and violet tail rather than the production version’s green-purple-pink mix. In addition, Celestia sports mylar tinsel in her hair while Celerity does not.
Personally I like the 4 color mane better.
Prototype of Fashion Style Celestia
There is also a “Rarlestia” which is Rarity with white glittery wings and Celestia’s cutie mark but her own eyes and purple hair, and a white Celestia that is almost identical to the production version FS Celestia except white. I don’t know if that one was a mock-up pre-changing her toys to pink, or if Hasbro might reissue Fashion Style Celestia in white. Could be either way since Rarlestia’s wings are white so all the pieces did exist, but they’re reissuing Talking Celestia in white so maybe they’re considering FS Celestia too.
Pinkie Prize and Diamond Rose
So named for the comment “Looks like she’s halfway between Pinkie Pie and Surprise” is a white earth pony in the standing pose sporting blue Pinkie Pie eyes. Her tri-color mane is hot pink, magenta, and fading pink with tinsel, her tinsel-free tail is hot pink and violet which is probably Twilight Sparkle’s tail. No cutie mark, which is common with these prototypes. I believe her to be a prototype of Diamond Rose, a white pegasus with blue Pinkie Pie eyes.
Diamond Rose’s eyes are a slightly brighter shade of blue, while her mane remains the same hot pink-magenta-fading pink progression as Pinkie Prize’s but without the tinsel. Rose’s tail is magenta and fading pink, rather than using Twi’s tail. She may have become a pegasus to distinguish her from the other white earth pony with pink hair that came out before her: Plumsweet.
Probable prototype of Diamond Rose
A white earth pony in walking pose with green Fluttershy eyes and no cutie mark, this proto sports a mane of half fading pink and half magenta, and Feathermay‘s red and orange tail. The finalized Plumsweet reverses the colors of the proto’s mane and adds a stripe of red for a magenta-fading pink-red progression, and blends red and magenta in the tail. Plumsweet’s red is a colder tone than the red used in Feathermay’s mane and tail.
Probably another color test, they may have been considering Fluttershy eyes or they may have been using Blossomforth’s head for blanks. At the time she would have been in development there would be no white ponies with a Pinkie Pie head mold in production, only unicorn mold (Rarity) and Fluttershy mold (Blossomforth).
Probable prototype of Plumsweet
Prototype Cupcake’s mane is striped in purple, hot pink, and a pale cream color just like the production version, but with tinsel. Her tail is also a tinseled blend of the three colors in her mane and she has green Fluttershy eyes. Production Cupcake has blue/violet Pinkie Pie eyes, no tinsel, and the cream was omitted from her tail, being just hot pink and purple instead. Both are pink earth ponies, the prototype being a blank flank.
Obvious prototype of Cupcake
This Flitterheart prototype is another blank flank. The production version retains the same blue/violet striped mane and tail and blue Applejack eyes, trading the walking pose earth pony body for a pegasus body and gaining a cutie mark. The pink with a tinge of purple body color remains the same as well.
Really bloody obvious prototype of Flitterheart
I call this one “Flitter Pie” because I can’t decide if it’s a prototype of Flitterheart, above, or if it fits into the Cherry Pie family, below. The slightly purplish body color, walking pose, and blue hair could be a very early Flitterheart. It could also fit into Cherry Pie’s timeline between the unicorn prototype, which has Rarity eyes, and the final production version, which has Twilight Sparkle eyes like Flitter Pie.
Cherry Pie Prototypes
These Cherry Pie prototypes could almost be a timeline of her design coming together. The earth pony prototype is just Pinkie Pie from the Canterlot Castle play set, but with a cutie mark of pie. The unicorn prototype loses the tinsel and swaps Pinkie’s head for Rarity’s while retaining the same pink hair. A case could be made to slot in Flitter Pie here, switching the head to Twilight Sparkle’s and trying a blue hair color. The final version has a yellow and peach striped mane and tail with blue-violet Twilight Sparkle eyes.
Obvious prototypes of Cherry Pie
That’s my whole prototype collection, currently. It will definitely grow because I’d love to add Rarlestia and White Celestia to my collection, and who knows what other interesting oddities will pop up? I’d like to thank banditpony of MLP Arena for getting me hooked and for organizing great group buys.