"My Little Pony"
These ponies were Europe's general answer to the So Soft Phenomenon. Most of the characters who were new to the line in North America's flocked phase appeared in other countries without flocking (with three significant exceptions - Ribbon, Paradise and Lofty).
Truly and Cupcake were sold in very few places - Scandinavia and South Africa for sure, but never in the UK or even the bulk of mainland Europe. Here they were sold in a set that also comprised Hopscotch, Posey, Cherries Jubilee and Shady, under the name "Pony Friends". Though the card design for the set was typically UK in style, these were strictly export ponies only and never made it to these shores.
My Little Pony Insert (UK, 1987)
Issued just under the name "Ponies" on the insert and "My Little Pony" on the card, these ponies were really just an extension of the ongoing traditional My Little Pony concept. In some countries the set were referred to as "Movie Star" (or Cine-Star) ponies, but, though the cards in the UK featured the movie characters and illustration, they did not have this label on their cards here. They were still, however, inextricably connected to the Movie. Argos's catalogue in Autumn 1986 advertises Wind Whistler as a "movie" pony:
"WINDWHISTLER MOVIE PONY"
(Argos Catalogue, Autumn/Winter 1986)
The card was very much about promoting the MLP Movie (My Little Pony Film in the UK), too.The front features a very ornate and colourful design showing the ponies at Dream Castle, and the back gives short biographies of the main characters and their role in the film (rather than individual backcard stories). Although two versions of Buttons were sold in the UK, both in this set and on this style of card, the one illustrated has the same symbol as the So Soft Buttons release.
The film apparently launched in cinemas on 18th July (England/Wales) and 25th July (Scotland) according to an advert in the UK Pony Comic (probably 1986, this set's release was probably Autumn 1986-Autumn 1987). It is probable that these ponies went on sale around the same time.
It is worth noting that, despite the movie promotion, the way in which these ponies were depicted on card and in the movie bore zero resemblance to how they were portrayed in the UK Pony Comic or the Fact File!
"MOVIE STAR" RELEASE CARD (WIND WHISTLER's UK CARD)
(Click on the images to view full size in a new window)
The ugly online convention is to refer to these ponies as "Non So Soft" or "NSS". I have never liked this label, though, because it implies that they are somehow less valid versions of the SoSoft set. Hasbro simply called them "My Little Pony", and that's good enough for me :)
Thanks to Joss for the picture of Truly.