(aka Twice As Fancy Ponies)
Although the cards and the inserts that featured these ponies were both dated 1987, it seems most likely that they really emerged on our shelves towards the early months of 1988. They were one of the first sets of a new era in MLP in the UK - ponies without puffy stickers, and ponies that were not included in the Fact File. The style of the backcards were quite different, too, with coloured borders around the edge - a feature that would go on to be developed in later years.
In spite of these changes, some old conventions were retained - the unicorn from the set, Milky Way, still had a coloured streak in her mane.
The gimmick that these ponies put out is obvious from the first glance. Instead of neat symbols in the usual location, they had patterns spread out across their sides and over their back, making them literally "twice as fancy" as the other ponies in the range. They also all had a little interpretation of their symbol on their cheek or nose, and this is a good way of distinguishing them from other later sets who use similar symbol style techniques.
This set featured all new poses from 1987.
The Party Ponies were one of the first sets also to not figure in the Fact File.
PARTY PONY BACKCARD ART (1987, UK)
The set were called "Party Ponies" in the UK, a name adopted also in the European countries which used the same basic set design and card layout/art. The ponies were illustrated on the back of their cards in existing poses but none of the poses shown were accurate to the actual ponies sold (at least not in the mainstream release!). All of the ponies in the set featured new moulds for 1987.
Trademarked set name, "Party Pony"
In North America, they were known as "Twice as Fancy Ponies", a label I generally adopt because it encompasses all the ponies sold in this style over two years - the term "Party Pony" only refers directly to these six new characters, and possibly Fifi from the salon (though this was never clearly defined). Some of the set also had different names in the North American release.
My Little Pony Commercial: Party Ponies (Zip File, 468kbs - audio ONLY)
(United Kingdom, 1987. Thanks to Garej for sending me this file)
This set is one of the few sets for which a genuine UK advert has survived. It follows the theme/style of the US adverts, with the "I'm a My Little Pony Mommy" tune, but with its own lyrics, using the set name "Party Ponies" liberally throughout. Click on the image to download the audio.
Milky Way also came with a distinctive European-based variation - see her page for more on that subject!