"My Little Pony Fact File "
This is a mysterious item, unique to the UK, for which you had to use all those horseshoe points you clipped off packets, hoping in vain for a pony to send off for! Yes, pony mail orders were scarce in the United Kingdom, but other things were not, and, of the variety of carrycases, playmats and other paraphernalia, the Fact File is undoubtedly the most unique and, honestly, the best mail order item that the UK ever had.
Because of it's status as Mail Order, I've also linked it from that section, but it really belongs here, in 1987, because there is an invisible dividing line in UK My Little Pony knowledge. Those ponies in the fact file (1987 and before) and those not (1987 and after). 1987 is a threshold year, in which much happened and many ponies came out. It has three separate inserts, but only the sets featured on the FIRST insert made the cut for the Fact File entry.
The photos and scans on this page come from my own childhood factfile. As a child, this was my pony "bible" for the early years and consequently it got referred to and annotated as time went on. It is my single most precious non-pony possession, and that fact is reflected in its well used but well loved condition. For that reason, please excuse any annotations in the pictures xD It has always been a working file.
So, what is the Fact File?
Offered in 1987 via this comic advertisment , the Fact File was a small blue binder which claimed to include "all" the little ponies in Ponyland. In truth the Fact File contained 125 ponies of various types - but did also omit the three UK adult sea ponies. Some ponies, such as Firefly, Moondancer and Powder appeared in the Fact File despite not being included in the UK pony issue, as they were prevalent in the comics of the time. Some ponies were misrepresented: Minty was shown in purple, for example, and Honeycomb with a horn, rather than wings.
Despite its flaws and fallacies, the Fact File served a very important purpose. What it did was establish in one collective the early personalities and traits of My Little Pony characters in the UK. As I have mentioned before, these were often very different from how the US TV series chose to represent them, and they were the personalities which, in general, appeared in the long-running Pony Comic.
In short, this file was a piece of UK My Little Pony identity.
The file itself is split into several sections, covering types of pony. There are eleven sections in all, including a final section of blank images for you to design a pony of your own (in various different styles). Section 10, "Ponyland", included all the playsets. It is worth noting that Paradise is pictured in the entry for Paradise Estate, showing that Hasbro still sort of thought they were going to sell her, right up to the point when they didn't. Paradise is included in the Fact File, as are Lofty and Ribbon - two other ponies only sold in So Soft form - whereas Truly and Cupcake - who ironically did get normal version releases and were sold on UK stamped cards - are not.
FACT FILE: CONTENTS PAGE
By far the biggest section in the file is the section simply entitled "My Little Pony". This contained an amalgamation of several sets, and some of the ponies included in it were not sold in the UK, despite being well known here (as I mentioned above). The ordering of the ponies in this file is neither alphabetical or chronological, though there is a bit of set-related logic involved in how they are arranged. For example, you can see where Hasbro thought Paradise, Lofty and Ribbon should fit in, even if they ultimately didn't. The latter half of the list is very jumbled, in my opinion!
All the ponies in this list that WERE sold in the UK were marketed generally under the umbrella of "My Little Pony" or simply "Ponies", and generally had no set name on their card. As a child, I called them the "Originals" for this reason.
SECTION 1: "My Little Pony"
This file is not common to find second hand, and even less common to find complete. It is exclusive to the UK, and, in my opinion, very special indeed.
SAMPLE PAGES FROM INSIDE THE FACTFILE