The Birthday Party Playset
(United Kingdom and Europe)
With TUTTI FRUTTI: Gold earth pony with green mane and tail (yellow streak in mane), lime, cherries and slice of orange symbol.
The European release of the Birthday Party set was a bit of a cheat after the pony-loaded release of the set in the North American line the year before. Though the basic accessories between this set and the North American one are the same, instead of five ponies there was only one - a brand new character called "Tutti Frutti" who was only ever sold as part of this playset. She was an earthling - despite having the coloured streak in her hair - and there are two variations, for her streak of hair can be rooted on either side of her mane.
There has often been argument and speculation about how many accessories the set came with in the United Kingdom and Europe. The My Little Pony Comic advertisment makes a big deal of there being six of everything, but I have had so many emails from people with the set Mint in Box claiming that there are only four plates and cups and party blowers. Indeed, my own Mint in Box Tutti Frutti (which is in English packaging but stickered with a Dutch market label) has four of certain accessories. And yet, that comic advertisment is adamant that Tutti Frutti had six of everything.
And guess what? She did.
It took me a long time to solve this one, but finally, I think I have. Pictured below are the two versions of Tutti Frutti Mint in Package:
TUTTI FRUTTI MIB: UNITED KINGDOM
As you can clearly see, the package on the left shows four of certain accessories. The package is quite clearly in English - but there in that top corner is the yellow Dutch market label which my own Mint in Package pony also features. Though I can only speculate on the number of countries that had this release, it seems certain that - in the Netherlands and probably Belgium - this was the version sold.
HOWEVER it was not the version released in the United Kingdom. As usual, the comic was right. Shown on the right is the correct (and much more difficult to find Mint in Box) UK release of this set. As you can see - six plates, six cups - just as the comic advert states. The basic box is the same, which is what has caused the confusion!
The main difference between Tutti Frutti's accessories and those from the North American Party set is that the invitations and the sticker for the Pin The Tail On The Pony game feature Tutti Frutti, rather than the North American ponies.
Tutti Frutti: Variations (Euro vs UK)
TUTTI FRUTTI: ISSUE VARIATIONS
Just like Sweet Clover, there is a variation between Tutti Frutti in the UK and in Europe. You can sort of see it in the MIP images above, but below are some clearer comparisons of the two ponies. First and foremost let me point out that the shade of the symbol is probably misleading - there are known variations within both the UK and European releases that probably relate to batch rather than anything else.
The three key features between the two ponies are as follows:
1: Body tone
2: Eyeliner colour
3: Hair rooting style
1: Body tone. You can see it in the above comparison picture, but the European pony has a lighter body tone than my pony bought new here in the UK by my friend as a child.
TUTTI FRUTTI: EYELINER/HEAD COMPARISON
2: Eyeliner. This has been commented on before with other sets, but a lot of UK sold UK ponies have black eyeliner (like the Movie set from this year). This is also true of the UK sold Tutti Frutti. The European sold one, on the other hand, has brown eyeliner. I do not know if this is a rule across all UK and European Tutti Frutti, but it seems likely.
TUTTI FRUTTI: HAIR ROOTING STYLE COMPARISON
3: Hair rooting style.You can see from the image above that the Tutti Frutti pony from the UK has her hair falling on her non-display side. The packaged pony pictured above shows that this is how she was sold. The streak in her hair is therefore rooted above the green to fall on her non-display side. The European pony, on the other hand, is rooted so that her mane falls on her display side. As a result, her yellow-gold streak is rooted to fall over the top of this on her display side. This is a uniform feature I have noticed in all the UK vs European sold ponies I have seen, so appears to be the most definitive way of telling the two apart.
It is not totally clear what countries the European version was sold in. My pony came from Germany, but she came with French-language invitations, which may indicate she was sold across Europe or it may not
(Thanks to Amberina and The Delaneys for the loans of the above MIB pics)