Friday, 27 February 2015

Damaged Goods Part 1: Discolouration and Fading

Ah, the First World problems of a Collector.  Those of us who collect vintage (and modern) toys tend to get a little obsessive about flaws, problems, and wear.  What can we live with, what won't we allow across the threshold of the Pony Room?

The unfortunate truth about vintage Ponies is that very few of these 30+ year old toys has made it this far without sustaining some kind of damage.  The even more unfortunate truth is that we're only going to see more damage coming out on these beloved friends as time passes.  In the next few weeks, I'm going to explore some of the more common problems that we see in vintage ponies, with an eye toward educating new collectors and warning FIM fans about what they might expect from their Ponies in the coming years.

This week's episode is on Discolouration and Fading.  These are probably the most common problems collectors encounter.


 MLPs are subject to numerous types of discolouration, and many of the problems discussed in later posts will cover these.  This week, I want to talk in more general terms.

Hasbro has, unfortunately, long used different types of plastic in manufacture of the head and body of individual MLPs.  Although the toys often look fine right out of the package, time will often show the difference as the dye used to colour the pony leeches faster out of one part of the pony.
Twilight and Feathermay will, unfortunately, someday resemble Wingsong
Head/body mismatch is one of the least popular flaws among collectors.  Unfortunately, it's something we've had to learn to live with.  G2 and G4 ponies are particularly prone to mismatch and I suspect this has something to do with the fact that their plastic is a bit more firm than G1 and G3.  However, you will see the same flaws in G1 and G3 ponies, but it's easier to avoid.  The unfortunate truth is, that certain ponies (Twilight Sparkle, Wingsong, Feathermay) are more prone to this flaw and it's quite difficult to find one without.
The two Peachys on the right are the same release, but the middle one is sun damaged.  The Peachy on the left is the Italian varient.
It's also possible for a pony to become discoloured rather than faded through  prolonged sun exposure.  Some ponies become darker rather than lighter with the sun, and are prone to "sun burn" and often discolour evenly across their bodies.  Some collectors may mistake these subtle changes in colour for a variant version of a pony, but really it only shows that a pony enjoyed outdoor playtime with a child.


It doesn't take much exposure to light to cause the bright colours of MLP to begin to fade.  Certain colours can begin to lose their vibrancy with only a few minutes of sun exposure.  Camera flashes and indirect light can also hurry fading along.

The most notorious colour for fading on MLP is a hair colour that collectors refer to as "fading pink."  Fading pink begins life as a bright, vibrant, almost florescent shade but if exposed to sunlight it quickly fades away and can turn completely white in a very short time.  In fact, it fades so quickly that often collectors discover that a pony whom they've always thought was made with white hair was actually rooted with fading pink.  UK Mountain Boy Tornado and Argentina Baby Ribbs are two such ponies, who are often so often seen with completely faded hair that they are thought to originally have had white hair.
Believe it or not, all of these ponies started life with the same bright pink hair that you see on the left
Although fading pink is (obviously) known for it's lack of colour-fastness, any colour can fade or yellow over time.  Red hues (including pinks, and purples) are known to leach out faster than other pigments.  This can cause pink or red paint to become white or disappear completely and purples to become blue.  These changes in colour can also be mistaken for variants.


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