Toy Review: Dr Whooves and Fluttershy vinyl figures
In the fall of 2012, fans of the TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic rejoiced when Hasbro allowed vinyl figure producer Funko, to help bring more collectibles to the series’ older fan base.
Collectibles for the older fans of the series have been somewhat problematic outside of the general clothing-based merchandise. Because its one of their main franchises, Hasbro generally has their hands in almost all toy-based materials. However, while they do acknowledge older fans loving the cartoon series, Hasbro is not the kind of company that is going to sink millions of dollars into partitioning out merch for the older fans.
This seems to be the niche that Funko is filling. Though their vinyl figures are more like collectible sculptures than toys, they seem more willing to follow the design of the show, giving collector’s something nice to display.
Funko’s first figure releases were of a main pony character, and one of the fanbase’s favorites. In this case, we had main character Rainbow Dash, and fan-favorite Derpy Hooves (which was reviewed here).
In February of 2013, Funko has again followed this chain-of-thought, by giving us the main character of Fluttershy, and fan-favorite (and first stallion) release, Dr Whooves.
Like Derpy Hooves, Dr Whooves started out his life as a non-descript background character. In this case, a stallion with an hourglass cutie-mark on his flank. Due to his rather spiky mane, along with the hourglass markings, some felt that he seemed to be a stallion version of the Tenth Doctor, played by David Tenant.
Originally called ‘Time-Turner’ in some materials, he gained the Dr Whooves moniker unofficially in the last few years, notably on some clothing merchandise.
His release in Funko’s second wave of Friendship is Magic figures, also clears the way for a new mold. Unlike the more curved faces of the series’ ponies, Dr Whooves’ look is more angular, giving him a straight-bridged ‘nose.’
It’s also enjoyable to see that his mane and tail hair are neat and ‘symmetrical,’ compared to the ponies that are asymmetrical. This gives one a better chance to see the full-body sculpt of the figure
Unlike the vinyl figurine of Derpy, Dr Whooves’ is more of a smoother, shinier finish. However, this also makes a few abnormalities stand out.
One controversy that also followed the first releases, was that only one of the figure’s flanks had a cutie-mark, and this time, the same thing has happened. One has to wonder why it is so hard to put this mark on both sides of a figure, giving only one ‘good side’ to display them.
The paint applications are also a little spotty in places. Of concern to me, was the painting around the eyes, which seemed a little ‘soft.’ Speaking of his eyes, this is an area where the figure ‘fails’ to me. Compared to the package design (and the screenshot above), the figure’s eyes are about 20% larger than they should be!
The large eyes on the figure are a bit too distracting for me, and I put my figure into Photoshop to see what shrinking the eye down would do. As you can see on the right image above, it seems to make the sculpt a whole lot better, and closer to the Doctor’s animated counterpart.
Unlike the first wave of figures, the second wave has several different variants. Dr Hooves comes with either a green, or red tie. There’s also a rare sparkly-clear variant. Though they are limited editions, the majority of fans claim they just want a ‘normal’ Doctor.
In the end, the fan-favorite Dr Whooves is a good figure, and most likely the only chance we may get to seeing this figure made (I doubt Hasbro would make him, as the majority of their figures are ponies and not stallions). Not bad for the first Funko attempt at a stallion figure, but one hopes that if future stallions are made, this first step will lead them to make improvements.
FINAL GRADE: B+
Even though there are ‘earth’ ponies and unicorns in the land of Equestria, Funko decided to give us another pegasus pony in the wake of Rainbow Dash and Derpy Hooves’ release. This time, we get one of the more timid-yet-sweet characters from the television series: Fluttershy. The soft-spoken, animal-loving pony has many fans out there (myself included), and I did wonder if Funko could do a proper figure of her justice. I must say, that Funko has impressed me greatly with what they have brought forth, and she has surpassed Derpy’s Funko figure to become my new favorite!
First off, as Sweetie Belle might say, “I really like her mane!” Fluttershy has the largest shock of hair compared to her friends, and the vinyl sculpting on it is quite a sight to behold. Though this means she can only be posed properly on her left-side, the design holds up well when compared to the profile image of her animated counterpart. Plus, if angled correctly, one can also make out a heart-shape in her curved mane design. Some might pitch a fit that her hair color is more magenta than light-pink, but I’m not that picky.
Unlike Dr Whooves, her eyes also seem to be a decent size, their half-closed/shy appearance works well in profile, and head-on, seem to pull off a pretty cute look. The placement also looks more natural on her face than previous pony releases. Derpy’s wall-eyed look worked well in a 3/4 profile, but head-on, seemed rather odd.
Like the other releases, only one side of Fluttershy contains a cutie-mark (featuring three butterflies). The shinier vinyl I feared would be a bit distracting, but it’s not as bad, and helps accentuate the curves in her sculpt.
Also, what I originally thought was Funko’s attempt to reuse an already-made mold has been debunked. Fluttershy’s head and body sculpt are brand-new. Her features are a bit rounder and ‘softer,’ which helps a great deal, notably in the area around her cheeks.
Her packaging also seems to be a first for this Funko figure series, in that it contains some pink in it (notably due to the coloration fitting Fluttershy’s colors).
Like Dr Whooves, Fluttershy is also being released with a variant design: a clear-bodied figure that is said to be inserted at random. I was just glad I didn’t get it, as I’m more partial to original designs, and not ‘crystal ponies.’
There’s very little I have to say negatively about this figure. A few vinyl abnormalities can be found here and there, but just looking at the figure sitting atop my computer, the good outweighs what little bad there is in this release. If anything, Fluttershy should be the benchmark Funko should use when figuring out how to make their next releases even better.
FINAL GRADE: A
Average prices for the new releases runs about $16.50 apiece. I pre-ordered mine from Hot Topic, but they should be hitting store shelves there very soon. At this time, Hot Topic is still the only place to pick up Funko‘s pony figures.
Rumor is the next wave of two figures should be announced very soon (Funko has stated on their Facebook page that Hot Topic will tell the masses what will be next). Speculation has been that we may see the curly-haired party pony, Pinkie Pie, and the shades-wearing DJ named Vinyl Scratch next. However, this is just rumor, but it would fit with the previous releases of one main pony, and one fan-favorite.
Funko have definitely cemented themselves as one of the premier sellers of vinyl-based toys and collectibles based around popular culture, and this second wave of My Little Pony figures should definitely help get more fans interested.