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Cheese Sandwich

My Little Pony: Guardians of Harmony
by yo go re

Weird Al is one of our patron saints, so any chance to get a figure of him is a good one - even in an unexpected form.

This super-duper party pony aims for laughs!

Intoduced in the Season 4 episode "Pinkie Pride," Cheese Sandwich is guided all over Equestria by his "Cheesy Sense," bringing parties to anyone who needs them. He knew he was in for his ultimate challenge the day he was summoned to Ponyville, home of the partying-est pony to ever party, Pinkie Pie. Rolling (or, more accurately, "trotting") into town like an Old West gunslinger, he prepared for a head-to-head confrontation that would determine, once and for all, who the ultimate party pony would be.

Cheese is voiced on the cartoon by Weird Al, so the baby horse is designed to look like him. His mane and tail are bushy, curly, and brown, matching Yankovic's "Al-fro," while his coat is a light brilliant gamboge (that means "orange," to you and me). Okay, so the real Weird Al's skin isn't orange, and his eyes aren't green, but neither of those look terribly out of place.

What does, though, is the body. On Friendship is Magic, whether they're bigger or smaller, the boy ponies have more angular bodies than the female ponies - angular legs, angular torso, angular snout, everything. The toy has softer lines that make it seem less masculine. There was a blind-bagged version of Sandwich, and that one had the right shapes, so it's not like Hasbro is unaware. The toy is still recognizable (after all, how many ponies wear a collared shirt?), but it looks more like a teenaged Cheese Sandwich than an adult Cheese Sandwich. They were already doing new molds to accommodate his shirt and its sleeves, so why not go all the way?

Another missed opportunity comes with the paint. For one thing, his cutie mark (a grilled cheese that's been cut in half and subsequently resembles an accordion) is only painted on one side, not on both the way it should be. Hasbro's never fixed that problem. For another, his eyes are full and round - it would have been neat if they'd squared off the bottom, to make him look even happier than he already does.

The Guardians of Harmony toys bring something MLP has been soreley missing (from our point of view, at least): articulation. Cheese Sandwich has a swivel/hinge joint for the neck, plus the same for his shoulders and elbows. The hips are just swivels, but the tail gets a balljoint so you can move it all around. Counting his mane, the figure is about 4" tall. Since the two joints in the arms allow the pieces to swivel completely around, you'll want to make sure you've got them the right way around. It's not that they make a huge difference, but you want to be accurate, don't you?

Cheese Sandwich is not one of the line's normal releases; he's a Deluxe or a Premium or a Super-Special Awesome or something, because in addition to the pony himself, he also comes with the finest in party-related assault vehicles, the Cannonball Surprise! In the cartoon, the party cannon is about five times the size it is here, but the styling is perfect: grey tank treads, a red body, a blue turret, and yellow stars scattered all around.

There are two deep wells that include pegs in the center, serving as a stand for the figure (yes, he has holes in the bottoms of his feet. Hooves. Whatever.) If you can push the hooves all the way down onto the pegs, he'll stay in place securely; it's just tough to do. There's also a fun action feature: press the lever on the side, and the barrel of the cannon pops in and out twice. It produces a pleasantly heavy clacking sound. You can load one of three fake birds into the barrel (Cheese Sandwich's longtime best friend Boneless, the rubber chicken, or one of two... yellow... seagulls? In the episode, they were white pelicans.) and when you clack the gun back and forth, the bird will launch a surprisingly great distance. This tank is better than some GI Joe tanks! Oh, and because safety is paramount, he gets a blue helmet that fits right over his mane.

The very idea of Weird Al Yankovic voicing a My Little Pony is a cool one, in much the same way that Patton Oswalt voicing one is cool. And unless you want an inch-high, unarticulated representation of the character, this toy is your only option. It's cute, and it's fun that it exists, but it's a shame that the figure has a weird hybrid design that isn't really true to the animation model.

-- 02/16/17

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