41 comments

12 inch My Little Pony Shining Armor Plush12 inch My Little Pony Trixie Plush

The last weeks we got a lot of new Chinese 12 inch plushies, recognizable by the green "12 inch" logo they all have on the product image. They're all of amazing quality, but because they are only available on Ebay, Taobao and Alibaba, a lot of people are thinking they are fake.
Well... are they? The answer is pretty clear to us now. We found out the origin of these plushies, and want to share our research with you!

Read our complete research after the cut!

The Tags

 My Little Pony Japanese Plush Tag
Thanks to an anonymous visitor of our blog we have a detailed photo of the tags that come with (some) of the plushies, seen above. The tag is fully Japanese, but thanks to an editor some info has been translated. However it's still not clear (to us) what the name of the production company is. Backtracking the EAN code did not result in any success either. The exact code is also used for another plush, and the generalized code is used for a broad range of plushies, all with the typical green 12 inch logo. Neither do shorter parts of the EAN code lead anywhere to a company name, besides the fact that it's a Japanese code. Besides the, for now, unfindable company information, the tag does not mention Hasbro anywhere.
UPDATE: Thanks to some info provided by anonymous visitors we now know that the tag is completely fake. The other side is completely white, there is no licensing information, the UPC/EAN code is fake and even the MLP logo is wrong.

The Reailers / Resellers

 While the tag isn't too keen on sharing information with us, perhaps the sellers of the plushies are able to give more information? Sadly all listings (so far) do not list any information about the origin of the plushies, neither on eBay nor Taobao nor Alibaba.
Besides the marketplace listings, there are also a few retail shops that sell the plushies. We've sought email contact with one of them, but without any results. They know as much as we did at that point.
We went back to eBay and found out that some products have an SKU. We wondered if multiple sellers shared the same SKU? They did, even when the sellers came from different locations. So, who comes up with the SKU codes? That question led to google, and google led us to...

The Wholesaler

The search led to a site full of plushies and anime products: FrontWinner.com. But FrontWinner is not the wholesaler of the plushies... As seen in their FAQ and after contact with customer support they produce the plushies themselves! FrontWinner allows users to send in a product (image), and when enough people support the item, FrontWinner will mass-produce it. And when we take a look at the production dates of the plushies, they are in line with the dates they are found on Taobao and eBay. There is a direct link with the production line of FrontWinner, and the release of these plushies on marketplaces on the web.
As you can see on the wish page, there are quite a lot of pony plushies people want to see next. We'll have to see whether FrontWinner recreates them, or if they are ignored (some plushies still have the original DeviantArt copyright on the image).
NOTE: It seems that FrontWinner has blocked access for North American IP-addresses to prevent lawsuits against their company, wow. (Thanks to AJLareneg and lovesbabysquirmy for that info!)
Cheese Sandwich, Fluttershy, Flutterbat and Octavia Plushies on the FrontWinner Wishlist
FrontWinner Wish List: Are they next?

Real or Fake?

Many visitors of our blog have commented that the plushies are real, since they are available in Japan (claw machines). The discovery of FrontWinner, combined with the fake tag makes us think otherwise. After lots of discussion with plush artists, comments on our blog and comments by MLParena memebers hathorcat we can safely conclude that these plushies are fake.
Both the ones available on FrontWinner (and thus eBay/Taobao/Alibaba aswell) and the claw machine plushies with the same tag.

Nevertheless, the quality of these plushies remains stunning. Even the ones produced by FrontWinner are of far better quality and show-accurateness than some of the licensed plushies available in the USA and Europe if you ask me.
NOTE: Be aware that these plushies are fake and can have fluctuations in quality. Besides that, Hasbro and the original artists earn NOTHING on the sales of these plushies.


This article is based on our own research, and is subject to change when new insights in the origin of the plushies are found. If you happen to know the origin, a translation of the tag or any other information, feel free to contact us!

We would like to thank all people that have informed us about the plushies!

41 comments :

  1. Like my other post...
    A tag does not make an item legit. It should be clear that the tag is fake in itself, because it does not have the Japanese logo on it. And bootleg tags often have fake information on them-- which is why you are finding a real company but then ending at a deadend.

    http://mylittleponyjapan.com
    A legit product for the Japanese market would have a real logo on it.

    And a link to their merchandise shop: http://mlpj.shop-pro.jp

    Here is a link to fake rilakkuma plush. I know it's not pony, but has a wonderful section showing tags. Please check it out.
    http://maryrilakkuma.wordpress.com/genuine-versus-fake-rilakkuma-guide

    the UPC is a fake, the last number should be by itself and to the right. (Look against other UPC codes)
    Also you can look UPCs up here : http://www.upcdatabase.com
    And I'm pretty sure that the Japanese use a lot of QR codes.
    But why would a UPC code be on a UFO catcher doll, if people want to claim that's what they are.


    It's so hard now a days to determine fakes among real things with collector items. But that tag is the very first clue that it is absolutely fake. There is nothing right about that tag. But beyond that, the fact that they steal patterns from fan plushie makers, is another clue. :( Beyond that, is the price. If it was that high quality, and from Japan, the price would be a looooot higher. (Ex, this medium fluttershy http://mlpj.shop-pro.jp/?pid=68285303 is roughly $25). It had red flags all over it.

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    1. It is not uncommon for UFO catcher plushies to have those, even the ones by the brand Amuse have them and not every japanese MLP merch is listed at the website hosted by Bushiroad since they only list Hasbro's and their own merch but not, for example, those other UFO catcher plushies that have a even lower price:
      http://hossya.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-27.html
      Also, the company doesn't steal patterns from others, so far they always used the same basic pattern for the normal-size pony plushies.

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    2. Aside from everything that was just said, that "Japanese MLP Logo" actually comes from someone on DeviantArt and is the first image result you get when you search "japanese my little pony". So that's anothher thing that points to the tag being fake. Along with the sloppy placement of the characters on it. Applejack's face is totally cut off...and we have Discord's arm just hanging out there. That's unheard of to me with official products.

      It's also a big red flag to me that none of these plush are being sold on any Japanese site I can find. I shop often and have not seen a single one of these for sale outside of eBay and the other sites already listed. UFO plush are usually never that hard to track down. Especially if they have the quantities produced that these do. Just more info.

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    3. Original anon here.
      While I'm slightly wrong about UPC codes (as apparently asian UPC codes don't have the last digit to the right-- I didn't realize that till I was looking at some other product last night)-- I really beg to differ about Amuse plush.
      As Alpacasso *are* what I do collect, I can say none of my legit Amuse plush (including ones that I won in person, and others imported from Japan) do not have a UPC code. I had only made mention of it because there were claims that these are UFO catcher dolls. There are however tons of fake Alpacasso plushies on ebay from China with fake tags.. and sadly, fake tags that look real unless you know what to look for. UFO plushies now a days are bootlegged a lot. I can easily find "nendoroid ufo plush" at my local chinese market.

      They don't steal patterns, because they'd have to buy the plushies to get the pattern. But they DO steal images, and they DO base their plushies heavily off those images. It's more of a grey area about the patterns.

      And according to 3rd anon, even the logo is stolen.

      I have pictures from bushiroad's plush ponies.. and I'll let you know that it says very clearly licensed by Hasbro. Which ANY plush that is legit should, and would say.

      I also never claimed for that site to have all of the licensed Japanese merch. I listed it as an example of what the official logo DOES look like. And an example of price point for the licensed plush (which do have a UPC code because they are sold in store as well). It's obvious that there would not be UFO catcher items on a site like that. Those are prize toys.

      And the arena has a good point too-- that the company is blocking US visits, that they make bootleg products, and there is no documentation anywhere that these are licensed products. ^^;; Hopefully all of this put together can just squish out anyone's thoughts they are "real". No matter how nice they might be.

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    4. What's a UFO catcher plushie?

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    5. A UFO Catcher plushie is a prize won from a crane game.

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  2. Also, look at where it's made. If it was Japanese why does it have "Made in China" on the tag? The MLP logo is also missing a copyright/trademark mark. Also, baby cake (can't remember which name atm) was Season 2 I think, and Princess Luna had a different look in Season 2. And no self respecting marketing team would ever have cut off images, -ever-. Also, that's a VERY similar looking tag that I have on my Luna plushie from Sailor Moon, only difference was instead of a MLP image, it was Sailor Moon.

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    1. Actually, just like the US, Japan does have most of its goods made in China. So that doesn't ALWAYS mean it's a fake as the legitimate product is made there too(though not in this case because there is no official product)

      Just wanted to clear that up since it's a common myth about all Japanese products.
      BUT, the real ones will usually have a "for sale in Japan only" sign on the tag, or will often have a sticker on the tag or box to point to authenticity that the bootlegs never have.

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  3. I'm one of the artists that has a photo on that website. I'm dolphinwing, and created that original Cheese Sandwich pony plush in the screencap. I did not authorize the use of my photos, and neither has any of the other artists that they took from. After reviewing the site it seems like images are grabbed from ebay listings from artists and google image searches. As stated a lot of the pictures still have deviantart watermarks. As far as I'm concerned these are fake, and they are trying their best to copy other people's patterns. Of course the artists themselves can't do much because the characters belong to Hasbro.

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  4. Thank you SO much to all the replies in this topic! We've updated the post with all the new information :)

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    1. ^_^ Thanks for the update!
      I'm very excited that this information is consolidated in one place, so that it is a great reference for everyone.

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  5. They aren't even bothering to take artists' sites off the images. Just wow. http://www.frontwinner.com/anime/sku/XCP000123/gyarados-shiny-pokemon-plush

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    1. Funny thing: They've actually just today announced that it is no longer allowed to upload images with the DeviantArt watermark/copyright still in it :)

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  6. Hello,I'm a Japanese.I think that this plush is fake.Because, the sentence of this tag is written about a Fizzing candies.But the plush of Shining Armor and Trixie is pretty.

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  7. I'm sorry for asking a perhaps redundant question, but I guess I've read over it quite some times, but can you or can you not get these plushies?

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    1. It depends. Plushies on the wishlist are not yet being produced, the ones on the other parts of the FrontWinner site are (and they are usually available on eBay/Taobao/Alibaba aswell).
      Do mind that these are bootlegged plushies, they do not support the artists or Hasbro and could have mixed quality. Buy at your own risk!

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  8. Please don't be fooled by these. These are in fact fake, they are not licesned in any shape way or form by hasbro, and many of them are actually made after and ripped off of custom artists.

    Also, they made a specific 'milking' fetish pony with literal human breasts, something they would obviously never make, which was released with all these ponies. Something they would obviously never do.

    The company that produces these ponies is the same company that produces the bootleg 12inch pokemon plush, once again many of which have been stolen in pattern and ripped off from custom artists.

    These are in no way official, and their tags show literately no signs of them being so, any more than them being in crane machines in japan. Believe it or not, bootlegs get shipped to Japan when ordered just like any other country.

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    1. FW never made Milky Way, that was a different company.

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    2. The Cheese Sandwich Plush Up there was made by DolphinWing on DeviantART. :)

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    3. Also, if you buy a fake plushie it is illegal for you to re-sell it and if you get caught you can pay very high fines for selling counterfeit/bootleg products. That said, there is and won't be any value accrued in the plush as far as collectability further down the road.

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  9. I bought one of these plushies for $25 at a con I just went to last weekend, and honestly, I love it to death. It was cheap, just about as good as an artist plush and perfectly show accurate and adorable. The stitching was lovely and overall quality is pretty much perfect. 10/10 would recommend if you happen across one. My only problem is that their legs look a tiiiiny bit too short, but hell, that's nothing to nitpick about at such a fantastic price and quality. If Hasbro won't step up their game and give the community what they want, other companies are going to jump on the opportunity, licensed or not.
    If "independent artists" can sell unlicensed things, why not other companies. But that's just my opinion. Though I got mine from a con that I saw in person, I can't say the same quality will come from a store I've never ordered from online. So the buy at your own risk thing still applies.
    But as I've clearly stated, these plushies are fantastic, "official" or not.

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    1. I completely agree, and couldn't have said it better myself. The article was discussing whether they were real or fake. Well in my opinion, they're show accurate, and just as hugable as the official ones. So to me, yes, they're real. They may not be "official", but they are real.

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  10. Would it even be legal to order one of these plushies (for example on ebay) and get it shipped to Europe? I wonder if there would be problems with the custom office.

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    1. Some of my friends have these plushies, and I even heard of companies that import tons of these and resell them without a problem. Now of course I can't garuntee that you won't get any trouble, but so far I have not heard of any problems. In The Netherlands there is a law that allows a maximum amount of 'fake' products you can import for personal use, which is 3.

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    2. Thank you :) I've done a little research on the German custom office's website, and it seems as if buying fake products is ok as long as you don't look like you want to resell them. So again, it's a matter of the amount you order, although there is no specific maximum amount given, and you may not use a business address as shipping address.
      I usually prefer products supporting the show like my beanie babies and build-a-bear plushies, but sadly many characters aren't available (yet) :(

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  11. Haven't these been tied to Onlyfactory.com ?

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    1. Yes: FrontWinner and OnlyFactory are more or less the same company (OnlyFactory may be a sub-company of FrontWinner). Nowadays most of the plush requests are handled by OnlyFactory and may pop up on FrontWinner later (although OnlyFactory 'exclusives' exsist aswell). But the plush designs are most probably made by the same designers as the earlier FrontWinner designs.

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  12. I have buy a Rainbow dash at gamescom from this seller and the.plush quality is perfect.I can wash it the color rest perfect, I have no problem whit it !

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  13. Here's an interesting bit of info, when I was in London on Friday, a shop known as Tokyotoys were selling these things for about £15 each.

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  14. I just got this plush at a store, not a retailer, an actual store.

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  15. The look of these plushies are actually amazing, and they are very show accurate. They're all good sizes too, and the line includes lots of cool characters that you won't find in official plush lines. They've got Dr. Whooves, our old favorite Derpy, Spike, Applejack with her hat, Shining Armor, a show accurate Luna, and even Discord. I've even heard they're working on a Tirek plush!

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  16. People, wake up and read the article...these are FAKE! They are show accurate because they stole the pattern from an artist who took hours to create the pattern, make a test plush, tweak the pattern again, make another test version etc until the pattern is as show accurate as possible for creating the final plush version.

    They are USING SOMEONE ELSE'S WORK, someone who put love and time into creating it. These companies steal the patterns either by a posted pattern (which is why serious plushie makers do not sell or give out their patterns) or by actually buying a plushie and ripping it apart to create a pattern and then MASS produce them!

    And because these have a tag on them which closely resembles an original artist's tag, they become considered as 'counterfeit'. If they have no tag on them it is considered to be a 'knockoff' and apparently it is okay to buy the knockoffs, BUT YOU CANNOT RE-SELL THEM! If you do, you can face fines in the thousands or more.

    I know a lot of people don't have the money to spend, but people you are buying a ripped off, fake, knock-off of someone else's hard and intensive work (a lot of these are made by hand, or hand/machine) who for the most part does this to try and pay the bills at home. They, nor Hasbro, gets anything from these Chinese/Japanese made knockoff products.

    If you want one so much, there are a few plushie makers out there who will work with you on a monthly payment option if you really want one that is made with true love and customed to what you want.

    Anyone buying this Made in China or Japanese product should be ashamed of themselves! You're promoting their economy and not promoting/supporting American crafters. I'm sure you'll all agree that you work hard fro your money, but when you buy one of these fake, counterfeited, knockoff products...well, your hard earned money is going into Chinese pockets, not here in the U.S.

    Its situations/foreign companies like these that has killed American entrepreneurship, killed American jobs and has just about killed the American dream!

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  17. What about toychest.sg@gmail.com? Someone on eBay is selling these plushies and based from the off color and just the style they are made in suggests fakes, especially when you go to their facebook page and see the amount of plushies they have. The person listing them on eBay is, according to their eBay profile, based in Massachusetts. However, toychest.sg@gmail.com is based out of Singapore (they can be found on Facebook). They look nearly identical to the ones FrontWinner and OnlyFactory make.

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    1. Onlyfactory is the factory who makes them, frontwinner is the wholesale who sells them.
      recently they are putting up there own tag with Olyfactory on it, including the tush tag because other factories are ripping them off, stealing there designs and copying it. so if it doesnt have a OLYFactory tag
      then the design is stolen.

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  18. I'm a little unclear as to how they recreate these plushies just from a picture alone? Wouldn't they need the actual plushie in their possession in order to pull it apart to copy the pattern/reverse engineer it? If they do this from a picture alone, that's remarkably skilled. Isn't it?

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    1. the creators of the 12 inch logo mlp plushes are making there own patterns, and they keep improving the base model. the reason they dont have a license, is that hasbro is over licensed. this is not a joke. i contacted hasbro itself to ask for a license for these. but they dont do it because they already gave out to many licenses......i didnt want to go on a disscussion with the person from hasbro so i accepted it. but its still strange how can you over license something?

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    2. That means they gave too many plush makers a license, I know in the case of Germany Hasbro took away Nici's MLP license for selling plushies in that country and gave it to TY which is why they never got the latest Nici plushies AJ and Rarity as they can have only one license holder per country, probably more in the US.

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  19. Even though these are fake, they have good quality. I own a Princess Celestia one (with the same tags and everything) and it is extremely soft, detailed and cuddly.
    The only flaw I found with it so far is that it can hardly stand up w/out falling over or some support. Tbh, it didn't strike to me that these are/were fake until now. Too bad these aren't licensed by Hasbro...

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  20. The production company is called Oli Factory according to a youtube video where someone was reviewing these plushies.

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  21. What do you say , that plushies is not fake.

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    1. This post is pretty old now, but it has been proven that these are bootleg (there is no license from Hasbro).

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