Smurfs made in Sri Lanka

Have you ever had a needle in a haystack experience? I did last week when I found a Smurf that was made in Sri Lanka. For some collectors, the markings on a Smurf mean nothing and for others like me, they mean a lot! So adding a Smurf with Sri Lanka markings, can make a big difference to ones own smurf collection.

To truly understand the importance of this marking, it helps to have an idea of the history of the Smurfs especially in the early 1980’s. The ever-increasing demand for Smurfs in the USA meant that Schleich had to look for other manufacturing options to keep up with the demand. At that time the majority of the smurfs for the USA  were being made in Hong Kong.

Smurfs started being made in Sri Lanka in around 1983. In the beginning Smurfs were only being painted in Sri Lanka. In some instances Smurfs were sold with a small oval sticker with the words – Made in Hong Kong Painted in Sri Lanka attached under the foot. Other Smurfs would have a red paint dot added to their markings under their foot.

Cake Smurf 20100At some stage between 1983 and 1987, a small number of Smurfs were made in Sri Lanka. As there has been no official records ever released by Schleich no one really knows how many were actually made in Sri Lanka. On the Blue Cavern Forum, it has been suggested that only 23 Smurfs were made in Sri Lanka.

Here is the list below:

#20023 Rock n Roll                                         #20099 Head Chef
#20031 Postman                                              #20100 Cake
#20033 Clown                                                  #20126 Rollerskater Smurfette
#20040 Gift and Flowers                               #20141 Papa Captain
#20041 Hiker                                                   #20144 Indian
#20045 Painter                                               #20177 Thanksgiving
#20062 Telephone                                         #20196 Thanksgiving Smurfette
#20064 Toothbrush                                       #20197 Indian with Corn
#20076 Courting                                             #20198 Witch
#20083 Hammer                                            #20199 Gargamel Mask
#20086 Present
#20093 Tennis Player
#20096 Sledgehammer

When the hype for the Smurfs dropped in America, drastic action was required by Schleich to ensure its own survival in the world of making toys. Both the Hong Kong and Sri Lanka factories were closed in around 1986.

To find or have a Smurf made in Sri Lanka is like owning a bit of your own history. Good luck to those who go in search for Smurfs!

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Smurfs that share the same moulds

When was the last time you looked closely at your smurf collection?  Closely examining each one, making a note of the position of the head, the position of eyes, the smurf’s body proportions, the list goes on. I did this not so long ago and found that some of my smurfs share the same mould!

sm20005I don’t have a problem with this, in my opinion I feel it is rather clever how by adding something to a smurf can change the appearance quite a lot. The more I looked into this, the more I found. Allow me to share some of the these with you.

In the beginning when Schleich started making smurfs back in 1965 all three were made using the same mould. These included #20002 Normal, #20005 Gold and #20010 Prisoner. When Prisoner was produced, it was made using the same basic mould like the other two but they added painted grooves to create stripes and made a slight change to the mouth.
sm20006blackIn 1969 when Brainy was first produced, black glasses were added to give it distictive Brainy feel and the mouth was slightly different to the other smurfs so far. Ever since Brainy’s glasses has become a pivitol part of Brainy’s character.

It wasn’t just the early releases of smurfs that this occurred, this practice occurred with some of the smurfs released in 1980’s. A good example of this was #21036 Pumpkin and #20160 Apple. Or #20057 Thirsty with the original release of #20152 Miller.

More recently there has been questions were raised whether or not the same mould was used for Papa Smurf. This was for #20760 Papa Captain released as part of 2014 Pirate series, #20769 Manager Papa Smurf released as part of 2015 Job series and #20777 Jungle Papa Smurf released as part of Jungle series. Though with these the mould used for the body may have been the same or similar but the head is different.

There are plenty of other examples you will find if you close enough. Actually you might be a little surprised how many you will find. It is truly amazing how by adding something like glasses to a smurf figurine can really change its appearance.

Well done to those over the years who have produced the smurf figurines. I love your work!

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Smurf merchandise by BP Australia

Safety Smurf Card Game BP Australia 81 Set of 15Do you ever wonder what ever happened to some of the smurf merchandise that BP Australia produced back in the early 1980’s. Things like their hand puppets, jigsaws, fridge magnets and endless other bits and pieces.  I know I do!

Perhaps I like to think of myself as an avid smurf historian collecting these important pieces of merchandise just so one day I can say to people that “oh yes I remember this” or “by the way I actually have one in my collection”.

One of the most adorable and treasured pieces I have in my collection is the Safety Smurf Card Game. This was produced by BP Australia back in 1981 to teach young children about safety. A total of nine cards were produced each with their own individual safety message and colourful picture. Simple messages such as Sunburnt Smurf – “do not stay in the sun too long” and Tree Smurf – “never climb too high”.

 

Safety Smurf Card Game BP Australia 81 - Sunburnt Smurf

To complement your Safety Smurf Cards, was a blue yo-yo. Again both items were designed to easily fit into your pants pockets ready for Show & Tell at school or to show your mates in the playground. If Yo-yo’s weren’t your kind of thing, BP Australia also produced many other pieces of merchandise such as hand puppets, pencil cases to marble sacks.

For the good intentioned parents, BP Australia also produced things to help educate children such as money boxes to teach children about saving their pocket money. Obviously saving up to buy more smurf stuff! Along with this kitchen items were also extremely popular with families. Items such as BBQ aprons and place mats were also very popular.

Collecting smurf memorabilia can be a lot of fun especially some of the stuff produced back in the late 1970’s to early 1980’s. I have a real soft spot for BP Australia smurf merchandise as these are the toys I craved when I was little kid. Some of the BP Australia merchandise maybe temporarily lost but hopefully not lost forever.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

 

What are Applause Smurfs?

What makes Applause Smurfs so highly collectible? Some of you may even be asking what are Applause Smurfs. Allow me to give you a little bit of a smurf history lesson.

In 1982 Wallace Berrie acquired Applause division from Knickerbocker Toys.  During this time, smurfs were in high demand especially in the USA, so smurfs were being made in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and also Portugal.

Before too long, smurfs were being marked with both names – APPLAUSE DIV WB AND CO INC. These smurfs were either made in Sri Lanka or Portugal in 1984 and sold in 1985.

In 1985 Wallace Berrie & Co were starting to call themselves Applause. By the middle of the year, smurf collectors eagerly waited for the release of the Limited Collector Series by Applause which never happened. The demand for smurfs in the USA had evaporated.

By 1990 Applause decided to re-launch the smurfs in America. This was a surprise to many as around the same time the  smurf cartoon series had just been cancelled.

As part of the re-launch by Applause, eleven figurines were released, though once again there was great disappointment as these were old releases (no new figurines!) with the markings Applause TM  China CE Peyo (c)

This included the following figurines:
#20118 Umbrella
#20164 Papa with lab glasses
#20215 Baby with Car
#20226 Grandpa
#20401 Snappy
#20402 Slouchy
#20403 Nat
#20404 Sassette
#20405 Puppy
#20408 Nanny

The release also included a Super Smurf figurine #40245 Smurfette with Tea Set. Again it was unclear why Applause would release this as a regular smurf.

To complement this release Applause also released their own Super Smurfs calling them Roll-A-Long Smurfs. The Roll-Along Smurfs are quite distinctive with their neon colours and thick silver/grey wheels though the figurine was the same one previously used.

Applause Roll-Along Smurfs:
super40204app

 

#40204 Green Skateboard

 

 

 

super40210app

 

#40210 Orange Car

 

 

 

super40230a

 

 

#40230 Yellow Scooter

 

 

 

super40241app

 

#40241 Pink Car

 

 

 

Like many others, the Roll-A-Long Smurfs are on my Most Wanted List. These are considered rare by most collectors.

Applause was also behind the Hardens Promotional Smurfs. released around the same time.

So now you have some idea of what makes Applause Smurfs so highly collectible.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B