With 2016 being an Olympic year, I thought I would like to share some information on Torchbearer Smurf with you. (Ref #20030) The Torchbearer Smurf is an interesting smurf as not only are there two different mould variations to be found but also two different emblems to be found on the singlet. Then there is the discussion on whether or not that Torchbearer Smurf is a Promotional Smurf.
The Smurfs were the mascots for 1980 Belgium Olympic Ski Team. This version of Torchbearer Smurf was referred to as the Olympic Smurf, wearing white shorts and a white singlet with the Belgium lion emblem on it. The mould used has a narrow face.
It was also called Olympic Smurf in the Schleich catalogues from 1979 through to 1982. Typically Promotional Smurfs are not displayed in Schleich catalogues or promotional posters, so in my opinion this is not a Promotional Smurf.
At some stage in 1978 Schleich produced a new mould for Torchbearer with a much wider face than the previous version. Also around this time, the shorts were changed from white to red.
To promote the Olympics in the UK, National Petrol also had a version of Torchbearer with the Union Jack on the front of the white singlet with red shorts. This was produced with the newer mould. If you are looking to add this version to your collection, don’t forget to check it has the mustard paint dot under it’s foot.
When Torchbearer was first made in Hong Kong, it was originally made with white shorts and singlet, with the wider face mould. It was then changed to red shorts. The version with white shorts is harder to find. Generally you will find 9 with red shorts to 1 with white shorts. Surprisedly Torchbearer was only sold in the USA for 2 years, 1980 & 1981.
As part of the 20th anniversary for the Smurfs in 1985, Torchbearer was part of this special Jubilee series representing the year 1978. With this they used the version with red shorts. These are highly sought after especially if they are still in their blister packaging. I am still looking to add this to my collection.
We last saw the Torchbearer Smurf in the 1997 Schleich catalogue.
For those of you who have very little interest in watching the Olympics, you may find solace in The Olympic Smurfs first published in 1979.
Keep on Smurfin