If it wasn’t for the Australian Matilda’s Soccer Team beating the U.S.A Team for the first time in 27 encounters this week, I probably would not have written this piece on Soccer Smurfette. It’s amazing what can inspire you to rediscover particular smurfs.
It may surprise some of you but Soccer Smurfette was first produced by Wallace Berrie in the U.S.A in 1983. Wearing white shorts, white shirt with a peach and red trim with white shoes with peach and red trim while kicking a white soccer ball. The Hong Kong version did not come on a base. Sadly most of mine require something to lean against one being displayed as they fall over.
In Europe Schleich produced their version from 1985 to 1990 with a smooth oval light green base. It was made both in Germany (back then it was West Germany) and Portugal. I am not sure if there is a version with a grass effect oval base at all. I have never seen it but who knows.
Overall it appears there is not a lot of variances between the W.Germany and the Hong Kong W. Berrie figurines. Both are wearing white shoes with orange and red trim, white shorts, white shirt with orange and red trim. The soccer ball varies slightly as the W.Germany version has larger hexagons than the Hong Kong one.
My theory is that some collector got tired of their Soccer Smurfette falling over and decided to attach to a spare base they had. If that is the case, I could not really blame them as I hate it when I can’t display my smurfs the way that I would like.
When I rediscovered the smurfs back in 2001, it was like meeting up with old friends who I had not seen for years. Memories of playing with my smurfs when I was child started to come back. Smurfs like Chef, Hiker, Emperor, Painter are just few to name.
Chef Smurf was released in Australia around 1980. Wearing his Chef’s whites and hat while holding a wooden spoon up to his mouth to taste his latest creation. On his left hand his thumb and index finger are connected into a circle to show his approval.
I don’t think Chef Smurf was released into the USA until 1981 so this why you can find them with just Hong Kong markings and no reference to Wallace Berrie. Like on many of the moulds made before 1980, in Hong Kong they changed the year to 1980. No idea why they did this – very strange!
This smurf was first made in 1978 and was sold with red sauce on the spoon. Initially I was a little sceptical about this one being genuine as I had never seen it like this. All my Chef Smurfs were made out of Hong Kong and had dark brown spoons with no sauce on it. I wish they had continued with adding the sauce on the spoon as I think it is rather cute.
The popularity of Chef Smurf has seen it made in other countries than Germany and Hong Kong. A version was made by Hering in Brazil and Minimodels in Argentina. There are also many counterfeit Chef Smurfs out there, from the very beautiful CNT’s with a yellow spoon to skin coloured fake Polish ones.
The last time Schleich released Chef Smurf was part of the 1970 to 1979 Decade Display Box Set sold in 2011. Celebrating 50 years of the smurfs, Schleich produced five decade display box sets, one box set edition for each decade. I am glad to see that they included Chef Smurf as part of this celebration!
When I first read about a green lipstick variation of Ballerina Smurfette, I was determined to find one. My initial thoughts was that it was just a paint error but the more I looked into this, the more I thought it could be an actual variation.
Bully first sold Ballerina Smurfette back in 1978. Looking back it is hard to believe Bully only produced two Smurfettes between 1974 to 1979, flirting Smurfette (#20034) and Ballerina Smurfette. Now days when Schleich produces a new themed set, it is not uncommon to find one or two Smurfette’s. The Olympic theme back in 2012 is probably a good example, where three of the ten Smurfs were Smurfettes.
Little was changed with Ballerina Smurfette over the years it was sold. Like a lot of Smurfettes, you can quite often find shade variances with her hair from lemon yellow to dark yellow. The green round base can also be found with different shades of green. These small differences are more to do where Ballerina Smurfette was painted as it is not uncommon to the Hong Kong version with darker colours and the Bully marked ones with lighter colours.
In 2011 when Schleich released their decade display boxes, Ballerina Smurfette was included in the 1970 to 1979 display box. With this Ballerina Smurfette it appears that the same mould may have been used for the figurines but the base was thicker and more robust to stop it falling over.
Now back to the Ballerina Smurfette version with the green lipstick, do you think it was this a paint error or was it meant to be like this? It does seem like a strange choice of colour for lipstick. But the lipstick is also lighter green than the one used on the base, which makes me think it was intentional.
I have seen this green lipstick version on a few different collector’s websites. As the lipstick is hand painted onto the figurine, the thickness of the lipstick can vary greatly. I also noticed that with mine, it has a tiny bit of red paint underneath the green lipstick. So mine could have been a repaint! My other theory is that if you combine blue and yellow paint together it makes green! So is it likely that the green and yellow paint colours were mixed together to create green lipstick!
It is these kind of things that make collecting smurfs a lot of fun. Paint error or intentional, it really does not matter. I would like to think that Schleich still does some hand painting of their smurfs just to ensure that every smurf has it’s own personality.
There are some smurfs that I have always tried to dodge and until recently Artist with Easel was one of these. Produced by Schleich from 1986 to 1991, and only in 1984 by Applause (formerly known as Wallace Berrie) Artist with Easel is probably one of the harder to find Super Smurfs with it’s original box. For me it was important to not only collect the Smurf but also the box because that’s how it was put together for sale.
As I opened up the box, I noticed something very odd. The Super Smurf box did not look like the smurf on the box, it looked like the regular Painter #20045 and not the Artist #20089 with the red paintbrush that I was expecting to find. On the front of the box it displayed ‘Super Schlumpf Smurf!!’ and had Printed in Germany on the bottom of the box.
So it looked like I had received a sealed box from Germany with a Smurf made out of Hong Kong and where the painting and easel had come from Germany. Things were just not adding up in my mind, on what I was expecting to find with Artist with Easel. This called on some drastic action – I needed some chocolate to help clear my mind.
My very special – Artist with Easel, # 40239
This form of action worked a treat, as I started to think rationally about the smurf that I had just received. Yes, it is quite possible that if Schleich were short on supply of the Artist Smurf that the Painter Smurf is the most obvious replacement. Also upon looking online at other smurf collections, I found other collectors with this version of Artist with Easel with this box.
Collecting smurfs, especially Super Smurfs is always challenging as it requires you to always have your radar switched on. By looking at other smurf collections is just one way to increase your knowledge base. As they say you never stop learning!
My Artist with Easel now proudly sits in a special place with some of my other rare smurfs. The box has been carefully stored away with my other Super Smurfs boxes so it does not fall into my three year old nephew’s grasp. This is an extra smurf for me as it has been on my ‘most wanted list’ ever since I started collecting smurfs.
Cyclist Smurf is one for the ages. Even though little changed in it’s years it was sold by Schleich from 1979 to 1993, Cyclist Smurf is a true classic. Perhaps this has something to do with the popularity of road cycling around the world or the different boxes that can be found with this Super Smurf.
When Schleich first produced Cyclist Smurf back in 1979, they must have had the Tour de France as it is wearing a yellow shirt, with black cycling shorts & gloves while crouched down over the handle bars. The bike itself is red, with silver pedals & handle bars and it’s wheels have grey tyres with white spokes. The bike’s wheels are connected by a removable platform. It is not uncommon for the Cyclist Smurf to be found without a base.
Like a lot of the smurfs, it is the little differences that make Cyclist Smurf highly collectible. A good example of this is the number 6 on the back, some are hand painted, some are printed small or large and then there are others without a number on the back. By the way if anyone can shed some light why Schleich decided to use the number 6, please feel free to share this with us all.
As Cyclist Smurf was made by Schleich and Wallace Berrie, it is possible to find with W.Germany and Hong Kong markings. Both the figurine and the platform have markings, so it is always good to get in the habit to check that they both share the same markings. It may sound silly, but if you are like me you want to ensure your smurfs are as they were produced and not all mixed up.
From my understanding there have been over six different types of boxes used for the Cyclist Smurf. So far I have only been able to collect three of these. The early versions of the Olympia Schlumpf with the five Olympia rings and the version with the Olympia rings blocked out have eluded me. But this is one of the things that I enjoy about smurf collecting, that ever ending searching for rare and special smurfs.
So next time you are on the road, keep an eye open for Cyclist Smurf as he is a true champion and definetly one for the ages.