Like a lot of the early smurfs produced by Schleich and Bully, most come from characters out of the original comic books written by Peyo. The origins of Hang Glider figurine possibly come from Flying Smurf who is a character that only appears in the smurf comic books. Flying Smurf only ever wanted to fly.
Hang Glider was only ever made by Schleich, from 1978 to 1992 and then again from 1996 to 2001. It was sold by Wallace Berrie in the USA from 1980 to 1984.
One of the early releases of Hang Glider (which I don’t have yet) included three painted patches on the back of the wings. These patches were painted yellow, brown and white. As this version of the Hang Glider is considered extremely rare, ensure you inspect the paint colours carefully before buying it. If you find that the paint colours used on the wings and patches don’t match or look different – beware! This is because they were painted at the same time so they match accordingly. After this all Hang Glider figurines were sold without the painted patches on their wings.
It is considered Hang Glider is one of a few smurfs made in multiple countries during it’s 29 years. These countries include W.Germany/Germany, Portugal, Hong Kong, Brazil and China. There are very little differences with the moulds and paint colours used. Where the differences lie are more to do with the type of paint used. For example the Portugal made ones tend to have matte paint colours, the Hong Kong ones are painted with darker shiny paint colours. If you like your paint colours, keep an eye open for two different ones made out of China.
Hang Glider was also used for triangle pedestals during the early 1980’s. Even in Australia we had own pink triangle pedestal sold by BP Australia with the words Get Well Soon on it.
The appeal of a flying smurf is still happening today. In the film The Lost Village released in 2017, a flying smurf is seen in the opening scene and during the credits he is shown in a picture of him getting stuck in a chimney. I guess no one is perfect.
Keep on Smurfin
This weekend a cold snap of weather has been predicted in some parts of Australia. With this in mind, perhaps it is time to snuggle near open fire to keep warm. But before you do, perhaps you should look at your Chimney Sweep smurfs.
We first see Chimney Sweep in 1980 Schleich catalogue carrying his tools – ladder and chimney brush while wearing grey pants, black jacket and a red handkerchief around his neck. Though in actual fact Chimney Sweep was first sold in the UK in December 1978.
Chimney Sweep was sold between 1978 to 1998 as described in Der Schlumpf Katalog IV and Gian & Davi Collezioni – The Smurfs Official Collector’s Guide. In both books they list four variations.
The first version we can find has the markings W.Germany Peyo ©. This © marking can also be found on Trumpeter (20047) which was released in 1974. The © marking is larger than normal, probaly best described as a capaital C in a circle. I don’t think there any any other smurfs with this marking. The Chimney Sweep has a ladder with four rungs and has a red handkerchief around his neck. His pants are also a dark grey colour. Sadly my version is missing it’s brush.
The UK version has the markings W.Germany Peyo © and a mustard paint dot. The Chimney Sweep has a ladder with four rungs and has a yellow handkerchief around his neck.
The most common of the Chimney Sweep Smurfs has the markings W.Germany Schleich S © 78 Peyo. I also one of these with a red paint dot under the foot. Both have a red handkerchief around their necks, light grey pants and carry a ladder with seven rungs.
The last one that was released has the markings W.Germany Schleich S © 78 Peyo CE. This version can be found with smurf head logo and dancing smurfs pattern box. The Chimney Sweep has a red handkerchief around his neck, light grey pants and carries a seven rung ladder.
Chimney Sweep was never made in Hong Kong was never sold in the USA or Australia. Perhaps someone thought Australia always had sunny, hot weather and didn’t require the services of a Chimney Sweep.
I have always been skeptical of things promoted as limited editions or collector series. So back in 1985 when Applause announced that they were going to sell the 1985 Smurf Limited Collector Series, I have often wondered if any smurf fans were a little wary this could be the end of the smurfs in the USA? But perhaps they were thinking that a limited collector series, is only limited to as many times as Applause wishes to make it one.
Basketball Smurf was one of the last smurfs sold in the USA by Applause in 1985. It was scheduled to be released with Golf Smurfette in April but according to the Smurf Collector Club International newsletters it was actually released in May.
This was possibly one of the last smurfs made out of Hong Kong and is worth hunting down as it is different to the German made one. Both have Basketball smurf wearing white shoes, orange socks, a red singlet with an orange 1 on the front and a light caramel coloured basket ball in it’s right had. Though the Hong Kong version also includes a thick red stripe on both shoes. This is also a little harder to find, so the price can be a little higher than the German made one.
It was first sold in Europe around 1987 until 1990 then in 1992 & 1993. So it is possible to find without W.Germany markings without CE marking and then with Germany markings with a CE marking. There is very little difference between the Hong Kong and German moulds.
In 2003 Schleich released the New Generation set which New Basketball #20518. This was sold by Schleich right up until 2009. So like football but to a lesser degree basketball has always been popular theme for Schleich.
Then out of no where in 2013 Schleich re-released the smurfs they sold in 2011 as part of the decade display smurfs along with Basketball and Cake smurfs. Each smurf was sold on a blue card with the year of production displayed. In places like the USA and Sweden these were also sold with a Toys R Us sticker on the card.
I prefer the first Basketball smurf due to the expression on his face and its stance. It’s hard to believe that back in 1985 Applause delayed its release but luckily for us it was sold. Both Basketball and Golf Smurfette may have seemed like an odd couple at the time of their release but they are truly worth adding to one’s own collection.
Keep on Smurfin