Anyone new to collecting smurfs, will always want to know why there are so many different paint variations, especially of the older figurines. If you are like me and enjoy collecting smurfs made in different countries, in most cases you will also find a paint variation. In most cases smurfs made in Hong Kong for BP Australia and Wallace Berrie were almost painted differently than those made in West Germany by Schleich. Then there are other countries that the smurfs were made in one country but painted in another.
This will then lead up to the follow up question – ‘How do I know if I have an original or variation smurf?’. This is not such an easy question to answer as this will depend on where you live in the world. I live in Australia and most of the smurfs originally sold in Australia by BP Australia were made out of Hong Kong. So in one sense, I could refer to these as the original smurfs and the ones made in either West Germany or Portugal are variations. But to be honest I don’t refer to a smurf as an original.
To give you example of what I am trying to explain, let’s examine the Sunbather smurf first released in 1970 by Schleich. When Sunbather was first sold it was painted with red and white bathers. This continued right through to 1977/78. This is quite interesting as even when Bully had the rights to produce the smurfs between 1974 to 1977 they didn’t change the colours on the bathers. Whereas they did change the colours on other smurfs such as the Judge smurf where’s his robe changed from black to red.
So sometime in 1977/78 when Schleich started producing smurfs again, Sunbather was painted with yellow and black bathers. However in the 1978 Schleich catalogue Sunbather was shown wearing green and black bathers. Also sometime around the same time Sunbather was painted with red and black bathers.
When they started producing Sunbather out of Hong Kong back in 1979 they originally used spray paint for his bathers. This included two colour variations for his bathers, yellow and black or green and black. These are still fairly easy to be found today but not always in the best condition.
Which leads me onto this newspaper article I found this week in regards to the Smurfs joining the EU’s fight against ocean pollution in taking part of the Global Beach Cleanup campaign. https://www.euronews.com/2019/04/17/the-smurfs-join-eu-s-fight-against-ocean-waste
So if you have smurfs that aren’t in the best condition don’t just throw them away, see if they can be used in another way. This could be by moving them to the garden, recycling them or something else so they don’t end up in the rubbish bin.
Keep on Smurfin