I find so much joy in collecting Smurfs. Whether it is discovery a new colour or marking variation or reading about other collectors adventures, the happiness it brings me is hard to explain to those who don’t collect. But this week, I was asked for an opinion on a particular Smurf item that before now I knew nothing about.
It started like this
“I wanted to ask…. Do you know anything about the playset #7801? It’s basically the swinging Smurf with the pen set tree stump #53040, attached to the tree from the Trapeze Super Smurf #40237”.
I confessed, I had never heard of this playset #7801 but I would be happy to look into it further and get back to them. I was able to find a picture of the playset in the Der Schlumpf Katalog IV, published in 2003. The picture was exactly as how the playset was described to me, but didn’t look quite right. However, I could not locate any picture of the playset in old catalogues by Schleich or Wallace Berrie.
The Swinging Smurf used is wearing his customary white trousers and hat while sitting on a swing.
The tree stump from the Trapeze Super Smurf is connected by two parts. The overhanging branch has two yellow rope like rings that are part of the mould that connect to the swing.
But this for me, this is where it looks not quite right as the swing looks like it is being stretched out so it can connect. Whereas the swing on the pen set tree stump is more straight.
The other odd thing I found was in the 1983 Wallace Berrie catalogue showing Trapeze for the first time. The trapeze part is not part of the mould but connected by yellow cotton.
Potentially this could have been a Wallace Berrie Super Smurf that was never officially released, given its article number #7801 only has four digits. Schleich’s article numbers were generally five digits. However I feel it was a creative collector who decided two combine two incomplete playsets to make one complete playset.
What are your thoughts?
Keep on Smurfin
One of the more interesting Smurf products released by Schleich was the National Smurf with the petrol pump. This was a special release produced for National Benzole back around 1979. National Benzole was a petrol company that launched the Smurfs in the UK between 1978 to 1982.
National Benzole in conjunction with Schleich produced a petrol pump with National branding on the pump. This was released in its own unique box. I think this may have been the only box that included the word ‘National’ on the front of the box. It is also the only Playset that included a Smurf figurine.
As stated on the box the pack included – National Smurf, Pump & Hose with nozzle, plus pump base.
The pump includes blue and white stickers on the front and back. It says ‘National’ on the top and ‘Premium’ on the bottom. Under the petrol gauge it displays the word ‘Gallons. They used the colours blue and yellow on the pump to match with the National Benzole colours.
The hose is made so it attaches to the top of the pump and the hose’s trigger has been created to fit into the Cleaner’s hand. The pump base is made out of a light grey plastic material and is oval in shape. The markings can be found underneath – W.Germany Schleich S © 1979. The base has been given the look to appear like cobblestones.
National Cleaner Smurf
The Cleaner figurine (#20052) has a National emblem on the front of the white overalls. If you have the chance to look at any Schleich catalogues from 1980 to 1984, you will see they displayed the National Cleaner.
The markings can be found under its feet – W.Germany Schleich S © Peyo with a mustard paint dot.
There are also a small hole under each foot. This may have made like this with the intention for the Smurf to stand on some kind of platform or base.
So when considering adding this one to your collection, the temptation may be to buy just the petrol pump and the figurine without the box. Don’t! In my opinion the box is just as valuable as the petrol pump and the National Cleaner figurine. For this reason alone, this is one of the few Smurf items that I have decided to keep in its original box.
Keep on Smurfin
Did you know that Smurfs were produced out of Argentina in the 1980s? For some of you, this piece of information is not new but for others this could be a revelation.
For many years I have been collecting Smurfs, it has only been in the past couple of weeks that I was able to add my first Smurf from Argentina to my collection. Up until then I had seen pictures and read about these Smurfs made by Industria Argentina Minimodels but never actually seen one close up.
I first read about these Smurfs in the Smurf Collectors Club International Newsletter, edition 20 originally written in 1991. In the newsletter they stated that they had confirmed with Schleich that they had a contract with Minimodels to produce around 12 to 14 figurines. Shortly after this I started seeing other collectors show photographs of their Smurfs from Argentina on the Blue Cavern Forum.
My Minimodels Coin Smurf is about the same size as the Schleich large mould of Coin Smurf. They both share some similarities of waving a large coin to the left hand side of his head. The coin shows ‘1’ decorated by a laurel on the front side and an image of Papa Smurf on the back. But my Minimodels Coin Smurf is holding a gold coin not an orange coin. I have also read there is rarer one with a silver coin. The other difference I can see is to do with their mouth; my Minimodels Coin Smurf has a red tongue not black.
What to look for
- Not all Smurfs made out of Argentina have markings. There is thought to be around 30 or so with markings found under the feet.
- The tail on the Smurf is the most obvious indication it was made in Argentina as they are short and stumpy. Only the tip of the tail is painted blue.
It is thought Industria Argentina Minimodels only produced Smurfs between 1983 to 1986. It was at the beginning of 1987 when Schleich declared bankruptcy that may have also been the end of the Smurfs from Argentina.
If you are looking at adding Minimodels Smurfs to your collection, keep in mind that they are quite rare to find in really good condition. I was lucky enough to find one, but I wouldn’t say it was in mint condition. After all people will tell you Smurfs are toys that were meant to be played with, not to be collected!
Keep on Smurfin