History Smurfs markings

I know what you are thinking does anyone really care about a Smurfs markings. But if you are like me the answer is yes. The History Smurfs were a series of six smurfs all based on historical explorers/inventors of the United States of America. These included the following: 

#20501 Paul Revere

#20502 Benjamin Franklin

#20503 Christopher Columbus

#20504 Thomas Edison

#20505 George Washington

#20506 Abraham Lincoln

Hong Kong marking

The History Smurfs were first sold in the USA in 1985 and were one of the last Smurfs made out of Hong Kong. When they were sold they also included a small leaflet detailing each one. This leaflet was titled – The Untold Story of HISTORY according to the Smurfs – Volume 1. 

One of the odd things is that they never included a Wallace Berrie or Applause marking. By 1986 they stopped using the Hong Kong marked ones and started to mark them Macau. 

Macau marking blocked out Hong Kong

In 1986, the History Smurfs were also sold in Europe. These ones were made out of Macau. If you look close enough under the feet where the markings are located, you will possibly see where the Hong Kong marking has been blocked out. This was not the first time for markings to be blocked out and replaced with something else. 

When the History series were released Schleich also produced a postcard explaining a bit about each historical Smurf. This was written in German. I don’t think it was ever produced in English. 

New Macau markings

At some stage possibly at the end of 1986 they started to mark the History with new, cleaner Macau markings. Some say that the Hong Kong made ones are harder to find as they were only sold for one year whereas the Macau made ones were sold for two years.

In my opinion you should never feel ashamed to enquire about a Smurf’s markings. If it is something that you are passionate about it, just go for it!

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

7801 Smurf Playset

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. 

My conclusion

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

Kath B

 

 

 

Random Thoughts on Smurfs

Some collector’s sites mention different coloured material when speaking about variations, like white material or blue material. Have you ever wondered what this means? Or how you can tell the difference. 

This is referring to the different coloured pvc (Polyvinyl chloride) the smurfs are made from. Typically smurfs are blue or white but there are other base colours used. 

Blue PVC – W.Germany Schleich S © 1981 Peyo.
White PVC – Made in Hong Kong W. Berrie Co. Schleich S © 1981 Peyo

A really good example is Mermaid Smurfette (#20142), as she comes in both blue and white pvc and can easily be seen by looking underneath the rock. 

Some figures are easy to tell as there might be an unpainted area on the figure but others are more difficult to tell as they are completely painted. Typically you will find the W.Germany version with a blue pvc material and the Hong Kong version with a white pvc material which is then painted. 

In the early days when they were producing smurfs out of Hong Kong they would oftern use spray paint to paint the smurf. This may have been something to do with the huge demand for smurfs in the early 1980’s. A good example of this is Painter Smurf (#20045) and can be easily seen by looking around the smurf’s waist. 

A good tip it to look closely at the face especially the eyes and the hat to see if they have been painted and also at the bottom of the feet to see of there is paint missing. 

Here are just some that I have noticed:

#20142 Mermaid – blue or white

#20065 Rugby – blue or white

#20176 St Patrick – green or blue

#20001 Papa Smurf – red or blue

#20137 Surfer – blue or white

#20167 Indian Smurfette – mustard or white

#20180 Papa Smurf with Pizza – blue or white

#20122 Cowboy – blue or white

#20108 Sauna – blue or white

#20213 Devil – pink or white

No doubt there are others that I can be added to this list……

Depending what base material was used on the smurf can make a big difference when it comes to adding to one’s own collection. The best example of this is Rugby Smurf, especially with the ones in the South African team colours. 

More recently you are unlikely to find their variances with the base material like the ones produced in the 1980’s. This is because the smurfs are  now produced out of the one place and not multiply places. The other thing is that Schleich is producing smurfs for shorter periods. 

Happily collecting smurfs can never be called boring.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Renovation Tip with smurf collection

Your partner may always have your best interests at heart, when comes to renovating the house. However it is always best to go with your own instinct and remove your smurf collection before it is too late or it could end up in tears, like it almost did for me. Allow me to demonstrate this with a series of photographs.

1.Husband decides to paint window frame ensuring me that I won’t need to move any smurfs – Tennis Smurfette ends up in paint tin

Famous last words quoted by my husband — ‘no you won’t need to move your smurfs, they will be fine where they are!’

2.  A series of nasty looks and exchanges are made towards the husband, while Tennis Smurfette is being rescued from the paint tin. 

‘She will be fine’ my husband tells me as he retrieves Tennis Smurfette out of the paint tin

3. I continue to mutter under my breath, while Tennis Smurfette is given a bath in a jar of turps. At this point it should be stated I am not amused by all of this.

Slowly the white paint is disappearing and I start to see Tennis Smurfette as she should be

4. Tennis Smurfette has survived her ordeal! My husband has also survived from his ordeal!

You would hardly know Tennis Smurfette had fallen into a tin of white paint and my husband was almost divorced.

The moral of my story is when doing any paint or repair work around your house and it involves your precious smurf collection, don’t listen to your partner who thinks they know what is best, go with what your own heart is telling you.  

 

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Prototype Smurfs

It’s always fascinating to see some smurfs that were painted one way in a catalogue and for any number of reasons was never actually sold like this. What I would like to know is do these smurfs actually exist? To give you some idea of what I am talking about, I have added pictures from particular Schleich catalogues. These catalogues can be found on the Blue Cavern Forum site and is well worth a visit if you love your smurf history. 

Fancy car with gold steering wheel

In the 1979 Schleich Dealer’s catalogue we see the Car Driver, #40210 with a gold coloured steering wheel. In Europe Car Driver was typically found with a yellow steering wheel and in Australia & USA it was commonly found with a brown steering wheel. The wheels also look a little different in the picture. In the same catalogue there is a picture of the Cyclist, #40501 where the spokes are painted white and the tyres are painted black. Once again this was later sold with grey tyres. More recently I have seen a picture of a Cyclist with black tyres but I could not tell from the picture if this was genuine or not. 

#20105 Scot – brown pipes on bagpipes

In 1979 Bully lost the rights to produce smurfs and by 1980 Schleich was starting to show both Bully and Schleich made smurfs in their catalogue.   Little changed with the Bully smurfs pictured in 1980 Schleich catalogue to what was actually released except for Scot, #20105 which was pictured with brown bagpipes and sold with yellow bagpipes instead. What is a mystery with this smurf, was it Bully or Schleich who changed the colour of the bagpipes. To complicate things, Schleich never changed the Bully markings on Scot between 1980 to 1984 due to some legal agreement made between Bully and Schleich.  

1988 Schleich Dealer’s Catalogue

In the 1988 Schleich Dealer’s catalogue, the Foreman #20229 had a white hard helmet which was later changed to orange. It is also interesting to see that Hula Smurfette and Fitness were only hand drawn sketches. By 1989 the actual figurines appeared in the Schleich catalogue. It should also be noted at this point that in 1988 and 1991 there were no new smurfs produced by Schleich. 

Even in 2017 Groom Smurf, #20796 was originally pictured wearing a black suit and top hat. So imagine my surprise when I received mine wearing a grey suit and top hat. My guess is that they decided to change the colour of the suit so Groom Smurf would not be confused with Bride & Groom, #20746 released in 2013. I think I prefer the Groom wearing a black suit.

Then there is always the infamous Christmas Bell Ringer shown in 1984 Schleich catalogue or the Fireman with the red hose in the 1992 Schleich catalogue……….

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

 

Deceptive Super Smurf Boxes

Back in the day when Schleich first started producing Super Smurfs something unthinkable was happening. Some called it deceptive others called it misleading. So how would you respond if you just brought yourself a Super Smurf only to find it isn’t the same as what was shown on the box.

Between 1978 to around 1983 Schleich produced a box with Super Schlumpf!! printed on the box in black bold letters. All Super Smurfs from 40201 Bobsled to 40232 Log Car can be found with this style of box. Upon looking at the picture of the Super Smurf on the box to the actual Super Smurf inside the box, it was quite surprising how many differences could be found. Allow me to give you some examples:

Skier – pictured with green skies on the box and actually came with silver skies.

Car Driver – pictured with a gold steering wheel on red car and actually came with a yellow steering wheel.

Fencer – pictured with yellow foil guards and actually  came with golden foil guards.

Lawnmower – pictured with a brown lawnmower and actually came with a yellow bladed lawnmower.

Fireman – pictured with a silver helmet and actually came with a light blue/grey helmet

Cyclist – pictured with black tyres with white spokes and actually came with grey tyres with white spokes. 

Both in the UK and the US the same pictures were being used on their prospective boxes between 1979 to 1983. I would have thought that Wallace Berrie would have used their own pictures considering their smurfs were being made in Hong Kong and quite often painted with different colours than their European counterparts.

Between 1983 to 1991 Schleich changed the details on the box to Super Schlumpf Smurf!! It was displaying details in German, English and French but in most cases the pictures were not changed.

To be honest I was quite amazed that there was not more fuss about this at the time. Maybe there was, I just could not find anything substanal. It definitely keeps us poor collectors on our toes.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

 

 

The Lost Village Review

Buckle yourselves  in, the smurfs are back with their new movie Smurfs – The Lost Village. It has been four years since the last smurf film and this time it was going to include no human characters – hooray! So other than watching an odd preview here there I really had no expectations with this film, which was probably a good thing. 

This fully animated story is mainly focused around Smurfette and her quest to know who she is. We are gently reminded that the all the other smurfs are given their name by their personal trait. We are also reminded that Smurfette was made by evil wizard Gargamel until Papa Smurf saved the day.

 

The real adventure begins upon the discovering of a mysterious map that sets Smurfette, Brainy, Hefty and Clumsy on a journey through the Forbidden Forest to the find the Lost Village, with Gargamel close behind. Like all good baddies Gargamel is the one that keeps the movie rolling with his silly antics. 

Then within the Forbidden Forest, Smurfette and her three friends come across the Lost Village, that contain only female smurf like creatures. But danger is never far behind…….

It is fair to say that the film is aimed for people who are ‘more than three apples tall’ (as tall as a smurf) and adore pop sings with all the right moves and bright animated colours. The film is also aimed for people who are happy to go with the flow of the movie and not worry about the predictable storyline. 

Without the juggernaut of merchandise that comes with these kind of movies, it is fair to say that these films would never be made in the first place. Perhaps to a small degree we should be happy for this as it gives us new smurf things to collect or for some to rediscover the smurfs from their childhood. 

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

 

 

 

Small Smurfs Big Goals Stamps

On 18th March 2017, United Nations, UNICEF and the cast from the “Smurfs: The Lost Village” teamed up to celebrate International Day of Happiness and also promote a new program “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign. Along with the event at the United Nations, other celebrations took place in 18 countries around the world including Australia, Belgium, Russia, Argentina and the UK, to name a few, to help raise awareness for the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign and the Goals.

Part of the campaign also included the launch by the United Nations Postal Administration of a special edition of stamps featuring the Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign.

This is not the first time the Smurfs have appeared on postage stamps. In 1996 France released their Smurf Message Stamps with each stamp displaying a message and a Smurf. 

In 2008 Belgium as part The Smurfs 50th Anniversary released 10 different postage stamps. Each stamp included a picture of a well known smurf and on one of the stamps it also included Gargamel. 

So imagine my surprise this morning when I found out that Australia Post had produced  a Smurfs stamp pack consisting of 10 postage stamps to coincide with the release of the Smurfs: Lost Village. 

All of a sudden I had a brainwave, instead of buying family and friends Easter eggs this year I could send them a card instead telling them about the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” initiative. It’s a win, win for everyone and of course The Smurfs.

But then what happened about the idea of giving them Kinder Surprise Smurf Easter Eggs……….

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking Smurf Cottage

Some may say I continue to be a silly woman for breaking a collector’s principle this week, for not buying a Smurf’s Cottage in its original box. Over my time collecting smurfs, I have acquired six cottages but none in their original boxes. Don’t get me wrong I like the look of the cottages especially displayed in different parts of the house but if there was a choice between smurfs and a cottage I would most likely go for the smurfs!

To be honest the box had seen better days, as you could see where someone had ripped off the original price sticker on it. The pop up card that would have been used to hang up the item on display was now looking rather poorly as it flopped across the top of the box. Once again I probably did a big no-no by opening up the box to inspect the condition of the green roofed cottage and also to ensure it included its butterfly. 

With the Green Cottage that I was considering, this had a light brown door with an oval shaped window with curtains covering the sides of the oval surrounded by a light grey door frame. The window frames were also painted light brown. The Cottage also included it’s yellow butterfly with painted blue wings.  

The Cottages were first made by Schleich in 1978 in three different colours, red, green and blue. The green roofed cottage was given article number 4.0012. It appears that they used the same box for all three cottages and would just place a tick in a tick-box to indicate which coloured roof belonged in the box. Back in 1981 Bp Australia was selling the cottages for just $3.99.

 The whole ‘mint condition in box’ thing just doesn’t matter to me. It is true that I like to keep the Super Smurfs and Playsets boxes as I find them fascinating to read. But in the end I also feel a cottage looks better out of its box. 

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

 

Astro Smurfs inspired by Nasa

Who would have thought that it would take as long as it has for Nasa to take inspiration from the smurfs in producing their new spacesuit. Up until now the Nasa astronauts have looked more like a Swoof like character in their orange bulky spacesuits. So in a desperate need to get with the times, the Nasa astronauts will now be wearing a more sleek spacesuit in a smurf blue colour. The cooler, more flexible blue outfits, with boots produced Reebok  were designed for the Boeing Starliner space taxi.

 

astro smurfsThe Swoofs were an alien race that was created by Papa Smurf using a magic potion he used to make Dreamy Smurf believe he travelled to another planet. The Swoofs are from the comic and the cartoon ‘The Astrosmurf’.  In around 1973 Bully produced their own version of a swoof calling this Jungle Smurf, Ref# 20069. More recently the new Jungle Native Smurf Ref# 20783 released in 2015 has looked more like a Swoof!

Popularity of Astro Smurf was immense as both Schleich and Bully produced their own versions. First Schleich produced their version in 1969 wearing a clear plastic helmet with a white spacesuit. There is also a version of this where the white outfit has a red zip. Both of these also has his left index pointing upward. This was given the reference number 20003. 

Later when Bully had the license to produce the smurfs, they made their own version of Astro Smurf in 1975/76 wearing a plastic clear helmet and a white outfit with a red square on the front. The Bully Astro Smurf has both arms outstretched. 

Astro Smurfs were first sold in Australia around 1979 by BP Australia. Like the majority of smurfs first sold in Australia this smurf was made in Hong Kong by Schleich. I probably have at least twenty of these Astro Smurfs but sadly most of these have lost their helmets. If you are lucky enough to find one with it’s original helmet, ensure you display it carefully as they are very easy to break. 

Astro Smurfs were last made in 1986 by Schleich. The good thing is that both the Bully and Schleich versions can still be easily found at a good price.

The thing I like the most about all of this, is that whenever a company or organisation decide to change their branding to the colour blue, people tend to make a reference to the smurfs. How cool is that!

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B