I was surprised this week to learn that Sledgehammer was never released in the US. It is thought that Peyo felt that Sledgehammer was too violent for American children. Sledgehammer can be found in a walking stance with a large sledgehammer behind his back. In the early comics it was not unusual to see Brainy being clobbered over the head with a mallet or sledgehammer to shut him up.
I have a question for anyone who grew up reading the comics, did they ever consider hitting someone over the head with a sledgehammer to shut them up? I would like to think that people saw this as a humorous thing not a something to be taken to serious.
Things to look out for in Sledgehammer
The Sledgehammer figurine (#20096) was first made by Bully around 1977/78. In the beginning the sledgehammer was painted a light brown colour. This version is considered very common and is easy to find.
Around 1984 Schleich was able to start adding their own markings to the smurf and started painting the sledgehammer a darker brown. If you look close enough on some of these you will see that the Bully marking has been blocked out and the Schleich marking has been added.
There is also a version of Sledgehammer that was made in Sri Lanka. As there were only 24 smurfs made out of Sri Lanka, these ones are always worth collecting. Not like the other Sledgehammers the markings are not found under the feet but on different parts of the figurine.
In 1995/96 Irwin Toys released Sledgehammer with China markings. So this was possibly the first time Sledgehammer was released in the US. It is found with lovely matte paint colours.
Fake or Genuine
Every now and then you may come across a yellow Sledgehammer. More than likely this will be a repainted fake and is not genuine. Schleich has confirmed that a small number of test versions were made. The yellow hammer part on the authentic variation is yellow PVC and therefore was never painted. How can anyone actually see this would be extremely difficult, in my opinion. So if you see a yellow Sledgehammer, don’t pay a lot of money for these as they are repaints!
Keep on Smurfin