It’s amazing how many times you can look at something but you don’t really see it. In the 1981 Schleich catalogue shows the Fireman Super Smurf #40216. We are all familour with this Smurf with a water drum and hose. But if look closer you will notice that the hose is coiled around a wooden spool. Just like the ones, that were on the back of fire engines. The fireman’s helmet is also a shiny silver colour and the hose looks more brass. Must be one of those rare prototypes that Schleich made just for their catalogues!
Sold from 1981 to 1988 and 1992 to 1994 Schleich sold the Fireman. Wearing a grey dove helmet, black jacket and brown shoes. The Smurf is holding a black hose connected to a water drum. Some say there are at least six variations of the water drum. Not sure if I would buy a Fireman because it had a different water drum compared to the others I already had. From the outside the drums look all the same except for the markings inside.
Another Fireman discovery
When Wallace Berrie sold the Fireman they included assembly instructions. If it wasn’t for Maureen’s site Hidden in the Woods, I would have not known this. http://www.hiddeninthewoods.com/40216Fireman.html
The Hong Kong variant has the Fireman wearing a red helmet, yellow jacket and black trousers. The Smurf is holding a black hose connected to a water drum. There was never box that shows the Hong Kong variant just the Schleich version. This was quite common for Super Smurfs sold in the early 1980s. Wallace Berrie sold the Fireman from 1982 to 1984.
Both Fireman Super Smurfs are a worthy addition to any collection. The fact that the water hose can squirt out water is another reason to add this to your collection.
Keep on Smurfin
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