Azrael the cat

If you like collecting variants of Smurfs, Azrael the cat is one for your collection. Sold between 1992 to 2014 by Schleich Azrael #20411 can take collectors by surprise when looking for variations.

At a glance, Azrael is an orange cat with a white stomach and inner ears. He is licking his lips and appears to be on the prowl. But just like any Smurf made over 20 years, Schleich progressively made changes.

The most obvious one is the orange pvc material used for Azrael. From a dark orange-red colour to a light orange colour. There is also a rare variant with its fur painted.

The next most noted difference is to do with Azrael’s ear. Some have a notch in the right ear. In my opinion, this version is fairly common and is easier to find comapred to one without a notch in its ear. Another thing to look out for is whether Azrael has a blue paint dot on the end of its nose. Some also refer to the thickness of Azarel’s whiskers or the red colour of the tongue. Again both are not always to identify in photos.

Variants of markings

Some collectors like to collect Smurfs with different markings. The markings on Azrael are on its stomach and back left leg. For example, with the one made out of China, it has the China mark twice on the leg. Also the size of the CE mark can vary due to toy specifications.

Though Azrael was also made out of Germany, paint dots were also used for quality assurance measures. The black paint was added to Smurfs between 1988 to 1999 to indicate that it was painted in Portugal or Tunisia. The blue paint dot was used between 2001 to 2004 for Smurfs mostly made out of China. After 2009 a date stamp was also added to the markings.

Despite the changes made to this version of Azrael, the characteristics of the figurine did not change which is a good thing. In my opinion the more recent versions of Azarel have taken away the beauty of this evil character. One only has to look at the 2020 Azrael to see the difference.

Keep on Smurfin
Kath B

2020 Smurfs collector review

What do you think about 2020 Smurfs? It’s only taken me until to August 2021 to get mine but I am glad I did. There are eight in the series, all made out of Romania which is a first. The reaction has been mixed by collectors, however I am just grateful that Schleich are still making Smurfs.

The first thing I noticed is the paint work. The quality is there, but I doubt they are still being hand painted. It has the tradtional Smurf look unlike past series, such as the Halloween ones from 2006. Similar to past years, the eyes are joined together and the eybrows sit below their hat. These Smurfs have a hard firm texture, which I dislike. In my opinion, I prefer a softer PVC material because it gives the figurine more character.

Smurf with Butterfly #20818

The Smurf is admiring a red and yellow butterfly on his outstetched left hand and has his right hand behind his back. The Smurf has a wide smile showing us his red tongue and his pupils sit at the bottom of his eyes.

Smurf with Good Luck Charm #20819

The Smurf is carrying a red and white mushroom across his body. I am more confused by its name more than anything else because I had never heard of lucky mushrooms before. There is some similarity with Umbrella Smurf #20118 but this one is not as cute.

Smurf with Tooth #20820

Smurf is carrying a large tooth with both hands in front of him. The Smurf has a big smile on his face showing off his red tongue. You have all heard of the tooth fairy but this is the tooth Smurf!

Smurf with Bottle #20821

The Smurf is hugging a bottle of Champagne to celebrate an occasion. Again it’s very similar to Champagne Bottle #20708 which is disappointing. When it was first released, some reported that there were two variations of the label on the bottle. Some labels showing as The Smurfs and others showing as Smurfs. Upon closer inspection of both this is more likely because of bad printing on the label.

Smurf with Medal #20822

Admiring his gold medal around his neck and in his right hand, the Smurf seems rather pleased with his efforts. Not sure why he has his left arm outstretched. Also wearing green pants and a white top, so its unclear what sport he represents. The idea is similar to the one used for Winner #20745 from 2012 Olympic series.

Smurf with Sign #20823

The Smurf is carrying a sign with the words “I Love You” displayed on it. Love is displayed as a big red heart. It is kind of cute though there are other Smurfs I would buy before this one for my husband.

Gargamel with Net #20825

With a raised large net over his shoulder, Gargamel appears to be hunting for Smurfs. Wearing a black gown with white patches along with red tights and shoes. The atttention to detail given to Gargamel is spot on, everything from his facial expression to his hands. Without a doubt this is my favourite from 2020.

Azrael #20826

There is very little personality with this version of Azrael, one only needs to look at its tail to see that. Comparsionments with Kinder Surprise or Albert Heijn Supermarket versions of Azrael, are not far off the mark which is a pity. After such a good version of Gargamel, Azrael seems to be lacklustre.

In conclusion, I am happy that I have purchased the 2020 Smurfs. It was the highlight of my week considering I am currently in lockdown due to Covid-19 restrictions in Melbourne. Smurfs regardless they are old or new still bring a joy to my life and an interest by others who are also in lockdown. Thank you Schleich.

Keep on Smurfin
Kath B

P.S – For some reason there is no Smurf with the article number #20824. If someone knows the back story of what happened to this, I would love it if you could share this with us.

Freaky Friday with Azrael

There is a little bit of Azrael in every single one of us, wouldn’t you agree? Azrael is Gargamel’s cat or more like his trusty campion trying to capture the smurfs and like any evil villains they always seem to get in each other’s way just at the pivotal moment. Previously Azrael had only been released as a Super Smurf with Gargamel, article number #40211 between 1979 to 1986. 

Azrael was first released as its own figurine in 1992, article number #20411. This version included Azrael on the prowl licking his lips. The orange pvc material can vary and you can also find version ones with a notch in the right ear or without a notch. It should also have a blue paint dot on the end of his nose.  This was sold by Schleich up until the end of 2014. So still quite easy to find.

 

In 1996 another Azrael figurine was released, this time it was called Azrael Frightened, article number #40239. By the looks of this figurine it looks like it has just done the ice bucket challenge! This one is harder to find out of two as this Azrael was only sold by Schleich up until end of 2000.

It wasn’t until the 50th anniversary that a new Azrael was released this time Party Azrael, article number #20703. I was never fan of the green bow on his tail as for me this looked odd. 

In 2013 when The Smurfs 2 movie was released a combined Gargamel & Azrael figurine was released, article number #20759. I really liked the portrayal of Azrael on this one but not so much Gargamel. For me he looks like Statler from the Muppets Show. You may recall him as one of the two old men used to heckle Fozie and other acts from on The Muppets Show. His offsider was called Waldorf. 

The same Gargamel & Azrael figurine were included in the Smurf House with Gargamel and Papa Smurf, article number #20803 as part of The Lost Village movie sets.  I was little disappointed when I found this out but also found it quite understandable. So my disappointment didn’t last too long as the Smurf House is just amazing such high quality.

Lastly as I didn’t grow up reading the smurf comics or watching the NBC cartoon series, I was quite surprised to learn that when Azrael was first created it was female and then in the cartoon series they changed it to male. After this Azrael was also portrayed as male in the comics. In the movies Azrael has always been male. Freaky!

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B