Classic Review: #20014 Sunbather Smurf

Back in 1979 Schleich started making Smurfs in Hong Kong. To cut costs, Schleich would use spray paint on these Smurfs. This included Sunbather Smurf with yellow & black striped bathers and green & black striped bathers. Both sold by BP in Australia and New Zealand.

But did you know there are at least three different marking versions of the Sunbather Smurf made in Hong Kong?

  1. Schleich emblem © Peyo
  2. Hong Kong Schleich emblem © Peyo
  3. Hong Kong Schleich S © 1970 Peyo (emblem removed)

Schleich did also produce a painted version of Sunbather with green and black striped bathers. When looking for differences between the two, look at the back of the head where the Smurf has his hands. Also check the paint finish of the black stripes on the bathers. Lastly the painted version has a cavity number on his back.

In my opinion the Sunbather Smurf sold in Australia was only ever the spray painted variant.

Finally did you know Wallace Berrie referred this Smurf as Sleeping Smurf. Sold between 1979 to 1981.

Keep on Smurfin
Kath B

I am going to give Sunbather Smurf a score of 2 Papa Smurfs

Rare – but not too difficult to find

1 Papa SmurfNot really rare but still worth collecting
2 Papa SmurfsRare – but not too difficult to find
3 Papa SmurfsExtremely Rare – you’re lucky if you have this one
4 Papa SmurfsUltra Rare – requires skill to collect
5 Papa SmurfsVery Rare – a legendary Smurf

Gymnast Smurf

Life imitates the Smurfs. If you were to name a Smurf that best suits this saying, which Smurf first comes to mind? For me, it would have to be Gymnast Smurf (#20020), first released by Schleich in 1973. This Smurf can be found lifting a dumbbell with just one hand while attempting to flex his muscles. However, this Smurf has no muscles whatsoever which I have always found amusing. 

No singlet, no eyebrows, no muscles

In the beginning Gymnast wore his customary white trousers but no singlet. It was also like many early Smurfs, he had no painted eyebrows. I believe the early ones should also have the dumbbell connected onto the head. Not all Gymnasts were produced like this. 

When Schleich lost the licence to produce the Smurfs and Bully took over, they produced the Gymnast with different coloured singlets. Red, green, yellow and white singlets are confirmed to be genuine releases. If you find a Gymnast with a different coloured singlet more than likely it is hand-painted by a collector. Bully made the Gymnast between 1975 to 1977. 

Around 1977/78 Schleich started producing Smurfs again and continued to make Gymnast until 1984. It is hard to see if any major changes were made to the mould during the years it was produced. Oddly enough, the Gymnast made out of Portugal can be found with a red or black mouth. 

Australia’s Gymnast Smurf

Gymnast was first released in Australia by Bp Australia in 1979. This was made in Hong Kong and can be found with unusually large cavity number under its foot. This happened to a number of Smurfs that were released into Australia made out Hong Kong. 

It is also unclear why they only produced the red singlet version out of Hong Kong. Was this a request made by Schleich or Wallace Berrie? The Gymnast Smurf made out of Hong Kong was popular not only in Australia, but in New Zealand and America as it sold right through until 1984. It was also used on a variety of triangle pedestals and other Smurf items. 

Is Gymnast a classic?

In my opinion Gymnast Smurf is a classic on so many levels. It was one of the early Smurfs produced by Schleich before Bully had the rights. Any Smurfs produced with unpainted eyebrows is an instant classic for me. Gymnast was also one that was popular not just in Europe but across the globe. Simple design but highly effective like many classic Smurfs. 

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

 

Card Player Smurf

Card Player Smurf – is it a promotional or normal regular Smurf? Some say it is, some say it’s not and others like me say it is both. The Card Player Smurf was first shown in 1980 Schleich catalogue but was actually available before this. The card playing Smurf holds his cards in his left hand, while he covers his right hand over his mouth. We can also see that he has card tucked into the top of his white trousers and has one eye open peeping at his cards. 

The Card Player Smurf was first produced by Schleich in 1978, possibly as a promotional Smurf for ASS. Card Player holding card with ASS symbol on card. It was also produced without the ASS emblem and has the markings W.Germany Schleich S © 78 Peyo under its feet.  On some of these early ones, the colour of the heart printed on the card can vary from light pink to red. Also possible to find with overpainted hearts on card or a completely blank card. 

Later the markings on the Card Player was changed. This may have something to do with the Smurf being sold by National Petroleum in 1980 in the UK. At this time it was also being made out of West Germany and Portugal. Due to its popularity it was also being painted out of Sri Lanka. So it is possible to find the Card Player with a mustard or red paint dot.

The Card Player was also produced out of Hong Kong. It was sold by BP Australia, BP New Zealand and Wallace Berrie for the US market. The Hong Kong version shows us the ASS emblem on the card but does not include the word ASS on the card. Not sure why they did this but the year marking on the Hong Kong version is 1978 and not 1980. 

The Card Player was also used extensively on triangle pedestals, music boxes and podiums with cards. Both the European and Hong Kong figurines were used. 

Schleich sold Card Player (#20056) between 1980 to 1991 and then again in 1996 and 1997. The Card Player was made out of Hong Kong between 1981 to 1984. Countless fakes have also been made. 

The ASS Card Player was one of the first promotional Smurfs I collected. This was probably due to its price being so reasonable compared to many of the other promo’s out there. They sure must have made a lot of these, as they are still pretty easy to find today. It also has a cheeky disposition that is hard not to like. 

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Who is ASS?

Ass Alterburger (ASS stands for Alterburger und Stralsunder Spielkartenfabrik) is a German card playing company. They also make jigsaw puzzles and other board games. In the late 1970s the company were making a lot of items featuring the Smurfs. Some of these items included photographs of Smurfs that at the time were being made by both Bully and Schleich. Sometimes the Card Player Smurf was also sold with a deck of cards. 

 

Boxer Smurfs – Normal or Super Smurf?

When I started collecting smurfs, I first came across the Super Smurf Boxer without his punching bag. I had no idea that it was in fact a Super Smurf. Looking back this wasn’t surprising considering how many times you see this Boxer without his punching bag being sold by sellers who either don’t know this was a Super Smurf or who knew it and thought that they could get away with it.  Same mould but different paint colours!

Super Smurf Boxer, #40508

Hong Kong Super Smurf Boxer

The Super Smurf Boxer was first released in 1980 by Schleich. It can be found wearing a red singlet, white socks, green shorts and brown & white boxing gloves with black shoes. The accessory is a spring mounted punching bag on a brown wood like rectangle plastic base. Schleich continued to sell Boxer through to 1986, with very little changes made. Sometimes you find variances with the punching bag but very little differences with the figurine.

There was also a version made out of Hong Kong. This Boxer was sold by BP Australia (also possibly by BP New Zealand) and Wallace Berrie. When Boxer was first sold by BP Australia in 1980 it was available for just $1.65!

It also appears that the Super Smurf Boxer was also used for Schleich’s triangle pedestals, which could be another reason these smurfs can be found without their punching bags.

Normal Boxer, #20419

Regular Boxer

The regular Boxer was first released in 1993. It can be found wearing a yellow singlet and socks, green shorts and red & white boxing gloves with light brown shoes. Schleich sold the regular smurf from 1993 to 2000. So at no time were both smurfs sold by Schleich.

The regular Boxer was only ever made out of Germany. But as the regular Boxer was produced around the same time as German’s reunification it can be found with W.Germany and Germany markings. A small thing for some, but for others a variation worth looking out for.

Display Tip:

If you are lucky enough to have more than one Boxer smurf in your collection, you may want to consider displaying them so they face each other. This will give the impression they are boxing each other.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Rollerskater Smurfette

Here’s a list of everything you should keep in mind when searching for Roller Skate Smurfette and not all are obvious!

First released by Schleich in 1981 and sold until 1994, with article number 2.0126. It was also first made in Hong Kong in 1981 and was sold by BP Australia, BP New Zealand and Wallace Berrie in the USA until 1984. Wearing a short white dress, red-wheels roller-skates and her blond hair is in pigtails. While both her arms are stretched out either side of her.

The white shoes may have two red horizontal or diagonal lines on each shoe. This is representing a shoelace.

If made in W.Germany or Portugal the red rollers will be smooth, sometimes referred to as continuous.

If made in Hong Kong the red rollers are more defined.

All have a plain white dress and white underwear except for one where she is not wearing any underwear.

The one without underwear is highly sought after and has © Peyo hand etched into the right thigh. If seeking one, without the underwear ensure that you cannot see the outline of the underwear under the blue paint. I am unsure of the original origins of this one, though most likely made in Europe.

Her golden blonde hair are in pigtails with a red ribbon. Again the colour of her hair may vary depending where it was made. Lighter yellow hair commonly indictates it was painted in W.Germany or Portugal whereas darker golden yellow hair indicates it was painted in Hong Kong.

Roller Skate Smurfette was also briefly made and painted in Sri Lanka, so it is possible to find this Sri Lanka markings or with a black paint dot under the rollers. The Sri Lankan made one is similar to the Hong Kong made ones, all made around the same time.

The China made one, is quite different to all the others available. She has completely red roller-skates and no eyelashes, which makes her look a little freaky in my opinion. This Roller Skate Smurfette is a little harder to find.

Due to the popularity of Roller Skate Smurfette many fakes have also been made. These have included a Spanish fake with a dark pink skirt, with silver roller-skates, a Mexican fake made out of a yellow transparent material and no doubt there are many more.

Roller Skate Smurfette is still as popular as ever and can be found fairly easily. When it was first sold by BP Australia it was available for just 99 cents!

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B