Alchemist Smurf

Let me tell you about my experience I have had with collecting Alchemist Smurf (#20116).

As most of you may already know Alchemist Smurf can be found with either white or green smoke protruding from his test tube. Wearing a dark blue robe with a half moon on the front and his white Smurf hat is decorated with stars. In one hand he is holding a red genie like bottle and in the other a test tube with smoke coming out of it.

In the beginning I was only aware of the Alchemist with green smoke coming from his test tube.  This may have something to do with the Alchemist being made out of Hong Kong was sold like this. But then I started noticing the thickness of the smoke also varied. Like a lot of varainces with Smurfs, nothing big but still a point of difference.

As times went by ……

It took me a while to collect an Alchemist Smurf with white smoke. Actually come to think of it, the white smoke was partially damaged but I still didn’t care as by this stage I had ten green smoke ones to one white smoke variation.

A little while later, I was able to obtain another Alchemist Smurf with white smoke but this one was different to my existing one. Firstly, it wasn’t damaged but it had a gold half moon on his robe. Up until then I always thought the half moon was yellow. I was desperate to know if it was genuine or if the previous owner had added their own paint work to the half moon.

When I started to get more serious about collecting Smurfs with different markings, I quickly discovered that Smurfs made and painted in different countries could lead to different colour variations. This time it was discovering the Alchemist Smurf with green smoke when painted in Sri Lanka (red paint dot) has green stars not gold on his white hat. Also they tend to have the thicker smoke than others.

Key points:
  • Alchemist was first produced by Bully in 1979. Can be found with white or green smoke. Yellow or gold crest of the moon on the robe.
  • Was produced by Schleich in 1980 until 1989. Can only be found with green smoke and yellow crest of the moon on the robe.
  • Wallace Berrie sold Alchemist between 1982 to 1984. Can only be found with green smoke and yellow crest of the moon on the robe. Typically found with a darker blue robe.

In my opinion this is what makes Smurf collecting unique and worthwhile. It is finding these little differences whether it is done with the different paint colours used or markings that can be found, it is never boring. Please let me know if I have forgotten another variance, as always happy to discover something new.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Smurf with Mirror

When we think about the 80’s, images of the Smurfs is never far from one’s imagination. Recently I went to 80’s theme party and out of the 12 or so people dressed up as Smurfs there were at least 3 people dressed up imitating Vanity also known Smurf with Mirror.  Vanity has always been one of the main characters of the Smurfs comics, cartoon series and movies. Which may help explain why people easily associate with this Smurf.  

With his red mirror in his right hand, Vanity Smurf admires his own reflection. In the beginning Schleich and Bully referred to this smurf as Eitler which translated from German to English means Vain. This may explain why BP Australia referred to it as Vanity Smurf when it was first released in 1979. However in the US, Wallace Berrie referred to as Mirror Smurf. All of these countries used the same Smurf but referred to as something different. 

Know what to look for

When looking to add Smurf with Mirror to your collection, you must take into consideration that this Smurf was first produced back in 1972 by Schleich. So it is possible to find it with a Schleich emblem under it’s feet.  

Around 1974 Bully had the rights to produce the Smurfs, and removed the Schleich emblem. The markings found on the Bully ones, has no reference to Bully it is just W.Germany © Peyo. 

As on many of these with this marking you can find the smurf made out of both the softer pvc material and harder pvc material. Typically the ones made with softer pvc material, has it’s pupils painted more centred. Whereas the ones made out of harder pvc material has it’s pupils painted closer to the nose. 

In Australia, the Smurf with Mirror was made out of Hong Kong using a harder pvc material. They are also typically painted with a darker extreme colours compared to the ones made out of Germany. Apart from that, it looks like they used the same mould.  

This is a Smurf worth adding to one’s collection. Not only is it still easy to find, but most people can easily identify who this Smurf is when it is displayed. Over the years Schleich has made newer versions of Vanity which are also worth collecting. However, I still prefer the early Smurfs produced by Schleich and Bully. I like that a simple design of a figurine can be altered ever so slightly by the way it’s pupils have been added by the painter. 

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

The Injured Smurf

This must be the most accident prone Smurf within my collection, the one most of us refer to as Injured Smurf (#20097). With his right arm in a yellow sling, left foot wrapped in plaster, using a wooden stick to get around and two brown cross adhesive stripes on hat. The concerned look in his eyes tells us he has been through quite an ordeal.

Injured Smurf was first  produced by Bully in 1978 until 1980. After 1980 Bully lost the rights to the Smurfs to Schleich, who continued to sell Injured Smurf with Bully markings until 1984. After this time, Schleich removed the Bully marking and added their own Schleich marking to the smurf. Schleich ended up selling InJured Smurf between 1980 to 1991, then 1999 and 2000. 

There are two shades of brown for the wooden stick that can be found. I tend to find the lighter brown stick has Bully markings and the darker brown stick has Schleich markings. 

Both in Australia and New Zealand, Injured Smurf was released by BP. This version was made out of Hong Kong. Oddly enough, in the US Wallace Berrie did not release Injured Smurf until around 1984/85. You can find this one with Bully Hong Kong markings. The one sold in Australia had Schleich markings. 

Injured with yellow bandaged foot

Made in Germany Schleich S Germany © 78 Peyo CE markings

Some collectors claim that there is a version with Injured with a yellow bandaged foot. It features in the Comicfiguren Preiskatalog and Gian & Davi Collezioni The Smurfs Official Collector’s Guide as a variation of the normal one. But does not feature in Frank Oswald’s Der Schlumpf Katalog IV. 

I have never seen one up close and personal, so I cannot confirm that it actually exists as a genuine release from Bully or Schleich. I have seen photographs online showing the Injured Smurf with a yellow bandage with both W.Germany Bully © Peyo markings and Hong Kong Bully © Peyo markings. Both were claimed to be genuine. 

My concern is that the yellow paint is added over the white raw pvc material. So this makes it hard to tell whether the paint was original or just a repaint of the common one. 

Strange but true

In New Zealand, Injured Smurf was referred to as Accident.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B 

Today I am a Bookworm Smurf

Today I experienced my first book fair book. With no expectations in mind, I offered to chauffeur drive my mother down to Yarragon with her quest to attend their annual book fair. It was a dreary cold Melbourne’s day so it was perfect for this kind of excursion. Until now I had no idea there were so many bookworms out there.

The Bookworm Smurf (#20094) was first produced by Bully in 1978. Wearing his customary white trousers and hat while holding onto a red book with yellow pages. The smurf is also wearing glasses, so more than likely it is loosely based on Brainy Smurf. Sometimes the eyes are painted white all the way to the glasses.

When Schleich changed the marking around 1984 they blocked the Bully mark and added Schleich and the year 1977 onto the back.  I don’t think Schleich made any other changes to the figurine. Schleich continued to sell Bookworm until 1986. 

Schleich reproduced Bookworm between the years 1992 to 2000. During this time they blocked out the West in front of the Germany marking and added in a small CE to the back. Again it appears no changes were made to the figurine.

After this removed the markings from the back of the smurf to under the feet. They also produced two versions out of China. 

It wasn’t until 1983 when a Bookworm was produced out of Hong Kong for Wallace Berrie. So it was highly likely Bookworm was never sold by BP Australia. However it is interesting to note that the version made out of Hong Kong  must have produced its own mould as the year marking on this is 1983 not 1977 like the Schleich made one. 

So what is a Bookworm?

Depending who you ask, the term Bookworm can have different meanings. I always thought it meant someone who enjoys reading. But I have also discovered it is the general name for any insect that is said to bore through books. If that is the case then the township of Yarragon has a plague of bookworms to deal with this weekend during their book fair.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Is Sledgehammer Smurf too violent?

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

Kath B

Biscuit Smurf

When was the last you craved for a biscuit? Sorry, I should rephrase this question, when was the last time you craved for a Biscuit smurf first produced by Bully around 1974?

When Biscuit Smurf was first released by Bully it was given the name of Kuchen Schlumpf which translated from German to English means Cake Smurf. I am not entirely sure when they started referring to it as Biscuit Smurf.  

Like a lot of early smurfs produced by Bully, Biscuit smurf is made out of very soft pvc material and were also sometimes produced with unpainted eyes or without any eyebrows. It is also possible to find them with no markings at all or just © Peyo marking on the arm. 

Biscuit smurf can be found wearing his customary white trousers and hat, holding a large yellow biscuit with a bite taken out of it in his left hand. The smurf can be seen licking his lips with his tongue.  

Bully produced Biscuit Smurf from 1974 to around 1977. Schleich also produced Biscuit Smurf from 1980 to 1986 and was given article number 2.0080. Most of these Schleich ones were sold with Bully markings with the cavity number marked behind the biscuit. It is possible to find with Schleich markings but these are generally considered hard to find. 

Biscuit Smurf was never sold in Australia or United States. There is however an extremely rare version made with Hong Kong markings but I have only ever seen a picture of this one. So perhaps there were plans to release it in the U.S.A but it never happened. This may have something to do with the popularity of Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. 

Raw Brown Biscuit Smurf

Biscuit Smurf can also be found in brown pvc material with only his pupils and mouth painted. Some collectors refer to these as Waldbaur smurfs. Waldbaur Smurfs were a special promotion that included a single coloured smurf with some details painted such as pupils, mouth, tear etc within a box of 20 chocolates, released around 1974/75. There is thought to be at least six different smurfs used as part of the Waldbaur promotion. However some collectors believe there are more…..

Biscuit Smurf is a simple designed smurf with lots of character and well worth craving!

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Diver Smurf also known as Frogman

This smurf is sometimes referred to as Frogman. This was the name National gave the smurf when it was first released in the UK back in 1981 and for some collectors the name has stuck. Wearing his orange wetsuit, black flippers & goggles, red snorkel and a silver spear gun.

There are not many variations of Diver, the main difference appears to be with the tip of the spear gun with some curving forward or back. However this is most likely how the smurf has been stored as the tip is quite flexible.

Diver was one of the last smurfs made by Bully back in 1979. In 1980 Schleich had the rights to produce all the smurf figurines, so they continued to sell Diver with Bully markings right up until 1984. After 1984 Schleich removed the Bully marking and added their own marking under the flippers. Schleich continue to sell Diver up until 1990.

Diver was also made out of Hong Kong and was sold in Australia, possibly New Zealand and in America. In America Wallace Berrie only sold Diver for two years, 1982 to 1984. So it is possible to find with Hong Kong markings and also Hong Kong W. Berrie markings. 

There are appears to be very little differences between the W.German and Hong Kong versions as it appears they both used the same mould but like a lot of smurfs produced in the early 1980’s the difference lies in the type of paint used. 

For example the Diver sold in the UK was typically painted in Portugal (mustard paint dot) and has matte paint colours. The Hong Kong ones were painted with darker shiny paint colours. Diver was also painted in Tunisia, so possible to find with a green paint dot.

Like many smurf collectors, I have a ‘Most Wanted’ List  of smurfs that instead of decreasing in size appears to get bigger everyday. There are two Diver smurfs that are on this list and they include a Spanish (CNT) Diver in an all red diving suit, flippers and goggles. The other is often referred to as ‘Prototype’ and displays Diver with flat feet compared to the ‘regular’ Diver which has it’s back foot raised. I am pretty confident that I am not the only one out there that would love to have this ‘Prototype’ Diver.

In 2000 Schleich released a new generation of smurfs including Scuba Diver (#20466). Though they may share a similar name both Divers are very different from each other, making both worth collecting. I am a big fan of both, though if I had to chose I would probably say Diver is my favourite just because of his expression on his face, especially his eyes. The smurfs made back then seem to have more of a comic disposition to them compared to the smurfs made in the last twenty years.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Magician – Conjuror – Zauberer Smurf

The hat trick is a classic magic trick where a performer will produce an object (traditionally a rabbit or bouquet of flowers) out of an apparently empty top hat.  The Magician smurf was first produced by Bully in 1979 performing a magic trick with his grey top hat and scarf. Wearing a red cape with a yellow scarf in his left hand and a light green scarf protruding from his grey top hat. 

This variation of the Magician is seen in the Schleich catalogues from 1980 to 1985 and then magically in 1986 it has a black top hat with a a dark green scarf protruding from it. It then reappears with a black top hat in the Schleich catalogues in 1991 to 1994 and again in 1998 & 1999. So only the Bully marked Magician can be found with a grey top hat. 

In the USA, Wallace Berrie sold the Magician with the black top hat only for two years, 1982 to 1984. When it was first sold it had the markings Made in Hong Kong Schleich S © 1979 Peyo under the feet. Later they added W. Berrie Co to the markings. 

I have always thought that they must have produced huge number of these Magician smurfs with W. Berrie Co markings as later on they added a CE hand etched marking to them and sold them throughout Europe. 

However my favourite Magician is a fake not based on the regular smurf. It is fake Magician smurf wearing a red suit with a black bow tie. Under his red jacket his well padded stomach can be seen, hidden by his white shirt. In his right hand he holds out a grey rabbit by it’s ears and in his left hand he holds out his black top hat. I have no idea of the origin of this fake smurf but he is definitely one of my favourite ‘fake’ smurfs. What’s not to like about a slightly overweight smurf performing a magic hat trick. 

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

 

 

Hairdresser Smurf

I only have 20 minutes until I have to meet up wth a friend for breakfast who is currently at their hairdresser getting some amazing outlandish new look. So what better smurf to discuss today than Hairdresser Smurf first released by Bully in 1979.

What makes Hairdresser stand out in the crowd, is it’s large red comb in his right hand (which is more than half the size of the smurf) and his silver scissors held high in his left hand, while wearing his customary white trousers and hat.

When Schleich started producing Hairdresser in 1980 it started to include a black dot on the join of the scissors. Because Schleich could not remove the Bully markings until 1984 it is possible to find Bully marked smurfs with this black paint dot.

When Hairdresser was first produced out of Hong Kong, they encounted a greater challenge with the mould and hence the comb’s teeth are in a zigzag pattern. It is possible that they connected the comb in two pieces. This was later changed to appear more like the German mould where the comb has a slight curve to it and the mould is less thick.

The Hong Kong made Hairdresser was sold by BP New Zealand and also the USA by Wallace Berrie between 1981 to 1984. I am not sure if it was ever sold by BP Australia as I have never seen in any old brochures or posters. But there is a good chance it was!

Schleich sold Hairdresser right up until 1991, though I don’t was ever sold with a CE marking. More likely a CE sticker was used or a hand etched marking was added to the mould. It is also appears there were very little changes were made over the 12 years Schleich sold this smurf.

Due to the popularity and the demand for smurfs in the early 1980’s many fakes were also produced. I have a fake from Spain that has a ‘Made in Spain’ added to the bottom of the feet. There is also a Spanish fake that has black scissors!

At breakfast after my friend showed off his new hairstyle and tried to tell me how gorgeous he now looks, I decided to show him Hairdresser smurf. My friend doesn’t collect anything and is always amazed how I can bring smurfs into any conversation. At least talking about smurfs is far more cheerful than what is currently showing on the daily news.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B

Scot Smurf

Just when you think you have got your head around the different colour variations on some of the smurfs, someone asks you a question that stumps you. Is the Scot smurf with brown pipes on his bagpipes, is this genuine or just a repaint? I am not sure why they had to ask me this question as I have never claimed to be an expert, but here goes……

Scot was first produced by Bully back in 1979. Wearing a red and green tartan gown and hat with a green pompom while playing the bagpipes. This version we also see Scot with white socks. 

When Schleich started selling Scot they started painting the socks green and gave article number #20105. Schleich sold this with Bully markings until 1984 in Germany. After 1984 they were able to add their own Schleich marking to the smurfs and sold Scot until 1989. Oddly enough, the Schleich marked one with green socks is typically considered rarer compared to the Bully marked one with white socks. 

Scot was also produced out of Hong Kong with white socks. The Hong Kong made Scot can be found with W.Berrie and without. So quite possible it was also in other countries apart from the USA. Wallace Berrie only sold Scot for two years between 1981 to 1983 and referred to as Bagpipe. 

Now before I answer the big question  – Is the Scot smurf with brown pipes on his bagpipes, is this genuine or just a repaint? It’s important to understand a little a bit of smurf history that I feel is pivotal. In 1979 Bully lost the rights for the smurfs and was not allowed to make any more smurfs after 31st December 1979. From 1980 Schleich were they sole worldwide maker and seller of the smurfs.  We first see a picture of Scot with brown pipes on his bagpipes in the 1980 Schleich catalogue. So there is a good chance the pictures for the catalogue were taken some time in 1979. It is also highly likely that Schleich were experimenting with different colours or accessories on some of the Bully marked smurfs around the same time as they had just won the rights to produce the smurfs.

So in my opinion, yes this variation of Scot is genuine and exists as it can be found in 1980 Schleich catalogue. It is just a pity there are some rogue people out there who are taking advantage of their rarity by adding their own paintwork. After all its up to you and the kind of smurfs you like to collect that really matters.

Keep on Smurfin

Kath B