I have fond memeories of Emperor Smurf when I was a child. Sadly like a lot of my early smurfs they were badly looked after and are most likely still buried in a disregarded sand pit that I used to play in. My Emperor was made out of Hong Kong and was spraypainted. Wearing a long red robe, with tarnished gold shoes and hat that had a yellow crown while carrying a red sceptre with white spots on it.
More than 20 years later I received a large shock when I discovered that there were all different versions of Emperor. I think at first I thought that mine was completely a different smurf but very quickly I started to learn that smurfs were not just made out of Hong Kong and sold in BP service stations. This was exciting time for me as this was when I started to seriously start collecting smurfs. So there were lots of new discoveries.
Emperor was first made by Schleich in 1978 and was sold to 1986 then again in 1991 to 1995 and in 1999 to 2001. It was also extremely popular in the USA as Wallace Berrie sold Emperor from 1979 to 1984. One of the few smurfs made for the duration Wallace Berrie were producing smurfs out of Hong Kong.
An interesting thing about this Emperor, when it was first sold in the UK by National Petroluem in 1979 it was called King. Then later in 1982 it was changed to Emperor upon the release of the Bully King figurine. It was also around this time that Emperor was sold with a red robe, gold shoes and gold hat with a yellow crown, while carrying a red scrptre with white spots.
For those of you who like to collect variations Emperor can be found in both white and yellow pvc material, hand painted or spraypainted. Paint colours used can also vary as it has been painted not just Hong Kong and Germany but also in Portugal and Sri Lanka. In my opinion it is truly a classic smurf and one for the ages.
I would love to go back to that sand pit I used to play in and see what else I could find. Who knows there could be a whole entire smurf village living happily underground.
While Belgium celebrates 60 years of the smurfs with The Smurf Experience at Brussels Expo, back here in Melbourne on the other side of the world I thought what better way to celebrate the occasion but to write about Carnival smurf. Wearing a red mask over the eyes and painted with red, yellow and blue polka dots over his white trousers and smurf hat, Carnival smurf carries a drink in his right hand and a holds lantern propped on a long pole in his left hand.
First made by Bully in 1979 but actually sold by Schleich from 1980 to 1989. Like a lot of smurfs made at the end of the Bully era, extremely rare colour variations were made and can be found in the 1980 Schleich catalogue. Such as the Fisherman with red-white fishing line, Scot with brown bagpipes, Baker with dark brown rectangle bread and Carnival with the red-green lantern. It is also thought that the early version of Carnival was also made with orange pole.
This must have been a time for great colour experiments as I have also come across a Bully advertisement from 1979 that shows Carnival smurf wearing a black mask and carrying a white glass. The pole used is also quite different to the red one they commonly used. I don’t think was ever released commercially.
So if you’re struggling to know what to look out for with Carnival smurf, you’re not alone. Typically the German made ones have a 6cm red pole with a yellow lantern. I also tend to find these have a slightly darker yellow lantern than the ones made out of Hong Kong. These Carnival smurfs can be found with either a Bully or Schleich marking.
Carnival smurf was also made out of Hong Kong and was sold in New Zealand and the United States. I am not sure if it was ever sold by BP Australia. Typically the Hong Kong ones have a 6.7cm red pole with a yellow lantern. These can be found with both Hong Kong and Hong Kong W. Berrie markings.
Large numbers of smurfs were produced in the early 1980’s which makes finding some of these Bully marked Schleich sold smurfs easy to find still today. If you are looking for a smurf to bring fun and colour to your collection I can highly recommend Carnival smurf. What’s not to like a smurf having a good time?
Like a lot of the early smurfs produced by Schleich and Bully, most come from characters out of the original comic books written by Peyo. The origins of Hang Glider figurine possibly come from Flying Smurf who is a character that only appears in the smurf comic books. Flying Smurf only ever wanted to fly.
Hang Glider was only ever made by Schleich, from 1978 to 1992 and then again from 1996 to 2001. It was sold by Wallace Berrie in the USA from 1980 to 1984.
One of the early releases of Hang Glider (which I don’t have yet) included three painted patches on the back of the wings. These patches were painted yellow, brown and white. As this version of the Hang Glider is considered extremely rare, ensure you inspect the paint colours carefully before buying it. If you find that the paint colours used on the wings and patches don’t match or look different – beware! This is because they were painted at the same time so they match accordingly. After this all Hang Glider figurines were sold without the painted patches on their wings.
It is considered Hang Glider is one of a few smurfs made in multiple countries during it’s 29 years. These countries include W.Germany/Germany, Portugal, Hong Kong, Brazil and China. There are very little differences with the moulds and paint colours used. Where the differences lie are more to do with the type of paint used. For example the Portugal made ones tend to have matte paint colours, the Hong Kong ones are painted with darker shiny paint colours. If you like your paint colours, keep an eye open for two different ones made out of China.
Hang Glider was also used for triangle pedestals during the early 1980’s. Even in Australia we had own pink triangle pedestal sold by BP Australia with the words Get Well Soon on it.
The appeal of a flying smurf is still happening today. In the film The Lost Village released in 2017, a flying smurf is seen in the opening scene and during the credits he is shown in a picture of him getting stuck in a chimney. I guess no one is perfect.
This weekend a cold snap of weather has been predicted in some parts of Australia. With this in mind, perhaps it is time to snuggle near open fire to keep warm. But before you do, perhaps you should look at your Chimney Sweep smurfs.
We first see Chimney Sweep in 1980 Schleich catalogue carrying his tools – ladder and chimney brush while wearing grey pants, black jacket and a red handkerchief around his neck. Though in actual fact Chimney Sweep was first sold in the UK in December 1978.
Chimney Sweep was sold between 1978 to 1998 as described in Der Schlumpf Katalog IV and Gian & Davi Collezioni – The Smurfs Official Collector’s Guide. In both books they list four variations.
I have always been skeptical of things promoted as limited editions or collector series. So back in 1985 when Applause announced that they were going to sell the 1985 Smurf Limited Collector Series, I have often wondered if any smurf fans were a little wary this could be the end of the smurfs in the USA? But perhaps they were thinking that a limited collector series, is only limited to as many times as Applause wishes to make it one.
Basketball Smurf was one of the last smurfs sold in the USA by Applause in 1985. It was scheduled to be released with Golf Smurfette in April but according to the Smurf Collector Club International newsletters it was actually released in May.
This was possibly one of the last smurfs made out of Hong Kong and is worth hunting down as it is different to the German made one. Both have Basketball smurf wearing white shoes, orange socks, a red singlet with an orange 1 on the front and a light caramel coloured basket ball in it’s right had. Though the Hong Kong version also includes a thick red stripe on both shoes. This is also a little harder to find, so the price can be a little higher than the German made one.
It was first sold in Europe around 1987 until 1990 then in 1992 & 1993. So it is possible to find without W.Germany markings without CE marking and then with Germany markings with a CE marking. There is very little difference between the Hong Kong and German moulds.
In 2003 Schleich released the New Generation set which New Basketball #20518. This was sold by Schleich right up until 2009. So like football but to a lesser degree basketball has always been popular theme for Schleich.
Then out of no where in 2013 Schleich re-released the smurfs they sold in 2011 as part of the decade display smurfs along with Basketball and Cake smurfs. Each smurf was sold on a blue card with the year of production displayed. In places like the USA and Sweden these were also sold with a Toys R Us sticker on the card.
I prefer the first Basketball smurf due to the expression on his face and its stance. It’s hard to believe that back in 1985 Applause delayed its release but luckily for us it was sold. Both Basketball and Golf Smurfette may have seemed like an odd couple at the time of their release but they are truly worth adding to one’s own collection.