“Sindy really has it all”
Similarly to 1977, the 1978 scenesetter offerings relied heavily upon the previous furniture scenesetters produced in 1976 with just a few new and updated items. The “pocket money play situations” were now called “pocket money play sets” and the “mini scenesetters” included a couple of new products. Although there were only a few new products, this year Pedigree introduced two new scenesetters, large caravan and camping set which were to become mainstays of the scenesetters range.
To summarise the existing scenesetters previously shown:
- Sindy’s Home (Ref 44543) was still available and it still came with its cardboard cutout furniture. It was shown in the 1978 trade catalogue and style leaflet with the new Sindys wearing 1978 outfits. The pine-clad room which had previously been furnished as the dining room was shown for the first time furnished as a bathroom with Sindy’s sunshine yellow bath, washbasin & toilet.
Now, in the trade catalogue, her bedroom furniture was described as
“Major selling scenesetters, Complete furnishings in international style, Colour co-ordinated with up to date realism”
- listing the Wardrobe (Ref 44502), the Bed (Ref 44503), Dressing Table (Ref 44505) and the Bedside Table (Ref 44506). The ‘Bedroom Gift Set’ was not shown.
- This year the lounge furniture was shown in both the trade catalogue and the style leaflet and was as before – Armchair (Ref 44520), Settee (Ref 44522), Hi-Fi (Ref 44545), and Rocker (Ref 44554).
- The dining room furniture still consisted of the Dining Table (Ref 44527) and the Sideboard (Ref 44528).
- All five existing Eastham ‘E-Line’ kitchen units were available. The Wall Cupboard (Ref 44546), Hob Unit (Ref 44547), Sink Unit (Ref 44548), Floor Cupboard (Ref 44549), and Wall Oven (Ref 44550). The ‘Kitchen Gift Set’ was not shown.
In the trade catalogue, Sindy’s bathroom was given a two-page spread with a caption “Bathing with fun”, the purpose of which was to promote a new addition to the bathroom furniture – the new Sindy shower which is described below. The Bath (Ref 44540), Washbasin (Ref 44541), Hairdryer (Ref 44524), and Toilet (Ref 44551) were all still available. Interestingly, the ‘Bathroom Gift Set’ (Ref 44413) which consisted of the Bath, Washbasin and Toilet was shown as still available. Perhaps this item had previously been a slow seller or perhaps Pedigree kept this gift set to capitalise on the introduction of the shower.
Sindy’s large scenesetters introduced in 1977 were all still available:
- Carrycase (Ref 44563) now shown as sold with the blue & white floral bed linen
- Stable (Ref 44568)
- Horse (Ref 44569), and
- Sindy’s original Camper (the buggy and tent) was also still available.
From Sindy’s home related Accessory Sets which were now described as “Play accessory packs”, both ‘Relax in Evening’ (her lounge accessories) and ‘Cook in Time’ (her six kitchen work top appliances and accessories) had been dropped. However ‘Set in Style’ (Ref 44426) was still shown and the marketing photo now included the Sindy’s gold painted “S” logo brush, comb and mirror. Sindy was given a new lounge accessory set which is shown below.
Sindy’s renamed “Pocket money play sets” were shown as:
- ‘Grooming Set’ now renamed as ‘Horse Accessory Pack’, still with same reference (Ref 44425). As noted previously (see 1977 Scenesetters) the horse comb and brush and broom have been found in a variety of colours and this pack was now photographed with a yellow broom.
- Picnic Set (Ref 44424) was still available however it was now shown with a brown plastic picnic hamper instead of yellow (see 1977 Scenesetters);
but the Kitchen Stools was not shown in the Pedigree literature anymore.
Some of the 1977 “Sindy Mini scenesetters” were still available and these sets were described in the 1978 trade catalogue as
“Highly detailed for indoor and outdoor play. Takes child into Sindy’s world. Topical play situations.”
- ‘Bar-B-Que’ (aka Barbeque) was now called ‘Barbecue’ with the same reference (Ref 44420).
- Housework (Ref 44422) was now shown with one of the aprons which was actually available, but
- Sunlounger was no longer shown.
Two new mini scenesetters were introduced in 1978 with the description
“New additions for more play. Each items contains a garment for Sindy. Competitive price points.”
These two new mini scenesetters are shown below and all Sindy’s new 1978 scenesetters were as follows:
Tea Time (Ref 44416)
This was a sweet little coffee table set was a play accessory pack.
The coffee table was made of white plastic with a faux smoked glass top also made of plastic with a moulded “Sindy” logo in the bottom right-hand corner. This tea set came with settings for two and consisted of a re-styled contemporary plastic tea or coffee pot and lid, milk jug and sugar bowl. There were two teacups, saucers and plates. And we see for the first time that Sindy all time favourite, a chocolate cake with two removable portions with a cake stand. As you can see this 1978 Sindy cake had a frosted top. The coffee pot, milk jug and two saucers had a moulded “Sindy” underneath. The teacups and cake plate had a mould Sindy “S” underneath.
We have not seen the blue and white crockery shown in the Pedigree literature, ours is original and is sunshine yellow (tangerine) and white, similar to some of the crockery used for Sindy’s ‘Bedside Table’. The coffee pot, milk jug, and sugar bowl were redesigned and the cake plate was a new introduction. We don’t know what cutlery such as knives and teaspoons came with this set. If you know please tell us and we will update this description. We know that there were other tangerine and white colour combinations for the coffee set.
Winter Sports (Ref 44428)
The first of Sindy’s new mini scenesetters.
This set contained a tan coloured plastic sledge which was a quite intricately modelled “wooden” slat construction with curved runners and a T-bar front with a footrest. The underside of the sledge was fitted with four small wheels and the sledge could slide down a sloping surface or, using the black plastic strap affixed to the T-bar front, pulled along. On the top of the sledge just behind T was a moulded Sindy “S”. If Sindy preferred to ski there was a pair of yellow plastic skis for her. Unlike her earlier skis, the skis in this set were made of one piece of moulded plastic attached together. They were also fitted with four small wheels and each ski was decorated with a moulded Sindy “S” on the top of the blade at the front of each ski. The ski poles were made of tan coloured plastic with moulded handles and yellow plastic baskets. For this ski set, Sindy got a new pair of orange rubber ski boots with moulded laces and eyelet detail. These boots had a small flange at the toes and heels so that the boots could be securely slotted into the skis. The set came with a pair of Sindy’s orange wraparound glasses which had previously been used for 1977 ‘Sunlounger’ and the 1978 boxed doll ‘Sunshine Girl’, and in this clever bit of re-use they were now described for this set as “ski goggles”.
Lastly, in keeping with previous mini scenesetters, Sindy got a new item of clothing. Her ski anorak was made of navy blue quilted nylon with a red ribbed cotton collar, cuffs and waistband. It was decorated down each arm with a stripe of white silky cord and glued to the left breast was a navy blue Sindy “S” emblem on a white background edged in navy blue. The anorak fastened with a length of velcro down the front.
Washday (Ref 44429)
Sindy’s second mini scenesetter complemented the 1977 ‘Housework’ set and was released ten years after the first version.
How times had changed. The original clothes horse was replaced with the latest in collapsible rotary clothes lines. Using the same metal pole stood on the same white plastic base decorated with a moulded Sindy “S” as the parasol from 1977 ‘Sunlounger’, the rotary dryer had four arms made of yellow plastic threaded with a fine white cord and four white flexible plastic struts to hold it in place. With yellow stoppers, one at the top and one underneath, the rotary line which could be slid up and down the metal pole into an open or closed position. It came six miniature red plastic clothes pegs and a yellow plastic clothes basket. Sindy could iron her newly washed clothes with her own yellow and white plastic collapsible ironing board with a soft brushed nylon ironing surface (later versions had a thin foam surface) and a moulded red and back plastic iron with a white cord which could be attached to the ironing board with a yellow plastic flex-tidy.
This set came with a vinyl covered pinafore apron to keep Sindy dry. It was trimmed with red polyester cotton binding around the bib and this same fabric was used for the neck loop and ties. Similarly to ‘Housework’, there are a number of variations for this apron. We have not see the version of the apron shown in the 1978 trade catalogue which was a black & yellow tartan. We cannot be entirely sure as to when each apron was issued, but photos in the trade catalogues show Sindy wearing these aprons either with the ‘Washday’ set or in a Sindy scenesetter photo:
- yellow check print (same as the 1975 ‘Lovely Lively’ skirt) was shown in 1979,
- the green & orange tartan apron was shown in both 1980 & 1981,
- the navy blue, red & yellow check apron was shown in the 1980 trade catalogue,
- the navy blue, red & white check apron was pictured in 1981, and
- the pink & white check apron in both 1982 and 1983.
In 1980 this set was combined with Sindy’s 1977 ‘Housework’ scenesetter and was renamed ”Spring Cleaning”(and subsequently “Spring Clean”). The combined set was a regular scenesetter until 1984 when it was updated.
Caravan (Ref 44564)
Sindy’s first caravan was a hardboard and wood construction, with big plastic wheels and screw-jack stabliser. It had a wooden door, cut-out windows, and a sliding roof. Inside it was brightly decorated with a wooden table and benches, and a wooden shelf decorated as a sink, drainer and hob unit. The outside was decorated to complement Sindy’s camper buggy and we think there might be two versions of the trim. The version shown here is, we think, the later 1979 version and we would like to hear from anyone who has this caravan with a different livery.
Similarly to Sindy’s 1977 ‘Stable’, Sindy’s new caravan was adapted from one of SIO’s (Speelgoed Industrie Overijssel) products, the “Sunny” caravan (shown right).
We know a great story about this caravan. Annie showed this caravan at the Alresford Toy Museum for a Day in 2010 and she was told the following story by a man who stood looking at it for ages. He recounted that he remembered his sister getting this caravan one Christmas and he really, really wanted it because he immediately saw a new and better use for it. He waited until his sister had gone shopping with her friends and whilst she was out, he stole it and painted it camouflage green and made it into his Action Man HQ. When his parents found out what he had done, he got into a lot of trouble, but as he said with a big smile on his face, “it was so worth it”.
Shower Unit (44573)
Sindy’s new addition for the bathroom was a walk-in working shower unit. The mid 1970s saw a number of innovations regarding showers, including new showers heads & electric pumps, and the use of fibreglass and perspex to make frosted doors or screens. Obviously therefore Sindy would have had to have one. But at this time in Britain, showering was not as popular as it was in the US or on the Continent, and we have wondered whether Sindy’s shower unit was developed with one eye on the Marx and Schuco markets? Whatever the reason, Sindy had a standalone walk-in shower unit long before many British households.
Shown only in the trade catalogue, Sindy’s shower was made in the same sunshine yellow and brown plastic as the rest of her bathroom suite. The one that we have does not look like the version shown in the catalogue and we wonder if that version was actually sold. The 1979 Pedigree literature shows the version above, but the captions states “Re-styled” so it could be there was an earlier short-lived version and we would be keen to hear from anyone who has seen this.
The shower unit was diamond shaped so it fitted neatly into a corner. It had a brown moulded shower tray, and a sunshine yellow back wall and ceiling decorated with moulded tiles, a shower knob, a recessed shelf and a white and brown “Sindy” decal. The shower had the latest in frosted shower doors. These were made of plastic, they were shoulder-height, fully-opening swing doors etched with a Sindy “S”. The shower head was made of brown plastic attached to a length of white plastic hosing. The shower head slotted into a bracket at back of the shower right under the ceiling and the bottom of the hose fitted into a hole in the shower tray. As the shower head was detachable, it could be used as both an overhead or a hand held shower. The shower had a little reservoir in the shower tray which could be filled with water and with the aid of a little battery operated pump (requiring two HP2 batteries) the water was pumped up through hose and out through the shower head.
This set came with a big shower sponge and a brown cotton bath towel with white wool fringe which hung on a detachable brown towel rail that clipped onto the shower unit door.
Camping Scene (Ref 44577)
This set included a large modern frame tent made from orange nylon pulled over a construction assembled from white plastic rods. It had an internal wall and a cut-out door and windows. To complement the tent there was a navy blue vinyl quilted sleeping bag with an integral padded pillow. Additional play accessories included a yellow plastic square camping table with four detachable legs, a white plastic folding camping stool with a vinyl seat (found in a variety of colours – we know of both green and yellow seats – are there any other colours?), a plastic portable camping stove with two moulded cooking rings, and a square frying pan (these items can be found in both red and blue). Also included to complete the scenesetter was Sindy’s 1977 ‘Picnic Set’ for two (shown in the 1977 & 1978 trade catalogue with the yellow hamper but with later versions showing the brown hamper – see 1977 Scenesetters).
Shown left are our colour variations to the stools and camping stove sets.