1979 Scenesetters

Compared to Sindy’s 1979 clothes, the scenesetters were quite straightforward and continued to heavily rely on products introduced in previous years. This year’s developments were a redecorated Sindy Home and new dining room furniture, both of which were sorely in need of an update.

These new scenesetters were the 1978 Marx Sindy items repackaged for the UK market. Given that Sindy’s original dining room furniture had itself been adapted the Louis Marx’s US “Little Hostess” furniture from the 1960s, Sindy could hardly have been launched in America with furniture which was now at least 15 years old. She needed new modern dining room furniture and a Sindy home decorated to reflect current tastes in home décor. Thus the British market subsequently benefited from this upgrade.

In the Pedigree literature Sindy’s furniture continued to photographed and shown in play situations but now with the backdrop of the new Sindy Home and Sindys in 1979 outfits. To summarise the existing scenesetters previously shown:

Sindy’s bedroom furniture was still described as:

Major selling scenesetters
Complete furnishings in international style
Colour co-ordinated with up to date realism”

and showed the Wardrobe (Ref 44502), the Bed (Ref 44503), Dressing Table (Ref 44505) and the Bedside Table (Ref 44506). A new boxed ‘Bedroom Gift Set (Ref 44585) consisting of the Wardrobe, Bed and Dressing Table was now included.

Sindy’s new dining room furniture was pictured alongside her existing lounge furniture:

“Real home comforts
Soft look traditional furniture
Homemaking, a popular play scene”

The lounge furniture was as before – Armchair (Ref 44520), Settee (Ref 44522), and Rocker (Ref 44554). However Sindy’s Hi-Fi was not shown on the photos or listed.

“Authentic Eastham ‘E’ line modern kitchen
Includes utensils for total play
The hub of Sindy’s home
Dream Kitchen”

Sindy’s fabulous Eastham ‘E-Line’ kitchen was shown in all its glory and against the backdrop of the new home it was displayed as a fully fitted kitchen using a number of the units to create the scene. All the previous items and their accessories i.e. the Wall Cupboard (Ref 44546), Hob Unit (Ref 44547), Sink Unit (Ref 44548), Floor Cupboard (Ref 44549), and Wall Oven (Ref 44550) were available; as well as a ‘Kitchen Gift Set’ (Ref 44587) consisting of the Hob Unit, Sink Unit and Wall Oven.

“Complete colour co-ordination
Battery operated hairdryer and shower
Luxury Bathroom” 

All her sunshine yellow bathroom suite was available. Bath (Ref 44540), Washbasin (Ref 44541), Hairdryer (Ref 44524), and Toilet (Ref 44551). The Shower (Ref 44573) introduced in 1978 was also shown but it was now the restyled version. The ‘Bathroom Gift Set’ was updated and repackaged (Ref 44586) and still included the Bath, Washbasin and Toilet.

Sindy’s homes from home, her Carrycase (Ref 44563) & Caravan (Ref 44564) were still available, as were her country pursuits Stable (Ref 44568) & Horse (Ref 44569).

Her original Camper (Ref 44542 – the buggy and tent) was now shown in a blue and white stripe livery which matched her caravan and it was described as “Every little girl needs wheels” – how true! The updated buggy is shown below.

And for “the great outdoors” her Camping Scene (Ref 44577).

“The little things in Sindy’s world
High play value packs
Impulse purchase prices”

Sindy’s home related “Play accessory packs” and “Pocket money play sets” were now amalgamated and were simply called “Accessories”. They were:

  • Picnic Set (Ref 44424)
  • Horse Accessory Pack (Ref 44425) – this pack was now photographed with a blue broom, and
  • Set in Style (Ref 44426) – her heated curlers

but the sweet little coffee table set Tea Time (Ref 44416) introduced in 1978 was not shown anymore.

Sindy’s four “Mini scenesetters” with their “themed garment for Sindy” could still be purchased:

  • Barbecue (aka Bar-B-Que) was now called Barbeque (Ref 44420)
  • Housework (Ref 44422)
  • Winter Sports called Winter Holiday in the catalogue (Ref 44428), and
  • Washday (Ref 44429).

The mystery of Baby Sitter solved

But the most intriguing scenesetter in the 1979 Trade Catalogue was ‘Baby Sitter’ (Ref 44580) which was shown as a “Top Secret” preview item for 1980.

It was described as a “realistic babycare set” with a drop side cot decorated with a teddy bear motif which had a mattress, pillow, duvet & cover. Also included was a “cute baby doll” in “a pink nightdress” with a potty, feeding bottle & bottle warmer, and a battery operated intercom which could be activated to make the sound of a baby’s cry.

Although there has been various ‘sightings’ of this set over the years, collectors could not find this cute set anywhere.

Tom Harper who went on to create Sindy’s ‘Country Garden’ (Ref 44389) with the wonderful greenhouse knows the story.

“In 1978, I was instructed to be briefed by a designer to make a model of the babysitting cot and accessories,  this was a look-a-like production model, decorated just as it would come of the line, not an engineering model with draft angles etc.
When finished, Marketing were having their monthly new product meeting and I had to take the cot in. The Advertising Manager at the time (he later became Managing Director designate of Pedigree and later Managing Director of Hornby Hobbies), appreciated the quality of my work, writing a memo to me with those thoughts.”

“The 1979 Toy Fair was then in Birmingham NEC where the cot was displayed and where traders could place their orders, with the catalogue already printed to preview the cot. Regretfully, not enough orders were taken for this product to make it possible to pay for development, tooling, production and profit, so it was dropped.”

What a shame, it looks lovely and would have been the perfect companion to Sindy’s later babysitting set 1982 ‘Walk in the Park’ (Ref 44510).

Sindy’s new 1979 scenesetters were:

Camper (Ref 44542)

Sindy’s buggy got a makeover with a new set of stickers to match the livery of her caravan.

The buggy was made of moulded yellow plastic. It was right hand drive, and it had big wheels with fat tyres described in the catalogue as “Mag style wheels” (magnesium alloy wheels). It also had a black plastic steering wheel (sadly ours is missing), a tow bar and whiplash aerial.

To complete the scenesetter, it still had the blue vinyl inflatable tent. This was an A-frame style tent incorporating a blue plastic ground sheet with three transparent plastic oblong windows, one on each side and one at the back of the tent. The door flaps were made of the same blue plastic as the ground sheet and they could be tied together by the white cotton tape affixed to each flap.

Also included was a blue vinyl inflatable sleeping bag with a top flap which Sindy could slide under to get in, and a white plastic kit bag with a red cotton cord drawstring handle.

Sindy's Home (Ref 44571)

“Completely redecorated to reflect Sindy’s lifestyle.”

Sindy’s newly redecorated home reflected the latest taste for airy romantic elegance, with pretty wallpaper, softer rounder edges and plenty of frou frou decoration from macramé wall hangings to delicate curtain swags & stained glass panels. Given this was perhaps initially designed for the US market with the subsequent UK market in mind, think Milwaukee meets Milton Keynes.

Unlike the 1975 Sindy Home, the walls of the 1979 Sindy Home were all the same size, providing four equally sized rooms. The interior design of this edition of the slot-together-home was much more ornate than the previous version, and this time there was no ambiguity about the rooms. The décor clearly provided a bedroom, kitchen, dining room and lounge backdrop which were much less interchangeable. The decoration was a montage of drawings and photographic images, and a new development was the introduction of illustrated windows with a scenic photograph behind which was really quite effective in conveying an indoors looking to an outdoors.

“Tastefully decorated with additional ‘lived in’ detail.”

Also new was a serving hatch. The kitchen/dining room wall had a press-out cardboard rectangle with a reversible illustration of a shelf with a plate of food on it.

This could be pressed out and fitted to display as a serving hatch shelf between the two rooms.

Interestingly, this home has been found bearing the original 1975 Sindy Home reference of 44543, indicating that perhaps it was available prior to the 1979 relaunch, or it could have just been a design & print error.

This table still came with a four place setting. It consisted of:

  • an updated ‘china’ service of a dinner plate and side plate in white plastic with a brick red floral transfer pattern around the rims,
  • a ‘silver’ four place, seven piece cutlery service consisting of a large knife and fork, soup spoon, dessert spoon, dessert fork, a smaller butter/desert knife and a teaspoon,
  • a ‘silver’ two piece cruet set,
  • matching butter dish with butter, and
  • two candelabra.

Dining Table (Ref 44582)

“Brand new colonial design”

Sindy’s new dining table again reflected current taste with the resurgence of interest in reproduction furniture particularly with a Queen Anne, Georgian or Regency influence. Indeed no furniture shop was complete without a vast range of reproduction dining tables catering for every period and style.

Sindy’s table was moulded in a creamy white plastic with a scalloped table top, stylised cabriole legs and claw feet. There were four matching chairs. The front legs of these chairs were again stylised cabriole legs with claw feet and they had cut-out tracery splat backs to emulate the intricate detailing of period chairs of the time. Although they were described as “upholstered dining chairs”, instead of the previously padded cushion seats, these chairs had hard plastic seats in a contrasting colour. 

Although the trade catalogue showed maroon coloured seats, we think this was another Marx reuse, but with green chair seats for the U.K. market. The 1980 catalogue was updated and showed the chairs with green seats actually sold in the U.K.

China Cabinet (Ref 44583)

Instead of the now dated and old-fashioned sideboard, Sindy got a brand new full-height “dresser style” cabinet with the customary glazed display cupboard on top with drawers and cupboards underneath. This was another Marx reuse for the U.K. market.

Beautiful and practical, it was designed to match Sindy’s new Dining Table so again it had that intricate reproduction look to it with cabriole legs with claw feet at the front, moulded & scalloped edges, and a moulded pediment and raised base plinth decorated with curlicue embellishments. The “glass” display section of the cabinet had two fixed panes of perspex etched with a honeycomb pattern placed on either side of a plain perspex “glass door”. The “glass” panels were fixed into moulded frames with shaped tops & beading. Even the handle on the cabinet door was moulded with a shaped backplate detailed with two screws. The base section consisted of two opening cupboards and two sliding drawers. Again they were cleverly designed with faux panelling & moulding and with stylised decorative ring and drop bar handles.

The cabinet also came with a set of accessories which complimented the dining table accessories. There was a selection of “china”, “glassware” and “silverware”:

  • a large oval charger plate which matched the updated china service made of white plastic with a brick red floral transfer pattern around the rim.
  • four maroon cups and saucers – the saucers had decorative ridging around the edges.
  • four plastic glasses & four plastic sundae dishes.
  • an oblong silver tray, and lastly
  • the usual silver coffee pot, milk jug and covered sugar bowl set.

In the US Marx Sindy catalogue this cabinet was called a “Breakfront”.