European Countries & Companies
European distribution is very interesting and a subject that one site will never truly do justice to. This is due to the length of time each company produced the toys for, the many different products available during the Vintage era and the amount of countries & companies involved, but I hope you still enjoy this brief overview of European Vintage Star Wars history!
Whilst many big name companies were involved in the distribution of Star Wars figures in Europe, essentially they were all actually just following orders from a company called General Mills.
General Mills were in almost complete control of European Distribution and each of the companies listed below were subdivisions of GM during production (In fact General Mills owned Kenner as well!)
Palitoy (United Kingdom)
Palitoy are one of the most well known companies involved in Star Wars figures, holding the license to produce the Kenner toys from the late 70’s. Early Palitoy figures which had the famous red, white and blue logo are coveted by collectors the world over and some are especially hard to find.
During Trilogo production – the Palitoy company was possibly the most important involved, not only did they produce an enormous amount of figures for the UK they also exported their stock overseas. For General Mills Europe they were essential in making European distribution work.
In Spain there was a company called Poch producing Star Wars toys, during the ROTJ and Trilogo period the company name on the packaging was changed to PBP.
PBP stands for Poch Borras Palouzie, which were in fact three different companies in Spain, each company were producing different Star Wars items. Poch produced the toys, Borras had the rights to produce board games and other non toy related products and Palouzie were producing Star Wars puzzles and school supplies. The merge, which was ordered by General Mills in order to have one single company producing Star Wars items actually happened a little earlier than the packaging name change (during the ESB era in fact).
Earlier cards with the original Poch logo are incredibly rare and just like Palitoy figures are highly sought after by collectors, even in Spain it’s hard to find original carded action figures produced by Poch.
By the time Trilogos crept in PBP were still producing their ROTJ line and seem to have only produced a selection of figures on Trilogo packaging, possibly because they had a lot of the earlier figures already packaged on ROTJ cards. Some second wave ROTJ and the new POTF figures were amongst the ones produced on PBP Trilogo cards.
General Mills later acquired 100% of PBP and shortly before production closed and GM were done with their toy divisions they actually changed the company name on the packaging from PBP to GMJ – which stands for General Mills Juguetes (toys), you can see this name change later on in the advanced cardback guide.
Another big company were producing the figures in France. Miro – Meccano, well known for trains, cars and mechanical sets acquired the licence for Star Wars toys in the late 70’s just like Palitoy. They were responsible primarily for their own countries distribution (just like all the other companies) but according to collector accounts, their products also made their way into other countries as well.
It is quite possible that France were one of the first countries to actually get Trilogo packaging and the country had a very large amount of figures produced for it.
Meccano Trilogos are quite interesting to collect due to their appearance and according to Meccano to Trilogo author Stephane Faucourt they were responsible for the majority of the “miscarded” Trilogos out there, the Meccano factory being used to package overstock quickly and cheaply.
An interesting Meccano company change can be seen on the back of a “GMJ” Spanish Trilogo cardback which was the last produced and brought the company information up to date.
The Meccano address was changed from Miro-Meccano S.A., 118-130 Ave. Jean Jaures, 75019 Paris to Miro-Meccano, Tour Essor 93, 14 Rue Scandicci, 93500 Pantin, Paris, this change happened quite late in Star Wars production and probably not long before production stopped, perhaps this shows Meccano scaling back as you will notice the first address must have been a large property (the original address was 118-130!)
Clipper Benelux (Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg)
In the Netherlands Clipper Benelux held the License and just like PBP, Meccano and Palitoy they had also sold Star Wars toys under their own name for a number of years before Trilogos were released, just like the other big companies they only had their name printed on earlier cards, SW-ESB. During ROTJ they had begun importing and distributing their figures in various countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg) from Kenner and Palitoy.
There are many different Clipper offer stickers to be found on Trilogos and they make for a fun variation to a carded run (especially for focus collectors) – whilst the cards technically do not differ from their offerless/sticker less cousins they can command a premium depending on the character and offer combination.
Parker or Parker Brothers were a company yet again owned by General Mills Group, bought around the same time as Kenner in the late 70’s.
While their name changed a few times on packaging (Kenner-Parker, Palitoy-Parker-Bradgate etc) they always remained Parker in some capacity.
Their company name appears on many of the multipacks that were made up towards the end of the line and also on other items (non toy related) throughout production such as games, puzzles and watches.
The multipacks mentioned earlier are quite rare, some were selections of figures, others included small mini rigs as well as some action figures. Parker bundled them all together and put them in their own packaging with the Parker logo.
Harbert & Edilio Parodi (Italy)
In Italy Harbert was the licensee for Star Wars up until about ESB and some of the carded figures produced with the Harbert logo are incredibly hard to find.
During the ROTJ period Italy began receiving imported Palitoy and Kenner figures and were given Import stickers by various distributors, Trilogo figures from the UK and Germany were among the imported stock.
One company importing stock that collectors may know the name of was a company called Edilio Parodi and they imported many figures from both the USA and Europe. General MIlls division in Milan (possibly at a later date) also imported figures for sale in Italy, whether Edilio and General Mills imported stock side by side or General Mills took over from them is unknown but I suspect the latter.
BRIO Scanditoy / Playmix (Scandinavia)
In countries like Sweden and Denmark, Star Wars merchandise (along with many other toys) were being imported by various different companies, Sweden’s toys were imported through Playmix who ran a similar operation to Clipper, offering posters and mail aways.
BRIO Scanditoy were involved in supplying other Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Finland). BRIO often put out various brochures advertising Star Wars toys, as early as the ESB line at least.
There were also a few smaller importers working to do the same job, perhaps buying direct from BRIO to stock the shelves of smaller toy stores. One such distributor in Denmark was called “Vily Nielsen” who were selling Star Wars toys to smaller shops around 1984/1985.
At the end of production, overstock was sent to America, to find out more click HERE!
If there is anyone reading who has any information to add to this page please get in contact!