Another day another Swede, Trilogo fans say hello to Mattias Rendahl!
Trilogo.info – Hi Mattias, great to have you here! You are definitely one of the most involved people I know in the hobby. As well as being a collector yourself and a prominent name on various forums, you have also been inolved in collector books like Gus and Duncan’s guide to Star Wars prototypes. Why do you collect vintage and what has kept you in the hobby this long?
Mattias – Thanks for having me on the site for an interview Joe and thanks for the kind words regarding my involvement in the hobby, much appreciated.
Well, I collect vintage because I love the toy-line that Kenner made, the genius marketing behind it and the craftsmanship and innovativeness. And of course all the packaging art. To me, the movies have always been very secondary, even from the collecting start back in ’95.
The second part of your question is quite interesting, what has kept me in the hobby for so long. My wife asks me the same all the time ha ha. Kidding aside, my wife has always been very supportive and she is happy when I am happy. The main reason I’ve been doing this since ’95 is probably because I’ve had a great amount of patience and have gone through many different stages of collecting. I never tried to get the hard to find toys first, on the contrary, I started to collect loose beaters, then slowly loose figures in better condition, then figures complete with weapons, then in perfect condition, then carded figures, then loose ships, then loose ships in perfect condition, then in boxes etc etc I am sure you get the idea, I started very humbly. That was many years ago now though, so as there was always something to move on to I have never really gotten tired of it. Another thing that kept me interested is that while I collected I kept learning about the line in detail.
When I discovered that there were more people like me out there the real fun began. I joined RS in 2004 and after a couple of years lurking got more involved on the boards that really opened a whole new world. I started a character focus and quickly got into pre-production items. With me being an art director and before that being involved in the printing industry, proof cards interested me almost immediately. When I turned my attention to pre production I was also fortunate to meet some of the best friends I have. So, in the last years the friends have been the main energy behind continuing to collect, I’m sure I would have collected anyway but with great friends all over the world it makes it so much more fun, plus my collection wouldn’t look the way it does without help from my friends. Having the opportunities to travel and visit collectors in different countries or having them fly over and stay at my place is just fantastic. Now that I think about it I’m sure the friends I’ve made is the main reason I’ll be doing this the next 17 years as well. Plus being involved in presentations, book designing, Celebration work etc have also kept it very exciting.
Trilogo.info – That’s a great recollection of your time in the hobby Mattias. As far as the forums go many people will know you for your various character focus runs but you also have a great love for European items (being a Swede!). So, do you consider yourself a focus collector, a pre production collector, a Euro collector or all three rolled into one?
Mattias – Today they all roll into one. But I usually say I have 4 different areas of collecting these days:
– My Chief Chirpa character focus (although it is getting harder and harder to find stuff)
– Pre-production/prototype collecting which is my main interest these days
– Swedish and Nordic collectibles (not only toys)
– European toys, I especially like to pick up such items in person at shows and conventions and try to avoid evilbay. Just to keep that old school feeling alive.
Trilogo.info – In the Chief Chirpa focus run you mentioned I know you have several different Trilogo variations. Could you explain a little about each one and let us know which one was the hardest to track down?
Mattias – This is embarrassing, I’ve only unpacked and found 4 of my different Trilogo Chirpa versions, the others are somewhere, but I cant find them. I’ve moved 2 times the last five years and I still haven’t unpacked my production collection and have boxes at home, in storage and at work 😀 I know I have more but can’t really say which. Anyway, the ones I managed to take a picture of are:
Clipper offer (star sticker and booklet on back), regular Etched bubble, round bubble (Meccano) and a round bubble with an Italian import sticker (Edilio Parodi ) on the back.
None of them have been hard to track down to be honest. One thing that always worked for me with my focus was that Chirpa is just an Ewok, so not many people care..LOL! Second thing is I got into these kind of variations (different bubbles etc) ahead of most people, so no one was really looking for them as I was picking them up. I don’t think I’ve paid more than $20 for any of my Chirpa Trilogos. I searched ebay and conventions a lot and tried to find differences, when I saw a rounded bubble, most people just saw another boring Trilogo ewok!
Trilogo.info – Nice Trilogo variants Mattias! Are there any Trilogo variations missing from your run that you are still searching for? Which of the ones you currently own was the hardest to track down?
Mattias – I’d love to find a Trilogo with the Italian General Mills sticker. And of course a “Danish” trilogo with the BR Chock-Price sticker (I love that because it has the official SW logo), I only have a Palitoy version with that sticker and a Trilogo Teebo (both shown below).
There are a few more of my Trilogo figures in the picture with the Teebo including a Leia Poncho with small bubble.
What else..hmm well I would of course love to own a German 3 pack with a Trilogo Chief Chirpa or the German and/or Italian 4-pack with a Trilogo. I really like the Fabrique en macao stickered Trilogos too so one of those would be great for my focus. Not sure if a white fur Chirpa exists on a Trilogo card but since I have that variant on both a Meccano and a Palitoy card it might exist on a Trilogo as well. So there are a few still out there that I need 🙂
Trilogo.info – That is quite the shopping list, I hope you find some of those items someday! Now, I know you had a pretty extensive Kenner production collection at one point (maybe you still have it?) but did you also have an interest back then in Trilogos at all? If so which ones did you buy or did you ever contemplate collecting a complete set?
Mattias – I’ve sold off most of my US Kenner production collection to fund my addictive prototype collection. I have got a lot of Trilogo items which I have kept and of course my other European stuff, some of which is shown in this interview. As far as Kenner goes I still have a few vehicles like Skiff, Battle Wagon, Sonic Landspeeder, SW and ESB carded figures etc .
Back in the early 00’s I had a shop down in a basement, we called it Spacement 🙂 We used to buy big collections to sell which could contain neat stuff, but at that time I was focusing (like most Europeans) on the US Kenner stuff and thought that most of European stuff was cheap and boring. I remember selling PBP figures for less that Kenner ones and we always had lots of boxed Trilogo and bilogo vehicles so I always had access to Trilogo stuff but I didn’t always have such a big interest in them. Thankfully I didn’t sell any Trilogo Madines or X-Wings back then!
Nowadays though I am slowly working on a Trilogo set and a long term goal is definitely to get a complete one (without variations). Right now I have the “Last 15”, all the ones with alternate photoart and probably 10 others. But like I mentioned earlier, I try to add stuff to this run at shows and not via ebay, so it will likely take some time before I’m done, but I’m patient 😉
Here are some pictures of my Last 15/POTF Trilogos
Trilogo.info – I had no idea you were actively looking to complete a Trilogo set Mattias, that’s awesome! So, as a kid growing up in Sweden in the 80’s I must ask – Do you remember much about the Trilogo period?
Mattias – Well, yes and no. The most popular SW years in Sweden were 83-86 but I wasn’t that into Star Wars toys to be honest. I only had 5-10 figures, mostly Ewoks which might explain my little bear obsession actually! I’ve had much more exposure to them as an adult, there was an old toy store I visited that used to have some old stock left so I saw a lot of unopened toys but at a much later time. From that place and other similar ones I probably bought 4-5 Trilogo pop-up R2’s and many Emperor’s in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Quite a few Trilogo MISB vehicles as well, for example Trilogo Endor forest rangers and Bilogo Snowspeeders. There were also Palitoy X-Wings too. Unfortunately all that stock is now long gone, I wish I had been more into carded figures and boxed stuff in the beginning of my collecting days, that store had loads and loads of stuff in the mid 90’s!
Trilogo.info – Mattias, please don’t tell us any more stories like that! I don’t think our readers can repel memories of that magnitude!
Ok, lets move on to something a little different and get away from the production side of collecting. When you were contacted about this interview you said you wanted to share some pictures of some of your fantastic European pre production collection (which includes a few Trilogo related items) so here is a group shot:
From the picture it’s easy to spot a few gems straight away. We can see a Trilogo signed sample Warok and probably the most eye catching item in the display, the TIE Pilot Trilogo photo art! How long have you been actively searching for European pre-production items and just how rareare they compared to Kenner pre-production?
Mattias – Thanks again for the kind words on the picture Joe. When I started to get into prototypes I immediately started to investigate why so few (if any) European pre-production items existed, so I’ve probably been trying to find and add European pre-production stuff since 2005. Compared to Kenner prototypes and pre prod items there is basically zero out there for European items, at least not real prototypes anyway. Items like Quality control and samples do exist, but they are still very rare. There are many factors why so few European items survived, that could take up a whole interview LOL! But yeah, who knows what’s out there. I was hoping French collector Arnaud Grunberg would include some European prototypes in his exhibition in Paris, but it doesn’t seem so, I haven’t visited the exhibition myself yet but hope to do so in Feb or March.
Trilogo.info – Let us know what you find in Paris, maybe we can do an update for this interview if Arnaud has some European surprises at the exhibition! May I ask why and how you picked up the TIE Pilot photo art? Any special connection to that particular scene/character or did you just think it was a great image?
Mattias – Well all the Trilogo photo-arts were done in the US by Kenner as you know. Tom N had a bunch in his for sale lists for years, the interesting thing is that all the images that were used on the Trilogo cards were actually cheaper than their Kenner counterparts. At the time I just wanted any kind of figural photo art badly but I thought the prices were too steep. So it was a combination of picking a cheaper piece and the fact that it was Trilogo was kind of cool for me being from Europe and having exposure to Trilogo figures. Actually at the time I bought it I had the choice between the Trilogo AT-ST driver and the TIE Pilot art, the AT ST Driver would have probably fit better in my ‘Endor focus but in the end I went for the TIE Pilot because it is such an iconic and different image. I am glad to say that decision isn’t one that I regret today although it was a tough decision to make at the time. After my purchase most of Tom’s few remaining photo arts were sold so I am glad I picked it up when I did.
Trilogo.info – Very cool story Mattias, I thought perhaps it was a more recent pick up, great to hear you got it directly from Tom when he had a much more attractive list of items for sale! What are the other items pictured above in your European pre-production collection? I can see what looks like a Palitoy unused cardback and I also noticed your CAP-2 with the “Marketing” sticker attached, could you tell us about the other items?
Mattias – Sure, there is a quality Control signed Bilogo Ewok Village, unused C-3PO Palitoy card, Bilogo Cap-2 marketing sample, QC signed Trilogo Warok and of course the TIE Pilot Photoart. I’ve also included a Yak Face QC staff and first shot on those shelves, not really a European piece really but since it was released in such high quantity in Europe and not in the US I figured it was neat to have on those shelves. There is also an Ewoks QC signed Lady Urgah, it has the classic signed index card which is seen on many QC carded figures- I included it because in the comments field it says “For Palitoy” so it was send to Palitoy from either Kenner or a vendor in the far east for approval and checking.
Trilogo.info – Those are all fantastic, well done on amassing such a great little slice of European Star Wars history! You obviously love the TIE artwork but do you have any other favourite Trilogo cardback images?
Mattias – For cardback images it has to be the heavily airbrushed Jawa and Stormtrooper. Not because of the images themselves but more because of the story behind how they ended up that way. For many years many wondered why it looked the way it did, one day I noticed that the same image was used in the late 70’s Toy Fair magazines to promote the figures and I could finally put that one to bed. It was a great discovery to make and in fact quite a relief. You can read more about that in your own feature here of course 😉
Trilogo.info – The great thing about that story is that you hadn’t let on to the fact that you knew why they were edited or where the airbrushed images had been seen until I had launched the site! So it was a great piece of information to add to the article but it did mean I had to go and rewrite part of it to add the new information! Not that I mind of course 😉 Ok Mattias just a few more questions and I will let you go..apart from your carded figures do you currently own any other Trilogo items?
Mattias – Indeed I do, I own all of the POTF Trilogo body rigs and a couple of the POTF trilogo playsets. I also own a few boxed ROTJ vehicles. You can see some of my collection in this shot:
Trilogo.info – Awesome! The POTF Trilogo stuff is great to see! Have you ever had the chance to buy any Trilogo items that you passed on that in hindsight you should have picked up?
Mattias – Nothing major (no Jawa’s/Fett’s/Madine’s etc). The only thing I really regret is not buying more of Tom’s alternate/Trilogo photo art when I had the chance. I suppose I also regret not buying more carded Trilogos earlier from that old toy store I mentioned but haven’t we all got dreams and regrets like that!? 🙂
Trilogo.info – At least you had the chance! Well Mattias, it has been great speaking to you, before we go would you like to once again tell the world about why you have an obsession with Ewoks?
Mattias – Ha ha, I have no good explanation to that. At first it was mostly strategic because most people didn’t like them and I saw my chance to try to get some neat items at a better price. But I admit I kinda like them…they don’t bother me that much. Not that I am an Ewok fan boy or anything..
Oh..did I ever tell you I have some screen used Ewok fur?
*Due to Ewok overload I had to end the interview with Mattias there and then.
A huge thanks to Mattias for sitting down with us for a chat! If anyone wants to see some more of the items that Mattias owns or wants to check out the design work he did on Gus and Duncan’s guide to Star Wars prototypes then check out the book which is highly recommended!