Daren Wilde is a vintage collector from the UK with an incredibly diverse collection. He’s probably better known for his amazing bootleg collection over anything else but most people don’t realise that he has a mind blowing amount of production toys from all over the world too.
Daren usually goes by the name “Emperorburns” on-line and while we could talk all day about his UZAY’s and other rarities..today we are strictly talking Trilogos!
Trilogo.info- Welcome to Trilogo.info finally Daren! We’ve been friends for a few years now and I consider you to be one of the earliest/oldest collectors I know. When exactly did you start collecting and when did you first encounter Trilogos?
Daren– Thanks buddy you sure know how to make a guy feel old 🙂 Thanks for including me in your interview section too by the way! OK where did it all begin..I guess it all started as a kid really, I was 7 or 8 years old when Star Wars toys first hit the shelves in ’78 and like nearly every kid in the world at the time I was already ready and waiting for the toys to come out after seeing the film.
I had magazines, stationary stuff and other Star Wars merchandise but I was dying for some toys to play with! I remember seeing them for the very first time when my local toy shop finally had them in stock but sadly I didn’t have enough money to actually buy one on the day!
Not long after I made sure I scrounged, saved and scraped together just enough money to buy one the next time we visited the shop and when I had enough money I rushed directly there straight after school to get my first figure. When I got there they had already sold out of Lukes, which was the figure I wanted the most!
With only a few characters left I chose C-3P0, I think it was because he looked so shiny. I remember being slightly torn between him and R2-D2 as they were both very cool looking but C-3p0 won on the day. The next figure I bought was Darth Vader but it took until my birthday to get any more, I did finally get a Luke though so Vader finally had somebody else to fight besides C-3p0 🙂
Luckily for my parents, after discovering Star Wars toys I was quite easy to please on birthdays and at Christmas! Something that wouldn’t change for the next 5 or 6 years!
On a related note and now that they’ve finally been confirmed to exist, I can also say with confidence that I clearly remember seeing a Vinyl caped Jawa in England when the figures first hit the shops too. The following week however the VCJ’s had been all been replaced with cloth capes and I remember thinking what a rip off it was because a Jawa was half the size of ben yet still cost the same huge sum of £1.50!
Upon seeing the cloth caped Jawa I also thought they should have done the same for Ben’s Jedi robes, it’s a shame they didn’t. These days I’m so glad more people are firm believers in the Palitoy VCJ..you wouldn’t believe the amount of muffled sniggers I’ve heard over the years when recounting that memory!
Trilogo.info- Great early memories! So you would have been much older by the time Trilogos were released, do you remember them from your teenage years?
Daren- Yes absolutely. I first encountered them when they hit the shelves and even though I was a little older they caught my eye as I was still interested in Star Wars.
Back then I didn’t think much more than the fact that they were a new card design really. We had already seen the Palitoy logo disappear from our cards over the years and we would often see cards with this strange “Kenner” logo on them..so Trilogos were just another new card design for me.
I can still recall the very first time I saw them, it was in a tiny toy shop in my town called Beaties. I had visited the shop on a bit of a Star Wars mission actually as I wanted to see if I could find some of the figures I had never seen as a kid, original Han, Stormtrooper and Hammerhead. They had always eluded me so I decided to see if I could find them once and for all at Beaties.
When I arrived, I saw a full rack of these new design Jedi cards and I looked through them all for one of the figures I was missing. I had no luck with those three so I decided to buy an original Leia on a Trilogo card to replace the one I already had, which by that time was a certified beater.
I also remember seeing the POTF figures for the first time at my local Woolworths. My first thoughts were “What?! surely they aren’t just making characters from the earlier movies now? They are going to go on forever with this!”which as we now know didn’t happen!
By the time Trilogos came out I really only needed a few characters for my “collect them all” full set. When I saw the last 17 (which nobody knew would be the last 17 at the time) I was already getting into other things so my Star Wars collection was exactly that, a collection. I had stopped playing with them a good while before then but carried on trying to collect a full set.
I bought a few last 17 figures like Luke Stormtrooper and the Imperial Gunner and my my younger brother who used to borrow my figures and ships to play with sometimes also had Han Carbonite and Anakin. I wasn’t rushing out to collect the new figures though as I thought they would be around forever!
Trilogo.info- So how early on as an adult collector did you revisit Trilogos and begin your collection?
Daren– Well, in 1990 I moved back into my parents after a failed relationship and my brother still had all of our figures which kind of rekindled my love for Star Wars. It was an awesome day actually and it turned out that it was my Dad that had saved them and he said there was a stall on the market that sometimes had some for sale.
I quickly told him if he ever sees any that I didn’t have to get them! A week or two later he came home with a loose imperial dignitary and a Trilogo miscard. The miscard was Weequay on a Warok card and he paid £1 each for them! I was amazed they could still be found, especially carded. The miscard had a trashed bubble and card so I actually opened it..oops! Oh well it was worth it to experience that new figure smell at the time I suppose!
My dad used to build models and collect old toy cars too so he used to get the model and collectors mart now and again. It was there that I first saw adverts for people selling Star Wars figures still on their cards which I started buying. I bought a bunch from various dealers back then and I hoped to be able to put together a full set, regardless of the cards they were on.
At that time it wasn’t as easy to collect as it is now with eBay and so on and you had to rely on dealers to find and advertise the items you were after, you couldn’t just go out and buy them.
One such dealer, Jim stevenson, advertised a “full set” of Jedi carded figures for sale and because I was so impatient at the time and didn’t want to wait for them all to come up individually I went for it and bought the lot.
When the figures arrived they were mostly all Trilogos with the rest on earlier Jedi cards, which to be honest, I wasn’t expecting! But to Jim, Trilogos were at the time just considered Jedi cards and there was no difference made because of the logo on the front. I didn’t agree with that though and really thought they needed a category of their own.
Shortly after that purchase I decided I would try to get the the full set of figures on the cards with the Jedi logo shown in 3 languages, which we now call Trilogos.
Trilogo.info- That’s incredible, so you really are one of the earliest Trilogo collectors! How long did it take you to finally finish the set?
Daren– It took me a couple of years of actively searching for them to complete the set but as Trilogos were the first real focus I had as a collector I was determined to complete them. When you know what you are looking for and not just randomly picking up toys here and there you can put sets together rather quickly.
Daren’s Trilogo set plus variants & miscards:
Trilogo.info- Which figures were the hardest to find for you back then?
Daren– Probably not the ones you might think! In fact some of the rare ones I bought at exactly the same time. I remember Jim telling me his friend (might have been Darren from Starzone) had some Trilogos in so I called him up to ask what he had. The guy had a Jawa, ERG and a Zuckuss. He wanted £250 for the Jawa, £180 for the erg and £75 for Zuckuss.
I needed all three but I was blown away at the Jawa having a £250 price tag as it was a lot of money at the time so I called Jim and asked if it was a good price. He told me that he hadn’t seen many Jawa figures on that card so if I wanted it that badly I should probably go for it. I thought it over and decided to buy them. The seller was very kind and said that because I was taking them all he would throw in the Zuckuss for free, which I was very pleased with! 🙂
Trilogo.info- Free Zuckuss! Wow! So while you were collecting Trilogos which collectors, websites or publications did you turn to for help/guidance?
Daren– Haha, believe it or not in the beginning I was using the back of my Trilogo Warok card! 🙂 Model and collectors mart soon became my bible for dealers to contact though which helped me work out which other figures were out there. At that time in order to set deals up you would usually have to call them and speak on the phone or if you were lucky you could meet them at toy shows. It was the dealers that I would ask the questions to and often different people would give different answers but absolutely without any question my biggest mentor and sage was Jim.
I would call him any time and ask anything and he would answer to the best of his knowledge or direct me to somewhere or someone that I could find the answer from. I am genuinely so grateful for all the help he gave me in those early years and for many years after the internet arrived as well.
To demonstrate how much of a Dinosaur I am, I remember hearing about this new internet thing and didn’t give it a second thought with regard to collecting.
When I heard that there was something called eBay on there and was told they sold star wars figures on it I immediately got my work computer hooked up to this newfangled internet thingy! A friend of mine showed me how to search for stuff, before we had google we used to use yahoo and on my searches I happened upon a website called toysrgus.. I literally said “Oh my god this is the best thing ever”. After that I spent every spare minute at work looking at toysrgus or eBay.
Nowadays everyone knows how many figures can be found on Trilogo cards or which figures came on hybrid cards and which ones didn’t but back then you would often be given conflicting information.
One dealer would say “No, that character wasn’t available on a Trilogo” while another one would say they were, so even though my set was complete for many years I think I always held out hope that every figure had made it on to a Trilogo card and one day I would find some of the ones I had never seen.
It was in the mid 00’s that Stephane Faucourt told me about some research he had done on Trilogos and showed me some of the differences he had found with bubbles from different countries etc . He was the one that told me that Power droid and 4-LOM had never been found on any Trilogo card but he also he told me about the Power droid on the Ugnaught card that had surfaced.
Sadly I think that turned out to be an open bubble or a reseal I think, so it couldn’t be verified as original but it was only after Stephane told me what he had discovered that I finally realised I wouldn’t be able to ever find Power droid or 4-LOM.
I included the DSC/AT-ST miscard in my set as he was never released on his own Trilogo card (wish he was) and I also have a Walrusman on a standard Palitoy card with the Trilogo bubble and while I know they aren’t proper Trilogo releases, they work for me 🙂
Now that I’ve mentioned him, I wanted to just say that Stephane really did help the Trilogo community with his book back then. At the time it was a god send to people like myself.
Then of course there was this guy who made an awesome website called trilogo.info 🙂 which has been an invaluable help to the community in learning new information about all the tiny variants that are out there.
This website and the forum really helped me as well. It made me realise that I am way off getting a true full set of every Trilogo variant! 🙂
I know Steve York did a write up on Rebelscum back in the early 00s but by then I had pretty much done everything I could with completing a full set.
Steve’s write up didn’t tell me about all the variants I didn’t realize I needed (I’m somewhat of a completest) but he also did the community a great service by highlighting Trilogos back then.
Trilogo.info- High praise indeed, thanks Daren! So I have to ask, what were the prices like when you were actively buying Trilogos in the 90’s?
Daren– Well as I mentioned above, the Jawa I bought was a mind blowing £250 and ERG was £180 which was still expensive at the time even if they are cheap by today’s standards. I bought my Boba Fett for £75 which was pretty good but most of the common ones were much cheaper, probably about £15 or so each.
I remember seeing an advert in a magazine called loot from a guy in Bolton that was selling a load of Trilogos for £15 actually. I bought a Klaatu from him and thought it was quite expensive lol but it was still one to add to the set and a figure I was missing. That same guy said he also had IG-88 but had sold out of those by the time I got there. I think I bought 4 figures from him at £15 each but yes they were much cheaper then compared to now. I would say most cost me around £10 to £30 each apart from the rarer ones.
I was lucky that I already had most of them from the set I bought from Jim. I know I got all of the Cantina aliens in that set too and they all worked out at around £30 each.
The General Madine with double stem bubble that I have was very, very cheap but then I saw another which was an upgrade (and a variant) and I had to go all out for it. By then I knew Madine was rare and paid many thousands for it.
Trilogo.info- Well, no doubt those were ALL great prices but what was your best purchase?
Daren– Even though the first Madine I bought was cheap it probably wasn’t my best buy. Honestly, I would say all of the rarer figures really like the Jawa, Fett, hybrid Hammerhead & CCP just because of how difficult those are to obtain. They might not have been my greatest deals but I am sure glad I had the chance to buy them.
Trilogo.info- I mentioned your miscard collection in Gary’s interview and it really was something I always admired since I first saw the picture on-line, how did that come about?
Daren– Well, after I discovered eBay I often found myself wanting to buy something but not sure what. I would trawl through tons of eBay auctions and nothing would ever jump out at me, but then one day I saw a miscarded figure and I instantly remembered my Warok/Weequay card that my Dad bought me. That was the reason I started to look for them and whenever I saw them I would bid for them.
The more miscards I purchased the more I wanted and they became quite addictive. I managed to amass a decent amount of them but it’s almost impossible to be sure of all the possible combinations out there so I slowed down pursuing them.
After seeing Gary’s set I realized that they are really a collection in themselves and as such I decided to admit defeat as I would never complete the set. I put the money I made from selling them towards an UZAY purchase so it wasn’t all that bad 🙂
Trilogo.info- Since parting with your miscards do you miss any of them? If I remember correctly you did keep a couple didn’t you?
Daren– I dont really miss any because I know they all went to good homes 🙂 I rarely sell to be honest, but if I do and it’s something that’s not being sold because I’ve purchased an upgrade then I think it’s best to distance myself from whatever it is.
I have to accept that I don’t want to continue collecting things. If I didn’t do that then I would regret selling everything! I did the same with my Trilogo multipacks. I had a bunch of them but when I realized there seemed to be an endless amount of combinations they became less doable as a set.
Once I decide that something can’t be completed then it’s a lot easier to give up. Just having half a set of something drives me nuts! You may have picked up on the fact that I try and focus on sets 😉
The only miscards I kept were the DSC/AT-ST (which I include in my Trilogo set) and both of my R2 miscards. I have the solid dome R2 on both the sensorscope card and lightsaber card.
Trilogo.info- You mentioned earlier that you bought a second General Madine, which was a variation of the one you already owned. Can you tell us where that came from?
Daren– Yes sure. I already had the regular Trilogo Madine with double stemmed bubble but it really was the worst condition Trilogo card ever and I always wanted an upgrade..
One day I noticed the one with the miscard bubble listed on eBay and I just went for it!
The funny thing about that story is that the figure was being sold by Tom Derby and after I had bought it, I spoke to my old friend Jim Stevenson to tell him all about my new purchase. He started laughing over the phone and proceeded to tell me that a while ago he had decided to sell his personal Trilogo set and had sent it all to Tom to broker for him! It was the same figure 🙂 Wish I had known, I could have bought it directly from him haha!
I later found out through talking to Jason joiner that Jim had bought the figure from him at a toy show a few years earlier. It was in fact the very same Madine that Jason had pictured in his area 51 magazine! So my Trilogo Madine with the miscard bubble has had it’s 15 minutes of fame!
Trilogo.info- It’s been featured here too as I’m sure you’ll remember! So, you love sets but have a real soft spot for variations..that can’t be a good mix 😉 I know you’ve got a thing for the Spanish Trilogo variants, do you collect any others?
Daren– I know it’s not a good combination is it! I really do love variations but it wasn’t until I had that conversation with Stephane that I realised there were so many variants or their importance.
I love the UFO punch and the GMJ wording change on some Spanish Trilogos but the smaller Jedi bubbles on Meccano Trilogos are actually my favourite variants. The Lando Skiff & Leia Boushh with the extra helmet section at the top of the bubble are great and I always thought that was a cool way to have helmets displayed.
Some of Daren’s Spanish Trilogos:
And some Meccano Trilogos:
I guess that’s one reason why I like the Trilogo line so much, it’s the huge variety you can find in the figures. Having said that, if you collect figure variants as well then you’ll never complete your collection haha!
Trilogo.info- One figure I’ve always been fond of in your collection is the fantastic Meccano Jawa. Whereabouts did that one come from and when did you acquire it?
Daren– Glad you like it 🙂 It came from a guy I knew who sold his Jawa focus collection years ago. He had some killer Jawas! I also got some Kenner Jawas with Clipper stickers from him as well as the Meccano Trilogo. I knew I couldn’t pass him up the moment I saw him even though he was way more pricey than the Palitoy version I had previously bought. Still a bargain in today’s market mind you!
Trilogo.info- If you had to sell your Trilogo collection, do you think you would attempt to put together another set or is once enough for you?
Daren– I couldn’t see me attempting it a second time. If I sold up I think my Trilogo set would actually be the last to go and I would do whatever I could to hold on to it. As I said previously I really need to distance myself emotionally from stuff when selling and as the Trilogos were the first set I completed they mean a lot to me.
Trilogo.info- With that said, do you think a Trilogo set can be put together in 2015/2016 in the same way you put yours together? (Hard work, determination, some luck & good contacts)
Daren– Oh absolutely! I don’t even think it would take that much hard work really as Trilogos are abundant. Sure there are a few that are tough, but that’s the fun isn’t it? What’s the point just buying everything in one go! Where’s the fun in that? Honestly I think its easy to pick up 90% of the set within months. It would just be the last few tough ones that might take some networking and favour pulling but they’re all available. I don’t even look these days and I’ve still seen nearly all the hard to find figures up for sale in the last year or two.
Trilogo.info- What is your take on market prices right now and the effect that AFA/third party grading has had on the hobby in terms of increasing the values of the toys we collect?
Daren– Prices will always rise to some degree. Inflation alone will do that but personally I think there’s a point where they will top out. With that said, I don’t think we are there just yet.
As for AFA, I truly believe they created a monster.
When they first started out I thought “that’s a neat way to buy from somebody you don’t know on the other side of the world and know your getting the real deal” I thought it was a good idea, especially for people new into the hobby, but they’ve grown into a real business. Fair play to them for growing but it seems there’s a whole bunch of collectors that can no longer judge condition or rarity for themselves and need an AFA approval sticker to tell them what they own.
Trilogo.info- Do you have any advice for budding Trilogo collectors? Any lessons to learn from your mistakes?
Daren– Haha, well it’s only human to make mistakes and sometimes it’s best to make your own! I still make them lol! The best thing anybody can do in this hobby is research. Take your time and learn all you can before throwing thousands of pounds at something. Ask questions and make friends in the hobby! Walk away from deadbeats and learn from your own mistakes which you will make. The important thing is not to dwell on them and don’t worry if your interest lessens over time. It can come back as quick as it left or perhaps you will settle on a different thing to collect. It’s all good so enjoy it. That’s what its all about.
You cant take any of it with you so just have fun and stop paying stupid ass prices for Yak Face! They made millions of them! 🙂
Huge thanks to Daren for his time, what a thoroughly enjoyable read from a true old school collector!