SWCA Special Feature complements the Trilogo section of the
"Meccano to Trilogo" book.
In addition, updated tables with card variations can be found on
Trilogo carded figures were considered cheap collectibles until
the late 90’s. In addition, they suffered from an incorrect classification
in that photo variants were believed to be the rarest...
The Year 2000 was approaching and
many collectors began to gain interest in Trilogo carded figures.
Collecting them became a way to complement, or become an alternative
to, Kenner figures. The added appeal was that one could
own a full set of figures on the same card design.
Another appeal for collectors was that completing a set was a real
challenge. Characters widely-known to be rare can fetch hundreds,
or even thousands, of dollars on the collector's market while some
cards which sell for only a few dollars are still quite difficult
to get, meaning it's not just a question of money but also luck
As in any other area of Star Wars toy collecting, collectors started
to search for details. They started trying to find variations -
the most obvious being the different card types and the hybrid combinations
(Palitoy front - Trilogo back, Trilogo front - PBP back).
Trilogo cards still had much to tell about their origins and rarity.
Relevant hints can be found in the hanger tab shape, the COO sticker,
the cardboard quality and color, a price sticker, and… the bubble
shape. These details can be found alone or combined and they are
good indicators of rarity and country where the item was sold.
For most collectors, these details don’t make much of a difference
in terms of rarity or value between two Trilogo cards of the same
character. Some might think, “why would a different bubble, punch
hole and/or sticker add rarity or value over the very same card
without these attributes?”.
That’s why only a few collectors are willing to pay a premium for
these kinds of variations and the rarity really doesn't make any
impact on the card's value even though an item showing one or more
of these attributes is much rarer than the same card with the regular
punch (or unpunched) and standard etched bubble.
In some cases the version of the card with rare attribute(s) is
the only way to get that figure on a Trilogo card. In these extreme
cases the value is then really affected. i.e. General Madine (double-stem
bubble + white macao sticker), regular Boba Fett (Palitoy 45-backs
bubble shape), dark-insert Emperor Royal Guard (rounded peg-hole
+ black macao sticker), etc.
Last, but not least, the bubble itself is already a very good indicator
of the card's origin (country of sale) and rarity, which is
the aim of this SWCA Special Feature.
The book “Meccano
to Trilogo – Star Wars Vintage Action Figure Toys”
contains an in-depth review of Trilogo carded figures, fronts and
backs, rarity details, and early Trilogos and variants. A detailed
figure / card type / bubble shape matrix is also presented in the
The first release of the Trilogo card matrix was built over years
of collecting and comparing hundreds of items. Much as a collection
always evolves so too will the information known and updates are
eventually needed. The
updates are hosted by Rebelscum and exclusively available there.
If you own a variation which is not yet referenced, you are very
welcome to submit your entry (see Rebelscum page for submission
Although the book shows Trilogo cards with different bubble combinations,
the matrix can be a bit difficult to grasp at first glance. The
SWCA and the author have combined their efforts to bring a more
detailed view of the different Trilogo bubble shapes, which gives
a better understanding of Trilogo cards packaging and rarity. You
won’t look at a Trilogo card with the same eyes from now on…
article is illustrated with detailed pictures of each bubble shape
variation found on Trilogo cards. (click the pictures
for a larger view)
First, let’s compare all the different types and shapes from a side
view (the order and denomination matches the "Meccano
to Trilogo" book matrix from pages 138-140).
Meccano Rotj 65-back small
bubble with etched edges
Some types of shapes are broken down into several variants, as detailed
|Trilogo cards found with this
double-stem bubble shape are extremely rare to come by; these
are part of the early Trilogo cards sold on the French market.
The bubble is taken from the ROTJ Palitoy 45
back and Meccano 65 back
Only a short selection of figures can be found with the double-stem
bubble: a few ESB re-releases (Lobot, Rebel Soldier...), and
some from ROTJ 1st & 2nd waves (Luke Jedi, B-Wing Pilot...).
*General Madine is the most difficult Trilogo card to find as
it is only available as an early Trilogo card with double-stem
bubble, there is no equivalent with the standard sized Trilogo
There are two different sizes of double-stem bubble, but the
rarity seems equivalent.
MECCANO ROTJ 65 BACK SMALL STYLE BUBBLES
|This small bubble shape was
first used on some Palitoy ROTJ cards and Meccano 65
It can be found on most early Trilogo cards with small action
figures that were sold on the French
market, with the exception of the
later carded R2-D2 pop-up
that was sold in that
Some Trilogo cards with this bubble are easier
to come by (i.e. Wicket) than some others (Ugnaught, Yoda, R2
MECCANO ROTJ 65 BACK MEDIUM STYLE BUBBLES
|This wide bubble shape is
also taken from Palitoy ROTJ cards and
Meccano 65 back cards.
It can be found on a short selection of early Trilogo cards
sold on the French market.
Trilogo cards bearing this bubble shape are quite difficult
to locate; for example, Dengar, Rebel Commando, and Teebo. The
Emperor seems to be the easiest to find.
*Notice the "Fabrique a Macao" (made in macau) sticker
at the bottom right of the card, which is typical and found
on most early Trilogo cards.
PALITOY ROTJ 45/65 BACK BUBBLES
|Early Trilogo cards made for
the French market were packaged with bubbles previously used
on Palitoy 45/65-back and Meccano 65
Unlike the previous shapes (double-stem, small and medium sizes),
the bubble shape presented here is the most common for early
There are two different widths of
bubble as seen on this 2-1B and Han Trenchcoat.
The smaller can be found on many different action figures but
is more difficult to find (i.e. Luke XW, Stormtrooper, 2-1B,
Rebel Commander, Prune Face, AT-ST Driver...)
The wider one is the usual bubble for early
Trilogos, such as Han Trenchcoat, Nien Nunb, 8D8...
Note that most figures packaged
with the smaller bubble are also found with the wider one.
*These two bubble shapes have also been used on some Trilogo
cards made for the German market. The punch hole shape can be
used to spot the cards' origin:
early Trilogos have a half-circle or rounded punch hole, the
"German Trilogo" punch
hole is more like a triangle shape (see Meccano to Trilogo
book page 61).
*Also note the full-rounded shape of the Han Trenchcoat card
peg-hole (see also Emperor card) which can be found on some
early Trilogos sold in France as well as some Trilogos sold
bubbles used on Palitoy 45/65 back and Meccano 65 back cards
for taller action figures were also used on early Trilogo cards.
This long bubble should be only found on early Trilogo Darth
Vader and Chewbacca (endor photo) cards. These are quite difficult
TRILOGO SMALL BUBBLE WITH
|When it came to mass-production
for the whole European distribution, three different bubbles
Bubbles with etched edges are the standard for Trilogo
cards packaging. This small-sized version is used on
small action figures like Ugnaught, Yoda, Wicket, Jawa,
TRILOGO LARGE BUBBLE WITH ROUNDED EDGES
types of large bubble with rounded edges can be found.
The first type is shown shown on the 2-1B card, it's the
same size and type of plastic as the standard mass-produced
Trilogo bubble except the corners are totally rounded.
This bubble is found much less than the regular large bubble
with etched edges.
|This second bubble
looks like the previous one, but it's not.
This bubble is made of a very, very thin plastic which tends
to crack and yellow easily, and the corners at its base are
This bubble is used on some "made in Macao" Trilogos
(black sticker and/or rounded peg-hole like this Lando). It
can be found on very few cards, like Lando, Dark blue insert
Royal Guard, Biker Scout...
It is also found on some "last-17" cards sold in France
(i.e. Barada, Lando General, Warok, Romba...)
|Although it can
appear like the previous bubble, this third one is made
of a standard plastic and a bit wider than the previous
In fact, this kind of bubble shape is typical of Trilogo
cards made for the Spanish market.
It becomes more obvious when having the item in hands: the punch
hole's round shape is more pronounced, the card stock is really
thin and lower quality (the back is matte) and sometimes, the
back is the PBP 65 backs which leaves no doubts at all.
TRILOGO LARGE BUBBLE WITH ETCHED EDGES
|Trilogo cards sold
during the mass-production times were packaged with this
large bubble with etched edges.
This bubble is the standard for regular sized action
figures and can be found on any card back types
including 70A (Palitoy front) and 70C cards. It includes
the full range of Trilogo cards, from SW/ESB re-releases,
Trilogo releases, and "last-17".
SPECIAL SHAPE BUBBLE
|Some action figures which
were packaged using special bubbles on
Palitoy 45/65 back and Meccano 65 back cards were also packaged
that way on early Trilogo cards sold on the French market.
This includes Leia Boushh, Lando Skiff outfit, or Gamorean Guard.
However, some later action figures were also packaged in standard
using a special bubble, like EV-9D9 and Amanaman.
MISCARD SHAPE BUBBLE
|Upon first inspection this
bubble can look like a Palitoy/Meccano bubble used on early
Trilogo cards.In actuality, this bubble is, in fact, a bit smaller
and is made of a very thin plastic. It is the bubble found on
the famous Trilogo miscarded figures.
As detailed in the "Meccano To Trilogo" book
page 83, some figures made it on their correct cardback, for
example AT-AT Driver, Darth Vader, Stormtrooper, or Yak Face.
More detailed information about Trilogos can be found in the book
"Meccano to Trilogo". Each single Trilogo carded
action figure is pictured, with different packaging variants for some
characters. The book also features vehicles, instruction sheets, cardbacks,
early cards & miscards, catalogs, advertising, etc.
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Stephane Faucourt (stephane (at) faucourt.com)