Building Your Empire One Book at a Time
My collection started with the movies too, as soon as the first Meccano figures hit the shelves, I remember going to the store and buying the first 12 and asking for the first vehicles at the same christmas. At that time, it was of course toys to me, not collectibles, but although I had many many toys already from different toy lines, Star Wars figures instantly became and remained my favorites, I took special care on them and kept looking for new figures until 1985. In some way, it was already a collection. I quit buying new Star Wars toys in 1985 and went back on "serious" collecting in 1995.
Had you written any books or articles before publishing Meccano to Trilogo?
I started to make articles for small French fan-magazines, for my own website (which I stopped updating in 2001) and I continued by posting articles and items on websites like Mintinbox and SWCA; I also contributed in some articles on the Rebelscum forums. The idea of the book came also because I had so much articles/items remaining to be presented and explained, that single posts on websites were taking too much time and efforts.
How would you compare the quality and design of the European Star Wars action figures to the Kenner line in the United States?
Well, the action figures and toys were the same (nb: not speaking of countries of origin which involve mold variants) in all places; but it was different in terms of availability and packaging quality. Kenner action figures were packaged with strong quality materials from the start and it is very easy to find them in very good condition, especially for SW and ESB releases. The first batch of Meccano action figures were packaged with the same standards as Kenner and Palitoy, but they quickly switched to the famous square card format, until coming back to the regular format with the ROTJ line. Meccano toys were packaged using poor quality materials, which makes them very difficult to find in mint condition (cheap cardboard, poor seals, thin plastic bubbles). Some Meccano action figures are so rare that even finding one in a poor condition is an accomplishment, meaning that sometimes the low condition does not affect the value as much as it is done for Kenner collectibles. My preference about design of course goes to the Meccano line with its unique logos and french packaging. I must also say that as many french child in the 80s, I was a little frustrated not being able to find all the toys. Some boxes imported by Meccano included the Kenner catalogs showing the playset and vehicles that never showed in France.
Since 2006, I came accross even more material and also completed some other fields of Meccano lines and I could possibly add 30 pages to the current book with promotional stuff, food-related, ads, dolls, diecasts, more variants... Although I don't currently have time in my life to make a 2nd edition, I would love to do it when the times allows it ; but I would have to find an editor who would handle everything from design, to printing, and distributing. Self-editing was a great experience, but I don't want to deal myself again with storing thousand(s) books, handling orders, shipping etc... As the techniques evolves, maybe it will become possible to make a quality book without having to use offset printing which requires large quantities ; this would eventually make me consider self-editing again.
What's your favorite Star Wars character and why?
My favorite character is Chewbacca, it was since the beginning too ; When I was 7, I lost my action figure and I was very sad; a replacement one was the only gift I asked for my birthday.
What's next for you?
There is no particular project, I follow the way collecting brings me, all my collecting goals are achieved, I don't have any appeal in starting collecting new lines. I just continue to keep an eye on opportunities to find Trilogo variants that I don't have referenced yet - it still happens once or twice a year. I have bought a few replica props to display like the IC Yoda, the Icons TIE Fighter and the MR AT-AT. I have also bought many Star Wars books related to movies and/or collecting ; I find that the past 3 years gave us an incredible amount of very nice books.
A big thanks to Stephane Faucourt for taking the time to share his story with SWBookZone.com. For more information about Stephane and From Meccano to Trilogo, visit his website Meccano2Trilogo.com.
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