Both the Italian and German four packs are really interesting and extremely eye catching. Hard to find, especially in good condition, they make a great display piece in any collection and they even have a cool European back story too.
While these four packs mostly contain Trilogo cards they are also found packed with ROTJ Palitoy and Kenner cards as well.
They were designed to get rid of overstock and offer a “special offer” set of four figures for a low price.
While these multipacks were intended as yet another attempt at dealing with overstock in Europe during the Star Wars downfall, it has been said that many of them may never have even reached retail stores in the first place (or even left the UK after being packaged by Palitoy). It’s speculated that the majority actually sat in boxes until they were later bought in bulk and sold by dealers who had bought them towards the end of the 1980’s.
Packaging & Design
The large black special offer header held all four figures side by side (overlapping) and the cards were stuck to the outer packaging on the front and back using a strip of adhesive.
You can sometimes find carded figures that were once part of these special offer packages. They are easily identifiable due to the tape mark on the back and/or front of the card.
Below are pictures of the header text as featured on the Italian and German four packs and also the English text as seen on the reverse of the Italian ones.
The white “starburst” logo on the top right hand side of the packaging was a blank space for stores to write their own price on. Some four packs do turn up with handwritten prices (“Special set of 4 – 1.99” for example) and the prices seem to be about right for retail and not the collector market (you would expect a higher price than £1.99!) So, while many appear to be unused overstock, it appears at least some of these multipacks made it out there to some very lucky children!
It would be interesting to track down some other examples with the price written in another currency (or even some price stickers) to see where else these may have been sold in Europe.
Some of the common figure combinations found in the Italian packs are:
- Lumat, Teebo, Emperor and the Cloud Car Pilot (CCP)
- Darth Vader, Paploo, Leia Hoth and the Imperial Commander
- Rebel Commander, Lobot, Lando and Biker Scout
- Squidhead, Royal Guard, B-Wing Pilot and AT-ST Driver
All of the known four packs to have surfaced have had at least one Trilogo carded figure in them, the majority have two or more and in the case of two of the combinations mentioned above – ALL the figures are Trilogos.
Below is one of coolest Trilogo only four packs:
Are Four Packs Tamper Proof?
Sadly, “no” is the answer to that question.
You can see in the first picture in this feature that the CCP (Cloud Car Pilot) figure was removed from the four pack header. The four pack containing the CCP is the most likely one to be tampered with because the CCP hybrid Trilogo is quite a difficult figure to track down.
In the early days, collectors & dealers would often buy four packs just to get the CCP hybrid card. They would remove it from the package, either for themselves or for resale (as many of their customers were looking for one).
The same thing happened to figures like the Trilogo Emperor’s Royal Guard. It was often removed, or even swapped out for another figure due to it’s rarity.
As these figures can be swapped in and out, it is important as a buyer to look for documented examples of any combination before buying.
If you can’t find pictures of the same combination on the net, then examine it closely for signs of tampering and buy from a trusted seller.
It’s not impossible for unique combinations to exist of course (and this article is not an attempt to raise doubts with anyone about their own four packs) but it is always better to be cautious.
Along with the possibility of the original figures being switched in and out on these four packs, another reason to be careful of previously unknown combinations is because the empty cardboard headers have come up for sale in the past too.
German Four Packs
As well as the Italian four packs, there are a number of similar German four packs too.
These multipacks have the exact same cardboard packaging style but the header text is in German.
They also contain different figure combinations too and on the reverse it has “Collectors Special Offer Pack” written in French text.
Here is a great example of a German four pack with a combination of figures that is known to be legitimate:
- C-3P0, ERG, Stormtrooper and the AT-AT Commander
As you can see, a mixture of ROTJ Kenner, Palitoy and Trilogo cards have been used to assemble this four pack which is a little more evident from the back:
German four packs show up less frequently than their Italian counterparts so it would be great if someone with additional information and pictures on the German four packs could get in contact. I would love to expand this article so it would be great to get some more information and pictures of confirmed combinations, if you can help please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org