Collecting vintage Star Wars can be an expensive hobby, especially for a completist. Recent estimates put a full set of loose complete figures costing around £3500. Sticking to a budget that you can afford and doing your research are the best bits of advice I can give any new collector when starting on the path. However, at some point it will become expensive, very expensive.
When Kenner finished with the initial Star Wars run they worked closely with Nelvana, who were the company responsible for the Droids and Ewoks cartoons, to develop a run of new action figures. This run was limited although there were plans for further figures if they were successful. Anyone interested in further reading of this line then this article by Ron Salvatore is required reading.
Included in this run were the already released Boba Fett and A-Wing pilot, together with new versions of C-3PO and R2-D2. They were joined by a range of colourful new figures, one of which was Vlix.
Vlix was a henchman for the Fromm gang who is a main character in an ongoing story throughout the Droids cartoon series and in normal circumstances would just be another little talked about and unloved character. However, due to an unusual sequence of events his place within Star Wars collecting circles is legendary.
The picture above is taken from a recent auction. It is a graded, first shot Vlix and sold for a total of £10,540. The coin, which would have been shipped with the Vlix sold for £1736. Sadly, there was no weapon with the set.
I’ll let those sums sink in for a moment as I explain a couple of terms used. Grading means that the item has been sent to an expert in the field who will give their best opinion as to its authenticity and condition. A first shot refers to the first batches of figures produced in the production line. Some first shots were used for a specific purpose, such as quality tests and durability, whereas others were for minor refinement and testing purposes. It is debatable among collectors as to whether a first shot should be referred to as a pre-production stage or not.
Now, back to the £10,540. Yes the fact that the item was graded and that it is a first shot would contribute to the price realised but the fact is that Vlix is highly sought after character.
When Kenner cancelled their Droids and Ewoks lines it is believed that they sold some of the tooling to Glasslite who were a toy company in Brazil. Glasslite held the Star Wars licence and began mass producing the Vlix character. This means to the completist that their Droids line could be considered incomplete without this character!
So, how much does a regular Vlix cost? Assuming that you can find one for sale you will not get a lot of change out of £2000 for a loose Vlix. His weapon has exchanged hands alone for nearly the same amount. Vlix is a dilemma for those who collect the Droids line. It’s a foreign figure, it’s incredibly expensive and it is not an exciting action figure. Personally, I’m happy never owning a Vlix for all three of those reasons, whilst quietly ignoring my far cheaper Mexican variants.
Was there really a Vlix that sold for $1 on ebay? Yes there was and well done to the buyer for the good fortune. Here is an old screenshot of the ebay auction in 1999 which never referred to the Vlix in the description.
Buyer beware! There are a lot of reproduction Vlixes on ebay at any given time. Rock solid provenance should be sought before purchasing Vlix, or indeed any item exchanging hands for the prices quoted. Suddenly, a trip to Rio seems a little more interesting.
Photos © Vectis Auctions, Tommy Garvey / Rebelscum