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Lego Masters

EXCLUSIVE: Lego Masters' Trent Cucchiarelli spills on his toy collecting obsession

The reality TV contestant is a big kid at heart!

By Woman's Day team
Despite a fascination with the tiny bricks that landed him a gig on Australia's favourite reality show, Trent Cucchiarelli has a not-so secret obsession – toys!
For more than two decades, the father-of-two has spent his time building one of the country's largest toy collections, which boasts some seriously rare items.
The avid collector shares his tips for collecting and says he hopes to take out the title as 2020's Lego Master, alongside his friend Josh Taylor, so he can expand his house to store even more toys… just don't tell his wife!
Trent (left) pictured creating another masterpiece with Josh. Image: Channel Nine
Where do you buy your toys?
For my vintage items, which are no longer in stores, I use online marketplace sites, toy swap meets and rely on the contacts I have. I also collect modern toys, but traditional action figures are becoming less and less prevalent in the toy aisles.
What is your favourite piece and why?
In 1986, Mattel released its largest and most ambitious play set for its juggernaut Masters Of The Universe toy line, Eternia.
Eternia consisted of three towers, all filled with play features, with a working monorail that travelled between the towers and three motorised vehicles!
Due to its sheer size, number of accessories and its limited release, it is considered a Holy Grail for most Masters Of The Universe collectors, and is my most prized individual item.
WATCH: Relive Lego Masters' nail-biting season one finale. Story continues below...
Hi house is chock-a-block with collectables. Image: Supplied
If we could put a call-out to the public to help you find one item you've always wanted, what would it be?
OK, this one is the Holy Grail for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collectors everywhere! It's Scratch! Released in 1993, this figure was extremely hard to find. I have only ever seen Scratch twice in real life!
If you had to pick one, what popular culture franchise is your favourite?
It's like you are making me pick a favourite child! I'm going to have to say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a huge fan of the 1987 cartoon series, the '90s films and the toys, it defined my childhood! It was the wackiest combination of things that shouldn't have worked.
But it also had its ups and downs… we don't talk about that time they created a fifth turtle, Venus De Milo, and I'm not a fan of the new Rise Of The TMNT cartoon. But hey, it's not aimed at 38-year-old man-children!
It's got such great themes such as belonging to a family, and acceptance no matter what you look like, even if you are an anthropomorphic turtle teenager who happens to be great at ninjutsu!
Trent even wants to expand the house so there's more room for storing the toys. Image: Supplied
If you had to guess, how much have you spent on toys?
I don't want to guess, please don't make me guess. Let's just say more than any responsible adult should have.
Do you have a hard time keeping your sons Callum and Robbie out of it?
The boys are allowed to play with my toys in the same way I do – with their eyes!
Trent's prized toy Eternia. Image: Supplied
If you win Lego Masters what are you going to spend the prize money on? Please tell us more toys!
Actually, it would be a home extension! Adding another room so I had somewhere else to display all the toys I have in storage! Wait, is my wife going to read this? What I meant to say is, I would build a parents' retreat, complete with soundproof walls!
What are the most collectable items of Lego that you own?
I always buy Lego to build, so I try not to be too precious with the collectability aspect of it.
However, when it comes to my more priceless Lego items, I have two I would never sell!
Employees of Lego don't give out business cards – instead they give out little minifigures in their likeness with their contact details on them.
I was lucky enough to meet Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, great-grandson of Lego founder Ole Kirk Cristiansen, and Jorgen Vig Knudstorp and they were kind enough to give me their minifigures. A very special moment I will never forget!

Trent’s tips for collecting!

According to the maestro himself, in order for a toy to be collectable – and worth the big bucks – there are three key factors to consider...
Appeal
"You have to think about how well known a franchise is in the mind of the mainstream populace," says Trent.
"Star Wars is much better known than Waterworld! Sorry, Kevin Costner."
Condition
"Not many toy collectors want little Jimmy's chewed-up Luke Skywalker with permanent marker initials on it," says Trent.
"The closer it is to mint condition, the more collectable it will be. Still sealed in its original packaging? Even better."
Exclusivity
"If a toy had a limited production run, they can be super-collectable!" he says.
"It comes down to simple economics – supply and demand! However, while the more rare something is, the more likely it will be collectable, it's important not to underestimate the power of popularity."

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