Box Sides (click to enlarge)
Imperial Troop Transport carries up to nine of figures  - --not included, sold above. Button activates six electronic sounds, including engine, laser battle, Storm Trooper and C-3PO voices. R2-D2 beeps. Laser gun dome and radar dish rotate. Front and rear hatches open. On the sides are six cell units to hold prisoners--2 immobilization hoods fit over their heads to "brainwash" them. Plastic. 5x5x13 in. long. Uses one "C" battery--not included, sold on page 502. Figures shown not included. For ages 4 and up.
Source: 1979 JC Penney Christmas Catalog
The Imperial Troop Transporter wasn't the greatest looking vehicle in the Star Wars line (it looked something like a desktop pencil holder), but it was cool for at least two reasons: it was capable of playing sounds from the movie, and it came with a weird little comic book telling the story of how Imperial Stormtroopers destroyed the Jawas' Sandcrawler. It also came with two weird black "immobilization hoods," which sadistic kids could place over the head of good guy figures in order to "brainwash" them. Electronic sounds, Jawa killing and brainwashing; what more could you want out of a Stormtrooper vehicle?
Released in 1979, the Imperial Troop Transporter was a bold stroke on Kenner's part. Not only was it the first of several vehicles that Kenner designed entirely on their own (rather than basing them on objects seen in the film), they had the forsight to fit the vehicle into an event alluded to but not seen in the first Star Wars film, namely the destruction of the Sandcrawler. Therefore, the Imperial Troop Transporter was brought to life in kids' minds, almost as though it had been filmed and then cut from the movie.
The toy must have sold pretty well because, these days, they're fairly easy to find loose. However, the talking mechanism on loose examples is usually no longer operable and the "immobilization hoods" are often missing. In 1980, the toy was released for a brief time in Empire Strikes Back packaging before being pulled from circulation entirely. Starting in 1981, Sears sold a modified version of the Imperial Troop Transporter. The title of this later toy was changed to Imperial Cruiser, its electronics were removed (the Imperial Cruiser couldn't "talk"),and several small modifications were made to the deco scheme.
First Issued: 1979 (SW packaging)
Re-issues: 1980 (ESB packaging)
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