Box Sides (click to enlarge)
Imperial Cruiser. Holds up to 12 action figures. Rotating laser and swiveling radar dish move in tandem. 6 side compartments hold prisoners or Imperial troops. Opening rear "prisoner" compartment. Inside, two "immobilization units" fit over prisoners' heads for "brainwashing." Plastic. 10x5 1/2x4 in. high. Unassembled, instructions included. Star Wars action figures not included.
49 C 59177--Shipping weight 1 pound 8 ounces...$11.99
Source: 1981 Sears Wish Book
A Sears exclusive, the Imperial Cruiser was a re-worked version of Kenner's earlier Imperial Troop Transporter toy. Basically, the Imperial Troop Transporter was cheapened in creating the Imperial Cruiser, its electronics being eliminated so that Sears could sell a Star Wars vehicle at a low price point. In addition to the missing electronics, the toy can be distinguished from its earlier counterpart by its slightly different color and its decals. Notably, the front "doors" of the later vehicle are decorated with large stickers meant to imitate panels of electronics. It should also be pointed out that the battery compartment of the Imperial Troop Transporter was converted into a virtually useless hole on the Imperial Cruiser. On both toys, this depression is located towards the back of their upper "roofs," under a reddish rectangular cap.
Although it was released in 1981, and only came packaged in an Empire Strikes Back box, the Imperial Cruiser was offered through Sears' Christmas catalog well into the Return of the Jedi era of 1983-1984. But despite the relatively long period of time in which it was available, few examples of this toy seem to turn up. It's not rare, but it's not common either. Still, it's a pretty boring toy and many collectors choose to pass it over entirely. As the above catalog description mentions, it came with two "immobilization units," black plastic things which could fit over figures' heads. These are frequently missing from loose examples
First Issued: 1981 (ESB packaging)