Mock-Up for Unproduced 48-Figure Vinyl Carrying Case
Judging by how many used examples are out there, the vinyl carrying case was one of Kenner's biggest-selling action figure products. First released in 1979, the product enjoyed a long run; it was updated with entirely new graphics in 1981, 1982, and 1983. However, what started out as a product capable of holding all of the 21 action figures available on store shelves ended up being somewhat outdated come 1980 and the release of The Empire Strikes Back. By that time the line consisted of 31 figures, and if you were an adolescent super collector the old vinyl carrying case simply wouldn't cut it. Of course, Kenner countered by offering the Darth Vader Collector's Case. Spacious enough to hold the whole line within a single enclosure, it was the ESB carrying case par excellence.

But what about the line's old reliable, the original vinyl carrying case? Why didn't Kenner attempt to update it? Well, based on the existence of the item you see here, they did at least think about it. It's a mock-up for an expanded vinyl carrying case, a product never released to the public, capable of holding 48 figures -- the full line as of 1982.

The trays are the standard 12-figure ones that came with all iterations of the vinyl carrying case. They're arrayed in two rows of two, one stacked on top of the other. This means the case is two times the size of the original 24-figure case.

Here you see the original case stacked on top of the mock-up.

Although it's impossible to know exactly why Kenner decided not to release this, it's likely that the imminent release of the 40-figure capacity See-Threepio Collector's Case had something to do with it.

This item surfaced with a companion piece, a mock-up vinyl carrying case designed to hold 36 figures. Since they both came packed with tan trays, it's likely they date from either 1981 or 1982.

Description by: Ron Salvatore
Photo: Ron Salvatore
From the collection of: Ron Salvatore
Country:United States
Film:Empire Strikes Back
Category:Prototypes / Action Figure Related


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