|Mock-Up for Unproduced 36-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out as a product capable of holding all of the 21 action figures available on store shelves ended up being somewhat outdated come 1980 and the release of The Empire Strikes Back.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 36 figures -- the full line (plus a few) as of 1980.
The trays are the standard 12-figure ones that came with all iterations of the vinyl carrying case. The case is designed to hold them in a single stack, one on top of the other. That means the mock-up case is about 33% deeper than the original 24-figure version.
As you've no doubt noticed the case is constructed of blue vinyl similar to that found on the original Star Wars-logo case. Though the trays look gray in the photos, they're actually the same tan color as the trays packed with the 1981 version of the product.
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 48 figures. Since they both came packed with tan trays, it's likely they date from either 1981 or 1982.
|Description by:||Ron Salvatore|
|From the collection of:||Chris Georgoulias|
|Film:||Empire Strikes Back|
|Category:||Prototypes / Action Figure Related|