The Design of a Canadian Kenner Special Action Figure Set 3-Pack

During the Star Wars era, Kenner USA released the first group of Special Action Figure Sets that would be released in groups each year through 1982. Kenner Canada also followed suit, and released the majority of the same sets in Canada as well. Each Special Action Figure Set or '3-Pack' as they are commonly referred to, was comprised of three separate figures that were common to a particular theme. These sets came in attractive open window box packaging, and were aimed at higher-end department stores. Kenner Canada used basically the same layout for their Canadian 3-Pack releases, but there are some notable differences. The design of a Canadian Kenner Special Action Figure Set is described below.

Kenner Canada Star Wars Special Action Figure Set 3-Pack:

Kenner Canada used the Kenner USA packaging layout templates in the creation of their packages for the Star Wars line, but were required to make some alterations in order to conform with Canadian bilingualism laws as well as to coincide with what was actually offered in the Canadian Star Wars product line. As can be seen in the image below, the Canadian Star Wars 3-Pack release was similar to that of its American counterpart. Notable differences include the addition of the French wording throughout the packaging and on the action figure card insert (on the Star Wars set releases) as well as the differences in the layout on the reverse of the 3-Pack.

Kenner Canada SW 3-PackKenner Canada SW 3-Pack (Back)

As can be seen here, the layout on the back of the Canadian Star Wars 3-Pack differs from its American cousin in that it only pictures the Villain and Android Sets; the first Hero Set has been left out. This was done so that the bilingual descriptions of the two sets could be fit in. There was not enough room for the bilingual descriptions of all three sets.

Notice the "La Guerre des Etoiles" French translation Star Wars logo on the top. Also notice that the Star Wars Creatures Set (a second series release in the 3-Pack series) pictured here possesses the same layout on the set's reverse side as the first series layout. True to Kenner Canada form, cost saving measures were taken whenever possible. The Canadian 3-Packs were only sold to a few higher-end stores such as Simpsons in Canada, so a lower production run meant higher overall per-unit costs for these 3-Packs. In order to save on design and production costs, Kenner Canada used the same layout for the back of the boxes throught the entire run of the 3-Packs; even through the Empire Strikes Back era (seen below).

Another interesting feature is the inclusion of the Long Playing Toy or LP logo on the front of the boxes. The LP logo was dropped in 1979 in the USA for the Star Wars line, but it is still present on the Canadian 3-Packs even through the Empire Strikes Back releases. The set's individual description sentence under the 3-Pack title of the particular action figure set is absent on the Canadian Star Wars 3-Packs action figure insert card. Only the set's title is shown.

Yet another notable difference from their American counterparts starting with the second series of Star Wars 3-Packs is the absence of the Special Offer burst that appeared in the top right corner of the American sets that promoted the cardboard backdrops that came exclusively with the 1979 sets. Kenner Canada did include the backdrops with their sets, however, they were not promoted on the Canadian packaging; the "Special Offer" burst does not appear on any of the Canadian Kenner 3-Packs.

Kenner Canada Empire Strikes Back Special Action Figure Set 3-Pack:

Kenner Canada continued to release its line of 3-Packs throughout the Empire Strikes Back era. Available documentation is few and far between, but it appears that the series of 3-Packs were released as late as 1981. It is unknown if the last series of 3-Packs released in the USA in 1982 were available in Canada.

Kenner Canada ESB 3-PackKenner Canada ESB 3-Pack (Back)

As stated previously, Kenner Canada took cost saving measures whenever feasible. As a result, the same layout used for the Canadian Star Wars 3-Packs was used for the Canadian ESB 3-Packs with some slight changes. As seen here, the ESB layout on the front of the 3-Packs was extremely similar to the SW releases - even the white price box and Long Playing Toy (LP) logo remained.

The ESB logo is perfectly centred on the Canadian releases, whereas on the American releases, the ESB logo is placed more to the left of centre, most likely to accommodate the placement of the Special Offer burst on the right of the logo for the early ESB American releases of 3-Packs. Since the Canadian versions did not come with any backdrops, the Special Offer burst was not required. Interestingly enough, the insert card that the action figures are sealed to is totally in English. The 1980 releases had the set's title in English only on the insert backer with no description underneath. The 1981 releases (shown here) had the set's title in English only on the insert backer with the set's description in English only as well underneath.

The sides of the ESB Canadian 3-Packs still have the Star Wars layout on one side in French (ie: The "La Guerre des Etoiles" logo), but on the English side, an ESB logo appears in place of the SW logo.

The reverse side layout format of the Canadian ESB 3-Packs was the exact same as the Canadian SW 3-Packs as mentioned previously.

These Canadian Kenner 3-Packs are some of the most rarely seen 3-Packs in the world, with fewer than 10 known Star Wars examples in total, and fewer than 5 known Empire Strikes Back examples in total.