Empire Strikes Back Playsets

The Empire Strikes Back era in Canada (1980-1982) was when the majority of items were released. Canadian items sported the familiar Star Wars / The Empire Strikes Back logo on the English side of its ESB packaging, and the La Guerre des Etoiles: L'Empire Contre-Attaque on the French side. Canada had several Star Wars era items packaged in ESB packaging. The playsets' boxes had English printing on one side, and French printing on the other; a tell-tale sign that the item is Canadian.

1980:  Droid Factory   -   Gun Turret and Probot   -   Darth Vader's Star Destroyer   -   Imperial Attack Base   -   Hoth Ice Planet

1981:  Dagobah Playset   -   Cloud City

Droid Factory

Droid Factory:

The Droid Factory was a late release playset in Canada in 1980. As a sidenote, the Luke Skywalker figure in the ESB Droid Factory photo is the double-telescoping version.

Gun Turret and Probot (Front) Gun Turret and Probot (Back)

Gun Turret and Probot:

This playset was named the Turret and Probot playset in the U.S., but in Canada it was named the "Gun" Turret and Probot playset. This was an exclusive to Sears in Canada during the 1980 Christmas season, but was generally released to all retailers the following year.

Darth Vader's Star Destroyer

Darth Vader's Star Destroyer:

Darth Vader's Star Destroyer in an ESB box.

Imperial Attack Base

Imperial Attack Base:

The Imperial Attack Base in an ESB box.

Dagobah (Front) Dagobah (Back)


The Dagobah playset in an ESB box.

Hoth Ice Planet

Hoth Ice Planet:

The Hoth Ice Planet playset in an ESB box. There were also two special offer versions of the Hoth Ice Planet playset. The Canadian version of the playset was unique in that the head of the AT-AT did not have the side gun nor the front black rectangular viewport that the US release had. The Canadian version resembled the early design seen on the reverse of the ESB 32-back action figure cards as well as the 1980 Kenner Department Store Program seen here: (Early Hoth Ice Planet Playset Design)

The comparison of the two Hoth Ice Planet AT-AT head designs can be seen below. The Canadian version is on the left while the American version is on the right:


Cloud City (Front)Cloud City (Back)

Cloud City (Sears Exclusive):

Sears Canada offered the Canadian market the Cloud City playset in 1981; a full year after it was offered in the U.S.. Apart from the bilingual packaging, what is most noticeable are the different figures included in the set from that of its American counterpart. The four figures included in the Canadian Cloud City playset were Han Solo (Original), Lando Calrissian, Ugnaught and Boba Fett. It is not known for sure why Sears Canada would make such a switch; after all, every figure from the American version of the playset - Han Solo (Bespin Outfit), Lobot, Dengar and the Ugnaught - were all generally available in 1981 at the time of the Canadian Cloud City's release.

It has been speculated that the figures that were included in this set were overstock figures, as the original Han Solo and Boba Fett figures were included in other Sears "special offer" items at the time. It is also interesting that Sears Canada did include the figures that were included in the American version of the Cloud City playset in their 7-Pack action figure sets in the 1980 Wishbook the previous year. This playset was essentially used as a vehicle to sell overstock action figures. There is a small difference between the Canadian and American versions of the Cloud City playset. The Canadian version has a product number printed on the the floor on the left side (ie: Dining Room) of the playset whereas the American version does not. It appears that the Cloud City playset was not a high seller, as it was available from 1981 until 1983. Today, however, the Canadian Cloud City playset is rarely seen.