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LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

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LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby Jedd the Jedi » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:49 am

I've always wondered this, but it always slipped my mind to ask. It's not a really big deal, but do the parts counts printed on the packaging or listed in databases and catalogues include extra pieces, such as small 1X1 studs included as "replacement" parts in case the originals are misplaced? I think I might have counted through a small set before as a kid to find out, but I don't remember the result.

Also, a second but related question. LEGO packaging differs depending on the regional markets in which it is sold- in the United States and generally-English speaking markets, the boxes seem to have more text - for example, the name of the set in English and other languages such as French and Spanish, as well as the piece count I've mentioned earlier.

Here in Singapore, the boxes feature a lot less text. I assume this is to ease the language barrier associated with foreign markets. Some information, such as customer service addresses and choking hazard warnings, are printed in a wide variety of languages, as well as some of the text in the instructional booklets enclosed - ultimately, I do prefer owning boxes with piece counts and set names printed on them, or with designs such as the "30th Anniversary of A New Hope", "10th Anniversary Edition" and "30th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back" designs.

Why not just print the basic information on every box in every market? Many people buy Japanese toys, even when there is not a shred of English on the packaging, for example - with a product like LEGO, language should be little barrier, but especially with licensed sets, the properties (films such as the Star Wars and Indiana Jones ones, comic books such as the Batman ones) are and were originally available in English. It's like when I buy an imported Japanese snack in a local grocery store, there's a small sticker with the name of the product, ingredients list, name of the import/distribution company etc pasted onto the packaging, which is completely in Japanese otherwise. I've seen done with toys (such as Mattel and Hasbro action figures, in predominantly non-English-language speaking countries such as China) as well.

Also, has LEGO ever put short blurbs or descriptions on its packaging, like Hasbro does with their action figures? I do think it would be nice to include the blurbs that can be read on the Shop At Home website somewhere on the box, or even within the instructional booklet. Hope this can be clarified, and thanks for reading this query.
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby Joedward » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:43 am

I think the landmark buildings have had information about the buildings on the packaging, but other than that I don't think so.
Also, UK packaging doesn't include the parts count, whereas mainland Europe does... Never found out why though.
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby Draykov » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:17 am

I haven't bothered to check, but I believe that extra parts are just that: extra. With that in mind, I don't believe they factor into the overall piece count of a given set. A quick check on some random set on Bricklink might tell you for sure.

As far as packaging and what it looks like, I believe that has to do with laws in various nations/regions. I think that was part of the issue with the 7979 Castle Advent Calendar in 2008. If memory serves, the packaging had been developed for European sales, but a shipment accidentally made it to North America. The company was just going to destroy or recycle them because they weren't intended for North American sales and I guess the lack of certain warnings on the package may have been a potential issue. It was only through the efforts of then Community Relations Coordinator for LEGO, Steve Witt, that they ended up selling them via phone at [email protected] US.
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby Jedd the Jedi » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:00 am

Thank you Joedward and Draykov. That's an interesting story about the Advent Calendar; I never realised specialised packaging tailored for each market had so much impact.
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby that guy » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:34 am

The reason North American packaging includes French most of the time is that there's a law in Quebec, Canada that nothing is allowed to be imported or sold (I can't remember which) unless it's in both English & French. So anything that a company plans to sell there is a is usually co-languaged to save on costs of creating two different packs. What you see on a lot of packaging is that French on one side and then you flip it over and you get English, especially on bagged items.
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby atxdad » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:24 am

Regarding official piece counts including 'extra' pieces:
I asked that same question and checked the count of a Star Wars impulse-buy bagged set once. The extra pieces left over after making the model were NOT included in the printed number of pieces on the bag. Don't know if that's standard procedure given my sample size of one, so take that anecdotal evidence for what it's worth.
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby meeotch » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:06 pm

Does anyone know if minifig hands count as individual pieces?
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby cas » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:21 pm

Minifig hands do not count as pieces, they're just part of the torso. I've done a few piece count experiments in the past to determine what counted and what wasn't. Left over pieces aren't counted and individual left and right arms, legs, and hands aren't counted individually. There are some sets, such as the Creator sets that occasionally have extra pieces not used in the primary model, that are used in alternate models. These pieces are counted.
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby legodavee123 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:39 am

For the record, minifig heads USED to not count as extra pieces, but I believe that now they do. I remember doing some checking on this back in 2000-2001 or so, and it basically boiled down to anything that was pre-assembled counted as a single element. So, 2x2 turntables were 1 element, but I expect that now they're 1. Minifig torsos used to come with the head attached, so that was 1 element, but now is probably counted as 2. Train wheels used to be a single element, now they might be counted as 3 or 4?

Also, it wasn't consistent. I remember checking several different sets that clearly counted elements differently, although I don't remember exactly which elements were the ones that were different.

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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby Gingerbeard Man » Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:16 am

Joedward wrote:Also, UK packaging doesn't include the parts count, whereas mainland Europe does... Never found out why though.

It's not that clear cut. The vast majority of sets I have bought in Germany do not have a parts count on the packaging.

There have been a few exceptions - 10198 Tantive IV, 10212 Imperial Shuttle and 10213 Shuttle Adventure do have a parts count in several languages, as do the Winter Toystore and Bakery sets. All my other sets (mainly Star Wars, Technic and City) have nothing but the set number and age range on the front. Star Wars sets also have the set name (in English).

It seems to be only large or exclusive sets that have the "international" packaging, but not all of them. My UCS Falcon and 10188 Death Star only have age range, set number and name.
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Re: LEGO set piece counts printed on boxes

Postby dWhisper » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:29 am

UCS sets are typically going to follow a global distribution (the higher numbers), and therefore probably only have a single source for manufacturing and boxes. That's why you tend to see extra languages and the like on them. My understand on piece counts themselves fit with regional thing. US sets tended to have them, as did US/Canada sets that had translations on them (FR/CA). European system sets typically do not.
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