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How do you define Variants?
#1
Now that I've added a Variants section to my checklist page, I think I need to make sure that *all* the variants are listed there! My own collection isn't big enough for me to collect variants, so I'm looking for feedback from other collectors about the best way to show the variants. So to start with... how do you determine what is or isn't a variant? Huh

One person left feedback asking for Batman-52 "no eyeballs" Thomas to be included as a variant. Is that a proper variant or just a factory error?

I remember seeing a post about Skarloey with a taller smokestack. That seems like a variant to me, but does that exist for every version of Skarloey or only some? Assuming we can find out which Skarloeys have each smokestack, what is the best way to present that on the checklist?

Anything else I'm missing?
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  • mikedaws
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#2
(08-06-2017, 05:21 AM)drewbenn Wrote: Now that I've added a Variants section to my checklist page, I think I need to make sure that *all* the variants are listed there! My own collection isn't big enough for me to collect variants, so I'm looking for feedback from other collectors about the best way to show the variants. So to start with... how do you determine what is or isn't a variant? Huh

One person left feedback asking for Batman-52 "no eyeballs" Thomas to be included as a variant. Is that a proper variant or just a factory error?

I remember seeing a post about Skarloey with a taller smokestack. That seems like a variant to me, but does that exist for every version of Skarloey or only some? Assuming we can find out which Skarloeys have each smokestack, what is the best way to present that on the checklist?

Anything else I'm missing?

It's a tough call to say what is truly a variant. In my opinion you could say the following are variants:
Weighted trains/unweighted trains
Different names on the bottoms of the trains
Paint or appearance differences such as in the case of Monster Mash Percy or Cyborg Spencer.
In the case of Batman 52 with and without eyeballs as a variant. As the name on the bottom of the trains are different for the one with eyeballs and with the one without. The train without painted eyeballs wasn't a one-off as there seemed to be about a 50/50 ratio of them out there. I think they were released in different regions. Ie without eyeballs in Australia and with Eyeballs in Canada. Just as an example...

I've been working on a list based on what I've found so far. Just for another example. 2017 wave 1 trains come in both weighted and unweighted. I have 2017 wave 1 tootsie sets sets both weighted and unweighted. I guess it really depends if variants are something you want or even care about. I personally enjoy the challenge of finding the differences. I still need to figure out if I have the Skarloey variant or not..
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#3
I wouldn't consider factory errors as variants.
A variant is any existing model that is released with any different feature, such as face, sticker design, paint color (or lack of), effect, appointment, function, language, etc...it could even be as subtle as a different styled font.

Also, any production changes that are different from an original released standard version.
Play nice & have fun!!Smile
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#4
(08-06-2017, 06:11 AM)mikedaws Wrote: Weighted trains/unweighted trains

I'm worried I've bitten off more than I can chew here Smile I think I'll mention that 2017/1 is available in both weighted and unweighted, but I'm not sure I want to add a dozen more checkboxes for that, absent better reasons.

(08-06-2017, 06:11 AM)mikedaws Wrote: In the case of Batman 52 with and without eyeballs as a variant. As the name on the bottom of the trains are different for the one with eyeballs and with the one without.

Do you know what each version's name is? I probably saw the difference a long time ago but I've forgotten and I'm hoping it will take you less time to just look at yours than it would take me to search the whole thread here Smile If it's not easy for you, I'll go looking.

(08-06-2017, 06:11 AM)mikedaws Wrote: I guess it really depends if variants are something you want or even care about. I personally enjoy the challenge of finding the differences. I still need to figure out if I have the Skarloey variant or not..

What I'm trying to balance is how to provide some value for the collectors like you who are looking for everything while still making it super-easy for the casual fans who just want to know what they have or find a specific train without getting bogged down in the details. So if you have suggestions on how I can make things easier for you without making it too hard for someone new to Minis to understand what's going on, I'm all ears!

(08-06-2017, 09:13 AM)Muddy Poppins Wrote: I wouldn't consider factory errors as variants.
A variant is any existing model that is released with any different feature, such as face, sticker design, paint color (or lack of), effect, appointment, function, language, etc...it could even be as subtle as a different styled font.

So how do you tell the difference between an error and a variant? Is it just knowing the line pretty well and watching how many appear? The Batman-52 eyeballs thing, for example: I had assumed it was an error but between someone else asking for it and mikedaws' note here about distribution, I guess it must be a variant.
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  • Muddy Poppins
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#5
(08-08-2017, 08:15 AM)drewbenn Wrote: I'm worried I've bitten off more than I can chew here Smile I think I'll mention that 2017/1 is available in both weighted and unweighted, but I'm not sure I want to add a dozen more checkboxes for that, absent better reasons.


Do you know what each version's name is? I probably saw the difference a long time ago but I've forgotten and I'm hoping it will take you less time to just look at yours than it would take me to search the whole thread here Smile If it's not easy for you, I'll go looking.


What I'm trying to balance is how to provide some value for the collectors like you who are looking for everything while still making it super-easy for the casual fans who just want to know what they have or find a specific train without getting bogged down in the details. So if you have suggestions on how I can make things easier for you without making it too hard for someone new to Minis to understand what's going on, I'm all ears!


So how do you tell the difference between an error and a variant? Is it just knowing the line pretty well and watching how many appear? The Batman-52 eyeballs thing, for example: I had assumed it was an error but between someone else asking for it and mikedaws' note here about distribution, I guess it must be a variant.
Yes exactly! If it has a high production, but is realized to be different, it then gains a variant status.
Like the Trackmaster Gator.
It was first released in a rush, and the forest green on its sides was missing(solid Kelly green only) it was later corrected to the intended two tone Kelly/Forest green, but so many plain kelly green ones were released that it is now just considered "the other" Gator variant.
Play nice & have fun!!Smile
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  • drewbenn
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#6
(08-08-2017, 08:15 AM)drewbenn Wrote: I'm worried I've bitten off more than I can chew here Smile I think I'll mention that 2017/1 is available in both weighted and unweighted, but I'm not sure I want to add a dozen more checkboxes for that, absent better reasons.


Do you know what each version's name is? I probably saw the difference a long time ago but I've forgotten and I'm hoping it will take you less time to just look at yours than it would take me to search the whole thread here Smile If it's not easy for you, I'll go looking.


What I'm trying to balance is how to provide some value for the collectors like you who are looking for everything while still making it super-easy for the casual fans who just want to know what they have or find a specific train without getting bogged down in the details. So if you have suggestions on how I can make things easier for you without making it too hard for someone new to Minis to understand what's going on, I'm all ears!


So how do you tell the difference between an error and a variant? Is it just knowing the line pretty well and watching how many appear? The Batman-52 eyeballs thing, for example: I had assumed it was an error but between someone else asking for it and mikedaws' note here about distribution, I guess it must be a variant.

Hey Drew,

The one with the eyeballs is: 52BM-THOMAS
Without: BTM-THOMAS

Let me know if there's anything else you want to add to the list

(08-08-2017, 08:15 AM)drewbenn Wrote: I'm worried I've bitten off more than I can chew here Smile I think I'll mention that 2017/1 is available in both weighted and unweighted, but I'm not sure I want to add a dozen more checkboxes for that, absent better reasons.


Do you know what each version's name is? I probably saw the difference a long time ago but I've forgotten and I'm hoping it will take you less time to just look at yours than it would take me to search the whole thread here Smile If it's not easy for you, I'll go looking.


What I'm trying to balance is how to provide some value for the collectors like you who are looking for everything while still making it super-easy for the casual fans who just want to know what they have or find a specific train without getting bogged down in the details. So if you have suggestions on how I can make things easier for you without making it too hard for someone new to Minis to understand what's going on, I'm all ears!


So how do you tell the difference between an error and a variant? Is it just knowing the line pretty well and watching how many appear? The Batman-52 eyeballs thing, for example: I had assumed it was an error but between someone else asking for it and mikedaws' note here about distribution, I guess it must be a variant.

The weighted/unweighted trains is more something I do for fun. I just wanted to add a component to my collection. But it's quite fun to find out what's out there. I have a pretty good collection so far. The name variations on the bottoms were primarily with the DC trains. I'll have to double check if I have some name variants from the regular series of minis. In addition to all the trains from 2017 wave 1 having both weighted and unweighted versions. There are also numerous trains from 2017 waves 2, 3 and 4 that have weighted versions. When some of the earlier 3 and 7 packs were released they contained weights. So some of those trains were later released in blind bags but without weights. I've got a list of what's out there so far. There are also weighted and unweighted versions of the spongebob minis and DC minis. Even some of the launcher minis. It's quite interesting and challenging to track them down.
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