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Product Numbering & Bar Code Verification of Phantom Plarail Sets
#1
This is a long read, hopefully somebody is patient enough to understand. Please take snapshots of older Plarail boxes (yellow and blue) to help us out if you have any.

Our research team found something interesting, and are still uncovering details. A new topic that came out today. We just partnered with some doctoral students who own past Plarail products to uncover the details.

Problem: It seems that barcodes are absent on some sets, and we can't verify all possible "G-nn" and "MS-nn" year indicators.
Why is this a problem?: We need to understand the numbering system to do a backtrack research because some official catalogues are missing information about older sets.
Approach: We collaborated by taking snapshots of our sets, locate the MS-nn or G-nn number and barcode and do a scan on barcodes. If we get enough information from the barcodes and the MS-nn numbering system, we can confirm all existing Plarail sets and update BigLobe museum. We can also generate actual JAN numbers from barcodes to list a specific old Plarail product.
Theory: The number "MS-28" written on the Family Travel Salon Car Set seems to indicate the year of manufacture (fiscal year?), And if it was released in 1979 according to the catalogue, it is considered that barcodes were introduced in products after MS-29. Right. Is the introduction time before and after the update of the TOMY logo?
Facts: The Tohoku Joetsu Shinkansen Set released in 1982 has the year indicator "MS-32" and there is no barcode. How can this be, why the barcodes introduced in MS-29 did not continue this progression to MS-32? Why are barcodes only released after MS-28, and stopped at MS-32? Also, New International Airport Set (1978) has year indicator of G-27 and no barcode. But this is not under the MS-nn numbering system. Do we theorise that G-nn numbering system retired in 1978?
Research: We have gathered the following data:

[Image: ERDzr-HMUEAA3-Pi-H.jpg]
MS-28 Family Travel Salon Car Set and MS-28 Shindai Express. (Note MS-28 is the year of manufacture, not product ID) This means they are produced at the same fiscal year.

[Image: ERDzr-HPU8-AAH7-QD.jpg]
EC boxes, 3 car vehicles. 3 with barcodes. MS-28 Shindai Express without barcode???

[Image: ERD7qyz-U8-AAygfn.jpg]
G-27, New International Airport Set, No barcode.

We now know that G-27 is 1978, but does G-28 exists (which should be 1979)? That is another question. Keep in mind that MS-28 is written on the Family Travel Salon Car Set (1979).

This lead to another theory:
G-27 is a new international airport set (1978)
MS-28 is a blue train set (1979)
Has the G-nn numbering system been abolished and the MS-nn system introduced?

Another theory:
MS-32 is Tohoku Joetsu Shinkansen Set (1983), but Biglobe says it is released in 1982, could Biglobe be wrong???
Why theorised that Biglobe is wrong? MS-28 is 1979 (confirmed), 28+4=32, therefore MS-32. 1979+4=1983. 

Please help me understand G and MS, do they represent a specific time in a calendar? What calendar are these from?
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#2
Wow...this is very deep. I don't know anything for sure but as a guess, could it depend on what country a certain release was made and box printed in for the no barcode question on a same release?
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#3
1. All sets during this time are made in Japan, so definitely 1 country only.
2. I know that some sets are released only in specific parts of Japan, for example, Hankyu 6300 and Furano Express Set. I don't really know whether they will have different variation on the box prints because they are printed away from the main factory.
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#4
Adding the Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen Set into the database:
(1983), Number system: N-33, no barcode.

That means Biglobe might be right about the Tohoku Joetsu Set released in 1982, MS-32.

We will then:
1. Verify again what is MS-28.
2. When the Blue Lane Train Set was actually released. (We still suspect that it is released during 1978 or 1979, but can't find the month)
3. The newly found N-nn numbering system.

Number systems of sets discovered: G-nn, MS-nn, N-nn.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Also adding Reprint L-Express Rail Road Crossing Set (PlaRoad), (1988?) in.

However the numbering system was abolished, and a barcode is found along with the JAN number. The barcode is scanned and produces the same JAN number as the one on the box.
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#5
Very detailed Database you are creating with details on the bar codes too.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#6
We are getting quite close.

MS-28 was actually before 1977 OR MS-28 did not represent the actual year of production.

How I get to this conclusion? The DD-51 that I bought is the answer. This DD-51 has the old power type (mid era) produced from 1968-1977, it is MS-28 and no barcode. How can this be? It looks like our conclusions are wrong about MS-nn representing a fiscal year?

Also this:

[Image: 11111.png]

Our team member ID-2 said:

"JAN code standardisation has been carried out since 1978 and it is a very delicate time, so it is very helpful!"
"Red TOMY Logo is certainly from 1981 onwards, so you can guess that JAN management has been completed completely by JAN standardisation (1978) and the Red TOMY Logo period. JAN management seems to be stable around the time of "L Express Plaroad Set (1986 version)" In addition, since the ST mark full-scale operation is after 1972, it seems that you can know the age with this presence or absence"

Again if anyone has logos that you think can verify the years and help us with the research, please post them here.
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#7
You are the Master Detective Vio
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#8
But still very far from our pool of possible answers. We confirm the existence of all the sets that have the ST mark. So that is one part done. Still the mystery of the numbering systems are very unknown. Main question: What does G, MS and N mean?

Also we found the final production year of all Plarail Made In Japan:

[Image: A193-C97-D-8-D2-A-414-F-B920-9-DDB55-C5-BD2-B.jpg]

(Do notice Red TOMY Logo)
It is 1994 or 1995. The image doesn’t really prove anything from just looking at one source, our gathered information connected all the bits and pieces together. A phantom rarity Plarail or “Phantom Gems Of Plarail” is defined as a Plarail Made In Japan that has a very short lived manufacturing and sales span, with very notable differences from other old Plarail sets, and no direct reprints are made (Rotary snowplough is reprinted, but it looks entirely different from the ancestor, so it still counts). However Biglobe included the Made In Thailand Not For Sale Doctor Yellow (blue box) in their list. This is what we strongly disagree on. Some sets are not inside the Biglobe phantom list too. This will set a boundary when to stop looking for older sets, but most of the older sets are not close to phantom rarity.
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#9
Questions are answered today.

Blue Train Set (MS-28) is actually released in 1979, as confirmed by TOMY themselves.

[Image: 578802-F9-D3-CD-4-D73-91-CB-DEE74077654-E.jpg]

[Image: 22-C41305-F978-42-F5-887-D-BFD9-B9186610.png]

All phantom sets existence are confirmed just today, but numbering system will be recorded by requesting other people who own these sets. The original author of Biglobe is still alive, but residential location of course is unknown.

We still do not know what MS-28 means, it shouldn’t represent the fiscal year anymore. (Unless Biglobe is wrong about the dates of the old power). This will eventually lead us to know what is the true meaning of all AA-nn universal numbering systems, where AA is an alphabet sequence and nn is a numerical sequence.
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#10
Glad to hear your investigations are paying off Vio.
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#11
We contacted the original author. There is actually a way to edit Biglobe, but needs a different login webpage which is username and password protected. Biglobe has several version backups in the server. If we get permission successfully, we can edit the current webpage and override all versions. This will have to be done later, after we get all product number system codes and clearer box images. This will take a very very long time.
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#12
Impressive!
[Image: super-smiley-emoticon.gif]
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#13
EF-58 (single car, yellow box, late front power), N-35, no barcode
C-12 (single car, yellow box, first generation power), TT-36, no barcode         (This is not the first generation C-12, siderods are different)
Round Trip (往復) EF-66 (white and yellow box, front power), no number system, barcode and JAN recorded
L Express (Toukyu, EC Box), TT-nn (nn is faded, can't see properly), barcode and JAN recorded

New numbering system found: TT-nn
It does make sense: Numbers in ascending order = Newer release.
                              ST mark can come in yellow and white, so it is difficult to see and oversight can happen.
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#14
A very important set, the C-12 Rotary Snowplough Set (C-12ロータリーじゃせつしゃセット) will be added into the database. The vehicles look like the one in my profile photo. This set makes blind Plarail collectors cry. Fortunately we were very, very lucky to find an owner who is contactable.

Year 1973, G-22, no barcode and JAN number. (Black Tomy Logo, meaning the one with the boy and girl holding hands)

The New International Airport Set, 1978, is G-27. So G-nn could actually represent a year only within the G category.
 
(02-19-2020, 02:26 AM)Vio Wrote: Do we theorise that G-nn numbering system retired in 1978?

We can conclude the G category of numbers belong to the early Hikari-Go mark box art style sets. This means the New International Airport Set and the C-62 Bridge Set are the final sets released in 1978 and the final sets in the early Hikari-Go mark period. (I own the airport set currently) ... The next part of the research is to find the number system of the C-62 Bridge Set. We need to also find what does G literally stand for...
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#15
Tentetsuki (1 lane to 4 lane switch, first generation) has been found recently.

Year 1974, G-23, similar packing colouring style as early Hikari-Go Mark sets.

[Image: i-img1200x800-1534996061mwx2sq274.jpg]
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