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Finding LEGO Set Anomalies...

IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
OK... I'm working on finishing up my 9 volume LEGO Set Encyclopedia... and as I am going along, I am finding a lot of odd things with LEGO sets.  Finding anomalies in old LEGO sets is very common.  But I am finding a lot of undocumented items even on relatively newer sets.  So I'll be posting a few things here as I uncover "the dirt".... in case folks here are interested.

I'm working on Promotional Sets right now... and came across some weird things with 1998 World Cup LEGO sets.

Among the 1998 World Cup sets... there were 3 that were country specific....

3017 Germany World Cup Set....

 The 3317 shows the German flag colors on the minifig artwork in the left corner.

The 3320 shows the Austrian flag (wavy pattern) on the minifig artwork in the lower left.

And then the 3318 is listed as an Engish soccer player, and shows the English (St. George's Cross) flag.  However... the 3318 set number is missing... which is very odd....

It shows a "2" ( a Shell promo number).  Well when I did some checking, I came across something very interesting.  It may have been that the English polybag was also "repurposed" for other countries as well.  Check this out...

It appears that this polybag 3318 set was sold within another (sealed?) polybag!  Only the outer bag listed the set number and country that the set was for.  Also included were 2 small sticker sheets, using the flag of each country.  I am now pretty sure that there is one of these with the England outer label (3318-EN ??)... and also included English flag stickers in the outer polybag.  Now I am wondering what other countries these were made for? 

Also... online databases only mention the England version of 3318, but without stickers.  In fact... the 3317 (German) and 3320 (Austrian) versions of this set also do not show stickers in the online databases.  It makes me wonder if these other two polybags were originally sold within a clear bag like the Scotland-Netherlands-Sweden 3318 versions... and with stickers?

Interesting.....  ;-)



  • GalactusGalactus Member Posts: 260
    Were the 3317 and 3320 not used as a Shell promo? Or were they sold in regular detail?
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    edited November 2017
    @Galactus .... as best as I can tell, the 3317 (German World Cup Player) and 3320 (Austrian World Cup Player) were also Shell promo's.... sold only in Germany and Austria respectively.  I see that in the 2011 version of the LEGO Collectors Guide/Sammler Catalog (from the Fantasia German publisher)... that  it mentions the 3317 were sold in Europe, North America and Asia, and 3320 were sold in Europe and Asia.   However, there are many errors in the Fantasia book, and I told the Fantasia folks not to trust the TLG Archive info as 100% accurate.  I have found in my previous research that the info in the Archives does not always reflect the info of what whas actually sold.. and where it was sold.

    Also, the number of collectors in the Brickset database that own these... don't really match that type of breakdown.  3317 is mainly owned by Germans, and 3320 is mainly owned by Austrians.  Soccer was not that popular in the USA back 20 years ago... and I don't see it as being sold there.   And, I don't see it that German and Austrian World Cup soccer players were sold in Asia.  So I just mention them in my guide as country specific polybags.

  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    edited November 2017
    Just came across another quirky one... the 3442 LEGOLAND California Truck.

    At first one would get the impression that it was a 1999 USA LEGOLAND grand opening exclusive. But that was not the case.  It was available as a Shop-At-Home exclusive in the USA.... and that meant that it also included Canada as a sales location, since the Shop-At-Home service covered both countries....  $11 in the USA...  CAN $15 in Canada....

    Oh... and I'm sure it was available at the LEGOLAND California LEGO store as well... but not exclusive to it.  But I guess it still counts as a LEGOLAND California promotional set.
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Member Posts: 5,481
    Istokg said:

    It looks to me that the outer bags are Ziploc style closure, not heat sealed as would likely be done on an assembly line. Makes me think these were hand packed, and thus not done in large qty due to the added cost. To me, that throws any expectation of consistency out the window.
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    edited November 2017
    @Astrobricks I am just as confused about this as you are.... Were these later hand packaged by TLG?  We don't really know.  Nor do we know if they were sold in different countries or in just the UK (both Scotland and England)?  TLG could have packaged these, and included the labels for specific teams.

    What makes this even more confusing is the 1998 World Cup 3303-3314 soccer sets... which were sold in the Netherlands as Shell promo sets.  They all have the Shell logo in the lower right corner, and are numbered 1 thu 12.  The polybag sets (3304, 3305, 3306) have no set numbers on the front... just a '2' or '3' or '4'... to match the Shell set order.  All the others are boxed sets and include the set number in the upper right.

    Well the 3305 set appears to have come in 3 different versions.... The first set has a '4' in the upper right, and is part of the 1-12 Dutch promo sets for Shell....

    No problem there...   but then there is also a 2nd version with the 305 number in the upper right, and it shows the German jersey (the guy with the ball).

    This 3305 version has a set number in the upper corner, but no Shell logo in the lower right corner.  Was this a German set that was complements the 317 German Soccer player set (a home and away World Cup team Minifig) that was for the German market?


    And to further muddy the waters is this 3305 set polybag showing the same "Limited Edition" triangle in the lower right as the earlier (double bagged) 3318 sets?  The 3318 has the LIMITED EDITION and a "3" on the polybag.  Was this one with a "2" on it the complement to the English/Scottish 3318... which may have also had an outer polybag with stickers??   Don't fully know... but there is a sort of pattern forming here.  (and is there another polybag set with a '1' on it somewhere?)

    Now you know what I mean by "LEGO Mayhem"... ;-)

    So we have several versions of 3305 World Soccer Sets, as well as the 3318... there has to be some explanation to this... and it appears that these sets may have been sold in several countries.  This is why I like to share info with everyone... someone else likely knows another piece in this intricate puzzle... :-D

  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    OK... I think I have the Soccer sets and polybags figured out.... there is a 880002 World Cup (group of smaller sets) Soccer set... tht comes in 4 country versions... 1) Dutch (Shell), 2) UK (Limited Edition), 3) German (n labels) and 4) Austrian (also no labels.

    I am now convinced that only the Dutch versions are Shell related.  None of the other 3 are anything more than just World Cup sets.

    Each of the different 880002 set comes with (1) field set, (1) field accessories set, (1) goalies set, (2) home team polybag minifig setss, and (2)  away team polybag minifig sets.

    Here are the breakdown of the 880002 sets based on country....

    UK...... 3018 (2), 3005 (2), 3002 (1), 3003 (1), 3006 (1).
    NET.... 3004 (2), 3005 (2), 3002 (1), 3003 (1), 3006 (1).
    GER.... 3017 (2), 3005 (2), 3002 (1), 3003 (1), 3006 (1).
    AUST.. 3020 (2), 3005 (2), 3002 (1), 3003 (1), 3006 (1).

    And besides just these field and player sets, there are also the grand stands, TV booth, medic center, light towers and police unit sets.

    ALL of these come in 4 versions..... 1) Dutch... with the Shell logo, 2) German and Austrian (separate versions) with the set number in the upper right corner, and the UK version with "LIMITED EDITION" in the lower right corner.

    Here is the 3303 (Field Accessories Set) for the Netherlands....

    The 3303 set for Germany (and possibly Austria)... although the sets there may have an Austrian soccer player in the lower right....

    The 3303 set for the UK....

     So there are 4 versions of each of these sets... :-)
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    edited November 2017
    Well I found out some more info on these sets.... the 880002 combined field set was produced for the UK, Germany and Austria.  Supposedly they may have been produced for the Netherlands (as a Shell promo)... but I cannot find a box for that set anywhere.  The one on Bricklink is a 3002 field set mistaken for a 880002.  And in the Brickset list of owners of sets... most of these 1998 World Cup Soccer sets... about 40-60% of each are owned by Dutch collectors.  But the 880002 set is owned by very few Dutch collectors as compared to the UK and Germany.... so I don't think a Dutch Shell promo 880002 set was produced.... only the individual 3302 thru 3314 sets.

     Also... here are images of the existing 880002 Field Sets by country....

    UK 880002....

    Germany 880002.....

    Austria 880002....

    Interestingly  enough the UK version shows 4 soccer players and a goalie for each team (on the box)... but the German/Austrian 880002 box shows only 2 soccer players for each team.  It appears that the UK version set came with 4 3318 (England Players) as well as 4 3304 (Dutch Players).  The German and Austrian only came with 2 3317 and 2 3304 for Germany, and 2 3320 and 2 3304 for Austria.  So that would explain the 4 extra partitions on the left side of the German (and likely Austrian) 880002 boxed sets... 2 extra 3317s and 2 extra 3304s in Polybags... since unlike the UK 880002 box... only 2 (instead of 4) of each team soccer players were included.

    And for the UK 880002 boxed sets... they likely came with those weirdly wrapped soccer players shown earlier.... (and again here)....  Scotland versions in this case.

    These certainly didn't look like they would sell like this separately... and packaged inside a 880002 set, they would be OK.

    Mysteries solved.... WHEW!!   Also... it appears that the German/Austrian World Cup sets were sponsored by RAN... the German language version of ESPN.

    But I don't know who sponsored the UK version.

    HA!!  And here I thought modern LEGO would be easier to try and decipher than old LEGO!!  ;-)  

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Member Posts: 2,696
    But whoever bagged these is an American. 
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    @oldtodd33 thanks for pointing that out... only in the USA is it called Soccer.... in the UK it's called football.  Also I noticed that the sticker sheets are irregular and not square... another faux pas.
  • AleyditaAleydita Member Posts: 952
    Istokg said:
    @oldtodd33 thanks for pointing that out... only in the USA is it called Soccer.... in the UK it's called football.  Also I noticed that the sticker sheets are irregular and not square... another faux pas.

    A common but mistaken belief - the term soccer originated in the UK. A brief explanation, back in the day, two 'codes' split from a team game that had sprung up around England, with two different sets of rules agreed - what we now know as rugby and football. Rugby was officially known as 'rugby football' and football as 'association football' - this was a lot of moveable type for the newspapers so it became shortened to 'assoc football' which became 'soccer' in speech and then in print. When rugby itself split into two codes and became popularly known as 'rugby union' and 'rugby league', association football was free to reclaim the term football. By this point, the game had already been exported as soccer across the English speaking world and beyond, and the term 'soccer' persists where the country has other versions of football (such as the US with American Football, and Australia with Aussie Rule Football).
  • AleyditaAleydita Member Posts: 952
    In England, the term soccer was used interchangeably with football until well into the 1980s. I have many magazines from across the decades where the term crops up all the time, even in the title - even today there's a British magazine called "World Soccer" which presumably keeps the name in order to help appeal overseas.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Member Posts: 2,696
    @Aleydita    Thank you for the history lesson, that was interesting. 
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    @Aleydita yes thanks so much for the anecdote!!  Between quires, tyres, dual carriageways, car parks, lorries, bangers, crisps bonnets, boots, public houses and roundabouts... Americans still have a lot to learn.  ;-) 
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Member Posts: 550
    We've tried roundabouts here, they're terrible. Requesting a refund, please take them back.
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    We've tried roundabouts here, they're terrible. Requesting a refund, please take them back.
    Here in Michigan, Macomb County, an 800,000 pop. suburban county north county of Detroit (where I live)... we started using roundabouts as the first in the state to do so about 16 years ago... and people either love them or hate time.  But since I've driven in England.... I love them... ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    edited November 2017
    I want to thank Evans from France (lives north of Paris)... he brought to my attention this set 6377 Delivery Center of 1985.  It's listed as a USA/Canada only set... but here's proof that it was available (probably a limited issue) in France as well....

    It has the European box type (no piece count).

    There are a lot of USA only or USA/Canada only sets that were indeed sold in a select few countries elsewhere.  The 6383 Public Works Center of 1981 (supposedly USA only) was also sold in Germany by one of the independent toy retailers associations.

    So there are a lot more 'exceptions to the rule' than we realize....

    More 'LEGO Mayhem'.... ;-)

  • jpeg07jpeg07 Member Posts: 20
    The UK version of the 880002 set was sponsored by Merlin. You can see their logo in the bottom left of the picture above. It also came with two sealed collectors/trading cards (English footballers / soccer players), since Merlin was a collectable card trading company, owned by Topps.
     I had a copy of one and there is actually no Lego number anywhere on the box (I don't think it even has 880002 in tiny font but I could be wrong). Unusually it also had a whole team's worth of Scotland stickers, along with "World Players" ones. It's these stickers that someone has cut up and included with the bagged sets shown above. Otherwise the little sealed generic sets didn't come with stickers.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    The other interesting thing about them is the clear lack of agreements with the different countries' Football Associations. Only The Netherlands one has the official badge, whereas generic flags are used for the others.  For 20 years ('96-'16) Panini weren't allowed to use the official England kit or badge in their football stickers as they had an agreement with Merlin to be the official sticker producer. So strange that Merlin were sponsoring this one, but no official badges. Maybe someone else had the rights to official football figurines. I cannot remember the dates that the Topps / Match Attax / Character Building figures were first out.
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    Yeah.... I noticed that only the Dutch sets (can't find the existence of a 880002 Dutch set) are 3302-3314 Dutch Shell promos.

    It appears that both the Dutch Shell sets and the UK Merlin sets do not have the set numbers on the box (only on the instructioins booklet).  The Dutch sets have a 1-12 number in the upper right,  the UK sets have a blank area where the set number is, and the German/Austrian sets have the set number.

    The other 2 1998 World Cup series are the German and Austrian sets.  I see "Powered by RAN" on the German boxes.  Is this like the German version of :ESPN sports network?  That's the only sports related RAN I could find.  The only Austrian specific sets I could find were the 880002 Field Accessories set, and the 3320 Austrian Player polybag.  Maybe Austria used all the other German set ... or there were actually very few Austrian sets, since Austria is a smaller LEGO market.  Not really sure yet.

    But what we know for sure now is that the Dutch series is a Shell promo, the UK series is a Merlin promo, and the German series is a RAN promo.

    3303 UK Merlin promo....

    3308 Dutch Shell promo....

    3311 German RAN promo....

    880002 Austrian ??? promo....

  • evvdu95evvdu95 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks Gary for posting my picture here, I would not have tought about it.
    I'm glad having helped rising another mystery.
    I hope to see more in your book! :)
  • jpeg07jpeg07 Member Posts: 20
    The UK Merlin sets had the same numbers at the top right as the Dutch ones. You can just see the "1" at the top of the UK 880002 box. The UK Goals and Referees set had no number because it was included in the number "1" box - along with plastic sealed bases for the field, a polybag of goalies, 4 each of "English" players and "World Players", stickers for Scotland (?) and three Merlin cards or stickers. Instructions were presumably the pictures on the box. What was missing from mine were the "rules" for the game - as it states on the box. 
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    @jpeg07 Thanks for all the info... you answered a lot of questioins about the UK set. 

    One other thing I have noticed is that somewhere along the line the Dutch and UK numbering system got out of whack... likely because  some UK sets don't have numbers.

    For example... the National Team Member set (3305) is #4 in the Netherlands, and #3 in the UK....

    The last set in the Football stadium series (3314... the Stadium Security Set).... it is number 12 in the Netherlands, and number 7 in the UK....

    The German and Austrian sets don't have this red circle set number, only the 4 digit LEGO set numbers.

  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    That is a very weird numbering scheme used on the sticker sheet, especially on the World Team side.
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    edited December 2017
    The 1831 Maersk Line Lorry Container was introduced in 1995.....

    In May 1996 Maersk started licensing with the Sealand Corporation to co-brand the trucks and ships with "Maersk Sealand".  So the 1831 sets with Maersk Sealand labeling date to 1996, a year later than what online LEGO databases show as the set date....

    Then the actual purchase of Sealand by Maersk didn't happen until 1999.... and the 3 "flavors" of the 10152 container ship came into being in 2004, 2005 and 2006.  Eventually "Sealand" was dropped by Maersk as a brand name.... only to be reintroduced in 2014, but for nothing LEGO related!  ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    edited December 2017
    Going thru some of the LEGO promotional USA only and USA/Canada promotional sets...   In 1999 TLG made 16 different promotional sets for McDonalds, to be included in Happy Meals.

    These simple builds were made for younger children.  But there is one McDonald's promotional set from that era that was geared to older children.... the 3438 McDonald's Restaurant set.

    This set is mainly just the drive-thru part of a McDonald's restaurant, but is still a nice set.  However, unlike the other McDonald's sets of 1999, this set was really not a McDonald's release.  This set was an exclusive from USA Shop-At-Home....

    You could get this set for free, if you bought $75 worth of LEGO items at Shop-At-Home, or buy it from Shop-At-Home for $11.  

    There seems to have been quite a few late 1990s early 2000s sets that were exclusives for restaurants, or airlines, etc.   And yet they were also available at USA Shop-At-Home.  There was an endless supply of LEGO sets made as "Airline Exclusives" for giving away to children on certain airlines (British Airways, Lufthansa, Condor, Scandinavian Airways, Air Austria, United Airlines, Quantas, etc.).   And yet many of these were also available at the USA Shop-At-Home store... still with "Airline Exclusive" printed on the box. 

    Here's an example.... polybag Airline set 3233... made for airlines... but also sold at USA Shop-At-Home....

    There seems to have been a lot of promotional exclusive sets made... which were not all that exclusive!   More LEGO Mayhem!
  • CyberdragonCyberdragon Member Posts: 550
    OMG, I actually have (the remnants of) some of those McDonalds Happy Meal sets! I was 3 in 1999, so I don't really remember getting them, but I recognised the parts when playing with my Lego as a child. Of the ones I'm pretty sure I have are the blue monster car and the chicken car.
  • RTORTO Member Posts: 87
    I think I have a sealed copy of the McDonald's set. I'll have to check when I get home.
  • M1J0EM1J0E Member Posts: 644
    I feel old now that I remember the earlier McDonald’s sets as a kid.  I’m sure the bricks from #1913 - Boat are somewhere in a bucket of stuff.  I remember the printed yellow bricks with the eyes.  
  • mithridatemithridate Member Posts: 52
    I enjoy sleuthing for the origin of trivial “anomalies” as much as the next AFOL.

    Many anomalies turn out to have proper rhyme and reason behind them. What’s semi-frustrating, though, is that an anomaly within any product (line), especially one with co-branding and regional considerations, can also stem from an unrecorded, totally random (non requiter of an) action (mistake) within the licensor/licensee/design/production/account/marketing/distribution/regional/etc organization. Then the rationalized origin story for the anomaly stays just that: a story.

    Good thing most of us are here for the story (journey) anyway!
  • ricecakericecake Member Posts: 878
    I had #1645, #1647, and #1649 from McDonald's. I found them a few years ago and gave them to my nephew.
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