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Numbers Game?
Posted by Gregg on September 13, 2001 at 08:43 PM CST:




In Purple Dave's recent article comparing the two copper Huna masks (the TRU one and the Billund exclusive) he made mention of a difference in the numerals on the back of the two masks. Upon close inspection of my own masks I find that all the masks have several different numbers, one of which is kind of perplexing.

The numbers in question are pictured above and there seems to be some kind of system in place as evidenced by the fact that thus far I have only seen the 02 designation on McDonald's Happy Meal promo masks. This includes the purple PAKIRI mask which was previously realeased in one of the RAHI sets.

Curiouser and curiouser, the first number seems to be all over the map too, ranging from 1 to 4. The strange thing is that looking at multiple copies of the same mask shows multiple "prefix numbers" possible on any given mask.

Looking at the Euro exclusives gives no clue, the prefix numbers are all over the place and all the affix numbers are 01.

I have two of the California LEGOLAND® exclusives and they have two different prefix numbers, both are 01 affix numbers.

So what does it all mean? Are these date stamps telling when they were made? Or are they more like mint marks designating a certain plant where they were produced? Or are they secret messages from Ancient Astronauts? If anyone can shed light on this, or if you have any funny or whacky theories I'd love to hear them!

UPDATE:


Mark A. Durham writes in with some possible solutions:


"My father was a plastics engineer, so I am familiar with injection molding practices. (Side note: My father would occasionally stop in the grocery store or mall and point to a plastic cap or nosecone or whatever and say, "I made that!") I don't claim that the following is anything more than an informed guess however."

"The five digit numbers are part numbers and should be the same for all parts of the same design. Examples: All Tohunga disks are 32171, all Tohunga backs are 32577, all Hau are 32505, etc. The other numbers, the numbers that can vary, identify the mold the part was made in, and quite possibly the cavity in that mold............Quality control can then use these numbers to easily pinpoint
which mold (and possibly cavity) is responsible for any discovered sub-standard parts."

This makes a lot of sense and thanks go out to Mark for such a quick response! Purple Dave had pretty much the same thought. When two smart guys like Mark and Dave have the same idea, I'm going with that theory!

Aahhh, now I can sleep again.



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