During my no-so-recent trip overseas I encountered the uniquely Japanese way of selling collectable models – the 12 piece “collection”. Each volume in the series is made up of 12 models packed in 12 individual retail boxes and placed inside a larger display box, with each model intended for separate sale.
In most cases the model inside each inner box is unmarked, resulting in a collector desiring the entire set being forced to buy the entire display box, or finding an understanding shopkeeper who will let you open up each individual box to see what is inside.
I have a model railway in N scale (1:160) and while in Hong Kong I came across some Japanese models of trucks and construction equipment packaged as a 12 piece collection. I ended up purchasing two complete volumes of the “Hyper Construction” collection by Maruka: each volume contained 12 different pieces of equipment, with some items duplicated but in different colour schemes.
The third set I bought was the “Trailer Collection” from Tomytec, containing 10 different prime mover and container trailer combinations, as well as a special “secret” vehicle. This series is currently coming up to volume 5!.
Other than the searching required get the model you want, another downside to this method of selling models is the number of boxes you end up with. With 35 different N scale models and a plane to catch home, the only way to fit them all in was to remove each model from the individual cardboard box, and stuff them all into a bag.
On finding this collection of boxes on the hotel floor, I’m sure that housekeeping thought they had stumbled on some bizarre kind of drug runner.