My family has fallen into a bit of a trap in the guise of toys that are sold in a method known as blind box or mystery mini. We find it excruciatingly difficult to pass up the opportunity to buy one or more of these cubes of chance that some toy distributors, particularly Funko, have laid out like snares to catch us – or rather our cash – as one would a rabbit. They are particularly tricky, managing to catch me unawares in a variety of places including our regular local comic shop (Emerald City Comics) as well as Barnes and Noble and even Walmart!
These addicting cubes of chance show up for a variety of franchises that the family appreciates including How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and, more recently, a Classic Sci Fi set. In some, the odds of getting one or another vinyl miniature are the same – In the How to Train Your Dragon 2 set all of the figures were 1/12 chance, though Astrid eluded me well… In the Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead sets, the most rare figures are 1/144. With this in mind, I’ve managed to pick up a full collection of the set which has all the same chance, but those other ones I haven’t done so well at collecting. I started to think of how to beat this game.
We’ve noted in the past with these and other mystery boxes that there are differences in weight between the heaviest vinyls and the lightest that are discernable by hand, but not so well that it’s likely someone can determine exactly which mystery mini they might get just by holding a box. (If anyone is capable of this feat, all I can say is you are awesome.)
That said, we’ve always ripped into these guys right at the store where we bought them to share the joy and excitement, until tonight.
Tonight we went all in and bought a full case of 12, and we took those bad boys home. Once home, we weighed each of them on a little, battery-powered food scale we have in grams. Why grams? Because they’re pretty darned accurate little units of measure and hey, I’m Canadian so I actually know what it means!
What we determined was quite telling. First, we only opened 9 of the 12, and we hope to return the other 3, bringing our scale along to choose 3 replacements. Because grams are a fairly fine measure, we were able to discern a nice bit of difference between the boxes which varied in weight from 40g to 67g.
We did not open the 40g box, which was a full 5 grams lighter than the next box up. We are relatively certain this is an E.T. We already have an E.T. – If we were real scientists we’d surely open it to be absolutely certain, but we’re more interested in making sure we maximize our success in getting all of them!
Of the 9 boxes we did open, the difference between the weight of the full box and the vinyl out of the box was 23 grams on 6 of them, and the other three were 1 gram different – one higher and two lower.
In the boxes we found 3 vinyls that we already owned. When we weighed the duplicate vinyls we found them each to match weight with their corresponding vinyls. That said, the glow in the dark Tron vinyl was 3 grams lighter than the normal Tron, and the clear Predator was 6 grams lighter than the regular Predator.
Knowing the weights of what we have, and having a fair idea of size difference on those we don’t have compared to what we do have I suspect we have at least a slightly better chance of making a good choice in whether or not to open a box. As noted before, we left 3 unopened to go see about returning. The one I mentioned earlier we are sure is E.T. as no other blind box is as small as it is. The other two we chose not to open were 62g, which was the exact same as one other that was the black alien. We also had the silver or chrome alien, and when the two figures were measured outside of the box they were found to be the same weight. Based on the data available and consideration of the relative sizes of other miniatures, we are fairly certain that the other 62g boxes are also aliens.
This certainly isn’t perfect. For one, some figures weigh the same. In our observations, we found that Malcolm Reynolds (both the figure available in these boxes and the lootcrate exclusive on with a shotgun), regular Tron and Spock each weighed in at 25g. Similarly, Judge Dredd, Metaluna Mutant and Robocop each weighed in at 28g. Also, both alien variants weigh the same and I expect the normal and bloody Predator probably weigh the same as well – The reason that the clear Predator and Glow in the Dark Tron variants would be different in weight from their counterparts is almost certainly due to a difference in material.
With that in mind, even if we know that we’re looking for one of those, we’d not be able to determine which of those we would end up with. Additionally, there is the seemingly slight chance of box weight difference. Finally, in order to try to pick up a figure that we do not yet have a measurement on, we have to make some guesses as to the relative weight in comparison to those we do have available. That said, one strategy we have in mind is to consider any box which has a weight that is different from any that we have on record and open those to hopefully find something new.
If you read all the way through all of that, congratulations! I will give you our findings as your reward. If you just skipped to the findings, shame on you. My kids worked hard weighing and opening boxes, and they’re super cute. Even Jewel Staite says so! (Granted, they were dressed up as Kaylee and Jayne at the time…)
Yes, that cute. So now the data…
|Figure Name||Figure + Box Weight||Figure Weight||Calculated Box Weight|
|Tron (Glow in Dark)||45||22||23|
|Malcolm Reynolds (Standard)||48||25||23|
|Malcolm Reynolds (Lootcrate Shotgun)||Unknown||25||Unknown|
|Alien Queen (Black)||65||43||22|
|Alien Queen (Silver)||Unknown||43||Unknown|
|Robbie the Robot||67||44||23|
I hope you find this data useful, or at least entertaining. Feel free to friend me on facebook!