During the years that Rovex / Tri-ang produced The Big Big Train changes were made in the packaging and also issues with packaging had to be solved. Alternatives were used and these make interesting items for collectors.
This post will show some differences in packaging and also some rare boxes that were used.
Let’s begin with the obvious differences. Of course the Big Big Train logo changed from the text between two black lines to a more frolic font without the black lines:
Notice that the box with the older logo has its’ content printed on both end flaps of the box while the box on top with the new logo has a printed label only on one end of the box.
The earlier boxes were especially made for a certain type of wagon and thus was the usage less flexible. The later boxes had a white space for printing a label or a separate label was glued to that white space. The box in the picture has its content printed on the white space.
The larger boxes of the Gondola Wagon had their contents printed on the side in the earlier version. This was also changed later.
Using separate labels made the boxes more versatile. A box could fit for instance a Steam Roller Wagon but it could also be used for a Caboose or a ZOO Wagon. Separate labels made this possible.
Some examples of these labels:
I have also examples of the use of pre-printed boxes for other items as intended. Labels were glued on top of the print on the box. Below is an example of a box for Curved Track that is used for packing a Signal Gantry.
If you look carefully you can see the text printed on the box shine through the label that has been glued on top of it.
Also remarkable is the use of the older box with the old logo combined with the glued-on label with the new logo.
Another example of alternative use of packaging or labels is the retail package of the Trackside Switch. If you look carefully in the next picture you can see that the label for the switch is glued on top of a pre-printed label for a plastic bag holding 4 Curved Tracks.
Towards 1971 the future of Big Big Train was uncertain and more and more models were sold in other yellow boxes with separate labels attached to them.
Also some of the normal yellow boxes ran out of stock and so models were sold in temporary white boxes with the separate labels glued on. These temporary packs were not very attractive and I suppose many customers threw these in the bin. Therefore these packs are rare and in my opinion make a great addition to a Big Big Train collection.
I have some of these rare temporary packs in my collection. The first one is for a Caboose and funny thing is that even the line “Temporary Pack” is printed on the end flap together with the illustration, logo and so on.
Another example of these temporary packs I would like to show here is a box for a RV258 Open Wagon. This package is just a plain white box with nothing more than a yellow label for the Open Wagon glued to the side. This box was part of the stock of a Dutch toy store.
The final item of this post is the package of a RV262 Steam Engine. This engine is hard to find in a good condition as it is but in good condition and in its’ original box is very rare.
I think the plastic inlay on the left side is missing because I think there should be one on the left as there is one on the right. I also wonder if there was a lid of some kind for this box. Nevertheless I am very glad to have this in my collection and I am happy to show it here.
Enjoy the pictures!