Published: 2016-04-19 - By: gdm
Last updated on: 2021-07-21
visibility: Public
What is a multipack? Anytime a product comes with more than one item in it, that product might be a multipack. For example a Train Set with an engine, three freight cars and a caboose could be considered a multipack. The simple reason is that each of the five components could be separately sold had the manufacturer so desired.

However, some things probably shouldn’t be considered multipacks, even though the components are theoretically marketable as discrete products. An example of this is a gondola with a load. The load could be sold separately but typically would not be. However, some flatcars with trailers from Micro-Trains might be considered two different items (the flatcar and the trailer) whereas an Atlas flatcar with two TOFC trailers might be considered a single item (since the trailers are not easily removable). In the end, it is a judgement call, but most cases are pretty easy to decide. A runner-pack with four Micro-Trains boxcars in it is definitely a multi-pack.

So, once you have decided that a given product is in fact a multipack, how do you enter it into TroveStar? Let us use a simple example. Acme Trains produces a package with two 40-foot boxcars in it. Each has identical properties except their road numbers differ. Let us assume the package is assigned a manufacturer stock number of 12345 and the box cars do not have individual stock numbers and their road numbers are 5432 and 5433. The pair of cars is sold in a single package which carries an MSRP of $40.00. Here is how it should be entered:

Entry #1 (the complete package)
  • Stock Number: 12345
  • MSRP: 40
  • Road Number: 2-pack (or any variation such as 4-car set, etc.) - see note below
  • Multipack: Yes
  • Multipack Count: 2
  • Multipack ID Number: 12345
  • Multipack Element: leave it blank
  • Specific Item Information: Road numbers: 5432, 5433 (comma separated list of all road numbers in the pack - optional) - see note below

Note: when the pack contains only 2 or 3 items, you may add the road numbers as a comma separated list in the Road Number field rather than in the Specific Item Information field, but definitely DON'T if it contains more than 3.

Entry #2 (car #5432)
  • Stock Number: 12345-A
  • MSRP: -1 (minus one means no individual price)
  • Road Number: 5432
  • Multipack: No
  • Multipack Count: leave it blank
  • Multipack ID Number: 12345
  • Multipack Element: 1
Entry #3 (car #5433)
  • Stock Number: 12345-B
  • MSRP: -1 (minus one means no individual price)
  • Road Number: 5433
  • Multipack: No
  • Multipack Count: leave it blank
  • Multipack ID Number: 12345
  • Multipack Element: 2
In this particular case, the individual items did not carry a specific stock number, so we arbitrarily assigned one that is composed of the multipack stock number followed by –A for the first item, -B for the second, etc. There is no specific rule here, so any enumeration like -1, -2, … or –a, -b, … will do.

There are also cases where each individual item is assigned a unique stock number and the multipack is having its own stock number; this is the case for example of Micro-Trains Runner Packs or NSE multipacks. Then, each individual item should be entered with its specific stock number and the pack stock number should be used for Multipack ID Number of all items of the pack including the multipack itself.

You will notice the total number of entries will always equal one more than the number of the components as there should always be an entry for the package itself. If the manufacturer re-uses the same product for a second multipack with different components (yes this does happen quite a lot with reprints), then the multipack ID for the second release should be “12345-2nd” or something like that.

Multipack Yes and Multipack Count shall only be used for the multipack itself and not for the individual items of the pack.

Multipack Element is only used for individual items of the pack. If there is a specific order, then number them in this order, otherwise number them in any order. Use one different ordinal number per item: 1, 2, 3, 4, … Individual items have their field Multipack set to No and Multipack Count left blank.

Also note that in some cases each item in the multipack might have a different body style. The multipack itself should have a body style of 000_GENPACK unless there is a brand-specific generic multipack or box set bodystyle. Kato and Micro-Trains are examples where specific body styles for box sets exist.

In the case where all the cars in a multipack have the same exact body style, the same livery and differ only by their road number, then you have the option of setting the body style of the multipack to the same style as its component cars. You also can skip creating the component cars and simply list the road numbers in a comma-separated-list in the Specific Item Information field.

If you enter a box set comprised of various body styles, but don't know how to identify each individual items, then create only one entry for the pack and add as much detail as you can in the Specific Item Information such as description of individual items, road numbers, etc. A curator will create individual items if possible.
See our specific article about entering such train sets here.

About the Author

George has been collecting trains for more than two decades. He started writing about the models and the process of collecting more recently. As well as the TroveStar Blog, George's written work has appeared in the N Scale Enthusiast Magazine. He loves talking about collecting, models, manufacturing and modular railroading. His background in management of massive amounts of financial data made him interested in using some of that knowledge to benefit various collectors. He lives on Cape Cod in the state of Massachusetts with his wife and three cats.