Inventory Sections: Regular, Extra, Counterpart, Alternate

There may be up to four different sections in a BrickLink inventory. Each one has a special purpose.
  • Regular Items - All parts required to build the main model and any secondary models, plus any other items on the official parts list. In the absence of a parts list, the instructions, box images, and official part count may be used to determine as closely as possible the constitution of the Regular section.

  • Extra Items - These are spare parts that are not used in any model and are not included in official parts lists or part counts. They can vary depending on when and where the set was packed and are typically small pieces such as 1 x 1 plates or tiles.

  • Counterparts - A section for special assemblies of parts from the Regular Items section. A counterpart can be a single part consisting of several other parts (part assembly), a single part with a sticker applied (stickered part), or several parts with a sticker applied across all of the parts (stickered assembly).

  • Alternate Items - Some production runs of the same set might feature different parts than other production runs of that same set. A match number (MID) is entered for the regular parts and the alternate parts to identify which regular parts the alternate parts are paired with. The match number is the same on all items in each match. A match number in each set starts with 1 and is incremented by 1 for each match.

Additional Information About Extra Parts
  • Adding Extras - Extra parts should only be added to a set inventory when they have been confirmed in a brand new set. Exceptions may be made for older sets based on convincing evidence.

  • Removing/Changing Extras - Parts in the Extra Items section of an inventory are variable, meaning that some sets or gear may include them and others may not. The quantity of extra parts may also vary. Extra parts are typically not removed from inventories or reduced in quantity unless it can be determined that they were originally added in error.

  • Extra Alternate Parts - Sometimes there are extra alternate parts in a set. When this occurs the alternate part remains connected to the regular part with a match ID. The extra alternate part is placed in the Alternate Items section and connected to the extra regular part with a new match ID.

    In cases where the alternate part has no match in the inventory because the regular part appears in an assembly such as a minifigure, the extra alternate parts are still given their own match ID with the extra regular parts. This is done to facilitate a consistent solution after the assembly is moved.

Additional Information About Counterparts
  • Adding Stickered Counterparts - If an inventory is missing a stickered part, then the part must be added to the catalog before it can be added to the inventory. Do not submit an inventory change request to add a plain part to the inventory as a counterpart to account for the part with the sticker applied.

    To add the stickered part to the catalog, first submit the part to the catalog and then upload a picture for the part. The picture must show the sticker correctly applied to the part as it appears in the set instructions. After the part has been approved and added to the catalog submit an Inventory Change Request to add the new part to the inventory as a counterpart.

  • Parts and Part Assemblies as Counterparts - The Counterparts section is intended exclusively for items which are permanently changed during the process of building a set. Examples include stickers removed from sticker sheets and applied to parts, cut pneumatic hoses, and strings which are cut or tied to reels or other parts. At the present time, however, the Counterparts section is used for anything which does not fit the definition of a regular, extra, or alternate part.

    Part assemblies should only be added to set inventories if they are shown assembled exactly that way in set instructions. Exceptions may be made for sets like service packs which do not include instructions.

Additional Information About Alternate Parts
  • Adding Alternate Part Variants - Alternate variants of parts may only be added to inventories when they have been confirmed with a reliable source. The only truly reliable source is sealed set contents which have not been tampered with, although other sources will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Regular/Alternate Placement - Part variants confirmed in the earliest version of a set should be placed in the Regular Items section and later variants should be placed in the Alternate Items section. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, however, so check with an Inventories Administrator for clarification if you're not sure where to place a particular variant. Some of the exceptions are:

    • The International versions of sticker sheets are placed in the Regular Items section.
    • When the scarcity of the earliest variant is high enough that it is unlikely to be found in a sealed set, then it may be placed in the Alternate Items section.
    • Part variants in sets close to the time of transition between variants and outliers may be handled differently than stated above.

  • Double Alternates - In most cases each alternate match pairs up only two parts, but there are cases where a part may have two possible variants. In these special cases both variants in the Alternate Items section are given the same match ID and paired with the part in the Regular Items section, for a total of 3 lots connected by a single match number. Strictly speaking, this would mean the set could have either the regular variant or both the alternate variants together. However, BrickLink convention interprets this configuration to mean that the regular part could be replaced by either variant, but not both at once. As an example, see part 4085b/c/d in the Green Grocer inventory (10185-1).

  • Alternates in Assemblies - When alternate parts appear in assemblies such as minifigures, then no match ID is used in the assembly inventory. Nevertheless, the alternates are given match IDs in the Alternate Items section (these will not have a corresponding match ID in the Regular Items section). This is done to facilitate a consistent solution after the assembly is moved.

  • Alternates in Redesigned Sets - Sometimes sets are redesigned during production, typically for stability issues or added playability. To be considered a redesign the change must be reflected in the instructions (either a supplementary sheet or an entirely new version) and must involve a change in quantity or color for at least one part.

    If the redesign is significant there may be two set entries in the catalog. For lesser redesigns involving only a few parts the changes are indicated in the Alternate Items section of the inventory with Match ID 99. The earliest version of a set should always be included in the Regular Items section.