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I haven't bought LEGO sets for a while, as my kids are just getting old enough to make the sets, but I am assembling the LOTR sets which I find impossible to resist.

I bought Gandalf Arrives (9469) and Shelob Attacks (9470) from Toys R Us at what seemed like an awful mark-up for them, but I noticed that I got quite a few extra pieces. Then I bought another The Orc Forge (9476) from Walmart and got marginally more than I paid for.

If this is idle speculation, I'll delete the post, but if there's something to it I'd like to know!

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The set you bought from Walmart, was it the exact same one or another set in the LOTR line of products? – Ambo100 Jun 5 '12 at 16:22
Different, got Gandalf and Shelob from Toys r Us, Orc Army from Walmart. – Peter Turner Jun 5 '12 at 17:10
If this is idle speculation, I'll delete the post... Even if not true (and it doesn't seem to matter which retailer we buy from), it's a great question. "Might I get more pieces at a certain retailer?" Especially since your question solicited @mcqwerty to share the "extra brick inventory" link and @Ambo100 to get Consumer Services information. – Alvin Reyes Jul 14 '12 at 18:22
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I will start by saying I do not own any of the LOTR sets. But, Bricklink has inventories of many sets including any extra pieces that were included with the set. You do not mention which specific sets you own, but here is a link to the 9474 The Battle Of Helm's Deep inventory on Bricklink. It lists a total quantity of 6 extra pieces (5 unique). You could compare the extra pieces in your sets to those listed on the Bricklink inventories and if you do indeed have more, then there may be something to it. Unfortunately Bricklink does not list where the set being inventoried was purchased from so without input from some other bricks members who actually own the sets then we can't know for sure.

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Oh wow, I just checked it - there's just a lot of extra parts for Shelob attacks. Wow, I didn't know they cataloged these! – Peter Turner Jun 5 '12 at 17:14

The number of parts shown on the box of the LEGO set indicate how many parts are included without the spare parts. Spare parts tend to be added for the smallest pieces of a set that can be lost easily.

Spare parts tend to be fairly consistent between identical sets regardless of where they are sold and sets with a greater amount of parts will generally have more spare parts.

When it comes to spare parts, it is random what pieces are included in which sets. We always want to make sure our fans have a little extra to go with their awesome imaginations.

LEGO Direct Consumer Services

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Please don't take this the wrong way, but could you provide some evidence supporting your statement that "Spare parts are consistent between identical sets". I am sure that this is the case also, but in the interests of keeping this site factual it may be helpful to provide supporting evidence where available. – mcqwerty Jun 6 '12 at 13:50
@mcqwerty: I wrote to LEGO customer services and I've included a quote from their response in my answer. Thanks for making the answer better! – Ambo100 Jun 6 '12 at 20:25

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