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I have the six original Visorak (Sets 8742, 8743, 8744, 8745, 8746 and 8747) with different canisters (or boxes).

For example, my Suukorak (8747) has a white canister, and my friend's has a black one.

Here's a picture showing the canisters:

Some canisters are colored the same as their lid while others are black.

Why?

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That's funny... all my visorak have black canisters and colored lids... – user6158 Sep 7 '15 at 2:52

I heard a similar question about old cars and how one owner had a hood made of steel and another . . . same make, same model, same year . . . had an aluminum hood. The answer as to why was simple . . . it's the metal the manufacturer had at the time. My guess is once the molding machines are loaded with a color they keep using it until it runs out. Some of the colors were versatile and looked good on multiple sets so they could make more of those before switching colors.

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So it's not a serial propertie or something like that ? – Thiruk Feb 27 '13 at 17:36
    
I was figuring that color didn't matter just like my example about steal vs aluminum . . . but since there are THAT many different colors I'm starting to wonder. It's like minifigs where it's the same character but with a different facial expression and/or costume. Now I'm starting to wonder if it's a part of the "story" that goes with Bionicle. – tooshel Feb 28 '13 at 16:49
    
Nope, the Visorak's canisters are not presents in the story, some of them like the Toa Mata, Piraka, Bohrok, Rahkshi or the Vahki are, but not Visorak's. – Thiruk Mar 6 '13 at 12:46

First I want to address tooshel's answer... LEGO doesn't run out of colors. It just doesn't work that way. They craft literal trillions of LEGOs daily, and that's an undershoot. They're cool as far as plastic.

When this kind of thing happens with LEGO, there's usually a backstory. This backstory is usually along the lines of:

  • Oop! We screwed that up! Quick, redesign, fix it! (Like the Luke Skywlaker pen.)
  • What? You think this will look better? OK, make one. Oh wow, that is cool. Let's make the new ones like that.

The second one is much more common than the first nowadays, but the extensive drafting and confirmation processes you see today make certain that neither of these really occur anymore at all.

So. Do you like the black lid, or the white lid? Whichever one you liked, somebody's boss did too. Whichever one you like less, a different boss or perhaps the same with a change of heart, liked as well, enough to release new ones like it.

And as to your sub-question about serial properties... No, they aren't rare enough to carefully re-mark a new model to distinguish it from the old.

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