I've been looking through the parts of an old manual I have and I noticed the odd-length gray axles appear black and the even-length black axles appear white and black.


Is this just an artifact of the lossy compression and thick outline colors? It appears gray parts are outlined in black and black parts are outlined in white. I'm pretty sure this set came with standard axle colors.

  • 2
    I think you are correct, it look like a crap job of rendering the image in a PDF file.
    – Dan1138
    Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 2:56

2 Answers 2


I don't have this set, but used 8421 as a test. This set is also released in 2005.

Looking at the PDF you see the same color scheme of the axles, were the black appear to be gray and vice versa

enter image description here

When looking at the instruction manual

enter image description here

You see the normal colors, so indeed your set came with the normal colors and due to some bad scanning and compression the pdf got discolored

  • 5
    Lego's instruction manuals have shockingly bad colour fidelity. This is improved in recent years with the black parts being outlined in white, which explains those axles. But PDF versions of the instructions have always been at best as bad as printed instructions, and are often worse, when it comes to colour quality. Why this is, is a mystery. Commented Jul 21, 2020 at 16:34

The cause is simple. The images are authored in a vector or CAD format. When Lego rendered these vector images to the low resolution images in the PDFs, the thin outlines got turned into lines with a thickness of one pixel. Due to their small yet complex cross-section the axles get mostly covered by their outlines.

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