What is a Variant?

This is one of the questions that seems to come up a lot for hobbyDB users and curators alike.

At its simplest, a variant is a different version of something. For example, a model car which was produced in both red and yellow, but where both versions are otherwise identical.

Sometimes, however, the differences are more pronounced than that. For example, Siku’s model of the Ford Granada was produced in a number of different colors, in several more different colors with a roof-rack and a boat on the roof and in a further variety of colors as a Fire Services vehicle.

So are the cars with boats variants of the cars without boats? And what about the Fire Services versions?

Normally, you might consider that each different version wasn’t a variant of the other versions because they have larger differences than just a color change or a different color interior. On hobbyDB, however, we encourage you to define variants more broadly.

The reason for that is because with our new grouping function, you can separate variations into different “sub-variants”. That gives them their own page where they can be described in full and makes the best use of the main variant page as somewhere you can cover all the different variants in depth so it serves as an overall history of the item in all its versions.

It also makes this the best it can be for novice visitors to the site who are looking to get into collecting and find information about items since it shows everything on one page. Variants can have different reference numbers and even different manufacturers.

This doesn’t just apply to model cars either, but across the board to other types of item as well. For example, there the two different sizes of this giclee print, which we consider to be variants. If there was a version that had the colors on the car reversed but was otherwise identical, that would be a variant too.

And to illustrate the point about different manufacturers, here’s a game that was made by three different makers!

As the site develops, we aim to develop more concrete guidelines about what constitutes a variant in each different type of item but until that point, we hope this helps out with the definition a little.