Saturday, May 20, 2006


This small Czech block set was probably made for export to a variety of countries, and rather than label it in a variety of languages, it has no labelling at all -- just illustrations!

Fine by me.

Though maybe the printing could have been in a little better register.

It is still good Block Play.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pequeno Arquiteto

Pequeno Arquiteto seems to be Portuguese for "small architect," and is apparantly used not just for different sorts of toy block sets, but also for different sorts of architects. Short? Small projects?

This particular set came from Brazil and is interesting for being tongue and groove, but without the notches of last week's Jeppe set.

The pieces have a 3/4" square cross-section, not counting the tongues.

Small & appealing block play.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


From Denmark, land of Lego and Hama with their inspiring explorations of plastic, came once upon a time a toy of wood: Jeppe, which continues yesterday's theme of Lincoln Log variants.

The most intriguing aspect of Jeppe, in comparison with most other linked-log constuction sets, is that the pieces are tongue-and-groove, which allows one to have wall sections such as window pillars entirely without cross pieces. In some other sets, that is provided for by having window inserts with grooves that hold the log ends in place, or in at least one instance, by having holes in the log ends so that a rod or dowel can be dropped in to hold the stacked ends vertical. Most sets, though, rely on stubby little crosspieces where a wall ends without a supporting corner.

Like Miniature Timbers, Jeppe has masonite roof pieces, this time slick side up and painted red. Similar pieces, which may be roofs in other structures, provide floors, resting in pegs stuck in the bottom layer of logs. No gratuitous extra chimneys to hold the roofs on, instead a tape hinge at the peak holds the roof in place and no chimeys are provided at all. I might need to cut a couple from scrap wood, for esthetic benefit, and for the comfort of the occupants.

Jeppe is also big, with the pieces 20mm high without the tongue, and 15mm thick (about 3/4" x 9/16"). Today's house is roughly 16" by 16" and over 8" high.

But by far the most intriguing aspect of Jeppe is the provision of holes and pegs to fasten pieces together like Erector sets or TinkerToys, as well as wheels and tires for making vehicles. So in addition to cabins, corrals and blockhouses, Jeppe can be used to build trucks and trains and spindly towers, with pieces pegged together or linked by pressing a tongue into a groove at an angle.

Intriguing Block Play.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Miniature Timbers

Lincoln Logs weren't the first interlocking structure set ("linking logs"), but they are by far the best known. American Logs came in a close second, in their day. Both of these had two different cross-section sizes, in the 1/2"-3/4" range, at some point in their history. Many other makers have imitated them at various times, mostly in similar sizes, but also larger and smaller.

Jeu Jura in Europa and Roy Toy in the US both have had smaller square/rectangular sets, which I have shown here previously, but the smallest of what I consider "real" construction sets (there have been tinier Lincoln Log sets in keychain and pen-top containers, but I consider these toys-of-toys) are the ~5/16" square Miniature Timbers from The Brand Mfg. Co. of "P.O. Box 6525, Stockyard Station, Denver 16, Colorado."

From the logo and the address, the "Brand" in the name appears to refer to cattle branding, not "brand name," but perhaps it also referred to the owner's name? The address style and illustrations all suggest 1950s production.

Roofs are probably where construction sets differ the most, with solutions ranging from folder cardstock to strips of wood to molded plastic. Miniature Timbers used masonite pieces with the textured side up, which turns out to be rather effective at representing roofing material such as asphalt shingles. The roofs are held by pieces of dowel extending down from the chimneys into holes in the roof pieces. That does have the odd effect that there are chimneys places where there would be no stove or fireplace underneath, such as just inside the front door opening or the middle of the garage, but hey ...

Set sizes ranged from 100-piece #0 to 800-piece (!) #3; the structures shown are buildable with 250-piece set #1.

Miniature Timbers were advertised as 1/4" scale, and illustrated with 1950s Lionel O gauge trains. I am sure the combination provided good play value for those who used the sets that way, though they likely wouldn't satisfy a scale model railroader.

Be that as it may, Miniature Timbers are good fun, and good Block Play.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I said this morning that there was time for more block play, and indeed there was.

Or was it Blox play?

3 things 2 things

This morning I posted in 3 Things 2 Things:

2 things you looking forward to today:
Anchor Blocks
Ball Mosaic

And here it is still early in the day and I've done both.

There's still time for more Block Play.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Today seemd like a good day for Wedgits, so I got out the design cards and started at the beginning. This design is well into the first card set.

Wedgits are good block play.

[created 5/1/06; modified 5/13/07]