Thursday, May 17, 2007
For a long time I've wished for a miniature verson of an Anker Steinbaukasten - an Anchor Stone Building Set. Well, I finally have one: Der Kleine Gernegroß - which probably best translates as "Lil' Whippersnapper," though I wonder how many people know what whippersnapper actually means (or meant). I certainly didn't.
The set is listed in Anker Steinbaukasten's puzzle series, since it is of that size range and uses that style of box. But some of the stones are actually "borrowed" from the regular stone series - e.g. regular stone #69 (aka "Pez") becomes a "#15" here, and a #31 becomes a "#4." That's a #69 from my set 6 next to the penny in the top image.
The stone packing arrangement I show in my set above deviates from the official layout as delivered and as shown on the inside of the lid (see The ToyHouse site, my source, for what that looks like) -- mine is closer to the style of traditional sets, and I greatly prefer it.
Tiny building block sets have occasionally been offered over the years, and still are offered, but usually with the parts made of wood, and too light and too slippery to very easily build with. Anchor Stones have enough extra weight, and enough tooth to their surface, that you can actually build with these quite well.
Even before my set arrived, I had prepared a substitute "#288" stone (steeple) from a pyramidal fishing weight with the attachment removed from what becomes the base, and with the lettering filed off the sides. It still needs to have about 1/8" taken off the bottom, but doesn't look bad even now (right) in a structure modified from a plan shown in an old post (which also shows the same structure, with different modifications, in Ankerstein Klein Kaliber and wooden Tabletop Unit Blocks). There are a couple more similar sheets, and more usable plans from sets 1 and 2, which can be downloaded here.
I expect I will be borrowing #69 and #31 stones from my set 6 to make even larger structures in the future, but it is the portability and usability of this set just as it is that will get it the most use (I will consider swapping out one of the yellow #31/"#4" blocks for two yellow #69/"#15" blocks though).
I recommend it.
It really is good block play.