The Ankerstein folks have a new set on their web site that got me rather excited as soon as I saw it: a new version of the wonderful Heinzelmännchen set, which I only knew from instruction manual scans on CDrom and the related download site (Downloads: SPECIAL : HEINZEL).
The Heinzelmännchen patterns have delighted me, with their fanciful little elves or ghosts and intricate background designs, since I first found them - be sure to click on the sample the right, to get a larger view, and if you like that, download the rest.
But the second thing that jumped out at me was that the block arrangement shown on the Ankerstein site above is almost the same as the Kleine Gernegroß (that is the German spelling for Gernegross, by the way) I have been enjoying, and previously discussed here. It differs only in the addition of two stones, which turn out not to have been in the original anyway - presumably they were added to make the new version fit in the same box as the Ankerstein sets 4 and 4A.
Filled with delight, I immediately printed myself a new set of Heinzelmännchen plans, not willing to waste any time looking for my old set, and began building with my Lil' Whippersnapper. Whereupon I got my next surprise: the block colors are different! The Kleinegernegroß and new Heinzelmännchen sets have a different color mix than the old Heinzelmännchen, and thus don't match the plans, even though the old plans are shown with the new set on the web site.
It turns out the set isn't actually in production yet, so maybe Ankerstein will correct that error before shipping. I hope so.
In the meantime, it was awfully hard to resist the temptation to borrow the "correct" color stones from my #6 set. But I think I managed for these two pictures, at least. I wanted to show HM plans built with KG stones out-of-the-box, no fudging. It was a real struggle with my Asperger side, which wanted to duplicate what was shown, as closely as was within my means.
For a long time, I have contemplated buying a #4 set, for those times when a #6 construction was more than I wanted to tackle, but the #4 is expensive, everything in the #4 manual (which I had printed for myself from the above sources) can be built from a #6 set. (Set #4 construction at right.)
Lately I have been thinking again about the importance of "one box builds" - how sometimes it makes a big difference that something can be built entirely with the contents of a single set, with no supplements or rummaging around for extra pieces. It can also be helpful if the "one box" doesn't overwhelm with extra pieces, which is why the #4 set kept nagging at me, and why I was so quick to get the Kleine Gernegroß. The latter is nice, and I am glad to have it, but those small stones are a bit much of a challenge for me sometimes, so I am going to get a Heinzelmännchen as well, so I can enjoy the comfortable big blocks when I am ability-challenged.
Good Block Play.