Friday, July 25, 2008
The Anchor Große Kaliber - Neue Folge (GK-NF, large caliber - new series) sets that we have been looking at were preceded or paralleled by several series of stones, and followed by Große Kaliber - Neue Serien (NS, "new series" also, but a different German term; the GK tends not to be used since Richter had dropped the KK or Kleine Kaliber 20mm stone series).
A new post-Cold-War company restored production with a return to GK-NF, partially because NS had never achieved the popularity of the older sets, but primarily because the GK-NF series went to set 34 (and some special sets went beyond) while NS ended at Set 18.
NS differed from GK-NF only in having the large arches made with block-sized notches in the upper corners.
The GK NF 4 and NS 4 packing plans looks just the same until you look closely and realize that the #98R arch has been replaced by a #98aR and two #19R stones. That also applies to GK NF 6 and NS 6, and so on, though larger arches in some higher numbered sets have more complex notching.
By itself, the notches make the arches more versatile: Anything that can be built with a standard arch can be built with a notched arch by simply filling the notches with the proper stones. But the notches also allow larger stones to overlap into the notches, or the notches to be left open for a different appearance.
Beyond that versatility, however, what really catches the eye is that many of the NS designs represent a more modern design esthetic - 1920s versus 1890s, Weimar versus Kaiserzeit, more factories and secular structures versus churches and monuments.
I like campaniles and belvederes well enough, and even churches and monuments, but sometimes a little Art Deco and industrial gothic is welcome.
And as you can see from the design pages reproduced here, the artwork made a significant shift from the earlier styles. Whichever one prefers, I think there is pleasure in having an alternative available for a change of pace.
A conversion set is available which includes all the notched arches needed to convert up through set 18, as well as a generous selection of extra roof stones in several styles - those being in frequent demand by advanced builders.
That conversion set is not inexpensive, though, and individual notched arches can be hard to find. Excluding, or at least delaying, availability of a "proper" NS set for most of us.
However most of the NS series plans can be built with the corresponding GK-NF set -- the arches have a lesser role in the more modern design styles -- and most or all of the remainder with just a few extra stones, with greater or lesser degrees of adjustment.
I have built most, perhaps all, of the designs on today's pages over the last several years, and some -- particularly the factory on page 15 -- several times. But I haven't paid much attention to what stones I was using, or kept count.
Todays photos show the three I thought most likely to have problems, and if you look closely, adjustments had to be made. But some of the ones least likely to need adjustment, because they do not use the large arch, may well make use of the two extra #19R stones.
I am assigning myself the enjoyable ongoing task of building the more challenging appearing of the designs in this NS Set 4 booklet, included here from from the CDroms, and will report back.
After that, we can take a look at the NS 6 booklet, and see how it builds.
Whatever those exercise discovers, there is plenty here for good block play.