Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ankerstein GK NF 2

Yet another consecutive post on Anchor Blocks?

Well, yes. But still a bit of a change of pace. I promise I bring back some variety soon - in the meantime, there are the blog archives at right.

I've been focusing on newly conceived designs lately, but today's post looks back almost a century to a Richter company design.

Occasional blog posts have shown individual pages from old Richter booklets, but today I am showing n entire booklet worth of plans, omitting only text pages (none in English!).

A recent email mentioned the sparsity of plans currently to be found online, and my thoughts toward a reply turned into this post.

When I started this blog, thre wasn't such a shortage, and I made several references (eg) to a web site that had an huge number of online Anker plans, including dozens of plans for the smaller sets.

This wonderful online resource seems to have unfortunately disappeared.

The plans haven't, though. They are still available from their primary source. Most online Ankerstein fans are surely aware of George Hardy's outstanding, but if you have missed that web site, go there soon.

These scans were done over several years as a cooperative effort by a number of members of the CVA - "Club of Anker Friends" - and are offered on a CDrom series by George Hardy at stunningly low prices.

If you are looking for more plans and inspiration, you should certainly get a set. Don't worry about which disks to get, just get them all. The disk you find most useful will be worth more than you pay for the whole set, and the disk you find least useful will still likely worth more than the cost of a single disk.

The plan images shared here today represent just one of several hundred booklets of plans that are included in the CVA archive, and on the CDroms.

As best I recall, there have been over 400 different Anker sets made in the century-plus history of the company, and with larger sets inlcuding two booklets, one with perspective illustrations ("Bauvorlagen") and one with layer plans ("Schnittheft"), that means well over 600 booklets, though not all correspond to stones in current production.

The currently produced Große Kaliber - Neue Folge (GK-NF, large caliber - new series) was but one of several series of stones made by the Richter company over its long history.

The GK-NF sets were preceded by Große Kaliber - Alte Folge (GK-AF, old series), and followed by Große Kaliber - Neue Serien (GK-NS, "new series" also, but a different German term). Restored production returned to GK-NF as preferable to later GK-NS, but there is a conversion set.

There are also several alternate or special series of GK sized stones, many with metal bridge or structure parts as well as several series of Kleine Kaliber (KK, small caliber, 20mm versus 25mm) old and new and with metal parts.

Plus a few sets of an odd hybrid 18.75mm/25mm size. Plus the recently resurrected Kleine Gernegroße at 12.5mm. Plus a series for WWI style fortifications, which may or may not have corresponded to a standard Kaliber. Plus plus plus.

But today's illustrations are a simple GK NF 2. That may be a surprise to those who thought the numbered series started at 4 or 6 and wondered why. But there even sets O and OO below 2 and 1 respectively.

There were also odd numbered sets. Richter sort of switched back and forth so older sets and newer sets wouldn't be inadvertently mixed. And during the era that KK sets were produced, it was usually numbered in the alternate sequence.

There seem to have been at least three different versions of the GK NF 2 set, not counting the various GK NF 2½ sets with a slightly different stone mix (includes #288 steeple), and thus different plan books.

One plan Heft had the old double-height cylinders (#179, in the CDrom's packing plan below right), and two with the newer single-height cylinders (#131, in my block draw below left) .

So how many plans are there total?

There are usually sixteen pages of plans per booklet. While there is some duplication of plans between the booklets, but there are also often multiple plans per page for the smaller sets. Let's just say "a few thousand."

So how many of those can you build with a modest Ankerstein collection?

Obviously that depends on how modest. It also depends on how exact you want to be. Obviously two short cylinders can be substituted for a tall one, often half-thick stones for full-thick. Sometimes you may need to substitute colors. Sometimes some of the details can be altered slightly without having to dismantle the basic structure.

In general, you can build most designs up to the next lower number pair in any of the core series. E.g. with a 6, you can build most series through 3 or 4 or 4½ (5 corresponds to 6). You can usually build models of the same level in the same series, but you will need to check carefully for other series. You might come up a little short in some - a 4 or Heinzelmännchen can help. You will need to provide your own bridges for many but not all the plans from the metal bridge sets. The bridges are generally not dimensionally critical, and I have used HO train bridges with GK-NF. Even the plans you can't duplicate can often serve as happy inspiration.

Start by clicking on the thumbnails for printable versions of this post's set 2 pages, lay out stones from your set 4 or 6 out on or next to a printout of the packing plan, so you know you have just what you need, and have some quick and easy fun.

Then order the CDroms and work up to bigger challenges.

Good Block Play.

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