Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ankerstein Leuchtturm

Just before I shut down & went to bed last night, I discovered new plans for Ankerstein Set 6 on Burkhard Schulz's Anker Bauvorlagen.

The downloadable PDF booklet contains three excellent plans, "Brücke - Uhr - Leuchtturm" (Bridge - Clock - Lighthouse), by a longtime friend of this site, William Seppeler of Anchor Stone Constructions.

The plans demonstrate yet again (cf the Czech Anchor site) that not everything that could be done with Anchor blocks was discovered by the Richter designers a hundred years ago. They also show that one of the key benefits of example designs is seeing ways to use components that one might not come up with on one's own.

Another benefit is of course inspiring one to build.

I began construction before the sun came up this morning.

The third plan, which suggests a harbor entrance watch tower (perhaps Italian?), is particularly compelling. I especially like the stairway turning through the building, and the sandstone arch halves used in two different orientations. And there's just enough of a bridge to win priority over the Bridge design for now.

There is a small error in the level c diagram, where a red stone at left is marked "15" but should be "19." Easily corrected when it becomes evident at the next level or blatantly obvious at the one after.

I'm not sure if this is the designers last hurrah for Set 6, since his blog has long since left me behind for bigger sets, or if we can hope for future revisits to an old favorite.

My biggest desire in plans is to see more single-box plans (actually, the only ones I've seen have been photos not plans) for the "A" boxes that are officially intended to extend a given set to the next level higher - a 6 plus a 6A makes a Set 8, add an 8A for a Set 10 - but for those of us that more often want quicker Block Play, that means that the smaller sets, the lower numbers, get satisfactory use, while the higher numbers sit neglected.

For just those rare occasions when I might be willing to tackle a three-box Set 10 construction, I can't justify an 8A, but I'd be delighted to have the opportunity to build with the different stone mix and new (to me) stones found in box 8A. That would provide a nice new and different building experience, within the familiar style and linseed-chalk-sand scent of a firm favorite among construction sets.

If you are new to Ankerstein, most folks seem to recommend starting with Set 6, except for smaller children who are better off with a Heinzelmännchen. I think that for many, set 4, followed by expansion Set 4A, to make a 6 plus a few extra stones, may be a better approach, albeit for more money and with boxes that don't conform to the 6A, etc.

If there is a better place to buy them than The ToyHouse, I don't know of it, and I'd say that even if I hadn't gotten a few freebie stones and printed materials. Woof. Please mention the Block Play blog.

Always great to be stacking Anker stones again - noting that if I hadn't had them out a few days ago, it would have taken a lot longer to get myself to try building this.

Good Block Play.


releppes said...

Thanks for your kind comments.

I have neglected small designs for some time, and I really should revisit the possibilities.

This design is one of my older set 6 designs. I created it before I started the Anchor Stone Constructions blog and before I created any of the HM models. When I started the blog, I only wanted to post (what I thought) to be my very best work. I was never satisfied with the old set 6 designs, so none of them were ever posted.

This is an interesting model. Your photos really make it shine. I remember the winding stairway. You really do these models justice. I may design, but I can't photograph for beans. Thanks for your great work!

releppes said...

In regards to building larger models, I will likely revisit set 8 designs and possibly some more set 6 designs. The large models are fun to build, but they take a very long time (for me) to create.

I've been thinking of satisfying your wish for one box builds (ie: models using a box 6a or 8a, but not in combination).

My thought is to follow the modular 8_5 design. Use one box to build a single structure. Then have it such that each structure could be placed next to another to create one larger structure. There's a design (for set 14?) at Burkhard's site showing a village scene of several buildings together. I was thinking of creating something similar except have each building created from a single box. I'm not sure how it'll work out. I'm just toying with the idea.

Alan said...


That idea about a multiple-structure scene with each structure from an individual box sounds great! Selective or phased building options.

Part of why I chose the lighthouse from the three choices today was probably because it is almost two structures and thus more approachable, even if not divided 4 & 4A. I probably would have enjoyed it even more if I had built it one 'building' at a time. Maybe next week.

Past Set 6, I find it awkward to have two boxes to be working from, and three would probably overwhelm me most of the time.

Taking your village suggestion to the extreme, it should be possible to make an entire village-scape with representational structures of just a few stones each. Lott's Wonderbrix was a commercial offering of this concept, as seen on Andy Harris's site. I know you don't like printed windows, but the Lott's pictures still suggest the concept. See also the Tower Bridge I blogged a while back.

I hope you find yourself encouraged. :)

Bloefeld said...

Great job Alan! I agree with Mr. Seppeler on your photographing abilities. I am taking notes.
Also, thanks for mentioning the site. I've scoured the web for anything Anchor and I missed that one. What presentation!

Alan said...

The Czech site is a lot of fun, but I find the language daunting, and I actually studied Czech a few decades ago and can still read a little. I hate to think how it is for someone without any prior exposure to the language.

Something to explore at leisure, not for instant gratification seekers..

The "Mapa Webu" at the bottom of most pages is the site map. Previously I have found some downloadable PDFs by poking around there, and they seem to have a CD of plans that they provide with some of the sets they sell.

I keep meaning to email them - - in English or German to see if it is available separately.