Saturday, July 29, 2006

"Falcon" Bildmor Blox

"Falcon" Bildmor Blox have long seemed a bit of an enigma to me. The orange and purple colors are ugly, the blocks look and feel cheap, and exhibit very poor quality conrol, But the selection of shapes, and the packaging, of which there are several versions suggesting an extended manufacturing period, seems to have been done with intelligence, for more critical than usual buyers.

There are much better sets available from other makers, before and after. Much better looking, much better to play with.My best guess is that these sold at a lower price than superior products, and the disadvantages would not have been apparent in a black and white ad. So I suspect that they sold mostly through catalogs and mailorder ads, not through retail stores, but I have seen nothing to back that up. Further research awaits a better internet connection.

Were they depression era? Whatever their circumstance, they have served to demonstrate yet again that a careful selection of shapes, and some good sample designs, can make cheap blocks more educational, and perhaps more satisfying, than a poorly designed set no matter how slick and colorful the latter. So ultimately, the Falcon sets are good Block Play.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Master Builder

The Master Builder 25 series by Haba was previously labeled as T.C.Timber, formerly Skaneatlas, maker of my dearly beloved childhood wooden trains. It is the more architecturally oriented counterpart to the discontinued T.C.Timber Table Unit Blocks line.

Given that they both are described as having 25 mm block pitch, one might expect them to be quite compatible, but if one compares the block assortment, one quickly realizes that the architectural blocks might more closely correspond to half the linear dimension of the Unit Block style. Unit blocks are defined in terms of the thickness of the basic 1x2x4 block, while architectural block sets with the same shape block would look at the width of that block, considering it to be 1/2x1x2 pitch units.

Life is not that simple though, since Anchor Blocks are also 25 mm pitch, have blocks corresponding to many of the same sizes and shapes as Master Builder 25, yet the latter is clearly a "larger" scale. The difference is in the mix of blocks, with Ankerstein tending towards smaller block sizes, MB25 toward larger.

But since they are all indeed 25 mm, MB25 can be used to extend what can be satisfactorily done with the TT unit blocks, with aesthetic caution, partially because unit blocks have rounded edges, while MB25 have edges just shy of being sharp, but partially because each series has an aesthetic integrity that doesn't also adjust well to interlopers.

I look forward to being able to grope into my new Master Builder 25 stash occasionally to extend what can be done with my Anker sets, since I lack some of the longer Anker stones. The caution about aesthetic cohesion undoubtedly applies here as well.

Webster's temple is from an older MB25 Antiquities set, the bridge adds a few stray pieces.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I haven't abandoned block play, but have mostly been doing low key stuff with Wedgits, Froebel cubes, and such. Not much for picture taking.

But here's a picture of a bead mosaic design, just to let you know I am still here.

I think that soon there will be some real Block Play.