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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

10_2 (church)

Here's a redesign of the 10_1 model. It's built using set #10. The structure is similar, but there's been some improvements.

The lower roof is more consistent and less cluttered. The upper roof is different too. The lower windows make use of pillars (nice effect), and the ridiculously large rear circular window now has a more appropriately scaled replacement. This church is not as tall, but it's slightly larger inside.

The downside is this church is more plain in appearance. My recommendation is to build both and decide which is preferred. One more thing: This church uses all the blocks in the set! A very nice accomplishment for a set #10 design.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


After a long break, a new model has emerged. Last spring a new box of Ankerstones was purchased from George Hardy. Which brings my collection to set #12. And with that, I present my first set #12 model.

This model was started with the ambitious goal of using all the stones in the box. Alas, I failed in the task, but I'm quite happy with the result. When finished, there were four stones left. Four tiny stones. They could have been packed within the structure. Used to fill a hollow cavity, or embellished the outside just a little more. However, there comes a time when a construction is complete. And about that goal of using all the stones? Well, that can be a challenge for another day.

Because this is a larger model, a modular construction technique similar to that seen in the 8_5 design was used. The tower was created first. It's a building by itself. The roof of the main building was done next. An arcade was created to support the roof. Then a facade was wrapped around the structure. The front being separate from the rest. All these pieces were created symmetric in design. Keeping things symmetric made the design phase easier.

Here are the plans for this construction. The images are rather small, but hopefully large enough to see. Use caution when constructing the tower. The stones are small and must be placed correctly. Also, the roof in the peak is hollow. Blocks were used sparingly to make the construction as large as possible. The model stands about 20" tall.

This is a fine construction that will take some time, and a steady hand. Four blocks in set #12 are unused. What are they?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

8_4 (church)

Does this model look familiar? It's a redesign of the last model found in book #6.

It's really a set #8 design. Richter books often entice readers with a final model that can be built when the next block set is purchased. It's that teasing which prompted me to create my own designs.

I hope you enjoy building these models as much as I like creating them. I only wish I had more time to play.

In other news, I see the factory is producing new Ankerstein sets. The new Märchenkasten set appears to be marketed towards young children. Well, I suppose all Ankerstein building sets are geared towards children. Some of us just happen to be a little older. I've only seen an image of what these new sets look like. Anyone care to comment?

My first impression was that the block assortment is a bit odd. The block sets also include a few wooden pieces, but I have no idea what these wooden bricks(?) look like. The set includes what appears to be a nursery book of fables. Very cute!

This got me to thinking. If I was to design my own block set given a limited box size, what block assortment would I choose? For added challenge, make the box size be that of a set #4. I've not compiled a complete assortment, but I would have a mix of #1, #3, #4, #5 followed by #15, #17, #19, and #31. I would round out the selection with #110 and #112/113 arches and sufficient #208 and #210 roof tiles. Although I do not use pillars much, I would include four #181 pillars.

My assortment sounds similar to what you get in set #4 and the Heinzelmännchen set, but in those sets, you don't get any #3 or #17 blocks. I always felt that was a missing element in those sets. From what I can see, that issue has been addressed with the Märchenkasten. I not only look at Anchor Stones as building blocks. I like them for their Mathematical properties. One of the things my kids like to do with the blocks is pack them in various ways. Many of their structures consist of building a larger cube from blocks availible. I always found this an interesting project for them. Building cubes from #3 and #17 blocks posed no challenge for them, which made me wonder why these blocks (I call them thirds) were left out of the children's sets.

Another idea would be to creae a large mini set (ala Kleine Gernegross). The block assortment would closely follow that of set #8 but using the smaller scale of a KG set. One could probably get close to the assortment of set #16 in mini scale to fit within a single set #4 box size. Due to the number of blocks, the set might cost upward four times that of a set #4. However assortment wise, you would have something close to eight times the size of set #4. Smaller caliber blocks are harder to build with due to their size, but they're nice in that they take up far less space. It'd be interesting as a special limited edition.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

8_5 (fortress)

Here's a fortress constructed using set #8. OK, maybe not a fortress, but it's a fine structure with a view.

The inspiration for this building comes from the plan booklet that accompanies set #12. There are several fine structures found in that book.

The interesting thing about this construction is that it's modular in design.

The structure consists of three symmetric buildings combined to form one asymmetric design. The buildings could be combined in a variety of ways. This is just one possibility. If you don't like the door at the base of the tower, rotate that building a quarter turn towards the passageway.

Here's the plans. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

8_1 (barn)

As a child, I had chores to do. Every day after school, I'd put my muck boots on, grab my runner sled and hike to the barn. It was a short trek across the yard and through the woods. I'd cross a small chasm balancing on a one foot wide plank spanning an eight foot wide stream of swiftly flowing water. Believe it or not, I never fell in. Not once!

As I walked along, I'd see the summer garden to the right.  It was a large field of dried vegetables and rotting fruit. Spring was coming, and that would be work for another day. Turning to the left, I'd maneuver beneath the electric barbed wire fence and climb a large, a very large hill on which our barn was perched.

There was an old stone well at the top of the hill, from which we'd gather water to quench the horses. There was no pump on the well. Water was retrieved by straddling the well with a bucket and a string. One would take aim dropping the bucket such that it would hit the water with a deep thud, thus producing a full load. Water was drawn by hand. It was a tiresome job. Sometimes the string would break. At which point, I'd climb down into the well, ten feet or so, and use my foot to fish the bucket out. The challenge was climbing out using only two hands and one foot, while hoisting the bucket with the other foot. It was more difficult in winter when the rocks on the the inside of the well were covered in ice.  Again, I never fell in.  Nor would I want to, the water was fridgid cold.  Even in summer!

After feeding the horses and mucking the stalls, I would begin my journey home. The sled ride down the hill was fast and furious. On a good day, I could make it all the way to the stream. Life was hard, but I look back with fond memories now.

This model is a tribute to my growing up on the farm. I hope you enjoy.

Creating this model was a two step process. The barn was created first and the silo was added second. Here's a few images showing the process. The barn could be built as a stand alone construction, however there's not enough 208B/210B roof tiles to cover the complete structure. That was the motivation behind the silo.

There was no silo attached to our barn, but having one sure makes the construction look more like a barn.

Here's the building plans.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

10_1 (church)

Today is my birthday. As gift, I present this church made from a set #10. It resembles the 6_8 model, but larger. Note the detail in the roof trim. Constructing this model can be tricky, so be sure to pay attention to the construction plans.

One interesting thing about this model is the placement of rafters to support the roof. A single 22R stone supports the whole roof. I could have used more rafters, but I liked the openness of using less stones to accomplish the job. Structurally, it's very sound. The church cavity is hollow right up to the roof. Even the bell tower has a hollow cavity that leads straight down into the church.

A set #10 might (still) be considered a small collection to most hobbyists, but it's large enough to construct some pretty nice models. The inspiration for this model came from the photos seen on George Hardy's e-zine this month. Thank you George for providing the fuel to inspire builders like myself. In turn, I hope the designs I create can inspire others.

Here are the building plans. The isometric perspective makes it hard to see the correct size stones being used. Look for the 29R stones in the roof trim layer as well as the 29G stones being used near the crosses at the front of the church. This design doesn't use any 21R stones (there's two of them), so feel free to use one as a spacer in the doorway while the model is being built.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New poll

A new poll has been added to the side bar.  Select all check boxes that apply to your Anchor Stone collection.  I'm curious to know what the average viewer has in regards to their Anchor Stone collection.

You'll note that I limited the box selection to #14a and below.  If you have higher numbered extention boxes, select all that apply plus other.  If you have a unique collection, feel free to elaborate in the comments section.  As always, I strongly encourage viewers to leave comments.

If you're a regular visitor of this blog, please take the time to submit your vote.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I made some modifications to the 6_8 model. The #316 blocks were removed, the tower is a little taller, and both roof tops are now trimmed in yellow. It's undecided which version of this model looks better.

Feel free to express your opinion.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


This small building was constructed with set #6. Note the placement of the #212 roof tiles. Two corner roof tiles are placed together to form a roof valley. It's a technique normally used on larger constructions.

Have fun with this construction. It's a small building with big ideas.

Monday, February 16, 2009

6_8 (church)

Here's another church constructed from set #6. There's no cross on the structure, but one can use their imagination.

It an old design that's been reworked. The inspiration came from one of the churches in UE046.pdf

With left over blocks, a small cross monument can be erected.

Friday, February 13, 2009

6_7 (St. Valentine's Day)

It's St. Valentine's Day tomorrow! Who's ready? If not, have no fear. I may be able to help. Get your Anchor Stones out and get to work.

This little design was created using set #6. Most of the model can be built by inspection. The only hidden stones are at the base of the heart, and those are two #210R blocks.

Enjoy, and don't forget the chocholate and flowers...

6_6 (church)

If you liked the last church, you may enjoy this one too. The design is very similar, and it's just as much fun to build.

Be careful when laying the trim level of the roof. The blocks need to be placed just right, or they won't support the large #5G stones. This roof technique is the same one used in both church designs. When done correctly, it creates a very stable roof. I can honestly say this design will withstand mild assaults from children.

This structure was built using a #6 block set.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

6_5 (church)

Many moons ago, I made several churches for set #6. Some of them were published by Burkard Shultz. He does such great work producing official looking plans. Today I decided to give one of those churches a makeover.

I borrowed ideas from several designs as well as the Dorfkirche St. Virgil by Peter Wierer (I like the back of his church).

This is a design for set #6.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

6_4 (lighthouse)

I was browsing through some old set #6 designs and came across this lighthouse.

I changed the design a little. The image on the right is what the initial design looked like. I suppose both towers make a fine build. In fact, this lighthouse was the inspiration for it's smaller cousin.

Below are the building plans.

And the build in progress.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Is it a church or a school? Having a good imagination is a wonderful thing. This simple construction was built with a Heinzelmannchen set.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin K. Seppeler memorial

Today I make a dedication to my brother Martin K. Seppeler.

Martin passed away on January 8th, 2009.  He was a true brother, a best friend, a loving husband, a caring father, and a faithful son.  He presence will be missed by many.

I have choosen this model as a dedication and virtual memorial to my brother.

NOTE:  The image is an annimated GIF of model g19.