Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Unknown Anker Set

I came across this set and two other sets
while browsing the Anker Home Web site.  I found them listed under the title FrÓ§belgaben on the left side of the page.  I do not know the purpose these were designed, but they are cute and one can always use more stones no matter what size.  I was surprised to find they were available practically in my own back yard.
This set came from the "Red Hen" Books and Toys:                   in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  As I live very near Lake St. Clair in Michigan; Grand Rapids in on the other side of the State about a 3 hour drive from my home.
FrÓ§belgabe Nr. 3 contains eight 25 x 25 x 25 mm size stones. or in Anker language stone number 1.

A cross
Simple design
 Using pictures supplied on Anker's web page; these two models were made using all eight stones for each model.  Although I may never used theses stones for stand alone models in the future, I certainly will be adding them to my over all collection.  Eight additional stones are always welcome.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Section of the Great China Wall

From Paper Toys :http//  comes this free paper model of a section of the great wall of China.  This model as with the previous posted model was reduced to fit on a 4 x 6 piece of card stock.  The Model consist of only tens parts and was completed in about an hour.  Just a little something while we wait for Santa to arrive tomorrow.  Christmas Eve dinner is ready and we are thawing out our roast for Christmas Day dinner.  As the poem goes; 'the stockings were by the chimney with care, in hopes St. Nick would soon be there.'

So I wish each and every one a very Merry Holiday and a Joyous New Year.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Assembling the first tower
Micromodels are miniature card models from England.  They go back many years, in fact all the way back to the 1930's.  Mr. Geoffrey Heighway was the chief designer of small card models while employed at a company named Modelcarft Ltd.  He left that company in 1947 to form his own company, naming it Micromodels.
For nine years, Geoffrey produced many different types of Micromodels among them such models as Shakespear's Globe Theatre, The U.S. Capitol Building, The Cutty Sark, Wright Bros and Bieriot aeroplanes plus many more different types including several train engines.  Each model was printed on card stock similar to the thickness of an average business card.  Each model contained several cards approximately 3 x 5 inches wrapped in a paper wrapper.  On each card, small sketches gave hints and details of some of the assemblies.  On the outside wrapper was a in most cases a colored drawing of the model it was to make; on the inside was a little history and more modeling tips on how to make certain parts.
With Geoffrey's death, the company disappeared and although there were hundreds of his model available around the World, sources begin to dry up quickly.
I purchased my first Micromodels in the early 1960's from a hobby shop Called "Models" here in the Detroit Suburbs.  I had about ten or twelve different un-built models before I lost them when our basement was flooded many years ago.  Most of my entire stock of card models was also lost.
In recent years, an American Company has begun producing Micromodels.  Some are new designs while others are reproductions of the original models by Geoffery.  Just recently, they have started selling originals.
Please check them them out at:
The completed model
This brings me to todays subject.  An Architectual Model of London's East Gate "The Aldgate".  I came across this kit at a paper show I attended in one of the local malls. The wrapper was mostly missing having only a bit left.  With the aid of my computer and scanning equipment, I was able to enlarge the model by approximately 10%   Still very small, the larger size has made it a lot easier for these tired seventy years plus years eyes to see and work on.
Assembling the model is straight forward with simple towers, square and rectangle buildings. The post leading up to the gates entrance came from a small section of a straw broom. Each post measuring 1/4 inch and glued into the base. The base of the model is 4 inches by 1 7/8 inches. Height 2 1/4 inches.  I don't know if all the sheets were included in the this kit as I was left with an extra roof piece and short one crown for one of the roofs.  No reference was available due to the missing wrapper.  From a picture I found, there appears to be no roof on the Gate itself.  So I assume this extra roof was included in case one chose to build it that way.
I plan on ordering some Micromodels from the new Web Site in the near future.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

At Last a good 1/144 Scale Spitfire

If your a collector of 1/144 scale models, then you know the only half decent Spitfire was from 21st Century War Birds of a few years ago.  Now thanks to "F-Toys", they have three Spitfires.
all three are Mark Vb's.  One in the Polish Squadron, one U.S. Army Air Force and a Clipped wing with Invasion Strips.  I don't know if they did a Special or not.
The Spitfire you see here is a Vb in a Polish Squadron.  The model comes pre-painted and is a jewel to put together.  I built it in about an hour without adding any additional detail.  They should still be available from your favorite Japanese or Hong Kong dealer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fortress Gate for set 8A

Having just finished a Balsa wood and tissue paper model airplane; the first, in probably 60 years give or take a year, I found I suddenly had nothing to do.  Cleaned up work bench, gave model a test flight and it flew quite well. I returned home with nothing to do.  Scanning around the room I saw my faithful Anker Stone sets waiting to be played with.
Time to pick them up and built a model before company arrives.  My cousin always gets a kick out of seeing what design I may have come up with.  I had about three hours before they arrived and it gave me just enough time to built this fortress photograph it and publish it here in my Blog.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

So I made a Diorama

So not knowing what I am doing when it comes to making a diorama, I made this up using some items from Woodland Scenics I bought at a local garage sale some time back. 
The tree is from a bush in our yard.  I applied white glue and put grass and some items I guess should be for trees.
I made this just to show how the laser cut tank model might look if used in a diorama setting.  I would suspect a few 1/144 scale German Soldiers might enhance the over-all appearance.
Any suggestions offered will be appreciated!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sankei Laser Cut Card Model Tank

I have received two more Laser Cut models by Sankei from Hobby Link Japan. (See URL elsewhere in my Blob.  This model is smaller than the cart I built and was reviewed in an earlier Blog.  The tank model comes on two separate pieces of card stock.  The main body of the tank has been laser cut on a piece of Olive Drab card stock. The tank track and Boggie wheels were laser cut on a piece of black card stock. There are no less then ten parts to the track card and 26 pieces to the tank body. I believe the model is to represent a German Panzer IV. A word here about the model, it is not intended to be a de-tailed version, but rather an exercise in how laser cutting can be applied to any media.  To dress the model, I will in the near future make some sort of diorama display which should enhance the over-all finished model.  
Assembly is quite simple and straight forward.  As with the other model, holding the card to the light reveals where the parts are still attached to the card.  As an estimate, I would guess the model took about 4 hours over two days to build.  A tip I managed to pick up on is one I wonder why I never thought of it earlier.  When gluing a small part such as the Boggie wheels on this model. Take a bit of waxed paper, apply some glue to the surface and spread with you finger tip.  Now holding a part with tweezers run the part over the surface.  Now apply the part to the surface where it is suppose to go.  One can still adjust it before the glue sets up.
Tracks proved to be the most challenging parts to assemble; To much moisture on the back side and a little to much pressure when rolling the track causes the track to become over curved.  So I formed the track a little and glued them in place while they were still damp.  Then I placed a weight on the the body and let it set overnight.
The turret, though it seems easy enough, also presents a small challenge. Once bent as it shows in the instructions, you don't want to over bend it at the risk of separating the parts from each other.  So use a fast dry glue which will allow you to hold the part to shape without over bending it.  When attaching the turret to the tank body, a good amount of pressure is necessary to snap the turret in place.  I was afraid of over pressure and just as I was about to give up and try something else, the turret 'SNAPPED' and was seated.  Finely the model measures 2 x 1 x 13/16 inches.

Friday, April 2, 2010

In Memory of Chris Baldwin

It was indeed not an April Fool's Joke when I received an e-mail from Karen Baldwin, Chris Baldwin's wife, yesterday morning.  Karen informed me that Chris of the "ToyHouse" was missing after a canoeing accident on the Delaware River on Sunday 21 March and presumed dead.  Chris has supplied me with many Anker Stone Blocks over the past several years. Here is the URL for Chris Baldwin Obit.

I was able to copy from the Princeton New Jersey Packet Newspaper.   Chris will indeed be missed and our prayers go out to Karen and his Family. God Bless!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Mosaic Pattern

Yesterday, my brakes let me know in no uncertain terms that they have reached the end of their life.  Our neighbor across the street refused to let us pay to have our car towed and said he would do our brakes on Wednesday. He said he would stop on the way home tonight and pick up the pads and rotors so we would be all set on Wednesday when he comes home from work.
In the meantime, idle hands can become the devils workshop; so it's said.  Bearing that in mind and knowing I  have some more Laser Cut card models coming from Japan shortly, I did not want to get involved in any major task.  The grass has been raked from winters trash and fertilizer spread.  Snow shovel stored, (Were not going to have anymore snow, are we Lord?).
Ah! Now is a perfect time to get out the Mosaic set and play a while.  After making several different patterns, I chose this one from the Mosaic Set Book 2.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Laser Cut Card Models

One of my favorite places to visit everyday via the Internet is a place called Hobby Link Japan. Here is the web address:

A few weeks ago, I came across Laser Cut Card Models while doing my daily visit to the web site.  Interesting I thought.  So I ordered a Two-wheeled Cart to see what they might be like.  Much to my pleasure and surprise, I found the model to be excellent.  Small to be sure, but this makes them all the more attractive. This model came in a clear cello package and measured 4 x 6 inches.  The actual model measures a little over 2.5 x 1. x .75 inch.

All the parts have been Laser cut into a stiff piece of card stock in tan.  The base was a square piece of gray card stock. There are ten parts to the model and when you hold the card to the light, one can see where each part is still attached to the card.  A sharp number 11 blade was used to separate each part and no trim was necessary except one wheel where I used a fine emery board to touch it up a little.  Putting the model together requires no special handling as it is a straight forward assembly.  First, I used a glue stick to bind both parts of the frame.  The glue allows just enough time to move the two pieces around for alignment.  Then I placed a weight on top to keep it flat while the glue dried completely.  The two wheels were done the same way.  The barrels required a little extra effort.  As card modelers know, wetting the back side helps a great deal when forming a part.  Using a cotton swab, I wet the back side of the barrel and kept rolling it into the round barrel shape. A little glue and soon both barrels were done.

A little glue on the wheels and they were attached. After a while, a small dab of glue and each barrel bottom and they were attached to frame.  Finished!  There is no question in my mind that I will be ordering more of these fine models from Hobby Link Japan.

When you visit the site, type in either SANKEI or MINIATUART PETIT in the search box.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Modified 'Barocks Parktor' with Mosaic

Having become more familiar with the Anker Mosaic Set now that I have had it for almost a week, I wanted to find a way to incorporate a mosaic pattern into one of many plans that are available for download. I chose Dieter Wellmnan's 'Barocks Parktor' as a good model to give the mosaic set a work out. The pattern I used comes from Richter's Mosaic Set 1 plan book which can be seen by visiting: I must admit it took more then a few attempts before I begin to get the pattern to fit. The Mosiac Set, although it is new, is made from the older NF series size mold. This means the pattern stones do not integrate perfectly with the newer NS sets.

So the first challenge was to find a way to make the pattern fit inside the frame on Dieter's plan. I had to leave a slight space both on the width and length, perhaps two mm's or so to allow the pattern to fit. This can be seen in both pictures see the little black space in the front and side view. Next I started at one end and placed stones in order of the printed pattern I was following. When I was almost finished, I realized I had not taken into account that the third star would not match the first star. This meant I had to re-adjust the first star so the third star would be equal to the first. Once this was done, the floor pattern was done.

The next challenge came in placing the building base stones so that everything would line up according to Dieter's plan. It was a easy fix; I added four number 69 stones, two on each end where the building joins the patio part. This can be seen in the side view picture. The rest of misfit would be covered by other stones and easily hidden from view. Finishing the model was of course just a matter of following Dieter's plan.

Rather then take this apart just yet, I may try other patterns.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Anker's Mosaic Set

At long last, I have received my Anker's Mosaic Set thanks to 'The Toy House'. The Mosaic set was reproduced for a very short time a few years ago and is already considered a collectors item. I believe Chris may still have one set available and if you can, I urge you to purchase it. You won't be disappointed. As there is no guide book with this set, go to: to see the original booklet that came in the original sets. It can be printed out.

There are no less than 547 stones in four colors, Yellow, Blue, Red and Black. There are three different sizes. full square, triangle, and quarter triangle. The set comes in two layers Part A and Part B. Each layer is laid out on a piece of wood surrounded by a wood frame. On each end is an elastic cord attached to lift the layers out of the storage box. The cover contains the pattern for layer A while the pattern for layer B is a single sheet loose on the inside bottom of the box.

My only real comment at this stage is this set appears to have been manufactured before Richter's Stones were change to todays NS standard. I did a quick short pattern and tried to set up a small building to see how the floor pattern would look. I discovered the stones do not line up with the standard stones. No real problem however; there are two ways to solve this. First: you can insert stone number 69 or 31 to fill the gap. The second solution is to use Anker's Conversion Set NF-NS which The Toy House also carries.

With the aid of some cardboard and Balsa wood, I quickly made a small frame to fit a 6 x 8 pattern. Some spacers cut from cardboard allows me to adjust the amount of stones inside the frame. It's not that I'm lazy, it's just this way; I can spend time with the wife in the den playing with my set designing different patterns while she watches her favorite TV shows thus keeping peace rather then myself in one room alone while she sits alone in the den building a head of steam. . Clever Yes! Here is a shot of the frame I made and one of the patterns in the set.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Apple iPhone and AV Cables

An Off-beat subject for my Blog; but something I just felt I wanted to share. Call me slow, call me late on the up-take, none the less someone out there might be interested and inclined to do the same.

I recently heard about using AV cables on an iPhone or iPod Touch to view videos and pictures on your television. So I 'Googled' AV (AV= Audio/Visual) cables with an iPhone and went to 'You Tube' to see what I could come up with. To my surprise, I found many articles on what to and what not to do when using AV cables. For example, some cables will not work with earlier iPhones and some won't work with current iPhones. So you have to make sure which cables to use; 3G generation iPhones have a special chip to prevent any AV cable from being used. There are a lot of AV cables ranging in price from $9.95 to $50.00 or more; but please make sure the cables you get are iPhone 3G compatible if you have the 3G series or later. Once you have decided on the AV cables you are going to use, you will need to go to "Settings" on your iPhone or iPod and scroll down to "iPod" open scroll down to "TV Out". Change the TV signal to NTSC which is standard for the United States and Canada. Having read and watched all I could, I chose to go with the Official Apple Composite AV Cable priced at $49.00 from Apple and Apple Stores. If you are so inclined, you can save .12 cents by purchasing it at your local WalMart for $48.88. Even if the Apple set seems quite pricey, it is the best buy in the long run.

Inside the box, you will find; typical with Apple, a well packaged product. One neat thing is a separate Apple USB charging plug. This plug is just like the earlier plug included with the first and second generation phones believed by many to be better then the current charging plug that comes with the 3Gs series phones. An instruction sheet, warranty info sheet and a large coil of white cables with three RCA plugs on one end and joined to one lead going to the 30 pin iPhone/iPod connection plug and a second lead going to a USB plug. Very cool as now you have the ability to keep your iPhone/iPod connected to AC power while watching the images on your TV thus not draining the battery.

Now, basically one attaches the red, white and yellow cables to the corresponding ports on your television. Most late model televisions have provisions either in the front or the back and in many cases both. Then attach the other end into your device. Set your TV to AV from your TV remote and if all is well you will have pictures on your TV screen using your phone/pod to control start, pause or stop.

We have an older Toshiba 32 inch tube set and I can tell you we were very pleased with the video we watched. For our experiment, we chose to watch an episode of Glenn Martin DDS, and animated comedy, downloaded from iTunes. The University of Michigan has a Podcast every Saturday morning covering a range of topics and I look forward to watching them all. There are many available and they are free.

Now I can let my wife sleep-in in the morning, plug in my iPhone and sit back with a cup of coffee and watch these podcast in peace and quite. Once the wife is up there is no more peace and quiet, the dog will get up; wants outside, wants to be feed and played with. The television gets changed to the Food Channel and I'm relegated to watching what I want using my ear buds and the iPhone screen.
Now ask me if I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning or not!