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!