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Steck Identification Guide

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Wesley Myers:
I had previously written this and posted it on Laughing Giraffe.  I said I would put it on here and here it is. 

Steck Identification and Comparison Guide

With the rerelease of some olde Steck buildings and parts I think it is important for collectors and enthusiasts to be able to identify what is what.  Is it really an original Olde House or is it something some unscrupulous money-maker put together to sell as an original in order to satisfy his satanic temptation to greed?!

To start, we shall look at stone wall pieces.

The piece on the left is the 2nd Generation of Steck and the piece on the right is the 1st Generation of Steck.  What is the most obvious is the “bump” on the connecting tabs.  The old piece does not have them.  This “bump” helps increase the width of the piece ensuring a tighter fit.  The 1st Generation pieces become loose after a while and will just fall apart with slight pressure.

(NOTE - as you are looking at them – I will use this method of “right” and “left” for all my subsequent pictures)

Here is a close up of the tabs.  You can see the “bump” in detail. 
Another key point to note is the ENTIRE mould has been redone!  It is not just the connecting tabs but the whole piece.  This is true for all the Steck stone wall pieces.

You can see the stones themselves are more square at the corners, the surface texture is different, with the 1st Generation ones being a rougher texture. 

The dimensions of the pieces are the same so they are interchangeable.  Something Playmobil needs to be commended for – it is one of their guiding principles – to have pieces from one set work with pieces from another. 

Wesley Myers:

Now we will look at crenulation pieces.  Here the difference is the most obvious.  The new one being on the left and the olde one being on right.   

There is no comparison here with the new one being SO much nicer, in my opinion, to the olde!  The depth of the piece is apparent in the above pictures.  The scallops adding detail are also a beautiful touch. 
Even though they are so different in appearance, they are interchangeable and can be used together.  This is one part that cannot be disguised. 
On a slight aside, I think the 1st Generation piece is quite attractive in its simplicity.  It adds an unique appearance to the structures it is used on and gives variation.


Here you can see the “bumps” on tabs quite clearly.  You can also see some other marks on the tabs (small mould pin release mark and part number) on the 2nd Generation one which is on the top.  Note the 1st Generation mould pin release marks on the buttress itself across from the connection tabs.
Like in all the 2nd Generation pieces, they have been completely redone.  You can see one of the main differences in sculpting with the small block at the bottom of the top tab and the one at the top of the bottom tab.  It is sculpted to stick out a lot farther than the olde one.

On all the Steck stone wall pieces the sculpting on the 2nd Generation ones is a lot more defined and sharp.

Another thing to note is the excess plastic that was not removed from the bottom tab at the factory on the 1st Generation piece.  You will not see this on 2nd Generation pieces.

Wesley Myers:
Female Wall Connectors

IMG_0202 by voiceofrevolt, on Flickr

Here you can see the ‘female’ connectors.  The 2nd Generation piece is on the top.  Note inside the openings the different spacers.  The olde ones only have the line spacers, while the 2nd Gen. ones have the “bumps” as well.  The sculpting on the 2nd Gen. one is also sharper.

From the front it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the two in the picture.  You can tell in person, though, with the rougher texture of the 1st Generation ones.

Stone Wall Corners

The sharpness of the new mould used for the 2nd Generation pieces shows on the top piece.  There also seems to be a difference in consistency of the plastic used.  That and the smoothness of the new mould give appearance differences.

It is on the inside of the pieces that we can really see the differences.  Basically the same differences as listed above on the female connectors.

Three Way Stone Wall Connectors

There are actually four different ones I have found.  The 1st Generation one is shown at the bottom in all the photos.  You can easily tell this is the 1st Generation one by the thickness and sharpness and by how far the skinniest of the blocks protrudes. The 2nd Generations ones are sharper in the corners and not as thick and they protrude farther from the rest of the wall.

These three photos show all three different connection areas so you can see the differences in the inner spacing.

To tell the difference between 1st Generation and the others note the thickness and sharpness of the small detail stones.

Wesley Myers:
Flooring Pieces

On these it is very easy to see the mould changes between 1st and 2nd Generation.  Yes, even these pieces were redone.

The 1st Generation one is shown on the right.  The most obvious and readily noticeable difference is on the hanging connection tabs.  They are much larger on the olde pieces. 

From this angle, I think the difference is easier to notice.

Not only did they remove the inner tab (it really isn’t necessary because the piece is supported at both ends) but they also significantly reduced the amount of plastic used in the 2nd Generation piece as can be seen in the lip of the piece.  Notice also that the supports that run the length of the piece on the underside also narrow quite a bit on the 2nd Generation one.  You can also see the mould pin release circles on the 1st Generation one quite clearly.

Now for another key difference – the Maker’s Mark. 

You will notice the 1st Generation one actually states “System”.  Yes, it does state “1977” – HOWEVER – that does not matter as 2nd Generation pieces, as will see, also state “1977”.  Whether it says “System” or not, is the key identifying factor – 2nd Generation ones never had (have – as they are still being produced!) the word “System”.

You can see here the bracing for the connecting tab that was removed from the full length floor piece – it is needed on the pieces that are braced against the wall and only held up one side.  Differences from 1st to 2nd Generation wall walkway pieces are the Maker’s Mark with “System” on them – mind you, only 2nd Generation sets come with the walkway piece with the hole in it for attaching siege defence equipment (the bigger one with the hole placed in the centre of it).

Wesley Myers:
Open Wall Pieces

You can see difference from 1st to 2nd Generation pieces with the inclusion of the “bump” on the tabs.

The same differences apply to the double width open wall pieces.

Roof Pieces

Even the roof pieces were completely remoulded from 1st to 2nd Generation Steck pieces. 

Here we can see the square roof piece that was used.  In the photos the colours look different (because they are) but I would not trust colour alone to be a valid determination of what is 1st and what is 2nd Generation.  While there is more consistency currently in colours (due to one single supplier of coloured plastic pellets) I am not sure when that may have occurred.  Mind you, I am not sure when the Steck pieces changed over from 1st to 2nd Generation either.  There appears to be some debate on this (Playmofriends) about when and it might well be that some pieces were remoulded in succession and even that old stock was used up where available and some sets could, conceivably, have included a mixture of parts.  One would have to talk with those were in positions to know such things at the factory at the time.

The exterior of the roof pieces looks to be identical but underneath is where we can tell the difference.

The image on the left is the 2nd Generation one.  You will note they BOTH state, “1977”.  However, the one on the right is the only one to state, “System”.  The 2nd Generation one also has the “boxes” to insert to the top tabs to hold it in place. 


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