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Steck Identification Guide

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Wesley Myers:
Roofing

Now we will look at the single roof section.

Again, the colour difference but among 1st Generation roof pieces the colours do vary, as they do among the wall pieces and as has been documented in this site (Original Discoloured Steck Walls - http://www.playmofriends.com/forum/index.php?topic=9178.0).  The 2nd Generation one is shown on the right (as you look at it) and appears more orange. 





While looking at the underside of the pieces we can see the Maker’s Marks.  The one on the left is the 1st Generation one.  You can tell because it states, “System”.  Again, you will note they both state, “1977”.  You can also see the large mould release pin circles on the 1st Generation one.

They are interchangeable in all respects other than the Maker’s Mark. 


Roof Eave Section

While these may appear to be the same and are interchangeable they did change from one generation to the other. 



The real difference is the bevelled edge of the bottom row of the shingles and this can only be seen while looking under them.  I am not sure why this change was made (unless it was made to save on the amount of plastic used).  You can also see a part number stamped into the rectangular recess.  You can also see the pin release marks on the olde one on the sides of the rectangle.  As you may have figured out by now, the 1st Generation one is the one you can see on your left.


Flat Roofed Dormer Window



Here you can see the flat roofed dormer window.  You will notice the roof piece has the flat front to it – like the 1st Generation Eave Section.



Underneath is where you can (sort of …) see the Maker’s Mark – again it states, “System” (sorry about the blurry picture). 

I have not seen in person the new one that comes with the bakery and I would be interested in seeing it but I would presume it to not state, “System”.  I also wonder if it is bevelled like the 2nd Generation Eave Sections. (All the ones I have are 1st Generation ones so I don’t know what changes were made.)

For those who do not know, the double roof sections (both with window openings and with the opening for easy access to play) were only made in 2nd Generation form.

Wesley Myers:
Open Gable Ends

Even these changed from 1st Generation to 2nd Generation. 



As you can see in the picture above there are differences between the two.  The 2nd Generation one is on the left.  It can be seen with two holes on the downward angled bracing below the cross member that is just below the pulley.  I am honestly not sure why these holes are present – I doubt it is for reducing the amount of plastic, it looks as if it was designed so there could be parts attached but I am unaware of any parts that do attach in these slots.
You can also see that the 2nd Generation one does not lie flat like the 1st Generation one does.



This picture illustrates why – there is an extension from the back of the pulley on the 2nd Generation one.  This makes it more functional when actually used as hoist.

Like the stone wall pieces, the texture of the 2nd Generation one is smoother than the 1st Generation one.


Non-Open Gable Ends



Here you can see the backs of two half-timbered gable ends.  They look pretty identical.  However, the 2nd Generation one is the one on the left with the six-pane window.  Telling features are the notch at the bottom of the 2nd Generation one that is off-set (I am not sure why it is off-set) and the recess for the pulley at the top of the gable is greater (to save plastic, I guess).  Another plastic reduction feature can be seen along the sides of the white insert.



Here is a close-up of the 2nd Generation half-timbered gable end – it shows the date, “1977”.  The olde ones I have have no date stamped on them.

Wesley Myers:
Half-Timbered Walls

The half-timbered wall sections are one of the most-loved pieces Playmobil has ever made.  This is demonstrated by the fact they have been in production, almost unchanged, since 1977.
Note the “almost unchanged” part. 



Here is a detail of the original Bakery (3441) wall.  You can see it states, “System”.  I have not seen a detail of the new one, but I would bet it only says, “1977” and the word, “System” is not present.  (Well, since I wrote this I did see a review of the Bakery online done by ‘Skywalker’ on Playmofriends and the wall does, indeed, state ‘Playmobil System’.  It must be due to the rush in production of the item.  However, I am not sure if this was such a good idea for obvious reasons previously stated.)



The only solid walls I have are also olde and they state ‘Playmobil System’ on them.  I would think the new ones probably state, “Playmobil, 1977”, but I have not seen them yet.



On all of the side wall pieces is stamped, “AD – MCMLXXVI” – Anni Domino (“Year of our Lord” in Latin) 1976.  The new ones have this stamp as well.  In the picture the olde one is pictured at the back (the Bakery wall) and the new one, obviously, in the front.  You can see the excess flash that has not been trimmed along the edge of the top of the olde one.


Chimney

The original chimneys do not have a Maker’s Mark on them at all.  I suspect this is due to the moulding process.


Wesley Myers:
Doors and Gates

These too have changed from 1st to 2nd Generation. 



The new one is the left and the olde one on the right. 

The most obvious differences are the hinges.  On the 1st Generation ones the hinges were moulded into the frame of the door.  The obvious problem with this is the fact that once one breaks that is it.  While the new one has hinges that can be inserted so if they break.  Even breakage is lessened as the hinge itself is not of the same ABS plastic as the wall piece but a softer plastic.



This next photo (above) shows some of the differences between the two generations.  You can see the insertable hinge area quite clearly.  You can also discerne the bumps on the tabs.  You will see smaller mould pin release marks.  You will also see that the new one has ‘PS’ stated in the mould pin release mark.  I am unsure of the reason for this. 

Even the doors themselves, while upon first glance look the same, are different.  The new one’s moulding is sharper (note around the hinges) as well, the hinges themselves are similar but the 1st Generation ones are sharper at the points that sweep back decoratively.  The new door also has a parts number stamped into it.

If you also look at the top of the door frame on the olde one, you can see there is even detailed sculpting representing the stone pieces.  The new one does not include such extra details but does have more detail around the frame itself.



The detail differences between the gates are basically the same, except for the obvious major differences (as can be seen below).





The gate opening is not really any different in size, but the crenulations above it are.  This does make for a much more imposing piece.  The scallops on the new gate do a lot to it, in my opinion.  However, mixing and matching the olde and the new can create wonderful displays that appear different but in essence use the same parts.  Again, with Playmobil, creativity can make it even more wonderful.

I hope this guide helps people to learn a bit more about Playmobil and the impressively wonderful building system of Steck.

Kate:
Excellent guide!  I'm going to have to go check on mine. 

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