Magic Products Review

COIN by Eric Chien

Written by Bernard Sim

When was the last time you got excited by a coin DVD?  For me, it was a few years back when Ponta The Smith released his DVD “Sick”.   His coin moves are so fluid and graceful and truly looks like real magic.  Now I am excited by Coin by Eric Chien.  If you have seen his trailer, you’d know what I mean.

Coin workers may know that this move was based on some classic coin sleight and most may not know how it was executed as Chien does it very smoothly.  The whole DVD is based on this 1 move and this is a useful, magical and visual coin sleight.

When I first learn the classic version of this vanish, it was from David Roth’s VHS.  That sleight is not difficult.  The difficult part is actually the timing of closing your hand around the coin before the coin vanishes.  Chien’s version requires more work on the move as well as the timing.  To do this well, I guess you’d have to invest some time to practice it to make it look magical.

The DVD teaches you how to execute the move with detailed explanation as well as slow motion and exposed view.  Once you have learn the basic move, you can move on to the routines that uses this move.  The routines included are shown in the trailer and you can expect to learn those from this DVD.  The Spellbound routine taught in the DVD belongs to Ponta The Smith and Chien modified part of Ponta’s Spellbound using his move.  The end result is a beautiful and visual Spellbound routine.  The rest of the routine are variations of a instant visual coin change.  There is also a coins across routine using a coin gaff and his move.

When I first saw the trailer, I was so eager to get my hands on the DVD and when I finally had a copy in my hands, the temptation of wanting to know how it was done was too much for me to wait.

I had to ask my wife to stop work so that I can use her laptop to watch it.  She only gave me 10 mins to watch it as she needs to get back to her work.  After watching it and a few hours of practice, this was the result.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnz7VFEPTbs&feature=em-upload_owner

I still need some practice there.  The video is to show you that this move can be done.  I have done Roth’s version for some time now and learning Chien’s version is not too difficult.  I’d need more practice and to train some muscle memory and also change some finger movement habits.  For those who have not done Roth’s sleight before, I think it will take a bit of time to get it done right.  Nonetheless, this is not one of those DVD whereby they teach you something impossible to achieve.  Chien’s move is achievable if you invest enough time on practicing it. 

Coin workers should really get this, this move has many application and will be useful in your coin routines.            

Rating:  9.5/10 Highly Recommended!

BARE HANDS BILL PRODUCTION AND OTHER BILL EFFECTS by Juan Pablo

Written by Bernard Sim

Juan Pablo’s Bare Hands Bill Production was released a few years ago.  At that time, I don’t see many people doing it.  I only know of one person who does it and till now, he is still doing it.

Money effects...who doesn’t like it.  Money always attracts spectators.  For Bare Hands Bill Production, you can produce up to 6 bills one at a time.  Please note that this is very different from Osaka Bills which is a stage effect.  Osaka bills is like Miser’s Dream except that paper bills are used instead of coins.  For Osaka Bills, the production only uses 1 hand to produce the bill and the bill produced comes out like a flash.  With 2 hands, you can produce many bills to fill the stage.  For Pablo’s Bare Hands, you will require a gimmick which is provided.  The production requires 2 hands and you can always show your hands empty.  It looks clean and visual.

Pablo also includes variations for the multi bill production.  One of them is a bill change, in the midst of producing multiple bills, a blank paper is produced and then changed to a bill.  The other variation is a combination of a single bill production and then with a fold, changes to a bigger denomination bill.  This one looks really good.  This method can also be used for a bill to anywhere effect.  Another interesting variation is a fast torn and restore bill.  It uses the same method for the bill productions.  There are many variations of the bill production in this DVD, all of them are based on his bill switch and bill production.  The variations are pretty much similar.

One thing to take note of is that this effect will only work with paper bill and polymer bills will not work.  With many variations included, I don’t think you will use all the variations in the DVD.  The multiple bill production is something which I think most people will use.

Like I said before, people tend to be attracted to money.  I think Bare Hands is an overlooked product and is worthy of investment.

Rating:  8/10 Recommended.

FITO PAVESE’S TOPIT by Bazar de Magia

Written by Bernard Sim

Most magicians will know what is a Topit but not many uses one.  There are many Topits in the market and there are also plenty of instructional DVDs out there.  You have Micheal Ammar’s Topit DVD and his own Topit design, you also have Carl Coultier’s Expert Topiting Made Easy and his own design as well.  Bob Fitch’s Topit Workshop (3 Vol DVD) has plenty of Topit information on it as well.  My magic pal Enrico Varella has a special Topit using his tie.

I have seen a few topits and also have one custom made in one of my jacket though I no longer use it as I couldn’t fit the jacket anymore.  Back in the days when I was a broker on the trading floor, we use to wear jacket during work and I had a topit installed in my jacket.  This topit that I installed is not permanent and can be taken out and installed on another jacket.  It secures onto the jacket by means of a safety pin.  The design is similar to Ammar’s and I really had fun with it.

So what makes Fitopit different?  Fitopit is a transferable topit and it is easily installed by pinning it to your jacket.  The special design helps you to vanish objects easily as it is always “open”.  Unlike other topits where you have to lean forward to engage the topit, Fitopit is always ready for you to vanish stuff.  This topit has special material built into it and thus makes everything easier and smoother to operate.  The design is simple yet effective.

Fitopit is not a new product; it was released more than 10 years ago.  It comes with a written instruction and some photos.  I had to read the instructions a few times in order to decipher what it is trying to tell me.  Included is a routine for vanishing wine glass by Patrick Page

If you are thinking about dabbling in topits, this maybe a good start as the price is pretty reasonable and the topit actually works pretty well.

Rating: 8/10 Recommended. 

X-RAY by Ramus

Written by Bernard Sim

Max Maven’s Kurotsuke and Charles Gaucci’s Eye to Eye are 2 effects that many magicians use.  Over the years, there are many variations and some of there are even better than the original version.

There are different versions of Kurotsuke such Marc Oberon’s Oddball, Charles Gaucci’s Body Language, Jean-Pierre Vallarino’s Hand in The Bag.  And there are even more versions of Gaucci’s Eye to Eye, they are Outlaw Effects’ The Relic, Child’s Play, Vino Sense by Spencer and many more electronic versions.

When I attended Gaucci’s lecture 10 years ago, I was so excited and happy to get hold of his Body Language.  At that time, it was state of the art and there was no PK Ring at that time.  Body Language was very expensive at that time but magicians are suckers who will pay whatever it takes to get hold of something they fancyJ.  The effect is good and the method is clever.

For X-ray, you get 2 routines for the price of 1.  With X-ray, you can do Kurotsuke and Eye to Eye and yes, they are 100% accurate without any electronic parts.  The gimmick is rather simple but most importantly, very effective.  When I first saw the package, I thought it was very clever to use something that magician has always been using.  When I tried it before I watched the video, I was a bit skeptical as it was not really working as what I expected.  After watching the video and learning the proper method, I was truly impressed by it.

The pic here shows what you get from the package.  I have left out the gimmick for obvious reason.   The balls are rather small but it will not affect your performance (funny sentence eh? haha).  The metal box is resting on a velvet bag that is included for you to use for the Kurotsuke effect.  The card shows you the link and password for you to watch the instructions.  The video is very detailed and you will be performing this very soon after watching the video.  There is also an additional routine whereby it’s similar to Deddy Corbuzier’s Free will, only difference is you really know which hands has what and what is in the pocket.  I think a good patter is very important for such effects and you will probably spend more time learning your patter than learning the execution. 

For those who is already performing Kurotsuke and Eye to Eye, you will have no problem adapting to this method.  For those who have never performed these 2 effects before, this is the time to do it as with Xray, it will be very easy on the method as well as easy on the wallet.

Rating:  I am really excited about this product and its not easy to get excited about new effects these days.

9/10 Highly Recommended!

UNBOUND: GIMMICKLESS INVISIBLE DECK by Darryl Davis

Written by Bernard Sim

Unbound is an impromptu ungimmicked Invisible Deck, at least for 1 version.  There are a few versions where some requires some setup and even a gimmicked box version.

I’m pretty sure most magicians will have at least bought 1 Invisible deck before.  While some use this very often, some people (that’s me) will put it in the drawer to collect dust.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the effect.  Very often, prolong storage or usage will make the deck not as effective as it use to be.  With Unbound, you won’t have that problem anymore.  Having said that, you will have some problems if you want to use Unbound and that is practiceJ.  It’s not easy; you will need to have lots of practice before you can perform it.  The good thing for this version is that you can perform it with a brand new deck or a borrowed deck.  There is even an ungimmciked (but not impromptu) version of a Brainwave deck.  The Brainwave deck effect looks great!  Apart from learning the sleights, you will also need to learn some equivoque.

One of the routine that caught my attention was Akerman’s opener.  This routine is a non-gimmicked ID combined with Triumph routine and a memorised deck routine.   This one is really cool but tough work.  Purist will have fun with this.  While I enjoyed this routine, I can’t imagine how it would look like for me to put in effort to learn this.   Haha,I liked it, but I don’t like to practice this J.

There are tons of info and the effect is taught in great detail.  However, the question you want to ask yourself is..... do you want to go through all these when you have the gimmicked version?  For me, I think it is too much of a hassle when there are easier gimmicked versions to perform the same effect.  I think the gimmicked version looks better too.  Of course there are purists who would put this to the test.

Lots of info, lots of materials and of course lots of practice.  Suitable for some but not for all.

Rating: 6/10 

NUMBERIC by Taiwan Ben

Written by Bernard Sim

Anyone who has own a beginner’s magic kit before is likely to have seen the number cards which Numberic is based on.  Basically, the original effect uses a few cards that has numbers on it.  Spectators will choose a number and the magician will flash the cards 1 at a time to the spectator and ask if that number is in that particular card.  This is repeated until the cards are exhausted and the magician will be able to tell the identity of the card.  Numberic is the same except that this is in 3D version on a Rubik’s 5x5 cube.

When I first saw this prop, I was fascinated by the design as it’s a Rubik’s cube with numbers on it.  However, when I realized what the effect was, I was rather disappointed.  Numberic comes with a link to watch the video.  I was probably very tired and I fell asleep 3 times and had to rewind it to watch from where I doze off.  A friend came to visit me, so I stopped watching it.  After he left, I continued to watch, this time without falling asleepJ.  The video was rather dry and the way Taiwan Ben speaks is too slow for me, explanations are repeated many times and the “variations” are very similar.  The effect is based on an easy system in which you have to remember.  Once you get that down, you are good to go.  Method is very easy, much like the original card version.  There are a few routines taught but I felt that the routines are too similar to each other.

When I first opened up the package, the first thing that came to mind was what if I screw up the cube and can’t solve it?  Well, Taiwan Ben has a set of instructions on how to take the cube apart and assemble it back (many of us is probably already very experienced in taking apart Rubik’s cube J)

In summary, while the effect is easy, there is a high chance that the spectators will think that the method involve some sort of mathematics formula.  I wouldn’t use this effect but I know some people would.  You’d need a very interesting presentation to impress your spectator.

Rating 6/10.  I think Taiwan Ben has probably spent a lot of time coming out with this product, though this is a simple effect, I think the workings behind is brilliant.