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Vending Machine by Sansminds

Vending Machine

Gimmick materials, DVD 33 mins
Available from any Murphy’s retailer or dealers contact www.murphysmagic.com

Price: £38.00

You hold a can of drink. With a shake, it visually changes to a different brand of drink – and the can may be fully handled and examined. Interesting. 

Perhaps to my shame I freely admit I was immediately on my guard when this popped through the letterbox from Leveridge Towers, that proudly baronial castle nestling on the Exmoor borders. Firstly, it’s from Sansminds, who have a history of pouring a seemingly unending waterfall of effects onto the marketplace with a quality-to-release ratio that’s, let’s just say, patchy. 

Then I looked at the trailer and was drawn inexorably to the chicken-flapping imitation their presenter performed every time he changed the can. What mechanism was he hiding that necessitated such a large and ungainly motion? Worrying. 

It gets worse – but then it gets better, so it’s worth hanging on in there. Upon opening the DVD case you are faced with a DVD (remember them?) and… some materials. Being provided with components by Sansminds means only one thing: a DIY interlude beckons. 

It’s not difficult, although you have to be both careful and precise. You better had, because you don’t get any further supplies of the ‘stuff’. You get materials to make it up in two different soda makes, Coca Cola and an energy drink. To make up any further, or different, can gimmicks you’d have to buy the whole package afresh – at nearly forty quid a pop. 

I promised it gets better, and it does. This looks great and works well… but within limitations (it just got worse again: I’m toying with you). You can do what you see on the trailer – it really can look that good – and, with a little work you’ll be able to improve it noticeably. 

The secret apparatus is entirely stolen away by the end and you can give the spectator the remaining drink at the end. The fact that you end up totally clean, with a gimmick-less drink, is a big plus. 

In a parlour or stage situation where you are in control of angles, it can look great. Forget it for walk-around. If you want some eye-candy for a promo, it is a safe bet. Sansminds know a thing or two about producing good instructional films with fine production values, so no problems in that regard. 

There are several variations on offer. One is a dual change – for which, guess what, you have to buy another set. He also explores a transposition of liquid drink to solid item, as well as an eye-bothering split drink handling.

We are reminded that this started life some time back as ‘Pop Change’. ‘Vending Machine’ is certainly an enhanced version of that flawed forerunner. It requires you to wear a jacket or sweatshirt over a dark t-shirt – not unachievable in many performing environments. Ladies, make your own arrangements. 

The whole thing requires some handling practice, particularly on those flapping wings, but this is primarily a gimmick-driven effect and not at all difficult to pull off. If you like what you see, can accommodate the various restrictions it imposes, and the asking price doesn’t put you off – go for it. However, that’s a fair few ifs and a handful of buts.

Review by Bob Gill. Originally published in Magicseen Magazine, issue 89