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Propel (DVD and Gimmick) Review

Official Review

July 26th, 2014 2:18am
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
The effect of Propel is nothing new but its method is an interesting take on the plot. Incidentally there is also another old gimmick principle at work here and students of coin magic and ball/silk manipulation will recognize it when they see it.

The trailer has two demos on it and is accurate for the most part except a few nitpicks: At one point, Chris says there is "nothing but the ink and your skin" which is not entirely true; of course there is something special. They also state that this can take place "inches" away from spectators, which I challenge and I will explain this point/stance in a bit. There is also a version of the effect they show in the trailer that is not taught anywhere on the DVD and that is with an 'X' drawn on the hand as opposed to a circular dot.

The production quality is fantastic with great lighting and sound. Herman is the host for the explanations and does a great job teaching the preparation and making of the gimmick as well as the set-up and performance of the effect.

The set up can take some time to get the gimmick just right and you will have to remake it due to breakage if you are not careful or if you handle it too roughly. They show a nice method for transporting the gimmick so that it is easier to get into, but I am not sure how well it would work and you still have to be careful with it - I cannot say much more without exposing anything except that it is very hard to get the gimmick to look as good as they say it will.

One major problem I have with it, which ties into my challenge of the statement that it can be performed "inches" away from spectators, is that it is not what it appears to be if you get too close. 1) A black spot made by a marker would not have the sheen that this one has, and 2) It most certainly would NOT create a shadow...The only thing further that I can say is that no matter how well you make the gimmick, it will always be somewhat bulkier than the thing that it is imitating.

At the end you are left in an awkward position as soon as you make the dot vanish from one hand and appear on the other. The cleanup that is taught is terrible. Because of this you cannot do this effect surrounded and even if you could, it would be pointless because people directly to your sides and behind you would see nothing of the effect.

You get enough materials to make quite a few of these gimmicks and if you ever do run out, all the necessary components are easy to replace with a trip to your magic shop.

The effect looks exactly like it does on the trailer but I think the ad copy and the trailers are misleading. Other than a dot, it says that you can draw a "simple symbol" on your hand to perform the effect. You have to make a gimmick that looks like whatever symbol you want to draw and besides a square or circle, it would probably be a pain the derriere to make anything else - as it is, the circle is a pain in the butt to make. It also says that the ink "crawls up and down across your fingers and even onto the other hand." Not true - it only moves up the fingers of one hand and it does not visibly crawl onto the other hand - there is a moment where it is covered and then it is shown to have moved from one hand to the other. It also makes the same statement Chris does about the effect using "nothing but the ink and your skin." It *should* say "...with 'apparently' nothing but..."

*At one point they tell you to draw directly on your skin with a Sharpie marker. I would highly suggest you read up on the possible dangers of writing on your skin with Sharpie markers via the Sharpie website as there have been warnings against this in the past. You could use other non-toxic markers for this part if you wish as long as they match the Sharpie ink used for the gimmick.

All in all this effect is doable and it looks exactly as shown but it does have its drawbacks: It is not practical in every situation, it cannot really be done surrounded, it cannot be done "inches" away from spectators as stated, you will have to consider lighting because it will not work in bright lights. Even with the included materials, for what you are getting the price point is a bit on the high side, but if you think the effect is worth the cost then it does not matter.

If you like what you see or if you like the plot, you might like this method for it but I would encourage you to save your money and find something else. Two stars.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Propel (DVD and Gimmick)

Author: Nanda, Rizki
Publisher: SM Productionz
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $34.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

SansMinds Magic brings you Propel - a crazy visual effect all the way from Indonesia.
Draw a simple dot or symbol on your finger with a Sharpie marker. Watch the ink crawls up and down across your fingers and even on to the other hand.

A moving ink effect with nothing but the ink and your skin. It happens inches away from your spectator with no cover or other funny business. You'll be leaving your spectator completely astonished.

A perfect companion effect for SansMinds Sharpie routine.

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