2018 April

21/04/18 SWMC Annual Public Exhibition

A great day was had by all although visitor numbers were sadly down on last year, despite excellent efforts being made on advertising. A lively sale followed with many members grabbing a bargain to further build their collections. Models exhibited were (briefly) as follows:

Philip Bond showed two lovely models – an AEC Regent bus and a Foden Steam Wagon powered by a Meccano steam engine, both realistically captured in LRG parts.

A video of the steam wagon can be seen here on YouTube.

More details about this steam wagon can be found on Philip Bond's Page.

Also from the ‘Far South West Meccano Club’ was David Worth with a collection of smaller models. Having such models at a public show is important as we hope to attract new members of all ages, with collections of all sizes.

Andrew Jefferis displayed his version of model 10:11 – an aircraft carrier in MRG complete with aeroplanes. This is a large model from the ‘Golden Age’ of Meccano.

SWMC Secretary Richard Smith brought along several models. First off was a charming tipper lorry built in very old but pristine nickel-plated Meccano. Richard is also building an improved version of the ‘Modern Motor Chassis’ supermodel in his trademark immaculate MRG parts as well as displaying the iconic Pontoon Crane and his fabulous ‘Octomecc’ which demonstrates multiple Meccano mechanisms and is fascinating to watch.

A video of  this Octomecc can be seen on YouTube.

One of the largest models on show belonged to club Treasurer Chris Bates and was an improved and remotely controlled model of one of the cranes in Bristol docks. Chris has taken a novel but highly effective approach by using mostly older parts, resprayed in grey primer. Such paint is very easy to source and using a matt finish makes life easier than a gloss. The effect was extremely realistic and further enhanced by Chris’ study of the prototype, which has allowed him to improve the scale dimensions and to add additional details to this model, which is based on an available plan.

Sam Medworth has been building Fire Engines – seven in total. All are from Meccano plans and represented just about every colour scheme from nickel-plate through to late 70’s DBY. Later in the day, we borrowed the tennis court outside the hall to run Sam’s other model – the ‘Thrust SWMC’ rocket car. This was wonderful fun and (after last year’s false start) worked well using a revised rocket unit. Is this the first ever rocket-powered Meccano model?

For a video of the rocket car please see this You Tube link.

Greg Worwood and his partner Marion brought along an interesting mix of models. First was a Meccanograph built from plastic Meccano, strengthened from the original design and using 3 pens and a Meccano 6-speed electric motor. This was very popular with the younger visitors.

Also on show was a fascinating ‘Cuthbertson’ tracked Landrover to Greg’s own design. This Landie was dwarfed though, by Greg’s huge Landrover Defender and its livestock trailer filled with fluffy sheep.

Steve Briancourt continues his epic build of the USS Missouri – now sporting its 4 gun directors and multiple 20mm cannon. Steve is also starting to build the outer hull and the shape is certainly beginning to come alive. Endless patience and an understanding wife are just as essential as a good stock of parts for a project like this one!

Club Chairman Neil Bedford showed his Lotus 25 F1 car and a partially complete model of a ‘Gama Goat’. This was a US Army vehicle featuring 6wd and 4 wheel steering. The main parts are now complete, including the three man crew who are also built from Meccano. The plan is to have this one finished for the big Meccano exhibition at Skegness in June – some late nights are required!

A video of this Gama Goat can be seen on YouTube.

David Miller combined his passions for Meccano and Hornby ‘O’ Gauge with a charming display, including a Meccano clockwork diesel shunting engine, a Hornby locomotive and assorted Hornby rolling stock. David explained that one of the coaches was of a German prototype and represented a series of such models sold during the early 1940’s – not sure that the UK market for these would have been very lively, given events at the time but the history of Hornby and Meccano is full of these interesting side stories.

Hugh Barr showed several models in R&G – firstly his Traction Engine (supermodel 22) fitted with a sideplate motor.

Then a model designed to demonstrate a range of mechanisms, where turning a crank handle was rewarded by releasing a marble to roll down a series of shutes.

Finally Hugh showed us his ‘Swingboats’ fairground ride, based on a set model but enhanced by an automatic reversing mechanism borrowed from the Set Ten Gantry Crane. A video of this Swingboat ride can be seen on YouTube.

Mark Bridle brought along three small cranes, each built in his superb powder-coated RG parts. These were based upon models from the 1913-15 Plan Book but enhanced by our resident crane and digger expert to operate more effectively.

Meccano is such a varied hobby that sometimes we will become very interested in a certain part. Such is the case with Pete Evans, who has very quickly become something of an expert on the Ship’s Funnel (or “Chimneys” as Pete prefers to describe them). Most of us will have this part in red, or perhaps yellow and black, but over the years many variations have been made. Not many of each funnel was made and (Worldwide) there may not be an absolutely complete set. Pete has gathered a good many genuine examples but has also worked with Richard Smith to reproduce others. The result was a display of nearly 40 different funnels, each representing a specific shipping line from years past. Some members have donated funnels to Pete and if you have any spare then I am sure that he would give them a good home.

Pete also showed a splendid carousel fairground ride from a Keith Cameron design which after many, many hours of tinkering is now working very well. Pete also exhibited an early ‘Inventors Outfit’ and a DRG Set 5a in its original wooden cabinet. A video of this Carousel can be seen on YouTube.

Last but not least was new member Barry Winslow with an early nickel set and a No2 Constructor Car. The latter was purchased in a distressed condition and is being lovingly restored by Barry. These wonderful cars are now quite rare and command high prices – nice to see another one saved.

This year’s Scrapheap Challenge was hotly contested but eventually won by David Miller with a simple but very effective machine. This gives David five Scrapheap Challenge wins – more than anybody else and just one ahead of Sam (who is already thinking about something for 2019 so that he might draw-even again!).  Photos of the entrants, some videos and a photo of the winner can be seen on the  2018 Challenge page.

The Ben Johnson Foundation Trophy for the best model in show, as voted by the visiting public went (not for the first time!) to Steve Briancourt with his USS Missouri. It may be some time before one of us can wrestle this trophy away from Steve!

Finally a vote of sincere thanks went to Lynn and Dianne who worked very hard all day long to keep us supplied with refreshments. This work is always appreciated and goes a very long way towards making this such an enjoyable event.