2018 January

SWMC Meeting – 27th January 2018

We had a very enjoyable afternoon courtesy of Steve and Dianne Briancourt.  We welcomed new member David Blandford, who has recently started collecting Meccano and is building his first model, which we look forward to seeing in due course.

A brief report of the models on show is as follows:

Chris Bates has ‘Gone Loco’, bringing along a pair of saddle-tank locomotives. The first was an 0-4-0 ‘Peckett’ modelled in YBZ parts but his main work in progress is an 0-6-0 in R&G parts.

The pair of loco’s have given Chris an opportunity to trial different techniques and in particular, alternative valve gears. On this occasion the 0-6-0 was running on a neat ‘rolling road’ but will now be developed to run on rails.

Pete Evans showed us his Thew Steam shovel. This model is in R&G parts and works extremely well, with multiple motors powering the various movements. The model features a clever bucket movement and a charming steering mechanism (as per the original) whereby an operator standing in front of the shovel would turn an external hand wheel, coupled to a traction engine style chain-operated linkage acting on the front axle.

A video of this can be seen here on YouTube.

Pete also fascinated us with his very impressive collection of ship’s funnels. I don’t claim to have more than a passing knowledge of this Meccano part but Pete’s research has been very thorough indeed, revealing a lot of history. Firstly, Meccano made ship’s funnels in several different styles over the years – those with round mounting holes, slotted mounting holes, raked funnels, vertical funnels, no steam pipe, short steam pipe, long steam pipe etc. Then came the surprising range of colours. As well as the extensive series of around 26 funnels, representing generic colours plus each of the main shipping lines of the time, it was possible to write to Meccano Ltd and request a specific non-standard funnel – perhaps to represent a smaller company which was local to where you lived, or one which you had seen on an overseas trip.

I imagine that few people would have bought this Meccano part, thus making the colourful ones extremely rare. I had a few (which I have donated to Pete’s collection, to be repainted in line with rare originals) but have never used one in a model. In fact, we know of only one complete set of funnels. This is owned by Mr Jim Gamble (NMMG) and was rescued from the Binns Road offices just before they were demolished. Pete now has a very presentable collection but if any of you have an unusual funnel in the bottom of your junk box, I am sure that Pete would love to see it. There is a ‘back-story’ to many Meccano parts and we look forward to seeing how Pete’s collection develops.

Steve Briancourt has been continuing construction of the superstructure on his massive USS Missouri. The gun direction equipment is now all linked together using complicated internal linkages which weave between the many other mechanisms competing for the same space. In addition, Steve is adding the ‘wood effect’ decking – all from standard Meccano parts which have been carefully painted. We all marvel at this terrific model, as it gradually comes together – keep going Steve!

A video of this model can be seen here on YouTube.

Martin Arnold has been focussing on motor vehicles and this time, showed us a very neat lorry-mounted crane of his own design, modelled in late 1970’s DBY parts. This model featured three axles, working steering, slewing, luffing and hoisting, along with working screw-jacks which would be used to stabilise the crane when lifting to either side. Martin explained that he has learned from building this model and may now construct a larger version.

Sam Medworth often shows us something ‘a little bit different’ and this meeting was no exception. First-off was a table skittles game, then a revolving, flashing light utilising some rare, early Electrikit parts and lastly, a variable pattern line drawing machine.

A short video of the table skittles can be seen here on YouTube.

This could very loosely be likened to a Meccanograph, in as much as it is a drawing machine, but it probably owes more to an oscilloscope, with the pen moving in X and Y axis’ to create overlapping sine wave patterns . The images created were interesting, often attractive and very different to those generated by a Meccanograph.

Neil Bedford brought along the front section of his ‘Gama Goat’ US Army truck. This peculiar, amphibious vehicle featured six-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and massive chassis articulation. The plan is for the model to be finished in Meccano Army Green, with full radio-control and an animated crew.

A video of this can be seen here on YouTube.

Richard Smith is working on a development of a Meccano ‘Shop Display Model’. As the name suggests, these were a series of models built at the Binns Road factory for display in the larger toy shops. There were several different models and Richard has chosen a sturdy motor chassis. With the help of car-mad Pete Evans, Richard has found that the original Meccano display model was based very closely upon a Mk5 Bentley from around 1939. Richard now plans to include full Bentley bodywork, which will lift automatically to reveal the various mechanisms within the chassis. The model is being built in LRG parts, beautifully repainted as we have now come to expect from Richard.

John Day completed the models on display with two of Tony James’ modern Set Ten designs. Firstly was the skip lorry, which is at the stage of a rolling chassis with working gearbox and steering. John has this working very nicely but has some tricky building ahead of him. John also showed the Tipping Lorry, recently designed by Tony James. This was an excellent model, with many working features and featuring a rear tipping body which could hinge on the rear edge or on either side – clever stuff.