2018 October


October 2018 meeting report

Our October meeting was a very well attended affair with many new models on display, as well as some current favourites.

Firstly, we would like to welcome new members Ian Jeeves and Kevin Harris.  We hope they found the day enjoyable.

The following write up is in no particular order, and I hope no-one has been left out!

A view of the hall

Philip Bond displayed a smart looking car - less body - with a working chain driven cooling fan, operational Ackermann steering, and rear wheel drive with working differential. This was all elegantly assembled and mounted on stands. It is one of the classic Meccano chassis models - possibly a Bentley.

A video of this can be seen on YouTube.

He also brought a red and green flatbed lorry made in the early style using the original plastic 2.5 inch wheels, which gave it real authenticity.

Richard Smith wowed us with a spectacular scale model of the ‘Duchess of Devonshire’ complete with two carriages.  Furthermore, each carriage was finished in two different liveries – one on each side.  The hall side is the British Rail ‘blood and custard’, the other side is the pre-war ‘London Midland and Scottish Rail’ crimson and gold.  The carriage roofs are hinged to expose fully representative interiors, complete with one passenger going about his business (or avoiding the ticket collector?).  The entire model could run to and fro on a track, via radio control, and even the control box is Meccano!


To Show what could be done with younger builders' plastic Meccano, Greg Worwood displayed some entertaining animated models of a caged pirate, a windmill, a sailboat and a mean looking pirate galleon. A video of these can be seen YouTube. The caged pirate even vocalised his disapproval of being incarcerated!

Sam Medworth brought his elegant tower crane, watched over by Wallace’s Gromit at its base. The crane was controlled by joystick using AC input and diodes to achieve forward and reverse to 3 motors via 3 wires and a common return. This model nicely demonstrates how such slender structures can perform.

David Northcott showed his original design ERA (English Racing Automobile) car.  This has working steering and rear wheel drive, though not demonstrated on the day.

The Gama Goat by Neil Bedford was manned by three battle-hardened figures. The two in the front could be seen looking side to side, and one of them moved the machine gun side to side too!  This is a fully functioning vehicle and was demonstrated moving around the floor later in the day.

A video of the people moving within the car can be seen on YouTube.

By far the tallest structure was Chis Bates’ dockside crane, based on the actual one outside the Mshed in Bristol docks.  It was accompanied by the ‘Henbury’ loco, and a barge full of timber.  Thanks to the existence of this splendid model, Chris can now boast of actually operating the real thing in Bristol docks!

Recent member Barry Winslow displayed some pristine looking vintage sets.  These comprised a No. 3 Burgundy storage box housing a very clean looking blue and gold set, a No. 6 red/green and a No. 5 nickel both from the 1930’s, and a complete 1950’s No. 9 outfit in beautiful condition.  Also being shown were a Dealership box, and a shop display ferris wheel, both from the 1970’s.

A video can be seen on YouTube.

Still in dry dock under construction was Steve Briancourt’s USS Missouri, now with a realistically painted hull along most of one side.  The stern section cladding is still to be finished, but the section joins are barely visible, giving an unbroken flow to the ship’s hull lines.  Some of the earlier mechanical niggles have been sorted, so the guns and other functions operated without failure.  He hopes to have the model complete with a full hull by April, but it has been mentioned what a shame it will be to hide all the internal magic.

Pete Evans displayed his Herschell Carousel, which is a very fine example of Meccano fairground modelling.  Previous problems must have been resolved as it ran beautifully. A video of this can be seen on YouTube.

Andrew Jefferis brought a range of vehicles from different eras.  The two rear left are from 1919, the two front left from 1913 and 1922.  The three larger trucks from the left are from 1928, 1955 and 1966.  All of the models were built from set plans of the day, and showed evolving complexity in the level of build.

Michael Edwards showed his single decker Denis Dart bus – mostly upturned – which gave visibility of the complex drive system all of original design.  It features a three speed auto box with synchromesh.  More of this can be seen on his page here. He also brought along a bagatelle game.

Two clocks were on display by members.  Alan Perry is currently building a clock in red/green.  He found too late that one of the large gears had been bored out, such that the fit on the shaft was very wobbly.  I'm sure many of us have frustratingly found 'modified' parts amongst our good stock.  Additionally,  Alan showed a very nice example of an E20R electric motor, still boxed with packaging.

John Day brought a beautiful looking clock which not only kept time, but rotated on its base. This is no less than the Sinclair Harding version of the famous award-winning Harrison Chronometer. Watch it in motion on YouTube . John also brought a partially constructed 'ping-pong' ball machine.  When finished it will raise a ball in one tower, transport it to another, and allow the ball to bounce freely between the two to be caught in the hopper of the first tower.  Very ingenious.

Rob Curling  and his wife attended displaying a set of four coloured cubes.  These are actually an inscrutable game challenge of old, with very simple rules.   This is a good example of a very different kind of Meccano model; simple yet engaging.

Also under construction is a lorry in yellow and zinc.  The cab was demonstrated to autonomously run in a circle (see video on YouTube), though the shiny floor did cause some wheel slippage occasionally.

Hugh Barr demonstrated a functioning steam engine built from plans, driven by a Meccano 6 speed motor. A video of this can be seen on YouTube.


Mark Bridle brought a model of a Stiff Leg Derrick Crane.

Philip Drew demonstrated his computer controlled gantry crane.  This will locate and pick up a load by electro-magnet, then move it to a pre-selected location and place the load on the ground.  The clever use of small potentiometers ensures each motion is finitely controlled. A video of this can be seen on YouTube.

David Miller brought along a model railway overhead gantry made from Meccano. It is a passenger footbridge designed to connect one platform to another on his O-gauge railway.  It was put into context by showing a picture of where it lives, normally spanning two tracks of the O gauge layout.  This must certainly dominate a large attic space judging by the accompanying photo. He also included a plea for anyone who might want to join him in his attic hobby.

Everyone was very grateful to Lynn and Dianne who prepared a wonderful spread of sandwiches and cakes for all, and kept the tea and coffee flowing throughout the day.

The latter part of the meeting was reserved for the AGM.  The minutes of this will be made available separately.