'Little Grey Fergie’ (Built by Neil Bedford from a model plan by Richard Smith)
My model is very closely based on the excellent ‘Little Grey Fergie’ Model Plan by my SWMC pal Richard Smith but with a few changes just to put my own stamp on it:
- My rear wheels are a little larger than those on Richard’s tractor, and they looked slightly oversized when held against his original model. To manage this, I rescaled the whole model based on photos of the real machine found online. This resulted in a model which is slightly longer and wider than Richard’s original.
- I wanted the hood to open, giving me a chance to detail the engine.
- In the same way that a model of Concorde looks best in white parts, I really wanted my Fergie to be grey.
Richard’s tractor is a great model, but the gearbox in particular is outstanding. Richard’s model plan explains up front, that this will be a complex build and a great deal of care is needed when assembling the internal mechanisms in particular.
Probably trying to race ahead of myself, I got the gearbox wrong a couple of times before I got it right. A single geared motor provides forward and reverse drive via a differential, operates the three-point hitch on the rear and also drives the power-take-off (PTO) shaft via three separate gear levers. The fan on the front of the engine is also driven and the rear drum brakes operate independently on each rear wheel as on the prototype - not just to stop the tractor but to enable skid-steering in wet mud - so there is plenty going on.
Because Richard was creating a model plan for others to enjoy, he was tied to using standard parts wherever possible. In contrast I was free to include a few ‘cheats’ and the big one (apart from the grey paint) was to replace the two 38 tooth pinions in the gearbox with narrow-faced equivalents - a small change but allowing me to have slightly wider neutral positions, which is helpful.
The lovely rear tyres were not cheap but they do make the model. They were a lucky find on Mike Roades’ table at a club event in the Midlands. They came with two-piece aluminium hubs which saved me having to build hubs from Meccano parts as per Richard’s plan. There is almost no spare room at all inside this model and care is needed to ensure that the bolts used in the engine and gearbox casings do not protrude into the model and touch the gears inside - not difficult, but certainly demanding some trial and error.
In order to have the hood opening, I first needed to make up some very short bolts to use when assembling it, so that it would (just) open and close over the engine. This is a common problem on smaller models, where even a standard Meccano bolt would scale up to being a huge fixing in real life. There were other options of course and I did consider using long grub screws with a nut at each end, but did not have nearly enough - so shortening a handful of bolts was another small cheat which I could live with. The opening hood meant that I could model the top of the engine and the smart oval-sectioned fuel tank (the ends of which are simply made from thick card). I also added the radiator in front of the fan, and the battery which sits between the fuel tank and the dashboard on the real tractor. The compromise needed for an opening hood and radiator, was that I could not model the smart slatted grille which Richard has on his model and instead needed a simple mesh grille - which hopefully looks believable.
The model is built almost entirely from older parts, stripped and then painted with grey primer and a coat of Ford Polar Grey gloss. The model runs very smoothly (after a lot of tinkering) and was finished last Summer. This was an enjoyable build, even if I am still awaiting an opportunity to show it at a club meeting. In fact, the only person who has seen this one, is Richard Smith, who approved of my tweaks and who I must thank for doing all the hard work when he created a great model plan!
Rob Curling mentioned during the meeting that long grub screws, as mentioned by Neil, can be bought in batches of 200 from www.Screw-Shop.com. This link will take you directly to the 5/32 BSW grub screws.
Steve Briancourt: My 'Penny Falls' machine - ostensibly built for my grandchildren to play with - is now complete! Unfortunately, Covid has meant that it is likely to be some time before any of them will be able to enjoy it. All the functionality is contained within the inner structure, and all the exterior cosmetic cladding attaches to the structure using a multitude of captive nuts. The first picture shows the machine without its cladding but fully functional.
The side panels were the largest and most complicated to resolve. They had to be fairly rigid and flat, and the bottom rail anchors to the machine's structure simply by locating it onto three vertical pins attached to the structure. The panel is then moved upright into position and fixed to the structure using black headed Allen bolts into captive nuts.
The vast majority of the captive nuts are threaded bosses held in position by various means. In a couple of cases they were needed as 'a run' so have been mounted along a threaded rod as shown in the picture. In some cases '3 hole' couplings have been used, as the half inch pitch between the threaded holes allows for one to secure the coupling to the fixed part, and the other to act as a captive nut for the removeable part.
Two on/off toggle switches are mounted at the back. One operates the two motors driving the table mechanism (each motor is clutched in the event that one fails, so preventing damage to the other). The other switch operates the back panel plungers and 2p rotating sign. The sign has been sprayed with a copper finish to mimic a new 2p coin. Switching it like this makes it easier to trouble shoot any problems and jams.
The coin rail has ten slots through which to drop a coin, but the coin's drop path is by no means predictable. Further pictures show the machine complete with all its cladding. Spraying the yellow paint did not go well due to a combination of old cans in which the paint had coagulated (and mostly sprayed out propellant), and new cans which were very poorly applied by the operator! A perspex plate to cover the moving coin table will be added for exhibitions.
Chris Bates: I didn't really have anything to show for this meeting but a couple of weeks ago, I started a model of a pump trolly as used by railway gangs which I thought would be fun and easy to do. The instructions came from an old CQ. The basic build was quite easy but because I was using a different motor, this meant redesigning the whole drive mechanism. Then the electrics were a challenge as I couldn't get a good enough contact with the rails (two rail system). All now sorted and whilst not the final finished article, it works!
The aircraft I have started work upon came to me in a book of plans. Also a huge box of loose Meccano parts, all brand new. Some Christmas present that was. The plan for this plane can be found in the 1991 Set 6 manual and can be downloaded from the NZ website at https://www.nzmeccano.com/image-18836&frompage=2 .
I have also started work on a transporter bridge, but it's out-growing my workbench; I may have to move!!
Mark Bridle also joined us and talked about his difficulty and experiences in building a model of an outboard motor. Apparently, the model plans are not very user friendly in that the build sequence shown is not how the assembly sequence needs to be. The final model will actually be quite large, but so far Mark has only built the motor unit. The fuel tank, midsection and propeller housing are yet to be built.
The plans were published in the January issue of Meccano Magazine 1934. You can use the link here to see the full article. MM plan for outboard motor in pdf form.