2021 January Virtual Meeting

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Martin Arnold

The 'Motor Coach 9.8' shown in the Outfit No 9 manual for 1951 is a very good looking model which has a period vintage feel about it. I was inspired to build this during lockdown in red and green. I did not follow the instructions to the letter as the difficult curvature of the roof required a lot of plate bending, which is something that I am not prepared to do.

I started with the chassis which is a fairly simple design, and incorporated a spur gear and two pinion steering to replace the original arrangement shown in the instructions. This double pinion arrangement ensured the correct directional operation when the steering wheel is turned.

As a clockwork motor would not be powerful enough to move such a heavy model, I fitted a 12 volt modern motor instead. This, combined with a simple pinion and contrate arrangement ensured that the coach moved extremely well which was a pleasant surprise.

I used different parts for the passenger seating for better scale effect (Part nos 51 and 188).

The first problem encountered was the use of the recommended 188 flexible plate for the offside mudguard.  This fouled the steering to an unacceptable extent.  Therefore, I fitted an obtuse angle bracket and flat girder (103h) to represent the mudguard instead. Thankfully, this enabled the steering to operate efficiently again. I also included a driver's seat and mirrors.

I decided not to have a sliding door as it would not have been particularly neat and a hinged one was fitted instead. This may be incorrect for the coaches of the 1940s era but I prefer the neatness effect.

For the luggage locker, I did not use the Hinged Flat Plate (198) but fitted two Hinges (114) to a flexible plate which operates with a lock, and grab bar.

The fun and games started with the roof. Instead of bending Part Nos 189 and 192, I used "Curved Plates 200" for the centre section of the roof and red "Plastic Plates 194" for the difficult curves at the back of the coach. Although this made life a lot easier, I still took half a day to build the roof to achieve a reasonable effect.


This was a very simple model to build but required some thought and patience in some areas. It really looks the part and moves extremely smoothly with a modern motor. Therefore, I would recommended this model to fellow modellers who are looking for a quick and satisfying build which emphasises the beauty of the red and green era. I shall look forward to building more models from the Outfit No 9 set and report my experiences.

I have attempted the 9.12 Marine Steam Engine from the 1951 manual.

I believe that the model represents a Triple-Expansion Steam Engine (TESE) which is a compound engine that expands the steam in three stages. This means that the engine utilises three cylinders at three different pressures to drive the crankshaft connected to the ship's propulsion system. The first successful commercial use was in the SS Aberdeen built at Govan in Scotland in 1881. The TESEs continued to be used during the Second World War in the USA's Liberty and Victory ships.

I have upgraded the model as follows:

1) Fitted a modern 12v motor instead of a clockwork motor.

2) Fitted stronger bearings for the crank shaft which is a two part compound axle rod.

3) Used slide pieces instead of Double Brackets for smoothness.

4) Replaced the ridiculous web construction with three Eccentric Triple Throws. These function very smoothly at 1 inch and were an expedient solution for reliability.

5) Fitted a 6 inch Pulley for the Flywheel.

6) Fitted Braced Girders for the Walkways.

I know that my crankshaft is not correct in engineering terms but after a number of unsuccessful attempts using Face Plates etc., I gave up and used parts that work. It is an attractive model and I almost enjoyed building it.

The attached video shows my Engine working with proper cranks powered by a PDU but you can hear the motor straining. This caused me to replace the PDU with a modern motor for more efficient running. However, days of frustration ensued and I failed. Therefore, I have taken the model apart and will begin a rebuild to my own specifications - watch this space.


Philip Bond

These are some pics of my Meccano camper van that was inspired by a Camper Van Construction Kit in a tin from "Apples to Pears" that lets you build your very own camper van, that my daughter had as present.

My Latest Meccano Build is my version of the popular Meccano constructor car. It is made from standard Meccano and not the pre-made special parts.

Eric Pentecost:

I have started back on the Titan Block Setting Crane and have managed to locate some plans from the NZ Club.

This is good news but also bad news as I find myself doing nearly a complete rebuild to get it right. I had thought about priming the lot awhile ago and am now taking the opportunity.

I recently managed to purchase a Special Edition of the American Locomotive part no. 0507 and was amazed at the price that you can pay for one - that’s if you can find it.

BUT when you look at the condition of the parts that you are paying for I wouldn’t bother. Luckily I got it cheap.

Alan Perry is showing his two wheeled 'very incomplete' traction engine (set 10, plan 15).

Alan also spoke about his windmill (now at 1/24th scale). This model is based on the historic windmill originally built in Danzey Green near Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire, which has been relocated to be part of the Avoncroft Buildings Museum. You can read more about the actual windmill here Windmill-information-1.pdf (avoncroft.org.uk) The model can be seen on Alan Perry's Page.

Richard Gilbert collects and displays Meccano, but also collects BAYKO. Here he tells us what he has been doing during lockdown over the Christmas period.

Pam & I thought we would build BAYKO Models. To be honest with you we have got quite a lot of it but have never really thought about making any models because I just buy and collect these things and that's where it tends to stop!!

Both of us have found this spate of building very enjoyable and relaxing and something that we can actually share together. We're thinking of building some even more adventurous models when we can find some plans!!!

Our SWMC founder, Malcolm Hanson, was also a collector and builder of BAYKO (which became a Meccano product) and brought BAYKO sets to display at some of our meetings.

John Day  has been building a Funicular Railway.  It is a Meccano Magazine Model of the Month from 1958. There is still a lot of work to do on it.

Sam Medworth: Oil Well drilling model

The idea for this model came from some research I have been doing into a distant relative who was an oil exploration geologist for Shell in the 1930s and 1940s. I discovered that oil wells were drilled, from the earliest days in Texas around 1860, up to 1930, not by the hollow rotary drills used today, but by percussion drills reminiscent of a pile driver. Even from diagrams I could not quite understand how they worked. Then I remembered that I had seen instructions for a Meccano model of one years ago, which I had also not understood, but have never seen the actual model. Further searches found the instructions for model 5.34 in the 1930 manual, and also described in the MM for Sept 1931. I decided to build it with the appropriate dark red and green Meccano and E6 motor.


As usual with Meccano instructions, there is no information about how the actual rigs worked in practice, so it is not surprising that the model is not often built. Basically, repeated dropping of a heavy sharp chisel hammered away at the bottom of the hole, and every so often the tool had to be removed and the sand and debris extracted by a “sand pump” before further drilling was possible. Power was supplied by a small steam engine, usually housed in some sort of shed. Nowadays debris is flushed out by drilling mud pumped under high pressure down the central bore of a rotary drill.

I was very surprised that boreholes several hundred feet deep were drilled by this method, and many thousands of barrels of oil obtained over the 70 or more years they were employed. In situations where the oil was under pressure, the classic “gusher” could ensue and be difficult to control. If the pressure was low, the walking beam used for drilling could easily be altered into a pump.

Since wells were often drilled in inaccessible places such as jungles and deserts, the derricks and even steam engines could be transported in as a kit of parts – rather like Meccano! – and assembled on site.

The model was not too difficult to build, and the videos show the main actions of the machinery. In soft ground, pipes could also be lowered into the hole to stop it collapsing, but this aspect was not included in the model. Mounting it on a Workmate enabled the cable tool to be shown being lowered below the 'ground level' and being raised again.

Chris Fearnley: During the summer I have been building a model of East Pool Mine. This is a bit of local industrial archaeology and I still need to build the 'other half' which will be a pseudo mine-shaft with a lift to carry miners up and down.  See National Trust, East Pool Mine for the real thing.

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