2021 July

At last we all got to meet for real at Tockington for our July meeting. It was an exceptionally good turnout under the circumstances (the photos show those not in the anti-room getting lunch) with suitable precautions taken to minimise the risks. Even with five hours allocated for the meeting, the time just flew by. Apart from those displaying, Mark, Kevin and Ian also came along to join in the fun. We also welcomed two new members - Graham, who joined on the day, and Eric who had only been able to attend our Zoom meetings during lockdowns.

Below is a write up to give a flavour of the day.

This is the first part and continues on 2021 July Part 2.

Rob, accompanied by his wife Angie displayed his Twin Beam engine, this time incorporating his soft start/stop circuitry. This machine is notable for its smooth and quiet operation, which is now enhanced by this latest addition. The deceleration to stop was particularly smooth but a little tuning is still needed on the acceleration from start. Once this circuitry has been optimized we will be adding this information to the website should anyone else like to incorporate it in their models.

Martin has been busy during Covid times, and brought three models.

The first is model number 9.8 from a 1949 model plans booklet. This is a coach in red and green. He opted to deviate a little from the plan by having a hinged door instead of a sliding door. This model is described in more detail on the 2021 January Virtual Meeting page 1.

Martin also used pinion steering instead of the plan's arrangement.  There is a write up of this model in one of the Runnymede Guild Magazines.

His next model is of a Dennis F12 Pump Escape Fire Engine at 1/12 scale.  This is based on the plans by George Illingworth who is renowned for his Meccano fire engine collection. This was more difficult to build than the coach, but still uses parts from a set 9 other than the two hub discs which form the wheels of the removable ladder.

His last model is of a flatbed truck based on the plans by Tony James (MP 183). The uncoupling arrangement between cab and flatbed is still being refined, but the all pinion differential 'works like a dream'.

Philip showed his VW Camper van, built during lockdown. The scale was derived from enlarging an image from the internet. Currently it is empty inside but could include modular seats and a steering system.

He also brought his Type 35 Bugatti which looked fantastic in the chosen blue. It has particularly nice steering and the only non-Meccano part is the radiator grill, made from cooker hood mesh. More photos of this model can be seen on the 2020 April Virtual Meeting Page 1.

This rope making machine made by Andrew is from the September 1969 Meccano Magazine. He opted to use an E20 motor rather than the E15 motor in the plan. More photos can be seen on Andrew Jefferis's Page.

Hugh brought three models. The first was the Supermodel no. 32 Twin Cylinder Steam Engine. In this particular build, though, the flywheels and the motor differ from the plan.

Sitting next to this was a Set 10 model stationary steam engine, again with some modifications.

At the end of his display was a Warehouse Elevator with the roof unattached to show the auto-reverse mechanism.

Sam's Oil Well Drilling Derrick is from a Meccano Magazine circa 1931. This design is a percussive drill, not a rotary one, in that the drill head hammers its way down, occasionally being brought up to allow a hollow tube to be inserted and pump up the spoils. This was the first type of oil well drilling, and being very basic did not accommodate oil gushers or spills very well. To contain spilt oil, a Bund Dyke encircled the Derrick.

Richard filled his table with seven models, some still under construction. First was a combine harvester built in silver and yellow. The silver period, he believes, was 1964-1970. The model was not demonstrated but does include a differential.

The clock is similar to a Konkoly clock seen at Runnymede but Richard added drive for a minute hand which the Konkoly one doesn't have.

His next model was the SML 3 motor bike and sidecar. Both the clock and the motorbike were built during lock down and more photos of them can be seen near the bottom of the 2020 April Virtual Meeting Page 4.


Percy Ping Pong is a whimsical model of a character endlessly picking up a ping pong ball and placing it on the start of a downward track. The model was easy to build but difficult to get to operate correctly as the timing is critical. The ping pong ball was not present.

The next model was also a little whimsical, being marionettes of Bill and Ben (the Flowerpot Men). At present they are just suspended by cords, but Richard plans to hang these off motorized hands which can be programmed to operate the puppets.

In front of Bill and Ben was a number 10 set Lifting Shovel without modification.

Lastly, there were the beginnings of a half track vehicle. The suspension on the tracked half looked particularly interesting as he used tension springs 'wound up' to simulate torsion bar suspension. This worked very well. Stops were used to limit the unwinding travel of each spring else when the model was picked up they would tend to relax to their natural state.

Also, each spring performed better when encapsulated in a (non-Meccano) hollow tube. This can be seen in the demonstration item Richard made, showing both encapsulated and not.

The tracks are driven via a Gleason differential to accommodate steering, and the steered wheels themselves incorporate their own differential.

Gleason differential
Steering arrangement
Torsion bar simulation

Neil has mounted his Ferguson T20 Tractor very neatly over a plinth of simulated grass. The T20 is so named because it is a 20HP tractor. It is based on Richard Smith's plan but the rear tyres were bought from Mike Rhoades which were mounted on two piece aluminium hubs. As these were a little larger than the plan demanded, the whole tractor was scaled up to suit. This did allow for some additional detail. The plan's excellent gearbox was retained unchanged.

All functions are driven from a single motor and comprise forward and reverse driving, a rear lifting gear and a power take-off. Each rear wheel is individually braked, enabling skid steering in muddy conditions.

The larger scale allowed for a forward hinged bonnet, but this meant that the internal engine detail had to be modelled too. The radiator grill uses a mesh for visual effect and the whole model is painted in Polar Grey.

You can read more about this model on 2021 January Virtual Meeting Page 2.

A work in progress by Neil, is a VW combi flatbed. There is no drive train fitted yet. The compound curves on the roof were awkward to achieve at this scale. The cab door and luggage doors below the flatbed hinge open.

Our newest member Graham met us for the first time and brought along his model of Genevieve from the 1953 film of the same name. He was prompted to build this after seeing the film fairly recently. Of note is the very fine paint detail on the fenders and wheels, and the beautifully made red seating, which is actually formed from modelling clay. There is a differential on the rear wheels just to stop scrubbing when demonstrating a turn.

Pete showed three models. The Euclid R105 Dump Truck (named for its 105 ton capacity) is one of his latest models. It has body swivel steering whereby the cab and bucket articulate relative to each other. The functions include a tilting bucket and twin axle drive, and of course, steering.

Also displayed were his 1932 MG F2-Magna sports car, and a steam engine which was one of the first models he built when he got back into the Meccano hobby. And after all this time it still worked!

Continued on 2021 July Part 2