2021 October

We had our second physical meeting since Covid on Saturday 23rd October. This was very well attended and we welcomed Colin and Mark as new members. As always the afternoon went all too quickly, especially as we had our club AGM in the middle of it. Some members attended for the Meccano camaraderie without bringing a model and we were very pleased to see them.

The Malcolm Hanson Trophy for the best completed model shown, as voted for by members present, was won by Colin for his Laxey Wheel. 

Special thanks to Dianne and Pam for providing a terrific buffet with copious amounts of tea and coffee throughout the meeting.

Below are some photos of the hall during the afternoon. A video of some of the working models can be seen below.

Philip brought two models, both built during lockdown and of his own design. The railway bridge was inspired by numerous cross braced girders in pre-war dark green which he'd resprayed over the years and which lend themselves this type of Victorian railway architecture.

The Meccano-graph is of robust construction which will take crank rotations that public exhibitions demand. Philip's wife Carol calls it " A Meccronograph". The key to its operation is a large gear-ring; a non standard Meccano part. Meccano-graphs are always popular at exhibitions as they get the public to interact with the mechanics of Meccano.

Alan brought his Traction Engine.  In his own words........

This is based on Meccano instructions from set 10 No 15.

The appearance of this model is generally good but in common with other Meccano plans various construction procedures are vague and some just don’t work.

The build of the back wheels leads to four thicknesses of strip at the centre. To overcome this I cut some 4 inch strips which, bolted to the rim, could be trapped under the centre disc.


The biggest problem which led to some very erratic running was the design of the crankshaft. Eventually I built up two new bearings, one against the outside of each web. This made a far more rigid structure and consequently very smooth running. Likewise the rear support for the cross head slide bar was very basic, no doubt due to the limitation of parts in the set. This I replaced with a corner gusset which greatly improved appearance and efficiency.

There were several other minor problems with the plan but after a three month build period I am happy with the result.

I have used a variable voltage can motor as supplied by Dave Taylor which provides very flexible running using a model railway controller. I have also utilised the gear box which I built for my original windmill.

Alan also showed an Austin Seven chassis assembled from anything that is suitable, Meccano, Eitech, plumbing leftovers, etc. It may become a 1934 saloon one day. A work in very slow progress!

He also had a small tractor and his Meccangaroo hopping down a slope.

Colin brought his model of The Laxey Waterwheel: This model is five years old and he was inspired to build it after watching the BBC programme Coast. There are many more arches on the real thing, but the model had to compromise on this. The Wheel was used to pump water from a lead mine and was itself water powered as there is no coal on The Isle of Man. This is an 'overshot' design of waterwheel, whereby the water hits the wheel buckets from above. You can read more about this model and the real Wheel on Colin's Page.

Colin's wife, Pauline, stitched this cross-stitch picture of the water wheel in a show of solidarity!

Neil displayed his Hannover Biplane Fighter. The Hannover CLIII was a ground-attack fighter/bomber used by the Luftwaffe during WW1. At that time, this was a fast machine, managing 105mph in level flight. The pilot had a forward-facing machine gun, synchronised to fire through the rotating propeller, while the second crewman had another machine gun and a rack of hand-dropped bombs. The unusual biplane tail enabled a wider firing angle, whilst the weighted ailerons gave greater manoeuvrability; a sophisticated machine.

The model uses mostly repainted, older plates and the two crew figures are modelled in Meccano with felt outfits made by him. A very enjoyable model to make from start to finish.

Greg bought the 'EITECH' Ferris Wheel Kit from Hobby's 2021 catalogue - out of curiosity. Whilst assembling the Eitech model, he decided to attempt to use the same instructions to assemble a similar Meccano Ferris Wheel (the larger of the two). He did not quite succeed but he does have a working model.

Quad Bike Buggy. At a recent Castle Combe car boot sale, Greg came across a child's plastic construction set that was almost identical to a Meccano set. Most of the parts are identical except for the screw heads (hex recess rather than triangular) and the strips (shallow profiling on one side).

Richard recently saw a model of a Crawler Tractor and decided to build one. It was designed by Eric Taylor and built by Richard Payn. Using the pictures in The Meccano Newsmag issue 150 dated July 2021 as a guide Richard has very quickly assembled this amazing looking model. The tracks are driven via a Gleasman differential whereby one motor powers the tracks and another motor adds or subtracts motion to make the tracks turn at different rates to facilitate steering.

A major problem with Meccano tracks is keeping the track engaged on the driving and jockey wheels during a turn. For this model this has been overcome by having angle brackets providing a substantial overlap on the driving wheels. This ensures the tracks stay engaged.


The track construction is very elegant and can be removed simply by removing one of the cross-pins. The model comprises many individual sub-assemblies each attached by only a few bolts into captive nuts.

David M looked to the past for inspiration and brought a model catapult as seen in Meccano Magazine, October 1965. This lobs Meccano ball bearings about 18 inches into a target area, with each section getting smaller but offering higher points. The hopper is suspected to be from a pre-war Erector set.

David gave his ERA car an outing. Built in 2013, this has working steering and rear wheel drive.

Rob brought his Twin Beam engine which now has a governor mounted on top. The soft start-stop has been improved since the last outing and now works beautifully smoothly at either end of the cycle. After 12 seconds of coming to a halt, the cycle starts again.

Sam displayed his robot arm, which he built some while ago. It is fully functioning and demonstrated its ability to pick up 'logs' - cardboard tubes for lightness - and move them around. Note the Meccano 19:1 ratio gearbox at the back end of the arm. The power supply came from a large rechargeable lamp with the controls mounted into the glass shield of the lamp.

Sam also brought a few small models to auction that were built by Malcolm Hanson and up to now, had been held by the club.

Mark H-S (one of our new members and first time at a meeting) displayed a locomotive named 'Countess' which is based on a narrow gauge 2ft 6in railway. The original model was designed by Heather Moore-Bridger and transcribed into a model plan by Geoff Wright. Another version of this model runs on tracks with an electrified third rail.

Continued on Page 2