2014 October

October 2014 Meeting at Tockington (Richard Smith)

The meeting at Richard’s started around 7.30 pm with the inevitable early arrivals and by 8.00 pm the joint was jumping, as they say. We had a turnout of 11, all with something to show and we had the normal free interchange of information, ideas and suggestions. The model tour commenced around 9.15 pm with each member telling us about his model(s) and hopes for the future (mostly “getting it to work”). We then had a discussion about the website with a plea from the committee for members to send in their content (Model photos, ideas, etc.) and it was suggested we have a mug-shot of each member to help new members to identify the old lags. So, send them in!

We concluded with a discussion on the date for the next meeting as the traditional 2nd Thursday in January fell at its earliest date in 2015 - the 8th. It was agreed that this was an excellent cure for post-Christmas blues so that date was set. We started to drift off home around 10.30 pm, well satisfied as always.

Photos can be seen at  http://www.nzmeccano.com/image-81540

Drinks and refreshments were available throughout the meeting and we would like to record our thanks to Richard and Lynn for their hospitality.


Philip Drew Philip is working hard to extend his ‘Tricky Track’ system. The Tricky Track is essentially a railway system with a little loco which slowly chugs around it and has proven to be perhaps the ultimate exhibition model. The loco is self-contained with a motor and battery and the wheels of the loco power a range of ‘obstacles and features’ such as swing bridges and rack and pinion track sections. Phil is now attempting to add a ‘Falkirk Wheel’ to his system, again powered by the little loco. To balance the Falkirk wheel, Phil will run two locos, with an inventive differential mechanism to allow for them each arriving at the Falkirk wheel at different times.

David Worth David again travelled up from Paignton, this time showing us his Ferris Wheel, built from a relatively modern set. This bright little model has been built for a good seven years now and has been to many shows, as well as forming part of a shop window display where it would run for two days on a pair of AA batteries.

John Hawkins John kept things simple this time with a couple of models from a retro-styled set which was released some years ago. The red and green parts were brightly powder-coated, giving a very nice effect.

David Northcott David is building a Model T Ford and in typical fashion is aiming to get it as true to scale as the Meccano system will allow. The chassis is powered by a Meccano ‘Emebo’ motor, which you rarely see used these days and replicates the early pedal layout of the prototype. In the early days of motoring there was no ‘standard’ and each manufacturer would do their own thing. The Model T had three pedals – on the left a single pedal operated the clutch and first gear, the centre pedal engaged reverse gear and the right pedal was the brake. Second gear was selected from the steering column, which also mounted the throttle control. If David can replicate most of this then it will give a really interesting model.

Pete Evans Pete brought along a beautiful model of a 1931 MG F Magna. In years gone by, Pete was a keen MG owner/restorer and has owned several vehicles similar to this one. Pete explained how his F Magna would happily fly along at 80mph but was less fun when you needed to stop in a hurry. Pete’s intimate knowledge of early MG cars has resulted in a model that is just packed full of detail and which captures the look of the prototype extremely well. Pete also showed off his recent purchase of a 1933 ‘Kemex’ set - a Meccano product which is now extremely rare. The set includes flasks and retorts, test tubes and glass pipes in addition to a wide range of chemicals which could not be imagined in a 21st century toyshop! The overall condition of this set was fantastic and it is very nearly complete.

Richard Smith  Richard displayed his ‘Octomecc’. This fascinating creation is entirely Richard’s invention and will be an excellent exhibition model once perfected. Each of the eight arms displays a different mechanism, such as a differential or an intermittent drive and the whole structure rotates so that the eight operating mechanisms pass in front of you one at a time. At the heart of the model are a mass of spinning spur gears which transfer the drive out to each mechanism. Keeping the overall friction to a minimum has been the biggest challenge for Richard and after a great deal of modification he is now close to success.

Sam Medworth Sam brought along a lovely model of a 1917 Sopwith Camel fighter plane, based on a design by Chris Bourne. The Camel had a rotary engine (essentially the crankshaft remained still while the whole engine turned around it) and the model has nine worm gears representing the cylinders. This mass of brass spinning round induces a gyroscopic effect in the model, just as it did in the prototype, which could turn on a sixpence in one direction but had to drag itself the other way, fighting against the gyroscopic effect. The model boasted lots of nice features and captured the prototype very effectively.

Malcolm Hanson Malcolm brought along his No7 set ‘Exploding Ship’ with the accompanying submarine which the gathering of big kids thoroughly enjoyed – pound for pound this is surely one of the best of the set models? Malcolm also had a (slightly modified) ‘Acrobat’ from a No1 set and the ‘Whip Roundabout’ from the No4 set – all in red and green.

Steve Briancourt Steve displayed the skeletal structure of his USS Missouri model. This is progressing very well and we could finally get an idea of the overall size and shape of what will be a very impressive build. Steve has taken great care to anticipate the weight of the finished model (estimated at over 90kg) and the stresses and strains that this will create. The 9’ model (1:100 scale) separates into three sections for transportation and a very tidy mechanism has been incorporated to allow the sections to be joined and parted single-handedly.

John Day John Day made the long journey and showed us his rod straightening machine. This machine is John’s own design and works very well. We have all suffered from Meccano rods which are not quite true and with a little patience, this clever gadget allows them to be rejuvenated.

Neil Bedford Neil bought along a 1930’s Aeroplane Constructor monoplane which he is restoring and explained how he has moulded the pilot figure from a ‘synthetic plastic polymer’ modelling compound called ‘Fimo’. Neil also displayed the No1 set ‘Garden Seat’ which was built by his wife Grace – After twenty years married to Neil, Grace finally gave in and had a go. Neil suspects that it might be another twenty years before we see Grace’s second model.

Our next meeting will be at Philip Drew’s on Thursday January 8th at 8:00pm.  Philip’s address is 13 Pyecroft Avenue, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4NL. Henleaze is in north west Bristol, easily accessible from the M4 and M5 motorways.