2015 October

Meeting at Tockington Village Hall October 2015 - Report Neil Bedford
This was the first time that we have held a meeting on a Saturday and in a hall, rather than of an evening and in a member’s home. The day was a great success, with many members in attendance and an extremely high standard of models on display. Couple this with our first formal AGM and a lively auction and it must be said that this experimental new format proved to be a winner.
Models on show are summarised as follows:-
Mark Bridle specialises in cranes and mining machinery and brought along some fine examples for us all to enjoy. Firstly a Jones mobile crane built from a model plan but modified to use multiple motors. This model and Mark have an ongoing relationship as he was temporarily beaten by it some years back but has now triumphed by rebuilding it to a high standard, resolving his earlier problems. Mark also displayed his current project, a Bucyrus ‘Doubler’. This is a large hydraulic shovel which moves on caterpillar tracks and Mark is clearly making a very good job of it. The model features a neat self-centering roller bearing and tracks built up from multiple flat plates.
Pete Evans brought along a lovely 1929 geared roller bearing displayed in its original box as well as his Hitachi 600 excavator. This was based upon plans for a Liebherr machine but has been heavily modified by Pete with full remote control. The model works wonderfully well, with all functions operating in a very smooth and quiet fashion. Pete completed his display with a Number 1 Car Constructor kit, restrung into an original box.
Richard Smith showed us two variations on the Supermodel Motor Car Chassis (SML 1 and SML 1a). Both were close to completion and the various differences were very interesting to see. Richard also brought his beautiful Pontoon Crane (Supermodel 28) which he has meticulously resprayed in dark red and green. Richard’s model uses just one side-plate motor, following an image in the Standard Mechanisms Manual. Finally, Richard described his Ferguson tractor which is slowly nearing completion. This compact model is of Richard’s own design and is packed full of clever mechanisms to the point that all free space within it is taken up in order to mimic all the functions of the original machine.
David Northcott showed us his Model T Tourer. As we now expect from David, this was an accurate scale model and replicated the early gearbox of Henry Ford’s original, with forward and reverse gears operated by pedals on the floor. This model shared David’s table space with an ERA racing car from the 1930s which captured the powerful lines of the original very well indeed.
It was great to meet Rob Curling who brought along his version of Model Plan 190 – The Cape Town Dock Crane. This wonderful model has been modified to overcome the inevitable snags which even modern plans seem to contain and worked very nicely indeed. Everything ran smoothly and a maximum lift of 7kg is possible.
Christopher Bates continued the theme of cranes with the very well-proportioned 1928 Railway Crane in red and green. Once again a fair bit of work was needed to improve upon the plans, with special attention being paid to the gearbox and the braking system for the winding drums. There are just a couple of teething problems left to be ironed out but this was another very impressive piece of work.
Martin Arnold’s models are going from strength to strength and this time he brought along three quite different vehicles for us to enjoy. Firstly the 1949 Touring Coach in light red and green with some minor modifications. Next came a very smart Fork Lift Truck from the number 9 set in very clean yellow and zinc parts. The familiar sounds of an E15R motor accompanied a range of motions, each operated realistically by gear levers beside the driver’s seat. Martin’s third model was the Set 10 Mechanical Shovel, again in yellow and zinc. Whilst unfinished, Martin has certainly done all the difficult bits and has no doubt learned a great deal about gearboxes along the way.
John Day made the long journey to Tockington with a variety of models. The ‘Krazy Klock’ closely follows a very clever published plan. This is a model which you can watch and watch as there is so much going on but which also keeps good time. Some of the best Set 10 plans ever are those released by Tony James and his JCB Teletruk is a fine example. John is constructing this and it is surely one of the best models which can be built purely from a Set 10, with plenty of clever mechanisms incorporated into a fairly small space. A Wilesco Steam Roller was also interesting to see. Not unlike Mamod, Wilesco is a German manufacturer and the standard of finish was very fine. For some time John has been displaying a model in the window of his local toy shop and the shopkeeper has asked John to restore a 1970’s Meccano shop display model of a windmill which we saw in its ‘as found’ condition. Completing this display was another Tony James design in the form of a large articulated dump truck, again featuring some very tidy mechanisms.
Next was Philip Drew with his superb Tricky Track (or part of it anyway). We all know this model but its’ magic has not diminished at all. Philip has some big ideas for developing this model and we look forward to seeing the full layout which he has in mind at a future SWMC event.
Sam Medhurst brought along a robotic arm. Whilst Sam described this as “Simple” it was very impressive to watch, with four motors simulating the actions of the human arm and hand very nicely. This meeting was the last flight for Sam’s Sopwith Camel which he built to mark the anniversary of the First World War and which is a featured build elsewhere on this website.
Our resident expert on steam engines is Ralph Clarke and this time he brought along a simple, hand operated beam engine which he based on an illustration in a book by Bert love and featured a smart vertical valve linkage.
Your Chairman Neil brought along his latest work in progress, a customised American ‘Station Wagon’ which will include simulated ‘air ride’ suspension and wood effect panelling. Beside this was the Hannover biplane which continues to prove a very easy model to transport and setup at club events.
Michael Edwards brought along a charming ‘Auto Racer’ model from the 1930s which features a car running on rails and powered by a clockwork motor to give a continuous and amusing back and forth action. We were also shown a simple ‘Swing Boat’ fairground ride, a beautifully restored Number 2 Car Constructor and Super Model 6 – the Stiff-Leg Derrick. As a lad building my simple models with Meccano, I always wondered who this ‘Stiff-legged Derek’ was but now I know – in the shape of a powerful crane with a complex gearbox to power all the motions from a single side-plate motor via an original Meccano transformer – very nice indeed.
Steve Briancourt is making definite progress on his huge model of USS Missouri, with the main gun turrets now in place and working. It has taken a great deal of thought to have these gun turrets working realistically, with all of the mechanisms for traverse, elevate and recoil driven from below, through the central axis of rotation. We can now get a better idea of what this model will look like once complete and it will certainly be very impressive.
Malcolm Hanson brought a fine display which really spanned the decades. It is hard to imagine a model which screams “Meccano” more loudly than a Giant Blocksetter in blue and gold and this is exactly what we were all treated to. Malcolm bought this some years ago as a random collection of nice old Meccano but quickly realised that the strange assortment of parts was anything but random and had been collected to construct one model in particular. Malcolm was able to add the few missing components and complete the original owner’s dream of building this most iconic of Meccano models. Next came something which is absolutely brand new, in the familiar shape of Thunderbird 2. This is a new release from Spinmaster who are the Canadian giant which now owns the Meccano name. This model looked great and included the familiar ‘pod’ loaded with ‘The Mole’ which was often a key player in the operations of International Rescue (your Chairman is a bit of a Gerry Anderson nut!). Turning the clock back again, Malcolm also showed us a 1926 set which was an example of the very short transition period when Meccano sets included both nickel-plated and painted parts side by side. This set was in exceptional condition and in the World of Meccano is extremely rare. Malcolm was recently approached to construct a model for a BBC ‘Timewatch’ programme which will be shown towards Christmas. This programme is about the giant Jodrell Bank radio telescope. This impressive build follows a 1970s Set 10 design by Alan Partridge and worked very well throughout the meeting. Our final model of the day was the new ‘Meccanoid’. This is an ultra-modern Meccano robot which Malcolm was able to control simply by speaking to it. The Meccanoid uses light weight plastic components and servo motors to perform an extensive range of functions and with his computerised brain, has the ability to learn even more. This impressive and highly innovative model was in huge contrast to Malcolm’s 1928 Blocksetter but if it can capture the imagination of 21st Century youngsters then it might well lead them into the more traditional side of our great hobby – let’s hope so.
This meeting also included a formal AGM where the assembled members discussed a number of things which are important to the club and voted on a few matters which will influence the way in which we move forward, including the re-election of the current committee. If that future brings more models of the standard which we have seen at this meeting, then it certainly gets my vote.
Neil Bedford (Chairman SWMC)
Photos from the meeting can be seen on the NZ site here