Neil’s Meccano Year 2019-2020

My ‘Meccano year’ usually goes something like this: - return home from Skegex fully motivated – spend the following 12 months showing my ‘Skegex Model’ at the various clubs to which I belong, whilst (in between the many other demands on my time – not least of which is still working full-time) - building one or two models for next year’s Skegex.

Skegex 2020 has sadly (but wisely) been cancelled so this year will be a strange one without the artificial calendar which it usually imposes on my life. Reasonably optimistic that there will be a Skegex 2021 I will crack-on with a number of smaller models to keep myself busy.

What models have I kept completed at home:

  • My Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is yet to go to The Runnymede Meccano Guild and will probably therefore have a stay of execution until next year
  • My Hannover biplane, which I am very fond of and which contains very few parts that I need for another model – another one to keep built
  • A couple of pocket-sized cars in blue & gold. Again I like these, they are handy to have for a club meeting and they take up almost no space in my Den – they can stay
  • A couple of small mobile cranes and a Lotus F1 car – again there is little to be gained from dismantling these and they look quite pretty on the shelf.

A general view of my Den – second hand steel drawers and lots of home-made furniture.

Set Ten – originally yellow/blue/zinc but now mint medium red & green.

Shelving units along one wall – cheap & functional from Ikea.

A lot of boxed plastic kits – another hobby – I am always on the lookout for more…

What I am working on:

  • At the last SWMC gathering I showed a ‘boat at sea’ mechanism. The idea is for this to depict the WW2 Operation Frankton (aka ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’) which was a daring Commando raid conducted using kayaks. This one really gripped me at first but I now require some fresh inspiration. This will be one of those models which you can ‘switch on and walk away from’, which can be handy at an exhibition. A short video can be seen on the 2020 February meeting page.
  • A Ferguson TE20 tractor (‘The Little Grey Fergie’). This one is based on the excellent model built by our own Richard Smith and which is now available as a Model Plan from the MMG. Typically I cannot simply build from the plan (even one which is this good) and have been going off-piste to some extent. The rear wheels of my tractor are a fraction larger than Richard’s which has driven me to re-scale the whole model from images of the prototype. At the moment I have not gone much further than a rolling chassis, incorporating the complex gearbox / rear axle assembly which Richard has designed superbly well. Whereas Richard needed to stick rigidly to standard parts for his Model Plan, I have been able to cheat just a little with some 1/8” face pinions which has been handy. Whilst I am lucky to have a fair bit of very nice Meccano, I am again building from mostly old parts which I have stripped and resprayed. For this model I am using Ford ‘Polar Grey’ car paint which is readily available, is a close match to the original Ferguson grey and does look lovely on Meccano parts.

Other plans:

My first love is for motor vehicles and I have ideas in my mind to model a classic car or two but perhaps also a small dragline, a robot dog to annoy my Terrier, something Mechanised Army, a steam excavator in blue & gold, a railway crane, a……..