Rob Curling’s Page

Firstly, by way of an introduction, a few notes about myself.
I was born in Bournemouth shortly after the end of the Second World War and I have built models of many kinds for as long as I can remember.

As best as I can calculate I received my first Meccano set – a new no. 2 set – as a birthday or Christmas present sometime in 1951; I was already an avid reader of the ‘Meccano Magazine’ which was purchased for me by an understanding aunt. Prior to the Meccano set I can remember having had some Trix parts and some nickel plated Meccano look alike (and compatible) pieces a number of which I still have and use.

The no. 2 set grew over the years by virtue of birthday and Christmas presents, visits to jumble sales (what are these strange dark blue parts with gold hatching?) and the purchase of new additional parts as needed. By the time I was 14 in 1960 I had reached the dizzy heights of a no. 8 set (with many additional parts) but the leap to a set no. 9 was too great to be bridged by pocket money purchases and, in any case, other interests were starting to take priority!

Having, in the intervening period, dabbled in model aeroplanes, boats, cars and railways at various times I returned to the Meccano hobby in the mid 1990s. At last I could consider building those models that were out of reach some 35 or 40 years earlier. Fortunately I had retained my Meccano from my younger days and apart from a few perished rubber tyres this proved to still be in useable condition.

As an electrical engineer I spent my working life in the management of engineering maintenance and this has undoubtedly influenced my present philosophy of and approach to Meccano model building.

Given the nature of the Meccano system I much prefer to build and see models that are not merely static but ‘do something’. (Perhaps that’s why I tend to build model cranes or construction machinery more than anything else). If building a model of a prototype I try to find as much information about it as possible – particularly the way it was controlled or operated – and replicate this in the model. I also try to make the operation of my models as smooth and as reliable as possible – that professional background rearing its head again.

Membership of Meccano Clubs has proved to be extremely beneficial. Apart from the social aspects of an interest shared with others, other club members are always willing to help out with advice or suggestions when asked. In return I am happy to help others when I can.

My building rate is quite pedestrian when compared with that of others as I occasionally take a few months’ break to pursue other interests. However, I have attached a few pictures of models that I have built in the last 20 years and hope that you will find these of interest.

Walking Dragline Excavator 1994—1997

This model (based on the Ransomes and Rapier W1400 excavator) was built over a period of 3 years starting in 1994 largely following the construction in the then recently published Modelplan. On completion I was disappointed with the appearance of the jib and the link beam to the A frame. The jib appeared disproportionately small by comparison with the superstructure and engineering experience suggested that for structural reasons the link beam should form a straight line with the top member of the jib.

The acquisition of prototype information revealed that this was indeed the case and the error was caused by the jib being too short and too shallow. I subsequently rebuilt the jib and lowered the A frame to closer to scale dimensions and at the same time replaced the strips used for bracing the jib with Meccano rods vastly improving the appearance. (I regret that at present I am unable to locate a photograph of the rebuilt model). All in all a satisfying model that worked well and proved capable of replicating the actions of the prototype.