When the button is pressed, the motor starts and the tree rotates including the pot base with models, the fairy goes up and down, and the coloured led lights on the branches flash on and off. The model runs for 30 seconds, then stops, until the start button is pressed again. The candles and the fairy stay lit all the time, so this entailed complicated mechanical switching and wiring to get two independantly working circuits. The power is delivered to the tree from the base through the slot in a central rod with keyway, allowing just enough room for a thin wire. The vertcial movement of the fairy is caused by a rotating single-throw eccentic which operates a long rod up the stem of the tree.
I used to enjoy building vintage cars in my teens, based around a square-shaped chassis such as in a Ford Model T. I noticed in a booklet about the Austin 7 'Chummy' the chassis was in the form of a capital A, narrow at the front and wide at the rear. This gave me the basis for building the model. It is remote controlled with a steering motor operated by a device invented by my brother Phillip which allows for remote proportional steering. It has a slipping clutch, differential, lights, working linen hood, and an electronic hooter, controlled through a 6 core cable.
The model appeared in a very complimentary article by Spanner in the Meccano Magazine of January 1971. At that time I decided to widen my Meccano horizons and telephoned a certain Geoff Wright at MW Models in order to purchase a Set 10. I introduced myself as the builder of the Austin 7, and Geoff invited me to exhibit it at the following Henley Meccano Exhibition. This started a life-time of Meccano clubs and exhibitions.
The model has given much delight at Shows, especially to children.
Having built a very successful model of the Brighton Volk's Railway in the 1970's , followed by a Brighton tramcar I then adapted it to the stardard-gauge version. I bought a booklet 'An Introduction to Tramway Modelling' from the Tramway and Light Railway Society by P Hammond ref ISBN 0 905587 01 4 which provided detailed plans and instructions how to model a standard early tramcar, the three window, Preston built open-top car with a Brill 21E four-wheeled truck. These trams were in common use all over the country, both in open and closed-top versions in the 1920's.
I used this booklet to help build the model in Meccano. It includes power, working suspension, internal lighting, automatic speed control and bell. One axle is connected to a rod by a rubber band, which pulls a wiper arm over a flat resistance mat which allows it to speed up from a slow start and the rubber band slips when it has completed its movement, ready to repeat the procedure in the opposite direction. At the same time another moving pick-up contacts two connections making the bell clang twice, operated by an electro-magnet.
The model runs on a max of 22feet of track, with insertable overhead wire supports.
The overhead wire operates the lights independantly of the motive power which comes through the track, both circuits sharing one track as a common earth. There is a diode at each end of the track, stopping the current to the model, but starting it again when the current is reversed. There is a mechanical current reverser and timer supplying the 12v power to the track.
This model and the two others were exhibited at the bi-annual London Transport Museum Christmas Meccano Exhibitions I orgainised during the 1980's at Covent Garden involving the London Meccano Clubs.
This model is similar to the open-topped one, modelled on the Preston 4 wheeler, but with a closed top. Also the stairs are reversed as it was found they were safer for the passengers and did not obstruct the driver's view so much.
It runs in tandem on the same track with the open-top one. Reversing the light circuit through the overhead wire powers relays indicating which tram is 'live' at the time with a small red LED lit behind its front fender.
These were designed for 'Hilly Routes' and had equal sized wheels with extra motors fitted. The Stokys flanged wheel was ideal in size being in between the Meccano sizes. They had two trolleys, one for each direction. I used two red plastic 6v motors and swung them on the axles with a gear train fitted on the motors. To save wear on the plastic I fitted 4mm brass axle rods and sleeving. (Meccano rods are 4.06mm (8 SWG) and would not fit inside 4mm sleeving. The rods and sleeving are available at good model shops.)
This is a working model of one of the original double-acting steam engines which powered the rollers and cutters at the Kidwelly (Carmarthenshire) Tin plate Works. This now forms the basis of the Kidwelly Industrial Museum, which is the oldest surviving tinplate works in the UK. The engines were made by Foden around 1868 (although I am checking this). They were protected for many years under piles of junk and were only discovered fairly recently when the junk was cleared. Although they are in pieces, enough remained for me to photograph and model. It is fitted with a two speed gearbox allowing a faster speed. I was struck how easy it was to model the engines in Meccano where the parts and gears replicated the real ones in quite an uncanny fashion.
The model is powered by a side-plate 20v motor in the casing.
This model of the Dennis Dart Bus incorporates a fully working three speed automatic gearbox behind the rear wheels. See photo to the right. The gearbox includes synchromesh and pre-select devices to ensure smooth constant mesh gear changes without gears crunching.
A video of this bus shown some years previously can be seen on YouTube.