Alan Perry’s Page

Thanks for the opportunity to write about myself and my Meccano:-

Like many of us I had Meccano as a boy and spent many happy hours rummaging in the tin case in which it was kept. Over the years I aspired, in various steps, to Set 8 plus extras. In the very early 1960s I built the Jumbo Crane, model 8-7 for a school hobbies exhibition.

It was not long after the exhibition that I sold all my Meccano to a gentleman who lived only a stone's throw from Crofton Pumping Station.

I survived, in the wilderness, without Meccano until 1982. It was then that I found a wooden case of Meccano in an empty house that I was surveying in the course of my employment. I was able to trace the owner and negotiate the purchase. However, it was not until 2008 that I had an opportunity to build anything of note. What was this renaissance build? It was the set 8 Jumbo Crane!

Having built the crane and with retirement pending I began a more intense investigation into the hobby. I was already an avid collector of Dinky and Matchbox models and as a result had acquired the Cavendish series book on the former. It was only a short step then to the rest of the series which I found in a single purchase and received as a Christmas present from my wife.

I browsed the Super Models book and decided to build the Bentley Chassis. It looked easy. That was my first mistake but after two gearbox rebuilds it worked, after a fashion. Next it was the Block Setting Crane that took my fancy.

I was buying and adding quantities of Meccano bits and being given others by friends and neighbours. I turned down the offer of a vast quantity of fire damaged playworn parts for £60, but I did pick out long girders for the crane which had to be sandblasted clean.

The Block Setter grew rapidly and took only nine months and I was pleased with it. I had become quite proficient at cleaning and respraying playworn parts by then.

As the age of the crane drew to a conclusion my thoughts strayed to two models which I should build. The first was a replica of the Austin K2 lorry which earned the family living from 1948 until 1965 with my father and subsequently myself at the wheel. The other was the Windmill.

As a Meccano Boy I often asked my mother for suggestions as to what I should build and she invariably said a windmill. I never did build one. However, many years too late it is substantially complete. I'm sure Mum didn't visualise anything quite so involved. It has been a satisfying challenge and I am pleased to have, at last, built a windmill for my mother.

So, towards the end of 2017 I can embark on the Austin K2. I had one attempt in 2016 but to achieve the correct colour I used Hammerite spray and it took weeks to harden, by which time I was fed up with having blue paint on my hands and tools and so the attempt was abandoned.