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.
The windmill this model was originally built at Danzey Green near Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire. It has now been moved to the Avoncroft Museum and you can read about it here Windmill at Avoncroft.org.uk.
My original windmill became an embarrassment at exhibitions due to its size, almost six feet high and weighing over 75 kilos. As a consequence I decided to build a half size, 1:24 scale version. That is now complete and I have set my sights on building a traction engine from my No. 10 instruction book circa 1949.
Scratch building is all very challenging and satisfying but it will be good to follow someone else’s plan for a change.
This grandfather clock is built from a plan as featured in previous meetings.
My intention to find and build an accurate model of a Jumbo Crane is still ongoing but on the back burner.
Since the January 2021 virtual meeting, Alan has completed his traction engine.