Matchbox Manipulator model and photograph by Chris Shute
A matchbox being Manipulated. photograph by Chris Shute.

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1st July 2008
Back from Ironbridge

After a crack of dawn start we pointed the car North West and set off for Ironbridge. After sailing through a barely awake East London and navigating the M1 road works at a painfully slow 50mph, we made it to Telford in record time and were tucking into a full English before 7.30am… Yes, I know, we should be eating high fibre this or healthy that… maybe tomorrow!

Crawler trackCrawler tracks. Click on photograph for more details.

Sue and I had decided to show the crawler tracks we have been working on. We also took along a collection of the small design starter kits that we had made up over the past few months. Being away from the hobby for the past 20 years or so these little models have been a good source of new parts for us to experiment with.

The meeting was not as well attended as it might have been, I suspect this being due to its proximity in the Meccano calendar to the Skegness gathering, only being a week away. This also meant there were no dealers present, which I think is totally understandable. Next year this meeting has been rescheduled to take place in August.

Matchbox Manipulator
Matchbox Manipulator. Model and photograph by Chris Shute.

There were some interesting models there, as usual. Chris Shute’s matchbox manipulator was fascinating. Built from the contents of a No.8 set in response to Michael Denny’s writings, in the last issue of QC, where he asked “What can you create with a No.8 set. I would have thought of a crane, or maybe some kind of vehicle. Not Chris, he decided to make a simpler version of his original gear-hungry matchbox manipulator (as featured in QC54). The ‘manipulator’ is a really useful piece of kit ideal for placing ball bearings in matchboxes and then emptying them again…

You will be able to see Chris’s model at Skegex08, next weekend (5-7th July 2008) and I understand it is to appear in a future issue of QC.

We stayed in Ironbridge overnight and headed off back to the smoke on Sunday. We had an enjoyable weekend and are now looking forward to our first visit to Skegness and Skegex08.

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Matchbox Manipulator model and photograph by Chris Shute
Gotcha! - well, most of the time! Photograph: Chris Shute.