Second Biplane
The first clone biplane
The 'bible' as far as observation wheels are concerned

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6th November 2008

M&S Christmas sets

New M&S models

There has been a bit of talk lately about the new Meccano sets available at Marks & Spencer this year. I am bemused by the pricing of the larger sets. The Rocket set seems to be well overpriced at £29.95 even if you take up their 3 for 2 offer. Compare that to the fairground set and there is no contest. That aside, there are three small kits along the lines of the design starter kits. These are priced at £5 each and as they qualify for their mix and match 3 for 2 promotion you can get all three for £10.


Sue was out shopping during the week and picked up the three models. The models are: a digger, a biplane and a chopper trike. After supper the table was cleared and a table-top Meccano session was undertaken. We like to assemble these models following the instructions just to see how difficult they are, and for a bit of amusement. You would not believe how cross Sue can get! Me? No I never get cross with them, after all, they are easy, they are designed for 8 year olds…


All joking aside the chopper trike was a bit fiddly but it did make up well. The other two had their moments but they do go together and do what they are supposed to. The fact that only one spanner is supplied with each kit does mean the novice presented with the trike as a lone kit would have trouble locking the rear wheels in place. The pivot bolts are also a stiff fit through the boss of the plastic wheels making them far from free running. Personally, I like the aeroplane kit. I have a few Ideas for that one…


New spanner with nut placer

Talking of spanners, these kits are supplied with the new design spanner with the nut placement device that replaces the normal angled open end. This spanner has come in for some criticism from others but I quite like it. I don’t think it was intended to be used as a box spanner but more of a device for placing the nut over the thread in a tight situation - and there are plenty of those in the new kits. By pressing the nut down and along the spanner into the jaws it will hold most nuts firm enough to be able to place them. 



The ‘box’ end will hold the nut still in a confined space but will ramp-off in the open as soon as any pressure is applied. For most of us Meccano ‘nuts’ that’s not a problem as we all have more conventional spanners than we know what to do with anyway. I use the new spanner to place the awkward nuts and use a conventional box spanner when applying final tightening.

And then there were two…

While we were at the Magic of Meccano exhibition earlier this year, Sue took a picture of one of Mike Rhodes dealer display models of four aeroplanes revolving around a tower. So, how about a model of a model?  A rummage through the available stock threw up enough parts to build a few more aeroplanes.

Ferris wheel

After a lot of studying, thinking and measuring we have eventually started on the Ferris wheel. The model is based on the observation wheel built for the Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World's Fair, 1893. This is a big project for us and so far we have designed and built the axle and hubs... We will post more as it happens.

That’s it for today, were off to Ironbridge on Saturday in order to attend the TIMS meeting. We will post the news from there next week.



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Close-up of track
New mini tracks
Ferris wheel hub
You have to start somewhere...
...36 rod and strip connectors