4th December 2008
A Multi-Models infra red control, dual motor, 12 model set arrived. Ralph and I unpacked it to find a lot of cardboard - no polystyrene which is good news from a 'green' perspective - and a lot of air! The box is excessively large for what was inside it.
To my dismay, when I started to open the packets of painted parts I was appalled by the lack of quality control. Some parts had paint actually missing or very thinly applied. Other parts looked as if the paint had been poured on and at the edges it appeared to be almost running off. It was so thick that sadly, I think, spoils the appearance of the finished model.
On assembling the models, this over application is a real problem. It necessitated some of the holes being ‘reamed’ out just to allow axels to run freely.
That said I like the remote control, it’s brilliant. This new system has four channels meaning that it can control four motors independently albeit one at a time. The kit includes two motors, batteries boxes and sensors and one, four channel remote control. The battery boxes have a four channel selector switches built into the control end.
The instructions are of the usual modern standard - doable but not overly informative. There are full instructions to build 12 models. Most of which use the second motor to drive a threaded rod simulating a hydraulic ram.
There is one piece of brassware (64a) included that has not seen the light of day since it was included in the Action Control ‘Building Site’ set, Ref. 9526 of 1996. Other not so common parts are a pair of long 1 1/2 inch long pivot bolts, a couple of 2 1/2 inch long narrow slotted strips and the good old 57c, loaded hook. Yes, this set has instructions to build cranes!
Now I am starting to get worried, this kit also includes the new spanner. As much as I like this new tool and both Ralph and I have praised it, it looks like it is set to take over from the original one completely… not sure about that, I for one would miss that angled end. Mind you I will have to lose the few hundred we have amassed over the past thirty years before it becomes a problem!
I have a feeling of bemusement regarding the packing. Why is the box so big? OK I do know why, it’s to make it look like forty or fifty quids worth of Meccano. But do they think we are all stupid. It looks even worse when you take to cardboard tray out of the outer box to find what looks like a few bits in plastic bags and vast areas of space. I honestly thought something was missing at first. The box is quite a bit bigger than that French No 7 set that we bought a couple of weeks ago. It could have been smaller and still looked worth the money.
On the plus side this set has a reasonable number of parts and it has a workable infra-red remote control system that really works (unlike the old one that was oversized and not very good at all) This new system has four channels and HWMOM (male version of SWMBO - you work it out) says that it might be useful for crane building among other things.
Seeing as it is officially Ralph’s Christmas present I will get him to build it and tell us what he thinks of it… It is yellow, I assume he will ‘do’ yellow as he does not like pink.
About time too…
Have you finished with my Christmas present yet dear...? Good! Now I can have a look at it. I do agree with Sue’s observations, the paint finish on some of the parts is a bit like treacle. But at least it is in a colour I can live with. Some of the older kits are coated in some pretty strange colours from day-glow yellow and lime green to toffee-like translucent purple and of course pink!
Once all the packets are opened there is a fair bit of Meccano here - it just does not look like it because it has been wrapped up tight to stop it rattling - I may have mentioned this before but every time the postman delivers an ebay lot that has been left loose in the case he very gingerly hands it over and legs-it thinking something is broken! I will tell him… one day… maybe, it’s too funny at the moment.
First job is to put the battery boxes together. One day I will manage this without dropping the blinking NUTS! A quick play with the new remote control suggests that this might be a much more useful system than the old one. I particularly like the miniature remote control.
Sue had already discovered that the paint could be a problem so I had my 11/64 inch drill bit and modified wheel-handle to hand. The model builds fairly easily - the odd expletive here and there are usually the result of not having enough fingers of the correct size and or dropped NUTS! The telescopic, magnetic pick-up tool is worth every penny of the £1 I paid for it in Ashford’s Sunday market this summer.
The finished model has good bits and bad bits. The ‘hydraulic’ ram is not very free running and tends to jam. I think that with a bit of time spent on it I may be able to get it running a bit smoother but to be honest, I think I would have rather put the remote control to a better use.
Finished, the model does not look too bad, in fact it is better than I though it would be. The crane works well and for a kiddie it would give plenty of play value. The one disappointment for me was the lack of steering. All you can do with the model is ‘drive’ it back and forth - a bit daft really.
Now I have built it once, it is off to the breakers yard and I will think of something else to build using all these parts and maybe a few extras…