Steering wheel
Steering wheel added as one extra part
The crane on the front cover
An extra crank handle
Miniture thrust bearing
Adrian Ashford's windmill

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24 January 2009
SELMEC meeting - One more part

Saturday morning and I’m off to the Eltham to the South East London Meccano Club meeting. As this is not far away, Sue usually lets me out on my own, albeit with a list for Dave Taylor.

I got there early to get a good parking space room can be tight in the car park at Sherard Hall. As I arrived Dave was setting up his sales table - a feat he and Mrs Dave have off to a fine art.

My 3 wheeler
No. 4 set three wheeler

I like to participate in the secretary’s challenge, look what happened last time!  On this occasion I have been a little bit more restrained. I have built two models for this times challenge. The first one is built from a 1961 No. 4 set. The subject is a ‘Three wheel sports car’ Model No. 4.14 from the 1959 3a manual. The car is fairly easy to put together although it suffers from all the usual small set compromises and ‘Artistic licence’  of the manual writers. This was the first set of Meccano set (not this actual set) I was given as a child. The original has long since lost its identity and been swallowed up within our main collection. I always liked this model but felt that a bush wheel used as a steering wheel was one compromise too far. The extra part in this model is therefore a steering wheel, a part I did not have in the early sixties. Sadly the finished model looks far better in the instruction manual than it does finished and was a real disappointment to me.

CraneThe second model is built from a 1988 French No. 7 set. The subject of this model is the ‘Shipyard crane’ from the 1962, 4-5-6 manual  (that also adorns the front cover) model No. 6.2. The trouble with most of the sets has always been a lack of duplicated parts. The most annoying to me was always the crank handles. This model has the same problem one long crank handle and a 2 inch pulley with a pivot bolt added to make a second crank. The extra part here is, of course, the additional crank handle. The model is not bad when finished. A few modifications and some extra parts would improve the model. Having said that it works well as it stands and had I built this as a child I would have been pleased with the result.

This is the first model I have built using solely French yellow/blue/silver. Although I have to say I prefer the Binns Road colours it does not look too bad. It is also assembled using dome head bolts and hexagonal nuts. Again I prefer the square nuts of early Binns Road days. I also don’t mind the new square nuts and hex-drive bolts of the modern Meccano so it is not just nostalgia driving my thinking. The Hex nuts and round head bolts did not last that long so I was obviously not alone with my preferences.

Chris Fry's digger
Chris Fry's Super detailed and modified M&S digger

The meeting was well attended with plenty of models a full list can be seen HERE on the SELMEC website. A few things that caught my eye were Chris Fry’s super modified and detailed M&S digger complete with ‘hydraulic’ ram, driver’s seat and controls as well as rear lights, modified crawler track set-up, stronger roof supports and what I believe to be a Stuart Borrill thrust bearing - brilliant use of new and special parts, see HERE.

I also found a super model of an early Morgan three wheeler sporting an external 1000cc air-cooled engine, built by Eric Smith, that showed what could be done. A much better model than to one from the No.4 set that I had built for the challenge.

Eric Smith built this super Morgan three wheeler

Having shown our display model windmill and a couple of smaller models in similar vain at the exhibition last October, Adrian Ashford had decided to build a windmill of his own. Based on a 1954 No 6 set model but made taller to give it a better appearance. On real mills of this type, the main shaft carrying the sails is not horizontal but slopes downwards, from back to front. This has been achieved in Adrian’s model simply by journaling the rear of the main shaft one hole lower, there is more than enough slop in the fit for this to be done without any binding. The final drive is a 15-tooth pinion and a 95-tooth gear. These are positioned on the shafts to achieve optimum mesh, as the final shaft is obviously not parallel with the pinion shaft. Works great and can all be viewed by lifting one side of the roof which is made from a hinged plate. A photograph of this arrangement can be seen HERE - a great piece of Meccano modelling!

A good day was had by all, I purchased the bits that Sue asked me to get and headed off home inspired by another day of Meccano chatter.


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View from other side
Air cooled 1000cc engine