Chris & Ralph
Chris and Ralph discuss trains...

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28th February 2009 TIMS winter meeting in Ironbridge

Ferris Wheel & Windmill

Six o’clock Friday morning and we are up early to get the real work done so that we can have a final push at finishing the models we are taking to TIMS tomorrow. You know what they say about best laid plans and all that… Ralph has already finished his models even after having a disastrous session on the French crane earlier today when he managed to strip the gears in the gearbox while I was out. Can’t leave him alone for five minutes!

Anyway, he managed to replace it with one of those low RPM motors that he bought from Michael Threlfall at Meccanuity 08. I knew it would come in handy! Luckily the motor he managed to mangle is not that old and a bit of google time found supplier - a couple of replacements will be here Tuesday.

When I got back it was time to get my model finished. Ralph had offered to help with the electrics and had spent most of the morning driving back and forth to the local Maplin - I told him to take his wallet the first time… Still I mustn’t complain he was trying to help me get my model finished. Before we knew it, the time was running out and some decisions needed to be made. It is obvious that the electrics are going to have to wait until another day. As it is we are still messing about at 2am. That’s it, time to get some sleep. We need to be at Enginuity for a 9am start and that is three hours from here on a good day.

Saturday morning and we are creeping about trying to load my car with all the models, The time? Oh yes, it’s 4.30am by the time his nibs has decided where everything is going it is getting on for five o’clock.

Ralph is driving - he seems to need less sleep these days - probably because I do all the work! So he drives and I sleep, good plan? I think so.

We get to Telford services ahead of schedule and Ralph goes and checks out the menu while I attend to other more pressing matters. When I get back there he is fast asleep in one of the bucket chairs - typical! So what are we having to eat then dear?… After a sumptuous, but fairly cold, breakfast it was off to the venue to set up and tighten all the nuts and bolts that the trip up the motorway shake loose no matter how tight they are done up. After setting up our models and helping Ralph untangle the string on his cranes - he did look puzzled - I set off camera in hand to get a few photographs and have a chat with other members.


Les Nightingale's ping-pong ball lifter was fun to watch - I think he has more fishplates than us!

TIMS 28/02/09


1. Peter Sleaford's car built on a radio control chassis
2. Beam engine by Roger Burton
3. Biplane by John Nuttall
4. Jake Picking's Robot
5. Trevor and Tony Shackleton's Mad inventer
6. Landrover by Dave Bradley
7. George Illingworth's Radio control fire engine
8. Geoff Brown's Hornby O gauge display
9. Colin Bull's loco load for his crane
10. Steam traction engine by Sid Beckett

Rail crane detail
Rail crane winding drums
Green Fort
The tiny remote from the new Meccano sets works well
Whos that?

As you can see, from the heading picture, I did get the Ferris wheel built although the electris had to take a back seat and I will finish them off this week so it is ready for the Magic of Meccano show at Kew in April. We also took our windmill again mainly because it does have its electrics working fine and it performed without fault all day. Ralph was in charge of the cranes The French display model crane also worked all day on one charge. It has an automatic reversing mechanism that was getting viewers worried as the load approached the jib but all was well as it just sets off again on its way down.

Colin Bull & Ralph
Colin Bull and Ralph - Looks like serious stuff...

The smaller crane, built as the instructions, is from the Special Edition crane set that the display model was built to promote. If anybody knows anything about this model please let us know as its rather short history is a mystery at the moment. All we know is that it was rescued from being dumped in a skip at a warehouse clearout. There were also two of them as the person we bought ours from has the other one. We are now thinking along the lines that they were built for a toy fair or trade show of some kind.

Rail crane
Colin Bull's superb rail crane

I was also determined to have a mooch on Dave Tailors stand  for some ‘MECCANO’ name plates and pennants I managed to find a few and also collected Ralph’s order that included the parts to refurbish the French crane and, much to his surprise and obvious delight, a pair of Elektrikit magnets in nice condition.

Steel Horse
Ken Senar's Steel Horse cought my eye this time

The first thing to catch my eye last time was Ken Senar’s pylon (now on show in the museum). Again I find myself drawn to some more of his wonderful models. His Steel Horse is built with immaculate looking Meccano and his other models of a snake and a dragon were fascinating to watch.

Chris Shute’s Meccano train set gave the boys something to talk about. The train goes round the track collecting and depositing ping-pong balls from one side of the track to another. Chris said that it ran all day on just one charge of the batteries. Colin bull was set up next to us with his railway breakdown crane - another superb model from Colin. That gave Ralph the opportunity to talk cranes and to discuss the finer points of our French Display model. We were not allowed to talk about Funicular railways this time. You know I am sure those two plan it, Funicular railways last time and cranes this time…

Sea Forts
Tony Homden demonstrating the remote control

I found Tony Homden operating his sea forts using one of the infra-red remote control systems from the new sets - Neat! We have some of that stuff, I must give it a go, it does seem to work very well. There were lots of other models on display and lots I have not seen before.

Tony and his bending machine
Tony Evanson is happy with his bending machine!

Something that did look familiar was Tony Evanson’s plate bending machine built from the notes we made when we built ours last year. Details can be found HERE. It is good to know that somebody reads the site and even better that our notes were of use. Tony spent a good portion of the day bending plates as part of an attempt to build one of the models from a set manual. Even with a bending machine this can be a challenge!

The day seemed to whiz by and before I knew it we were packing up. The day was rounded off with a nice meal at a pub in Telford, along with a few of the TIMS members, and then back to the B&B for a good nights sleep. After the night before that was not hard!

We always enjoy our visits to the TIMS meetings but now it is on with the building for the next commitment. Ralph will be off to SELMEC at the beginning of April and we are then both exhibiting at Kew for the Magic of Meccano show a couple of weeks later, but only on the Saturday.


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Small crane
Our small crane from the Special Edition set
Another of Tony's sea forts
Tony's Bending machine
Tony's bending machine