Nice tight fit!


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12th June 2009 Traction engine wheels and more...

For the past six weeks Meccano has taken a bit of a back seat in our lives due to the pressure of work. However, there is a lull in the relentless grind of bashing keys for money. Now I can bash the same keys for fun, well, almost.  A few weeks ago I managed to upload some stuff about some new Meccano sets and the small Multi-models 15 set. At the time, I bought the set to get a look at the Bowden cables. Good as they are, I discovered something maybe even more interesting.

WheelA finished wheel ready for a model - but what?


The rubber tracks supplied with the kit are fairly useless as tracks when fitted to the flanged wheels supplied. I toyed with the idea of fitting them to other wheels and there might be some mileage there, especially for static models. Then started to think about finding a centre for them to turn them into wheels. None of the standard pulleys fit or the circular parts either being too big or too small any a fair old margin… Then I remembered.

Circular girdersThe MW flanged girders

It must have been over twenty years ago, on one of our annual pilgrimages to the Henley show and ritual visit to Geoff Wright’s MW models I bought four 3½ inch diameter circular girders. These are not ‘Meccano’ parts but MW ‘new’ parts. The finish of these parts was rough to say the least but I was just delighted to have something new to add to the growing collection of parts. Last Saturday I was talking to Geoff at the RMG meeting in Ottershaw and he was saying that they were part of a batch he had made from a maker abroad. When they arrived the quality was not up to standard so he sold them off at a cheaper rate (which is probably how I came to buy four of them in one go). At the time I was not that bothered as I figured that the crinkly bit would not be seen when built into a model.


Those parts have been in the box all this time and have never been used - until now. By now you have probably worked out that they fit inside the rubber tracks perfectly. The only problem is that the small ridges on the inside of the track prevent the circular girders from being pushed completely home. This is easily cured by flipping the tyre inside out, refitting it to the circular girders and trimming off the offending protrusions with a sharp knife.

TrimTrimming off the unwanted bits is easer if the track is turned inside out an fitted onto a pair of crcular girders

Now the track has become a very neat looking tyre and all that is required is for the spokes and centre hub to be fitted. Eight 1½ inch narrow girders, a bush wheel and some hexagonal nuts work fine. The only question is; what to use them for - front end of a big traction engine, back end of a small traction engine? An artillery piece? Agricultural machinery? And probably many others.

Wheels!A finished pair of wheels and 'track' tyres


More Robots

Small RobotsSmall Robots!

I collected the four remaining robots, to complete the set of six, and the Maxi Kit sets from Dave Taylor on Saturday. The robots are great fun. ! think the younger Meccano fans will like them for what they are (and some of the older ones for that matter) but looking at them as a source of parts they are not bad either. The large orange one has a couple of hinges included as well as suspension units and several formed triangular plates.

Large RobotsLarge Robots!

The other robots comprise of all sorts of unusual parts that are all useful if, like Sue and I, you have come round to the idea that Modern meccano does have some use… For me one of the most appealing things about these robots is that they are supplied in very nicely made tins with rolled edges and lids that fit well. At £7.99 for the small fellas and £12.95 each for the larger ones I think they are good value for money.

TinsI like the tins

It took Sue and I two or three evenings of spasmodic building between watching the telly and discussing the finer points of their manufacture to build them and the four Maxi Kits.

Maxi Kits

More small boxed kits. These go with the other set of small kits sold as Micro Kits that we talked about a few weeks ago - See 14th May entry. Four more simple models again all with the same reference number, 0708, and suffixed A-D. The four models are; Buggy, Excavator, Forklift and Motorbike. They all go together easily and make up into nice little models that do have some play value although there is not much Meccano in each set and apart from the now commonplace formed triangular plate, there is nothing of great interest to report.

All these sets are supplied with the new spanner and as I have said before, the existing range of sets is now being issued with the new style spanner. Does this mean that the original spanner will become a collectors item - I think not.

With both rims fitted there is still a gap before trimming

Bike Excav
Buggy Excavator
The four Maxi Kits make up very well


Vintage Meccano set

Meccano do some strange things these days. I know this set is not new in as much as it has been around for a few years now, but it is currently available and has been re-boxed at times and sold by M&S and Argos. Although the Argos packaging states that the set contains 1000 parts. Funny that, I could only count about a third of that including every last nut, bolt  and washer! I managed to win one of these sets on ebay. I quite often put a silly price on a set or collection of parts not expecting to win it and every now and then I do. This was just such an occasion. 

Vintage box

When the set arrived, I opened it and inspected the parts. This has to be the worst case of over-painting I have seen to date. It is so thick in places that you cannot get a bolt through some of the holes let alone a rod. A bit of work with a 4.1mm drill bit locked into a meccano wheel and tyre sorted that problem out and it was time to build something. Hold on a minute! I am sure that the description on the Meccano site says that this set is a new edition of a set from 1933. So why am I confronted with modern plastic parts and tri-axels?

Once I got over that shock I then took one look at the models in the instructions and decided to go it alone. A bit of head scratching and the best I could come up with was a sort of foundry crane. There is not that much scope to build anything with this set as far as I can see but I understand that Bernard Périer built some models and made some comments in Constrictor Quarterly (QC 75)  although I have not seen a copy yet. I have since managed to acquire another couple of sets so with a bit more Meccano to play with There may well be a bit more scope - however just what I am going to do with a dozen 3 inch pulleys I am not sure.


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