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SELMEC Autumn meeting 12th September 2009

Roman Gallery
The Roman gallery built for the secretary’s challenge

It has been a funny few weeks for us, a trip to Henley last week and now a few minutes down the road to Eltham for the SELMEC meeting. I am on home ground today. I first joined SELMEC back in the 80’s and soon came to enjoy the quarterly meetings and annual show. Twenty years on and much the same faces were in attendance along with a few extras. I am travelling light today, just me and my entry for the secretary’s challenge. For the past year our models seem to have been getting bigger and bigger. The problem is that we have very little reason not to make big models as transportation is not something we have a problem with. Most of our married life Sue and I have owned or had access to at least one van and several of our cars have been estate cars. Having the luxury of the smallest vehicle we have to fit things in being reasonably sized does have some disadvantages. The main one is a large model usually takes time to set up and dismantle. Today was a noval experience I can hold the model with one hand and I don’t need to assemble it on arrival.


As well as the usual crowd of fellow SELMEC members, today we had visitors from Belgium, Harry Mariën and his wife. You may have seen Harry at Skegness this year; he was the man with the big blue Derrick crane build from a non-Meccano system, Distler Giant, a Belgian metal construction system. BeamToday Harry brought along a more modest model to demonstrate the osculating beam problem. It was really good to see him and his wife here today.


The secretary’s challenge model this time is a military vehicle. This was not necessarily a modern vehicle made from the Meccano Army parts. That got the thinking cap on. I thought about an American civil war improvised rail gun or maybe a first world war armoured Rolls Royce… then it grabbed me – Romans! They had some pretty impressive war machines. I started building an assault tower but it soon became clear that I was never going to finish it in time for the meeting.

The tower was put to one side as I had another idea that would not take too long to build – a Roman gallery equipped with a log battering ram. These were rolled up to the gates or even the wall of a castle and the soldiers could batter their way in under the cover of the galleries roof. My model is made from zinc strips and wheel discs and lots of nuts and bolts! It made a pleasing model and something I would never of contemplated if it had not been for the challenge.

Adrian Ashford's clockwork tractor

At the meeting there were several other models were of interest. I particularly like the little clockwork tractor and trailer built by Adrian Ashford. It was based on an article that appeared in Meccano Magazine September 1949 page 352 The article can be read at: http://www.nzmeccano.com/MMviewer.php and select; Sept - 1949 - New Meccano Models (p352) from the drop down menus if the article does not appear. More models from the day can be seen on the club’s website HERE.

There was no trader at the meeting as Dave Taylor and his better half, Marilyn, were taking a well earned break (probably something to do with trains if I know Dave!) I managed to sell the half a dozen plastic Meccano cases I took with me and as a result came home with more money and less Meccano than I went out with. That has to be an all time first and I intend not to repeat the experience…  A good day was had by all and the time was gone before I had a chance to think about it.


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About the beam
Here is Harry's note about his model - Click on image to enlarge