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15th January 2011 SELMEC Winter Meeting

First outing of the year sees me back at the South East London Meccano Club (SELMEC) meeting. I couldn’t make this meeting last year as I was still getting over the dose of influenza I got for Christmas! No such trouble this year. This is one of the meetings I attend solo while Sue is busy on other things. The really nice thing about this meeting is that it is like ‘old slippers’. I first attended SELMEC way back in the early ‘80s and even after a long break of 20 years, when I returned a few years ago there were still a lot of the original members still active. It is a friendly place with a warm family feel.

Most meetings are attended by our resident trader Dave Taylor (Meccanoman). However this time he was not able to attend due to a prior engagement. To fill the gap the club decided to hold an auction. These are always interesting so I had a dig around and found some bits and pieces to enter for sale. I managed to get rid of a pile of Aution goodiesMeccano cases for not much money but I was not bothered as they all went to good homes. More often than not it is just a case of clearing space. I also managed to win a No.2 clock kit box with instructions and a good clock face with all the numbers and dashes applied neatly. I only wanted the clock face so I sold the box and instructions on and got my money back! On top of that all of my other non-Meccano construction sets I had entered sold better than I had expected. So here was a first, I attended a meeting, made some money for the club (commission on my sales), bought a clock face and still went home with more money in my pocket than I went out with!

Secretary’s challenge

This time the Secretary’s challenge was to replicate, in Meccano, a famous work of art.  This could be a painting or sculpture, 2D or 3D. I thought about this for some time but I kept coming back to Barbara Hepworth’s Two Forms (Divided Circle). This sculpture stands about 8ft tall and is cast from bronze. Six of these sculptures were cast and sold to municipal bodies in this country and aboard. My first encounter with this work was when Southwark Borough Council decided to plonk one in my local park. Back in 1970 as a young teenager I could not understand why there was so much fuss made over this thing that looked like it might have been made in the school workshop – in fact I could make one of those. When I found out the council had paid a small fortune for it I seriously thought about becoming a sculptor. I gave up on this idea when I had to make a choice between woodwork and art at school – woodwork won. Had I realise at the time that this was only one of six castings (the one in Dulwich park is numbers 5/6) I may have changed my mind. More information on Hepworth and this sculpture can be found on the Tate Collection website.

So, back to the Secretary’s challenge. I did think about building this about half life size with the depressions and holes but time was at a premium so I decided to go the other way and settle for a micro model, 20 parts including the nuts and bolts!

More Meccanographs...

Simon has been having fun building and devloping his version of the T form meccanograph

Back in October, Sue and I attended the HTMC meeting in Hildenborough where Sue was demonstrating her T form Meccanograph. Taken with this Simon Greatrex asked Sue for a copy of the plan. As these are not our plans we got permission to pass them on and Simon was also hooked. Several e-mails later and Simon is here with his version. A few problems to sort out yet but he is well on his way and, by the looks of things, having fun getting there.

Alan does like a few gears...

Alan Wenbourne does like a complicated mechanism and when he saw the strange drive system of the Armstrong Saurer Dominant he was determined to replicate it in Meccano. By his own admission he prefers the mechanics to the aesthetics and it is Mrs W who encourages him to build the body. Lets hope she succeeds this time as I think this will be a very interesting model.   

Divided Circle
My entry to the secretary's challenge was a model of Divided Circle (two forms) - Barbra Hepworth. The model was inspired by casting 5/6 that can be seen In Dulwich Park, London

The prototype of Alan's model - a little way to go yet!



A cut away drawing of the back axle arrangement got Alan started on this project

Other models to catch my eye were Brian Elvidge’s Flotiller leader. Built following an article by the late Bert Love published in MMQ April 1975. I have always thought that building ships from Meccano was asking for trouble – all those holes! This one does capture the look and I can start to see the appeal.

Chris Fry and I got together to discuss Dragster racing. Chris is up for a whappin’ at the next meeting when he attempts to beat the magic motor racing king (AKA Me!) when we go head to head in the pull back motor Xtreme dragster racing at the next meeting. I decided to keep my cards close to my chest and took a couple of my heavyweight ‘for show’ dragsters along.

I also took our raceway game along for its first outing, although it still needs some work, I am hopping it will be ready for the next HTMC meeting in April. 

There are lots more models from the day shown on SLMECS website HERE.


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