27th February 2011
The first of this year’s new models that we have managed to get hold of is the ‘Prototype 3 green”
This is one of four models listed on the Meccano.com website. In fact there are only two different models available in two different colours. This model and the blue version are made up from 90 parts and the instructions show how to build two models. The two smaller sets contain 70 parts and have instructuins for one car. All the kits are supplied in small plastic cases. These have to new plastic chassis part clipped to the recess where the handle would be. I found this a bit strange in itself and I think that Meccano my have shot themselves in the foot with this one as the rather fragile lugs that hold it in pace are susceptible to breaking as our sample was. These lugs have no use other than to hold the chromed plastic moulding in place on the case. However I am sure a lot of these will get returned purely because this part will not reattach itself to the outside of the case. I stuck the lug back in place on our model as I found it trapped in the shrink-wrap packing.
The one-piece plastic chassis makes the cars easy to build and quick. When built the cars don’t look too bad however there is a big mistake on the instructions. This also applies to the sister set; Prototype 3 Blue.
There are a couple of triangular plates that bolt to two narrow oblique angle brackets. These are shown in the instructions facing the wrong way compared with the finished model shot. Steps 6.7,8 & 9 show the plates pointing towards the back of the car when they should point forwards.
There are a few now parts included in these kits. The plastic chassis and the short windscreen (in a tinted green) but for me the most interesting part in this kit are the new low profile wheels and rubber tyres. Although these models are not powered, Meccano have had the foresight to mould the standard drive clutch into the inside of the hubs. The wheels can be fitted to a tri-axle and locked in place using one of the plastic driving dogs.
I am not overly impressed with these models but I think the Toy trade will like them even if they are a bit expensive when compared with something like the recently introduced 10 model set that is only a pound dearer and can be found on the street under £15 making it cheaper!
For us big kids I think the new Tin Tin range of models is going to be interesting I am looking forward to the Seaplane and the Jeep. There is also a galleon but the jury is still out on that one until I can get a better look.