Morris front end
Half a Morris.. Nick Rodgers said he started dismanteling it but did not have the heart to finish it!

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16th & 17th April 2011 Kew Bridge Steam Museum - The Magic of Meccano

Race Game
The quad bike racing game was finished at last and proved a great success

This is always a funny one for us. Kew is not far, as the crow flies, but it is the other side of London from where we live. It is not far enough to justify an overnight stay but the journey can be unpredictable as traffic conditions can vary from hour to hour. Last year our journey was made easier by the Icelandic volcano’s ash cloud, which had forced the closure of Heathrow Airport. I was amazed just how quiet the roads were. I didn’t realise how much traffic the airport generates.

This year it was back to normal, no dust cloud to render the airport out of action. There was nothing for it but to get out early and allow twice as much time as the trusty SatNav predicts. Those of you who don’t live in London will not believe that a fifteen-mile journey can take an hour and a half on a good day, but I assure you it can!

Day one and we arrived at the venue at the predicted time and set up our models next to the entrance ramp. Our small collection of models was carefully selected to be strictly ‘plonk and play’. When we are setting up on the day of the show, the last thing we want to do is spend hours assembling complicated models. Sue's MeccanographSue had her T-form Meccanograph on its last outing for the time being and I was showing my Märklin version along with the race game now working as it should and ready for its first public outing. As it turned out the Märklin ‘Meccanograph’ proved to be my second failure attempting to build one of these machines – I think I will go back to cranes and leave the Meccanographs to Sue!

All set up and ready to go it was now time to have a look around and Sue was off with her camera recording the day in digital form.

French crane
Our French display model crane makes a second trip to Kew, to fill some space on the second day, having been shown here in 2009 just after it had been fully refurbished

Day two and we were back at the show moving our display to fit in with the new configuration caused by the arrival of new models and the disappearance of others. We also brought along one of our French display model cranes and its production counterpart to fill a bit of space.

The show seemed quieter this year than last, although I understand that visits from the general public was up on last year. I think what made it seem quieter was the lack of die-hard Meccano folk travelling from the north. This was due to a huge fire in a scrap yard situated under the raised section of the M1, at the London end. This caused traffic delays that were heavily publicised and deterred a lot of people from travelling.

The models

Road Train
Nick Rodger's pictured with his road train. He doesn't look very happy - Maybe he is missing Eddy...

There were some of the old favourite models plus a few new ones that I had not seen before. The one that stood out for me was the road train built by Nick Rogers from beautifully re-finished Meccano. I have been watching this model take shape over the past year or so from the prototype built from old scrap Meccano to the finished thing. Meccanographs were in abundance. We had a couple and, as it was close to Easter, Peter Clay was showing a version that made egg-shaped patterns.

Peter Clay's Eggograph

Sofisticated Meccanograph by Chris bourne. Click on the small text to the right to read his description of the unusual machine

At the extreme other end of the scale Chris Bourne was demonstrating his Differential Meccanograph one of the most complicated of machines. I saw this machine at the Henley gathering last year and it still fascinates me.  

Just part of Roger Marriot's display of vintage Meccano

Roger Marriot put on a good display of aeroplane models and nice clean sets as well as a well-executed model of some flying aeroplanes on a tower with a rise and fall now incorporating a mechanism – sound familiar? All built from immaculate blue gold Meccano and some grey coloured Meccano style lamp holders that I have not seen before. There were lots of other models there including a display of manual models by David Tracy and a couple of Geoff Wright’s No.9 set busses. Lots more pictures from the weekend can be found HERE.

They say that buses come along in twos and to prove it here are two of Geoff Wright's No.9 set models

Next stop Meccanuity in a fortnights time but before then, next weekend is Easter and the following Friday is Bill and Kate’s wedding – nice of them to give us another day off!


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Ferris Wheel
Frank Paine was raising money for charity with his dispaly of Meccano models of the past including this dealer display model of a Ferris wheel

Nich & Eddy
Eddy is spotted giving Nick the slip!
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