Big hook block - Small container!

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1st March 2012 Time for an update...

With one thing or another, time for Meccano and updating this website has been rather sparse. So here is a quick rundown on what we have been up to since June last year.

Time has been sparse but our latest model is ticking away - update soon


Skegness was a bit hit and miss last year, not being sure whether we would go or not (due to family commitments) all we had to display was a selection of, not quite finished, miniature fairground models. in the end we did go and were pleased to be there at al.l The response to our models was favourable by all who passed comment. Sue was particularly pleased when Michael Adler Enthused about the miniature models as she had spebt alot of time detailing them and ensuring they looked their best for the three day show.

Skegness 2011
Issigonis Sheild winner John Ozyer-Key's model of the Kato KA900 mobile crane being studied by a couple of Skegness regulars...

The star of the show was John Ozyer-Key’s mobile crane that subsequently went on to win the Issigonis Shield. There were plenty of other superb models on display and visitors from all around the world were in attendance making communication for this South Londoner even more difficult than usual on these self-funded expeditions to far-flung places. By that I mean places that are not only north of ‘The River’ but North of Watford!  A bit of pointing and head nodding usually gets the point across – either that or I have just offered to marry someone’s daughter…

A comprehensive selection of photographs, taken by our friend and fellow Meccanoman Greg Webb, of the models on display can be found HERE.

Me & Howard
Who's that tubby bloke, in the striped shirt, talking to Howard? Not only is he losing his hair but he is a Stone and a half lighter than that now!

Skegness is a real English seaside town with all the clichéd attractions that the words "Emglish Seaside"conjures up. Sue and I really enjoy our few days in Skegness and we are looking forward to this years event and the socialising that comes with it.

The Summer

The rest of the summer was spent on other things including a short but very enjoyable break in Scotland. Apart from the touristy things there are to see we do like to find out how the place works from day to day. We stayed in a place called Lochgilphead and as the name suggests it is situated at the Head of Loch Gilp. The main income in these parts seems to revolve around tourism and timber. After that it must be the municipal bodies that give employment to the local people.

Rubber Duck!
'Rubber Duck' Loading logs into the hold of a Timberline ship at Ardrishaig on the west bank of Loch Gilp

Beautiful as the scenery is there, we can always find something that might lend itself to a model. The first thing we found was a wheeled excavator (AKA Rubber duck), fitted with a grab, steadily loading a cargo ship with logs. Four hours later as we returned past the same point all the logs, Rubber duck and ship were gone! We found a similar operation going on down at Campbeltown a few days later. Due to the broken up coastline it is conciderably more efficient to move the great majority of logging production by sea even for fairly local deliveries.

Sue and tower
Look what I found!

This is the huge tracked crane used to unload the turbine tower sections - close-up of track shown below

While we were down in Campbeltown we stumbled across some huge ‘pipes’, sitting on the harbour, awaiting forward transport. TrackOn closer inspection we realised that what we were looking at the bottom section of a wind turbine tower. Subsequently we discovered that these sections are road-hauled to their final resting place and, indeed, a few days later they were all gone. They don’t hang about up here. We took the opportunity to take a few pictures of the wind turbine tower sections and the cranes used to handle them.  You never know when the pictures might be useful. My favourite picture that we took that day in Campbeltown is of a huge crane hook block just parked up next to a cut-me-off-and-call-me-shortie  container.


We won the cup, We won the cup, e-i-adio we won the cup!

After our short break our next major Meccano commitment (apart from the odd club meeting here and there which included picking up the Phil Bradley Cup at the HTMC AGM!) was the SELMEC Exhibition in October. Being my local club we like to try and put on a bit of a show. This time the club had much more space to play with as Chris had decided to hire the hall and both the side rooms. This made a big difference to what we could do and enabled us to put on a really good show. This coming year it will be even bigger with our Meccan Olympics events Details can be found HERE. PusherThis event is open to all comers and we would like to encourage anyone, clb member or not, to join in.You do not have to be a club member to enter. This competition is open to all!


In a mad moment, Sue and I decided that with all that had happened during the year it would be a good idea to hold the Christmas celebrations at our house. Not a problem you would think but in our case we are in the middle of a huge renovation project involving the greater part of the ground floor. A few weeks of hard graft - I hate all the wet-trades! - we managed to get the place almost normal. With only a short Meccano interlude involving visiting the North East London Meccano Exhibition at the beginning of December, the rest of the time was spent on the house.

NELMEC Exhibition
Paul Leech's Scammel heavy recovery seen at the NELMEC exhibition in December 2012

Once that panic was out of the way it was time to settle down to some studies. I have decided to get up to date with my electrical qualifications and pass the 17th edition Wiring regulations exham. 17th Edition This is a bit like going back to school and is proof that you (or me) are never too old to learn. There have been several amendments since the 16th edition and there is a first amendment to the 17th edition. Some of the changes make me smile, like the rules regarding having electrical outlets in the bathroom. These are now permitted so long as the socket is in excess of 3 metres horizontally away from the bath – think about it, who has a bathroom big enough to do that!  I suppose it is there to cover the seemingly new trend of having a bath in the bedroom…

…I digress, It is now March 1st still 19 days to go until it is officially Spring and I am sitting here, typing this, with the sunshine streaming through the office, window here at Laughton Towers, Considering our current Meccano project and a few other things we have been playing around with recently. One thing that has got the juices running is the discovery that I can now power the small rubber tracks that come with the Meccano 15-model Multimodel set. I have also just found a stock of the larger tracks so experiments are on-going.

Now it is time to get on with some serious Meccano building and we will be posting our results and findings soon. We also picked up some new models over the past few months and we will share our experience with you on those as well.



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Howard and Micheal
Left a bit... Michael Adler gives Howard Somerville a helping hand. Crane erecting is obviously a serious matter!