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Modifying the aeroplane outfits

(Author: Brian Willis)

One of the most interesting of the 'other' Meccano products are the Aeroplane sets. Or at least I think so! Unfortunately they were rather limited due to the fact that there were ony so many components that were needed on toy planes. Wings, fuselage, tail assembly and along with other odds and ends was about all there was to it.

Meccano touted in its two manuals how many times these could be put together but all the planes looked somewhat alike. Most I am sure, are familiar with the range from the very simple to the more complicated No.2 Special.

The only different part was the foreign wing design which encouraged me to come up with some others. This has been well documented on Spanner but my first attempt was the easiest; a new tail fin. It was flat and easy to cut from the biscuit tin with a pair of scissors. This alone changed the appearance of the planes considerably to amore modern appearance which gave me the idea of a tricycle undercarriage. Utilising the little used hole in front and with a little ball bearing ballast (Meccano, of course!) a presentable tricart was obtained.

But the pilot was stll exposed and it was now becoming more complicated to add further parts. But for his protection, a valence was added and attached to the fuselage behind him, fitting over the top fuselage piece rather like the cabin part where used.
He even got a windscreen.

Now things were decidedly different except for those wings. I had already made the tailplanes turning over the edges and scribing ribs but the size of the main plane was daunting. But, in for a penny, etc, so another biscuit tin bit the dust.

They turned out much better than I had anticipated. Any rough spots matched the existing parts which had suffered over seventy years or so. All the holes matched up quite well and everything went together.

Finally the prop. Time honoured two blade props were the norm but in our updated aircraft, something newer was in order. For this I cut four blades which can be arranged in any combination which is attached to the drive shaft by a rod/screw connector.
They are slightly wider due to the thinner tin but look quite presentable.

Altogether a pleasant Meccano exercise. While I appreciate non Meccano is not everyones cup of tea, this is in the style of Meccano and perhaps they would have done something similar. There again, perhaps not!

Some pictures are in the gallery.

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