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Meccano Blue/Gold Outfits 1937-1941

In 1934, there was a change in colour scheme, to blue and gold. At first, outfits were given a letter from A to L, and details of this period are shown here.

The alphabetical sequence didn't appear to work too well, and the outfits were completely changed in 1937 in the most significant change ever to happen to the Meccano outfit contents. This page describes the "numeric" blue/gold period, which lasted from 1937 to the end of production in 1941.

Chronological variations

A brief summary of the many changes and new releases during this period is as follows:
1937 Letter-sequences outfits dropped, replaced by new outfits 0 to 10, still in blue/gold.  Small parts change from nickel, brass, and gold paint to red paint.  Road wheels change from gold with red tyres to red with white tyres.  More conversion sets launched from the letter to number series, but many intermediate accessory outfits cover both numeric and alphabetical steps.
1938 Flexible plates now have rounded edges. 
1939 Mechanised Army outfit launched, with matt olive green parts.
1940 Flanged plates and semicircular plates start losing their crosshatching to be plain blue.  Road wheels change to red with black tyres. Specialised outfits start to disappear.
1941 At the very end of production, bosses change to Mazak as a result of the shortage of brass. 
1942 Production of metal toys prohibited from 1st January

Pictures wanted!

If you have any pictures of missing outfits below, or another picture of an outfit that is better or not quite the same as one that's already here, please help us by sending a copy of it! It would be very much appreciated.  You can email it straight to us, or upload it to the Rust Bucket forum...

Meccano "Number Series" Outfits

Blue/gold outfit 0 from 1937
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Malcolm Hanson
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Outfit 0

This outfit 0 from 1937 was found in almost completely unused condition, but unstrung.  It has been restrung using the original stringing cord found in the box.  A close-up of the tray itself can be found here.


Blue/gold outfit 1 from 1937
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Nigel Collins
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Outfit 1

A nice original outfit 1 from 1937.  This has been restrung, but there are two pairs of unused holes in the original stringing card, which is where the fishplates should be.  Surprisingly, we don't yet have a better example of this outfit.


Blue/gold outfit 2 from 1937
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Malcolm Hanson
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Blue/gold outfit 2 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 2

This very early outfit 2 (from 1937) is also restrung, but is still in good condition.  We can see, by comparing this with the outfit B above, how many part changed with advent of the new numbered outfit range.  Many small parts changed from gold paint or brass to red paint (including small pulleys, and trunnions).  The road wheels now change from a gold tyre to a white one, matching the 1" pulleys with white rubber tyres.  In addition, we can see that the layout has been completely changed, showing off the blue/gold colour scheme to much better effect.

Blue/gold outfit 3 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 3


Blue/gold outfit 4 from late 30s
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kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Stephen Heafield
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Blue/gold outfit 4 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 4

The outfit to the left has been restrung from an almost completely unused outfit, on its original stringing card.  It's very unusual to get parts this good – the gold strips in particular scratch terribly even when used once.  The cord in this box is wrong, as it the crank handle which should be Erinoid rather than the post-war red plastic version.  Every other part of the outfit is as found.

To the right, the image from the 1938 catalogue.


Blue/gold outfit 5
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Nigel Collins
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Blue/gold outfit 5 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 5

This outfit 5 has been well used and restrung, but shows the layout and the guarantee slip is still intact, showing the date as December 1937.  This is an early numbered outfit.

Road wheels are red and white, and the small parts tins are both yellow (as they would have been in the earlier lettered outfits).


Blue/gold outfit 5 from very late 1941
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Richard Payn
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In contrast, shown left is an extremely late outfit 5.  This was allegedly dated 1942, after manufacture was supposed to have stopped, but it could well have been assembled later from previously manufactured parts.  Either way, it's one of the very last outfits from Binns Road before the war.  Note the Mazak bosses on all parts, and that the large flanged plate and sector plates are medium red ones (taken from the colonial stock?).  A very rare and interesting mint outfit.


Blue/gold outfit 6 from 1938
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Malcolm Hanson
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Blue/gold outfit 6 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 6

Here we see the first of the two-layer numbered outfits, dating from 1938.  During this year, the lethal sharp corners on the flexible plates were removed, giving us the familiar rounded-corner plates.  Note the two small parts boxes with different coloured labels – these would carry on for many years to come.  The red paper wrapping on the axles matches with similarly dated spare parts from dealer cabinets.


Blue/gold outfit 7 from 1941
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Malcolm Hanson
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Blue/gold outfit 7 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 7

This excellent outfit 7 dates from the very end of pre-war production.  The semicircular parts and some of the flanged plates have now lost their gold cross-hatching (a complex operation on these Meccano-made parts), and the road wheels have changed to black painted tyres.  Note that the bosses are painted too, in this example.  It's strange to think that such an opulent toy was still being manufactured, two years after the start of war.


Blue/gold outfit 8 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 8

Malcolm's collection goes on and on, with this superb outfit 8 dating from 1937.  The wheels are still red/white, but note that outfit 8 of this period included the No.1 clockwork motor, mounted proudly in the centre of the top tray.  This is one of the few differences between the pre-war and post-war outfit 8.  This example must be very late in 1937, as the flexible plates don't have sharp corners. Click here for further pictures of the top tray and the bottom section.


Blue/gold outfit 9 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 9

Outfit 9 was now the smallest outfit supplied in an optional wooden box, as with this example to the left.  As before, the parts were supplied wrapped rather than strung, and are shown in the catalogue picture (right) unwrapped and placed in the wooden trays.  The pulleys in the example left all have black rims, which dates the outfit into 1940.  In 1939 only the 2" pulleys had black rims, not the 3" ones (see below).  Further detail can be seen here of the and the

Blue/gold outfit 9 in carton from 1939
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kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Richard Payn
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Blue/gold outfit 9 detail
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kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Richard Payn
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Richard Payn has sent me photographs of this amazing outfit 9 (sadly not one he currently owns!) in a carton rather than the more expensive wooden box above.  Here we can see that the lower level is truly untouched, and many of the small parts are still wrapped in paper as they would have been in all large outfits.  Although the upper level is slightly the worse for wear, it is probably best with such an original outfit not to start attempting to "restring" it – the outfit is better for being original.  We can see that only the 2" pulleys have the black surrounds, not the 3" ones.  This isn't a one-off – both the outfit 10s shown below use the same combination.

Note that this outfit has two of the larger old-fashioned cardboard small parts tins, and two small metal ones.


Blue/gold outfit 10 from around 1939
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Blue/gold outfit 10 from 1938 catalogue
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Outfit 10

Outfit 10 was supplied in a green enamelled wooden chest, with two lift-out trays.  The style is similar to the previous outfit 7 box, with the longest girders across the entire width of the box along the back.  The two large flanged rings fit in the main box, under the lower tray.

Only the top tray is strung to a card.  Originally the parts would have been supplied packed in brown paper and placed in the box compartments.  For photographs in the catalogues the parts were unwrapped and stacked in the box.  The example shown top right is in excellent condition, with most of the parts completely unused.  Gold painted strips in particular show wear immediately they are used, which is why many outfits of this era are in such bad shape.

Another example from 1939 is shown left, not in quite as good condition but still very nice indeed.  In both of these outfits the top tray has been re-'strung' (although no string is used), to reproduction yellow card.  There are few differences – one of the few I can spot is the red paint on the bosses of the eccentrics in this outfit.

Meccano "Number Series" Accessory Outfits

Outfit 1a

Early numeric conversion outfits were also used to convert alphabetical outfits to the next higher numeric one. You can see this box for an outfit 1a also says "...converts outfit 1 or outfit O (alphabetical series) to outfit 2". The only additional parts required to do this (if you check the parts listings) are a pair of 1" rubber rings and half a dozen nuts and bolts. Unfortunately we don't know whether these are in the box or not, and good condition outfits of this early series are not common.

This outfit has been restrung, partially by guesswork and partially by comparison with equivalent French outfits.

Outfit 2a

This later (1939) outfit 2a will only convert numeric outfits. It has been restrung to its original card but the layout is guesswork based on related and French outfits, so don't take it as gospel. If you have a better example of this outfit (or any outfit on this page), please send us it!

Blue/gold outfit 3a
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Outfit 3a

This outfit 3a was found almost unused, but had to be restrung to its original card. I believe that this is the correct layout, but we cannot be certain without seeing an unused one.


Blue/gold outfit 4a from 1939 probably incorrect
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Outfit 4a

This is an example of how wrong you can be if you're not very careful indeed. This outfit has obviously been restrung from a set of parts, but is wildly incorrect. If you look carefully at the label you can see that this later (November 1939) outfit has the old-style dark red/green "Accessory Outfit" label, but with a stuck-on additional label claiming that it can convert an outfit C to an outfit 5 as well. The contents don't show this, being missing a large number of parts, although it does contain the 3½'' strip (required for a C-5 but not for a 4-5 outfit). I suspect that this was restrung without checking the contents of the outfit properly.

It's useful to see the box here, though, as we can see the gradual change away from the lettered outfits towards the post-war styles.

Blue/gold outfit 5a from 1939
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Malcolm Hanson
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Outfit 5a

This very nice outfit 5a has been restrung too, but to its original card by copying an example of an unused outfit 5a. Note that the label has changed from the pre-war pale yellow background to the green label, and there is no longer a sticker advising that it can convert from the alphabetic outfits. This new contents list is therefore smaller and only contains the parts strictly required to convert outfit 5 to outfit 6.

Blue/gold outfit 6a from 1938
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Malcolm Hanson
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Outfit 6a

This is an excellent condition unused outfit from 1938, which is very rare for this accessory series. In this picture we can clearly see that there are extra parts over and above what would be required in an outfit 6a, such as the 1" pulley, 12½'' strips, flat trunnions, and so on. These parts in this outfit 6a are required to convert an outfit E to an outfit 7, and would have been a bonus for any owner who already had the correct outfit 6. The only inconsistency I see is that the outfit should contain eight formed slotted strips (part 215), which were new to the numeric outfits, but only four are visible here (the number that would be needed to convert outfit 6 to 7).

Blue/gold Outfit H9
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Please do not download or copy it for any purpose. It has been
kindly provided for use on this site by the image owner,
Greg Rahn
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Outfit H9

Some larger specific alphabetical to numeric conversion outfits were produced, such as this H9 outfit (to convert the old outfit H to the new outfit 9). Note that this outfit contains a boxed No.1 Clockwork Motor (like both the new outfits 8 and 9 did). There are enough new parts required (such as a whole lot of flexible plates, the motor, and the parts numbred after 200) in the outfit 9 to make it substantially larger than the equivalent 8a outfit.

Meccano "Theme" Outfits

Mechanised Army outfit from 1939
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Mechanised Army

The Mechanised Army outfit was announced in the August 1939 issue of the Meccano Magazine, just in time for the Christmas sales. Wartime inflation and taxes raised the price from 10/6 at its launch to 17/9 by the end of the following year. It was reasonably successful, enough to make the parts not impossible to find nowadays, but they are rarely in good condition as most of the models called for creasing the flexible plates beyond repair. As a result, immaculate unused outfits such as the one above left are very rare indeed. A close-up of the parts can be seen here.


Manuals for these outfits

Click on the following files to jump to the appropriate manual for this era. After clicking, you will see the cover of the manual and underneath it a link to download the manual to your computer. Warning: some of these manuals are very large and will take several minutes to download. You have been warned!

Blue/gold manuals (1937-41)

Further information

Anonymous      (at 5:35pm, Fri 26th Jun, 15)

ting in.If you might be careful, and only use companies you recognize, you should be able to find an issue and look satisfied ?t had been a take.
To get the best doable outlet browsing deal, you should consider researching the particular retailer.It will not be whatever special if at all delivered through pieces, so be wary of cost-free postage.It can also be a proper picture to acquire multiple things in company and that means you save upon freight rates.
Outlet Retailers At Their best!
It seems like everyone is looking for a selling or specific, and whenever they find any bargain they want to tell everyone relating to this.Outlet store shopping is a great way to get items which are nonetheless vogue for a discounted charge.Sometimes items are sold

Malcolm Hanson      (at 10:43am, Sat 16th Jun, 12)

You probably have a Car Constructor Outfit. You can see a No.1 outfit here: http://www.nzmeccano.com/image-30419 and a No.2 here: http://www.nzmeccano.com/image-56227 Bits of these turn up in Ebay. You can repro parts from Arthur Clapp, 00441453 790654

malcolm eastcott      (at 11:14am, Thu 14th Jun, 12)

My meccano is a pre-war racing car kit. It lacks some nuts and bolts and is minus an instruction book and box. I also probably own the only 'kitchen cream' version which I painted aged about 10!! Can anyone help with the mi9ssing bits?
Regards M. Eastcott.

Laurie Long      (at 11:25am, Tue 5th Apr, 11)

Some of the images do not down load I particularly wanted to view the No 7 set but all I get is a blank pop up.
Regards

Reply: What browser are you using? The number 7 is a big picture and Internet Explorer can't display progressive images (it should come up quickly in low resolution and slowly improve in detail, and does on Firefox/Chrome etc). IE waits and waits until it's loaded the entire picture which could take some time.

Don Noble      (at 11:30am, Sat 12th Feb, 11)

Concerning the box shown for the 4a outfit.
I acquired a new 4a outfit in December 1940. It had this label on the box and it had the same sticker. Seeing this picture reminded me of those long ago days when as a boy I wondered what on earth could be meant by an outfit 'C' Only a short time before I had been given a 3a outfit (The two were probably bought together, Birthday and Christmas being not far apart) and I think that the 3a had the same label design. During the wartime paper shortages there were plenty of examples of old labels being used up. I cannot comment on the contents of the box.

mike dennis      (at 6:01pm, Sat 22nd May, 10)

I have read the reveant paragraph above so where are the manuals !!

Reply: Sorry Mike, it's a good point. I must fix up all the manual references in these pages. In the mean time go to the Gallery and the Manuals page, but I'll put the links back in soon...


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