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Meccano Light Red/Green Outfits

First of all, I'd better point out that if you want to know everything about the light red/green period, you must read Melvyn's LRG website which you can find here. 

But, that's a large and complex website, and having been asked again and again, here's a short version of the history of the light red/green period. Of course as well as the usual sources, Melvyn's website has been referenced substantially in compiling this page.

The light red/green period is an interesting one. This colour change and the blue/gold one are the two changes in Meccano's history that I can find very little real reason for. Meccano wasn't obviously struggling in 1957 – the mid 1950s were some of its most profitable years, and yet a fairly substantial change to the colour schemes was decided upon. Perhaps it was simply an attempt to update and make the colour scheme more cheerful. Either way, the change was introduced on the quiet – there is little mention of the new colours when they first appear in dealer's leaflets and the Meccano Magazine, and certainly no fanfare. Very little changed, initially, apart from the paint colours.

Over the next few years, the packaging changed substantially from stringing cards to plastic moulded trays, and new box artwork appeared. Manuals were changed in 1962, and many parts were added or replaced by plastic ones during this period, but financially the company was in terminal decline during the entire period. In February 1964 Meccano Ltd, on the point of bankruptcy, was sold in its entirety to the Lines Group (owners of Tri-ang) and the Hornby empire died.

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... The brief history of the changes made during this period is shown below.  Bear these in mind when viewing the pictures...

1958 In July 1958 the colour change to light red/green is shown in dealer literature. Outfits from August 1958 (at least) appear in the new colour scheme.
1959 Packaging (for outfits 0 to 6) changes from plain red boxes to colour printed box lids in red, white, and yellow with Meccano strips across and down. Parts are pinned into plastic vacuum-formed trays instead of being strung to cards. Outfits 00, 7 on, and accessory outfits remain unchanged
1960 Wheel flanges and conical discs change from light red to blue, and small parts tins change from gold to green.
1961 Road wheels change from blue/grey tinplate to blue/grey plastic. The precise date is unknown, but perhaps we can find out between us. The literature first showing the change is an old photograph retouched with the new wheels!
1962 Significant parts changes to all outfits, including several new parts in both metal and plastic. New M-series packaging (named after the large M on each box lid), and new exploded-view manuals. Outfits 7, 8, and accessory outfits now in plastic trays rather than stringing cards. Outfits 9 and 10 remain packed as before.
1963 Manuals go multi-lingual. Electrikit introduced.
1964 Meccano taken over by Lines Group in February. Colours change to silver/yellow/black in August.

Meccano Main Outfits

Outfit 00 from 1961
This image does not belong to the webmasters and is copyright.
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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-00-61

Outfit 00

As noted above, the packaging for outfits 00 and 7 upwards remained identical to the medium red/green period until 1962, and so this 1961 outfit 00 is almost completely unchanged from the medium red/green version, except for the later small parts box. This outfit is originally strung, and in perfect condition.


M-series outfit 1
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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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-1-62

Outfit 1

This 1962 Outfit 1 shows the new "M-series" box packaging, with the parts pinned into the yellow plastic vacuum-formed tray. The new manual for outfits 0 and 1 contains exploded diagrams instead of descriptions and pictures.


M-series outfit 4
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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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-4-63

Outfit 4

The final style of light red/green outfits is shown here, with the M-series packaging. This outfit dates from 1963.


Strip-series 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,
Malcolm Hanson
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-5-61

Outfit 5

In 1959, outfits 0 to 6 appeared in this "strip" packaging, with a vacuum-formed plastic tray and new printed outer box. The manual is almost identical to the medium red/green version, but the small parts tin has changed to green (1960) and the roadwheels to plastic (1961), dating this outfit comfortably into 1961. Note that the plastic roadwheels don't fit properly into the spaces originally intended for tinplate parts. In the following year, the packaging of this outfit changed to the M-series lid with the newer manuals.


M-series outfit 6
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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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-6-62

Outfit 6

Outfit 6 was always the first of the two-level outfits, and this example dates from 1962, with the new M-series outer box. Plastic roadwheels again show the outfit as being from 1961 or later.


M-series outfit 8
This image does not belong to the webmasters and is copyright.
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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-8-62

Outfit 8

In 1962, outfit 8 also changed from a strung outfit to new plastic trays. These large outfits are rare in this condition, not just because of their short life in a depressed Meccano market. The weight of all these parts in the thin plastic trays can easily break through the plastic. Note that we have the new 1962-on parts list here, including two of the 18½'' angle girders part 7a in outfit 8 for the first time.


Meccano Accessory Outfits

Outfit 00a from 1959
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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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-00a-58

Outfit 00a

The guarantee slip shows this outfit as April 1959, with the 1958 Outfit 0 manual packed exactly as the previous medium red/green ones.


Outfit 2a from 1960
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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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-2a-60

Outfit 2a

Accessory outfits remained strung right through to 1961, as shown by this 1960 outfit 2a. Note that the road wheel has changed to plastic this year, which Melvyn remembers as being very annoying to the owner of an existing outfit 2 containing a tinplate road wheel!


Outfit 4a from 1960
This image does not belong to the webmasters and is copyright.
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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-4a-60

Outfit 4a

As with the outfit 2a above, this example is identical in layout to the medium red/green accessory outfits, except for the slight change to the small parts box. What's unusual here is that the cylinder is obviously of the "bright green" whereas the other parts are significantly duller. There are many different shades of light red/green, but it's unusual to find them both in the same box.


Outfit 7a from 1961
This image does not belong to the webmasters and is copyright.
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
Click on this image to see a larger version.
Loading picture lrg-7a-61
M-series outfit 7a from 1962-on
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Loading picture lrg-7a-M

Outfit 7a

As with all accessory outfits, this 7a remains in identical packaging to the later medium red/green outfits. Note again that there are some colour discrepancies in this less common outfit, with the cylinder and channel bearing in a much brighter finish. The two small parts boxes are identical. Note that outfit 7a was supplied with the manual for outfits 7 and 8, in case it was bought by boys who had previously had an outfit 6a. The outfit 6a manual of the time only included models that could be built with outfit 7.

To the right, the later M-series outfit 7a is shown, dating from 1962 or 1963.


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!

Early light red/green (1958-1961, similar to mid red/green manuals)

Late light red/green (1962-1963)

Further information

Total number of messages on this page: 10.  This is page 2 of 2.   Previous

Philip Gould      (at 6:20am, Sat 19th Feb, 11)

I have aquired a 3X circa 1958 as this one seems to be missing. If this is required I will upload.

Carrie      (at 12:34pm, Sun 7th Nov, 10)

Hi, I seem to have inherited my late uncles Meccano 7 set complete with a 7-8 manual. I know nothing about Meccano so googled and found your site! There's a little slip inside the box with a faded date which looks like 1963. I was hoping you'd have a picture of the set but it jumps from 6 to 8. Would you like me to send you a picture of this set? and would this indicate the set that I have is fairly rare? Thanks.

Reply: Hi there, and welcome! The fact that we don't have a 7 box pictured is because of the era -- the light red/green period is so well covered by Melvyn's site (see link at the top of this page) that we really haven't bothered with this era much at all. However, I would love to add a picture of your outfit for completeness. Has it been used?

Anonymous      (at 2:11am, Mon 18th Oct, 10)

I can see now that the part colours and trays are as per the "Breakdown Crew Set" (albeit with green metal screw tins). The box lid is as per the one above with the red / green digger and the large M on the right hand side. If there was some form of sleeve cover that went over the whole box then this must have got lost.

nigel williams      (at 4:43am, Fri 15th Oct, 10)

Thanks for a great site. I was lucky enough to get hold of a near mint condition set 8 in a charity shop. Although the box clearly shows the red / green digger on the front (and has plastic trays) all the parts (appart from the green screw tins) are of the yellow / black period. Does this mean they used some of the older boxes up with the new colour scheme ??

Regards

Nigel

Reply: Great stuff. If you have a look at the pictures of sets 8 and 9 on the silver/yellow/black pages, you will see that they are indeed packed in the same old boxes from the light red/green era with a sleeve cover over the top showing the new colours. Do you have a picture of the box (including its lid)?


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