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Meccano Medium Red/Green Outfits

Here's a collection of pictures of medium red/green outfits, from various parts of this era.  When looking at any pictures or inspecting your own outfits, always be aware that it is often extremely difficult to date outfits.  The most reliable source is the guarantee slip on the inside of the box lid, which should be stamped with the month and year of packing (e.g. "1A 552" for an outfit 1A from May 1952).  But this might not mean that the rest of the outfit matches the lid, of course! Provenance and the source of the outfit is very important -- many Meccano 'dealers' rather deviously make up outfits to sell, and many of them have very little knowledge of the historical changes in the outfits.  This leads to a lot of confusion as people claim to have "unused" outfits that have little to do with what came out of Binns Road.

The manual is the other dated part of an outfit, but also by far the easiest part to replace.  Very often an otherwise quite good outfit is missing its manual, and someone puts in whatever manual they have available for the outfit number.  You should be very suspicious of the date of a manual, unless it matches exactly in condition and date to all the other details.

Although the parts contents of an outfit cannot date it exactly, they can certainly give you some pointers as to the year.  Be aware, though, that many parts regarded as obsolete were still being used up long after they had officially been replaced, particularly in accessory outfits and outfits intended for export.

The best outfits have their original stringing.  That is, the parts are still attached to their original stringing cards and have never been removed.  Although it's easy to re-string parts either to their original card or to a reproduction card, it's almost impossible to do this well enough to stand up to close scrutiny.  Things to check for to ensure original stringing include the tiny washers at the start of the stringing (they will possibly have a little rusting that has bled on to the cardboard), the chalk numbers on the back of the card transferring to the string where they overlap, and the complete lack of scratches on the back of the card where the bosses and set screws have been inserted (but not removed).

However, it is an interesting exercise to re-string outfits if the parts are in good condition.  If you have the original stringing card then it's a fairly easy job once you have a picture of where the parts go.  Very often, though, the stringing card is missing.  For many of the outfits below, there is also a link to a scan of the stringing card.  You can download and print out these scans to help you create reproduction stringing cards for the set you want.

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...

1945 First post-war outfits up to outfit 3 released (regulations restrict the price of a toy to 15/-).  Boxes are red with an 'austerity' label about 15x8cm.
1946 Outfits up to number 6 available by the end of the year.
1947 Outfits up to number 8 available.
1948 Outfits 8a and 9 released, including the No.9 in wooden box, perhaps for export only? "Pinyon" block-setting crane manual cover introduced for all main outfits.  All manuals reprinted, even if only to remove the cross-hatching from the pre-war photos!
1950 Re-introduction of the No.10 outfit, in presentation cabinet.
1951-52 Korean war restricts the supply of nickel and brass.  Many smaller brass parts made from blackened steel or Mazak (an aluminium/zinc alloy).  In 1951 the tyres for 1" pulleys were added to outfits, which is easy to spot!
1954 The most important change in the medium red/green era.  Flexible plates gain elongated holes at the ends, triangular flexible plates are introduced, and various other new parts are designed: the 60/15 tooth gear pair (in the 10 outfit); 6-hole bush wheel and wheel disc; and various rod and strip connectors amongst others.  The box labels changed substantially, all main outfits now having a large block-setting crane pictures (about 22x14cm up to outfit 2, 32x22cm for larger outfits), and the accessory outfits had a large label showing various Meccano parts.  Manuals changed too, principally changing from the block-setting crane to the giant walking dragline for the main outfits, and to a railway breakdown crane for the accessory outfits.  Large gold small parts tins are used for most larger outfits.
1956 Manuals change again, to a yellow background with a giant walking dragline (this manual often thought of as purely a light red/green version)
1958 Colours change to light red/green.

Meccano Main Outfits

An outfit 0 from September 1950
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Outfit 00

This outfit dates from 1957, and appears to be originally strung.
An outfit 0 from September 1950
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Outfit 0

This outfit dates from September 1950, and appears to be originally strung.  Although the 1" tyres are thought of as being a 1951 introduction, I wonder whether this is correct? The tyres are the old pattern dating from 1946 onwards, and very close inspection leads me to believe that they haven't been removed from the stringing card.  To the left is a model from the manual, number 0.17 "Dockside Crane".  To download the stringing card image click HERE.
An outfit 1 from September 1952
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Outfit 1

You can see that this outfit also has the 1" tyres.  The spanner and screwdriver are blackened steel rather than nickel-plated.  The guarantee slip dates from September 1952 (manual January 52), but the set has been restrung.  To download the stringing card image click HERE.
An outfit 3 from 1952
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Outfit 3

This outfit has blackened pulleys and bush wheels, which dates this outfit into the 'black period' of 1951/52 during the brass shortage caused by the Korean war.  The fold-over tag at the top of the box is unusual, does anyone know exactly what date these are from? This outfit has been restrung, note the incorrect post-1954 U-shaped plate in the corner.
An outfit 5 from late 1951
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Outfit 5

Another 'black period' outfit, with original stringing, from late 1951.  You can see that the U-section plate at the bottom centre is the correct version without elongated holes.  Only an unused outfit of this era will still have original small parts box labels.
An outfit 6 from 1950
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Outfit 6

The first of the two-tier outfits, this has been restrung but it's been done fairly well to an averagely good reproduction stringing card.  The labels on the small parts boxes are fairly bad reproductions, but originals are very rare in good condition.
An outfit 7
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Outfit 7

Another 'black period' outfit.  This one has been restrung, very well indeed.  Good reproduction labels on the small parts boxes, all the parts appear to match the correct period, and you can see the original 'extra' small parts box marked "Meccano 7" at the right.  Outfit 7's have too many parts to fit into the two standard tins, and outfit 8's have four of them.  There really should be three tins I suppose!
Pre-1951 outfit 8 upper tray
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A 1951-1953 outfit 8
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Outfit 8

To the left, an excellent mint condition outfit 8.  This outfit dates from pre-1951 as you can tell from the lack of 1'' tyres. 
Pre-1951 outfit 8 lower tray
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Loading picture mrg8-2 To the right, a restrung outfit 8 from 1951-53 (the plates still have holes at the ends rather than elongated holes).  Parts are used but otherwise a reasonable job.  The small parts box labels are pretty poor quality reproductions. 
Wood-boxed Meccano outfit 9 from late 1948
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Outfit 9

In Occtober 1948, outfit 9 was added to the range of outfits, which had been increasing steadily since the end of the war.  Although the pre-war outfit 9 had always been available in a choice of carton or wooden cabinet, there was no option post-war.  However, at 260/- (compared with the 8 outfit at 115/-), it is clearly the wooden boxed outfit that is on offer here.  Pricing restrictions on toys had been lifted, and Meccano decided to give the 9 outfit the best quality finish.

Wood-boxed Meccano outfit 9 from late 1948 (box, lower tray, and small parts)
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Loading picture mrg-9wood-b We can see that by the April/May price list, outfit 9 is listed as "(carton)" and has dropped to 170/-, with the outfit 10 showing as "available later".  Thus the wooden boxed outfit 9 appears to date from late 1948 to early 1949, although outfits could of course have been sold later than this.

The example shown top left was bought in Cardiff for Christmas 1948, and found by the original purchaser's grandson in excellent condition.  Although the outfit needed to be restrung, the parts were almost entirely unused.

Meccano Accessory Outfits

Outfit 00a from 1954
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Outfit 00a

This outfit dates from April 1954, and is unused.  It's supplied in a soft paper/card box which is quite delicate, and sized to take the "Outfit 0" manual folded into four.  There is a small stringing card with the green parts, and a sealed plastic bag containing the tyres and nickel parts.  Outfit 00a doesn't have nuts and bolts, as in 1954 there were the same number in both outfits 00 and 0.

Note that the manual is the Outfit 0 manual, not a specially printed 00a version.  Most accessory outfits up to 6a of this period contained a special accessory outfit manual, rather than the one for the next higher outfit.

An outfit 1a from April 1956
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Outfit 1a

This outfit dates from April 1956, and is completely unused.  Note the large post-1954 label, the elonaged holes, and the green accessory manual with railway breakdown crane cover.  To download the stringing card image click HERE.
An outfit 2a from around 1949/50
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Outfit 2a

Again, you can see that this has the wrong U-shaped plate (part number 199).  It's a restrung outfit purporting to be from around 1949/50, which is otherwise quite well done to a reproduction stringing card.  The manual is dated July 1949.  The small parts box is a convincing reproduction.
An outfit 3a from February 1950
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Outfit 3a

This outfit and box are good, and it has been well re-strung (to the original card).  All would be fine, except that this manual is completely wrong, dating from 1956 (you can tell it has the post-1954 railway crane cover).  Time to look for a correct (red) 3A accessory manual and this would be a good display outfit.
An outfit 4a from August 1950
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Outfit 4a

This box dates from August 1950, and the manual from April.  But everything else about it is a fake! The parts are all restored parts (although from the correct period), the stringing card and small parts box are good reproductions.  However, it's all correctly laid out and very nicely done. 
An outfit 6a from early 1951
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Outfit 6a

This outfit 6A dates from January 1951 (I believe, the guarantee slip isn't too clear).  It does have the original stringing and a June 1949 manual. The 6A has an interesting arrangement where the boiler sits in a cut-out in the centre of the stringing card, which has flaps in the centre and edges to support it.  To download the stringing card click HERE.
An original outfit 7a from 1955
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Outfit 7a

One of the rarer outfits to find in good condition, this is perhaps because the box is just one thin layer but quite large and hence not very sturdy. The jump between an outfit 7 and an outfit 8 is also fairly large, making this an expensive and (presumably) not very well-selling outfit. Note that outfit 7a of this era did come with a copy of the "Outfits 7 & 8" manual, as although the owner of an outfit 7 would already have a copy, the owner of an outfit 6 and 6a wouldn't (they would have only the "Outfit 6a" manual).

The layout of the stringing card for this outfit didn't change during the medium red/green period.


Outfit 8a from 1950/51
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An outfit 8a
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Outfit 8a

To the left, a 1950 outfit 8a with original stringing.  The package of small parts included inside the boiler is shown inset over the top of the box.  Note the interesting two-layer layout of this accessory outfit, clearly showing the large number of interesting parts that make an outfit 8 into an outfit 9.

To the right, a restrung outfit with a manual dating from September 1956.  The parts are correct for this date, and mostly good, but the small parts box is very rough and the stringing cards are not well made at all. 

Outfit 9a from June 1950
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Outfit 9a

In May 1950, the outfit 10 was finally relaunched.  Although it was missing some pre-war elements such as the digger bucket, flywheel, and selection of motors, it was still a very fine outfit.  The price was substantially less than the pre-war equivalent, especially taking inflation into account.  Along with the 10, the enormous 9a accessory outfit was also available, and the same Welsh purchaser of the outfit 9 shown above bought its matching 9a in June 1950.  Again, this outfit is in unusually original condition – you can rarely find them better than this.  Many parts were still strung and although the parts boxes are tatty, the parts are almost without exception mint.  (The axle packs have been unwrapped, and the axles are currently stored in a plastic bag pending some reproduction work).

There are a small number of pre-war parts being used up – this outfit was supplied with a 1930's blue fan, for example, but most parts are as they remained for many years.  It is also interesting to compare this pair of outfits for finish.  The 9 outfit from 1948 has a much higher gloss to the paintwork compared with the later 9a, where the parts are noticeably less well finished.

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 medium red/green (1945-1953)

Late medium red/green (1954-1957)

Further information

Total number of messages on this page: 32.  This is page 1 of 6.   Next

Richard      (at 6:42am, Thu 19th May, 16)

Paulo,
Why not join the Rust Bucket Forum? There is lots of information and we can point you in the direction of dealers who will help you complete your set again.

Paulo Kroeff de Souza      (at 11:10pm, Wed 18th May, 16)

Thank you for maintaining such a wonderful and useful site. Here is part of my Meccano story. I was given a 0 outfit in the Christmas of 48 and in 49-50 a 5 outfit. Those did not have tyres. Since they were bought in Brazil where I live, I am not sure of their dates. In 51 my father bought a 10 0utfit for me in England through a rep. of his employer and it took 4 years to find someone to bring it here. This outfit has 1" tyres. And then I gave my 5+0 to boy who was ill. I don't have the original manuals any more but later 50.6, 50.7/8 and 51.9 manuals in portuguese were found. Finally someone brought 55.6, 55.7/8, 55.9 manuals in spanish and a 53.10 in english. Those 7 books I still have, and they are in reasonable state though the covers are stained. Now that my daughter lives in Cardiff and I go there frequently I am looking for spares to replace the losses in the 10 and some additional parts and motors. I have used the set intensely as a boy and also to study some practical topics when I was an engineering student. I still occasionally use the set to study test devices for RC air modelling.

Bob T      (at 6:00pm, Mon 15th Feb, 16)

J. Pierson - I've asked on Rust Bucket Forum for you, I'll let you know if there is a reply.

J Peirson.      (at 1:32pm, Mon 15th Feb, 16)

I am in the process of making two reproduction 50's style 9 chests based on a delapidated 9 set box I have. Does anyone have a picture of the inset handles on the end of the wooden box, so I can fit something similar.

A. ELS      (at 8:40am, Tue 27th Oct, 15)

What happened to the 5A? Do you want/need pics of one?

david haycock      (at 7:14pm, Wed 18th Mar, 15)

just bought a 1950 set 9 in a 9a 2tier box with a 7a lid
lid fits the box im confused


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