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Midlands Meccano Guild

(Author: John Rogers & Colin Bull)

101st Meeting Model Report

Midlands Meccano Guild
Model Report
101st Meeting – Saturday 14th October 2017

By John Rogers & Colin Bull

(Photographs taken by Bob Thompson & Mick Burgess)

The model reporters this time are John Rogers, who kindly stepped in at the last minute and Colin Bull. Reporting on the meeting is hard work but we know it s greatly valued by members who like to see their own and other models covered, and there are always models that we don’t get a chance to see during a hectic day. The 101st meeting was busy with a good range of models. Please provide a written description of your model as this makes the model reporting much easier.

Mention must be made of the few stalwarts who help setting up the hall: especially Carl Gill, who always arrives early, (Carl is seen right with his version of Tower Bridge) George Sayell and Greg Worwood who now looks after the table coverings and the electrics, John Molden and his wife Helen who also ends the day by sweeping up after you all have gone home. THANK YOU.




First off the stocks was Paul Merrick running his fascinating model of Servetti’s Fantasy Factory throughout the day. Designed as an exhibition model by Sr Servetti from Piacenza, Italy, it appeared in Meccanoman’s Journal in January 1967 but, featuring some developments, a full description by Keith Cameron was published in CQ 4 in January 1989. Paul has enhanced the controls of the model with electronics based on an Arduino board and software developed by him. Paul has retained what Keith Cameron described as the “striking outlines of the factory building” and has exactly modelled its “compact mechanisms of  great ingenuity” and we can watch the small train being loaded with the boiler by the grabbing crane moving to the end of the factory where it is transported to the other side to return the boiler so that it can be unloaded. During running there was very occasionally a wrong alignment but Tim Gant has offered his design of a clutch mechanism which should remedy this. Paul pointed out what he regards as the very ingenious design of a gear change which has a 50T Gear in constant mesh with two wide faced Pinions controlled by a screwed rod which drive it from one side of the gear box to the other and back for a complete cycle.


David Hobson’s presentation of the Erector Giant Power Plant model clearly emphasised the colour and parts differences compared with the Meccano of the 1930’s Blue / Gold period. This classic model was featured on the cover of Erector Manuals and box labels from 1934/35 until the early 1950’s. Parts include the Erector Wheel Segment and a 110 volt motor, now replaced of course with a mod-ern 12v.




John Molden had assembled the lower section of his Star Flyer model. This is about a quarter of the total model which is about 12 feet tall and can take two or three hours to assemble. The design is concentrated on slow spin and slow unfolding which John says is much closer to the scale speed compared with many fairground models. John explained that he attends many Fair Ground Shows to display his complete models.




Brian Edwards. His Cement Mixer Lorry has a very neat appearance and al-though it seems to be a moderate size, it is of course quite heavy. The Meccano motor provides a very convincing grinding sound when the model is in mixing mode.




John Reid’s presentation of the equipment of South Pole expeditions yet again shows the versatility of the story telling capabilities of Meccano. The 1957 Ferguson Tractor looks just as raw as the machines from before the Great War. A key question is “Why, John, are you so interested in the Antarctic expeditions?” And, perhaps unsurprisingly, John tells us that at Secondary School a charismatic teacher had him celebrating “Oates” Day. At college he had a lecturer who had spent time as an Antarctic scientist. John’s interest was so strong that having joined the Sealed Knot re-enactment society, he decided with two friends that they would form an Antarctic re-enactment group. With an assortment of props they have continued to entertain audiences. Could we persuade them to come to Baginton?




Dave Phillips displayed the 1934 Morgan Super Sports model which we have seen previously.





Ken Senar demonstrated another anniversary - his 80th year of Meccano involvement. His model crane in red and zinc finish represents a model built for him by his father from a 1937 No 4 Meccano outfit which started his continuing interest in Meccano modelling.






Colin Bull had positioned the display of his model of the Boeing 777 Jet Airliner in prime position at the entrance. And it was a spectacular sight. This very large model was a very worthy 3rd place winner at Skegex this year. It has an excellent appearance as a very modern aircraft.



Roger Burton’s rotating Big Wheel model comes from the Model of the Month of Meccano Magazine, December 1957. The design was based on a real life Ferris Wheel which operated in Battersea Park, London. Roger was keen to be able to include his otherwise rarely used Geared Roller Bearing. The Ferris Wheel rotates whilst it is being revolved on the base until it lines up with the steps - twice each circuit.


Robin Schoolar’s Ping Pong Peripherations was joint prize winner in our 50 part model competition. Robin has now added 6 more parts to enable battery drive to replace the clockwork motor. The model is based on a sturdy frame of four Flanged Plates and two pairs of large Circular Plates which catch and revolve the balls. The upper pair which initially catch the balls as they revolve has its inner Circular Plate fixed at a considerable angle to its outer revolving partner. This provides extra initial grip on pick up which is reduced as the outer plate continues to revolve. The axle for this pair is therefore subject to fluctuations which Robin has adjusted by fitting spacer Springs on its axle.


Dave Bradley displayed the recent Spinmaster Mechanical Digger - the import only mostly plastic model which is equipped with an effective water/hydraulic system. The outfit carries the name John Deere 380G Excavator with Working Hydraulics. Colin Bull has also demonstrated this model.



Tim Gant showed a huge Meccano caterpillar track, which is work in progress for a final full model, but does present a detailed finished model of a complete single track. Tim has used pristine zinc Meccano original parts - some of which had been very hard to acquire because of the very large quantities required and their scarcity. The details of his design are very complex and have many unusual features. Richard Payn, Tim Gant and Clive Weston had combined to present a display of a large number of gears to show their different stampings. The greatest varieties occurred of course in the very early years and some formats seemed to have been almost unique.

A Lorry and Trailer, model 9.1 from 1951, built in yellow / zinc from Mei Jones, had been improved by the addition of a 12 volt motor powered by a battery enclosed as a large package fastened to the flat bed of the trailer. Other details have been upgraded including modified lights and access to the gear change lever. Mei explained that he has some problems with his eye sight and he is wondering whether he will be able to continue with model building. We all hope that he can find a way, possibly on a larger scale.

New member, Richard Dunster-Sigtermans came to his first meeting with a well turned out version of the Optare Solo Midibus (right) in Binns road yellow (Model Plan167). Richard is a musician (a proper Classical chap who was away early to a rehearsal of Haydn’s Creation with his choir and orchestra) and clearly has a sense of humour with the destination of his bus set for deBUSsy! We hope to see more Richard!



John Hornsby displayed his model of the central engine section and bogies of the 62 Ton Steam Travelling Derrick Crane which was installed at Valparaiso Chile in 1914 and still survives. John’s model is very large but his plan shows that the overall size of the completed model of the crane will be very large indeed. John explains that his model includes many specialised parts but that he was able to source the 24 very smart silver coloured springs for £1 from a pack of clothes pegs purchased from Pound-land. John obtained his scale drawings from The Engineer original magazine by using the online search capabilities of the Graces Guide website.


Gregg Worwood was demonstrating four Meccanographs including his model built from Plastic Meccano. Gregg explained that the square rod on which he had based part of two of his models had been a particular challenge to connect to Meccano parts.




Tony Homden was running his model of the 1920 Bristol Pullman Triplane which is mostly built from Aero Constructor parts. The aircraft had four engines which drove pairs of tractor and pusher propellers. Power to the motors is drawn from a transformer. The four Aero Constructor propellers provide sufficient drive to easily move the model across the display table. Tony explains that the standard Meccano Propellers could also move the model but their scale would of course be wrong. The secret however, Tony confides, is that the wheels he has used have very low friction. They are standard modern Meccano plastic wheels but their footprint is actually a very narrow strip.


Richard Gilbert showed three original Meccano Display Models: A wonderful Meccano illuminated sign from the 1950’s; a 1954/55 Ferris Wheel and a small Elevated Jib Crane. Their message “The Toy that grows with the Boy” seemed very appropriate for the meeting.



While John covered the models on the centre tables. Colin was hard at work on the outer sides.


First on Colin’s round was Eric Wright’s demonstration model of Home & Distant railway signalling. Eric has provided an article on signalling described next in this bulletin.







Mark Rolston’s model was under construction from Model Plan 222, the J.C.B. Backhoe Excavator in yellow and Zinc.





Colin Reid showed his 1913 Radio Controlled Yorkshire Steam Wagon and his ball rolling clock: the ball ran around a ring segment and he tells me it’s accurate to 7 seconds.






Next we have George Sayell’s Double Decker bus chassis partly completed from March 1954 Meccano Magazine. He hopes eventually it will work by radio control.







Mick Burgess showed a display of small models in blue and gold.








Paul Hubbard’s Model was I believe a Bulldozer based on the late Eric Taylor model.





Trevor Batten, clearly had been working hard as he showed several models: a Cargo plane from the No. 8 manual, a delightful Meccano Blues Band, an Electric Guitar, a Tractor and Low loader and lastly a Swing Bridge.






Michael Bent showed a Bedford Truck from the 1950’s No. 7 set manual







Still with smaller models, Sid Beckett had three models built by school children; two mobile cranes and a small car.






Tony Knowles displayed a No.2 Alpha Construction Set of German origin from 1931 with a hole pitch 12mm and Marklin style wheels. He also bought along an early style Omnibus which appeared to be made out of American pre-war Erector, i.e. before it became American Meccano.




Jim Gamble showed three original shop display boards with various mechanisms. Jim had restored these to working order and presented them in excellent condition. The variety of these mechanisms boards is quite sur-prising. They were clearly quite a popular display model for dealers and produced throughout the post war period in various colours.



Pete Evans has left his MG’s at home and presented a Type 35 Bugatti that I thought I had seen before, but he informs me he had made some modifications. Pete does like his vintage cars as I’m sure most of you will know.







Fellow Bristolian, Philip Drew showed his computer controlled Gantry Crane which uses four Chinese motors.





Two visitors joined us for part of the meeting: Stan Knight from Idaho, USA contacted the secretary to say he would be visiting his son Dave who lives in Wales and would like to come along to the MMG. We hope he felt welcome; Dave bought along a build of the Motor Chassis (SML 1) in yellow and zinc.



Tom and Matthew McCallum have rebuilt a Mechanical digger which was developed originally as a display model for Atlascraft in the 90s and featured in the contemporary Meccano catalogue. The original model was in yellow, blue & zinc but now is resplendent in red and green. Tom has agreed to this model being written up by the secretary as a model plan for the MMG series . The model is broadly within a No.10 set contents.




John Bland displayed a Supermodel Traction Engine and a Racing Car built from 1963 Outfit 2/3 manual.






Our retiring President, Geoff Wright, gave us another showing of his fabulous ‘Boris’ London Transport Double Decker Bus built from the contents of a 1954, No9 set.






Roger Marriott showed a small scale nicely proportioned Fort Lift Truck in red & green described in the May 1955 Meccano Magazine and built from about a No. 5 or 6 set of the period.




What can I say about George Illingworth? Would you believe he brought along another(!) Fire Engine. A Commer Karrier Gamecock Water Tender; George has recreated the model with a modified roof so the ladder would fit, the doors at Kenilworth Fire Station were not high enough for the original to fit!





Stephen Wilson’s model was the 1941 No.10 model of the Giant liner, model 10.7 in Blue & Gold. His wife, Yvonne, has named the model Queen of the Ocean Liners. It is certainly an impressive model on a large scale.





John Palmer showed an Electric Articulated Lorry from a 1948 Outfit 5.







Terry Pettitt showed the Front and Rear Axles for his Leyland Martian Lorry.







A Bern Steam Tram, with self-propelled modular trailers was shown by Geoff Devlin.At a scale of 3 ¼" to 1 Metre, the Saloon length was 40", Engine length was 21". Engine 0-6-0.         







To end today's models, Terry Wilkes showed his Muir-hill 171 Tractor Chassis, which in the early stages of construction.






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