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Midlands Meccano Guild

(Author: Philip Drew & Richard Smith)

105th Model Report

Midlands Meccano Guild

Model Report

105th Meeting - 12th October 2019

by Philip Drew and Richard Smith

(Photographs by Bob Thompson, Mick Burgess & Richard Payn)

It is always a good day when MMG meetings occur, no matter what the weather, and Saturday 12 October 2019 was a pleasant Autumnal day. As ever the great variety of models gave Chairman George the opportunity for entertaining comment as part of his traditional tour. Four tables had gone missing from the hall, so we were shorter than usual for spaces. Thank you to those who squeezed up.

Thanks to our reporters Richard Smith and Philip Drew who covered the range and complexity of models well. 

Richard describes the centre table displays:

George Sayell is building SML 1, the New Meccano Motor Chassis (1928). The first super model. The build looks well underway but I must say, the best of luck getting the steering working. The model plan leaves very little room between the front springs and chassis for the steering.

 

A rather nice model of a Steam Traction Engine in blue and gold which was purchased in the car park by Carl Gill is loosely based on a set 8 model (I think) from the 1930s and is well designed considering the limited number of parts used.

 

 

 

Roger Burton showed a Mechanical Power Assistance Mechanism as designed by Robin Schoolar.

 

 

 

A model of a Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) Locomotive was showed by Neil Bedford. The prototypes have been in service in India for over 120 years and are still going strong. A great credit to Indian maintainers and the British who built them. Neil has done a model with great detail and charac-ter with three animated figures: the first driving, second breaking coal into small lumps and the third throwing sand on the rails to aid traction up the steep hills. The front and rear lights and lamps work and the loco runs with power cleverly picked up from the track. (The model was also seen at Gaydon and Skegness)

 

Michael Bent showed a lorry mounted crane built from light red and green parts. This is a characterful and nostalgic model seen on the inside covers of Meccano Magazine during 1956-57. The model uses screwed rods for the primary and secondary jib lift mechanisms. I’m sure many of us have had momentary thoughts of building this cute model.

 

 

Three interpretations of the SR71 Blackbird spy plane were shown by Alan Scargill. Two of the 3 were of a similar size and design. The third being a smaller rendition with a pilot being exposed to the Mach two blast. He is a Space 2501 tuff guy after all.

 

 

An interesting interpretation of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in medium red and green parts was shown by Trevor Batten. The towers and the suspension links are just like the real ones.

 

 

 

Sid Beckett showed a small Ferris Wheel that he mentioned had been built at the request of some school children. I’m sure they found it interesting and quite cute as we all did.

 

 

 

A Massey Ferguson 135 Tractor from the 1960-70s was shown by Terry Wilkes. The model looked very sturdy with working steering and utilizing (Terry’s signature!) Pup Tires.

 

 

Robin Schoolar showed his Ping Pong Peripherator that was ‘Peripherating to Crossed Purposelessness’. Mesmerizing every-one who looked it for more than a moment it worked faultlessly and cleverly all day. It consists of four sets of circular plates which turn in contra-rotating pairs producing amazing results. This is a must see yourself model.


Paul Merrick showed his impressive and large model of the Servetti Trolley Factory. It has been beautifully built in medium red and green parts. The model differs from the original in a few places with the main changes being the use of a programmable controller and the gantry easily split in two for moving and transport.

 

Greg Worwood showed two fairground themed models of a Roundabout with Gallopers and a model based on an idea gained from watching ‘Britain’s got Talent’. This consists of a rotating arm with large hoops at each end, within each hoop, is a vehicle with several small people having a dizzying ride. They can’t be too dizzy as they are all looking in the same direction at Meccano land.

 

A Railway Breakdown Crane in yellow, black and zinc parts was shown by Mei Jones. This is the Super-model plan SML30 from 1930. Mel also showed a very nice Derrick Crane from a model plan 5.11 from 1950. This was in medium red and green parts. Nice to see the Breakdown Crane in the mid 1950’s colours not seen so often these days.

 

 

David Hobson who is our master of non-Meccano construction sets showed a very smart sailing ship ‘Grand Trianon’ built in 1854 in New Brunswick, USA. The model has been built using Eitech part for the ship which is mounted in a Meccano constructed animated seascape.

 

 

Tony Knowles is another man keen on non-Meccano construction sets and showed a set made in Italy just after the war called ‘Il Carpentiere’. This set has parts made from aluminum.

 

 

John Reid showed a very interesting and beautifully built model of a rotary aircraft engine mounted on a mobile test stand. The engine is built using Electrikit coils for the four cylinders. Interestingly, Bristol Aero plane Com-pany were the masters of the radial engine but never built a Rotary engine and they never built an engine with an even number of cylinders in a single
row as they vibrate too much. Whether that phenomenon ever applied to Rotary engines and to Meccano engines who knows?

 

 

A ‘Diamond T’ Generator Truck built in medium red and green Meccano and shown by John Molden, features 4 speeds with reverse gearbox plus a 3-speed auxiliary gearbox and working clutch. The model also has working winch and searchlight. An impressive model as always from John.

 

 

Terry Pettitt showed a Brough Superior Motor Cycle and Sidecar he built about forty years ago. It incorporates a ‘V’ Twin engine with working valve gear that was first used in his model of the Morgan 3-wheeler car. A lot of detail has been cleverly incorporated into quite a compact model. My father had one of these bikes but always called it his Borough Surveyor!

 

 

 

John Bland showed a Fuel Tanker Lorry and a London Taxi both of which are Meccano model plan models. The Taxi is an especially realistic model.

 

 

 

Terry Allen showed his wonderful Steam Powered Lawnmower. The model is of the 1895 version of the Leyland Motors mower. In this day and age, it seems too much trouble to fire up the boiler and after 10 minutes get steam up to cut a 25 or 30 inch strip. Worst of all was handling a 3000 lbs. machine on wet grass. Very quaint really.

 

 

 

A brilliant rendition of ‘Sir Tow Mater’ from the ‘Cars’ animated film was built and shown by John Palmer. This model uses a few modern Meccano France parts to great advantage. John also showed five other vehicles.

 

 

 

Tim Gant showed a stunning caterpillar track chassis for a Kobelco CK1000-III Crane he is building. This chassis is a work of art and science in zinc parts. The chassis is amazingly stiff due to Tim’s clever use of parts. Can’t wait to see this model completed.

 

 

Matt Goodman brought along a Plastic Meccano model of the Marion Power Shovel Co. gargantuan ‘The Captian’. This model is in keeping with Matt’s recent diorama themes. The prototype weighs 12700 tons and the bucket handles 270 tons per scoop. The Meccano model was very much smaller but still a substantial model. Hand winders were incorporated for the func-tions and six spotlights have been added. Matt mentioned that the proto-type was so expensive to run being electrically powered, it was often run at night when electricity is cheaper.


Philip Drew concludes the report with the models on the outer tables:

 

Richard Payn brought along his prize-winning Eric Taylor Lorry Mounted Crane, one of the stars of Skegex this year. This model is built in 1970s yellow and blue, is large and very detailed, a real show stopper! 

 

 

 

John Hornsby brought along one of the bogies for a rebuild of his Tychsen Heavy Duty Derrick Crane. This model is shown in all its glory in the NZ gallery pictured from Henley in 1987. I’m looking forward to seeing the completed model.

 

 

Next in line was a proposed model plan build of the Cement Mixer Truck designed by Brian Edwards and rebuilt by Roger Marriott. The model is in 1960s light red & green and is a delightful well-made model, really well-proportioned and running very smoothly. (This model is the subject of a new MMG model plan)

 

 

Chris Dove brought along an array of models in light yellow and zinc. My highlight was the Escort Mark II rear axle assembly with some homemade wheels which are largely of welded and brazed Meccano! It certainly looked the part. He also brought along a vehicle trailer and towing vehicle and a zinc strip profile of an Escort Mark II side, all to the same scale. These I guess, are destined to be shown together soon as a complete assembly in due course. Also shown was a neat 4 speed gearbox.


You can easily guess the modeler is George Illingworth when presented with 3 superb Fire Vehicle models. This collection comprised a 1931 Morris Commercial RAF Crash Tender, a 1949 Dennis F12 Pump Escape and 1981 Thornycroft RAF Crash Tender Mk 9. All were beautifully realised in red and zinc which I have to admit is my favourite scheme.
The rebuild of George’s F12 pump escape using only parts from a No.9 set.

 

Also displayed were a number of sets recently acquired by Tom McCallum (now for sale) including a mid 1920’s no. 7 set and several rarities including GRB’s and EleKtron sets.

 

 

 

Next to these mouth-watering offerings Jim Gamble displayed a cabinet of Constructor Cars by (definitely not for sale!). These exhibits were in very good condition and it was very tempting to play with the cars or build something big with the sets. Not a chance.

 

At the end of the hall were a couple of tables devoted to large models of two iconic ships – RMS Titanic and RMS Queen Mary. These models by Stephen Patrick Wilson were built in Meccano dating from the times of their build which proved a very interesting contrast. Titanic was built in nickel with plating of double braced girders and windmill sails, an ingenious solu-tion to the lack of flexible plates in that period. The Queen Mary was in grey wartime colours (“The Grey Ghost” according to Adolf Hitler) and showed why additional parts, particularly flexible plates really add to the realism which we can obtain now.

 

John Ozyer-Key exhibited his front axle assembly for an Averling Barford ASG 18 Road Grader, amazingly sized for 10” (ten inch!) tyres, an 11:1 hub reduction and ball races. I was much taken by this model as there was so much packed into a small place and operating so smoothly too.

 

 

Mark Rolston’s American 10-wheel truck with trailer is a large model and to illustrate its use, Mark included a digger crane on the trailer. The models were built in a mixture of red, green, yellow and zinc well selected to make a nice colourful display. Being American, the cab unit had that square and brutal look which makes you ache to get out of its way on the highway.

 

Next along was Richard Smith’s Bristol M1 Fighter with its seemingly mad machine-gunning pilot operated by a remote-control stick. This is red/green exhibition model is aimed at the young who love its machine gun sound, lights and rapid movements. 

 

 

A crowd pleaser as demonstrated by the big “boys” trying it out.

 

Brian Edwards exhibited a model of a 1929 Scott Squirrel motorcycle which was smallish but remarkably detailed and lifelike.

 

 

 

And then we had Tim Martin’s motorised Grass Snake. This is an ingenious “nonsense” type of model which I love, being two feet long and sporting lots of 57 tooth spur gears driving a slithering snake. The viewer was invited to operate the model using a sprung switch. It certainly brought a smile to a few faces.

 

 

Mick Burgess presented an Army type two-seater car in military green and a red/green vintage single-decker bus with rounded back, both nicely modelled. They took me back to my childhood, what more can you say?

 

 

 

It was good to see Dave Bradley back on all fours after a recent major opera-tion, with his Chevrolet Silverado 6 wheel pick up.

 

 

 

The next model on the list was a Horizontal Single Cylinder Steam Engine by Paul Hubbard built predominantly in red with blue, green, yellow and zinc parts to make a colourful contrast. The model was driven by an electric motor and ran very nicely.

 

 

An array of yellow/zinc/blue farm vehicles and attachments were presented by Peter Hardingham. We had three different tractors, three trailers and a manure spreader, all to the same scale. The trailers and spreader were largely Peter’s own design but the tractors had various inspirations from a previous plan, a web based French plan and new model leaflet NM18, but improved? (his query, not mine).

 

Colin Reid brought along two marine clocks, one an economy version of the other (left). We had such a long discussion about the intricacies of trying to get these types of model running reliably that I noted few actual details to impart to you. I will explain the economy version however. The original version has lots of high value parts and Colin was attempting to reproduce it without the “frilly bits” (my words, not his) and why not?

 

 

 

Clocks seem to be like buses, and next along were two more by new member John Sharp. These were both model plan inspired, one a modified Arnfield by Michael Adler (MP146)(shown left) and a John Harrison H3 by Freddie Nichols (Construction Plan 5).

The name “Arnfield” refers to the designer of the                                               escapement, a British clock expert, who designed this                                                          mechanical escapement as recently as 1987.

John redesigned the rewind mechanism so that it is mechanically actuated & powered by a MO motor thus making the clock virtually 100% standard Meccano parts with the sole exception of the pendulum suspension spring.

 

 

These two really nice models and made an interesting run of clocks with Colin’s contributions and was a pleasing end to the tour.

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