Thursday, 21 March 2013

Smaller and smaller...

Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous. Not so long ago we were messing with the huge Watson Loom that now dominates the Meccano room. Last week we were building small red and green models from the smaller sets (see previous posts). Over the past few days I have been getting to grips with VirtualMec and while I was looking through the member's Gallery, I found a rather strange little cat sans head! On further investigation I discovered a picture of the complete model (with head) and an explanation for the strange drawing. It seems that although the VirtualMec team have added a lot of new parts, there are still lots more parts missing from its inventory. This seems to be the biggest complaint, regarding the software, at the moment. I don't know enough about it to know if the owners of VirtualMec are just not bothered about adding additional parts or if the process is far more complicated than it appears - I strongly suspect the latter is true...Whatever the reason, there is still plenty of new parts included in the new version and more than enough to keep me happy.

My new cat - grey like Smokie was...
I decided to have a go at building the little fellow as he looked like he would make a good companion for the small M&S, Christmas special, robot of a few years ago. His real head is made from a 'Suspension Outer Bracket’ (P/N A419) with a couple of those 'rubberised' bolts for eyes. I think he looks really good with his new-found robot friend. Those of you who remember out little fellow, may be suprised to know the he passed away a year ago now. The place is so quiet without him.

Fly - smallest model?

Even smaller

Now, just to get down to the smallest model I think its possible to 'build', I have made the Fly. I believe this model was first built in the 30s and featured in an early French manual. It was also built by by Jean-Francois Pabion of France and entered in the Spanner II Christmas challenge of 2010. The rules for that particular challenge limited the builder to a set number of parts excluding nuts, bolts, washers and spring clips. For this reason, Jean-Francois, claimed that tis was a zero-part model! That aside, I would say it is the smallest model because I think that to be a model it must have at least two parts. My single part entry to a SELMEC challenge a year or so ago was Meccano ball ball bearing representing a shot-put. But it has not been put together, so, in my book it is a representation not a model. Whatever you call it, I still think it is amusing to build these quick micro-models.

Nano Helicopter
Meccano did produce some Micro-models of their own. they were sold under the Nano series name and were nicely made and at a sensible price point of £2.99. It is a shame that Meccano did not continue to produce the Nano kits. The little Robot, in the picture above, was the seventh model in the series and was only available from M&S. A year or so earlier, Meccano had released six other models. My personal favourite was a little helicopter. Several new parts made their first appearance in these kits, not least of all the ½ x ½ inch narrow bracket and the 3-hole, 1 inch, narrow strip.

As soon as we saw them we thought it would be nice to incorporate them into a small model and it was that thought that set us on our way to building a whole series of miniature fairground models. The first of which was a miniature roundabout incorporating the first six Nano models. Full details of how we built the Nano Roundabout can be found HERE.


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