|White goods! I suppose that is my department...|
There was no chance of Ralph building this one. He comes out in a rash every time White Goods are mentioned. So when my box of Rabbids arrived the other day I packed him off to build that catapult thing while I got on with the shopping trolley. By the time I had finished the trolley (done the washing up and all the other things that just happen by magic around here!) it was getting too late to build the washing machine. It has sat around for a few days because the priority as far as Meccano is concerned is getting on with the Merry Mixer.
A couple of nights ago, while His Nibs was messing with one of our other websites, I decided to build the washing machine. I thought a couple of hours would be plenty of time to build this one - but I was wrong. A combination of very fiddly construction, bad design and several serious errors in the instructions that do not become apparent until it is almost built. Yet again we had to supplement the parts supplied with our own stock as parts were missing. This surprises us as overall most of the sets we have bought over the past few years have been complete. Two out of the four Rabbid sets we have were missing parts. In both cases, this made it impossible to finish the model without raiding our own stock of parts. If this had been bought as a one-off toy for a child, disappointment would ensue.
Price aside, there is a lot of Meccano in this set. It includes a motor, seven 3½ x 2½ flexible plates, four flexible gussets, over 60 nuts and bolts and a lot more. The painted parts suffer from the usual over-applied paint resulting in thick edges and tight holes. This becomes a problem where the door hinges attach over the join between two plates.
|That's no good...|
The biggest disappointment, for us builders, is the door. First of all it is not what it seems. It is a clear plastic moulding that has been sprayed silver around the edges. the 'holes' are just blank impressions in the moulding. Ralph suggested drilling them out would be an option until we realised that they are not even spaced to Meccano standards. I am not sure I will ever find another use for it ,possibly a window in a model - but you never know.
After looking at the instructions I set about making up the battery box and adding a few pieces to the motor, then the next thing to do is to make the drum. This consists of a 1½ tri-axle pulley, some narrow brackets and a couple of 1½ x 5½ inch flexible plates. The instructions show these plates fitted to the narrow brackets by the middle hole on one edge and the next picture shows them bent round the drum. These plates are made from the usual thin steel and not the spring steel used for the flexible strips. I am sure that will not bend very nicely by hand. Ralph kindly offered to 'roll' them for me - he does come in handy from time to time - and that made them fit around the drum nicely.
|Most of it went together well|
General construction of the cabinet and motor-mount are a bit strange and do not result in a very rigid construction. a lot of fiddling with the drum bearings is necessary to get it to run without binding. Paint needs to be cleared from the bearing hole in the white plate through which the tri-axle passes to allow the axle to even turn, let alone run free.
The instructions have a couple of mistakes in them which just adds to my disappoint in this model. I am building this on the kitchen table with only the tools supplied in an effort to assess how easy this would be for a mum or dad building it with a little'n. The frustrating thing in the instructions is when they tell you to do something wrong and it does not become apparent until much further down the line.
|That's not right!|
|Better but not good|
Moving on to stages 35 and 36. The instructions show placing bolts in the flexible gusset plates through two adjacent holes. If this is done , the door is very difficult to close without damaging the plastic moulding. The top fixing should be made one hole higher. Again the photograph of the model shows it built this way.
|That's not right...|
From a builders point of view there are a few usable parts in this set. We managed to buy this set at a fraction of its regular price via Amazon (listing has now disappeared) along with the others. At anywhere near the normal price this set is expensive. I also think a parent buying this for a child, unless they have any experience of building, would be disappointed.
|Built but needs a bit of fiddling before I add the stickers|
Two evenings I have been messing with this thing for a few hours each time, maybe that is the 'value'. No more Rabbids for now (if ever!) back to real Meccanoing for me - more later!