Thursday, 16 January 2014

Birthday models...

Neat solutions in Meccano...
Last Saturday SELMEC (South East London Meccano Club) held their first meeting of the year. The Secretary's challenge was to build a model published in the month and year of our birth (or as near as you can get). Ideally it would be from Meccano Magazine, but other Meccano related magazines or manuals were acceptable so long as it was contemporary to the date birth. The models could be modified if we wished.

Click to enlarge!
Plan A. My first port of call was Meccano magazine February 1956. A flick though this threw up several possibilities, none of which appealed at the time so I decided to look elsewhere. There is a website where a whole parallel universe exists. Did you know, Meccano Magazine was also published in French? Not only was it written in French, the content was its own as well. In the French edition of Meccano Magazine of February 1956. there is short article detailing the building of a nice little tipper truck. The text is in French but my schoolboy French, and some help from Google Translate, soon had that sorted out. 

It was only when I started to build that I realised there were problems. As usual I had left it until the last minute. The simple little model is not so simple. Like all meccano publications The French Magazines are full of sparse information and not so clear pictures. It was the front end that got me stumped. I will have another go at some point but time was marching on and I needed to get something going or I would be without a challenge model, and we can't have that... 

Plan B. Another flick through the English Meccano magazine revealed a very appropriate article, that I had not noticed before, titled appropriately "Meccano to the Rescue!" The article describes several ways Meccano can be used to solve all sorts of problems, even when it comes to whipping egg whites to make meringue - You will have to read the article. The article continues, in that same 1950s Meccano Magazine style of writing, explaining that one of the schoolboys from the house of the meringue rescue has left his pair of compasses at school. as he needed a pair to complete his homework he immediately gathered some Meccano parts together and built his own.   

As, by this time, it was approaching midnight on Friday before the SELMEC meeting here, at Laughton Towers, Meccano was also coming to the rescue. A swift pair of compasses were built and there within a few minutes it was done. I had my Secretary's challenge model!

My Secretary's Challenge model was done...
After my lame excuse for a model Sue had decided to build the kiddie car from the No.1 set as found in the manuals of the 1950's. This was probably a ploy to avoid giving the game away and revealing her age. I am sure that is why she said she could not find anything to build from the February 1955 Meccano Magazine.

The Kiddie Car from a 1950s instruction manual
The car is built as the instructions with one minor 'improvement. The single angle brackets used to hold the running boards and mudguards to the chassis were replaced with 1 inch angle girders. This made them more ridged and unlikely to become loose with 'play'. Sue likes the little model and I think it looks very nice in our preferred colour scheme of red and zinc. 


Amusing little model looking resplendent it red and silver!
Thoughts are now on to the next challenge at SELMEC. Next time members are being asked to build a ... You will have to go to the club website to find out! All you need to know about the club can be found here: http://selmec.org.uk  Visitors and guests are very welcome, you can even have a go at the challenge and bring along your own creation!

Ralph.

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