Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Alternative Evolution - Part 6


In profile it sort of looks like a plane...
Now we come to the largest model, and the most expensive set, of the five Evolution sets  announced at the 2013 toy fair.  At the 2014 toy fair a further four models have been announced (see HERE) and we will look at the alternatives of those over the next few months...

Does that look like an aeroplane?
The box art model is a Rescue Helicopter built in a bright Orange and white livery. Having seen the finished thing at the toy fair last year I was looking forward to seeing the production version. As with many of the models in this series the instructions included in this set have let them down. There have been lots of complaints about this model's instructions. The Alternative model instructions (downloaded from the Meccano website) are fine I didn't notice any mistakes. The selection of parts, and the introduction of a very nicely built geared motor, reversing switch and battery boxes make this set an interesting addition to the range when viewed with a parts-hungry builder's eye. 

Hmmm... as somebody said, it looks like a fat dragon fly... Oh dear!
The box-art helicopter is well proportioned and from most reports, seems to work well once the mistakes in the instructions have been circumnavigated. Unfortunately the aesthetics of this alternative model let it down. It's side profile scribes a reasonable shape but viewed from any other angle, it looks cumbersome and the propeller looks just awful. I really feel that this was just thrown together to make a second model. It looks like a helicopter that has morphed into an aeroplane and didn't finish the process! Harsh? no I don't think so. In my opinion this will do Meccano no favours with the buying public. I am sure a better model could have been designed and built. As we have worked our way through this range it has become clear the brief was to build a second model that not only used most of the parts available but also had to keep close to the original model type i.e. an aeroplane and a helicopter - both being aircraft. If the subject choice of the alternative model was not so restricted, the poor designer, tasked with the job, may have had more success producing something appealing. 

Let's build...

By now, we are getting used to the unfamiliar parts these sets proliferate in and the fact that some parts are not easy to use. The main culprit here is the inherent problem of the tri-axles. Although this is not exclusive to the Evolution range, the fact that most tri-axles seem to be fatter at the ends than along the length, is a real problem. The force required to push some parts on or over the 'fat' end is extreme.

As with all the models we have looked at thus far, the first stage of construction is the same for both models. This is a little odd in this case and for me I can't get the helicopter chassis out of my head - it just looks all wrong. It is modified slightly to produce the drive for the propeller which looks really odd to me angled down as it is. 

The new motor will find some use in other models - I like the mountings.
More on this in a later post...
The fuselage is built in outline and then a few bits and pieces are fitted (badly) into the void to simulate some solidity. It does not do it for me. The final nail in the proverbial coffin is the use of the bespoke rotor blades  crudely bolted together to make a very poor representation of the wings. You have probably worked out that I am not impressed with the look of this thing, and you would be right. Sometimes the models just don't do it for me.

If we step back here and look at the build itself. This has to be the only model that, as far as I could see, has no mistakes in the instructions. The build is easy without undue stress of the parts. I am still puzzled by the battery holders. Why could the designers not come up with a way of being able to change the batteries without having to remove the holders from the model? A big mistake and a couple of points knocked off the 'play value'  total, I fear. 


Previous parts of this story:

Part 5 of Alternative Evolution can be found HERE
Part 4 of Alternative Evolution can be found HERE
Part 3 of Alternative Evolution can be found HERE
Part 2 of Alternative Evolution can be found HERE
Part 1 of Alternative Evolution can be found HERE

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