Thursday, 10 July 2014

Three more Multimodel sets

A trio of new Multimodels
We first saw these sets at the London Toy Fair in January of this year. As they were not for imminent release we were concentrating on the 3 and 10 model sets. Last weekend at SkegEx14 Meccano had a stand and were showing a good selection of the new sets including the new 15, 20 and 25 model sets. Release dates and details have changed slightly since then.

Multimodels section, London Toy Fair January 2014
At the end of SkegEx14 we had already offered to clear away the Meccano display material, banners and posters etc. and it made sense to clear the product displays as well (If you want to be popular, buy a big van!) This we did and it has given us the chance to get a closer look at these three, pre-production models. It must be pointed out that these are not production samples and there may be a few minor changes to the models when they appear. We don't have full release dates but we have been told the 25 model set will be available from Argos when the new catalogue appears at the end of July. Other sets should be in the shops around the same time, although this seems to be a best estimate and a more realistic guess at the High Street availability would be a few weeks later.

Although I have straightened up a few bent bits and tightened the odd nut and bolt, I have not attempted to alter these in any way, considering they have been around for a few months they are bound to get a bit knocked about.

Click on any of the images below to enlarge them! 

15 Model Set 

A rather strange looking aeroplane
Of the three, I have to say this is my least favourite model. At the toy fair this model was not to be seen and a rather nice looking helicopter was sitting on the shelf. As can be seen by the mock-up box, in the heading picture, this model has been chosen to be the box-art image.

Another view of the model
 Although this model is not motorised, the play value is enhanced by a series of rubber bands driving the three propellers from the front wheels. On this prototype the grey ½ inch pulleys have round holes so they do not grip the tri-axle making it impossible to see it working.  I see no reason why it will not work once tri-axle pulleys are supplied in the production sets.

Close up of the central propeller and mock engine
It will be interesting to see if the gears stay this colour in production. In the past. these are the sort of details that tend to get changed. The jury is out on whether we like the orange colour. From a builders point of view this is just another colour to contend with. I can't make up my mind if this helps sales or not. Trying to see it from the sales point of view I suppose it must as little 'Jonny'  is going to distinguish the set by colour. He will have a red aeroplane, now he wants an orange one...

An underside view, I think that rear wheel is in the wrong place...
None of these sets have any new parts, if you exclude colour variations. I do think that the helicopter, I mentioned earlier, and can be seen in the Toy Fair report, is a nicer model. It will be noted that at the time the model was labelled as a 12 model set - I said things change!

A final view of the model from above.

20 Model Set

The red and white of the racing car looks good from this angle
From where I am standing this looks good. It is true that we may be a little biased as we build mostly in red and zinc so this fits in well with that but I also think this does look like a racing car. The motor enhances the play value and I think this will run on most surfaces.

The battery box simulates the drivers cockpit
The model is fairly chunky and looks as if it will take a few knocks The steering on this model needs to be set fairly stiff so it can be set before it's let rip! This is one of the few models that takes advantage of the geared hub to give a 3:1 reduction by using a 19t pinion to drive the 57t annular gear moulded into the hub.

Reduction geared drive to the hub
I think this is a smart looking model from all sides. It is not meant to be an accurate interpretation of a real formula one racing car, but I think most kids would recognise it as such without any prompting and that is the general idea. Although we have not built any of these models ourselves, none of them look to have any traps - but we have not seen the instructions yet... No doubt they will be available for download soon.

Looks good under here...
I am sure the kids will love this and from the builders point of view there is a good selection of Meccano there including some useful gears.

 25 Model Set

This fantasy 4x4 is robust and full of springs - lots of play value with its motor and reduction gearing. At the San francisco Maker-Faire  a few weeks ago, some kids were told to drop this model on the floor. Reluctantly, after a lot of reassurance, they did. They then picked it up, set it running and off it went, with the kids saying "You can't do that with Lego!"

Tough too!
To the serious modeller this model has lots of faults - but hold up guys - This is a toy! and as such I think it works. As a source of parts it also has some appeal. There are a few gears at the back end and some chunky shockers all around.

The dark (ish) blue paint is better than a lot of the awful colours of the past and, of course, there is a nice set of wheels with geared hubs. The model also used a few long bolts here and there too.

The layout from below
As I said these are pre-productions samples and anything can happen but it is interesting to get a good look at them before they are available in the shops. See what you can do if you own a big van!


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