Friday, 12 September 2014

New Evolution Rubber Duck

The latest Evolution set is shipping into the UK retailers over the next few weeks (if it is not there already) It has been available in France for a while but that means braving using and for someone who does not speak much French that can be daunting! The set is supplied with instructions for one model. Instructions for the other model will be available to download from the website soon.

The Rubber Duck is here!
As luck would have it,  I managed to get hold of one to look at as they were shipping. I think this is the best Evolution model yet. I may be a little bias as I have been waiting for this to surface since first seeing it at the Toy Fair in January. It is also painted in a good colour that complements two of the other sets in the range.

Too dark!
Good as it may be, there are still problems with the printing of the instructions. Some of the darker parts are just one mass of black and can only be viewed by tilting them to the light to get the light to reflect off the line-work around the infill. I understand this will be corrected as the Spin Master designs become available next year. This model is one of the last to be designed before Spin Master acquired the Meccano company just over a year ago.

The chassis looks the part
For once I found no mistakes in the instructions which are almost bolt-by-bolt. There are some fiddly bits involved during the assembly of hydraulic arms, but nothing that a deep breath and a few words of 'encouragement' won't cure. The model is built in several sub-assemblies. The chassis makes up very solidly and looks good standing alone. The rest of the build is time consuming (but is that not a good thing!) but interesting. Getting the various mechanism to work, including a couple of the new screw-rams.

The front scraper blade and outriggers lift for travelling
Lobed knobs operate the outriggers and slew
The front scraper looks good and solid
The only small criticisms I have with the finished model are to do with operation of the rams. they are really slow and on this model it is even more apparent. Also I would like to have seen the bucket arm fold in further to simulate the travelling position. No extra new parts are included but it does incorporate the digger bucket from the recent skid-steer loader and of course, lots of the now familiar evolution parts. The front-end of the crane truck is used as an engine cover proving that some of the new parts are indeed generic and not bespoke!

Neat use of existing parts
I like this model and I think with a bit of thought many improvements can be made by adding a few parts and using 'experience' to modify some of the mechanisms. I don't usually apply them but there are stickers available on the set. The modern stickers are not as easy to use as the old Binns Road stickers from the Multikit sets. These have a more permanent adhesive and do not peel off so easily. also the kiss-cutting of the sticker sheet is a bit deep and requires careful separating of the decal from the backing sheet.

I like this model and with a bit of thought many improvements can be made by adding a few parts and using 'experience' to modify some of the mechanisms. There is also the obvious conversion to the road/rail version we often see working on our rail infrastructure. I am sure there are many others.

Mixing it up


Now we have a good stock of parts to work from
There are now three models in the evolution sets that used similar colours. The crane truck, the skid steer loader and now the wheeled excavator (Rubber Duck). These three sets together give a good range of parts and lots of potential for building new models.

JCB with beaker - A good model idea?
Add a few parts from the other sets or from the vast stocks of brass parts we already have and for us, the enthusiast, there is a lot of potential there to construct contemporary plant equipment in this rather pleasing scale. I am sure a grader is in there somewhere, or even a JCB with back hoe attachment. Even though there is no narrow bucket available (How about it Meccano?) it could still be built fitted with pneumatic breaker...

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