Saturday, 27 June 2015

New 5 and 10 model sets

It is all moving too fast for me!

The repackaged 3 model set 
Back in January we reported on the new 3 model Multimodels set - See HERE. This was the first of the new sets to incorporate the redesigned tools. Shortly after that The new 5 and 10 model sets appeared along with the two new Evolution sets, the radio control car and the orange 4 x 4. We did get around to publishing our thoughts on the 4 x 4 (HERE)  before life got in the way and we took a short break.

Well, what a time to sit on our hands! Now Meccano have rolled out the new packaging for not only the new models but all the earlier releases have been repackaged and will appear in the shops with the new models due to be released over the next few months. Although these are essentially the same models they are now manufactured in China and have newly designed manuals with new corporate design front covers to fit in with the Meccano Maker System image.

Chinese bolt on the left, French bolt on the right
The only obvious difference I have noticed so far, is the black parts in the original Air Force (10 model set) are now gloss and not matt. Incidentally, it is easy to tell the difference between the French and Chinese production set by the type of bolts used.  The Chinese production models are supplied with the flat-top bolts and the French produced models have a slightly domed look to the head. Both bolts are cheese-head in profile. We prefer the Chinese pattern and try to use those in preference.  From a cosmetic viewpoint, it looks so much better to use bolts of similar style, especially on smaller models. Now, you may think we are stark raving bonkers, but we separate the different styles when we are sorting out stock of standard length bolts. We have not bothered to separate out the longer bolts as they are easier to sort during a build as they are not usually used in the same quantities - we are not that nuts!

To save repartition, we will talk about the new re-issued sets and where it applies we will show the earlier packaging so you know what to look out for. I suspect the old packing will be around for a while yet.

Construction Crew - 5 Model Set

The 5 model set is the first one to look at. Originally issued in the Multimodels range earlier in the year, it is about to be reissued in the new packing as the Construction Crew set. The box art of both boxes carries imagery of the loading shovel. This nice little model looks the part even if the 'shovel' does not lift. One of the four other models is a dumper truck. This model is a revamp of the M&S special edition set for Christmas 2010, see HERE. The original model has a special part formed to represent the tipping body. The current model has the tipper body made up from standard parts.

Old and new design of packaging - same set.
The models we have made up have gone together easily from the instructions, which are clear and concise. For a small set it offers plenty of play value and encouragement to buy more than one set. The themed sets idea is harping back to a time in the 1960s when the black/yellow/silver, progressive numbered sets, were each given a theme and an appropriate name. The No.3 set was given the name Highway Vehicles and I always liked that set (in all its reincarnations) as it made vehicles that were recognisable at the time. Today the models that could be made with that old set and, the others of the period, look very dated. The new construction set follows a similar idea and all the models are recognisable today as the sort of thing you will see while out and about in the normal course of events.

The box art model looks the part.
It is amazing what box-art can do for a model. The original box really did not inspire me to build this model as, to me, it looked rather simplistic. However, the same model photographed from a lower angle and dropped into a realistic background transforms  look and appeal of the model greatly.

The new Chunky dumper truck from the Construction crew
The tipper truck makes up very easily and has plenty of play value with a tipping body and it's chunky wheels. here again, old meets new with the modern reversible wheel centres used in the recent Evolution sets being married up with the existing tyres originally designed to fit the 1 inch pulleys, metal or plastic. 

The 2010 Christmas offering from M&S
The small tipper originally appeared back in 2010 as an M&S branded, limited edition. That model had a new bent part that was used to represent the tipper body. That part has not been used since and to this day, that short-lived little set remains the only source.   The new model with its redesigned tipper body and larger chunky wheels looks more like the big heavy dump trucks used in open cast mines, than the road legal, American-esque  design of the M&S variant. The wheel hubs can be reversed to give that deep inset hub so often seen on the rear axle(s) of heavy vehicles, used the other way around, they give the opposite look, often seen on the front wheels. The small gripper collars, that so often caused problems in the past, have plenty of axle length to grip on making them far less likely to work loose and although not the prefect solution they do grip a lot better on these round axles.

Going up!
Now if there is one thing Sue would dread, it was if we had need to use an elevated platform. In our previous working life we could find ourselves faced with having to use one to access an out of reach area that needed signing. She hates them and I can understand that as they do wobble a bit even at low levels. So I thought it only fair that I tackled the model that can be made with this set.

A very simple little model that although it does not work, due to the lack of nyloc-type nuts in this set, it is instantly recognisable as to what it is. It goes together well and providing the wheels are fitted to the axles the correct way around, it runs freely. One side of the wheel hub's rim protrudes past the tyre and this side has to bear on the sides of the vehicle to prevent the rubber tyre binding.

Flight Adventure - 10 Model Set

The third of the earlier releases to be re boxed for the relaunch. The set first appeared with a rather smart looking fighter jet adorning the front of the box. On the new box, the fighter is still evident in the background but the main image is that of a futuristic stealth bomber or flying wing.

Change of box art model, but still the same set
The jet makes up to a really solid model that uses all the parts in the box. There are no new parts in this set but again the use of older parts in conjunction with modern parts is evident. The triangular flat plates have made a comeback after a long absence from the range. The use of the small Driving Dog, designed to be used to prevent wheels and plastic mini strips from rotating on tri-axles, as the cowl of a jet engine is perfect at this scale.

I bet you didn't see that one coming!
The black colouring and the angular parts help make the stealth bomber instantly recognisable and maybe one of the reasons for changing the box art for the new packaging. The model uses fewer parts than the jet fighter but goes together easily with little effort. The finished model is soild and although not modelled on any particular prototype captures the essence of the prototype.



  1. "We prefer the Chinese pattern and try to use those in preference. From a cosmetic viewpoint, it looks so much better to use bolts of similar style, especially on smaller models. Now, you may think we are stark raving bonkers, but we separate the different styles when we are sorting out stock..."

    So I'm not the only one !!!

  2. Are the parts of the Tower Crane all metal?


  3. Yes, mostly. Gears and motor etc are plastic.


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