Meccano Show 2012

Saturday 13 October 2012
Eltham United Reformed Church

Our Meccano Show on 13th October was, arguably, the best one ever! It’s always a good sign when you’re told that there’s a queue waiting to come in at least ten minutes before we were due to open: some pensioners had been waiting so long they were allowed to come into the entrance lobby and sit down.

Helped no doubt by our various promotions throughout the year — displays in Thamesmead, Chatham and Woolwich, as well as the Eltham Centre — we had 478 visitors; more than double the previous year and only bettered by our 1984 exhibition when we managed 523! I think we can confidently say that the visitor to our 2012 Show got far more to look at than the one 28 years earlier: models in three halls/rooms rather than one, and the MeccanOlympics events. The numbers were made up by 200 adults, 122 seniors, 14 unaccompanied children and 142 accompanied children. There may well have been more accompanied children than we gave out tickets for, so the overall total could well be over 500. There was a real buzz all day with visitors still arriving quite late into the afternoon.

Ivor Perrett demonstrates his loom
Ivor Perrett demonstrates his loom
Brian Leach’s automatic gantry crane towers above the other models
Brian Leach’s automatic gantry crane towers above the other models

Once again I produced a floor plan which, apart from a bit of tweaking here and there, worked pretty well in organising the troops. Most of the exhibitors were located in the Sherard Hall with three in the Penford Room and the refreshments and another four in the Dobell Room with the MeccanOlympics.

Reports from exhibitors were that the whole day was very enjoyable and there was quite an atmosphere in the three rooms. The only complaint was that it was so busy that many of them had no time to look around!

Despite the huge crowds, there were no new members joining on the day, although plenty of forms were taken.

A 13 year old girl, who came with her granddad, seemed quite interested in joining! We’ll have to wait and see whether she turns up at a meeting.

2012 was, of course, the year of the MeccanOlympics — four events spread throughout the day. I was hoping that we’d get some entries from outside the club: there’d been a few enquiries from some well known Meccanomen and other individuals and a local school who were going to enter a team, but, in the end, all the entries came from within the club. It still proved to be very popular with the public with spectators three or four deep on each side of the barrier (marking out the area of play) during each race. Staging the event in the Dobell Room worked well: for a start, it got people in the end room which, last year, looked a bit empty at times.

Walking Race

First up was the Walking Race which attracted only three entries. The winning model came from Brian Elvidge and was the only one to make it all the way across the floor, albeit with the help of some stabilising wheels. Second and third places were taken by Chris Warrell and Brian Leach.

The Walking Race
The Walking Race
Walking Race winners Chris Warrell (S), Brian Elvidge (G) and Brian Leach (B)
Walking Race winners Chris Warrell (S), Brian Elvidge (G) and Brian Leach (B)


The Push-of-War had six models doing battle in a series of head-to-head heats. All had elected to use the № 1 clockwork motor as the power source, suitably geared down, although electric motors were permitted. Each model played against each other in five bouts, so that there were 15 in total. Points were allocated with 3 for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for the loser. Alan Wenbourne was the clear winner, beating every other model gaining a total of 15 points. Chris Fry was second with 12 and Ralph Laughton third with 9 points. Alan’s model was very heavy and had two plastic men apparently pusing the edifice along. Other entries were from Chris Warrell (4th place), Brian Leach and Les Chatfield (joint 5th). Les provided much amusement by sending his machine backwards by mistake during one race.

Brian Leach’s model tries to do battle with Alan Wenbourne’s Goliath like monster in the Push-of-War
Brian Leach’s model tries to do battle with Alan Wenbourne’s Goliath like monster in the Push-of-War
Push-of-War winners Chris Fry (S), Alan Wenbourne (G) and Ralph Laughton (B)
Push-of-War winners Chris Fry (S), Alan Wenbourne (G) and Ralph Laughton (B)

The Ping Pong Put

In the Ping Pong Put there were only three entries. The rules were a bit vague in that the targets would be positioned between 10 and 16 feet from the start but without giving any specific details about target size etc. That may explain the low turnout. On the day no one had given this much thought but a hastily procured plastic bowl was pressed into use.

First to go was Chris Fry who scored a direct hit with his first ball! The other five just missed. Chris Warrell was next and got one ball in the bowl but it bounced out. Brian Leach managed to get two on the rim of the bowl. Chris Fry was the winner with second and third places decided by popular vote which went in favour of Brian.

Chris Fry’s winning shot in the Ping Pong Put
Chris Fry’s winning shot in the Ping Pong Put
Ping Pong Put winners Brian Leach (S), Chris Fry (G) and Chris Warrell (B)
Ping Pong Put winners Brian Leach (S), Chris Fry (G) and Chris Warrell (B)

Magic Motor Race

The final race of the day was the Magic Motor Race. This was certainly the most popular with 11 entrants. It was, arguably, the most exciting for the spectators. The large number of models necessitated the running of four heats with the winners going into the semi-finals. The contestants were Brian Elvidge, John Gay, Brian Leach, Adrian Ashford, Chris Fry, Chris Warrell, Les Chatfield, Ralph Laughton, Alan Wenbourne, Stuart Jones and Douglas Windibank. The winners of the four heats were John Gay, Adrian Ashford, Alan Wenbourne and Douglas Windibank. In all of the races at least one of the vehicles either spun off the track, drifted off line or was aimed in the wrong direction and hit one of the many children’s legs protruding onto the course. Taking gold was Alan Wenbourne with John Gay gaining silver and Douglas Windibank picking up the bronze.

Adrian Ashford, Chris Fry and Chris Warrell take part in the Magic Motor Race
Adrian Ashford, Chris Fry and Chris Warrell take part in the Magic Motor Race
Magic Motor Race winners John Gay (S), Alan Wenbourne (G) and Douglas Windibank (B)
Magic Motor Race winners John Gay (S), Alan Wenbourne (G) and Douglas Windibank (B)


Thus, the medal table looked like this at the end of the day:

Name Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Alan Wenbourne 2 0 0 2
2 Chris Fry 1 1 0 2
3 Brian Elvidge 1 0 0 1
4 Brian Leach 0 1 1 2
4 Chris Warrell 0 1 1 2
6 John Gay 0 1 0 1
7 Ralph Laughton 0 0 1 1
7 Douglas Windibank 0 0 1 1

The medals were presented after each event by Frank Paine, although Chris Warrell deputised in one event — one in which he didn’t win a medal himself, luckily! The medals were a 57-tooth Gearwheel (gold), a zinc 6-hole Wheel Disc (silver) and a brass 8-hole Wheel Disc (bronze), each attached to a purple ribbon printed with the MeccanOlympics logo.


We had a whole page article/plug promoting the show in the local free SEnine magazine and a nearly half page report afterwards. Their editor came to take some photos during the day.

The report of our Show as featured in November 2012’s SEnine magazine
The report of our Show as featured in November 2012’s SEnine magazine


Thanks, of course, to the members who helped out on the day, or in advance of the event. Special thanks must go to Peter Clay for organising the rotas and making sure that the front of house was fully staffed. Thanks to Frank Paine for preparing a lot of the food and looking after the raffle. Thanks also to Tim Surtell for arranging the Eltham Centre Display and handing out stacks of flyers at various events.

Extra special thanks to Cathy Warrell and Cath Claydon who managed to sell every single sandwich, cake, biscuit, crisp and cup of tea during the six hours we were open. The last item was sold just as we closed at 4:30!

Cathy Warrell invites offers for the very last cake!
Cathy Warrell invites offers for the very last cake!

Models on Display

Sherard Hall

Peter Clay — ‘Ultrasupervariograph’ Meccano-graph; Weight lifting figure; Roadster; Tricycle delivery cart; Dad’s Army van; Arrow with Meccano pennant.

John Cowdery — Overtype stationary boiler (№ 10 set); Windmill (№ 9 set); Rowers (№ 7 set); Man on exercise bike; Red Arrows aircraft; Harrier jet; Bugatti sports car.

George Foard — Two balancing novelties — one horizontal, the other vertical; Pendulum machine (unpredictable!); 26 motor cycles and combinations.

Douglas Windibank — Apollo space rocket; Red Arrows jet plane; Everglades hovercraft; Garden swing from spanners; Glider; Tin Tin seaplane; Renault F1 racing car; Robot (from tin); Friction drive dragster; Steel Tec Harley Davidson electro glide; Racing cars from Turbo sets; Roadster (Vintage set); Fork lift (7550 set); 6-wheel troop carrier (own design); Tank; Field gun and limber; Coster barrow.

John Atherall — Railway wagons; Field gun.

Eric Smith — Mobile crane, lorry and trailer all in 1978 blue/yellow Meccano.

Frank Paine — ‘Schools’ class locomotive and tender, in 1950s red/green Meccano, based on the № 10 Outfit Special Model Leaflet; Traction engine in 1920s red/green Meccano, based on the Supermodel leaflet; two Meccano outfits — a 1950s red/green № 4A in unused condition and a 1913 № 1 outfit in nickel finish; A display of some of the other toys made by Meccano Ltd. over the years — a post-war clockwork O gauge train set, a pre-war Hornby speedboat and a 1932 Meccano Aero Constructor biplane, together with various examples of Meccano Ltd. advertising literature.

Tim Surtell — The Lightning Leap buzz wire game.

Santiago Plicio — Wave Rider fairground ride.

Adrian Ashford — Fell locomotive; Motorcycle and sidecar; Diesel road roller; Westland Lysander aircraft.

Ralph and Sue Laughton — Stiff leg derrick; Looms; MeccanOlympics models.

Bob Palmer — Motorcycle and sidecar (SML3); 0–4–0 shunting locomotive; Stephenson’s Rocket (1930s № 4 set); 4–2–2 Midland locomotive and tender; Motorcycle and sidecar (new model); Diesel shunting locomotive (1960s № 6 set); Norton motorcycle, designed by Andreas Konkoly as bike and sidecar.

Jim Arthur — Ferris wheel.

Dave Taylor — The usual array of Meccano sets, spares and literature from our resident dealer.

Keith Patey — Recovery vehicle from set 8540 motion system.

Ivor Ellard — Total energy plant.

David Tracy (visitor from Runnymede Meccano Guild) — Mill engine; Army wagon; Car ferry.

Ivor Perrett (visitor from Runnymede Meccano Guild) — Power weaving loom; Bluebird land speed record car; Meccano people.

Les Chatfield — Bristol Bulldog fighter plane; ‘Matchbox’ traction engine; 0–4–0 saddle tank locomotive; Beam engine; Magic motor race and push-of-war entries; Goods yard crane.

Stuart Jones — Two aircraft — Fokker III and Voisin biplane; Three models using replica card parts; Two mini lorries.

Brian Leach — Two № 10 set models — 10.6 lifting shovel and 10.10 automatic gantry crane; Walking race, push-of-war, ping pong put and Magic motor race models.

Penford Room

Cathy Claydon — Austin K2/Y 2-ton army ambulance from WWII, in Army green (some Multikit parts).

John Gay — Hornby Dublo OO gauge layout; Dinky Toys; Bayko; Hornby O gauge clockwork trains; Meccano Magazines from 1950s; Meccano big wheel; Road sweeping lorry from the May 1952 issue of Meccano Magazine in red/green.

Alan Wenbourne — Armstrong-Saurer twin axle bogie chassis.

Chris Warrell — HR1 London tramcar; Snowplough; Bugatti; 3-wheel car; MeccanOlympics models; Olympic torch.

Dobell Room

Dick Watson (visitor from North West Meccano Guild) — Meccanograph from 1970s Plastic Meccano set 400; “Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea…” rocking coach from The Italian Job film; Merkur models — tractor, stamping machine, selection of gears; demonstration of right and left hand pawls; John the Navvy (Bernard Périer design).

Chris Fry — Centre lathe from early model plan; Lorry, Triumph TR3A; Nickel sector plate racing car and MG sports car, all to Bernard Périer designs in Constructor Quarterly; MIG 21 by Frank Weber in Constructor Quarterly; Trike from M&S kit; Motorcycle from recent kit; Double star and exoplanet orrery from Michael Whiting plan; Double ratchet mechanism; Small road drill/digger from M&S outfit; MeccanOlympics models — The Hulk (Push-of-War), Bob the Lob (ping pong put) and Super Shrew (Magic motor race).

Brian Elvidge — Fire appliance; Pull-back cars; Skyrider fairground ride; MeccanOlympics entries — walking tractor powered by a № 1 clockwork motor (designed by Bert Halliday) and Magic motor racer.

Andrew Couzens — Double deck bus with rear entrance; American open top car based on № 9 set model; American tractor unit; 4–6–0 steam loco and tender; Small sports car in red/green.

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