The Demoraliser Fairground Ride

It was in November 2016 with 2017 fast approaching that I came to the decision that I needed a fresh take on the theme of my previous fairground Meccano models. Sure, I still love the thrill I get from creating fairground-themed models, but it has been getting harder and harder to come up with an idea that is radically new, but I was determined that the new year should start that way.

So with a new approach being my main goal for a new model, I set about thinking of a design I hadn’t already covered before, but there are only so many variations before one model has some similarity with another.

However the idea that continued to pull at my mind was another twist on the ‘Magic Carpet’-type ride, the one that leaves your stomach in your mouth with each plunging rotation. I have built models that have been based on that kind of rotating and falling action and each one a version of my own, but I was convinced that I would be able to come up with a new enough concept to give it another crack, and with that idea I set about making a start.

In my desire to make this model look immediately different, I started by building a rectangular bridge which would rotate while supported in-between two towers and instead of having the typical seated flat platform associated with the ‘Magic Carpet’ ride, I set about fitting two rotating drums instead that would house the passenger seats.

Then the aim was to make the bridge spin in one direction with the drums and passenger loads rotating in the opposite direction instead. The idea was to make passengers feel like they were moving already even before they started to spin, by having the structure spin around them, and only after that false start, increasing the sensation by starting to increase the speed at which the passengers spun away from the counter-spinning structure.

So the outer rotating bridge was first built along with the base and towers, and once I had joined them together I tested it to ensure I had the free easy movement needed to be able to create the desired effect. It wasn’t very long before the balance was perfected and it rotated exactly as was required.

When it came to constructing the passenger rotating part of the model, I needed something that would be able to rotate freely inside of this outer rotating part, and so came up with the idea of using the two drums I had constructed from my Colossus model, that was now sitting idle in a corner of the room.

With a few modifications and later some adjustments to fine-tune and to reduce its weight, I managed to create the new fixings that would attach the rotating drums to the towers within the dimensions of the outer counter spinning bridge. A centrally placed set of double strips were added to the bridge to support both passenger drums in a way that joined the separate units together and these were given an axle at each end and fittings to engage the axles which I attached two motors to, with one at each end.

As with most freelance model designs, there are always many teething problems to address, and in this case although the model was well balanced and working as I had desired, there was still quite a lot of friction in places causing a problem mainly with the operating of the two spinning units to rotate in reciprocal directions. In the end I decided to remove the central support and join the two drums together to act as one single unit and this proved immediately better with the very next test run.

I always like it when I get to the finishing touches having completed the desired operational movements of the model, and all the remaining efforts are aimed at the presentation of the model as a fully-fledged fairground attraction. These final constructions were added in the form of decks, railings, lights, ticket kiosk, steps and a large decorative arch which was attached to the top of each tower.

Despite the model being planned as my first one of 2017, I got swept up as I do and completed it sometime before the end of November, but then I continued to make continued aesthetic improvements throughout many additional hours in December which finally resulted in a much improved overall design. The only negative aspect of the design is that it is built as one complete structure as that makes it heavy in terms of transportation.

The effect of the bridge structure rotating around them will disorientate the riders, giving the sensation of movement though the panorama stays exactly the same, and only as they start to get used to that idea, will they see the ground slowly falling away leaving their mouths where their stomachs were, only to be momentarily reconnected to their senses as they plunge back down and then swept up and away once again. This experience plays out at variable adjustable speeds able to tease and torture at leisure until the passengers stomachs are screaming that they are sick of it! Spell binding but there is no money-back guarantee.

‘The Demoraliser’ — A sick new twist on a Dark Magic Carpet experience. Come and have your thrill rug pulled from under your feet!

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