The Maelstrom

Just after completing the building of my first new model of 2011, a Fairground Wheel I named “The Disc-Comforter”, I was instantly motivated by the idea of a new model. I decided to start constructing it despite not knowing whether I would have sufficient parts as much of my Meccano resources were still tied up in two of my other models; “The Devil’s Whip” and my latest effort, “The Disc-Comforter”. In addition to this I still have a robot model and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I have not started to dismantle previous models before starting the creative process on a new idea.

Perhaps the availability of the rotating canopy from my largest ever model “The Storm Rider” was partly the reason for this, as I had kept it intact despite dismantling the rest of that model in January. I was always drawn to the idea of modifying it and using it again as part of a future model and I decided to use it, building the rest of the model around it. I had to change all the arm supports and fittings to produce the moving core where new carriages were to be fixed.

Having to be economical with parts resulted in the challenge to make a model that was strong and sturdy but equally lightweight and I believe it helped to produce a more refined sleeker design.

A long tubular arm at a tilting angle was built and fixed to the light supporting structure. At the top end a heavy-duty axle was well supported to hold the much heavier rotating unit with eight arms supporting the eight passenger carriages. A large toothed gear engaged with a small pinion was finally employed to drive the model, but not before several other inadequate systems were tried and discarded after failing to produce smooth, steady and fast rotation of the ride.

Due to the ride height of the carriages and where they come to rest at their lowest point, I had to construct the front of this ride to an exact height with the only passenger access given by some steps at the immediate front.

A curved deck at both ends of the front added to the model’s sleek and modern design resulting in a pleasing aesthetic quality I had not initially expected to achieve. Decorative finishing touches where added including lights and a ticket kiosk.

The lightweight model can be easily transported by removing the rotating unit and cars from its main body.

The speeds that this model can reach are extremely fast and this consequently subjects the ride’s passengers to the effects of a thrilling G-force experience. Thrill-seekers are thrown into a dry experience of perhaps what it might feel like to be caught in a huge whirlpool in a body of water, and from this idea the name was born.

“The Maelstraom” — simple, slight, but a devastating force of nature nevertheless.

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