The Web Spinner Fairground Ride
Early in January 2013 I was looking for inspiration for anew model and remembered a ride I had seen at Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach Amusement Park many years ago. The name of the ride was ‘Flying Machines’ and it had ten rocket capsules suspended on cables, but I could not remember much more about it other than that. It was from this memory that I decided to build my new model.
I started building a power unit with the right gears to be fixed in an upright position to drive a rotating structure, consisting of a complete large roller bearing plate part № 167dt fitted to a platform base from where eight long double arms were to hold eight rocket-like passenger cars suspended by 32 heald for loom, part № 101.
The process involved constructing and then adjusting the arms until the right angles could be found and then properly supported. Once this was achieved I started constructing the passenger cars, each of them with two rows of seats capable of seating four passengers. This idea I had to later modify, as when I was fitting them side-by-side I found that the cars were touching each other at both ends, and the usual frustration of having to dismantle and reconstruct the design was once again unavoidable. I can’t remember when I last designed something that did not involve some modification but I guess that is part of the Meccano process involved with working from the top of your head instead of a manual. I eventually had to concede the passenger capacity by making each car shorter with only one row of seats instead.
The base is set 8” high to accommodate the motor mechanism and support struts and for once I decided to leave it uncovered to save on the overall weight of the model and help when transporting, but it does also allow for the mechanism to be seen inside.
At the top a decorated structure supported by each arm has made the model very strong and rigid. This I have further decorated with a web of string going through all the centre struts to resemble the heart of a huge spider’s web.
The cars are designed to be easily detachable for ease in transporting the model and so too are the front steps. I have learnt over the years that the transport issue has to be addressed so that my models can arrive to be exhibited with little damage or distortion and this is now something I am having to include in my designs which often does inhibit the size and my ambition for the potential of what a model could be.
This fairground ride offers fun-filled flights to all its riders, and as the ride rotates and starts to spin it picks up speed and the centrifugal force pushes each of the cars outwards creating an angled, elevated flying experience. The concept is a play on what it might feel like to be caught in a spider’s grasp and to be spun over and over while it cocoons you in its web in preparation for its next lunch.
The Web Spinner — when you take a spin in this ride, you know you’ve been spun!
In 2014 this model was displayed in the film Paddington along with two of my other models.