Goliath Fairground Ride
There is a strange sensation I am starting to know well every time I find myself dismantling one of my very big models, and it’s a conflicting feeling being driven by what do next, but knowing that something else you have built must then give way.
As much as I’m driven to constantly push the boundaries in making something bigger and new, no sooner have I displayed the model at a few places the sooner I feel I must dismantle it for something new.
In many ways I wish it would be more realistically possible to keep each big room-gobbling model, but in the demand for space and spare parts I have long got used to having to get on with the slaying of each giant.
It’s like a battle of David and Goliath that keeps playing out over-and-over and no sooner have I killed one giant, I find myself creating another. In this version of the story the giant never truly dies.
Sometime back in 2017 I built a big Ferris Wheel model called Galacticus. After exhibiting it a couple of times I did keep it around for a long time — it wasn’t until 2020 that I set about changing it into a much larger incarnation of its predecessor.
The eight existing arms were fitted with eight additional extensions of 12½” long, but designed in a way that would let me fold these new longer arms away so I could still fit the model in my car. The overall diameter of this beast was now a whopping eight feet.
I gave that giant the name Galacticus Mk II, it being an upgrade of the other, but I only got to display it at one Runnymede Meccano Guild meeting as all other meetings were cancelled.
In October 2021 however I finally got to display the model at the SELMEC Meccano Show and also at a Holy Trinity Meccano Club meeting. With that itch scratched I decided that it must now give way and the slaying of the giant started again and with the dismantling exorcising the huge space in my home that it had occupied for so long.
Of course, this David in me is more like Jack the Giant Slayer, but no sooner is one beast cut down and another giant beanstalk rises up and another fairground monstrosity starts to take the still warm place that was only just vacated.
Instead of one unfinished Tower of Babylon I set about building two towers higher than I had ever built before which I sat at the front with a large imposing arch on top holding yet another tower to support this new structure. These towers were then robustly supported with the addition of reinforcing side towers and then right at the back there is also another high supporting tower that rises up in the middle behind the space in between the front two.
With all the supporting fittings in place I constructed a very, very long arm to fit on top of the two towers, mainly in channels for a heavy-duty axle to rotate the unit then at each end of this long arm, and I can definitely say I have never used so many braced girders in a model before; 64 pieces of all sizes to be exact.
I then placed two passenger boats to goad and torment future wannabe David riders who might be brave enough to conquer their fears.
The new giant is 7’ high with a diameter of almost 7’ too, and it is powered with a motor and reducing gears to achieve the desired speed. The rotating unit is removable, as are the two passenger boats, and the additional tower which sits on the front entrance.
The completed model is a heavy thing and can only be transported in the car placed on its side, so I designed a type of reinforcing bridge to bolt on for transportation purposes.
The model is fitted with two small 12V LED lights, but it’s not the bright lights which will have thrill riders frozen in place, but the scale of the beast taunting them if they are David enough, or just up for the challenge.
Goliath — face up to your fears; you might think you will tame the beast but you can never kill the giant!