Ferocity Fairground Ride

After displaying my last model of 2017, Mind Blaster, at the North East London Meccano Club’s Hainault Hangout at the start of December, the very next day I started dismantling another of one of my models The Demoralizer, with the idea of starting something new for 2018.

2017 was a very busy year with many Meccano activities, meetings, exhibitions and events. As a consequence, I had to build and dismantle of many of my models and it’s not always easy to do, to take apart something you have created from scratch like a real working prototype of a fairground ride incarnation that you feel proud of and named, and each one becomes ingrained as a little part of you.

Yet for years this is what I constantly do, and 2017 has been just as full-on in the making, exhibiting an constant dismantling of models at what my family and friends often tell me is a ferocious speed to be able to keep up to. In an ideal world I would have kept every one of my models, but apart from the name and some photos or videos, they are just consigned to memory in the relentless pursuit of creating something new. It is neither financially realistic or possible to find enough space for even just a few models to exist at home at one time, and as sad as it makes me, the ferocious output means one model no matter how attached I get to it, always has to make way for whatever might come next.

I think this is how the idea came about for this new model, my first of 2018, and deciding on the name ‘Ferocity’ meant I really needed this to stand out somewhat from my other models. That is not always easy to do, as there are only so many fairground themed permutations you can come up with. With this in mind, I decided that the presentation of the model was going to play a big part in its design, ensuring not just a temporary ride, but a visual iconic statement too.

I saved the rectangular rotating bridge from my previous model to incorporate it into my new design, which would serve as the main arch entrance of this new fairground concept, but I sought to also use it as the main support for the rotating part of the ride, and that probably another similar arch would need constructing to be placed at the back for the full support of the model as it was forming in my mind.

I then decided that a new inner arch that would be narrower, would allow you to frame the view of the new model, seeing it from the main entrance as if walking into the lobby of a huge building, creating a much better first impression of the view through its towering entrance, something that later proved to be as effective as I had hoped for.

Next I built a large pivoted arm almost five feet long to support a type of boat structure, similar to my earlier Nordic Invader model, but one I hoped would be more spectacular, bigger and better, allowing space for eight rows of seats for up to 24 riders.

The two anchoring towers needed to be fixed very strongly to a base to eliminate any unwanted movement and the base was also very heavily reinforced underneath to give it the required stability.

As with all fairground attractions, a ticket kiosk, lights, warning signs and embellishments were all carefully fitted as finishing touches to enhance the model and finally after the boat was completely constructed, the main focus shifted to getting the balance right by ensuring that the other end of the arm counter-balanced the rotation evenly.

For a model that I had named ‘Ferocity’ from the beginning, I was surprised just how smooth the unit could rotate, with such well-balanced precision that I did not need to build a motor to drive the ride at all, as I could just push the arm once and it would carry on rotating effortlessly for a surprisingly long time. But of course I wanted to create a real working model and so used a motor and gear system to drive it more professionally.

The model comes in two parts — the base, arches and towers all in one unit and the boat in its rotating arm in another. It’s a very large and heavy model which I am delighted to start the year with, and appropriately themed, it makes me kind of furious now to think ahead to the moment when I am torn but have no option but to start once again and having to dismantle it to make room for something else. Maybe this will be one of those models that digs its feet in and makes a stand.

As with my experience that I had with my big Ferris Wheel model that grew and grew relentlessly as I tweaked it from one design to the next, I have built this model with the potential of being able to increase its size to an even larger model in the future, so that I can resist the urge to need to dismantle it straight after having displaying it. If that ferocious need comes, I can focus on upgrading rather than immediate deconstruction of something that takes so much passion to build, but that so rapidly is asked to make way.

‘Ferocity’ — Take a ride in a ferocious drive to thrill and dismantle your will!

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