January 2012 Newsletter

January 2012 Newsletter cover

January 2012 Newsletter
Issue 141

September 2011 Meeting

This was one of our informal quarterly meetings where our members showed off their latest Meccano creations.

At around 2:00pm we had a short committee meeting, followed by the Model Tour in which members were invited to give a short talk about their models — in particular their entries for the Secretary’s Challenge!

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Meccano Show 2011

There was just a covering of white cloud on the morning of 8th October and it was not too cold (a complete contrast to the high summer conditions of the previous weekend) — perfect weather for our 33rd annual Meccano Show. I arrived at 7:30am, thanks to a lift from Ralph and Sue Laughton in their huge Transit van, to find Dave Taylor, Frank Paine and Richard Marsden itching to get into the hall and set up. John appeared from his flat above the hall at around 7:45am (after a bit of prompting) carrying his Henry vacuum cleaner and we were soon in and rearranging the tables to our own layout.

For the first time, I had drawn up a plan of the hall and had allocated tables to each exhibitor. This seemed to work quite well and there was only a minimal amount of rearranging of tables in the main hall. Another first was the hiring of an additional room, the Dobell Room, along with the Penford Room that we normally have. With our four extra tables and the use of half a dozen low tables for models we had an additional 44’ of table space this year. It also gave more circulating space in the Sherard Hall. We could have probably done with a few more signs directing the public down the corridor, but when I went along to have a look, the Dobell Room was quite busy.

There was a bit of concern early on when we discovered that the low tables we expected had been arranged in a small room at the end of the corridor for the Russian class; we thought we’d booked the whole complex and wouldn’t be fighting over tables this year! John then enlisted our help to move some similar (but more colourful) tables belonging to a pre-school group down to this other room, releasing the church’s low tables for Ivor Ellard’s railway models. He was in the Dobell Room with four other exhibitors; the Penford Room contained the refreshments as well as John Gay’s model railway and other three exhibitors.

Models in the Dobell Room
Models in the Dobell Room
Visitors look at the club history
Visitors look at the club history

The entrance lobby was adorned once again by Tim Surtell’s eye-catching Meccano Show logo and, underneath, a roundabout from Adrian Ashford. Tim had also provided a short history of the club on a banner that was along one wall in the corridor. Printed on several sheets of paper, it made interesting reading and brought back some memories with its inclusion of photos and exhibition posters from the last 35 years.

We may not have had the largest number of visitors this year, but still managed 233 through the door (a good number!), and with the additional room full of models those that came certainly got their money’s worth!

We did quite well with gaining new members, with one joining on the day and another a couple of weeks later, and several people taking information away with them; quite a few of these were for children. One woman said to me that she thought her son would like to join our ‘Junior Section’ of the club! If only…

There was no newspaper coverage of the Show this year, but we did get the usual announcements in various local rags.


During the afternoon of the Show we intended to stage a ‘test event’ of a Meccano ‘Push-of-War’ contest. This had been suggested by Ralph Laughton and Chris Fry. Unfortunately Chris had to be rushed to hospital for emergency surgery the day before which meant it was not possible to run the contest. (When last seen at Hildenborough a week later he was making a good recovery).

The table allocated for the demonstration was just used to exhibit the two models that Ralph brought — different classes, so couldn’t compete against each other — and the model that Frank Paine brought which used large gears as wheels causing Ralph to worry that his table top might be damaged. Hopefully the event will be staged in 2012 when it will be part of our ‘MeccanOlympics’ competition.


Grateful thanks go to all members and visitors who turned up with models, and those who didn’t have a model but helped out anyway. Special thanks to Peter Clay for sorting out the rotas and looking after the money side of things.

Special thanks also to our three tea ladies, Cathy Warrell, Rosemary Warrell and Cathy Claydon who spent the whole day serving the various refreshments to the exhibitors and public alike.

Cathy Warrell, Rosemary Warrell and Cathy Claydon
Cathy Warrell, Rosemary Warrell and Cathy Claydon

Models on Display

Sherard Hall

Peter Clay — Meccanograph; 3-wheeled delivery cart; Car from the new Xtreme series; Magnifying glass and his Dad’s army butcher wagon.

Harrun and Hanef Degia — Various small models.

Jim Arthur — WW1 battleship.

Dick Watson (visitor from North West Meccano Guild) — Meccano loom from 1953/4; Eccentric Meccanograph.

Richard Marsden — Tipper truck; Single deck half-cab bus; American 4–4–0 locomotive and tender; American railway carriage.

Frank Paine — Tower Bridge; ‘Schools’ class locomotive; windmill; Big wheel; Two Aero Constructor aeroplanes; Horizontal mill engine; Traction engine; Mamod powered hoist; Car chassis; Racing car; Flatbed lorry; Small helicopter; Various outfits — № 2A from 1929, № 5A from the1950s and set № 0 from both 1916 and 1927.

Simon Greatrex Meccanograph.

Brian Maunder — Sales stand.

Douglas Windibank — Apollo space rocket; Five Space Chaos models; Space 2501 Federation Protector and blast deflector; Renault F1 racing car; Everglades hovercraft; Friction drive dragster from Xtreme set; Remote control car from Xtreme set; Garden swing from Spanner’s Secretary’s Challenge; Three-wheeled motorcycle; Quad bike; Snowmobile; Nano robot.

Brian Leach2001: A Space Odyssey film illusion.

Ivor Perrett (visitor from Runnymede Meccano Guild) — Armstrong Whitworth ‘Argost’ three-engined biplane; The Meccano Hillbillies skiffle group; Bluebird land speed record car; Meccano people — road repair gang, snake charmer, King Meccano and blacksmith.

David Tracy (visitor from Runnymede Meccano Guild) — Lightship, modified version of that featured in the April 1957 issue if Meccano Magazine; Midland 4–2–2 locomotive and tender from 1928 № 7 set; Armoured car from 1928 № 5 set; Submarine from 1928 № 4 set.

Santiago Plicio — Terror’s Ark fairground ride.

Dave Taylor — The usual array of Meccano sets, spares and literature from our resident dealer.

Les Chatfield — New member Les, who joined on the day, brought miniature versions of a Stuart steam engine and a 4-stroke petrol engine.

Chris Warrell — Royal Victoria Dock bridge; Bleriot monoplane; Van Gogh’s chair; Bugatti 35 car; Caravan; Red Arrows jet; Mini stiff-leg derrick; Perrier water bottle.

Adrian Ashford Fell locomotive; London Transport TD single deck bus; Steam tug; Roundabout; excavator.

George Foard — Various novelty models etc.

John Cowdery — Robot family; Bedford lorry; Paddle steamer engine; Red Arrows jet.

Ralph and Sue Laughton — Nano fairground models.

Penford Room

Cathy Claydon — Bren gun carrier; 25 pound field gun; Military ambulance based on a Multikit model.

John Gay — Hornby Dublo OO gauge 3-rail system from 1938 with a layout depicting British Railways in 1950; Leyland streamline fire engine from the 1930s.

Alan Wenbourne — Mini London Eye.

Bob Palmer — Motor cycle and sidecar (SML3) using original 3” rubber rings for tyres; Car from Design series kit; Cuckoo in the nest built from Merkur parts.

Dennis Remnant (visitor) — A striking model of a 2–10–0 steam locomotive.

Dobell Room

Keith Patey — Bottom dump truck from № 10 outfit leaflet № 18; Freelance vehicle from William Sounes (aged 8).

Ivor Ellard — Gauge O railways with 23 feet of track using two rail and three rail pick ups with the following trains: A 4-car TVR high speed train; US style diesel switcher; US style 4–6–4 locomotive with rolling stock and a ‘Zeppelin’ car driven by a propeller.

Brian Elvidge — Windpump; Lorries.

Stuart Jones — Festival of Britain model; Space diorama.

Tim Surtell — The Lightning Leap buzz-wire game.

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Fell Diesel Mechanical Locomotive

This is a model of what is described as a Diesel Express Locomotive in the October 1953 issue of Meccano Magazine. It is in fact based very closely on the experimental Fell Diesel Mechanical Locomotive which was completed at the Derby Works of British Railways in 1951 and entered service later that year, having been displayed with other new locomotives, as part of the Festival of Britain on the South Bank in London.

The fell diesel mechanical locomotive
The fell diesel mechanical locomotive

It was a bold attempt to build a main-line diesel locomotive with mechanical, as opposed to electric, transmission, with considerable savings in weight and the cost of a generator and electric motors. It was of a 4–8–4 wheel-arrangement (or 2-D-2 in diesel notation), based on a patented system of transmission proposed by Lt. Colonel L. F. R. Fell, and developed by H. G. Ivatt, former C. M. E. of the London Midland Region of British Railways and Fell Developments Limited.

Wheel detail
Wheel detail

It was powered by four 500 b. h. p. engines, two at each end. Each pair drove the half shaft of a primary differential, via fluid couplings. The output of each primary differential was combined through a secondary differential, from which power was transmitted to the driving wheels through final reduction and reverse gears. This system enabled the engines to work together at different speeds. If used for shunting, it could work on only one engine, the combined ratio of the two differentials giving a 4:1 reduction.

Underside detail
Underside detail

This model is driven by two Meccano Power Drive motors, one at each end. Each motor drives the half-shaft of a centrally-mounted spur differential, the cage of which drives a longitudinal shaft through a 1:1 belt drive; two worm gears on this shaft mesh with gears on the driving wheel axles. Thus the model can be run on one or both motors. Power is supplied from six AA-size batteries.

This was a very rewarding model to build; the instructions were very well written and easy to follow, and the model went together exactly as described, without any problems. Any minor changes made were to suit my own tastes. As a point of interest, it couldn’t be built from the № 10 outfit, as it uses 28 1” Corner Brackets; the set had only two!

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Medway Model Show 2011

On the 3rd and 4th September 2011 six SELMEC and one Holy Trinity Meccano Club/Runnymede Meccano Guild members exhibited their models at the Medway Modelling Club (MMC) Show at the Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham.

The collage of pictures below shows the overall layout in the background with individual enlargements superimposed. We had an ‘L’ shaped arrangement of tables. Starting clockwise from the table at top left, the Meccano exhibitors were:

  1. Chris Fry
  2. Jim Cass
  3. Alan Wenbourne
  4. Andrew Couzens
  5. John Gay and Cathy Claydon
  6. John Cowdery
  7. George Foard
All of the exhibitors’ models
All of the exhibitors’ models

The consensus was that it was a good show and venue. We had fun and enjoyed contact and conversations with many of the interested visitors. Those of us with heavy models found the walk from the unloading doors to, and up the 20 steps to the mezzanine floor, enough exercise for one day! It was at my request that we were located on the mezzanine, because last year I was sited under it which was somewhat dark, but close to a mains power supply.

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