January 2015 Newsletter

January 2015 Newsletter cover

January 2015 Newsletter
Issue 153

Meccano Show 2014

Our 36th Meccano Show on 25th October was another great success. We had slightly fewer visitors this year — somewhere between 420 and 480 — which is probably due to coinciding with the school half term holiday. The somewhat vague total is due to the fact that the tickets issued didn’t add up to the money taken — it’s in our favour, so no real worries there! It’s quite likely that the wrong ticket, or no ticket, was issued for a number of visitors. Despite all this (and no matter which of those numbers you choose) the show still makes the top five in terms of visitors.

Our membership put on another good show of models and, as before, all available space was taken up with 31 members and three guests exhibiting. There was no need to borrow extra tables this year; enough folding tables were provided by members.

A new feature this year was the Make It With Meccano area. We’d tried this out in the summer at the Great Get Together and it proved to be very popular with the kids. Ralph and Sue Laughton, who are now working for Meccano on an agency basis, suggested doing the same thing at the show. The same Meccano kit was provided and a single table was used so that two children plus a parent each could work on a model at the same time. This was flanked by a couple of tables with Meccano merchandise displayed on it. A large banner (from Meccano) was draped behind this which gave a focal point for the stand. Tim Surtell was on hand to help and hand out certificates to participants, although every time I visited the stall Sue was in charge of matters. In all, around 26 certificates were handed out. In addition, all children who visited the stand (whether they took part in the model building or not) got a free bag of parts to make a single model: either a (very small) helicopter or aeroplane.

Sue Laughton helping kids in the Make It With Meccano area
Sue Laughton helping kids in the Make It With Meccano area

In addition to the Make It With Meccano session, Viv Endecott was doing something similar for very young visitors using her collection of plastic Meccano and handing out sweets as prizes.

Viv Endecott’s with her collection of plastic Meccano models
Viv Endecott’s with her collection of plastic Meccano models

This year’s competition was the Bicycle Races: our own version of le Tour de France. As with previous years, the races took place in the Dobell Room. A string of paper bunting provided a barrier along both sides of the track.

The first race, at 11:30am, was the Powered Race, with the prize being the Yellow Jersey. There were only three entrants so there were three heats, with two competitors in each. The first heat was between Les Chatfield and Chris Fry and the second between Chris Fry and Brian Elvidge. Chris won both of these and so was declare the winner. He was presented with a yellow T-shirt — the closest we could get to a Tour jersey — adorned with the Bicycle Races logo, which had been very nicely printed by a local firm (J K Clothing). There was a play-off for second place which Les won. All three entrants had opted for a pair of low profile tyres on the large plastic geared hub, given that only two wheels were permitted.

Chris Fry with his winning entry for the Powered Race
Chris Fry with his winning entry for the Powered Race

In the afternoon at around 3:00pm we held the Green Jersey race which was for unpowered models, but still with just the two wheels. Three MDF ramps had been provided (at a 1:3 slope) so that we could race three models at the same time. The competitors in this race were Viv Endecott, Jack and Sam Edwards, Les Chatfield, Chris Warrell, Chris Fry and Brian Leach. Brian Elvidge was to have taken part as well, but found that his model didn’t work as intended so he withdrew from the competition. This still left seven competitors in the race, but with Viv and Jack each submitting two models, there were three heats, the winners being Viv Endecott in heat 1, Jack Edwards in heat 2 and Chris Fry in heat 3.

In the final race Chris Fry, once again, was the winner! He’s now got a green and a yellow T-shirt, both of which are too big for him!

Thanks

Thanks are due to everyone who helped out in advance and during the day. Some members were on more than one rota. I can’t name you all, but I think that every member who attended helped out in some way.

I’ll just add my thanks to the two Cathy’s (Warrell and Claydon) who provided and served food all day, and also to Michelle O’Brien who helped all day in the kitchen since she had no model to look after, and members who brought food.

Thanks, of course, to Peter Clay, who organised the rotas and counted the money at the end of the day. Thanks also to Ralph for transporting me and all my stuff to the hall. Without everyone’s help the event wouldn’t take place.

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Eltham Centre Display 2014

As our 2014 Meccano Show took place at the end of October, we were able to run our promotional display at the Eltham Centre for nearly two months from the 1st September.

The upper shelf was given over to entries for our Bicycle Races and other cycling-related models, with contributions from Chris Warrell, Ralph Laughton, Brian Leach, Les Chatfield and Chris Fry.

The display cabinet
The display cabinet

Inspired by Ivor Ellard’s massive Hornby Harbour at last year’s show, I decided to create a miniature Hornby Harbour on the middle shelf to showcase Ivor’s smaller maritime models. These included a harbour crane, yachts, a seaplane and an oil rig. To the right of this were placed Douglas Windibank’s model of a Spitfire, my ice cream cart, and an example of one of the new Evolution models, a chopper motorbike built by Chris Fry.

Part of Ivor Ellard’s Hornby Harbour diorama
Part of Ivor Ellard’s Hornby Harbour diorama

It was suggested by Martin Stone, my contact at the Eltham Centre, that we update the display every so often since it would be there for a long time. The lower shelf therefore started out with one working model, Adrian’s performing musicians, along with his tug boat, Cathy Claydon’s self-propelled gun, Les Chatfield’s ‘Surrey with the Fringe on Top’, Chris Fry’s telescope and tripod, and a trio of Daleks from Chris Warrell. (These got a great reaction from Doctor Who fans on Twitter!)

Chris Warrell’s trio of Daleks
Chris Warrell’s trio of Daleks

In October these models were rearranged/removed, and three new working models added: Les’s back gear lathe and Adrian’s windmill pump and barn owl. Also added were Adrian’s tractor and trailer, and Chris Warrell’s railway breakdown crane.

Models from Adrian Ashford, Les Chatfield and Chris Warrell
Models from Adrian Ashford, Les Chatfield and Chris Warrell
Models from Chris Warrell, Adrian Ashford, Les Chatfield, Cathy Claydon and Chris Fry
Models from Chris Warrell, Adrian Ashford, Les Chatfield, Cathy Claydon and Chris Fry

On Wednesday 15th October I took the Lightning Leap and some of my other models along to the Centre to spend the day promoting our show. The following Monday I was joined by Brian Leach who showed off his pinball machine (shown here with Lesley from This Is Eltham), which attracted quite a crowd.

Lesley from This Is Eltham plays Brian Leach’s pinball machine
Lesley from This Is Eltham plays Brian Leach’s pinball machine

Many thanks to everyone who loaned their models and helped in setting up and looking after the display.

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