Winter 2019 Newsletter

Winter 2019 Newsletter cover

Winter 2019 Newsletter
Issue 173

September 2019 Meeting

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

At around 2:30pm 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 2019

With fewer members attending our 40th annual show this year, we decided to change the table layout by moving the Meccano Creative Challenge into the Sherard Hall. This allowed the Dobell Room to be given over to Brian Leach and Alan Wenbourne to run a ‘driving experience’.

Alan had marked out a road layout on the floor with tape, and about 20 children had a go at driving his Mars Rover and/or tractor:

“The idea of a road layout proved good in that it required an element of skill to follow lanes, and discouraged full throttle operation with its attendant dangers! So the ‘driving experience’ was satisfied. Most boys had good control; a few decided that flipping the throttle was the way to control speed, which caused me to cringe at the thought of its effect on the drivelines. However, the models survived and performed very well. Only one boy exhibited no control and allowed me to rescue the transmitter! I was also pleased at the battery durability, and I didn’t need to re-charge at all.” — Alan

Alan’s tractor
Alan’s tractor

Brian brought his ride-on buggy again, after its success at last year’s show:

“My buggy performed flawlessly and almost all the children enjoyed it. One boy shook his head at it. It went slightly faster due to a gearing change from 180:1 to 120:1. The only damage was a few scored rods and one deformed angle girder. Alan’s models also went down well and travelled a lot faster than the buggy.” — Brian

Brian’s buggy
Brian’s buggy
The large mirrors on the back wall of Sherard Hall made the show look twice as big as it actually was!
The large mirrors on the back wall of Sherard Hall made the show look twice as big as it actually was!

In the Sherard Hall an impressive display of the late Adrian Ashford’s models was set up by Cynthia Ashford, assisted by Frank Paine, while in the Penford Room was a display of maritime models taken from our Harbour Secretary’s Challenge.

Julia Ashford with Adrian’s models
Julia Ashford with Adrian’s models
The harbour display in the Penford Room
The harbour display in the Penford Room
The Meccano Creative Challenge in full swing
The Meccano Creative Challenge in full swing

The Meccano Creative Challenge was as popular as ever, with 26 entries. The winners, judged by Chris Warrell and Brian Leach, were:

  • Age 4–7: Ethan Balcer — buggy
  • Age 8–13: Sengul Mustafa — buggy
  • Age 14+: Paul Allen — dragonfly (pictured)
Ethan Balcer
Ethan Balcer
Sengul Mustafa
Sengul Mustafa
Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Models in Sherard Hall, with John Clifton’s impressive Ruston Bacyrus dragline in the foreground
Models in Sherard Hall, with John Clifton’s impressive Ruston Bacyrus dragline in the foreground
Models in Sherard Hall, with Tim Surtell’s Lightning Leap game in the foreground
Models in Sherard Hall, with Tim Surtell’s Lightning Leap game in the foreground

Many thanks to everyone who helped with setting up, running, and clearing away at the show, with special thanks to Cathy Warrell and Cathy Claydon providing refreshments, Peter Clay for overseeing the pay desk, John Clifton for transporting tables, and Brian Leach for transporting equipment.

Cathy Warrell and Cathy Claydon
Cathy Warrell and Cathy Claydon

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The Jugger-Nauticus

Compared to the very many fairground-themed models I have made over the years, I have made relatively very few boats, though I have always loved ships of all sizes.

In 2012 I built a small ship which was followed by The Voyager in 2013–14, The Wrath of Tides in 2015 and The Phantom in 2016.

After another couple of years focused on fairground models, I switched my attention to another series of boats, the first of which was the The Storm Slayer. This whetted my appetite to try exploring new shapes of the ship’s hull and I went on to design and construct two more boats.

I was pleased with them all but each one seemed to push me even more towards the challenge of creating a ship with a much more curved hull than I had so far achieved. I still felt driven to build a boat with the kind of curved hull as seen on the old sailing ships of the 17th or 18th century, and that was the main objective.

The Jugger-Nauticus
The Jugger-Nauticus

Once I succeeded in achieving the curved shape of the hull I just had to complete the full ship. Assembly continued fast and furious until a much bigger and wider beast had come together, even larger than I had anticipated.

It dawned on me that the main central mast, if it was to be kept in proportion, was now going to be higher than the space available in my car and so I built the mast to the available height but added a detachable section with its own rigging.

I built two portholes in the centre of the ship with steps to descend to the inside, and also steps to go to the two main top decks.

I added just one cannon before deciding not to add any more, and used a cream-coloured plastic material for the sails, similar to the other ships which had red sails. The ship was finished off with rigging, an anchor, rudder, hoists, cranes, steps to board, rear lights, a bell, plus a few other little details.

I decided to stand the ship on a fixed motionless platform underneath due to the size and weight of the model, though I may in the near future introduce a mechanism to introduce an ‘at sea’ rocking motion.

It really is a beast of a model but it’s ready to sail and all that was left was to christen it. I name this ship ‘The Jugger-Nauticus’ — may she conquer even the deadliest of seas.

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