Rope bridge
All Meccano rope bridge using plastic caterpillar track as the walkway by Ivor Ellard
Pooh Bridge
Pooh bridge by Brian Leach
Motorised dentures!

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4th April 2009
SELMEC Spring Meeting

Setting up All alone... is this the correct day?

All of a sudden our weekend diary is full, kicking off with the SELMEC meeting. With Easter next weekend we are exhibiting at The Magic Of Meccano exhibition (Saturday only) the week after. That is followed by the HTMC at Hildenborough and then to top it all TIMS’ Meccanuity is the following weekend. 

SELMEC (South East London Meccano Club) is our local club. I can be there in 20 minutes with ease, even in traffic. Sue usually skips the local meetings so negotiations are made and I get to borrow her car which is just large enough to accommodate this times models. Parking is a bit tight at the Sherard Hall and I am sure that I would not be overly popular if I arrived in my LWB Transit taking up large portions of the car park!

Secretary's Challenge

I do enjoy entering the Secretary’s challenge, this time the task is to build a bridge that will span 24½ inches. Looking through Geoff Wright’s Super Models book I noticed a reference, and a couple of small drawings, to a model of the Forth Bridge built from Mechanics Made Easy (MME) parts. That’ll do!

The original MME system was limited in its range of parts and there were obvious advantages in using Meccano parts such as the 1½ inch double angle brackets instead of  strips and ½ x ½ brackets. The initial construction of the cantilever was somewhat tedious trying to work out how the original was made from some very sketchy and small drawings. After a bit of head scratching I managed to produce a single cantilever. It was at this point it dawned on me that this was going to be a large model. I went back to Geoff’s book and read some of the accompanying text (typical bloke! - Sue) It appears that the whole bridge, without the approach sections, is 16ft long!  Hmmm… Oh well, I’ve started now…

Construction of this sort of model is not so much difficult, more laborious than anything else. It is parts hungry but our ever growing stock of silver is more than adequate to supply the required parts. As time went on it became apparent that the chief engineer would need to employ some additional labour so Sue was drafted in and the third cantilever and track laying was sub-contracted to her!

On arrival at the venue I discover that I am the first person there. Usually Dave Taylor is there setting up shop. However we are not going to see Dave this weekend due to other commitments. Great! I need a bit of time to assemble the sections of the bridge. After 20 minutes or so I am now getting a bit worried. Is this the correct day? Have I screwed up here? Just as paranoia was setting in Tim Surtell arrived and my fears were dispelled.

Our girder bridge joins the others across the 24½ inch gap

As the bridge finished up rather large, I decided to build a smaller girder bridge that conformed to the specification of the challenge precisely. There were several other entries including a rope bridge built by Ivor Ellard  and Pooh bridge By Brian Leach.

London Eye
Alan Wenbourne (hiding behind the wheel) duscussing his Model of the London eye with Tim Surtell

Star of the meeting was the long awaited appearance of Alan Wenbourne’s London Eye. What a superb model, the use of rods for the wheel itself meant that Alan used 600 rod & strip connectors (P/N 212). That’s 300 more than we are using in our Ferris wheel!


Above and below: Chris Fry's been building F1 cars

F1 x 4

Chris Fry was showing his much modified F1 car based on the M&S single model kit as well as a selection of smaller scale F1 cars built in different colours. They were being displayed on a section of Scalextric track  although mention of motorising them was greeted with a cool reception.

MarionetteThe smile factor was again given to us by John Cowdrey with his marionette, which danced away happily, and a pair of chattering false teeth! Frank Payne brought along his Display model of tower bridge to sympathise with the bridge theme of the meeting although it did not comply with the rules of the challenge it was good to get the chance to have a close look at it.

It was good to see Mike Allen managing to get to a meeting between bouts of working abroad  his entry to the Secretary’s challenge was an impressive No 10 set model suitably modified to comply with the span distance of 24½ inches. 10 set bridgeThis made the bridge too heavy so the counterweights had to be paced with lead shot in order to balance the weight.


The meeting ended with an auction of some loose parts and a selection of sets in nice condition including a Meccanoids set and one of the Crazy inventor air-ship sets. I ended up buying a few odd lots - only to boost club funds, you understand… A good time was had by all and it was another successful meeting. You will find more information on the SELMEC website CLIK HERE

For us it is back to the building now. We have to get the French display model crane refurbished for the Magic of Meccano show at Kew in a fortnights time and start on the Scottish Derrick ready for Meccanuity at the beginning of May.

Sue helps out
Sue gets stuck in to the third cantilever

Eye Drive
Drive gear
Eye rods
Detail of the rod construction



Star Gazer Tower bridge
Left: Santiago Plicio is at it again building huge fairground models, this one is called Star Gazer. Above: Frank Payne's Dealer display model of Tower Bridge makes a special appearance


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