Alen Wenbourne's unusual looking tricycle was just one of the other contestants in the Magic Motor racing. The rest of the competitors can be seen on the SELMEC website by clicking HERE.

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19th June 2010 We are the champions…

No, I’m not talking about football - more on this later. Today was the SELMEC summer meeting and, as our local club, it is an easy drive through the familiar streets of South East London...

...well it would have been if the car had any number plates!

Bye! Bye!
The rear of the speed machine - nobody saw the front! See below...

Yep! Some, shall we say person, decided overnight that the recycled fridge (AKA Sue’s car) looked nicer without its number plates. Great, just what we need! Now I'll have to report it to the police and go and get another set. A quick dash to Halfords and a one-way ‘discussion’ with the guy making them about his souped-up Fiesta, resulted in a new pair of plates. A trip to the workshop, after some careful measuring, meant that holes could be drilled in the correct place (measure twice drill once) and the plates being fitted to the car. Job done, it was time to get back to the serious stuff – Meccano.

Having not yet finished the model we are building for Skegness, I was scratching around for something to take with me. I had my challenge models and the stuff I was using to fold trunions. I also had the makings of the powered trolley for our transporter bridge. So, the whole lot went in a box and along with a couple of rolls and an apple… can’t really justify a stop for a full English – It’s only a 10–15 minute drive!

After all the bother caused by the missing number plates, I was now later than I had anticipated. Expecting to have to fight for a parking space I was pleasantly surprised to find a vacant spot in the car park. Setting up was easy today; I only had a few bits and pieces to lay out on the table.

The winner of the speed race
The front of the Magic Motor speed racer

Built for distance

First out of the box were the challenge models. This time the secretary’s challenge was to build a Magic motor powered vehicle to be raced against others either for speed or distance (or both). Well, you know we like a challenge!

The speed machine was just that, no style just speed. In trials at Laughton Towers the speed machine was quicker than the cat, so it looked promising – even if Smokie was a bit miffed!  The distance machine was also looking good although this one was a bit more stylish with its long single rod steering.

Next out of the box came the trolley for the Transporter bridge and the trunnion folding gear along with some yet to be folded 126As. TrolleyThat was it, to my surprise there was lots of interest in the trunnion folding and I demonstrated the technique several times during the afternoon. More details of the trunnion bending can be found HERE. The semi-completed trolley for the transporter bridge evoked some interest not least of all because of its rather extravagant use of plastic gears and my latest craze of using tri-axels wherever I can.Gears

The meeting progressed as usual with a lot of chatting about models and the consumption of Cathy’s chocolate cakes and tea. After the official business was concluded a quick model tour was undertaken before the main even of the day was set in motion; Magic motor racing…


...who let the Paparazzi in?

This was arranged in heats with three machines taking to the track at a time. Our little speed machine won its heat convincingly and went on to win the speed trials –This is the first time we have won anything since being runners up in the great square wheeled races held in the spring of 2008 in Ironbridge the full stoy can be found HERE. The distance machine was not so successful but you can’t have everything. A video of the races can be found on the SELMEC website HERE. Frank Paine presented the prizes and a good time was had by all involved. Now on to the next one…

That Prize…

Missing the point completely. Could this have been the worst period in the Meccano saga? Look at 'C' showing how to crease 'flexible' plates...

Please don’t take this the wrong way as I was delighted to win somthing but the prize was an old 1980s train kit that I had no seen before. This was the time that Palitoy (owned by the American giant General Mills) had just bought up the remains of Airfix after they went to the wall taking the Meccano brand with them. I remember being thoroughly disenchanted with the sets that were around at the time. They seemed to be full of stickers and not much else other than some really handy yellow boxes with large plate lids. I decided at that point that there was not much to be gained in considering new Meccano; it had gone far too toy-like and the parts availability had all but dried up. This was a policy I was to maintain until being reintroduced to the current Meccano a few years ago. I did not even look at this train kit at the time and now I can see why. Could this have been the absolute bottom of the barrel as far as Meccano sets were/are concerned? The whole idea and point of Meccano had been lost, the instructions told (or rather showed) you how to form bespoke parts from standard parts by folding over a sharp edge making them useless for any other application. The nuts were now hexagonal and the bolts had slotted domed heads. Even the box illustration showed a model that had not been made with any care. I will not be attempting to make this model but parts are always appreciated and I was chuffed to win a prize! I will be interested to hear your views on the sets of this period.

Adrian’s excavator and more...

At the last meeting I managed to get a shot of the inside of Adrian Ashford’s neat little excavator and today I managed to get a picture of it fully assembled. I like simple looking models that hide a complex secret and this model does just that.

Adrian Ashford's digger - Above: The clean looking exterior gives no clue as to the inside (Below) which is all go, making spaghetti look neat!


Peter Clay built a 1930’s style touring car and caravan that was built for the exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, held over the first bank holiday in May, which had a 1930’s theme. To accompany the car Peter built a clerestory-roofed caravan of the period

Ready for the off, Peter's car and caravan make a nice pair. Note the used of a yellow non-flanged sector plate and the Marklin tyres make the wheels look far more in scale with the car

More models and the video of me winning the Magic Motor speed challenge can be found on the SELMEC website HERE.



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Marklin Crane Marklin Crane
One of the more impresive models on show was George Foard's magnificent model of a level luffing pontoon crane based on a plan from 1960's Marklin manual. The crane has six movements - all operated by hand cranks. Click on the picture to see a larger image.
Even the box photograph shows a poorly constructed model