Nut strip
The new threaded strips in use


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25th July 2010 New Xtreme dragster and more on the 25 model set models


The new Xtreme range of sets was announced at the toy fair and a release date of May was planned. May came and went and nothing materialised. I was quite keen to get a look at these sets as they were billed as containing no nuts. This is not strictly true as the Radio control set does have a few. These sets are an attempt by Meccano to simplify the assembly method. This is something they tried before with the Speed Play range but it was not popular with the buying public and I remember Dave Taylor (Meccanoman.co.uk)  saying words to the effect of “Just because it has Meccano printed on the box does not mean it is what I think of as Meccano” He may have been talking about Spykee robots but the feeling is mutual.

These new Xtreme sets seemed to be bit closer to the original concept, not much, I agree but nevertheless they do utilise standard bolts. The thing that interested me was the new threaded strips. There are two types of these as far as I can see. Plastic strips with what appear to be imbedded nuts and thick, narrow strips that have tapped holes in them between the clearance holes.

Saturday saw the release of the latest Argos catalogue and a quick glance revealed three Meccano sets, the new 25 set, that Sue has already talked about, and two of the new Xtreme sets. The dragster and a radio control set. I was curious to get a look at the new threaded strips so I popped into our local branch and collected the Dragster. This rendered them out of stock. Either they had a run on them or they only carry one in stock!

nut strip
New threaded strip has holes spaced at ¼ inch spacing with alternate holes clearance

On getting it home I was curious to see the new threaded strips, of which this set has two. The strips are 4½ inches long with nine clearance holes and eight threaded. They are about as thick as a standard nut. I am sure these will come in very handy. Also new to me is the pull-back motor – I assume it has appeared before in the speed play kits? Anyway, built into the dragster it works fine and I am now wondering if I can find a use for it in a static model…

I made up the dragster – took about 10 minutes and it does its job – it is meant to be a toy after all. Although Sue and I think it is OK, Smokie is not a fan!

More 25 set models

After Sue looked at the new 25, HERE, set and cocluded that it was pretty good I decided to make up some of the other models. The quad bike looks good in the picture so that was first to be tackled. This model is not detailed in the supplied instructions. Instead they are available free of charge to download from the Meccano site, HERE. On completion it does appear to be a bit long. The photo in the instructions does make it look more compact than it actually is. The handlebars are not connected to the steering which is not connected to anything. The rack strip is used as pure decoration. It would be a good model to redesign, fun for us but I fear a bit disappointing for its intended buyer.

Quad bike

Next came the chopper trike. This is a much better model, capturing the lines of the real thing very well. It is straight forward to build and robust when completed. Meccano seem to have dropped the gearbox cube, at least it is not included in this or the 10 model sets, relying instead on standard parts to support the axle. This makes for a better look especially on this model.


Finally I decided to build the forklift truck, I wish I had not. What a disappointment. Finished, it photographs very well and the cynic in me wonders if that is all the marketing guys want…

Disappointed - Fork lift nonsence

The model is not that easy to put together and when it has been, the drive to wheels also lifts or drops the forks. Very strange arrangement that is bound to end in tears with a frustrated child and possibly a puzzled parent. Again, this would make a challenge for us but the little fellow who gets one of these for Christmas is not going to be enthusiastic about acquiring more.

Play value aside, I like this set. I agree with Sue that the current thinking of using one primary colour and silver is much more restful on the eye and the parts will integrate in to our stock much easier than day-glow green!

I wonder what will be next…



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The instructions supplied with the set we purchased from Argos showed the headlights being assembled through the holes where the Axle for the front wheels should be. I noticed that this has now been amended in the download instructions from the Meccano website. Click HERE to download the modified instructions
Fork Drive

Drive to the wheels also elevates the forks at the same time. This is fine until the forks reach the top of their travel...

... well done Meccano!