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28th October 2010 Christmas is here in the High Street

Are we there yet dad?
Last year M&S repackaged the small blue robot - this year they have given him a son in the form of a new Nano kit - Are we there yet Dad?

It is at this time of the year that new models start to appear in the high street and some of the big retailers offer some good deals. The favourite one of late is to offer 3 for 2 deals. Both Argos and Boots are playing that game at the moment with selected Meccano sets. One thing to be careful of is repackaged models being sold at vastly inflated prices. The 25 model can be found at M&S with a price tag in excess of £15 above the normal retail price.

Quad bike
Another quad bike - this is a nice looking little model

M&S do have three new models. There are a couple of Maxi-kits, yet another quad bike and what I think is one of the better looking kits of recent times, a dumper truck. Both models make up easily and the dumper truck includes another new part in the form of a double bent, triangular part that makes the tipper.


One of the best little models to be released since the bi-planes of last year and the year before. The bonus is the very useful looking new part that forms the tipper
More new parts! The back of the tipper has the potential to be useful

new Brackets
Four new narrow brackets and a capticated nut strip come with the Xtreme micro kit and make the kit worth a second look

The only thing that spoils this model for me is the fact that Meccano did not supply anything to go between the chassis and the tipper body hinge meaning the back has far too much side play. Having said that, inserting a couple of small black plastic spacers easily rectifies the problem.

Add a couple of small plastic spacers where arrowed to prevent the tipping back from slopping from side to side

The third new model in the M&S offering is a seventh Nano kit – this time a cute little robot. Supplied in a little square-ish box making it an ideal Christmas stocking fillerNano. From a parts point of view it does contain a couple of the new parts that appeared with the introduction of the other Nano kits earlier this year. There are two of the Narrow brackets (P/N 303) and a three hole, 1inch narrow strip (P/N C329). The set makes up into a nice little model and at £3.50 is just about the right price for a small Christmas gift.

Xtreme micro

This set has been advertised for a while but I have had difficulty getting hold of one. It is being offered by Argos and Boots as part of their 3 for 2 promotions. However, finding them in-store was proving difficult. Argos have been offering post-free deals on 3 for 2 deal when ordered from their website, so I decided to order three. This turned out to be a big mistake, weeks later and after several e-mails and a phone call the sets arrived. They were packed in a lightweight plastic postal ‘sack’ and were completely crushed by the time they arrived. Although the contents were sound, if I had wanted them for presents I would have been sorely disappointed. A couple of days before the Argos items arrived I had given up and ordered some more from Boots. This turned out to be a smart move. I ordered 6 sets and the postage, although not free, was only £2.90. What a difference! The box, well wrapped and secure was delivered early the next day before the stuff I had ordered weeks beforehand at Argos. It just goes to prove; you get what you pay for!

Xtreme micro worth a second look?

These sets may not look like they have anything to offer but Stripthey do. Each set includes four of the new narrow angle brackets (P/N 303) and a new plastic, thick strip, which has captivated nuts in every other ¼in spaced hole, plus a handful of other plastic and metal pieces and a couple of rods which seem to have been finished off with square ends for a change!

Xtreme buggy

New Xtreme buggy

Just managed to get our hands on one of these sets. This is a bit of a let down from a model point of view. Its star feature is it comes with sound. The trouble is it sounds more like static noise you get between radio stations when tuning in an FM radio.Sound I think it is supposed to be starting, revving, tyres squealing. The set includes few parts but its one saving grace is a couple of threaded strips as supplied in the dragster set. Ours came from Boots on one of their 3 for 2 offers which made it £8.67. At the full price (£13.00) I think it is a bit steep. It was not that easy to build either. The plastic bits all slide onto the bent plastic ‘rod’ and are held together with a metal rod and a pair of the small, neoprene grip washers.

The set does come with a couple of the threaded strips as supplied with the dragster providing a cheaper alternative supply especially if you take up one of the 3 for 2 offers

So far there does not seem to be any larger new models on offer this year – but there is still time… If you hear or know of any new Meccano models or special deals please let me know.




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Every-other hole in the strip has a nut captivated inside holes at spaced at ¼in