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New bracket
New part! Obtuse ½ x ½ inch narrow bracket

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23rd March 2010 - Another new part!

It has been a bit quiet on the Meccano front around here this month but I think we will be making up for it in April with something happening every weekend as well as the Easter holidays.

Blue car
...and now the same again in blue - it is a shame Meccano did not supply different numbers with this one

Today the FedEx man arrived with the other three Turbo car kits that have recently found their way onto the toyshop shelves. We managed to get hold of one of them a few weeks ago and Sue posted here thoughts HERE. It seems to get harder to obtain these new releases on the High Street and even harder to find them all from one supplier even on the Internet. However I must say that Lambs Toys have done us proud yet again. I ordered these three sets yesterday afternoon and they were sitting on the table at lunchtime today.

small cars
The smaller models don't look too bad when made up

There are four sets advertised and sold by Meccano. However this is a bit misleading as there are only two different sets each set is supplied in two different colours. They are aimed at the kids and they claim that they are easy to build and have play value. Well, they would be easy to build if the instructions were in the first place correct and in the second place easier to follow, more on this a bit later. That aside, as a kid, I talked someone into buying me the two racing cars, one in silver the other in blue. I manage to build the cars only to discover that they both carry the same racing number! Both the larger sets are supplied with the same sticker set that contains the number 3. The same is true of the smaller sets. Both of these are supplied with the number 2. I assume this is partly because the same artwork for the instructions can be used in both sets.

Large cars
Snap! The larger cars, like the smaller ones are exactly the same model but finishe in different colours

Sue has already highlighted the big mistake on the instruction sheet for the larger set - see HERE. Now the smaller set has a few issues with the instructions. First of all the picture of the finished model is different to the finished model especially at the front end. The bolts are in a totally different place and very prominently so. If you are looking at it for clarification of how the front goes together as I did it will send you off in the wrong direction. It is also impossible to build the car with the parts supplied, as shown in the illustration of the finished car.

The artwork for the instructions is very confusing Take a look at step X and then look at what it looks like when assembled in the accompanying photograph. Ok, this instruction is correct but without an ‘after’ drawing the assembled part looks wrong. The larger model does not fit in its box once it has been made up but the smaller one does – more by luck than judgment.

chassis
The plastic chassis from below - useful?

The sets are made in China and support the very heavily applied powder coating in places. We have been spoilt by the far superior French made sets we have been enjoying over the past year (the new 10 and 25 model, Multimodel sets).

I know it is easy to sit here and criticise these sets but at the price I feel these sets could have been a whole lot better and I think Meccano have not helped themselves with this series.

New parts…

There are three now parts in these sets if you discount colour changes of existing parts. The new wheels look like they have plenty of potential. As for the plastic chassis I am not a fan. Sue mentioned thenew wheelses in her write up of the original silver/grey car. These parts are also present in the blue set. The smaller set has an interesting new part, an oblique ½ x ½ inch narrow bracket this is formed from the same ‘short’ blank as the new ½ x ½ inch narrow 90º bracket that first appeared in the Nano Kits this time last year. There are only two in the kit meaning that they will be in short supply unless they appear in a more useful kit in the future. Having said that, if the kit is a disappointment for ‘Little Johnny’ they may well start appearing on ebay… 

Other new stuff…

There is a new series of ‘Spacechaos’ sets available and I am sure they will be popular with the kids but as they are full of plastic laser guns and booster rocket motors we will not be investigating them here in the foreseeable future. But there are some good looking sets due for release later in the year and these are the Tin Tin series designed to cash in on the release of the new animated film The Secret of the Unicorn. The film has a release date of 23rd December here in the UK. I would assume the sets will be available for the Christmas ‘rush’ which seems to start in July these days!

Ralph.

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