Meccano 1954 1961 Manual, Giant Walking Dragline
|This article, and photographs, was originally published in the
January 1998 Southern California Meccano & Erector Club Newsletter and also appeared
in the February 1998 New Zealand Federation of Meccano Modelers Magazine
Cover: 1961 Outfit No. 6 Manual
The power of advertising! When I was a little boy I used to stare endlessly at the Giant Walking Dragline on the cover of my Meccano Manuals. The frustration! It was a beautiful model but required far more parts than I had. Instructions for a smaller model appeared in the March 1962 Meccano Magazine. This was a "Pick Of The Pops" model from the December 1952 Magazine. I collected parts for this and finally built it in 1966, when I was twelve. I liked the model so much I built it again in 1988. Finally, in 1994, instructions for the Meccano Manual model became available in Modelplan 87. I didnt have much time to work on it at the time, but at the end of 1995 I started gathering up and painting the parts I needed. A trip to England at the beginning of 1996 and a visit to MW Models resulted in the acquisition of the final parts. I got a few smiles from baggage inspectors as my luggage went through airport scanning machines at Heathrow and Los Angeles airports.
Construction took about a year. I decided to build it in zinc plated and red enameled parts. This resulted in some unusual colour choices such as red trunnions. These were red in 1926 and became available again in red in 1993. Fortunately Meccano produced all parts in the model in these colours at one stage or other, gears of course excluded. While building the model I finally located a good source of "Meccano Cord". One of the problems with the cord that Meccano supply is that it is a twisted weave that wants to untwist when a load is applied. It is also only available in short lengths, which have to be knotted. These knots catch and foul in pulleys. The answer is to buy kite-flying line that is braided so it will not twist. It is available in sizes very similar to Meccano cord and you can obtain it in black or white.
Most of the photographs in the modelplan were originals taken by Binns Road staff. So it is interesting to note that there are some differences between the finished model and the drawing on the manual covers. I would speculate that the drawings were made before the model was completed. The most obvious change is the access door to the controls on the left-hand side of the model. In the drawings there is a vertical hinged door. In the model photographs it is an access plate that runs horizontally and is held in place by bolts. You remove it completely when you are operating the model. This modification would have been necessary to give full access to all the control levers. There is also a lot more detailing in the boom in the final model. Walkways and access platforms are provided and there has been a change in the design of the end of the boom.
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