Wednesday, 11 May 2016

It has been a few months...

You may have wondered what happened to Part 2 of the toy fair report.  Well, It contains details of models being produced under licence and we were asked not to disclose the details without checking with the guys at Meccano. So far I cannot get an answer. So for now I will just let that one lie and get on with other matters...

As some of you are aware, we have been working closely with Spin Master to help promote the Meccano brand and to pass on any juicy information. In the beginning there was a lot of activity and it was all looking good. Enthusiasm was there and I think they over-estimated the commercial worth of the enthusiast market. Now we are closing in on the end of the third year of Spin Master ownership and I think some of that enthusiasm has waned somewhat.

The kids love this set
There is no doubt that Spin Master have injected new life into the brand. They have now produced a complete new range of construction toys. The younger user of Meccano is not using it in the same way as we did. Most models are built (if at all) to the instructions and stood on a shelf. The next purchase may be another Meccano model, but it is just as likely to be from another manufacturer, and I don't mean just Lego.

Meccano is a totally different product today and that is the only way it will be successful. Spin Master have made it a success in the toy trade, modern Meccano sells for what it is - a toy - and all the time it does that the brand will stay alive. For us, there may be some parts that we can make use of such as those new brown ball and socket parts that make up the T-Rex dinosaur's spine. Some of the sets are appealing but we are so far away from modern thinking that what Meccano sell today has very little interest to the established enthusiast.

The Meccano we turned into a hobby was a different product, as far away from today's Meccano it is possible to get without abandoning the BSW thread, imperial hole spacing and square nut - the DNA of Meccano, if you like. We still talk to Meccano and get the odd snippets of information on what is happening but so much of it is outside the scope of our hobby it starts to become irrelevant.

It is not unusual for us to go a bit quiet from time to time, it does not mean we have gone away or that we have left the hobby. We have been Meccano enthusiasts most of our life and the way we keep it fresh is not to live and die it. To prove the fact I have been plying with our pre-war No.6 set and have built my version of the Big Wheel, model number 6.5 from the 1929 4-7 manual. It did not take long to work out that the 1929 set was a fair bit bigger than the 1931 set that we have. Here is a picture of the finished thing.

Big wheel from the 1929 instruction book model No. 6.5
It makes a pleasant change to be building with familiar parts. As much as we embrace the new plastic parts there is something very satisfying about building a traditional model that will never be replaced. Now, where is that new dinosaur set?



  1. I like that chain drive. It's more interesting than the standard 2 sprocket drive. I imagine it's noisy which adds to the attraction. Put a switch on it. Kids love to be able to control Meccano models at expos.

  2. It is very nice and creative. You can create more attractive product in it.