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1970s Meccano Set Videos on YouTube

By Brian Leach


Over the past two years I have been building models from the 1970–1977 Meccano manuals and uploading videos of them to YouTube. I had already uploaded videos of quite a few of my models to YouTube after I bought my first HD camera in December 2009, but I'm not entirely sure what inspired me to start on these particular videos. Probably the best example of another person doing this on YouTube is newspaniard with his 1928 set 6 models, which at the time of writing (August 2011) he has almost completed. Maybe this is where I got the motivation to do this.

My Building Criteria

  1. Build as many models as possible for each set, all built at the same time to give the video some impact in numbers. This meant the only limitation was the size of my collection.
  2. Don't shy away from the more difficult models, for example, those requiring strip and plate bending and fiddly mechanisms.
  3. Use as many motors as possible:
    • The magic motor was used in sets 2, 3, 4 and 6.
    • The no. 1 clockwork motor was used in sets 5, 6, 8 and 9.
    • The E15R motor was used in sets 9 and 10.
    • The junior power drive was used in sets 2, 3, 4 and 5.
    • The power drive unit was used in sets 4, 5, 6 and 7.
  4. Make an electronics set model for sets 4, 5, 6 and 7.
  5. Always make at least one crane from each set.
  6. Make featured models. These were the models shown in the manuals to tempt the modeller to buy bigger sets.
    • In the set 2, 3, and 4 manuals they were:
      • 4.10. Horizontal steam engine.
      • 5.6. Jumbo crane.
      • 7.8. Fork lift truck.
      • 8.5. Side tipping lorry.
      • 10.4. Cargo ship.
    • In the set 1 manual there were two more, along with 4.10, 5.6 and 7.8:
      • 3.7. Racing car.
      • 6.13. Fire escape.
    • Finally, the set 9 manual has:
      • 10.6. Lifting shovel

The Videos

You can watch all of my videos below, or via this playlist on my YouTube channel.

Set 1

Garden seat, swing, galloping horse, acrobat, drop hammer, scooter, monotower crane, plough.

  A few models from set 1

Set 2

Helicopter, dockside crane, aeroplane, windmill, scooter, racing car, fork lift truck, drilling machine.

  Models from set 2

Set 3

Rail trolley, shipyard crane, racing car, diesel shunter, fire escape, cement mixer.

  Models from set 3 with my trolley mistake

Set 4

Flying jets, gantry crane, platform weighing machine, horizontal steam engine, lunar vehicle, frontier barrier.

  Frontier Barrier and Lunar Vehicle models from set 4

Set 5

Car ferry, heavy goods lorry, jumbo crane, scorpion, counting conveyor.

  Scorpion and Counting Conveyor models from set 5

Set 6

Cargo crane, windmill generator, marine engine, fire escape, shooting range.

  Fire Escape model from set 6

Set 7

Tower bridge, gantry crane, fork lift truck, rowers, warehouse lift.

  Rowers model from set 7

Set 8

Quayside unloader, side tipping lorry, penny-in-the-slot machine, double deck bus.

  Double Deck Bus model from set 8

Set 9

Meccanograph, bulldozer, gantry crane.

  Bulldozer from set 9

Set 10

Cargo ship, lifting shovel, automatic gantry crane.

  Cargo Ship model from set 10


In doing a video it is difficult not to point out problems with construction and operation of the model. Manual mistakes are rare but when they do occur, can take a while to sort out. Inappropriate use of parts is also difficult. Using U-section plates as flat plates is a problem because it is difficult to get them back to their original shape. Triangular plate bending is not good as they can break and additionally plastic plates can snap.

Most of the models operate well, sometimes with some minor adjustments. The one I could not get to work was the set 3 diesel shunter. The band drive from the junior power drive did not turn the rear wheels. Sometimes your comments can backfire. The set 3 rail trolley wouldn't move when lifting and lowering the arms. An attentive YouTube user pointed out the trolley is pushed to make the arms go up and down. It was re-videoed in order to point out how it should work.

All in all it has been fun doing this. The videos do not get a lot of hits, about 1,500 in the 1st year, but hopefully it will revive some memories of people probably now in their 40s or 50s and who knows, a new generation may become interested in Meccano.

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