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The Crazy Inventor Sets

Reviewed by Peter Clay

7650 Helicopter 402 parts £29.99
8650 Steam Boat 331 parts £39.99
8651 Airship 333 parts £39.99

Metal parts are standard Meccano/Calais finished in zinc or a rust/caramel shade of brown. Most interesting are the metal flexible plates in set 8650, which are finished in silver.

Plastic parts in sets 8650/1 include 'Space Set' rocket motors, twin-bladed propellers and an anchor and chain in grey. Other plastic parts, including parts with 1/2"-spaced holes, are in the rust brown, as are the electric motors (with 19:1 bolt-on gearboxes) and battery boxes. The airship also has an inflatable gasbag. Allen-head bolts are black and silver, with square zinc nuts. There is no brassware or grub-screw bosses in any set. Plastic gears (8 x 57T in set 8650!) are on 3-flat axles, held in place by rubber pulleys.

All sets include flat wooden parts which press out from a pre-cut and perforated sheet. If the models were built for exhibition display, they would need overall structural strengthening and the wood parts would need to be detached for transport.

One quirk of all the sets is that the builder is encouraged to "customise with paint" the wood, plastic, and even the zinc parts, to match the rust colour. One wonders why they could not have enamelled or moulded in this colour. Do Nikko regard customisation as a selling point? Sheets of stickers are also included.

Each set builds 3 models, with clear step-by-step instructions for 2 and detailed photographs for the third.

MW Models Newsletter for November 2001 has details and illustrations of all the set contents. Prices quoted are for MW and Gamleys. Nikko are not issuing the parts as spares.

To sum up - a series containing some attractive and useful parts, especially the silver flexible plates, which at last match the zinc strips and girders. But hardly a series to challenge the Meccano system with which many 'nuts' have grown up.

» This article appeared in the January 2002 issue of SELMEC News.

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