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Greenwich Great Get Together 2016

Report by Peter Clay

I must say that, having attended this event several times, this year was an eye-opener for me. I came with Tim Surtell who set up and organized things. He does a tremendous job in setting up and dismantling, plus running 'Make It With Meccano'. It is a pity his ability is not matched by that of the event organisers. I say no more as I would not involve us in a libel action!

The downside first. The biggest issue was the rain which was often torrential. Most people who didn't go home were presumably crowded into tents, though not ours, which we'd had to hire this year. On occasion the sun did come out and we had our share of spectators and participants in the 'Make It With Meccano' workshop.

Staying dry in our marquee!
Staying dry in our marquee!

What I saw of the ground was worth seeing, with plenty of exhibiting groups and food and drink available. At the end, the paragliding Red Devils did their stuff to a very thin audience.

Fortunately the rain did not come in on this occasion, although 'Make It...' activities frequently had to be curtailed. However we did have about 25 participants receiving a certificate for this.

Having fun in the 'Make It With Meccano' workshop
Having fun in the 'Make It With Meccano' workshop

» See all the Make It With Meccano photos on Facebook

The upside? Our display was as well received as it always is, and the power managed to hold out to the end, which is something!

So - to the models:

On the left (spectators' viewpoint) Les Chatfield showed a model of Voyager 2, which rotated. Unfortunately the universal joints let him down, but this did not detract from a very impressive model. His Plate Bender impressed those who tried it, as did his working power hacksaw. One might ask what it slowly but steadily sawed its way through? A Lego brick! A radio controlled electric truck completed a fascinating display.

Les Chatfield with his models
Les Chatfield with his models

To his left Brian Leach showed an automatic lift with a continuous reversing mechanism causing it to keep raising and lowering, picking up speed in the middle and slowing down with a brief pause at top and bottom — fascinating to watch. He also had his Hubble telescope and duck.

Brian Leach and... could it be Chris Fry perhaps?
Brian Leach and... could it be Chris Fry perhaps?

Next was Chris Fry. Chris's guilloche Meccanograph produced many intricate and attractive designs. His orrery, representing an extra solar double star system with a planet, worked by setting a flywheel going with a lever, fascinated spectators. His Ducati bike (a particularly lovely new Spin Master model), pirate ship, rocket on a gantry (both also from Spin Master) and his Sputnik graced the static exhibit table at the back.

Some of Chris Fry's models
Some of Chris Fry's models

On the right, Peter Clay brought his new Meccanograph - Konkoly's lacegraph. Its maiden outing showed it able to produce very attractive designs with a moiré effect. His tractor and trailer (friction drive) and butcher's van were familiar, and his space capsule continued the space exploration theme as above from our last Secretary's Challenge.

Peter Clay and his Lacegraph
Peter Clay and his Lacegraph

To his left, Tim Surtell's Lightning Leap continued to allow spectators to 'have a go' — I don't think anyone managed to beat it but it brought in contributions to the Foal Farm charity. Tim's Spanish Knight on horseback, with the horse walking and lifting its tail, ran on a rotating base throughout the day. His maraca, ice cream cart and Spin Master off-road car were also on the static table. The latter featured an effective suspension system.

Playing Tim Surtell's 'The Lightning Leap' game
Playing Tim Surtell's 'The Lightning Leap' game

To sum up, a successful day from a model display viewpoint, but marred by the wet weather and organisation issues (theirs, not ours). As we were (finally!) able to drive off from what had become a quagmire, at least three exhibitors vowed not to come again.

 

» This article appeared in the Autumn 2016 issue of SELMEC News.

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