This is my own version of the iconic Meccano Block Setting Crane that featured on Meccano box labels, instruction books and advertising from the late 1920’s to the 1950’s. The instructions for that model were first published in the Meccano Magazine in1928 and later as a special instruction leaflet SML No.4. The model was described when published as “The largest Meccano model” however the parts required to build it were way beyond the largest Meccano set of the time and way, way beyond the scope of the later number 10 set. I often wonder how many of the models were built at the time of publication, many have certainly have been built by Meccano enthusiasts since. Many will remember the illustration of a Block Setter model in red and green parts, with pipe smoking dad and two boys shown on the instruction manual covers Shown bottom right. My own model is not the original Super Model no.4 dating from 1929 but a simpler one based on ModelPlan 217 by Claudio Rabbi which in turn is a much improved version of the rather dire 1954 Meccano No. 10 Block Setter instructions. Before even starting to build I had decided upon a more ambitious project going beyond the parts in the number 10 set as specified in ModelPlan 217. I call mine GBSC "lite" I looked at the original 1928 Meccano crane and old photographs of prototypes this model is a combination of all these elements. What I have done is to follow the proportions and size of Claudio’s model but have enhanced the construction using many more parts. I used eight nickel finished 25 hole braced girders on the main supports of the tower base inspired by the original Meccano block setter. I also used a similar drive to each of the boogies using bevel gears as in the 1928 crane. Picture below The model is driven by a non Meccano servo motor which has a belt drive to the gear box in the cabin. The four movements of hoist, trolley, slewing or rotation and travel are engaged by levers. This part of the model including the gear box follows closely to ModelPlan 217. Another change is the use of Meccano geared quadrants for the slewing mechanism again parts not included in the number 10 set. The cabin is my own design inspired by the old photograph below. The photograph above is from the Meccano book of Engineering published in 1931. These giant cranes were used in the construction of quays and harbours around the world from the late 19th century to probably the mid-twentieth century.  The cranes were designed specifically for the location where they would be used and were shipped out in pieces much like a giant Meccano outfit.  I do not think any two cranes were alike. In use heavy blocks of stone or concrete would be brought to the crane by rail, barge or ship unloaded and lifted into place by these giant cantilever cranes. The boom is open to allow the blocks to be carefully positioned using the crab (trolley) and hoist.  After the construction task was completed they often remained in place for future work or repairs or were simply dismantled. Claudio Rabbi’s ModelPlan is available from MW Models
Page created October 25 2016 revised 04/12/16 To find out more about the original Meccano Crane click here