Meccano has been around for years and although I remember it from my childhood, it is something I’d never built. Spin Master offered us the chance to test out and review the Off Road Racer kit. I thought this would be a great chance for our Girls to try out something totally different. Abigail has built flat pack furniture before, but Imogen hasn’t really shown an interest in mechanical construction like this. As the kit is graded as ages 9+, this was a project for Imogen alone.
Meccano Off Road Racer
The Meccano Off Road Racer kit contains all the tools and pieces to create 25 different models. The main focus model is the 4 wheel drive off road buggy on the box. As we’d never played with Meccano before we decided to try a slightly easier model Motor Bike from the kits instructions. Firstly this was 30+ steps, instead of 60+ steps. Also Both Abigail and Imogen thought that this would be a good one to build. So once they were bought in on the idea we started to open the box.
The top of the box opens up via a tear off strip. This creates a permanent opening, the kids then broke open the front side, which turned it into something similar to a pizza box. The pieces were grouped up into several bags. Some containing nuts and bolts and other full of plastic parts.
The essential piece of equipment for Meccano is the Allen Key and the spanner. The spanner has 3 facilities to hold a nut. The main one we used was the red grip at at the end of the handle. This one allowed us to hold a nut and slide it into position.
For the majority of the build it was just Imogen and Me. When we first started off we were all fingers and thumbs. It was very much learning a new skill. Trying to locate the bolts through holes and balance the nut on the spanner, then tightening started as a 4 hands job! After the first ten steps Imogen started to get into the swing of it. She would find the pieces and locate the right size bolts.
Meccano supplies many different sized bolts with this kit and locating the right size is relatively easy. On the instruction booklet, an image of the bolt is printed out at full size. So you simply had to lay the item on top of the illustration to confirm the size.
As we got nearer the end we were flying through the build. We’d created our own terms for the different items, spacers, washers and red nuts. There was definitely a sense of achievement upon completion too.
Meccano Off Road Racer Review
From starting as total Meccano Novices, we brought a will to learn to the table. This built took us around 4 hours from start to finish, but I believe the Car would take around 6 hours. The project was fun for both myself and Imogen. It was a good project to work together on. Although she hadn’t really worked with tools like this before, her reluctance to give up drove us on.
The Motor bike was fiddly to build, but certainly achievable for a 9 year old. I think if we were to dismantle the bike, she would be able to start and complete another model on her own. Saying that, I think I’m very tempted to build the car on my own next.
If you are looking to buy this Meccano kit, It is available from The Entertainer (as well as other toy shops) priced at £39.99. Here is a direct link to the kit
The only down side for us was that with the nature of Meccano being very small. Abigail was just that little bit too young to get involved. Which did sit well with the age rating of the kit.