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2013 Auckland Convention


The 2013 NZFMM convention was hosted this year by the Auckland Meccano Guild. It was held over the Easter period from 29th to the 31st March at the Pukekohe Town hall.

The following account of proceedings by Les Megget is extracted from the NZFMM magazine for May 2013.

Organising the 2013 Easter Convention started soon after the AMG said they would “do” the next Convention at the previous one in Palmerston North (2011). A small committee comprising Peter Hancock, David Wall and myself met several times but Peter did much of the organizing (the hard work). David and I spent much time building models to exhibit (fun work).

We got the message early on that the out of towners (non-JAFAs) didn’t want to travel any further north than the Bombay Hills because of the notorious traffic congestion on the city’s motor-ways. A good idea as it happened because the Southern Motorway was nose-to-tail much of Good Friday. Peter suggested the Pukekohe Town Hall and we trundled out to look it over about a year out from the Convention. It was a large open space with plenty of head room and lots of natural light. There was the smaller Concert Chamber next door for cups of tea, lunch and fellowship and the parking and access to the hall couldn’t be better. Peter then booked the hall and paid for it; a sum much less that we would have paid in central Auckland.

The registration forms were fairly slow coming in but once they reached 20 near the end of February we knew we had a viable show. The decision had been made much earlier to have only Easter Sunday as being open to the public, a decision most of the AMG members were happy with. The insurance costs, organising the door staff, cash security, etc. all need to be considered when deciding how many public days there will be.

Peter spent about $1,000 on advertising the public day locally and I helped with a poster drop in Pukekohe 10 days before Easter. The small adverts (and editorials) in the local Franklin papers certainly got the message across as we had over 800 visitors through the doors on the Sunday.

Peter spent many happy hours (not) setting out the table floor plan on two A1 sheets (taped together) to get the best advantage of the available hall space.
Elizabeth Wall cut and hemmed the miles of black tablecloths we have to a more manageable length and by the time I got there about 10am on Good Friday the tables and cloths were all set up awaiting the models.

Modellers and their models drifted in during the day until at 5pm the hall was looking really good with only a few spaces empty awaiting the late comers. The Meccanwomen, namely
Elizabeth Wall, Jan Hancock and Shirley Megget had spent the previous few days making litres of soup to feed the hungry arrivals, it being a public holiday when most of the shops are closed by law.

When I arrived early on Saturday the hall was a buzz with exhibitors talking to each other and making sure their models were doing their thing.
Daryl Anderson had arrived and was attempting to set up his huge Hammerhead Crane with the help of about 4 others. They eventually got the jib on top of the 10ft high tower and it was soon slewing back and forth under its own auto control.

We didn’t have the planned walk around the models but there was plenty of time for exhibitors to catch up with everyone else and talk Meccano amongst other things. I found it to be a really nice relaxed day, except for the motor transplant I had to perform on my crane’s main hoist.

Peter had organized a professional photographer to video the show and talk to many exhibitors about their personal Meccano history and their models. The DVD was produced over night and was available on the Sunday. It is truly an excellent report on the Convention and well worth the $15 ($20 including p & p in NZ) if you haven’t already got a copy.

There was a bit of a rush around 2pm as the final votes were handed in by the exhibitors ranking the best 5 models on show. Unfortunately their were no juniors exhibiting so the Junior trophy was not awarded this year.

At 6pm the hall was “shut” and we all converged on the Concert Chamber for the obligatory group photograph and then the General Meeting. Out-going President Peter Hancock announced
Neil Pluck (President of the Christchurch Meccano Club) as the new NZFMM President. Then the awards were announced before dinner by Peter, namely

Senior Trophy:
Neil Carey (NZR Class WW tank locomotive),
2nd Les Megget (Liebherr City Mobile Crane),
3rd = Mike Stuart (Fantasy Factory),
3rd = Les Megget (MAN 6x4 truck with Palfinger Crane),
Commended: Daryl Anderson (Hammerhead Crane).
Club Trophy was easily won by the AMG, which made AMG President David Wall a very, very happy man. The MWT were 2nd with WMC in third place.

Neil Carey’s Senior Prize winning NZR Class WW loco

Les Megget "adjusting" something in his Liebherr Compact Crane, 2nd Senior Prize.

Mike Stuart and his Fantasy Factory, 3rd equal.

MAN 6x4 Truck with Palfinger Crane fitted by Les Megget, 3rd equal. Crane lifting Rabbid’s washing machine with Rabbid still at home!
Front right is the “junior” model of the same truck and crane

Daryl Anderson’s huge Hammerhead Crane, Commended Prize.

An obviously happy Neil Carey receiving the Senior Trophy & certificate from Peter.

David Wall (AMG President) receives the Club Trophy from Peter Hancock. Note look of glee on David’s face!

The buffet meal was excellent with a Meccano-related after dinner quiz to keep our brains awake. This was won by Mike Stuart with 24 out of 28 questions correct. He was later seen dividing up the parts from the winner’s Meccano set prize amongst his table mates, who I’m guessing just may have helped him with some of the answers!

After dinner Peter announced that yours truly had recently been awarded the
2012 ISM Michael Adler Founders Prize for his Liebherr Compact Mobile Crane. Peter read out the email I had received from Adrian Williams, the Award Committee Secretary, telling me of the award.

We all toddled off to our beds fairly early knowing we had a busy day ahead of us, leaving
Peter, John Jordan and Simon Moody to sleep on site as security. Simon had a major problem with his neck/shoulder during the night (trying to sleep on a lilo) but luckily next day he seemed much better.

Sunday dawned clear and fine, as it has in Auckland for nearly 3 months and we opened the doors at 9am to a queue of patrons patiently waiting (I think) to get in. There was a constant stream of mainly families through till closing at 3:30pm. Peter had organized the 10 Meccano building stations on the stage and the parents and children kept the instructors,
Robbie Neilson and several others, busy all day. The stage had been used for parts sales and the silent auctions over the previous 2 days.

About 3:30pm Peter announced and awarded the Bruce Baxter Memorial Trophy winner for the public’s choice to Max George for his Tricky Track, which had fascinated the children all day. Les Megget and David Wall were second equal in the public choice voting.

The public were enchanted with Max George’s Tricky Track, the Public Choice winner

At closing time the dismantling of models, tables and displays began. It is surprising how quickly a large display can disappear leaving a very empty hall. Goodbyes were said after vans and cars were loaded and many happy (I hope) Meccanomen and their partners went back from whence they had come.

The models on show covered the whole range of Meccano models in every colour scheme produced over the intervening 112 years. This issue shows a large number of the models exhibited by the 30+ registered modelers present.

Personally I thought it the best of the 5 Conventions/Exhibitions I have attended but I’m biased, and my special thanks go to
Peter Hancock and Elizabeth Wall who did much of the unseen but totally necessary organizing.

Exhibitors and their Partners at the 2013 NZFMM Convention at Pukekohe.

Back Row: Graeme Mills, Mike Stuart, Brian Hickson, John Jordan, Peter Hancock (Past President), Graeme Humphries.
Second Row, Rear: Daryl Anderson, Graeme Wrightson, Robin Rye, John Freer, Barry Babbage, David Shand, Trevor Adam, Neil Pluck (New President), Doug Harris, Gary Higgins.
Second Row, Front: Shirley Megget, Paulette Morton, Eileen Carey, Michael Bradley, Rose Jacobson, Anne Prescott, Bob Prescott, Neil Carey, Malcolm Booker, Joan Booker, Elizabeth Wall, Janine Wrightson, Colleen Shand, Shirley Hickson, Gillian George, Shirley Nichols.
Front Row: David Barnard, Don McClelland, Wayne Blakely, Bruce Geange, Simon Moody, David Wall, Stan Baker, Les Megget, Max George, Lou Nichols, Chris Morton.

A few further pictures taken at the exhibition follow at random. Pictures are courtesy of
Gary Higgins. A comprehensive collection of convention pictures taken by Gary Higgins can be found on his Flickr website by clicking here.

Children’s building table, Robbie Neilson (in blue shirt) instructing.

John Denton and his models

Transporter Bridge by Don McLelland, from the 1937 Set 10 instructions.

Australian (Sydney) exhibitor Malcolm Booker displayed this 1860 Experimental Vertical Single Cylinder Steam Engine. It ran faultlessly over the weekend.

This French Knitting Machine by Stan Baker only knitted “virtual” stitches all Convention! Obviously it was still under development.

David Wall’s Privateer, a model with lots of detail.

Some details of David’s Privateer. Note use of Couplings as canons, very neat.

Assortment of Rick Vine’s models.

Bruce Geange’s Caterpillar Grader.

Doug Harris had this Meccano Microscope for sale.

David Shand’s remote controlled excavator.

Barry Babbage’s Rolling Road + vehicle.

Trevor Adam’s Lion Locomotive.

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