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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 November 2009
This beats the pants off any other construction set on the market, including Knex and especially any form of Lego. My 12-year old son loves it, and can spend hours of non-computer time on it, which has to be a significant improvement in quality of life! My only real disappointments are firstly that you can't get anything like the size kits that were available when I was a kid - the number 10 was evey budding engineer's dream - and secondly, closely related, you can't buy the conversion/expansion kits that you could then. This isn't the same as just buying a second set, it gave you precisely the parts that you needed to convert your existing set into the next larger set, which was not just quantity but also more complex components. Having said that, I only ever got to a number 7 kit back then, and I would say that this particular set probably matches that.

Unlike even the most technical of the lego sets, this really emulates engineering in the real world. I am a Chartered Engineer, largely due to having had Mecanno as a kid. My instinctive understanding of how engineering structures and machines work came from the lessons I learnt producing models with this stuff. I have also checked with numerous other colleagues of a similar age-group and a little younger (I'm 56)who have particularly strong, inherent engineering skills and find that, almost without exception, they had Meccano as a kid. Lego does not do this - it achieves instant gratification from being able to emulate real world items in a non-real world manner - in other words it just cheats. Perhaps there's a link to more modern attitudes in this?

Contrary to what one other reviewer said, the kit is no worse than it was in those days - as then, the models built require patience, persistence, and careful adjustment in order to work correctly. The precise positioning of components, and suitable tightening of fixings can be quite crucial to successful operation. This mirrors the real world, and was no different with the meccano I had as a kid. Indeed, some of the modern developments in the kit (more flexible plates, inclusion of modern technology, etc.) have improved it, or at least kept it up to date with the real world. Without a doubt, construction can sometimes become frustrating, particularly when components have to be fixed in positions of very limited access - if we could somehow combine the skilled dexterity of an adult with the small fingers of a child, we would have the magic formula for success - however, persistence and patience is more than rewarded by the sense of achievement on completion.

The more or less absence of electronics from this or any other kit is possibly one criticism, however, I can see that this would be difficult to fit with the Meccano concept - the black box that has no visible sign of how it achieves what it does is in direct conflict with the transparence of engineering principles shown by Meccano in its original and current forms, but it would be a more accurate mirror of current engineering.

Highly recommended.
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on 6 February 2009
I am 10years old,I received this as a christmas present and it is the best present I got. I have made lots of diffferent models ans I still have lots more to make. Its great fun and I will enjoy it for a long time.
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on 21 August 2013
I have to make the point about the batteries in the subject because they are needed almost straightaway in the making of the first model; we nearly had tears before we'd begun. You'll need x6 AA; up to four for the models and two for the screwdriver.

Get past that point though and, as the adult you'll be called on mainly for only seemingly intractable problems like screwing in a bolt from an impossible angle. That's ok though as you have the certain knowledge that it *is* possible, and more importantly you have the electric screwdriver. This device not only makes the young engineer feel truly that they've entered the professional world, it also eases us parents' lives immensely.

The 50 or so models are increase in complexity gradually, taking in cars, motorbikes, helicopters, pulleys and trucks along the way. My 10 year old is concentrated and intensely involved in the whole process; and - as some other reviewers have noted - how marvellous to be able to prise them away from a screen for a while.
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on 15 January 2011
A lot more robust then the Meccano I had as a child. The steel is more rigid and the screws socket heads allow a much greater torque to keep everything together. So far no printing errors in the assembly instructions and they are easy to follow. List of parts required for each assembly stage is a good idea and so far spot on. Well made and solid components. Can't fault it.
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on 7 June 2011
I found this set of meccano to be full of ideas. I have followed the plans for several models, but I am now about to start freestyle building! Thank goodness there is an electric nut-driver; my old man's fingers are not as nimble as I thought. I think this is an adults toy; not sure how an 8-year old would cope with the fiddly stuff.
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on 13 February 2013
This was a seventh birthday present for my (rather serious and focused) seven y.o. and looks like staying in its slot as number 1 activity for a long time. Step by step instructions are excellent, with a good level of challenge.
Negative points:
1- some mechanisms don't work straight away- had to scrape out some holes to get an axle moving freely, had to substitute thinner washers to stop a cog jamming- to put a positive spin on things this adds to problem solving skills.
2-Nostaglia for quality of old, There are still nuts and bolts but cogs are now all push fit with rubber washers for retention- a big step down from the grub screws of old. No brass cogs any more :( I'm glad I've still got my old set to compliment this kit.
I would still recommend this set- much more satisfying then the fiddly mini models, but I feel sure there's a gap in the market for a premium replica of the good old days
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on 9 January 2013
i bougth this for my 10 years lod brother but i (19) ended up being the one playing with this the most.

very complete set of instructions, extra pieces in case you lose some of them, summarizing pretty complete set.

hours and hours of entertainment

good price, quickly dispatched and delivered.
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on 17 May 2011
While I like Meccano, and spent hours as a child playing with my grandfather's old set, the new Meccano was a bit of a disappointment to me. Having purchased the largest set off Amazon to do prototyping work, I was expecting to get a reasonable selection of parts - but the 50-model kit comes with only 2 of each of the longer strips, and certainly does not have the 2-foot length strips that I remember from the older set. Flat plates are also largely missing, replaced by specific shapes such as box sections (which might actually be pretty useful if I just had more of the traditional parts to go with them).

Having belatedly looked online, I realise that rather than provide general kits that can be turned into anything, Meccano now focus on providing specific parts to make specific eye-catching models. As this isn't what I want, I'll probably be looking at one of the manufacturers of similar products that have remained closer to the original Meccano philosophy - the Merkur M8 kit is (much) more expensive but appears to have more of what I need.
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on 9 March 2013
What a great set. Got this as a present to Xmas and I love it. I used to have a lot of Meccano and Lego sets when I was a nipper and I have always loved taking things apart and building things (probably why I ended up working in construction).

This set ha hundreds of pieces with a good variety, you can build 50 models from the included instructions, but using your imagination, the choice is unlimited. Includes a motor for motorising your models. A great starter set if you have never tried Meccano, but there is also enough here to keep experienced modellers happy too.
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on 28 October 2011
I bought this as a present for my 11 year old nephew as he is far to big to be playing with Lego. He loves it. He spent two days working on his first build attempt, not wanting to eat or sleep. His ittle electric screw driver began to grate on us a bit, small sacrifice. He then took some photos of the model took it apart and went for the motor bike. He said' that's the easy one'.
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