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A Paddle Steamer

This steamboat was inspired by a Marklin model from 1992. I once considered buying the Marklin kit, when during casual browsing I found one on offer for sale in the Netherlands. But the shipping cost was too high! So I decided to make something similar in Meccano. From a quick glance, my version may seem to be very similar to the Marklin one but the fittings are different and the whole thing is about 15% bigger – that’s because the Marklin model is based on a whole load of 8.5” girders for the width. Mine had to be 9.5” wide! All the components of this model are genuine Meccano, save perhaps the narrow angle girders used for handrails which were only made by Exacto in Argentina.

f I understand correctly, Mississippi boats generally had a single rear paddle, rather than twin side paddles, because of the very shallow waters they needed to operate in. The paddle here is driven by a Powerdrive motor. I did consider driving it with a Meccano steam engine but was advised that operating steam engines at indoor events was inadvisable!

Like the Marklin version, this has working derricks for lifting the gangplanks, working winches for the lifeboats and hinged cabin doors. Extras on my ship include droppable anchors and working rudders, controlled from the bridge.

Ten years ago, when I first got back into the hobby, I bought a very large set from eBay. When it arrived I found that all the parts had been repainted, in reasonable quality but the green was totally the wrong colour! I discovered later that it’s actually nearer the Marklin green, so decided to make use of all those 12.5” strips for this model.

Another colour ‘oddity’ is the nuts & bolts. They used to be badly tarnished zinc ones, but I stripped off the zinc then chemically blackened them, along with an equivalent number of M4 washers (so I suppose these are also a non-Meccano part! – but some Meccano washers are so badly dished I don’t like using them on painted surfaces).