There was something wonderfully sonorous about NASA’s historic announcement in 1967 – “The Eagle has landed!” telling the world that Man had landed on the moon for the first time. I can’t help but feel that the Chinese missed a trick here when they got their unmanned craft to land on the moon recently. I am sure they are very proud of it, but somehow “The rabbit has landed!” really doesn’t have the same effect, does it!

Spacecraft need good names to suit their heroic adventures, and “Eagle” is as good as any. Of course, hard-core SF fans will know that this was also the name of the space-going work-horses that supplied the needs of Moon-base Alpha in the classic TV series Space 1999. There is talk of this series being rebooted as Space 2099 (original!) see http://catacombs.space1999.net/main/epguide/tx2099.html – if so the hardware is surely bound to play a significant part as it did once before. Bring it on!

But for now I’m working on a model of the original vessel from the British/Italian science-fiction television series that ran for two seasons and originally aired from 1975 to 1977. A nice Meccano version of this featured on the cover of the January 1978 Meccano Magazine, and I have fancied having a go at my own version ever since. A larger scale version by French modeller Laurent Chaté (laurent.chate@wanadoo.fr) was featured in the International Meccanoman nos 63 & 64 and can also be seen here: http://www.la-roue-tourne.fr/index.php/le-meccano/mes-modeles/170-eagle-space-1999. E2 Img_4407-2

Inspired by this I have begun work on my own version, built to the same scale as Laurent’s but using my own library of drawings gleaned from the Internet. Among other statistics it uses some 32 Hinged Flat Plates – when did you last use more than two in a model? – and a vast number of Obtuse Angle Brackets (for obvious reasons). It’s not going to be a quick build, and with the amount of detail included it is not going to be light, either, but all is progressing well so far. Both CAM (the French Meccano Club) and TIMS (Ironbridge, UK) are taking “Space” as their exhibition theme this year, so even if I am not exhibiting there myself, maybe this is a timely model. So, (no pun intended), watch this space!

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About Philip Webb

Chairman of the International Society of Meccanomen
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