Back in the early 1970s the old Birkenhead Market (it would burn down a few years later) had a stall selling second hand magazines. It was there that, aged ten or so, I spent my pocket money on a pile of old copies of Meccano Magazine.
A particular edition had an article on how to go about building up a model collection. Some basic tips on building kits, the merits of adopting a theme, and some thoughts on storing your masterpieces.
I was mesmerised by this idea. I spent ages rereading the article and building my own models. Some were better than others, any sense of a theme was largely limited to their being small scale as that was what my budget would run to, and they were never stored as securely as I’d have liked. Nonetheless they gave me hours of enjoyment.
Last night, the best part of forty years later, I was delighted to discover that the whole run of Meccano Magazine has been digitised and made available on line. You can find it at the marvellous nzmeccano site.
Could I find that very magazine article? Was my memory faulty? Could I perhaps be recalling another article from an entirely different magazine? I know that later on I’d buy Airfix Magazine, Scale Models and Military Modelling from the same stall. But no, there it was. From January 1971, two years before the death of Meccano Magazine as a glossy monthly, “16 year old Michael Day describes how Readers can start and maintain a … MODEL COLLECTION”.
A few years later I would realise that I could make tanks better than I could make aircraft. From there it was a small step into wargaming but I don’t have such a clear memory of a moment that tipped me over into a new hobby.
So thank you nzmeccano team and thank you Michael Day, wherever you may be now.