Michael Whiting's Models
Each model title links to a large picture of the model described.
This model was built from the MW Model plan 86. This is a nostalgic subject for me as my hobby as a schoolboy was bus-spotting and buses such as this ďTDĒ type were to be seen at places such as Kingston bus garage.
Jupiter's Moons Orrery
This orrery was built (18 months early) to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo's discovery of Jupiter's 4 largest moons. The hand wound orrery depicts Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
Periods are accurate to 3 decimal places, the greatest error being less than 0.006% and hence this may be the most accurate orrery ever made.
Twin Beam Pumping Engine
This fine model was designed by the North Midlands Meccano Guildís president Mike Cotterill. It was described in a Canadian model plan. My main contribution was to build it in the rather striking combination of light red and gold.
This is an Orrery of Neptune and its 3 largest moons Proteus, Triton and Nereid. Triton is the largest moon in our Solar System which rotates in a retrograde fashion (i.e., the "wrong way" compared with virtually all the other moons). The model has a novel feature, namely a clock showing 'Orrery Time' i.e. the passage of days and weeks corresponding to the time taken for the moons to rotate. The model will ultimately form part of a much larger Orrery of the Solar System's largest bodies.
Castle Rising Church
From one sort of heavens we treat with a different kind! Michael writes: "It is a model of our local church here at castle rising and took me 4 months to build, comes apart for transportation and is pictured at the museum of rural life in Lincoln.
My Other Hobby!
I was first given a Meccano set at the age of 7 (60 years ago) and Iíve been a Meccano enthusiast on and off ever since. Mostly I make Orreries Ė mechanical models showing the motions of heavenly bodies (no, not the sort youíre thinking of!)
For a change, about 2 years ago, I made a chess set with board, pictured herewith. I have taken it with me to many of the Meccano displays Iíve attended, all over the country and I usually play a game against all comers. My favourite opponents are those that claim that they used to play for their school/city/county etc., and clearly they expect to beat me easily; having been thrashed they usually come up with a wide variety of rather unbelievable excuses! In all this time Iíve played over 30 games with a 100% score! By far my best win was against a fellow Meccano enthusiast, Paul McMahon. We spent most of one Meccano Club meeting playing a single game of chess. Paul over pressed from a good position and allowed me a nice counter-attack. Of course he didnít know I used to be a county player and I didnít know he plays in the 4NCL for a team called Poisoned Pawns!
Kepler 11 Orrery
NASA's Kepler mission, a space telescope designed to look for other 'Solar' systems, has already come up trumps! It recently discovered six planets made of a mix of rock and gases orbiting a single sun-like star, known as Kepler-11, which is located approximately 2,000 light years from Earth.
"The Kepler-11 planetary system is amazing," said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist and a Kepler science team member at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. "Itís amazingly compact, itís amazingly flat, thereís an amazingly large number of big planets orbiting close to their star - we didnít know such systems could even exist."
All of the planets orbiting Kepler-11 (a yellow dwarf star like the Sun is) are larger than Earth, with the largest ones being comparable in size to Uranus and Neptune. The innermost planet, Kepler-11b, is ten times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. Moving outwards, the other planets are Kepler-11c, Kepler-11d, Kepler-11e, Kepler-11f, and the outermost planet, Kepler-11g, which is twice as close to its star than Earth is to the sun.
If placed in our solar system, Kepler-11g would orbit between Mercury and Venus, and the other five planets would orbit between Mercury and our sun. The orbits of the five inner planets in the Kepler-11 planetary system are much closer together than any of the planets in our solar system. The inner five exoplanets have orbital periods between 10 and 47 days around the dwarf star, while Kepler-11g has a period of 118 days.
In the picture here, the Orrery is centred on the actual position of Kepler 11 in the constellation of Cygnus the swan. I have also produced a mini-version of the orrery, which you can see here.
I have for a long time cherished the idea of making a set of animals,
maybe as a zoo. Inspiration intensified when I learnt of an Ark by Mary
& Graham Jost in Australia. With their permission and encouragement I
purloined all their best ideas and added many more of my own. I
determined to make animals with notable features - Zebras (stripes),
Elephants (tusks and trunks), Rhinos (horns) etc. The secret lies in the
realisation that I was not attempting to model animals per se but
animals as would appear in a toy Ark - a caricature of animals. Their
obvious drawbacks such as thinness or wrong colours often adds to their
charm - e.g., who knows of a blue monkey or a green alpaca?!
The project is ongoing and since winning the Issigonis shield at Skegex
I have already added 5 pairs of animals.