26 Nov 2018

Meccano Ferrari Grand Prix Racer Car

The Meccano Ferrari Grand Prix Racer Car is a great piece of kit, not just for Meccano fans but also for anyone who enjoys racing cars or Ferrari as a brand. It does have an endorsement of authenticity from Ferrari, after all.

The kit comes with 325 parts, 2 tools, 1 sticker sheet and 1 instruction sheet. It is recommended for experienced builders aged 10+ and has an estimated construction time of 1- 3 hours.

We love defying recommendations, possibly just as much as we love a challenge. The Meccano Ferrari is one that we warmed to immediately. J is nearly 8, and has a penchant for building and construction. He enjoys taking things apart and loves trying to piece them together. He also loves making his own models, using paper and other bits and bobs from his craft box.

Last year, he built the Meccano Max with help from Daddy M. This year, he decided he wanted to have a go building this Meccano Ferrari Grand Prix Racer Car all on his own. He is, after all, a year older and infinitely more self-assured! His logic was that this set would be easier than Max as there are no electrical circuits involved in the build.

Game on! My job was to open the box and lay everything out where he could find it. The sheet of stickers was a bit crumpled, but that didn’t bother us. My biggest gripe was that all the pieces were packed in four packets, but in entirely random combinations. It would be infinitely more helpful if the parts were put together based on where in the build they are needed, say steps 1 to 10 in one pack and so on. This will prevent the hassle of using a wrong part and then going back to change it later on. (This happened to us. J used a long 3-holed strip in step 9 instead of a short one. It was only towards the end of the build when he needed the long one that he realised something was amiss. The child flicked through the instruction manual, spotted the one he had used in step 9, and replaced it after a few quick manipulations.)

J set about bringing this Ferrari to life, one step at a time. He spent hours on this build. He worked on it in the mornings before school and then again for a little while in the evenings, one little piece at a time.

He needed my help with step 24, and he needed M to intervene towards the end when tightening some of the parts became really tricky due to sharp angles and tight spaces. Other than that, this was entirely J’s project. He looked at the diagrams, picked up the recommended parts and checked them to make sure they were the correct shape and size. He aligned strips of metal and held them together with a nut and bolt, his clever fingers deftly working the screwdriver and spanner to secure them in place.

Meticulously and painstakingly, my nearly 8 year old pieced together this Meccano Ferrari over 15 days. So yes, it is a moderately difficult build and yes, it does take much longer than 3 hours. And no, our end result does not look anywhere near as neat and tidy as the picture on the box. But it has been done by a determined nearly-8 year old. And of that, I am proud.

“I want to be an engineer and work for Meccano!” J proudly declared as he held aloft his model Ferrari. The kit has not only helped my son work on his dexterity and STEAM skills, it has taught him important lessons in patience and perseverance.

Disclosure: We were sent this set for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

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