BAYKO Nerd's Corner


I don't know whether, like me, you fully accept, or even welcome, the label of 'BAYKO Nerd', or if you were just attracted by the name - either way, you are more than welcome! For the record, I graciously accept full 'BAYKO Nerd' status! Between this page and 'Nerds Questions and Answers' the objective is to cover anything and everything, from the proverbially sublime to the ridiculous…
This page contains, in no particular order, both quirky and pure anorak items - I hope you enjoy them.
There is a separate page of 'nerdy' information on BAYKO related product codes…

We'll start with this simple one

The picture [right] shows page 16 of the August, 1951 set #3X manual on which there is an easily identifiable typesetting error : -
“Side Window Red”
It should, of course, have read : -
“Side Brick Red”
The correction label, added either by Plimpton or by their printer, can clearly be seen in the bottom left corner.
August 1951 set #4 manual typing error and printer's correction
It's quite endearing that Plimpton thought it necessary to insert the correction - shame about the error!
Sadly, and rather disappointingly, although this type setting error had clearly been identified…
…you guessed it…
…it was repeated in the next edition of the set #3X manual which was date coded two months later in October, 1951.

Crazy Paving

Picture showing the 12 different Plimpton era Crazy Paving moulds
Crazy Paving was one of only three non structural parts BAYKO ever produced - its function being entirely ornamental - the later Ramp and Display Shelf being the others.
In a commendable search for realism, Plimpton actually produced no less than 12 separate mouldings for Crazy Paving [left] - yes, that's right, 12…
…saddo that I am, I actually counted them!
I presume this means that the plastic moulding machinery was capable of producing 12 Crazy Paving pieces at the same time and that they each occur in the same amounts…
…I'll leave it to you to check!!!
Image showing the 16 different later Plimpton era Crazy Paving moulds
At first I thought the change to twin nipple, pure grey Crazy Paving was down to MECCANO
…but it was, in fact, Plimpton that increased the range of Crazy Paving mouldings to 16 [right] some time in the mid 1950s as this type certainly appears in Retail Pack A…
I actually, somewhat carelessly, thought they had 17 mouldings, but, thanks to Bob Burgess's eagle eye, I now know better!!!
The final 12 Crazy Paving variants
This one just gets deeper and deeper into nerd territory…
…oddly, MECCANO reverted to 12 variants at the death. The pieces concerned [left] are olive-beige [which hasn't shown well in the photo]. I've laid them out to match their earlier equivalents.
Why MECCANO should do this is beyond me…
…why go to the expense, no matter how small, of converting a 16-item moulding to a 12-item one?
Thanks to Bob Burgess for the eagle eyes and stamina needed to unearth this nerdiest of BAYKO facts.

Crazy Paving in the BAYKO Manuals

In Nerd's Corner, regardless of the effort needed(!), I try to be thorough, so let's continue the Crazy Paving theme from above.
There is another available image of Plimpton era Crazy Paving, [right] it's on the additional parts pages to the rear of the 1950s manuals. It was also shown on the rear of Retail Cabinets!
In true nerd-facilitating style, this specific design, there was only one, was never actually manufactured.
If you want to do the same check for Crazy Paving in the MECCANO era, you can't. Crazy Paving was the only plastic part not illustrated in their manuals!
Crazy Paving was, however, represented on the rear of the MECCANO era Retail Cabinets, you guessed it, with another nonexistent design!
The Crazy Paving illustration from the Plipton era manuals

Now for a quick quiz!

You could achieve a MECCANO era set #15 in 2 ways : -
Either by buying the set #15 out right…
…or by adding a set #14C to a set #14.
Did you know that the 2 different options actually produced significantly different contents‽…
…can you say what the difference was‽
Set #14 contains : -
2 size 'D' Roofs.

Set #14C contains : -
1 Dormer Roof set.
The size 'D' roofing parts included when a set # 14C is added to a set # 14 to make a set # 15
The size 'D' roofing parts included in set # 15
Set #15 contains : -
1 size 'D' Roof

1 Dormer Roof set.
Obviously set #14 would need 2 Roof pieces or you wouldn't be able to make up a full roof would you!
This means that children who were lucky enough to be bought a set #15 would have to make their largest green roofed buildings with a Dormer Roof every time - looks to me like a piece of penny pinching by Mr. MECCANO.
Even stranger is the case of the missing Roof Ends : -
Set #14 contained these Roof Ends -
The 8 Roof Ends in set #14
The 8 Roof Ends NOT in set #15!!!
- Set #15 didn't!!!
Although sets #15 and #14C included the new Boarded and Waney Edge Roof Ends, neither included the original Roof Ends - part #B152, B154, B156 & B158.
This means that children who were lucky enough to be bought a set #15 would be deprived of these 8 parts, making them 9 parts short in all - it's beginning to look more like grand larceny than penny pinching by Mr. MECCANO!!!
Heliport Model from page 17 of the MECCANO era manual
Bungalow Model from page 19 of the MECCANO era manual
Bungalow with Verandah Model from page 21 of the MECCANO era manual
These three models [left] come from the set #14 section of the MECCANO era BAYKO manual and all of them use two size 'D' Roof pieces. Set #15 presumably requires the use of the Dormer Roof Unit - creating a bit of a "Health and Safety" risk in the case of the Heliport!!!
page 17
page 19
page 21
Bungalow with Verandah
To continue with my usual pedantry, given the Roof End 'sequestration' [above] technically there were only three models from the entire proffered range of thirty one in the MECCANO era BAYKO manual which set #15 owners could replicate exactly!
The three models concerned are : -
Page 4 - The Suburban Signal Box - [near right, top].
Page 4 - The Wayside Cafe - [near right, middle].
Page 9 - The Beach Observation Post - [far right, bottom].
Suburban Signal Box Model and Wayside Cafe Model<br>from page 4 of the MECCANO era manual
Beach Observation Post Model from page 9 of the MECCANO era manual
page 4
[Top two models]
page 9
[Lower right model]

And on a not entirely unrelated matter…

When MECCANO first planned to introduce the Dormer Unit in sets #14C and #15 they intended to make the unit, at least partly, in black plastic, presumably to simulate tar or similar roofing materials which were in common usage at the time…
…but they clearly changed their mind!
I don't know why they did this, but I would suggest their are 3 possible reasons : -
They couldn't produce a suitable black plastic for the unit.
They didn't think the black version looked very attractive.
They just changed their mind - the purchasers won't mind.
Pre-production set #15.
Set #15 literature.
Black and white photo of a pre-production set 15
Set 15 literature showing the Dormer Unit in black
Letter from MECCANO explaining the change
The real thing - the Dormer Unit as actually produced
Letter from MECCANO.
Dormer Unit [+ Dormer Window].
The photo [top left] shows a pre-production version of set #15, clearly showing a very dark version of the Dormer Unit in the centre.
The image [top right] shows the Dormer Unit in the set #15 literature.
The image [bottom left] shows the covering letter, signed by one G. E. Pierce, explaining the situation to the BAYKO retailers.
The photo [bottom right] shows the Dormer Unit as produced.
Personally I think MECCANO got this one right…
…Plimpton learnt the same lesson in the 1940s
…that dull colours don't attract modern kids.
For completeness, the letter reads as follows : -
“BAYKO OUTFITS NOS. 15 and 14c”
“One of the new parts included in the above Outfits is B198 DORMER WINDOW AND ROOF COMPLETE. The manual instruction show the roof section in black, but the part will be produced in standard BAYKO green.”
“It is unlikely that this colour difference will raise any problems with purchasers.”
The capitalisation [above] is entirely Mr. MECCANO's.

Opening or Garage Doors

These were introduced from June 1st, 1959 - quite surprising given the state of the BAYKO business at the time and just how imminent the MECCANO take-over was.
The innovative BAYKO Garage Doors were initially known as Opening Doors but, recognition of their sustained play value, meant that most people gravitated towards calling them Garage Doors, which is what, self-evidently, they are.
One set of Garage Door was included in sets #2 and #3…
…and 2 in set #4.
Logically, therefore, one set of Garage Doors would also have to be included in two of the conversion sets - #1X and #3X.
However the card (right), dated April 8th, 1959, intended as a wholesale price list for retailers, also includes what it calls a “MEMO”, which states that : -
“This part will be contained in Standard Sets No's 2-3-4
[and] Converting Sets 1X-2X-3X”
WRONG - conversion set #2X shouldn't contain any…
except that it does - as was confirmed by a separate letter which was sent out to BAYKO retailers at the time…
…work that one out!
The only explanation I can proffer is that Plimpton, perhaps, took a sympathetic view of the otherwise Garage Door free set #2 owners!
There's more information on exactly how Plimpton went about introducing the new Garage Doors to their retailers.
Wholesale price list dated April 8th 1959 which shows details of Garage or Opening Doors inclusion in BAYKO sets at the bottom

Where did the post-war BAYKO #5 set go?

1946 leaflet showing the intent to produce post-war sets # 5 and #4X
You'll remember, I'm sure, that before the war BAYKO was produced in sets #1 to #6.
Early post-war literature also promised a range of 6 sets - this time numbered from set #0 through to set #5…
…but, as you probably also know, Plimpton only produced up to set #4, post-war - and that only arrived in 1952.
Did the proposed extra set fit between a set #3 and #4…
…or would it have been bigger than set #4?
The closest I can get to a clue is that 2-Brick Pillars; Balustrades, Gates and Matching Balustrades; Crazy Paving; Opening Windows; Turrets and Wall Bricks never made it into sets…
…were they all being held back for set #5…
…and was the set #4, Dome and Pinnacle volte face part of this‽
Another one where I suspect the answer has been lost, however…
This leaflet [left], dating from 1946, was included with the earliest post-war BAYKO sets and, on the side shown here, you can clearly read the reference to sets # 5 and #4X.
143 mm x 224 mm = 5.65 x 8.8 inches

Whatever happened to the post-war Red Steps?

Early post-war literature - specifically a postcard parts list franked in 1946 [right] - specifies that the colour of the Steps will be red…
….but, as far as I can tell, Plimpton only produced grey Steps post-war.
It also refers to and Bay Window Roofs [White]; Large, Medium and Small Roofs [Green]; Turrets [White]; and Windows and Doors [White]!
The 1946 BAYKO parts post card with the Red Steps mentioned bottom left - click here for a larger image.
I'll leave you to decide whether this was a printing error, an 'un-thought-out' transcription from a pre-war parts list, or just a change of mind.
Probably the leaflet was made based on a pre-war mind-set, before product decisions were taken.
Having said that, post-war white Windows and pale green Roofs do exist, as do the other parts listed [left] - so‽
I quite like it when there's no answer - don't you‽

Left-handed End Bricks!

For several years, without a fanfare, or any printed reference that I've been able to find, Plimpton produced 2 different versions of the BAYKO End Bricks…
…they produced both a 'left handed' version and a matching 'right handed' version [right].
The brick pattern is identical, but the front edges are of opposite hands
This let modellers ensure that the brick pattern could continue correctly round corners.
A detailed look at 'official' models shows Plimpton were quite particular on this detail. It's a shame they didn't do the same with the Side Bricks!
Part way through the 1950s the End Brick differentiation was dropped - and most modellers never noticed!

…and on a not entirely unrelated subject…

Are you an “Upper” or a “Downer”?

The Upper's perspective - double full brick pattern at the top.
So - following on from the above revelation - you've decided that you want to take advantage of the left handed End Bricks…
…or just prefer standardised Brick orientation…
…but which way up?
Are you an “Upper” [left]…
…are you a “Downer” [right]?
Me? - I used to be an “Upper”, but now I'm a “Couldn't-Give-a-Tosser”!!!
The Downers perspective - double full brick pattern at the bottom.
An “Upper's” perspective!
The top row with 2 full bricks!
A“Downer's” perspective!
The bottom row with 2 full bricks!
Thanks to Gary Birch for this particularly excellent suggestion for Nerd's Corner!!!

…and on yet another not entirely unrelated subject…

Full Corner Bricks - the Brick Layer's Perspective

Sorry about the fuzzy image, I can't afford a posh camera, but at least you can see the brickwork.

When starting building, a bricklayer will always start with a full brick at each corner on the front of the building…

…so the other must start with its end.
The brick pattern is clearly identical, but you can just see that the front edges are of opposite hands
The [right hand] image shows how you can do the correct pattern with an End Brick and a Brick…
…but the pre-war Full Corner Brick [left hand] shows the moulding error - both faces start with full bricks…
This information suggests that the “Downers” have the prototypical edge!
I'm grateful to Bob Burgess for this insight.

Early Small Bases

The 'New Series' sets saw the launch of the smaller [Type 1 B] Base.
This size base lasted until the death of the product, but not unchanged…
…you can identify the earlier bases by the number 1 which is reversed on the older Bases.
The main reason for the retooling was to strengthen the moulding of the corners of the Bases, which, just like their earlier, larger predecessors, had proved to be a little fragile.
Early version of the small base with unreinforced corners and the reverse '1'
Later version of the small base with the reinforced corners and the correct '1'
Early example - a post-war base.
Later example - a MECCANO era base.
This difference is only really significant to distinguish between grey Bases from the 1940s and the 1960s and between the green Bases from the 1940s and those from the 1950s - though, in this case, I don't know the exact timing of the change.

Curved Bricks

I'm afraid that I don't know the date of this small slip.
Slips like this were often used by Plimpton to pass information to their young market.
In this case younger modellers must have been experiencing some problems in using, and probably damaging, their Curved Bricks and Curved Windows.
Logically, therefore, I assume this slip dates either from around the launch of these parts just before the war, c1939
…or from their relaunch after the war…
…I'll leave you to decide.
A small slip included with BAYKO sets containing the earlier Curved Bricks and Curved Windows
It just goes to show that I'm not the only one who dives in without “wasting time” reading the instructions!
76 mm x 51 mm = 3 x 2 inches
The two images below are shown courtesy of Angus Jones.
Curved Brick and Window Instruction Slip
In the same vein, this example is more traceable…
…it refers to “the diagrams on page 4” which links it to two possible manuals : -
1946 Leaflet…
Standard Set #0 to #3 manual…

I favour the earlier Leaflet which has several diagrams on page 4…

…the manual has only one diagram on page 4.
Is this the bricks fighting back‽
Just look at the image right and you can clearly see that this Curved Brick is missing its holes.
Were the Curved Bricks fed up of children forcing Rods through their holes?
More seriously, this convinces me that the holes were drilled rather than being created as part of the moulding process - or not as in this example!
White Curved Brick without Rod Holes

MECCANO Christmas Club - Toy Club - Savings Club

Can you really get more nerdish than this‽
Piggy Bank
Plimpton, like so many other children's toys, recognised that they generated much of their BAYKO profit through repeat purchases of extras - both conversion sets and spare parts.
MECCANO too, had recognised this opportunity, and, as was pretty common throughout the toy trade in the United Kingdom, instigated a “Toy Club” to encourage kids to squirrel away their pocket money [and all their ill-gotten gains from their family protection racket!] with their favourite toy shop in order to save up for that special something, initially usually with Christmas in mind.
These systems were generally known as Toy Clubs, Christmas Savings Clubs, or simply Saving Clubs - retailers must have found the savings objectives of little Johnnie or Jenny useful pointers as they stocked up for Christmas, etc.
Were people really so daft that they never thought of [the usually more convenient alternative of] opening a small Bank, Building Society or Post Office savings account - and getting interest‽ - as well as developing good financial habits!
I owe you all an apology - sorry - I mustn't have had my brain operating in full nerd mode when I only had a couple of examples of these Christmas / Savings Club Cards, and I missed some of the nuances. Since I've now acquired a few more, I've gone back to the drawing board and restructured this entire entry, so, I apologise if I misled you previously. In my defence, if Mr. MECCANO had done the decent thing and routinely datecoded his printed offerings, then…
I don't normally do this, but the following different versions of the MECCANO Christmas / Toy / Savings Club Card are all exactly the same size, so I thought I'd dispose of that commonality before I nerd on about the assorted differences! The flat [thin] card size is : -
152 mm x 114 mm = 6 x 4.5 inches
n.b. I've used different coloured backgrounds [below] to differentiate, within this section, the different card styles / variants.
First of all, this scam, [see “Conditions” below if you doubt me!] by Mr. MECCANO, precedes the BAYKO takeover, as you can see from the first examples [below]. The cards were all supplied flat, but with a preformed central crease, to enable them to be folded up into a four page booklet format. The interior was essentially unchanged throughout, all the significant variations occur on the exterior, both front and back.
Greedy Santa image
All versions [thus far] include [at the top of the rear page of the booklet] two “Conditions” : -
“● Your choice of goods cannot be altered.”
“● Money cannot be refunded.”
Still think I'm being unfair to Mr MECCANO? Just supposing you wanted to switch to the very latest model instead, or your rich auntie Nellie bought you the one you'd already pre-ordered - tough! Thank goodness kids are, famously, so consistent! I suspect the Father Christmas image [right] must have been his inspiration.
Yellow MECCANO Toy Club Card Pirate Style Exterior
Yellow MECCANO Toy Club Card Pirate Style Interior
Pirate Style
Pirate Style
I believe that this Pirate-themed artwork is the earliest style for these MECCANO TOY CLUB Cards, its comparative lack of structure being one of the key indicators. This version [above] is, self evidently, Yellow, but there is also a Green version, which I will try to add in the future, even though it is BAYKO-free.
I believe this particular style dates from the 1950s, but, in all honesty that's a guess, knowing that the [then] relatively new medium of television, with its growing influence, certainly carried programmes like Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe on its restricted number of channels - 2 then 3.
Although the artwork would probably be regarded as 'too busy' by today's marketeers, I like it Jim lad! However, I would have to agree that the somewhat anonymous mention of “MECCANO PRODUCTS” on the 'treasure chest' lacks impact…
…in contrast to the rectangle, labelled “Where to find the treasure”, prominently identifying toy shop details, [exterior, top right]
Yellow Schoolboy Toy Club card -  Exterior
Yellow Schoolboy Toy Club card -  Interior
Schoolboy Design
Schoolboy Design
I can't get away from the feeling that this artwork was aimed more at parents than boys - I was never that fond of my school cap!!!
The price tag of “1/-” [5p] for 'MECCANO Magazine' mentioned in the blurb on the rear of the card, and the lack of a mention of the page size increase puts the date as being pre-1961, with the failure to reference BAYKO probably pushing that back by at least two years - the takeover was in September, 1959.
The most interesting detail here is the script on the back of the folded card, including the following 'advert' for 'MECCANO Magazine', which reads as follows : -
“The "Meccano Magazine" is published on the first of each month, price 1/-. It tells you how to get the utmost fun from Meccano, Hornby Clockwork trains, Hornby-Dublo Electric trains. It also illustrates and describes the latest Dinky Toys, etc.”
The "MECCANO PRODUCTS" labelling of the piratical artwork version has now been 'exploded' into a product list, though BAYKO-free as previously mentioned.
Pink MECCANO Toy Cluc Card - Exterior
Pink MECCANO Toy Cluc Card - Interior
Two Boys Design
Two Boys Design
Hurray - BAYKO!!!
Mr. MECCANO has had his pencil out again, with some new artwork on the front cover. [above]
I'm afraid I can't trace the actual date of the price increase of 'MECCANO Magazine' - to “1/3” [6.25p] but recognition of it is the sole change to the blurb on the rear of the card.
As well as BAYKO, the HORNBY SPEED BOATS relaunch, dated 1960, has been recognised on the front cover products list, though neither made the script on the rear. This seems to be a reliable pointer to this Toy Club Card's print date as being 1960.
MECCANO TOY CLUB Card - outside
MECCANO TOY CLUB Card - outside
Two Boys Design
Two Boys Design
MRCCANO Club Card Exterior, green, includes BAYKO
MRCCANO Club Card Interior, green, includes BAYKO
Two Boys Design
Two Boys Design
Thanks to Andrew Lance of the HORNBY Railways Collectors Association for these images.
Here we've moved on to the “1/3” [6.25p] price point, for 'MECCANO Magazine' which took place in January, 1961, so, making the assumption that it was one colour card for each year, then these two examples presumable date from 1961 and 1962, though I've no way of determining which is which.
While that is the only script change on the rear, the front cover has been completely revamped. Two, [tie clad!] boys now grace the cover
The full script now reads : -
“Increased page size - larger illustrations. Still only 1/3, published monthly. The "Meccano Magazine" tells you how to get the utmost fun from Meccano, Hornby Clockwork Trains, Hornby-Dublo Electric Trains and Bayko. It also illustrates and describes the latest Dinky Toys, etc.”
The “Still only 1/3” is rather disingenuous given that it included a 25% price rise!!!
MECCANO TOY CLUB Card - outside
MECCANO TOY CLUB Card - inside
Two Boys Design
Two Boys Design
Another confusing rabbit pulled from Mr MECCANO's archivist mistreating hat!
The order of products listed in the 'MECCANO Magazine' advert on the rear has been 'tweaked' to finally recognise the business longevity benefits of electric trains over clockwork - finally matching the order of the product list on the front cover. The existence of non-juvenile male members of the family is also finally recognised by the addition of a “general interest phrase at the end! The full script now reads : -
“Increased page size - larger illustrations. Still only 1/3, published monthly. The "Meccano Magazine" tells you how to get the utmost fun from Meccano, Hornby-Dublo Electric Trains, Hornby Clockwork Trains and Bayko. It also illustrates and describes the latest Dinky Toys, etc., and contains general interest features that appeal to the whole family.”
I'm guessing that these changes point us to 1963 for this version, but I wouldn't bet your mortgage on it!
MECCANO green Toy  Club Card - exterior
MECCANO green Toy  Club Card - interior
Two Boys Design
Two Boys Design
This 'last' MECCANO Toy Club Card is the most problematic in terms of coming to any logical conclusion as to where it fits in the chronology. Let me explain.
On the rear is the identical 'MECCANO Magazine' script to the cards I've dated as being from 1961 and 1962, including BAYKO.
The “general interest” script does not appear.
The front cover only mentions “DINKY TOYS” and “DINKY SUPER TOYS” ‽‽‽
It could be as simple as a decision to have a DINKY ONLY Toy Club Card - but why‽‽‽
If you can see beyond the limits of my little brain and explain / help date this card, then I'd love to hear from you…
I feel a bit self conscious doing so, but [perhaps] I can now answer the my earlier question [above, at the top of this entry]…
…yes, I can get more nerdish…
…so, buckle up, here goes!!!
1960s MECCANO Stationery Order Form - click here for a larger image
This typed, stencil-copied document [left] was used by MECCANO sales reps to help their retailers keep their support stationery stock up to date.
There are two references to the above “Toy Club” card : -
Reference #92011 - “Not overprinted” - of which retailers could have up to 100 “Free of Charge”. Experience tells me that frugal approach usually won out!
Reference #92001 - “Overprinted” - with their business name and address - of which retailers could have a minimum of 100 “for 5/6” [27½ pence] or “1/6 for each additional 100” [7½ pence].
For completeness, there is also a reference [#92020] to a “Bayko Folder”, that I can't specifically identify, but which cost 2/6 [12½ pence] per 100 and which the retailer was supposed to charge -/1 for!!! The only candidate document that I can think of, which could possibly fit the bill, is the standard 'folded' MECCANO BAYKO flier of the period, but I'm far from convinced…
Slide your mouse over the image to highlight both entries.
204 mm x 254 mm = 8 x 10 inches

The Mystery of the MECCANO Era Roof Sizes!

To me, this one is just strange - and doesn't measure up!
Every other BAYKO part measurement I know of is quoted either in terms of the number of holes they include or, in the case of Rods or Pillars, in terms of their height / length, always measured in Bricks…
…here, however, the roof sizes are clearly given with their dimensions in inches…
…so why the sudden switch on these 2 price lists?
The only thing I can possibly think of - and I know it's tenuous at best - is that it may have been intended to interest scratch build modelers in this shortest of circuits.
1962 MECCANO Era Price List
1963 MECCANO Era Price List
MECCANO Era Price List - November, 1962
MECCANO Era Price List - August, 1963
Just for the record : -
Roof A
4½" x 1¾" x 7/ 32"
114 x 44 x 5.6 mm
Roof B
5¼" x 2⅛" x 7/ 32"
133 x 54 x 5.6 mm
Roof C
6" x 2⅝" x 7/ 32"
152 x 67 x 5.6 mm
Roof D
9" x 3½" x 7/ 32"
229 x 80 x 5.6 mm
I'm sure you feel better for knowing that - I know I do!!!

Errors in Conversion Set Contents in Pre-war Manuals - 1935 to 1938

I can't explain exactly what caused this repeated mental aberration on the part of Plimpton - except we know that early set contents were officially changed - so I simply list the errors for your information and enjoyment…
…I've excluded those related to changes in set contents.
Conversion Set #
Part Description
Earlier Manual Contents
Correct Contents
Later Manual Contents
Red Bricks
Half Bricks
Red Bricks
Half Bricks
Turret Floor

Typo in the Earlier Version of the Pre-war 'New Series' Manuals - 1939 to 1940

I don't usually get over excited by typing errors…
…but I couldn't resist this one…
…and this is such a well known one.
In the parts list for one of the pair of models, [right] the “HOUSE and VERANDAH”, shown on page 18 of the first of the 'New Series' manuals, [left of the two] it appears that no less than “8 Green Wnidows” are required to build it!
Page 18 of the earliest version of the 'New Series' manual

Set 15 Leaflets Date Coding

This could be my most nerdish entry yet!!!
When MECCANO launched set #15 in August, 1962 they produced a set of 6, double sided leaflets featuring models which showed off the new range of BAYKO parts…
…but they were a little clumsy on the artwork.
The leaflets also carry printing codes and corporate information at the bottom, within the green strip…
…they state “C Meccano Ltd., Binns Road, liverpool 12, England” on one side…
…and “Printed in England” and “(13/4/62/30)” on the other side.
Model 1 with- Corporate information
Model 2 with printers codes
Model 1 with corporate details.
Model 2 with printer's codes.
You might reasonably expect that each leaflet would have a front and a back…
…and that this would be done consistently on all 6 leaflets…
…so that the even numbered models would all have one type of information…
…and odd numbered models would show the other one…
…but no!!!
The corporate details appear on : -
Models - 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12.
The printer's codes appear on : -
Models - 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11.
Well, I did warn you that this was the most nerdish yet!!!

MECCANO Era BAYKO Set Reference Codes

Apart from the familiar numbering of sets #11 to #15 etc., MECCANO also used different 5-digit codes within their administration systems…
…including codes for Plimpton era leftovers!
You also get the MECCANO era BAYKO retail pack codes, and many, many more, free, gratis and for nothing!!!

BAYKO - “bricks in half lengths”!

No, I've not gone mad…
…nor am I offering extra adverts for Brian Salter's new parts, excellent as they are…
…but 'Games & Toys' announced “bricks in half lengths” in June, 1939
…just 65 years before Brian fulfilled the pledge!!!
For the record, I can only presume the reference was to Long Bricks [and 'angled' Curved Bricks] which are 1½ bricks across, and did in deed break the previous mould whereby parts were available only in multiples of full bricks!

“Confused Trade MECCANO Brochure”!

Page 22 of the 1960 MECCANO brochure / catalogue
The first mention, that I'm aware of, of BAYKO in MECCANO literature, is a somewhat confused affair and could have been included here, but is detailed elsewhere.

“Confused BAYKO Flier”!

The first, somewhat confused leaflet produced by MECCANO in 1960, not long after the takeover, could also very easily have been included in this section, but is detailed elsewhere.
Picture of the 'confused' flier dated September, 1960 - click here for a larger image.

Plimpton's Very First Typo!!!

BAYKO's first Typo - click here for a larger image
A I said above, I don't normally bother about typing errors, but this one did appear in the first ever BAYKO manual and, in deed, contributed to its being reprinted correctly.
Page 27 of the this manual, which was printed in either late 1933 or early 1934, bears the legend : -
This typo was first noticed by Brian Tunstill, or at least he was certainly the first to tell me about it.

Premature Use of White Windows.

This anomaly appears on page 8 of the very first BAYKO manual, the same one that contains the typo above, but, in this case, the error was retained in its later two versions and, in the new style which replaced it, on page 14.
If you look closely at the Windows which form the sides of the porch, you will see that they are white not green…
…these white Windows didn't appear, in the public arena, until the set #6 was launched later in 1935.
Page 8 of the first BAYKO manual showing the incorrect white windows

This Will Definitely Give You the Pip!

Two polystyrene BAYKO Windows from the 1950s showing the different style of pips
Sorry about the heading…
…but at least it's not misleading!
This is something that has only recently been discovered - thanks to Andy Harris for the photo of Gary Birch's parts.
Look at the pips in the corners of the windows in the picture - they are very clearly different shapes and sizes.
The pips were introduced in the mid 1950s to hold the newly introduced glazing.
The smaller pips [left] must have been introduced comparatively late, say 1959, and are the same size that MECCANO used after the takeover.

MECCANO - 'Make Do and Mend' - Window Moulds!

If you view the image [right] taking into account the item above, I hope you'll see what I'm driving at…
…and agree with my conclusion!
I'm sure the MECCANO engineers remodeled the Plimpton moulds for their Large Windows.
The pips for the MECCANO era standard Windows are exactly as the example [above, left], so I'm sure they too reflect a 'Make Do and Mend' approach with the re-use of the Plimpton era moulding.
Thanks to Gary Birch for the photo.
Plimptom era polystyrene and MECCANO era Large Widows with identical pips

A New Look at BAYKO Bases.

Image showing both mould version of BAYKO Bases
Initially I put this information into the page on Bases, but have decided that Nerd's Corner should also be informed.
The image [left] shows two MECCANO era BAKELITE BAYKO Bases, but [thanks to Bob Burgess for the research] could just as easily have been Plimpton era Bases from the 1950s.
The style on the left, with the thinner corner reinforcement, probably emerged slightly earlier than the thicker corner reinforcement style on the right [which also has a strange ribbing along just one edge - see image]. The latter probably coming from a second mould which was needed after sales volumes increased.

'MECCANO Magazine' Caught Cheating!

I know I preface many entries by suggesting that they are strange, but this one really takes the biscuit…
…if you look at this image, you will see that there are several flaws in the photo, which is taken directly from the ‘Architect’ article in the February, 1962 issue of the 'MECCANO Magazine'.
As you can see, the drawing contains several errors : -
One and two-brick square Windows.
Brick patterned Arch.
Brick patterned Curved Bricks.
Strange tile markings on the roof.
A lower Brick course which shows 5 runs of 'engraved' bricks rather than the correct 4!!!
Either the original New Zealand subscriber, or the 'MECCANO Magazine', clearly cheated…
MECCANO MAGAZINE 'Architect' article photo showing several 'cheating' features - click here to see the full article
The small 1-Brick square Window [left of the Arch] and the 2-Brick square Window [front, upper storey] could, if you dodge the colour issue, be achieved using Steps, 'the wrong way round'…
…I certainly can't offer another explanation.
Thanks to Paul Monforth's cousin's daughter, Heather for this interesting suggestion.

Straight Turrets (Long) - Moulding Variations

Two examples of the Straight Turret (Long) with the part number 23 differently orientated on each
I don't think much needs to be said on this one…
…but that's never stopped me before!
Please just take a look at the two Straight Turrets (Long) in the photo [left]…
…you can see that the centrally located, moulded part number, “23”, reads exactly the same on both pieces…
…despite the fact that they are the opposite way round.
Clearly these are two distinct mouldings.
If you are having difficulty reading the numbers, just click anywhere on the image and it will launch a larger version which should make things crystal clear.
I've now checked the other three turret styles, and the results are set out below.
Thanks to Robin Throp for loaning the two pieces for the photograph.

Square Turrets - Moulding Variations

This is getting to be a theme.
It's a little difficult to see on the small image [right], but click on it to reveal a larger version…
…and you should be able to see that it actually shows four different mouldings.
If you look at the part number, “22”, you will notice that they all read exactly the same way…
…despite the fact that the four of the moulds are aligned in different directions.
Clearly these are four distinct mouldings.
Four examples of the Square Turret with the part number 22 differently orientated on each

Straight Turrets (Short) - Moulding Variations

Two examples of the Straight Turret (Short) with B in the the part number 23B different on each
Here the differences are much more subtle : -
The letter, “B”, in the part number, “23B”, moulding is slightly lower on the part at the right hand side of the image. Also, the entire number on the right hand moulding is located slightly farther left.
It is possible, though pure speculation, that the complete mould held four Long and four Short Straight Turrets…
…this would produce a mould of comparable size, though a little smaller, to that required for the four Square Turrets above.
A further key point of interest is that the letter, “B”, in the part number, “23B”, was never referenced, as such, in any BAYKO literature, rather it is universally quoted as, “23S”, the, “S”, presumably being for 'Short'.

Curved Turrets - Moulding Variations

This little section is for completeness…
…I'm afraid I can find no such variability in the mouldings for Curved Turrets…

Wall Capping - Drill or Moulding Pin?

For a number of BAYKO parts there is a doubt as to whether the holes in them were produced by incorporating individual pins into the mould, or by drilling.
Thanks to Andy Harris, we now have evidence that, for Wall capping at least, the answer appears to be drilling.
The image to the right clearly shows damage to this 6-Hole Wall Capping, almost certainly caused by a bungled attempt at drilling the Rod holes through the part.
Unfortunately from a quality control perspective, but thankfully from our perspective, the anomaly has survived to point us in the right direction.
Wall Capping from Andy Harris clearly showing the extra drill marks

Post-War Manual - Corner Ties Anomaly!

Post-war manual set contents showing Corner Ties anomaly
Looking at this image, you see that the contents list clearly says that set #2 contains 5 Corner Ties [not the normal 8] - indeed Andy Harris, who owns it, confirms that the set did contain 5.
This correlation could, of course, be the result of somebody making up the contents to their “correct” level - we'll never know - but there's still a problem explaining this…
…there are two other versions of this manual, neither of which has the error…
…set #2 was launched after the sets #0 and #1, so how did this error spontaneously appear in a later print run?
I am drawn to the conclusion that this must have been the very first version of the 20 page, post-war manual, which was very soon corrected.
This probably means that the 16-page manual was restricted mainly to export and smaller sets and that this version was closely linked to the set #2 launch - what do you think…

Ornamental Additions Sets - Manual Error!

The BAYKO Ornamental Additions Sets were introduced in early 1935 to provide a range of innovative coloured parts, to enhance the appearance of models made from the standard sets.
They didn't get mentioned in the earliest manuals, but had to wait to the following year before the second style of manual referenced them.
The Ornamental Additions Sets were allocated two pages, unfortunately the script on the second page [page 69] contains an error. Interestingly, this error wasn't picked up at the time, and was perpetuated in the later edition of the same style manual.
The script refers to “Red and Oak Arches”
…instead of “Green and Oak Arches”.
Page 69 of the 1936 to 1938 Manual with the mistaken reference to Red Arches

Whatever Happened to the BAYKO Empire State Building?

British Toys article, September, 1956 mentioning the Empire State Building model
This may seem a strange title - if you think so, read on!
Below is a direct quote from an article which appeared in the September, 1956 edition of 'British Toys', a [then] new magazine for the British and European toy trade : -
“In fact, as the wonderful model of New York's Empire State Building shown at the last B.I.F. contained no less than 18,000 "Bayco" standard parts and was 8ft. 6in. in height, we are tempted to say that the system has no limitations whatsoever!”
The question has to be - what model?
BAYKO hadn't been seen at a British Industries Fair [B.I.F.] since 1951, as the attendance lists published in 'Games and Toys' and 'Toy Trader' both testify.
I'm afraid, if there ever was a BAYKO model of the Empire State Building, I can find no other trace of it - until Leo's magnificent effort getting on for 50 years later! As an aside, Leo's model, an abbreviated form [literally] of which is on permanent display in the Museum of Liverpool, was originally over 16 feet tall.
There were certainly models of the Empire State Building in other construction toy systems, such as LOTT'S BRICKS, so perhaps the writer got confused with one of those.
If you know more about BAYKO's Empire State Building, then I'd love to hear from you…

Unusual Brick Courses

The Brick shown here [right] looks, at first glance, like any other 1950s BAYKO Brick…
…but look again!!!
The simulated brick course shown on the right of the Brick is clearly substantially smaller than its counterpart on the left…
…“so what?” you may be tempted to ask!
The obvious explanation is that the 'Brick-Face' surface of the mould probably wasn't slid quite far enough into position…
…but that won't do - this surface would have to be removed vertically away from the brick [or the Brick from it!] or the mould would snag on the 'mortar channels'.
If the 'Brick-Face' moulding had somehow been rotated through 180 degrees, this was apparently predicted, so why not prevent it rather than mould an elongated 'mortar channel' just in case?
If you can help with an explanation then I'd love to hear from you…
BAYKO Brick with offset simmulated brick courses

Confusion in the Pre-War 20s Series Set Contents - Pillars

Set Contents label from set 23
Another one that's difficult to explain!
If you look at the label [left] from the lid of pre-war set #23, you'll see that the set contained 12 Pillars - click on the image to show a larger version which is much easier to read.
I could just tell you that the entry for Pillars is wrong and that there were, in fact, 36…
…but that doesn't really do justice to the facts!
Prior to the launch of the 20s series sets in 1938, the only size of BAYKO Pillars which was available was 3-Brick.
The 20s series sets launched the 1-Brick Pillar, which was, in fact, unique to these sets.
For some reason - perhaps linked to a last minute decision to switch from 3-Brick to 1-Brick Pillars - the printed contents were measured in terms of the equivalent number of 3-Brick Pillars!!!
There's more information on the 1-Brick Pillar anomaly [below]…

A Floor by Any Other Name…

There is no doubt that the way that the different sizes of BAYKO Floors were named definitely escaped the attentions of the consistency police…
…but this one is particularly difficult to explain.
The image [right] is the set #6 contents list from the earliest version of the relevant manual.
It shows a strange Floor, not mentioned anywhere else…
“Large Floor Divided (3 sections)”.
The Large Floor was 15 x 23 holes and I can only assume that the “Divided” version comprised one Small Floor [15x11] and two Extension pieces [15x6] which add up to the same area.
Page x of the set 6 manual appendix with the strange Fllor name

Side Bricks - Mould Variations

The Side Bricks moulding variants
If you look closely at the four Side Bricks [left] you will see that the stubby bit - to use a technical term - of the two lower examples, has an extra vertical piece of simulated brick joint - to me prototypically wrong!
A few people have spotted this anomaly over the years, David Poole and Bob Burgess to name but two, so I can't claim authorship of this one. However, thanks to Robin Throp, I can identify the chronology.
If you look at the Side Brick drawing in every BAYKO manual in which they appear, each one has the extra vertical line in place.
I therefore think that we can safely conclude that these are the original version, with the omission effectively a slight simplification [cheapening!] of the new mould(s). [Now also prototypically correct‽]
Click anywhere on the image to see a larger version if you're having trouble spotting the extra line.
If you know any more about this, or want to offer an alternative hypothesis…

MECCANO Era Roof End 'A' - Mould Numbers

Where a business has the same operation carried out at several points, e.g. multiple moulds such as here, it is regarded as good practice to be able to identify the individual sources, to manage any quality issues which may arise. For example, KELLOGGS can always distinguish the individual bag makers [baggers!] on every packing line.
MECCANO took this to heart - but only, as far as I know, when producing the smallest size of Roof Ends, i.e. size 'A'.
It's not easy to see - click on the image [right] to see a larger version - but the rears of the eight Roof Ends 'A' bear the numbers 1 to 8 and are shown increasing as you rotate clockwise from the top one.
The case for doing it is unarguable…
…but the case for not doing it anywhere else?
8 MECCANO Era Roof Ends type 'A' showing the mould markings 1 to 8

The Case of the Phantom Side Bricks!

British Toys article, September, 1956 mentioning the Empire State Building model
This has to rate among the strangest BAYKO cock-ups of all time - and that's no mean claim! Let's see if you agree.
Side Bricks were introduced in 1950, together with the Side Windows. The Side Windows were 'handed', i.e. had left and right hand versions, the Side Bricks were not - despite what you read next!
Side Bricks and Windows were available for export right from the start, a Flemish language Parts Price List, produced in Belgium, in February, 1950 confirms this.
So what brainstorm, two years later, lead someone to create phantom, handed Side Bricks, complete with spurious, though logical, reference codes, “39R”, and, “39L”, for the right handed and left handed versions, respectively?
Proof-reading and general vetting of any market related literature is normally taken extremely seriously, so it's more than a little surprising to see such a creative cock-up - not just a typo this time!
If you want to find out more about this particular document…
If you read the small print, you may notice that, somewhat unusually, this Price List was printed in “Angleterre” perhaps this incident helped Plimpton to accept their linguistic limitations!
Thanks to Chris Boutal for spotting this little gem.

Left Out in the Cold!

We know that several Plimpton era parts were dropped by MECCANO following the takeover, as part of their plan to modernise BAYKO, but there were a couple of slightly more curious omissions on the part of young Mr. MECCANO.
Crazy Paving and 15 x 5 hole Floors were both maintained on the list of available BAYKO spare parts…
…but they weren't included in MECCANO era BAYKO sets…
…not even set #15!
I've no idea why this should have happened, or what, if any, logic was used to drive the decision, but, if you've got any ideas, I'd love to hear from you…
Apart from rare colour variations like White Turrets, these are the only two examples I can recall of any BAYKO parts not being included in sets, though, for the record, both these parts were included in Plimpton era sets.
Crazy Paving and 15 x 5 hole Floor

When is a Pillar Not a Pillar? When it's a 1-Brick Pillar!

Pre-war spare parts box containing 18 x 1-Brick Pillars.
Oh all right, I admit it's a silly title, but the management of 1-Brick Pillars, by Plimpton, was scarcely rational!
1-Brick Pillars came only in the 20s series sets, and they were managed strangely…
…the contents were listed as 3-Brick Pillar equivalent, e.g. set #21 held 24 x 1-Brick Pillars, listed as 8 Pillars.
There's now evidence that this anomaly extended to the spare parts market as well.
I recently bought a collection with several of the small boxes used to supply pre-war spare parts to retailers. One box [left] contained 18 x 1-Brick Pillars and 3 x 3-Brick Pillars.
The lid describes the content as “white pillars, 6 for 1/-”
…not proof, but strongly suggestive that the box initially held 18 x 1-Brick Pillars.

The Case of the Anaemic Canopy!

Oh all right then, I admit it's a silly heading…
…not for the first time.
However, the silly situation behind this was entirely Plimpton's own work, nothing to do with me.
Just take a look at the two models shown here…
…the “Terrace House” [right]…
…the “House with Sunshine Roof” [left, below].
Both show the same strange feature…
…white Canopies.
Drawing of a Terrace House showing a white Canopy
Drawing of a House with Sunshine Roof showing a white Canopy
I suppose you could just about argue that they have depicted a grey Canopy, which, along with the grey Steps and Crazy Paving, are all depicted as white!
This isn't the only example of nonexistent parts finding their way into the manuals, but it's slightly more surprising that the 'error' here was so long lived…
…it first appeared in the 1948, six page BAYKO leaflet, and continued, on the inside back cover of every example of both sets # 0 to #3 and sets #0 to #4 manuals, right up to the MECCANO takeover late in 1959.

Where did the MECCANO Era Grey Canopy Come From?
…and the 1-Brick Square Windows?

You've probably looked at this MECCANO Flier several times - but not as carefully as Chris Boutal!
If you slide your mouse over the image [right] you'll see a larger image of the model bungalow in the upper right hand corner.
Just take a look at the Canopy which is shown outside the side door of the bungalow - it's clearly Grey.
Plimpton did briefly manufacture Grey Canopies around fourteen years earlier, but, as far as I know, MECCANO never did…
…they may have considered it when planning the flier…
…but they stuck, throughout, to their standard red.
Inside of the MECCANO Flier showing a model which includes a Grey Canopy
Inside of the MECCANO Flier showing a model which includes a Grey Canopy
If you didn't spot the first error which Chris Boutal identified, then you almost certainly won't have spotted the second one either!
If you slide your mouse over the image [left] you'll see a larger image showing the second model bungalow from the right hand side centre.
Just take a look at the garden wall of the property [and the 'simulated cellar' below it] and you'll see that it contains two, rather strange, 1-brick square, MECCANO era style windows…
…or was this a good idea that was dropped by Mr. MECCANO
These too were never made, indeed, until Brian Salter's BAYKO 2000 range appeared, there had never [sadly] been any windows in this size.

Tut Tut Turrets!

Suare Turret, wrongly labelled as a Long Turret
Long Turret, wrongly labelled as a Square Turret
No, you're not imagining it, the Square Turret [above left] really is labelled as a, “Long Turret”, and the Long Turret [above right] is similarly incorrectly labelled, “Square Turret”!!!
In the manual for sets #0 to #3, printed in October, 1950, 4th issue, page 34, which showed the [then] newer, more glamorous parts, was updated to include four new parts, Small Chimney, Opening Window and the Gate and Matching Balustrade. Unfortunately, in doing so, the typesetter didn't know his Turret from his elbow and managed to switch two of the labels around.
The error was quickly corrected, but not before it had been repeated in the February, 1951 version of the sets #0 to #3 manual, 5th issue.
Click on either of the two images [above] to see an image of the full page.

Where's the BAYKO Factory Gone?

Sets #0 to #3 Manual - April, 1954
Address - Liverpool 3
Set #4 Manual - August, 1954
Address - Liverpool 1
Front cover of the April, 1954 set #0 to #3 manual showing the Liverpool 3 address
Front cover of the August, 1954 set #3x manual showing the Liverpool 1 address
Back cover of the September, 1954 set #3X manual showing the Liverpool 3 address
Front cover of the January, 1955 sets #0 to #3 manual showing the Liverpool 1 address
Set #3X Manual - September, 1954
Address - Liverpool 3
Sets #0 to #3 Manual - January, 1955
Address - Liverpool 1
Presumably the management and employees of Plimpton, in 1954, did know where they worked, and how to get there, but they might have been excused if they got a little confused - and goodness knows how Postman Pat coped!!!
If you look [above] at the four consecutive manuals, [in terms of the specified date code], you'll see that the address for the company oscillated over the period - from Liverpool 3 to Liverpool 1, then back to Liverpool 3, then finally to Liverpool 1 again.
Firstly, there's no question that Plimpton moved premises during 1954, from 15, Gibraltar Row, Liverpool 3 to Tabley Street, Liverpool 1.
There are three possibilities as to where the above confusion comes from : -
The date code(s) of the sets #0 to #4 manual and/or the set #3X manual are wrong.
The order for either the set #3X manual, or the sets #0 to #4 manual, was actually placed well ahead of the other manual, before the final date for the move was confirmed.
The address quoted on either the set #3X manual or the sets #0 to #4 manual is simply wrong.
My money is on the latter explanation, with the set #3X manual as prime suspect. The other three manuals have the address printed, up front, actually on the front cover, but, on the set #3X manual, the address is much lower key - much more easily overlooked in other words - in relatively small print, on the back cover. I suspect that the necessary amendment to the previous issue was missed - the printers were probably never even told.

The Case[ment?] of the Curved Windows!

As far as I can tell, only once, do Curved Windows appear in the BAYKO model plans produced by either Plimpton or MECCANO
…I'm not talking about the drawings of the models…
…I'm talking about the plans.
Pretty well every time Curved Bricks are used, there are Curved Windows on the same Rod, and vice versa. As both were introduced in 1938, there are plenty of models in plenty of manuals…
…so why was the Curved Window drawn on only one plan - and even then in only two of the six possible locations?
Curved Bricks may simply have been drawn in preference to Curved Windows because they were easier to draw!
That clearly doesn't tell us why they did it just this one time - and I'm afraid I'm completely lost for an explanation!
For the record, I've cheated slightly - the same Clubhouse model plan actually appears in two 1950s manuals : -
On page 19 of the set #3X manual.
On page 53 of the sets #0 to #4 manual.

Model plan on age 53 of the sets #0 to #4 manual, showing the Curved Windows

I've coloured the Curved Bricks in Red
and the Curved Windows in Green
- click on the plan for more detail.

What Price a BAYKO Manual?

March, 1949 manual cover - unpriced
March, 1949 manual cover - priced
This is odd one. March, 1949 saw the introduction of the first issue of what became the standard set #0 to #3 manual for the next ten years.
As you can see, there is a distinct difference between the above front covers, first noted by Chris Boutal, yet both are from the same issue - one version [left, above] has no price, and one version [above, right] is clearly priced at 1/6 [7½p]!
I'm struggling to find an explanation for this one, but the most likely one is that the order for these manuals was called off from the printer in two or more batches, with the correction being made to the second, or later batches. I think this is much more likely than the price, which remained stable for some years, having been removed at some stage.
A possible alternative explanation, which I don't favour, is that the manuals included in BAYKO sets didn't need to be priced, but those for retail sale did, so two different versions were produced. To me this is a non starter, as surely nobody would be daft enough to introduce such an unnecessary complication into their supply chain, for no identifiable gain.
It's been suggested that the unpriced version may have been intended for export use, but the same counter arguments would apply.
Click on either of the two images [above] to see larger images.
If you want to know more about the March, 1949 sets #0 to #3 manual…
Just for the record, there is a small piece of supporting evidence that these covers are both kosher…
… the word, “INSTRUCTIONS”, curved over the top of the pricing space is, uniquely, in yellow, not the normal white.

Ramping up the Differences!!!

Ramp with unreinforced corner
Ramp with reinforced corner
Oh all right, I admit it's another silly title, but I hope you'll find Chris Boutal's latest spot interesting.
This one's quite simple, the earlier Ramp [above, left] has a simple, unreinforced corner.
In contrast, the later Ramp [above, right] has a modest piece of extra plastic as a reinforcement to help strengthen the corner.
This must have been deemed a success, because almost all Ramps have this modification, including everything from the MECCANO era.

Déja Vu - All Over Again!
OR [at a Stretch]
The Rubber Band Bounces Back!!!

My thanks to Chris Boutal who reminded me about this anomaly - then I got started!
The models shown in all five of these images are basically the same, the only real difference is the restyled MECCANO era roofing in the last two.
The issue is that the model has an unsupported 2-Brick Rod between the two Large Windows and Long Bricks, above the open porch.
This Rod needs to be held in place somehow…
…the [sometimes] recommended method is to use a Rubber Band…
…personally I would recommend clear silicone gel, specifically the clear version and a 1-Brick Rod.
Page 21 of the March, 1949 sets 0 to 3 manual, with no mention of a rubber band
Page 21 of the January, 1957 sets 0 to 3 manual, with mention of a rubber band
Page 24 of the August, 1954 sets 0 to 4 manual, with mention of a rubber band
Initially [above, left] there was no mention of Rubber Bands.
When the first sets #0 to #4 manual appeared, in August, 1954, [left] this omission was rectified - with a boxed script, in black ink, to the left of the model image.
The sets #0 to #3 manual caught up in January, 1957 [above, right]. Here the boxed label is in green ink, to the right of the model.
When MECCANO relaunched BAYKO, their first manual [below, left] they again dropped the Rubber Band…
…but they reinstated it in February, 1961 [below, right]…
…with a boxed script, in green ink, to the right of the model.
Page 16 of the August, 1960 sets 11 to 14 manual, with no mention of a rubber band
Page 16 of the February, 1960 sets 11 to 14 manual, with mention of a rubber band
It's difficult to understand the mindsets that led to these inconsistencies, but I'm afraid it doesn't speak well for the corporate quality standards, or their view of the importance of the BAYKO building public!
Click on any of the five images above to see a larger image of the manual pages.

Bricking it!
How MECCANO Cheated Even More Than Plimpton!

March, 1949 manual, Page 17, showing Yacht Club Boat House model
The Yacht Club Boat House is a BAYKO model built from…
…Plimpton era set #2 [left, right hand model]…
MECCANO era set #13 [below left, left hand model].
The model needs all the Bricks available, i.e. 24 red and 21 white, having already replaced 6 white Bricks with Half Bricks.
However, ideally, the model would use 20 red, the remaining 4 being substituted for what would, logically, be white ones.
Plimpton did this with a red Brick at the right hand side of the wall round the upper terrace and probably another on the opposite side - which isn't actually visible. They also used one at the top back corner on the visible side and probably the equivalent on the opposite side, which, again, can't be seen.
MECCANO didn't really think this through at all…
…having changed the angle of the drawing slightly, they failed to recognise the need to make the Brick on the left hand side of the upper terrace wall a red one, so the walls don't match.
They also replaced the Plimpton red Brick in the top back corner with a white one.
This means they'd have to loose 3 more red Bricks 'out of sight' at the rear or far side of the model, which can't be done in a logical, symmetrical way.
Thanks to Chris Boutal for this super piece of nerdism!
March, 1964 manual cover - priced

Plimpton Goes Green - Well Sort Of!

Page 16 of the January, 1957 sets 0 to 3 manual, with the unusual Green Model Title
Yet again we're into the silly season as far as titles are concerned…
…but that's nothing to the actual detail itself.
If you look closely at the image [left] of page 16 of the January, 1957 sets #0 to #3 manual, you may just notice something a little strange.
The title of the right hand model - “Double-Storey House” - is printed in green rather than the usual black. I can think of no logical explanation, or even an illogical one, so, for once, I'll keep quiet…
…except to say that the anomaly was 'corrected' in the next issue, the 19th.
Click anywhere on the image to see a larger version.
At first I thought that was that, then I began preparing the 20th issue…
…if you look [right] at the title of the right hand model, you'll see that the printing gremlins are at it again!
For some reason more than half of the title line has very clearly slipped to an angle of 10 degrees or so…
…click anywhere on the image to see a larger version…
…I can only assume this to be a legacy of the original green shift, or rather, of the subsequent fix.
Sadly it's another example of poor 1950s printing standards - nobody who actually checked this could have failed to see it.
Page 16 of the August, 1959 issue of the sets 0 to 3 manual, showing the skewed title

Confusion Surrounding the Introduction of Plimpton's Last New Parts

'MECCANO Magazine' [May to August, 1958] carried BAYKO adverts, with a flash saying “Attractive new parts now available from your dealer”.
Unfortunately, Plimpton never specified what they were…
…however, we know from a letter to retailers, that the Opening or Garage Doors emerged in mid 1959, with the T.V. Aerial [plus matching Chimney] and Ramp as the only other candidates.
Quantities of these parts which have come down to us support the premise that they were available for eighteen months rather than just six.
The new parts - excluding the Chimney, which was never identified as a distinct item - weren't mentioned in set contents lists until August [right] and September [below] 1959, when new sets #0 to #3 and sets #0 to #4 manuals, respectively, were introduced.
Page 3 of the sets 0 to 3 manual, August, 1959, showing the sets 0 to 3 contents lists
Page 9 of the sets 0 to 4 manual, September, 1959, showing the sets 3X and 4 contents lists
Both mentioned the three parts in the sets #0 to #3 contents list, but only the Opening Doors in the conversion sets contents list. Sets #3X and #4 were correctly catered for in the set contents list [left].
From this we know that sets #0, #1, #2, #3 and #4 all included one Aerial, though, confusingly, so did set #3X, meaning that those who reached set #4 via the accumulation route got an extra one!
By comparison Ramps were more consistent, with one in sets #2, #3 and conversion sets #1X and #3X and two in set #4.
Opening Doors opted for confusion again. The set contents lists say there was one in sets #1X, #2, #3 and #3X and two in set #4. So where's the confusion? A separate communication to retailers clearly states that there was also one in set #2X!!!

Trial by Ones Piers!

Model of the Pier made from a set 4
March, 1964 manual cover - priced
Thanks to Andrew Twynham for launching me on this one…
…annoyingly, but typically, I built this model several thousand years ago, and didn't notice a thing!
You don't often get four for the price of one - but you do here!
Firstly, the tower on the model [above, left] is topped with two Bay Window Covers, leaving a gap. Why not use the set #4 Pinnacle Platform? My only answer is that, having used lots of red Half and Curved Bricks, the red topping was thought to look better. However, alternatively, this could just be a legacy of the non-inclusion of the Pinnacle Platform in the early set #3X, in 1951.
Secondly, the model clearly has 4 red Half Bricks on the visible side of the tower, so why does the parts list [above, right] only list 3?
Thirdly, if you look closely at the upside down Curved Window at the lower left side of the tower, [left, below] you will see that it has been incorrectly drawn - the cross piece [transom?] has not been drawn.
Finally, why is the red ink always missing from the top left hand corner of the Arch? [below, right]
Section of the Pier showing the incorrectly drawn Curved Window
Part of the Pier model, clearly showing the missing red ink on the Arch

Roof Ends Red?

This is definitely a strange one, not just because the part doesn't exist, but also because nobody ever seems to have noticed!
If you look at the Roof End above the garage doors on the model [right] you can see that it is the same colour as the Arch, Curved Bricks and Bay Window Cover - i.e. Red.
This is the only example I've found of this colour anomaly, and it is difficult to explain. MECCANO clearly demonstrated that coloured Roof Ends can be effective, but Plimpton, from the 1946 Patent Application onwards, never played with anything but white…
except here
…and, in case you hadn't noticed, this is a photograph!
Page 23 of the 1948 set 3 Manual showing the red Roof End

…but That's Another Storey!

Page 4 of the sets #20 to 23 manual with the Story Typo
As I've said before, and may well do again, I'm not normally interested in spelling mistakes…
…but repeating the same error is more noteworthy…
…even if it is just twice…
…but on the same page!
The manual page here [left] is page 4 of the often poorly printed manual for the special series of sets #20 to #23.
In this case, the poor quality control extended to the script.
The two models we are interested in here are in opposite corners of the page : -
Upper left hand model - “Single-Story House with Look-out”.
Lower right hand model - “Double-story House”.
I think it's reasonable, given two identical errors on the same page, to assume that, rather than chance error, we're dealing with a shared inability to spell 'storey', possibly involving three people : -
The original copy writer.
The type setter.
The proof reader.

The Case of the Coarse Course!

This is nice and easy to describe, though not to spot…
…thanks to Gary Birch, again, for his vigilance!
Looking at the model you will see that there is only a single course of red brickwork around the bottom of the model…
…but the parts list for the model is for two red courses…
…and the set only has parts for the double red brickwork!
Another example of the disconnect between the marketing and operational sides of the business - why didn't they actually use a set to build the model? n.b. The image is a photograph!
Page 16 of the 20 page post-war manual showing the model with a single red brick course

Fowl Treatment!

The first post-war manual, page 5, showing the Poultry House
I really don't understand this one at all…
…why go to the trouble of doing the work involved?
If you look at the Poultry House model in the bottom right hand corner of page 5 of the first post-war manual [left] you can see that the Windows have been blacked out.
I can understand that chickens couldn't be allowed to flout war-time blackout regulations…
…but surely this constitutes fowl treatment!
Click anywhere on the image to see the Poultry House in more detail.

Bags of Typing Errors!

I'm afraid I'll never grow out of my love of puns - but sorry for the title.
Those used to sets from the 1950s and '60s will be used to accessories boxes - for Rods, Ties, Links, etc - included in sets. In contrast, pre-war sets, oddly apart from set #4, appear not to have had them.
That makes it difficult to be categorical as to exactly why these cloth bags [right] were introduced.
Early post-war, austerity being the name of the game, even the most basic raw materials were in short supply, including cardboard.
My belief is that, because post-war austerity sets had no internal partitioning, Plimpton needed something to stop the small metal parts rattling around loose in the box…
…cloth bags were their chosen solution…
…cardboard for boxes was in short supply.
Whatever the reason, in this particular case, Plimpton managed to make a typo with the specified quantity of 3-Brick Rods…
…they've marked the contents as 42
…instead of 36.
Over all, there are several variations on the bag theme, including unprinted ones and bags printed at 90° to the orientation shown.
Thanks to Chris Boutal for noticing this, and for the photo.
Post-war accessories bag with type setting error

A Precedent for Everything
An Argument Against Going Green‽

Page 16 of the 20 page post-war manual showing the model with a single red brick course
I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this - you judge!
The earliest Windows were green in name only, but from 1937 on, they were truly green, making this by far the most common colour, particularly the standard post-war shade.
As a result, standard green Windows are worth a few pence.
In complete contrast, white Windows are rare, with white versions of the post-war standard, cruciform windows being particularly rare, worth 100 times [-ish] their green equivalent.
So why am I telling you what you probably already know?
Well, I've just sorted through a job lot of BAYKO I acquired a while ago, including the six Windows shown here [left].
They've been sprayed to change their colour. Thankfully the painter didn't prime them properly, so we can now clearly see his handy work…
…as he sprayed his white Windows green!!!

The Case of the Green Balustrades - Don't Take A Fence!!!

If you look at the image [right] you'll see the “Mansion” model, on the back page of the later version of the 1948 manual - for the record, the earlier version has the identical image.
Clearly visible, right where you'd expect the gate to be, are two Green Balustrades, representing the gate, demonstrating the twelve month plus difference in launch date from the later Gate and Matching Balustrade.
In the earlier, pre-Balustrade days, initially gaps, then Large Windows [by definition green] had been used in manuals.
Were the Green Balustrades there, perhaps, to wean us gradually off the Large Windows?
This anomaly was corrected in 1949 when the standard format manuals emerged. It stayed for four editions until replaced, on the back page, by the Pier model.
Back page of the 1948 manual showing the Mansion with Green Balustrades
This was pointed out to me by
Paul Monforth and his cousin's daughter, Heather.

O-O Gauge Model Railways and BAYKO

Well, I think I've out-nerded myself this time!
Most people think BAYKO is in scale with O Gauge model railways - that's certainly the knee-jerk response.
This is partly based on its production dates, and partly on the models [signal boxes, etc.] in the BAYKO manuals, which were O Gauge.
When it comes to BAYKO models of standard domestic buildings, this is certainly true…
My model railway at the BAYKO Collectors Club Exhibition, 2016 My model railway at the BAYKO Collectors Club Exhibition, 2016
My model railway at the BAYKO Collectors Club Exhibition, 2016 My model railway at the BAYKO Collectors Club Exhibition, 2016
…however, I would like to suggest that, things like railway stations and other public buildings, with their often grandiose, 'over scale' designs, are more effectively tied in with O-O Gauge.
Model railways are big - a statement of the obvious - and, for exhibition purposes, are usually built with a modular design.
This is where a, to me, remarkable fluke kicks in, with a very beneficial effect for the layman model railway builder. Five BAYKO Bases, end to end, or seven, side by side [35 bricks] is exactly ⅔ metre. So what…
…well, PECO Setrack, a must for the amateur railway modeller like me, builds its track in multiples of ⅙ metre lengths [167 mm].
This means that ⅔ metre [2' 2¼" - 4 track units] or 1⅓ metre [4' 4½" - 8 track units] modules can easily be built, with the track fitting perfectly - well to within 0.0125% anyway!!!
The images [left] show some of my modular, O-O Gauge layout, built entirely from standard BAYKO parts, which is extendable to over seventy feet - more than a scale mile!!!
The primary weakness of BAYKO displays at exhibitions is that they are static - this O-O Gauge layout helps change that.
Thanks to Andy Harris for supplying these photographs.

BAYKO Set Pricing Logic?

Marketeers will tell you that getting the price point(s) right for your product is a key marketing skill, part of their mystique…
…it's [almost] all down to 2 [= 1.4142].
So what am I talking about?  Well, if you increase a price by 41.42%, twice, [i.e. multiply it twice by 1.4142] you will double it - and that beautiful simplicity shaped the pre-war BAYKO set price structure.

Price % Increase
on Previous
£.s.d. Decimal
1 7/6 37.5p n/a
2 10/6 52.5p 40.0%
3 15/- 75.0p 42.9%
4 21/- 105.0p 40.0%
5 30/- 150.0p 42.9%
6 42/- 210.0p 40.0%

For whatever reason, this pre-war pricing structure fell apart later, leaving a series of unconnected price steps : -
1930s price list demonstrating the main BAYKO Set prices

Price - 1951 % Increase
on Previous
£.s.d. Decimal
0 15/- 75.0p n/a
1 22/6 112.5p 50.0%
2 37/6 187.5p 66.7%
3 59/- 295.0p 57.3%
4 118/9 597.5p 102.5%

Price - 1962 % Increase
on Previous
£.s.d. Decimal
11 11/3 56.25p n/a
12 19/9 98.75p 75.6%
13 28/3 141.25p 43.0%
14 44/4 221.67p 56.9%
15 75/- 375.00p 69.2%

If you can pick out any pattern in either of the later tables [above], then, “You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!”
Seriously, I'm aware it's undoubtedly the nerdy mathematician in me, but I am overwhelmingly in favour of the mathematical symmetry and simplicity of the pre-war table [left above]…
…I'm happy to accept that I'm sad…
…but then I know that I'm right!!!

The Case of the Amazing, Shrinking Construction Toy!!!

Let me leave you with a final question for you to ponder as you navigate your way around the site.  BAYKO seems to have had a distinct tendency to shrink over its lifetime - why?
Let's take a look at the evidence : -
Set #6 was the largest standard BAYKO set ever produced [1935].
The BAYKO Bases shrank by 56.25% [1939].
Both new Roof introductions were progressively smaller sizes [Small Roofs - 1939 and Flat Roofs - 1946].
Postwar starter set #0 was the smallest standard BAYKO set ever produced [1946].
Even MECCANO, at the takeover, cut the range of parts which Plimpton had gradually expanded [1959].
MECCANO dropped set #4 [1959] but kept set #0 as set #11 [1960].
Have you any suggestions as to what was going on[?]…
…my only idea - growth was sought down market - using easier, cheaper entry points.

I hope you've enjoyed these quirky and, perhaps, interesting items [?].
If you've read this far, you may be interested in a separate page of 'nerdy' information on BAYKO related product codes…
There are also two other 'nerdy' pages you might like to consider…
Below here are links to related info : -
Click on any of the links below for related information.

The 'Flaming BAYKOMAN' site logo

Latest update - August 11, 2022
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