BAYKO Nerd's - Questions and Answers


I don't know whether, like me, you fully accept, or even welcome, the 'BAYKO Nerd' label, or were just attracted by the quirky name - either way, you're welcome! For the record, I graciously accept full 'BAYKO Nerd' status! Between this page and 'Nerds Corner' the objective is to cover anything and everything, from the proverbially sublime to the ridiculous…
Here the contents, in no particular order, are intended to answer those questions you never quite got round to asking. I hope you enjoy them - please don't hesitate to help add more to the list…
I freely confess that many of my answers are opinions rather than absolute facts - would you accept “beyond reasonable doubt”

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why are the '2nd ends' of End and Side Bricks a flat plate not a standard rod groove?
Side and End Bricks showing how the '2nd end' flat plate could be used
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer One possible answer is to enable the brick to form the end of two walls by allowing bricks to be aligned at right angles to both ends. However, I believe the answer is simpler.
Apart from generating a small material saving, the design Plimpton adopted allowed the mould to be made in two parts, not three, which the Rod groove would necessitate, thus yielding a significant cost saving, while allowing the brick to fall out of the mould more easily, slightly speeding up the production process. The alternative approach of grinding the groove in a separate operation would have been even more expensive in terms of both materials and labour.

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why are Long Bricks and Side Bricks only available in Half Brick height?
Side and Long Bricks
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer This was a pet hate of a friend of mine, the late Leo Janssen. However, I think the answer to this one is quite simple. The volume Plimpton or MECCANO [Long Bricks only] produced of these brick types was relatively small, there being relatively few in any particular BAYKO set.
Producing additional full height versions of these two brick types would have required the production and maintenance of two moulds instead of one, and management of four stock lines instead of two, in each case…
…and all, probably, for near zero extra revenue!

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question What Other Variants of BAYKO Bricks Would be Useful?
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer My pet wish would be for half brick height End Bricks and the pre-war Corner Bricks. Why? Well, if you want to construct a decorative [red and white] border at the top of the building, or between floors, the pattern has to stop when it hits the corner of the model - unless you get the hacksaw out!
I'm aware that this would have required extra moulds and stock items to be managed…
…but this time, there's a real need, particularly with larger models, even if it is only for me!
I would claim there are precedents for such decoration in the ornamental brickwork used throughout the ages.

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why did Plimpton change the style of bases when they launched the 'New Series' sets?
2 Pre-War Bases with a Brick positioned to highlight the missing row of rod holes
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer Again I believe the answer to be simple. Having gained experience of the new parts in the 20s series sets, Plimpton will have found that Curved Bricks, when used around a corner or with a Bay Window Cover, and the [then] proposed Long Bricks and Large Windows, create a potential problem at the junction between bases where there's a missing row of rod holes.
This didn't matter earlier, when, except effectively where the 'reverse brick' wall junction is employed, every BAYKO part was 1 brick wide [except for Arches - or 3 bricks wide] but it could cause major complications with the new parts which are 1½ bricks long - and no holes to put the rod in!

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why do the early, pre-war Bases have an odd number of holes in each direction?
2 joined large Bases 7 Bricks wide with a Brick spanning the join
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer The answer is that you need an odd number of holes to cater for a full number of bricks. [3, 5, 7, 9, 11, etc.]
As the gap between adjacent bases has a missing row of rod holes and is thus 1 brick wide, you always had a full number of brick slots available, no matter how many bases you joined together…
…remember Long and Curved Bricks were things of the future, so only the use of the 'reverse brick' could knock you off the full brick orientation. Of course, early Roofs also measured in full bricks, so that would bring you back to a 'full brick' count.

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why do the later BAYKO Bases have an even number of holes in each direction?
2 joined small Bases with a Bricks highlighting the join and a half brick width gap at the right
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer This is slightly more problematic. However, each single base could accommodate 4½ or 6½ bricks, depending on which way you build. When you add another Base, you add the capability for a further 5 or 7 bricks, because the 'wasted' quarter brick gaps, at the edges of both of the Bases, come back into play.
This means that there is always a ½ brick width left over, no matter how many bases, in whatever combination you join them together.
Well, at least it's consistent - which is probably the point!

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why did Plimpton introduce ½-Brick Rods, without reducing the number of 1-Brick Rods?
Seaside Pierrot Stage, on Page 6 of the 1947 Manual, showing 1-Brick Rods controlling half brick high structure at the front of the stage area though the diagram below says 1-Brick Rods
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer I suppose I could try and be clever and say that they might otherwise have increased the number of 1-Brick Rods in the sets - but I could never prove that, even if I believed it.
However, if you look at the 2 versions of the first post-war manuals, you will see ½-Brick Rod confusion. Both versions had photos of models showing only ½-Brick Rods but both had plans showing only 1-Brick Rods, however, they had different parts list, with only the later version mentioning ½-Brick Rods.
The photo [left] shows exactly this, with ½-Brick Rods in the model, yet the diagram below clearly specifies 1-Brick Rods for the half brick high Curved Bricks across the bottom of the diagram - you work it out!
The answer as to why they added ½-Brick Rods, without reducing the number of 1-Brick Rods seems to be - to make sure there were enough 1-Brick Rods to build all the published models - probably!
You could also argue that at least it would give Plimpton minor savings in the larger sets #3 and #4, which had not been launched at that point.
With BAYKO's operating scale of roughly 1:42, a half brick high BAYKO wall or barrier equates to almost 16 inches - common enough - and they would certainly look better when built with ½-Brick Rods, so…
…that's about as close as I can get to an answer I'm afraid.

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why were Left and Right Steps and Platforms dropped in favour of Straight Steps in 1939?
The original parts, left and right steps and platform, on the left and straight steps on the right
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer Conjecture again, I'm afraid, but, fairly easy to justify. A cursory examination of architectural styles would show that the use of external steps hanging off the exterior walls was really a throwback to the 19th century. More modern, 20th century buildings rarely, if ever, do that, and C.B. Plimpton would certainly have wanted to keep BAYKO up to date…
…especially if it meant he could reduce, by 67%, both the number of moulds he needed to use and the number of stock lines he had to manage, to say nothing of the significant raw material savings he generated!
They are also more versatile, and more realistic, in more modeling scenarios.

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why are Bay Window Covers the thickness they are?
The Sunshine Shelter as illustrated on Page 5 of the 20s series sets launched in 1938
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer One of the earliest models using Bay Window Covers was the Sunshine Shelter, shown [left] in the 20s series set manuals. This shows Bay Window Covers and Curved Windows running horizontally on top of the model, providing a fully glazed 'sunshine' roof.
The thickness had to fit into the gap which is normally left to allow the BWC to fit snugly against a BAYKO brick wall. This gap is half a brick's width, minus half a rod width, so the BWC thickness had to be designed to fit into this gap!

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why did Plimpton [and MECCANO] change the letters which identified their conversion sets.
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer We are definitely in the realms of educated[?] guesses here, rather than absolute certainty, but, as you well know, that's never stopped me before!
Original sets, from 1935 to 1938 - Plimpton labelled their BAYKO conversion sets 1A, 2A, etc., almost certainly because the earliest sets were initially referred to as Accessory sets.
A for Accessory [or some variant of Addition?]
'New Series' sets emerged in 1939, the conversion sets were completely different from those above and so had to be distinguishable and were called 1C, 2C, etc.
C for Conversion?
Post-war sets changed again, so a further distinction was needed. Plimpton went to the back end of the alphabet and the conversion sets were called 0X, 1X, etc.
X for eXtra, eXpand, eXpansion, eXtend, eXtension, eXtrapolate or eXtrapolation‽
MECCANO, I believe, simply slipped back into their own familiar terminology [as used in MECCANO's own sets] and named their conversion sets 11C, 12C, etc. -
C for Conversion?

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Which MECCANO era, set #14 model was impossible to build with a set #15?
Heliport model on Page 17 of the MECCANO era Manuals
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer The answer is simple - the Heliport - shown on page 17 of the standard MECCANO era sets #11 to #14 manual. The reason, however, is slightly more obscure…
MECCANO provided a pair of the largest size Roofs ['D'] in set #14, but, in set #15, they only provided one, which was partnered by a Dormer Roof piece…
the one with the hole
…and I'm sure health and safety would have had something to say about that hole!
There are plenty of other models requiring two 'D' Roofs, but these could all have been modified slightly by using the Dormer Roof and Dormer Window Unit.
Thanks to eagle-eyed Chris Boutal for spotting this one.

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question What scale were BAYKO Building Sets?
Helmeted policeman alongside BAYKO Doors
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer Firstly, there was never an officially published scale for BAYKO building sets…
…but, can we estimate one?
BAYKO was linked for many years with O-Gauge model trains [1:43.5 in the U.K.] and DINKY TOYS [1:43], and it never looked out of place - far from it.
Probably the most logical component to refer to when calculating BAYKO's scale is the Door. If you take the Door height as representing a standard 6 feet 6 inches, the scale emerges as 1:41.6, though, if you base it on a standard of 2 metres, the scale is 1:42
…however, if you do similar calculations based on a Door width of 2 feet 9 inches, the scale is 1:44
…for the record, it's a fair cop[!], but I do know that I've sidestepped the question of the door frame!
Although, perhaps, inconclusive, there's clearly nothing here to break the link with O-Gauge - thank goodness BAYKO has no rivets to count!
Thanks to Jean-Paul Cammaerts, from Belgium, for prompting this one.

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why did MECCANO retool the BAYKO roofing system?
Models showing the contrasting roof styles
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer Well, there are several possible explanations, all of which tend to support the decision.
Firstly, and probably the initial trigger, was modernisation. The Plimpton era one-piece roof was firmly rooted in the 1930s and the new MECCANO era four-piece unit was much more 1960s style - if you can use the word style in connection with 1960s architecture!
Secondly, was the reduction in raw materials achieved. E.g. the complete MECCANO era 'D' Roof unit weighs only 86 grams [3 ounces], the equivalent Plimpton era Large Roof weighed in at 223 grams [8½ ounces], a 60% saving.
Lastly, the new roofs facilitated a complete packaging revamp. A MECCANO era set #14 took up 58% less volume than its Plimpton equivalent set #3, a substantial transport saving - yet the 67% larger top surface, had a far greater visual impact in the toy shop, much to the delight of the marketeers, no doubt.
I have to hand my unreserved congratulations to Mr. MECCANO, he definitely got this one right…
…makes a pleasant change…
…but, there's always a but, it made the creation of an updated version of the Gable Roof more difficult.

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Why is the BAYKO Span Five Bricks Long?
Small model tower, on Spans, set at an angle to the Bases
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer The simple answer is, I've no idea - but there are occasional examples in BAYKO manuals of bricks being used diagonally, creating an interesting design detail within a larger model.
Think back to your maths lessons and the rightangle triangles so beloved of Pythagoras. You may remember the 'smallest' such triangle, with whole number sides, was a “3 x 4 x 5 triangle”
…5 being the hypotenuse [the long side, opposite the rightangle]…
…was this 5 [brick] long hypotenuse BAYKO's next venture into angled building…
…was this why the Span's length was settled at five bricks?
If you look at the model [left] - BAYKO Bridge House - a small structure supported on Spans, you'll see exactly what I mean in terms of building at an angle - the difference in the angles of the three Steps shows it particularly well.
I suppose you could also ask the same question about the MECCANO era Shop Window, so…

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Who started calling me the 'BAYKOMAN'?
My in my trademark jumper
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer This is easy - I don't know specifically who started it - but I do know how it started.
Several millennia ago, I became a regular punter on the toy fair / swapmeet circuit, travelling as far north as Tyneside, as far south as Reading and Sandown Park.
At that date, I'd already been working for KELLOGGS for some years, and, if you learn nothing else working for a company like that, you learn that - “It pays to advertise.”
So I invested in my [now] trademark jumper [left] [actually, at some of the summer shows I've attended, sweater would have been more appropriate!!!] - after all, I had a large [too large!] portable billboard space available, free!!!
The jumper was knitted for me by a contact made through the wool shop in Hazel Grove.
Anyway, I digress! Stall holders [most of whom still didn't know my name] who came across BAYKO items  would think to themselves - “I know, I'll take it to such and such swapmeet for… for… for the BAYKO man…
…and it just seemed to stick.
n.b. You should know, that this photo was taken well into the future…
…I'm still much younger!!!

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question What on earth is this‽
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer It's called an 'Interrobang', although, personally, I prefer to use the [equally correct] 'Interabang'.
It's simply a combination of '?', a standard question mark, giving the “intera” bit…
…and an exclamation mark '!', which was widely known among printers as a “bang”
…and I rather like it!
Oh yes, it's used [at the end, of course] when the sentence you want to emphasise is actually a question…
…well would you believe it‽
To get technical for a moment, the 'Interabang' html codes are : -
html code  =
 ‽ [which I use]
html entity  =
 not currently defined

BAYKO logo style Letter Q for Question Again, what on earth is this‽
BAYKO Logo style Letter A for Answer It's called an 'Ellipsis' and it is used routinely in published works where the rest of a sentence or thought is so obvious and / or familiar that it can simply be replaced with the 'Ellipsis'…
…it can also be used, as I just have, to indicate that the two ideas, [before and after the 'Ellipsis'] though distinct, are linked in a continuing, logical stream of thought'…
…and, again, I like it [as you probably noticed!]
To get technical for a moment, the 'Ellipsis' html codes are : -
html code  =
 ₀ [which I use]
html entity  =

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Latest update - August 11, 2022
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