The Wingrove Workshop
News & Comments

August 2017

Many many years ago, before the age of plastic everything, and the most

popular construction toy on the market was ‘Meccano’ there were also

several other similar systems in competition with it.  None ever manages

to knock it off it’s preeminent position as the favorite of all who had

aspirations to ‘make something. Part of it’s popularity was due, no doubt,

to the fact that the only tools that you needed to work with it was a screw

driver and a small spanner.

However some of the competition attempted to take things a stage further.

One of these was the Prestacon,  This consisted of a small press, a number

of tools to use in it and some blank sheets of metal, lengths of angle and

sundry fittings and wheels.  Among the press tools, were some for

punching holes, bending plate and cutting plate and angles.

The main difference between the Meccano kits and the Prestacon, was that

with the Meccano all the parts were already provided with the holes sufficient

to bolt the parts together and make what you will.  With the Prestacon kit,

you were able to punch out just the holes that you needed to make what you

will.  Although you could make representations of almost anything with both

kits, it all looked as though  it was shot through with a 12 bore shot gun

when made with Meccano, as all the parts were perforated with holes.  The

same item made with the Prestacon kit could be made much more realistic. 

However the down side was that, that was the end of the line, the parts had

been used up and were not very reusable.  With the Meccano kit of standard

parts, they could be reused over and over again.

When I first starting creating automobile miniatures there appeared to be three difficult steps to overcome.  Ribber tyres - wire wheels, and the louvred hood.  As my subject were almost all pre 1940, ,the louvred hood featured on most of them, so where to start.

Tyres and the wire wheels were first conquered, then some one offered my a second hand Prestacon, and I had the answer for the louvres, with a little modification.  Almost all of the 1/20th scale models have sets of straight louvres of uniform size, so a simple press tool, male and female halves and an adjustable stop was all that was required and the Prestacon provided most of that.  It did require a separate press tool to be made for each subject with a different width of louvre, but there were surprisingly few of those in the early models.

Then came the 1/15th scale miniatures and the P3 Alfa Romeo in particular - The larger scale required - for me - that the louvres were cut-though and not just pressed to shape,  -  but the P3 had a set of tapered louvres on the top of the hood, and several different sizes on the sides, in all 32 different lengths of louvre -  so a different solution was required rather than make 32 separate press tools, and then trying to match them all together.

I took the Prestacon apart and decided that the cam action was very neat and powerful and would be ideal as the basses for a new press, the rest of it being too small to do all that I thought I might possible need to do so scrapped it.  Then came the idea of the tin opener, a revolving cutter, small diameter so less pressure needed to make the cut, and rolling between set stops to provide any length of cut - louvre.  So was born the Louvre Press.

As can be seen in several of the Build Projects, and now in the Current Projects, which takes it apart, it has been a very versatile tool that has answered all my my needs for hood louvres over the years.

For those interested in tool design and took an interest in the tools that I created for the first Falls of Clyde Centre Section model.  Check them out and you will see that I used the same powerful cam action for several of them.

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An After Sales Service to my book readers

Should you have found inspiration, ideas, or just picked up new techniques from my books, plans, and/or web site Galleries, and have photos of your work built as a result, and would like to give me the honor of showing them to others here, please drop me a line, and I will let you know how to proceed.


NOTE - Very poor photo copies of some of my books (among a number of others) have been sold on eBay as originals, and eBay, up to this point in time, are protecting the criminals, even though they have ample evidence of my copyright infringement. Should any one have had dealings with- Nicholas Thomas alias - phantomoftheauction09 - and/or  Michael Thomas alias plaininspain9 - or anyone else passing off fake copies of my books, I would be most pleased to hear from them.  eBay UK have now removed both of the above individuals, from their web site, but will not, as yet, provide me with the details I need to put them permanently out of business.  Until they do my advice is DO NOT SHOP FOR BOOKS ON eBAY-UK - Go to AMAZON and get satisfaction.


I am often asked about the availability of plans.  The following web sites have been brought to my attention, and I am pleased to pass them on here. Some of my own plans are available in my books.  For details, click on the ‘Books’ button on the ‘Home Page’



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The Prestacon

The Louvre press../P3_Alfa/Gallery-1.html