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Doc's Merkur Classic Set Double Decker Bus

Hi folks, Doc here, with a real treat for all metal construction toy collectors, and especially you Merkur fans.Merkur has produced a new, limited edition collector's set called the No. C01 "Classic." It was designed as something of a tribute to sets from the past, and is reminiscient of a number of bygone systems and sets, including those from Merkur, Meccano, Erector, and other manufacturers. The set is currently selling out in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, but has been unavailable in the United States until now! Here at Girders & Gears we have been lucky enough to acquire a small quantity of these rare gems, and I want to share the set with you in this feature.

Like all sets in the current Merkur line, the Classic comes packed in a thin, cardboard box - the only real drawback - although it is nicely constructed. The cardboard is white on the inside, dark blue on the outside. Parts are packed into two parts tray made from natural brown cardboard of a similar weight. The box has a 1-1/8" deep shoebox style lid that fits down over the bottom of the box. It features a full color label on the top (see image at top of page) with text in both German and English. Inside, a second label depicts all of the parts included in the set (see above). Overall, the set measures 14" long x 10¾" wide x 2 3/16" tall, and weighs in at just under 6 pounds. It is heavy for its size, which is typical of Merkur sets, owing to the high parts count and heavy gauge of steel used in most of the parts (which are heavier on average than comparable Gilbert Erector parts). As with all Merkur sets, this, plus the slightly smaller scale, makes models built with Merkur very solid and sturdy in both appearance and actuality.

The set also includes a 6" x 8" illustrated instruction manual with drawings of 36 different models, some with multiple views and details. The feature model of the set, depicted on the covers of both the box and the manual, is a double-decker bus. Two pages of drawings are devoted to this model. The manual also contains an illustrated parts inventory. Text is in German, English, and Czech.

The two parts trays are shown in the images above. All parts are finished in either bright plating (strips, brackets, etc.), steel gray plating (base plates), or "antiqued" bronze colored plating (wheels, pulleys, car trucks, etc.). All larger parts are attached to the cardboard parts trays with round brass headed "t-clips." Smaller parts are packed in cardboard part boxes, one per tray. All screws, nuts, and other small hardware are packed in four bright metal part cans, each of which has a color label glued onto its top.

Over the next several months I will be presenting models built with the Classic set here at Girders & Gears - watch for them. And, if you'd like to own one of these wonderful sets, hop over our Store and buy one while they last.

Well, as promised here the first model from this terrific set, the double decker bus (featured prominently in the box and manual cover art. The final model is compact (13" x 8" x 4¾"), sturdy, heavy (4 pounds of solid metal), and makes yet another gorgeous display piece. As seen in the photos below, it is set off by a very nice design coupled with the signature feature of this set, the triple metallic color scheme of the parts: bright plating, gun metal grey paint and antique bronze paint. The model features:

  • detailed cab with driver's seat, foot pedals and steering wheel
  • six seats on the enclosed lower deck
  • double-sided bench seat on the open upper deck
  • suspended stairway to upper deck at the rear
  • pivoting front axle and rotating wheels
  • opening cab doors and hood
  • detailed engine

Note: It's interesting to compare this model to the Gilbert Erector double decker bus from the Classic period - look in the Model Gallery for my "1928 No. 7½ White Truck ."