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Doc's Merkur-Built Gilbert Erector Models

Hi folks, Doc here. As I discuss in my feature on Merkur Construction Sets, instruction manuals are one of the only weak points of these sets. Merkur manuals typically depict only a fraction of the number of models that their Erector counterparts do. In some smaller sets, the "manual" may be limited to a single page or two, or even to just the photos on the outside of the box (although these photos are sufficient to build the small, simple models they represent).

Of course, in all cases, just as with Erector, each Merkur set will build many more models than its manual may illustrate, as many as the builder can dream up! Of course, the builder can also "borrow" designs from other sources, such as Erector itself. So, if you own Merkur and run out of ideas, pull out (or purchase) an old Erector or Meccano manual and go to it!

For Part I of this "kit-bashing" exercise, I chose two completely different Erector models to work from. My goal was to duplicate, as closely as possible, the original Erector design, so I chose models that were largely composed of parts for which there were very close equivalents in the Merkur inventory. And, as the photos below will attest, the results are dead on, although smaller (about 2/3 the size), and more colorful (owing to the variety of painted parts in the Merkur system).

The first model is the Mysterious Walking Robot from the No. 12½ "Master Builders" Erector Set. Although I opted not to motorize the Merkur version, it rolls smoothly, the legs "walk" properly, the arms swing, and the eyes light up, just as they in the Erector original.



The second model is the Delivery Truck from the No. 6½ "Electric Engine" Erector Set. As you can see by comparing the illustration from the Erector manual with the photos of my completed Merkur version, the two are nearly identical. To keep the colors as consistent as possible, I did use girders (hole strips) laid side-by-side for the roof of the truck rather than plates, as the Erector original does. And speaking of the roof, it is a hole or two lower than its Erector counterpart.