Being a fan of anything mechanical and of mini beasts, as soon as I spotted the Meccano MeccaSpider I knew it was meant to have a home in our house. Aimed as a build product for anyone aged 10 years and over, I was put in charge of construction of this mechanical arachnid whilst my soon to be 8 year old son got to take control of the finished beast.
The Meccano MeccaSpider is quite a complex build, the set comes with 291 parts, 2 hand tools, sticker sheet, MeccaSpider Brain Module, IR Sensor module, 2 Smart Motor Modules and a comprehensive instruction manual.
The Meccano MeccaSpider took me about 2 hours to put together, and you will need 5 x C (LR14) batteries to operate this rather wonderful robotic spider.
We’ve built a few different Meccano sets over the last couple of years and the instructions are fairly clear and each step offers a parts list with size identification for the various screws required as well.
There’s a construction tips section at the front of the instruction booklet and that’s definitely worth looking at properly on your first build to ensure parts are connected and tightened correctly. I do find that even then, nuts can start unthreading when the Meccano MeccaSpider has been played with for some time, so we’ve got into the habit of checking all the fixings before my son starts playing with it again.
The first part of the Meccano MeccaSpider build is the main body of the robot along with the articulating leg joints. It’s a shame that there isn’t a track to feed the controller cables through as you assemble this core of the beast. I realised just in time, that as I was screwing the top of the casing down, that I was actually trying to screw through one of the cables which had moved. Thankfully I realised before any lasting damage was done, but it’s worth being aware, be very careful of where the cables are at all times.
It might also be a good idea to have another pair of hands available when fixing the Meccano MeccaSpider Brain Module and IR Sensor Module at either end of the body. It would make construction a bit easier, but I did manage without.
Once the body is constructed it’s time for the more tradition Meccano build as you put the eight legs together to see the robot really come to life.
I did end up with one less screw of a specific size so I had to use a slightly smaller screw on one of the Meccano MeccaSpider front antenna. It doesn’t affect the play potential of the robot but does mean that sometimes the antenna aren’t in line with each other. My son hasn’t really noticed this at all either.
Once the robot is complete, add the stickers to the top and you are ready to go.
This is no tiny creepy crawly. The Meccano MeccaSpider is a real beast, at approx 52cms long from the base to tip of the antenna, and approx 40cms wide. It stands approx 18cms tall. So you do need a bit of space to see him at his best.
Once built the Meccano MeccaSpider is turned on by pressing a button on the underside of the Brain Module.
It’s then controlled via the buttons on the top of the module. You cal also control the Meccano MeccaSpider via the free Meccano education app, although my son hasn’t wanted to try that as yet. He’s been more than happy just with the spider itself.
The brain module features a 5 light display, the lights change colour depending on the play mode selected.
There are 7 different play modes and a Venom Attack game to play. in Autonomous Mode the Meccano MeccaSpider moves by itself and acquaints itself with its surroundings. My son loves this mode, as he can literally just turn the robot on and sit back and watch what he does. The robot will play songs and make sound effects and this is its starting mode.
In Prowl Mode you just press the Forward Button on the Brain module five times and the robot will move around quickly and attack as he hunts his prey.
Excitement mode sees the Meccano MeccaSpider play songs and scurrying around. When the IR Sensor in the spiders head sees something new, nine times, it will trigger this mode.
Reclusive Mode is when the MeccaSpider backs away from potential threats, like 7 year old boys! But be careful, if you scare it too much it might just go on the offensive and attack, as my son has found out. If you press the Backward button 5 times the robot will enter the reclusive mode.
Wild and Wacky Mode is activated by pressing either the left or right buttons 5 times, watch as the MeccaSpider can’t decide which way to go as it explores its surroundings.
There are two levels of Guard Mode – Basic and Patrol. The Guard Mode button in the central button on the Brain Module, and you toggle between the two options each time you press the button. In Basic Guard mode the MeccaSpider waits until the IR senses movement and then it attacks. In Patrol Guard mode it will patrol the area and as soon as it senses movement it then attacks.
If that’s not enough there is also a Games Mode where you copy light sequences to play the game and move levels. We’ve not explored this option yet, so I can see already that the Meccano MeccaSpider will keep my son amused for a long time to come as there are so many play options available.
Something else we haven’t tried yet is the Venom Attack game. There is a water reservoir on the underside of the IR sensor, which hold 15ml of water. Fill it, and click back into place and you are ready to play the game.
To play this game you sit in a circle around the Meccano MeccaSpider whilst it turns around in the middle, who will it decide to attack with its water venom?
We’ve played with our Meccano MeccaSpider on carpet and laminate flooring and it’s moved just as well on both. It’s been a really big hit here and I’m hoping it will keep the real spiders at bay! I’ve included my amazon Affiliate link below for your reference, it would make as great family Christmas present in my opinion.
disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review