I am not a spider fan but I knew when I saw it that the boys would love the Meccano MeccaSpider. We have done a few Meccano kits before but nothing quite as adventurous, so I will admit to the 10+ age recomendation worrying me a little. I have discovered Meccano is not my strong point! Luckily Kyle (just 10) was much more intuitive at putting it together than I was.
The Meccano MeccaSpider is a robotic creepy crawly that can be controlled using built-in buttons, or with the free Meccano app! Not only is it a great STEM activity to construct, the MeccaSpider comes with built-in games that the whole family can then enjoy.
The Meccano MeccaSpider comes with 291 parts, 2 hand tools, 1 decal sheet, MeccaSpider brain module, 1 IR sensor module, 2 smart motor modules and instructions. The MeccaSpider took us 3-4 hours to put together, longer than the time it said. I think this was because we had to take a couple of bits apart and re do after being a bit too keen. So my advice would be to carefully check you have the right colour before putting things together. That being said the colour instructions are easy to follow and nothing was too difficult to fix together.
We did need an extra pair of hands to make sure some of the screws and bolts were tight enough and for fixing the Meccano MeccaSpider Brain Module and IR Sensor Module at either end of the body.
Once the body is constructed you start to put together the eight legs. This bit was a little easier and Kyle was keen to be left to do it himself.
I was pretty pleased when we finished the build (after trying to keep the toddler away from not really helping!) and the boys were super excited to actually make the MecaaSpider move. You need 5 x C (LR14) batteries which aren’t included so don’t forget to get them first like I did!
Once it is built the MeccaSpider measures 46 cm long by 41 cm wide by 19 cm tall and it is not light!
The MeccaSpider features an IR sensor that detects movement so it can engage, pursue and apprehend whatever target enters its path. It’s controlled via the buttons on the top of the module. You can also control the Meccano MeccaSpider via the free Meccano education app, although we haven’t tried that yet.
There are 7 different play modes and a Venom Attack game to play.
Autonomous Mode The Meccano MeccaSpider moves by itself and acquaints itself with its surroundings. My boys love this mode as they can turn him on and watch what he does. The first few times they both jumped up on the sofa, feet up! It plays songs and makes sound effects.
Prowl Mode 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 The Meccano MeccaSpider play songs and scurries around. When the IR Sensor in the spiders head sees something new nine times, it will trigger this mode.
Reclusive Mode The MeccaSpider will become cautious backing away from potential threats. Be careful because if you scare it too much it might just go on the offensive and attack, as the boys found out. If you press the Backward button 5 times the robot will enter the reclusive mode.
Wild and Wacky Mode Activated by pressing either the left or right buttons 5 times, watch as the MeccaSpider is happily confused turning around and exploring it’s surroundings.
Guard Modes – Basic Guard Mode the MeccaSpider waits until the IR senses movement and then it attacks. Patrol Guard Mode MeccaSpider will patrol the area and as soon as it senses movement it will attack whatever it sees.
There is also Games Mode which we haven’t yet explored. There is so much to keep them entertained this will be a toy that definitely lasts!
Repeat After Me – A copying game based on the lights which increases in difficulty. If you don’t get them all right the MeccaSpider will attack.
Venom Attack – The boys are desperate to try this one out but we need to do it when Ava isn’t around as the spider is not her favourite thing at the moment. You need to fill the water reservoir on the Meccaspider and then sit in a circle, very still. The MeccaSpider will turn around in a circle at random, but you never know when MeccaSpider will stop turning and whether you will get sprayed with “venom”. If it stops and doesn’t “attack”, then it will start turning again, but beware, the “venom” can get you at any time!
We’ve played with our Meccano MeccaSpider on carpet, tiles and wood flooring and it moves well on all of them. I think it would make a really popular Christmas present for those hard to buy for tweenagers. It’s been a big hit here!