In response to Christopher Ward's comments regarding the relative merits of Meccano and Lego (NCE 28 June). I can only assume he is unaware of the Lego technic beam and connector pin or axle system which enable large trusses to be built very quickly.
I am a member of the online Lego community Lugnet (www. lugnet. com). Mr Ward's letter has led to some interesting discussion among the world's Lego enthusiasts at http: //news. lugnet. com/loc/uk/?
I was taught that there are four main materials used in construction - timber, concrete, masonry and steel. Clearly neither Lego nor Meccano is suitable for modelling timber or concrete construction.
However, Lego is far better at modelling masonry because its basic elements are bricks.
There is little to choose between the two when modelling steel construction.
Meccano may have had an advantage in mechanical engineering modelling before the late 1970s, but these days Lego has a much wider range;
its mechanical elements include differentials, shock absorbers, pneumatic pumps and cylinders, gearboxes, cams and flexible drive shafts.
Lego also has an educational theme called Dacta, which is only available to educational establishments (though if anyone is interested it can be bought at Legoland or by mail order from www. pitscolegodacta. com). Dacta includes solar cells, capacitors and other electronic and mechanical parts along with teaching guides and classroom support.
I am a civil engineer mostly thanks to Lego and I cannot allow such a slight to the Toy of the 20th Century to go unchallenged.
Simon Bennett (G), UK Lego Users Group, SimonBennett@tfl. gov. uk