By Frans van Cuilenborg
I just finished my Billy built with the 4 kits from Roundhouse. All in all it is a kit not so difficult a kit and I will recommend it both to newcomers (as I was) and more advanced builders, because it is a very nice loco and it behaves very well. The manuals included with the kits are very well written and tell you how to build everything.
The first kit (HBK1) builds the chassis and all running parts. This is straightforward but I will point out three things which may require some attention.
- When mounting the coupling rods make sure that there is no binding at any point. This requires some filing but it pays off to do this correctly. The same is for the connecting rod, eccentric rod and the radius rod.
- Be very precise when timing the valves and when drilling the hole for the pin that locks the return crank. The return crank is the only part of somewhat poor quality. I had to bend it before it fitted correctly.
- Be very careful when mounting the expansion link bush and the penguin bracket. I was a little too hard and broke the da** thing. I e-mailed Roundhouse and with no questions asked I got some replacements free of charge. A plus for Roundhouse its excellent service. In this step I also mounted the manual reversing lever arm. I did all the test-running without the radio control installed.
The second kit (HBK3) contains all the parts for the boiler, safety valve, pressure gauge, gas tank, tank for cylinder lubrication and all pipes. Be careful when bending the pipework. I just used some round nose pliers, which worked well for me. After finishing all this it was time for some trial runs. I filled water, lubrication oil and gas, oiled all the running parts very well and lit the burner, all as described in the manual. Surprise, surprise when the pressure reached 40 psi I opened the steam regulator and… it was running. I had the loco running for about 5 hours forward and 5 hours backwards. It was only running on wooden blocks so there was no resistance but all the running parts were “settling in”. I did not use air because I did not have any correct couplings. I am also a little unsure about the lubrication when using air in stead of steam.
Now it was time to fit (HBK12) the radio control equipment, which was done without any problems. All necessary parts come with the kit.
To finish the whole loco I used kit (HBK5) containing all the body parts. No particular problems were encountered except the painting work. I only had used airbrush painting but now I used spray cans. Therefore I had to paint the whole body twice before I was satisfied, specially because the use of two colours which made everything a little more difficult or at least a lot of more work.
I have mounted the following extras:
- Summerland chuffer. Be sure to buy the correct one because Billy has two exhaustpipes. I also bought the chuffer where you can change the sound level and amount of steam. The chuffer can be installed when installing the smokebox. No problem encountered.
- DJB whistle. I wanted to have the whistle mounted correctly in front of the cab and not under the loco. This gave me some problems when using the battery box provided from Roundhouse. The steam outlet for the whistle sits on top of the steam regulator and builds quite high. I found some rechargable batteries in my left-over box and these were much thinner then the non-rechargables. I also modified the battery box to just being a strip of metal.
- A Slomo device from Small Steam Performance. This device was fitted in about half an hour without problems, but I could not fit the cover on top of the Slomo because the weight shaft provided by Roundhouse is bent and not straight. I left the cover off which is not a big deal.
The name of my railway is «Aursmoen LokalBane» or in English “Aursmoen local railway”. I live in Aurskog, where Aursmoen is a smaller area. The transfer was made by a friend of mine, who designed them for my first loco which is a Roundouse Stanley tram.