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Discussion Starter #1
I have always liked the way my Roundhouse Billy ran with consistent reliability and no need for maintenance. But, it caused me to be in another scale when I was also in 1:20.3 and 7/8ths. So, I decided to convert my Billy to 7/8ths scale with a Simply 7/8ths Dennis kit from England.

I am very pleased with the kit, which consists of precisely laser cut brass with fold etchings along with a few pot metal parts, a replacement smoke stack and instructions. Assembly took me about 12 hours over 3 days and involved mostly soldering. I started out using my resistance soldering unit, but changed to a small butane torch after I discovered that soldering 90° joints was easier with a flame on the outside edge and solder on the inside. I used very fine rosin core silver bearing solder, which worked well. All the brass was exactly cut so that everything fit perfectly.

Disassembly of Billy was necessary in order to install the new steel decks, one for the smoke box an one for the cab floor. All bolt holes in the decking were threaded, making assembly easy. I am now ready to paint and have decided to use flat black. I am also waiting for parts to arrive including a new dome, a manual reverse lever (my Billy did have R/C) and a few accessories such as a bell and generator.



A view of the overall work in progress.



A comparison between the Dennis and Billy cabs.


Dennis all soldered and ready for painting.
 

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Nice! 7/8 seems like it's becoming more popular?

How much time to you expect the project to take?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tom, It's a HIM - a Dennis


Big Red One, I have been into 7/8ths since 2003 when I began to build my tram. It is a fun scale for those of us who can't deal with scratch building in smaller scales. Also, there is a whimsy about 7/8ths that is appealing. I think I will need two more days for painting, then a day to add accessories and reassemble the whole locomotive. So, the whole project will be about part of six days working several hours a day. However, this is just a guess.
 

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Sweet, Carl! I'm looking forward to seeing more photos as it goes along.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Progress Report: I am still waiting for parts including a new large steam dome, the manual reverse lever and bell. But, the chassis is ready for the body to get out of the paint booth.


The chassis almost ready except for a new steam dome and the reverse lever.


Front view of new stack, wooden buffer beams, coupler and lights.


Body in the paint booth with the first light finish coat over primer. The booth is a cardboard box with cheap lazy suzan from the dollar store to spin the body around.
 

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Carl, my spray booth used to be exactly as yours--until my wife decided we needed a new front loading washer and dryer set, so she could put a quilting worktable on top of them. The old dryer went down into the basement, was gutted, and the exhaust blower system moved outside to the back, with standard flex hose out the window. Furnace filters over the exhaust opening, under an expanded metal shelf, and a surplus lazy susan, overhead light, and a temp/humidity gauge pretty much completed it for less than $100.

Regarding your resistance soldering unit--what do you have, and how many watts is it?

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Larry, I use a Graskop resistance soldering unit made by Dick Ganderton of England. I don't think he makes them any longer. I don't know the wattage, but it is very versatile because the 4 terminals offer 6 different increasing power settings, enabling the unit to cope with a wide variety of joints from thin brass to joining thick metal. The unit has a grounding clamp and a flex lead with a wood-handled carbon tip holder. It is activated with a foot pedal switch. The unit has been very reliable and easy to use, especially when I don't want to make a solder mess on small joints. I have found it easiest to use very small diameter rosin core silver bearing solder with this unit when joining brass.

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Painting and final assembly of my Dennis conversion kit are finished and I am waiting for a mechanical reversing lever and the new steam dome. I will post photos after the dome arrives.

In the meantime, I tested the chassis to make sure all is back together correctly. When I did, I found that an alert provided to me by Chris Bird of Summerlands chuffers, is correct. The alert is that the diameter of the standard 1/4" diameter SCRH1 Chuffer I had in the Billy has too large a diameter to allow burner lighting through the new Dennis stack. This issue had been discovered in Australia and reported to Summerlands who have since developed a special 7/32" Chuffer SCGP8 to fit the smaller diameter replacement stack used in the Dennis and Henry 7/8ths conversion kits for the Billy.
Larry M. and Cliff W., please take note of the Chuffer situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I finally have a finished Billy to Dennis conversion to show you. I am now waiting for the smaller diameter Chuffer to arrive before test runs begin. I noticed that the front tab on the left front sand box cover is outside the box, a minor detail since the cover is merely pressed on. I also have a few smudges to clean off which I did not see until it was in the sunlight. I am very pleased with the kit and the outcome.







 

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Very nice, and I look forward to seeing it on the road sometime. What do you intend for it to pull?

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Larry, I have a string of 7/8ths cars I've built over the years, which will look good behind Dennis. I also have a Rob Bennet driver coming for the loco. You can see the cars here:
 

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A couple or three questions I hope you can answer:-
1) Basic dimensions of the Billy's cab and Dennis's cab, that is height (footplate to roof) and width, I'd like to get a comparison between them.
2) Can Dennis be radio controlled, there doesn't appear to be much space in the cab for the servo's.
3) Could the water tanks be made shorter on Dennis and be made to look like coal bunkers, I'd like to create a Kerr Stuart "Tattoo" type saddle tank look (#4, Edwin Thomas on the Talyllyn Railway), a version down here in Australia had a square saddle tank rather than the normal round ones.
4) Could I build up that engine with just the roundhouse chassis and boiler kits and the Simply 7/8ths Dennis body kit or would I still need the Roundhouse Billy body kit as well.

Great job and looks excellent.

Wayne
 

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Posted By Budd on 26 Sep 2013 07:15 AM
A couple or three questions I hope you can answer:-
1) Basic dimensions of the Billy's cab and Dennis's cab, that is height (footplate to roof) and width, I'd like to get a comparison between them.
2) Can Dennis be radio controlled, there doesn't appear to be much space in the cab for the servo's.
3) Could the water tanks be made shorter on Dennis and be made to look like coal bunkers, I'd like to create a Kerr Stuart "Tattoo" type saddle tank look (#4, Edwin Thomas on the Talyllyn Railway), a version down here in Australia had a square saddle tank rather than the normal round ones.
4) Could I build up that engine with just the roundhouse chassis and boiler kits and the Simply 7/8ths Dennis body kit or would I still need the Roundhouse Billy body kit as well.

Great job and looks excellent.

Wayne

Wayne,
Take a look at the other kits available. One might be a better suit for what you want to do with it.

http://www.mikes-models.co.uk/index..._1092_1096

You want more of the Fredrig that's designed for the Accucraft chassis. Being the same boiler dia it would not take a lot of modification to retrofit onto a Billy with needing to make your other modifications. Some issues may arise when you try to make the tanks different lengths as the rivets are etched in there already and you have fold lines etched on the back of the parts
 

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I had been looking at the Mikes Models page but hadn't gone deep enough with research, the 'Fredrig' kit on a Accucraft 'Edrig/Ragleth' chassis is just the look I am after with the square saddle tank, put a trailing truck to make an 0-4-2 and I am in business.
It's a shame the discontinued Accucraft 'Leader' 0-4-2 isn't available, the saddle tank is the wrong shape but the rest of the engine is perfect.
We can get the 'Ragleth' running chassis here in Australia for quite a reasonable price, so I might get one and scratchbuild my own body on top and add the trailing truck.
Thanks for the tips.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I finally got around to making a video of my new 7/8ths loco running. It runs very smoothly.
 

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Nice! I do like the speed, looked very realistic.
 
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