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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is an overall review of the Regner Willi live steam locomotive I bought from The Train Department. Since I am very new to model trains and this is my second live steam locomotive, I still need to learn a lot about terminology and other technical issues. So I try to do my best to describe the quality, pros and cons of this Willi locomotive. I hope the review is helpful to those who are looking into buying this Willi, particularly to new live steam hobbyists.
The locomotive is all made of metal with good quality of brass. I was impressed with the German brass quality and the precision gears. All the pipes are made of very high grade and pure brass. They are shining when delivered. Over running for a few times, the brass became oxidized and it looks very realistic. The joints of those pipes are put together and sealed with high-temperature silver solder that is made of an alloy of silver-zinc-copper to render high working temperature approximately 610-630°C.
The locomotive is very large beyond my thought when I watched from Youtube, thus it fits well with other LGB or USA train freight cars. It is pretty easy to use, after asking some information in this MLS forum I could run it without troubles. Although Jason from The Train Department provided a brief manual but it was in German, so most of the information I learned from MLS forum.

The pressure gauge uses bar instead of psi as we usually read in most of gas tanks in a laboratory. However, it is not that bad to quickly adapting to the new units. In generally, when the pressure goes up to 2 bars (or 30 psi) the locomotive starts to run with a slight rotating of the flywheel. The vertical boiler is made of seamless, pulled brass pipes. it is pure and solid thus minimizing cracks. The boiler is very well painted; it contains over 130 mL of water.
The locomotive is equipped with a large gas tank, and thus usually water runs out before the gas does. The gas control valve is designed with German precision technology, thus enables for fine-tune the output easily. Altogether, if we control minimum gas output and run the locomotive with slow speed, this Willie engine can pull one passenger car on a grade track up to 20 minutes.
The boiler has a cylindrical glass window so we can track the water level during the run. Based on my little experience of this locomotive, I noted that even when the water level disappeared from the glass window, the locomotive still could run for several minutes. I used an additional cue to help with the decision when to stop the run is when there is steam coming from the safety valve, I assume that the pressure would go up significantly when less water is in the boiler for given constant heat.
Another advantage of this model is the incorporation of adjustable wheels in the design. With an available Allen wrench, one can adjust the wheels for 45-mm track or other smaller tracks. Since the wheels are insulated so the locomotive can run on electric-powered tracks along with other electric trains.
One of the amazing things about Willi is the gear design that helps with the slow speed operation. The locomotive has no problem at all to pull one or two LGB passenger cars on a grade railway, which also has 4-foot curves. The only thing I don’t like much is the steam stack, it is screwed straight up from the condense chamber. It is just my preference that I don’t like to have something sharp pointing up while I have small child running around in the garden railway. I decided to make myself a new steam stack using a copper pipe I bought from ACE. I learned from others that the locomotive is delivered with a metal figure in the past. But it seems not the case nowadays. So I fitted Ben-the boss, I got from Bridge Master. It is worth to note 1:22 or 1:24 scaled figures from LGB and others may not fit well with this sized locomotive. We really need a 1:20 figure.
Only one incident that I think new live steam hobbyists should know is that the design of Regner gas adapter. It took me nearly 2 months to figure out how to use it appropriately. If you have a live steam club in your area, it is easy to learn experience from others. In general, after you screw the gas adapter into a gas can you have to push it VERY HARD into the locomotive’s gas tank. Sometimes it is hard to hear the sound of filling gas, but it is not hard to recognize since if gas goes through the filler adapter, it becomes very cold. I have been told that only Primus gas cans work for this gas filler adapter, but that is not the case. From my experience, any gas can that fits the adapter would work.

In summary, this is a great locomotive, particularly for beginners. I hope to invest more on advanced Regner models in the future.

A short video is attached herein:
And some photos




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