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Roundhouse Shay - kit or RTR version.

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Roundhouse Shay - kit or RTR version.
Posted by don7 on Saturday, September 27, 2008 12:50 PM

I am aware that the kit version of the Shay by Roundhouse required a great deal of attention to get the unit to run properly.  What about the RTR version, does the RTR engine run well or does it to require tweaking?

 The reason I ask is that I have the choice of buying one or the other from a local model railroad collector. He has decided that one of these units is surplus, my choice.

  • Member since
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  • From: Eastern Shore Virginia
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Posted by gandydancer19 on Saturday, September 27, 2008 1:06 PM

The kit version can be up-graded with some NWSL parts.  There was a couple of articles in RMC about it.  If you are thinking about putting DCC in it, get the kit and put the up-grades in it and a new can motor.  It would be easier to do while you are building it.  I did build one, the HOn3 version, and it did run well when I got through, but then again I loco bashed an Atlas N scale 0-8-0 into a TT narrow gauge K-27.

If you are not going to put a decoder in it, ask to see how the assembled one runs.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

  • Member since
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  • From: New Bedford, MA
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Posted by Jake1210 on Saturday, September 27, 2008 5:55 PM
 gandydancer19 wrote:

The kit version can be up-graded with some NWSL parts.  There was a couple of articles in RMC about it.  If you are thinking about putting DCC in it, get the kit and put the up-grades in it and a new can motor.  It would be easier to do while you are building it.  I did build one, the HOn3 version, and it did run well when I got through, but then again I loco bashed an Atlas N scale 0-8-0 into a TT narrow gauge K-27.

If you are not going to put a decoder in it, ask to see how the assembled one runs.

 

Would you happen to have pictures of that? That must be on impressive bash! Shock [:O]

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  • From: Colorado
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Posted by fwright on Sunday, September 28, 2008 9:12 AM

The RTR version was basically an attempt by Roundhouse to have the kits assembled in China.  Very few modifications were made.  An improved motor was installed, but I don't know of any other major changes.

Because of this, the Chinese assemblers ran into the same problems kit builders did.  Problems with gear flash, and timing of the closed loop between the center drive shafts and gearing and the line shafts and gearing are not unusual.  The Roundhouse-supplied electrical pickups are not the best, either.

Many RTR Roundhouse Shays strip or crack their plastic gears when the mechanism binds from the gear flash or timing.  Some RTR Shays incorporated the "fixes" kit builders learned about (opening the lineshaft gear loop), and run quite well.  It's really luck of the draw - but I'm guessing the later the Shay was assembled, the better the chance of it running well because of experience gained on the part of the assemblers.

As has been proven by Roundhouse, Bachmann, Bowser, and other manufacturers, a kit is not the best base from which to make an RTR locomotive.  Bachmann designs their locomotives to be assembled in a factory, and doesn't make kits.  Those who have tried to mass assemble their kits have generally run into difficulty.  The kit builder has time to check and perfect the fit of parts; the factory assembler doesn't.

Personally, I would choose the kit because I can take the time to make it right (I have an MDC Shay kit in the queue now).  At the very least, demand to see the RTR model run before purchasing (or adjust the price for the risk).  Unstarted kits have gone for as low as $45 this summer on eBay.

my thoughts, your choices

Fred W

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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Posted by cacole on Sunday, September 28, 2008 11:51 AM
I recently threw a RTR Roundhouse Shay into the trash because the gears in one truck were so locked up that motor torque completely destroyed the truck, even to the point of breaking the bottom cover plate off, after less than one hour of actual track time.  It had spent the majority of its life in the box.
  • Member since
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  • From: Eastern Shore Virginia
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Posted by gandydancer19 on Monday, September 29, 2008 2:14 PM
 Jake1210 wrote:
 gandydancer19 wrote:

The kit version can be up-graded with some NWSL parts.  There was a couple of articles in RMC about it.  If you are thinking about putting DCC in it, get the kit and put the up-grades in it and a new can motor.  It would be easier to do while you are building it.  I did build one, the HOn3 version, and it did run well when I got through, but then again I loco bashed an Atlas N scale 0-8-0 into a TT narrow gauge K-27.

If you are not going to put a decoder in it, ask to see how the assembled one runs.

 

Would you happen to have pictures of that? That must be on impressive bash! Shock [:O]

Here you go.  I did it in 1975 or so and put in a small can motor.  I ran it so much it is wore out now. 

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • 2,199 posts
Posted by don7 on Wednesday, October 01, 2008 6:58 PM
 don7 wrote:

I am aware that the kit version of the Shay by Roundhouse required a great deal of attention to get the unit to run properly.  What about the RTR version, does the RTR engine run well or does it to require tweaking?

 The reason I ask is that I have the choice of buying one or the other from a local model railroad collector. He has decided that one of these units is surplus, my choice.

Update - the RTR version does not run as it is and the kit is missing some crucial parts. I guess it will be a Bachmann Shay for me. The owner seems to think the Roundhouse shays are very valuable collectors items, so the Bachmann Shay will likely be about the same price.

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