Billings - U.S. Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat

By John Ellias

1:20 - Radio Controlled 

I am about 85% complete with this Billings kit. For a relatively inexpensive kit, I have found it to be a fairly good value. There are however numerous details that deviate from the full size vessel. If you have access to pictures of the full size vessel many of these can be corrected. Some of the mistakes are:


The rubber bumper along the top of the hull is in the wrong location. It should be just below the hull/deck intersection. Also at the hull/deck intersection there should be a round section. This can be easily corrected.


In the real boat the pilot house is partially framed with the roll cage, this is not reflected in the kit. I have not corrected this on my model. I have added a roll cage within the pilothouse as a compromise.


The pilothouse floor on the real boat is made with a raised perforated metal deck. The kit does not have this. I have used a perforated brass sheet to simulate this.


Many of the fittings are of low quality and do not accurately reflect the real items. Some of these fittings can easily be replaced or fabricated and others I will leave as is.

The fit of the diecut wood I found to be excellent. To ease in finishing I put a layer of plastic on the outside of all the wood pieces. Overall I give this kit a three star rating. If you are not too picky about accuracy of the details and want a low cost kit that is simple to R/C, this model is an excellent choice.