Special Projects

The Doodlebug


 one Bachmann combine body, underframeand truck set, 2 doors, 3 windows, 2 Bachmann 4-6-0 cowcatchers and headlights, something to make the radiator, exhaust and any other appliances you wish to attach.

First I pried off the battery box and the 2 truss rods. Then I cut off the end platforms and steps, leaving just the inside wall of the steps so there would be enough plastic left around the holes where the body tabs attach.


 Next, I cut a hole in the bottom for the motor housing, approx. 3 Ĺ " long by 3" wide. I used an Aristrocraft motor block for a center cab diesel because that is what I had, but I think a block for an Aristocraft Eggliner has a lower motor housing and might not require that large a hole, if any.
Then I needed a way to mount the motor block in a way that it would swivel, but stay in place and not wobble or pull apart. By used a level on the frame with the rear truck attached, I found how high the motor need to intrude into the carbody. I fabricated the swivel plate, a sturdy piece of aluminum that was a cover plate for a radio shack project box, by drilling a center hole, then put paint on the other two mounting holes on the motor. By temporarily pinning the plate to the motor, I swiveled it, turned it over to see where the paint moved on it and then drilled and filed the path it left. (A pre-made plate can probably be bought as a part thru Aristocraft.) I set the plate on two 3/8" thick aluminum u-shaped runners (mainly because the hole in the frame was too wide for the swivel plate, but also because the block sticks up a bit into the body and needed some height anyway.) I mounted the swivel plate to the runners, centering the motor. Then I shimmed the space between the center hole atop the block and the swivel plate with 3 washers, found a suitable screw and, using another washer on top, screwed the plate to the motor using locktite. I left just enough play for it to swivel. Then I shimmed the 2 outer holes with one washer (to allow a little side to side play), and using 2 more screws with locktite and washers on top, screwed them into the motor holes on each side, allowing enough play to swivel. This arrangement allows all 3 screws to take the weight of the motor block when the whole car is picked up.
Next, I had 2 junk Bachmann 4-6-0ís (who doesnít?) with matching pilots (cowcatchers). I took them and drilled a small hole through the front of them, one on each outboard side of the fake bottom bolt. Put the end frame behind it and drill the hole thru both.


Then I drilled a smaller hole into the end frame on each side. I took a screw that was short enough to get inside of the end frame, putting it through the rear hole. Then using the front pilot hole to put the screwdriver through,, screwed the screw through into the main frame. This should hold it tight.
Moving to the body shell, I cut out the 2 doors from the inside partitions of a scrap Bachmann baggage car. I also located 2 windows from an Aristocraft 4-wheel bobber caboose from the scrap box and a house window. (Although almost any doors or windows could be used.)
Then I measured and cut the openings for the 2 end windows (so the engineer can see where he is going from either endís control station).
Then cut the larger side window for the engineer on the baggage end (not necessary on other end as coach window is there). I located the 2 side doors in the baggage compartment where it required cutting through 2 of the screw anchors mounted on the inside wall used to hold the body on. It would have been better to avoid these by moving the door a quarter inch or so to retain them.

For the roof, I didnít want the long roof overhang that would be left after cutting off the end platforms. (This is purely a personal decision- it would be easier to leave the roof intact but Iím a glutton for punishment). I made cuts on the baggage end, being mindful of the new placement of some celestery windows. This end allows you to eliminate some of blank area. (I ended up messing up the cutting and used a piece from an extra roof, I found the best way for an even cut it a large table saw. As I said-glutton for punishment). This eliminated the hole for the coal stove chimney on mine, where Iíll put it on the other side by the frosted window, leaving out the closet. This way, at least I retain a seat. If you use all of the same roof, youíll either have to duct it over or cut out the seat behind the engineer. I glued the 2 roof parts together with zap-a-gap.

Make roof cuts so that celestery windows still have equal distance
The finished roof (ignore the dust), showing horn, bell, exhaust stack and one of the two lights. There will be a light at each end.
The front of the shell, after being painted wine red. The engine radiator shutters will probably be painted silver and the grab iron holes show where irons will go, but there will not be any deck, just the cowcatcher assembly. Note window cut in front for engineer, and the side door for passengers behind the baggage door (one on each side).
Rear of doodlebug. Note also the window cut here for reverse engineer's position.
Front of frame- Box covers top of motor, exhaust lines up with roof stack.
Rear of doodlebug. Position for reverse engineer station. Also, both couplers are the original dummies from. There are no plans to hook anything to it. 
Some of the parts to be attached to the unit.

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