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Doodlebug kitbash

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  • Doodlebug kitbash

    I decided to kitbash a doodlebug based on the model that a modeler on another forum built. I started the same, with a Rivarossi Combine:

    But not this one! I found a junker at a swap meet a few years ago that someone had spray-bombed quite heavily. I soaked the shell down wit easy-off oven cleaner and the paint fell right off.

    I studied photos of the completed model and determined where to make my cuts so that the baggage area would be moved back to make room for the mail door, engine room and the engineer cab.

    After cutting the center section out I cut the walls off the frame so that I could glue the frame back the right way and then flip the walls to the opposite sides to move the baggage doors back. I glued the floor back into place first, using a piece of pine that I cut on a table saw to act as a former to keep things straight and level, then I braced the floor joint with 3/16 styrene angle.

    Next I cut out the RPO doors. the doors will form part of the splice between the front and middle sections. The side wall isn't glued in yet, hence the mis-alignment.

    After that I cut out the RPO windows, and two extra passenger windows on the sides. First I marked them out with masking tape.

    To cut the windows out I first drilled a hole in the center, then used a small router bit in my dremel to remove most of the plastic, finishing up with a jeweler's file.

    Here is how the project stands now. I have to add the engineer's windows and doors and then start the finishing work on the windows and doors.

  • #2
    Interesting start Glenn.

    I'll be looking in to watch the progress. Love kitbashes like this. I've got one planned for later after the I finish at least one of the boxcabs for the Challenge.

    New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

    Main thread to all that's happening on the NY,V & N Rwy. The New York, Vermont -and- Northern Rwy. - Railroad Line Forums (

    New York, Vermont -and- Northern Rwy HOn30 Quarry Line


    • #3
      Looks to be another great project coming from you Glen. You sure have been on an interesting roll. Looking forward to your progress on this build.

      Louis L&R Western Railroad
      Pacific Northwest Logging in the East Coast


      • #4
        Interesting project, Glen. It's nice to be able to salvage a bad model and make it into something useful.

        With sufficient thrust pigs fly just fine.


        • #5
          Thanks for the encouragement everyone. This will be one of my more challenging projects.

          I finished with cutting the windows and doors out.

          I got the engineer's windows and doors cut out, the same way I cut the others but I had to be a bit more careful with the side window and door, leaving only a thin piece of plastic separating them.

          The front was a bit easier. I first had the sand the vestibule down and then cut the windows. The remnants of the vestibule will be covers with overlays.

          Next is the window trim and making doors to fit the openings!


          • #6
            Interesting kitbash, Glen.

            Jeff S.


            • #7
              Thanks Jeff.

              A bit more progress over the last couple days.

              I got the middle walls back on the model. The right side fit well, the left, well not so much but it can be fixed.

              For some reason the left wall turned out a bit short, but since it was over the RPO door it could be fixed.

              I had this section of a Rivarossi passenger car from another project that I could use as a filler piece. I cut and fitted it into place on the top.

              and used a section of HO scale 4X4 on the bottom. That will be trimmed and sanded to fit when the glue dries. Some filler, sanding, and a coat of paint and the joints will hardly be noticeable (I hope!)

              I used styrene to splice the joints from the back. The RPO doors will be glued right on the splice pieces.

              I'm also part way through scratchbuilding the doors. The left door is a bit wider than the right (about 4 scale inches) but side you can only see one side of the car at a time I'm not too worried.


              • #8
                Well I finished the doors and installed them

                After I fabricated the doors I cut holes in the splice pieces that were already mounted on the shell so that the windows would be open.

                I sanded the 4x4 filler piece down on the bottom so it would blend in and added ho scale 1X2 as trim around the doors.

                I attempted to make the RPO doors as close to the baggage doors as possible with thin styrene overlays, the engineer and fireman doors are a bit simpler with kick panels on the bottom. My next step is the window trim around the inside so the four windows that I added will look like the originals.

                In other news I acquired the drive for the unit:

                More on this a bit later..


                • #9
                  Just a quick update on the doodlebug project.

                  I framed the extra two passenger and the rpo windows with HO scale 3X2 and 1X2 to match the originals.

                  I was going to work on the front of the car but a lot of the front depends on the roof detailing so I started on the roof.

                  Rivarossi passenger cars come with the window glass molded in with the roof. with all the splices and new details (as well paint stains) the glass had to go.

                  a few minutes with my dremel tool and a saw blade:

                  I kept the lavatory windows in as well as a slight lip around the bottom for mounting purposes.

                  I'm looking at modeling a doodle bug that looks a bit more like a Canadian Pacific prototype. It will have a radiator and oil cooler unit on the roof similar to the one pictured on to cover of the February 1979 Modelrailroader:

                  I'm currently tracking down a few parts I need for the roof details.

                  Interesting enough the kitbashed doodlebug in the MR article has a similar drive to the one that I plan on building. It uses an Athearn SW7 chassis and trucks where mine will use a athearn F-7 running gear. Speaking of which since I'm stuck on the front and roof I guess I'll start working on the bottom.

                  I got and athearn F-7 (super power!) from a fellow modeler. All I need is the front truck and the back end of the frame:

                  I'll be cutting it here so I can mount this end to the chassis of the 'bug'.


                  • #10
                    Another great kitbash, Glen.


                    • #11

                      Been following along with your kitbash. Great bit of work. You should send this in to MRC for the "Kitbash Award". I think you have a winner here. [^]

                      New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

                      Main thread to all that's happening on the NY,V & N Rwy. The New York, Vermont -and- Northern Rwy. - Railroad Line Forums (

                      New York, Vermont -and- Northern Rwy HOn30 Quarry Line


                      • #12
                        I am interested to see how you are going to put the frame back together
                        Chuck Faist

                        Burlington, Ontario

                        Enjoy yourself it is later than you think!


                        • #13
                          Okay, a couple steps forward one large one back. First I'll start with the progress.

                          I got the F-7 frame cut down and did a rough mounting on the doodlebug chassis.

                          Chuck, as you can see I won't be putting the frame back together but will be using the Rivarossi rear truck to simplify construction.

                          I cut the floor of the 'bug' so that it can be lowered over the F-7 frame to achieve proper ride height.

                          I left the 'tongue' of plastic on the back of the floor so it will fit inside the hollow F-7 fuel tank for mounting later.

                          I then filled the inside of the fuel tank with styrene layers to bring it up to the proper ride height.

                          I did a quick mock-up with some double sided tape and it was pretty much equal front and rear.

                          The front is riding on the coupler mount but I will be adding some real mounting points there.

                          Now for the 'ugly'

                          I didn't realize it at the time but when I was using my dremel tool with a saw blade I sort of 'melted' the one side including the door I scratchbuilt. I'll have to repair the side as best I can (thank goodness this isn't a contest model!) and replace the door. I've got plenty of styrene strip and body filler I can replace and repair the sill and door. I'll just have to live with the slightly mis-shapened panels.


                          • #14

                            Sorry to hear. Boy that would have upset me.

                            New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

                            Main thread to all that's happening on the NY,V & N Rwy. The New York, Vermont -and- Northern Rwy. - Railroad Line Forums (

                            New York, Vermont -and- Northern Rwy HOn30 Quarry Line


                            • #15
                              Well I took a deep breath and walked away at that point, coming back later when I was a bit 'calmer'

                              Then I spent last evening fixing my 'accident'

                              I cut the sill back on both sides so a new one would have some decent mounting and gluing surfaces. I had to make a new door and frame. any holes left were filled with squadron white putty and smoothed over the best I could. Any remaining damage I'll just chalk up to prototype damage that was repaired in shop.