Railbus, details & sound

Check out the features and detailing possibilities of our #383 Ruffled Duckling railbus ... and see how we added sound!

So many detailing possibilities ... let your imagination take over!

All of the side windows are molded in the closed position, for those who want a neat-and-tidy appearance ... but it's easy to "open" a window for the driver as shown below. While building our second model, we decided to "go nuts" and open all the windows every-which-way. This definitely takes a bit of patience ... but it does add interest.

Open a window the easy way ... 

Prior to assembly, trim out the lower window sash and add a strip of styrene (provided) to represent the bottom of the raised window.

If you're installing sound in your railbus, be sure to open at least a few windows to let the rumbling engine sound travel!  Both "easy" and "tricky" methods are described in the instructions.  Note: The tip windows on front and rear are molded separately and may be positioned at any angle desired.

Add bells, horns, lanterns ... maybe even a snowplow!

We built this model prior to the release of some great BVM On30 details, so we had to scrounge in the parts bin to find the details shown here.  We suggest using our #410 bell and #412 air horn to make things simple! The Bachmann rail truck includes a small snowplow casting ... but you might also check out HO scale plows intended for locomotives to get a beefier appearance!  (We used the stock Bachmann pilot on our models)

We brush-painted a brass finish on the radiator, headlight housings, bell, horn and grab-irons ... it's tricky to get a good coat of "brass" finish straight from the bottle ... but silver or aluminum metallics provide a good undercoat that's easily brushed on. We applied a silver undercoat, then an intermediate coat of brass and silver mixed, followed by a top coat of brass to get some depth.

Turn it upside down!

On our second model (Bus # 7), we decided to make some modifications to the underside. The fuel tank was lowered with styrene strip to make it a little more prominent. We extended the exhaust using 3/32" brass rod. Hangers were made by drilling bits of .080" styrene channel and we re-used the original muffler.

Also visible, on this model, we moved the LED tail light (found beneath the fuel tank on Bachmann model) and added a Grandt Line goose tail light housing with an MV lens.

Ruffled Duckling built by Les DavisSee what the other guys are doing ...

Within our product listings, you'll find small thumbnail images showing models built by our fellow On30 modelers ... be sure to check these out for all sorts of inspiration ... and different ideas about paint schemes, detailing and even kitbashing.

Les Davis "dirtied up" his Ruffled Duckling railbus and decked it out with the details needed for operation on his logging railroad.

Ruffled Duckling built by Allen LittlefieldAllen Littlefield covered the openings at the front of the rail truck chassis to alter the appearance and create space for a heavy-duty bell and a railing to hold things like the gas can shown here.

Ruffled Duckling built by Tad DowdyTad Dowdy blanked out one of the windows to show how the crew "repaired" a broken window!

The Ruffled Duckling includes seats that may be arranged at least three different ways!

Seating arrangement for 6 passengersThe body assembly fits neatly over the  factory-installed decoder housing on the Bachmann rail truck.  The 6-Passenger (plus driver) arrangement shown here allows for use of un-modified figures in all but the rear center position and has all passengers facing forward.  Shown here with a mix of Woodland Scenics and Arttista figures.

Seating arrangement for 7 passengers7-Passenger Arrangement -- This arrangement adds another seat by placing two of the passengers in a rear-facing position. It allows for un-modified figures in all but the rear center position, where the passenger's legs may interfere with the Bachmann decoder housing. (Legs may be trimmed as shown below -- lower portions of figures are not readily visible from exterior.)

8-Passenger Arrangement -- This arrangement maximizes seating with a long bench seat behind the driver. The arrangement is quite typical of real-world bus seating arranged to maximize revenue. It requires modification to most figures -- legs are trimmed to clear the Bachmann decoder housing shown in the center of bus. This is very easily accomplished with plastic figures, such as the Woodland Scenics figures. Arttista metal figures can be trimmed with a motor tool and cut-off wheel but make CERTAIN to wear safety goggles, as metal bits will fly!

8-Passengers and False Floor -- We opted to install a false floor to conceal sound equipment and added weight (see Sound section). This photo also shows how passengers were modified to fit this particular application. Figures Shown ...

8-passenger seating arrangement with false floorFive of the figures are from the Woodland Scenics A2731 Passenger set (repainted). We also used Arttista 1406 Fireman Waving (driver), 1328 Hobo Eating Soup (lower right) and two 1120 Sitting Man (red hat / black hat).

Kit includes seats that may be arranged in any of the ways shown here.  Figures not included.

The Ruffled Duckling has plenty of room for sound installation!

We opted to use a false floor to conceal sound components inside the bus body, but it seems likely that the components can be fit without the use of a false floor. For example, using the 8-Passenger seating arrangement shown at left, the two bench seats could be glued to the body (deleting the support risers) and clear a decoder placed as shown in top photo.

We're not aware of any decoder with a built in "Quack" ... so we used the Soundtraxx #821250 Goose sound decoder, which produces a variety of appropriate sounds and a nifty "ah-ooga" horn.  Note:  This decoder is no longer in production.  Check out the Micro Tsunami or LokSound Micro for compact alternatives.  Sound installation requires additional components not included in the kit ... see your dealer for sound decoder, speaker and wiring ... and adapt our ideas for a false floor if desired.

The high-arched roof will easily accomodate a 1" speaker

At left, 1" speaker placed loosely in the roof casting for size reference.  For our speaker installation, we cut a round hole in a piece of .040" sheet styrene and mounted the speaker behind the opening with appropriate sealer. We also used a 2-pin micro-connector to facilitate removal of the roof. The extra length of wire and small tabs make it easy to plug the connector, then tuck the wire away prior to placing the roof.

Installation with a false floor

Placement of decoder and extra weight prior to installing false floorAfter some experimentation, we opted to use a false floor made from .040" (1mm) styrene on risers that are .270" high. This seems to provide the "bare minimum" space required for the decoder, speaker capacitor and resisitor for LED lights. We re-used the low-profile Bachmann plug with our new decoder. Photo shows placement of components plus added weights. The white blocks are styrene risers used to support the false floor. This placement falls well below the window line -- so it is possible to increase the space below a false floor if desired. Small speaker(s) could also be placed below a false floor. Additional notes are provided in kit instructions.

Layout of false floor to conceal decoder and weightsThis photo shows the false floor that we created from sheet styrene -- using only the top portion of the kit seats. Overall dimensions should be slightly smaller than the actual interior, so floor will clear window stock and sashes on any open windows. We re-used the metal decoder housing cover from the Bachmann railtruck. The center area could be raised further to clear a standard NMRA plug if desired. (We re-used the low-profile Bachmann plug, but that required some tricky soldering.)

We added another styrene strip above the front edge of false floor as shown at right. For our assembly, the floor is angled in from the top, with front edge secured beneath this strip. The the floor itself is held in place by the Bachmann decoder housing lid and mounting screw. Photo below shows completed false floor in place with 2-pin micro-connector for speaker wire in upper left corner.Sound installation requires additional components and materials that are NOT included in the kit. Have fun customizing your Ruffled Duckling!

We've provided these photos and descriptions to show some possible arrangements and help kick-start your planning. A variety of other arrangements are possible. Please consult manufacturers' guides for technical information

Ruffled Duckling kitbashed by Bill Davis

Parting shot ... Bill Davis sent us this progress photo showing how he kitbashed his Ruffled Duckling by blanking out the rear side door and adding freight doors to the rear ... and grab-irons to access the roof.  Imagine what you can do with yours!

We hope to inspire your creativity and look forward to seeing the results ...

Please submit your photos to share with others and check out the thumbnail photos in all of our product listings ... and remember, BVM is a friendly place ... if you have questions or wish to discuss ideas, please send an email!  (Use the handy form on "Contact Us" page)

-- Dallas Mallerich, On30 modeler

Click here to check out the #383 Ruffled Duckling Railbus kit!

(c) Copyright 2006 & 2008, Dallas J. Mallerich III.  You may save / print a copy of this article for your personal reference.  All other rights reserved.  Written permission required for any other use.

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