Critter Bash, 35-ton

Kitbasher's Delight -- Side-Door Cab for Critter Bashing
May be used to convert a variety of HO diesel locos into On30 "critters"

Continuing the Kitbasher's Delight series, we've added a side-door cab to expand your kitbashing options.  This cab can be used to bash the Bachmann HO 70-ton loco as we'll show here ... or to bash other locos as shown by Don Kralik and Allen Littlefield (below).  And, you'll find additional examples in the listings for our KD-07 and KD-08 kits.  And, for the newcomers, please note that "critter" is the term used to describe small diesel and internal-combustion locomotives ... no furry animals are harmed in the "critter bashing" process!

Choose the kit that's right for your project ...

KD06 built by Chris BakerIf you're starting with a Bachmann 70-ton loco, choose the KD-06 35-ton Critter Bash.  This kit includes complete cab with removable roof, material to widen the deck, pilots and corner steps, window glazing and fine wire for handrails / grab-irons.  This photo shows a beautifully-weathered KD-06 built by Chris Baker.  Also, check out these BVM details:  #405 air tanks, #408 muffler and #409 headlight.

Don Kralik bashed a Model Power Plymouth with our KD-07 kit

Don Kralik bashed a Model Power Plymouth using our KD-07 Side-door cab w/ pilots & steps (right).  This kit is a great choice for converting a variety of HO locos.  Kit includes complete cab with removable roof, pilots and corner steps, window glazing and fine wire for handrails / grab-irons.

Allen Littlefield used our KD-08 cab to bash a Bachmann HO PlymouthAllen Littlefield used our KD-08 Side-door cab in his conversion of a Bachmann HO Plymouth (left).  This kit includes the complete cab only and is used when you wish to build or modify your own pilots.  If you're new to kitbashing, please see our "Center-Cab Bash" article for additional ideas and more basic tips!

Now ... let's build a 35-ton Critter!

Here's an overview of how I used the components of the KD-06 Critter Bash, a 70-ton switcher, some extra materials & details to build "The Warthog" loco for my On30 Phaedrus Coke & Lumber Railroad.  These ideas are presented to help kick-start your project.  You may wish to copy some ideas, ignore others and maybe even look back at the KD-01 Center-Cab bash for alternative approaches.  Since this article was written, we've introduced a variety of detail parts that can be used to make your project even easier!

Remove the stock pilots ... This is the closest thing to "major surgery" that you'll have to do on this bash -- use a razor saw to cut through the pilots and couplers posts as shown.  The saw blade can rest against the bottom of the sills as a guide, but it's not necessary to make a perfect cut.  The KD-06 cab fits right against the hood on the 70-ton shell, so no cutting is required there.

Widen the frame / deck .... The KD-06 kit includes the materials shown to widen the deck of the 70-ton loco to match the cab and ilots.  If you're bashing a different loco, you'll want to take some measurements and/or experiment ... the deck can be widened to match the cab, or the cab can overhang the frame for an interesting effect.

You might notice as the following photos are presented that I made the modifications as I went along ... not quite in the order now shown!  One of the great things about kitbashing is that you can change your mind and modify the design as you go along.  I've tried to present the ideas in a "recommended" order that makes things a little easier.

Most of the following detailing ideas require additional material not included in the kits.

Idea #1 -- Add some "big" new doors ...

The doors on the 70-ton shell are flush with the hood, which gave me an idea ... it would be very easy to add a thin styrene overlay to enlarge the doors.  Adding the doors as shown is very easy and highly recommended.  I decided to go a step further by adding openings to a couple of the doors to allow a piece of brass mesh to fit inside.

The photo at right shows my "Swiss cheese method" for removing large pieces from the shell.  Outline the desired opening with a pen or pencil, then lightly score it with a hobby knife.  Use a drill bit INSIDE the lines to make a bunch of holes.  Then it's easy to slice between the holes and file out the finished opening.  Why do this?  It cuts down dramatically on cutting my fingers or slipping into the "good" areas of the model when trying to remove big pieces!

The openings in the styrene doors are about 12" square  -- the openings in the shell (beneath the door overlay) are a little bigger  so the brass mesh can mount against the back of the door and still have a gluing surface.  Since each plastic door overlaps TWO molded doors, make sure you cut the openings in the right place!  Door latches were formed from fine wire included in the kit.

Idea #2 -- Add grab-irons to the hood ... The 70-ton shell includes nice little stanchions to support the coupler lift-bar assembly ... these were saved and mounted on the side of the hood to create a railing.  I placed a steel ruler on edge above the doors and marked a line for the railing, then drilled holes for the stanchions.  Make sure they're all facing the right way before gluing -- .020" wire will fit thru the holes with some extra "play" ... this will compensate for any irregularity in placing the stanchions.  Secure with droplets of ACC.

Idea #3 -- Change the grille ... The deck photo above shows how I originally planned to have a small radiator opening with a front-mounted headlight ... then I changed my mind and enlarged the opening as shown here. 

The final opening is 2'6" x 3'4" and lined with a criss-cross of styrene strip as shown -- the styrene is flush with the inside of the shell and projects forward to form a bulky housing.  A piece of brass mesh will be fit from the inside.

I also decided to add a canvas screen to allow "adjustments" to the air intake during the winter season.  The housing was built from styrene strip as shown here.

Idea #4 -- Add some "3-D" details ... I wanted this loco to have a lot of chunky, free-standing detail and a variety of shapes/angles ... then I spotted the "plain" area just ahead of the exhaust and decided to add a little partially-opened hatch as shown below.

I marked and cut an opening with the Swiss cheese method, then outlined it with some thin styrene strip.  Another little piece was set inside to create a lip for the open hatch, which was cut from styrene sheet.  A fairly simple detail that adds a little more interest.  (I used a chisel blade to remove the runners from the large, molded-on hatch and left that as a mysterious engine bulge with a headlight on top.)

Idea #5 -- Build a funky exhaust ...

Of course, it doesn't have to be THIS funky ... but I was inspired by a prototype photo that I found on the North East Rail's Plymouth pages a while back ... honest!  For an easier solution, check out our #408 muffler!  I figured that I'd have a chance to improvise on that Rube Goldberg design somewhere along the line ... and here it is.  There's nothing especially difficult about the construction.  It just takes a little practice to cut and fit the styrene pieces (easily glued to the shell with styrene cement).  To emboss the rivets, I sanded down the tip of a bulletin board tack and pressed it firmly into the back of the styrene.  That takes a little practice, but works out nicely.

The exhaust elbows were snipped from a piece of scrap sprue -- those runners included in plastic model building kits.  A piece of styrene was slid over the end and the seams were filled with gap-filling ACC.

Idea #6 -- Add a bulky headlight ... I scratchbuilt the headlight shown on this loco as described in the Center-Cab Bash article.  Since then, we've added the #409 electric headlight to make the job much easier!

The easy part ... cab, pilots & steps

The KD-06 kit includes an easy-assembly cab made from our high-quality resin castings ... and it fits right right against the end of the 70-ton shell, so you can make your kitbash as simple or elaborate as you desire.  Grab-irons can be varied to suggest a hinged door as shown here ... or you can suggest a sliding door by mounting the a grab-iron only on one edge of the door itself.  The kit also includes pilots and corner steps as shown below right ... we made a special set of extended steps to fit below the cab to insure that your crew can get in and out easily!

Idea #7 -- Detail the side sills ...

I decided to do "something different" along the side sills of this loco, so I looked through my parts bin and found a set of Grandt Line #18 2-1/2" nut on square washer castings.  I placed one near each end, one over each bolster and one in between.  A vareity of NBW castings can be used ... or you could add poling rods as shown on the KD-01 bash.  The #405 air tanks added beneath the frame are also visible here.

Final details ...

After  the basic paint job was completed, I added a "canvas" radiator screen.  It's actually just a scrap of ordinary paper with pieces of .010 x .020" styrene glued across the bottom.  With a little bit of thinned paint, the paper curled just enough to suggest canvas.  I also added a piece of thread and a Grandt Line #108 Eyebolt to creat a tie-down.  The brass mesh pieces (K&S #2709) were painted separately and installed after the loco was painted.

Detailing ideas ... so many possibilities!

With the extra detailing "built-in" to the modified body shell, it seemed appropriate to use just a few pieces to dress up #17. 

Suggested BVM details:  #407 Air Tank & Toolbox combo, #408 Muffler, #409 Electric Headlight, #411 Bell and #417 Chain.  Then add other "junque" and clutter to suit!

Do you prefer a "whole lotta" junque & clutter?

Then take a look at the detailing ideas presented in our Center-Cab Bash article to see a loco decked out with "everything but the kitchen sink!"  For many of us, bashing is half the fun ... and detailing is the other.  Enjoy!

-- Dallas Mallerich, On30 modeler

Check out our Side-door bash and cab kits:

KD-06 Bash   ---     KD-07 Cab, pilots & steps   ---   KD-08 Cab

(c) Copyright 2003 & 2008 Dallas J. Mallerich III.  You may print/save a copy of this article for your personal use.  Any other use requires written permission.

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