Some Craaaaazy HOn3 kitbashing, aka. DDm45 Frustrations

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by renesis, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. renesis

    renesis New Member

    Well, for my first thread on the forum, I'm going to post my progress on making a DDm45, a narrow gauge SD45 built for the Vitoria A Minas railway in brazil. So far my plan is to use Athearn DD40 trucks grafted onto the SD45's frame, but the difficulty lies in narrowing the trucks to take HOn3 gauge. [​IMG]

    I have a few SD45's I already bought to use for the modification, but my Athearn trucks aren't here yet. So far I've been working on the shells themselves to get them prepared. They lack paint for the most part, but they're ready to take the extra size trucks (the addition of the porches involved grafting on ones from SD40-2's) and the details are all added, as well as lighting. I'm also hoping to do these with DCC, as the layout I'm designing for this needs it. [​IMG]

    My question lies with anyone here having experience seriously modifying Athearn trucks - could I feasably narrow them down somehow? Is it possible in any way or am I just nuts for trying? I'm beginning to think that the gearbox itself that is contained in the truck is just not something I can narrow, so I may have to kitbash something entirely new from scratch instead...given that, what would be the best way to go about it? Upsize an N-scale truck to HO? Somehow modify MDC HOn3 shay trucks to be used? I'm thinking of doing that for the BB trucks in the other locomotives used on that railway, but how to do even that is also a bit beyond me. If it's that nuts, I don't even want to contemplate how hard it'll be to make some BB40-8's or BB45-2's...or a BB40T-2 [​IMG] but I'm going to go for it anyway - as far as I know, noone has done it before! :D

    Anyway, comments or knowledge/help is greatly appreciated. [​IMG]
  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Welcome to the Gauge renesis. Sounds like you have a challenge on your hands and hope someone here at the gauge can help you.
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    hmm. Curious project. I think narrowing the athearn trucks will be near impossible. First is the wheel/axle design. It's possible NWSL may offer some other axle/gearing combo that can be narrowed and fit with the athearn bearings. narrowing the truck housing is another matter. The plastic parts are made of that "slippery engineering plastic" that is difficult to work with. The outsides have a piece of steel that is riveted to the plastic and serves as electrical pickup and a "holder" for the axle bearings. Good luck, and let us know how it progresses.

  4. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    If the Athearn truck is the newer style with the inside bearings you may be able to narrow the gauge by putting the wheels where the bearings are and shimming the metal bearing supports outward to support the bearings on the outside of the wheels.
    If they are the older outside bearing trucks you may be able to narrow the axle gear and side frame mounts.
  5. renesis

    renesis New Member

    Thanks Ray, I'll find out which kind they are on Tuesday when they get here. I'm almost done with the shells now so I'll take some pics soon as I get my digital camera back and post them :)

    Also, here is a link to the original thread on another forum that inspired me to do this:
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't think Athearn ever upgradded the DD40 trucks to the new style engineering plastic. I think it is the only truck that they still make in metal.
  7. LIRR

    LIRR Member

    I always liked those metal trucks, they weathered themselfs If they have been around. Every second hand Athearn I ever bought had a few nice scuffs on the trucks.
  8. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    That is what I was wondering Russ. I wasn't sure if they upgraded the DD40 truck or not.
    I like the older metal sideframed trucks too.
    They don't make as much track noise as the newer style.
    I looked at an Athearn truck and the gearbox is narrow enough but the bottom cover will most likely need the sides filed a bit.
    I think the metal sideframed trucks would be easy to narrow by removing the gearbox and milling (or filing) some metal off the sideframes where they mount to the gearbox. Then drilling and taping holes in the exact location of the lugs that inserted into the gearbox and reattach the gearbox halves with flathead screws.
    Narrowing the axles won't be difficult.
  9. renesis

    renesis New Member

    Ahhhhh, thanks Ray :)

    I'm going to try that soon as I can then. I got about 12 trucks to tinker with so I can screw up once or twice. :D

    I finished the shells finally, but I'm a horrid painter so it's going to be a pain to find someone in the Roseville CA area to paint 'em for me...and my decals still haven't gotten here from brazil either :cry:

    It looks like my nice EFVM HOn3 pike won't be realized for quite a while though, so I'll have these nice units with nowhere to go. Oh well, time to finally build my micro-pike, the "Rickety Mining Company" - I just need to get my hands on some really small HOn3 shays... :)
  10. renesis

    renesis New Member

    Well, I got my DD40 trucks and frame/mechanism today actually. It looks like I can indeed narrow it down to HOn3 without much trouble, though I've decided to use the DD40 frame instead by chopping it down to fit under the slightly extended SD45 frame. The fuel tank is far more simply remade into the DDm45 tank, without much hassle, and I don't have to try and change the mounting points on the SD45 to take the new trucks.
  11. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Sounds like a plan renesis.
    Let us know how it goes.
  12. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    There's an article in a mid-70s MR magazine on this very modification. I'll see if I can dig it up.
  13. renesis

    renesis New Member

    Well, progress got a bit stalled for a week or two (had to buy some more servers and other electronic goodies), but it seems it will work. I had to toss the shell I'd constructed due to it not only being too short but also had a fatal flaw (the way I made it wouldn't allow it to have the couplers attached to the pilot).

    Anyway, I shall add some pictures tomorrow when I can, and I'll get things laid out for anyone who wishes to see :)

    btw, shaygetz, if you could somehow show me that article, I'd really appreciate it - I think I've got the method properly thought out, but anyone who's done this before me (with more experience kitbashing as well, most likely) would probably have a better idea :D
  14. pedrop

    pedrop New Member


    Hi reneseis,:)

    So, you are trying to model a DDM45 too:) ! I´ve exchanged one of those EFVM videos for a pair of DD trucks from old DDA40X, but the trucks never arrive here:( . I think it was lost by mail. How can I buy them? Do you have the part number and address to buy them? Would you like to exchange a pair by another video on brazilian railroads? I´ve already have BB40T-2 on video.

    If you need any information or photos about details on DDM45, please ask me and I can help you.:D :D

  15. pedrop

    pedrop New Member

    DDM45 details

    Close up on DDM45 #862.:p

    Attached Files:

  16. lv4142003

    lv4142003 Member

    Has there been any more progress on the DDM 45 ? lv4142003
  17. pedrop

    pedrop New Member

    DDM45 and BB36-7

    Well, I´m doing some small parts to detail it, while the DD trucks are coming to me. :sleeping: I´m also scratchbuilding BB+BB trucks to model BB36-7 and BB40-2 too. :) I got the official drawing from the truck builder in Brazil. And you renesis? Do you have news about the DDM45 model?:p

    Attached Files:

  18. lv4142003

    lv4142003 Member

    Hey, i've been thinking about doing a GE 8-40 BB+BB since I first saw one, but the trucks were the big obstacle, that and the span bolster. Will be very interested in following that conversion. There was a model done a few years ago, in a Brsilian model contest. I think I have a photo of it somewhere. Real nice work. Keeps us posted. lv4142003
  19. pedrop

    pedrop New Member

    BB+BB trucks

    Here are the drawing of articulated trucks used on brazilian BB+BB diesels. :) Unfortunately this site do not accept better pictures.:(
    I´m scratchbuilding the parts in HO scale. Soon we can model every kind of BB+BB locos used in Brazil.:)

    Attached Files:

  20. pedrop

    pedrop New Member


    Here is another view of smal bolster.;) I do not have the draeing of big bolster yet.:(

    Attached Files:

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