Bachmann 0-6-0 switcher #4439

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Loveably weird
I have 4 Bachmann 0-6-0 switchers, 2 are DCC On-Board models, and 2 are straight DC models. I have two each of black paint scheme and passenger service greyhound scheme. Someday I may convert the two DC loco's to DCC, but not for now. The greyhound DCC decoder went belly-up so I'll have to replace it. The decoder in the DCC switcher is working fine, so I'm not going to replace it until it needs it.
I do want to do some weathering on this loco, though. It's just too shiny for the service life it had. This locomotive has the distinction of being the last steam locomotive Union Pacific operated in the Los Angeles area. I like to research the prototype before working on a model. I don't always model the prototype, but it's fun doing the research.
And wow, did Bachmann ever blow it on this one! I have a Bachmann 4-8-4 #806 in the greyhound scheme, and Bachmann did a pretty good job on that one. The 806 did in fact spend time in the greyhound scheme, and Bachmann even got the stripe color correct (yellow as opposed to white, which some loco's had.) The 806 also has the inglorious distinction of being the first FEF scrapped by the Union Pacific. :(
#4439 was built in 1918 by Baldwin. It was an oil burner with a Vanderbilt tender from the beginning.
Here is a pic of #4439 as it is today at the Travel Town transportation museum:
UP #4439.jpg

I have already disassembled the locomotive. The rubber band is to keep the rear of the frame together. There is a screw the goes from under the frame into the cab. When the cab is removed, the rear of the frame is not tightly together. I have also removed the roof.

There are several glaring inconsistencies between the model and the prototype.
1: Bachmann gave the model a slope-back coal tender instead of the Vanderbilt oil tender it had since it's construction in 1918. What is particularly puzzling is that the 0-6-0's in the greyhound scheme, both DC and DCC, have Vanderbilt oil tenders! Why Bachmann could not have used that tender for this model is beyond me!
2: The headlight on the model is a can style light mounted on top of the smokebox in front of the stack. The headlight on the prototype is a parabolic style mounted in the center of the smokebox.
3: The model has the bell between domes 1 and 2, while the prototype has it right behind the stack.
4: The model has the whistle mounted between domes 2 and 3, while the prototype has it mounted on the left side of dome 2.
5: The firebox on the model is silver/graphite color, while the firebox on the prototype is black. This is also true for the smokebox. Only the door should be silver/graphite. Also, the front of the cylinders on the prototype are silver/graphite, while on the model they are black.
I was wondering how Bachmann could have gotten so far off on the details like this, and then I came across this picture, and knew right away what they had done:

The above photo is of a USRA type 0-6-0. Note the location of the headlight, bell, and whistle. They all match the locations on the model, but not the Baldwin prototype. :(
Moving the bell and whistle will be pretty easy, but the headlight will be more of a challenge. The model has a Lucite rod going up into the headlight to transmit light form the bulb, which is mounted on a plastic bracket attached to the front of the smoke unit box. I removed the smoke unit and popped the switch off of the back-head in the cab. I plan to highlight the molded piping in there. I'll have to think about this some.
Here's a pic of the current smokebox setup.

I could just drill out the center and mount an LED there with a small 'dish' for a reflector. The headlight could just be cut off, and the Lucite rod painted flat black.
The tender situation is simply unacceptable. As Ernest P. Worrell would say: "Noo, noo, noo, noo, noo!"
It appears I will get to practice painting and lettering a tender! This is the tender for the DCC greyhound 0-6-0. I will actually use the one for the DC greyhound 0-6-0.

I will also need to make a mechanical modification. On the bottom of the frame there is a bulge where the main gear is located. This bulge hangs up on my Kadee uncoupling ramps. The ramps are located at the correct height above the rails, so I know they are not the issue. I have the installation gauge for the ramps, which places them properly. I will use a small file and slowly file lengthwise across the bulge until it appears that plastic is just about to be filed through. That should give clearance, but still provide protection against debris being ingested into the gear train.

The uncoupling ramp.

I think I'll start with the bulge on the frame.


Well-Known Member
The older versions of this loco didn't have that hump but rather were open to the air. I kept wanting to turn mine into a Cog Railway engine.


Loveably weird
I have a steam engine that the gear is open to the air on the bottom. I think it's a Mantua. They're downstairs and I'm upstairs. But I think that's the one. I'm going to file this one down and hopefully get it to clear the uncoupler. Not tonight, though. It was a long, stressful day at work. I'm just veggin' right now.
I decided that instead of using one of the tenders I have for this project, I'm going to see what I can find at the train show in Beatrice, Ne. this Saturday. I've never been to this show, but my LHS owner says it's a pretty decent event. I also want to find a tender for the Athearn snow plow I bought last summer.


Loveably weird
I have not abandoned this project. I'm too pig-headed for that (just ask my wife). I filed down the hump under the drive gear and now it clears the uncoupling ramp just fine.
I couldn't find a tender at the Beatrice train show, so I decided to use the one from the non-DCC greyhound 0-6-0. I disassembled it and soaked it in denatured alcohol for a couple of days. Most of the paint came off with some scrubbing with an old toothbrush, but there were a couple of places where it just wouldn't budge! It was at that point that I did something stupid (yes, I know, what else is new?). I used some acetone. The paint came right off, and the plastic softened in spots. I immediately rinsed the tender parts off with water, but the spots where I had been holding the shell do show some 'irregularities', shall we say?
I think I will paint the tender with my airbrush tomorrow, using Testors Model Master Flat Engine Black. That should give a good finish. The spots that don't look so great will be explained away as battle damage. Both the tender and loco shell have been cleaned with soap and water, scrubbed with an old toothbrush, and thoroughly rinsed. They have since been handled only while wearing rubber gloves. The painting stand is adapted from an idea I got from Ron Marsh in one of his YouTube videos ( ). Hope you don't mind, Ron!
I used a piece of 2x8 lumber 12 inches long, and drilled some .140" holes 1/2" apart. I used a drill stop to drill them all the same depth. The uprights are 3" long pieces of 1/4" dowel. On the tender they are inserted into the truck mounting holes. You can also use bamboo skewers if the holes are small. The hole spacing allows me to adjust the width of the supports to use it on various items. I made the turntable from a couple pieces of 3/4" plywood and a bearing I got from the hardware store. The setup works quite well.

I removed the headlight, bell, and whistle from the locomotive. I used some Testors contour putty to fill in the holes, and some 220 grit sandpaper and a hobby file to smooth the areas out. If they aren't perfect, that's OK. This switcher has had a hard life. I still need to mask off the smokebox door, and I'll put a piece of tape over the road number. I'll blend in the new and old paint around the number and weather it well. The roof will get painted as well.


I used some styrene to fill in the hole left when I removed the smoke unit switch in the cab. This will be painted as well, then I will add some paint details inside the cab. I haven't decided yet whether or not to add an engineer and fireman. There's not a lot of room in there!

In the background you can see the locomotive sitting on the test track. I tried to run it on the track and adjust some CV's, and it wouldn't respond. No headlight, no movement, nothing. I examined it and found that one of the wires had broken off of the tab which is crewed to one side of the frame to pick up power. I soldered that back in place and put a piece of heat shrink tubing over the joint to strengthen and protect it. Almost immediately the OTHER side wire came off it's tab! I was getting ready to repair that one as well, when one of the headlight wires broke off, at the decoder. I barely touched the other headlight wire, and it broke off as well! I removed the heat-shrink tubing that Bachmann put over the decoder, and found that none of the wire locations are marked. While I was looking at it, one of the motor leads came off the decoder. At this point, I just clipped off the remaining wires and decided I will just get a new decoder.
So the loco will be painted, but it won't run until I get a new decoder.
I got the engine and tender painted with a base coat of Testors Model Master flat engine black. I probably should have stripped the decals off of the cab, but didn't. I painted the engine with the engine black, and let a bit of it get on the numbers to represent smoke and soot. A friend had a set of UP steam engine decals he used to do a steam engine. He had a lot left over on the sheet, so he said I could use what I needed. The numbers are white, not silver like the cab numbers on this model are, so I gave the engine another coat of paint to cover the numbers. There's a very light shadow if you look hard, but I think once I get the decals on and the engine weathered, it will be fine. I used a brush and repainted the smokebox door a flat steel enamel color, again from Testors, but in the little tiny bottles. I think it looks good. I decided not to try to detail the boiler backhead. I will let the engine dry for 24 hours, then tomorrow evening I will give the engine and tender a coat of clear gloss acrylic, Aztec brand from Testors, in preparation for decaling. After the decals are on, I'll give both a coat or two of Testors Model Master Acryl clear flat. My LHS owner is ordering me a bell and whistle. They should be here next weekend. I'll probably give them a brush coat of Testors brass enamel, along with the valve in front of the cab that got painted black. :oops:
I'm also going to add tender pickups. I like how this guy did them, and bought some centering springs to use for this project. The plan is to have pickups on all wheels.
Is the Neo-Lube really necessary, though? I'll be using Intermountain wheels on the tender.
I also found the proper headlight and bracket for this switcher. I will be ordering those.
The left side.

The rear.

The right side.

The front.


Stuck in the 1930's
If you plan to add decals you should have painted it GLOSS black (Scalecoat II). You can always go over it with a clear flat, sealing the decals in. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to