Converted Wartime GMC "Deuce & a Half Locomotive"

I really need to blow the dust off this one, show it some love and finish it up.

It seems many “Deuce and a Half” GMC trucks were converted in the field to serve as make-shift locomotives as a wartime necessity.


My small “cushion bumpers” there are actually the bolted support bases from an after market plastic detail set of Panzer IV track return rollers and the face plates are one half of that return roller rounded off and sanded smooth.


These locomotives needed the addition of heavy stone and scrap metal in their load beds to achieve anything near the necessary tractive effort called for.

So I thought; how 'bout a massive wooden bin filled with scrap metal and gravel!


I was using an already built Deuce loadbox and I kicked myself for building it with the troop seats up. These seats down would have given the locomotive “Conductor and Brakeman” some place to stand, sit and to walk during train movements.

. . . but then my brain went one better: ~ Suppose there was a local stone cutter’s yard in the vicinity? Back in the day this yard would probably have been filled with old heavy broken gate posts, blank head stones, scrap stones and raw stone stock for future building projects. Perhaps our Soldier/Engineers could “appropriate” some of this heavy material for ballast and I could then still give our Conductors some place flat to walk on?

Painted and distressed “Stone Work.”


Good to see this one again! When you fill the wooden box, use lumps of concrete and brick rubble from demolished buildings - scrap metal was too valuable for this sort of use. (There WAS a war on…)

I love the way you made the buffers!

Tom you are certainly right about not using the scrap metal. Rip-rap and gravel it is!

I am just a budding “armchair” engineer/designer wannabe but:

If you look again at this photo, it seems to me that the cab and loadbox are sitting a bit higher than normal above the Deuce frame. And of course that front beam has to be mounted that high to match the height of the railroad cars. (I could easily be mistaken.)

So I thought, perhaps they lifted off the cab and loadbox in order to install some continuous fore and aft C-channel beams to strengthen the stock truck frame and to take all that shock, head-on, of bumping and pushing around those railcars using those extremely high bumpers?

So I did!

I envisioned an almost floorless cab on the driver’s side with a jury rigged throttle and perhaps two large quadrant levers to operate the clutch and the brake.

VV35036 Photo Scale-Link/P.S.P.

I am fairly certain the transfer case stayed forever in “granny gear” and the transmission was just used for forward and reverse, rarely ever getting into second or third gear.


Looks great, will be following this one. :+1:

Yeah, me too. Very interesting conversion.


And seen below, an alternate design for the Deuce and a Half:


And of course the Germans did it too!


Hey ALL!

Consider please, taking a quick (10 second) Armorama survey. We are trying to find out just how many viewers are interested in both Armor AND Railroad Modeling.

Next you will be trying a GMC Evans Autorailer

Mike’s pics inspired me to build one of the truck conversions! It’s still stalled awaiting some details, paint, and assembly…

(I designed the wheels and got a friend to print them. If I knew of a decent WW2-oriented resin producer to work with I’d happily release them to the world.)


Instead of gong in the resin direction I would just offer them as 3D printed items yourself. Or perhaps talk to Mikeybugs on his thread here to see if he might be interested in carrying these in his online shop You have already done the hard part!

Good work by the way!

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Thanks Mike!

I’ve added them to my Shapeways shop but their prices are extortionate in my opinion. I don’t want to get into printing, packing, or shipping myself (I have enough hobbies as it is!) so I’d want a more hands-off solution. Maybe I’ll approach Mikey…


About 25 yearts ago I spotte these two half tracks in the Texas panhandle or Colorado, can’t remember which, but it was surely off of Highway 287.
They were used to push and pole grain cars around.


Sorry Tom. I momentarily forgot who I was talking to. No offense intended.

I will say that Mike Goldberg is printing all his own stuff and the quality is better than shapeways. So perhaps that is another reason to consider partnering with him.!

No offence taken! It was a valid suggestion. I just wish SW wasn’t so expensive…


As to resin model dealers, perhaps you could interest Jon over at Commander Models to offer these as a conversion set on his site?


@Tom, nice work. Looking forward to seeing your conversion progress.
@Michael, thanks for the great ideas.
@Skipper, those half-tracks are great find. “Poling the hopper”, I am putting one of these on my layout.

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