"Handy Henry" Doodlebug Tractor

Tractors have rough lives. They sit out in the weather, baking in the sun, choking on dust and rusting in the rain. During WWII replacing one was next to impossible as the war effort meant that new tractors and replacement parts were scarce.

To solve this problem many creative farmers started converting old Model A and T Fords into makeshift tractors. Thus was born the “Handy Henry” or “doodlebug” tractor. The cars were usually chopped and various towing equipment, seats, tires and accessories were added.

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My “doodlebug” was built using the Revell 1/25 Model A Coupe and parts from the Revell Porsche Jr tractor.
It was first primer coated with Stynylrez black before receiving a top coat of Testors dark rust mixes. Body parts, wheels, seat and gas tank were painted using Tamiya acrylics. These Tamiya painted parts were then weathered by scrubbing with a 50/50 blend of Windex and water. Molotow chrome paint was used to show pealing chrome on the headlights, grill, etc. Weathering pencils were used for streaking before a final liberal dusting of pastels was applied.

A really fun kit bash of a lesser known vehicle.







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Very unusual and historical build… And a nice history lesson as well :+1:

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Yes, interesting history and a cool model

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I’ve never heard of such a thing but it’s fascinating! You’ve really nailed that rusty, dusty and patched up finish alongside the very spartan look of the whole thing.

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Love it. Nicely done!

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Thanks everyone, I’m glad you like the model. I stumbled on a YouTube video promoting a car restoration
product that was being used on this old vehicle which turned out to be the doodlebug shown in my third reference photo. After some research I was hooked on making one of these unique vehicles. I had read an article about using the 50/50 Windex method on Tamiya paints and knew this would be the perfect subject to try it on. It was the first 1/25 scale car kit that I’ve built since I was a kid. LOL

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Very nice model especially the finish. I just Googled these machines. Looks like you could do whole range of them and never make the same version twice. Henry would be horrified with the lack of configuration management

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Thanks. I really had fun with this since there were no rules. The Revell tractor kit besides providing the seat and rear wheels had loads of fittings that were adapted. I also chopped about 3/8-1/2 inch out of the frame.
The green body color and cream wheels were actually factory Ford colors for a '29 Ford Coupe.

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Excellent piece of work Love the subject and weathering.

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Thanks. I primarily model military subjects so this kit-bash was really fun.

For anyone who’s interested here’s the YouTube video that I found that started my journey…

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Beautifully done Gary. From concept to execution of modifications, kitbashing, paint and weathering, all just spot on!

Thanks for sharing here, I would love to see some WIP shots if you have any, this would make a unique tutorial on a great classic piece of wartime rural improvisation.

Cheers, D

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Like the video but the build was better. :+1:

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Thanks! The video was inspiration. The build was a blast. Wish I had taken in progress photos. I really had fun with the Windex scrub on the Tamiya paint. The longer you let the Tamiya setup, naturally the harder you have to scrub. I’ve been experimenting on the Atlantis 1/48 Sinclair Tank Truck and if you start scrubbing too soon after you finish painting, the paint almost dissolves off the surface. White Tamiya paint especially. I found the 50/50 mix was the best as too much Windex and the top coat came off in bigger splotches than the gradual faded look that I wanted.

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Gary,
At my age I thought I’ve seen it all, but the Doodlebug Tracker is a 1st in my book. Simply a great subject, excellent scratch building, painting and weathering.

joel

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I’d love to see that you’re doing with that.
I really want to take the cab from one and do this:

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