This began as a Bachmann HO handcar with HO articulated figures, but ceramic miniature animals were glued onto the handles instead. This handcar will run on a very tight circle (14" diameter, 7" radius) of HO flextrack and is a nice way to quickly add animation to your layout with your choice of figures. With the help of modern epoxy glue, this project is a breeze! The original figures were rather boxy, robot-like HO scale men. The animals are fun and attractive, and fit in well with a whimsical theme. This project is over 25 years old, with 15 of those years in storage. The Bachmann HO handcar is still available. The HO scale rails could be considered narrow gauge O scale for an O scale layout, but this project works best for an HO set-up.
The modified handcar gives you a lot of animation potential in a very small package. Because the ceramic animals put more of a load on the pump handles than the plastic articulated figures, keeping the friction points of the pump handle mechanism well greased will minimize wear. Despite the added weight, the handcar runs well on just 6 VDC. This handcar is often used on the coffee table layout.