I made up basic cab interiors for EMC 103/103A, just in case someone looks in there! Having even a very rudimentary interior helps as I feel it completes the model just a bit more. With the Stewart FT there is a limitation with regard to the floor height to clear the drive mechanism, so a faithfully prototypical interior is not possible.
As it was a rather involved process in cutting and fitting the parts to fit inside the Stewart cab, I tackled this first after stripping the paint off the body shells. In addition, since I have two more future FT projects planned, I made interiors for them now. They will avoid having to fuss around with this again.
I thought that Athearn F-Unit interiors would be a good starting point. They were a help, although I ended up making a new rear firewall and floor from .040” black styrene sheet. There was a lot of installing the interior and making an adjustment, then doing it again, and again, and again… The firewall had to be shortened in height to fit the space. Primitive access doors were added with .010” strip styrene. The dashboard was useful, although it had to be shortened in height as well.
The seats had their mounting posts removed and were glued directly onto the floor. I assumed that these seats swivel, so I positioned them in a variety of orientations on the fireman’s side. Also, they had square backs that I rounded with a file and sandpaper. The controller (the cylinder) was shortened a lot and I added a .010” brass wire for the transition lever. The brake stand was made from strip styrene with .010” brass wire representing a couple of brake levers. On top of the engineers dashboard (visible through the windshield) I added the transition indicator – two of the interiors have an additional rod (made from stretched sprue) laying flat on top of the indicator representing the dynamic brake warning light. 103/103A does not have this as it was not equipped with a holding brake.
On the fireman’s side I added a brake wheel leftover from Tichy kits. It is mounted on a strip styrene post.
Mounting the LED (Soundtraxx “Sunny White”) for the headlight involved some fiddling as well. While doing this, I adjusted the headlight lens thickness to provide space for the LED when the interior is installed. However, the LED leads were easy to bend to the height for the headlight opening centreline. It is secured under the floor with strip styrene after white and blue leads were soldered in place.
To block light from backing into the cab area, I applied liquid electrical insulation everywhere on the bulb except at the front where a dot of “white” tack (sticky putty) mask protected the tip when airbrushing the interior.
The interior, including the insides of the cab, was sprayed Testors Model Master acrylic RAF Sky Type ’S’, a light grey with a greenish hue. I don’t know the exact color of early Model F’s; black & white photos show a light color like a grey. I am happy with this.
When the paint dried, I applied a thin wash mix of Testors Flat Black enamel and Varsol, then painted the seats Polly Scale Engine Black and lightly dry-brushed them with Testors Dark Gull Grey enamel.
The interior is held in place on the die cast chassis with double-sided tape.
I think the effort, certainly without going overboard, was worth it.
The scruffy appearance of my model is due to the sanding away of mold slide witness lines around the cab and nose. I sanded these tooling marks out progressively using 220, 320, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper. All other smooth surfaces are scuffed with 600 grit sandpaper for the primer to better bite into.
FT Tidbit: The first section of 103 still exists today as most railroad modellers know. She resides in the Museum of Transportation in St Louis. The original 103 had a drawbar connection between the first (A-unit) and second (B-unit) sections. After the demonstration tour, 103 (and 103A) were refurbished and sold to the Southern Railway (CNO&TP) as 6100A/B/C/D. Partway through World War 2, the Southern began to order their FT units with couplers at both ends, making them as self-contained power units à la Santa Fe. Earlier drawbar equipped units were then converted to have couplers. Thus, when the first section of 103 was donated to the museum in 1961, it had a coupler where a drawbar had been and still retains it in spite of a restoration in 1989.