EMC 103/103A DIAPHRAGMS

One of the things I anticipated as a challenge to my build of EMC 103/103A was creating the diaphragms between the first and second sections.  Actually, this turned out to be quite easy.

The Model F Demonstrator, like most Model F’s produced afterward, had a semi-permanent drawbar attaching the cab and booster power sections.  This item was not easily removed and was work for the railroad backshop.  The passageway between the two sections was covered with a one-piece canvass diaphragm.

American Limited produces a very nice diaphragm set for the Stewart FT.  However, the diaphragm supplied that goes between the first and second sections is of the type where couplers would have been installed between the car bodies.  They appear like shortened passenger car diaphragms.  Also included in the set is a conventional diaphragm that would be attached at the rear of the second section.

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Early in the build, I assembled the rear diaphragms (two).  I then realized that I could adapt the section diaphragms into the canvass style.  I added some .010” strip styrene to slightly widen the diaphragms, trimmed away the striker plates and glued them together back-to-back.  One set of mounting arms is used to attach it to the first section.  Then, for texture, I CA’d a single ply of Kleenex tissue over the exposed areas. The picture below shows the diaphragm on the left before the tissue was added and one with, on the right.

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When widening the diaphragms, I checked to make sure I have clearance inside the door way structure.  There is about .020” per side.  Drawbar equipped Model F/FT’s did not have end doors – they were open passageways.  I did not cut the model doors away since there is mostly chassis weight behind them and my sections are never separated on a layout.  I only provided a hole for the wiring and quick-connectors.  Also, as noted in the American Limited instructions, I notched the two horizontal bars over/under the door to allow for clearance when negotiating curves;  this is seen in the picture below.

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The picture below shows these items painted.  The canvass diaphragm was first airbrushed Tamiya XF51 Khaki Drab and then received a coat of Polly Scale Dirt.  Once dry, I lightly dry brushed Testors Model Master enamel Afrika Dunkelgrau ‘42, a sandy-grey color, just to accentuate the texture.  The conventional diaphragm was air-brushed Polly Scale Grimy Black, and then lightly dry brushed with Testors enamel Dark Gull Grey.  A little rust powder was added to the striker plate faces.

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Nice and close, that’s the ticket!  As seen below, not much of the diaphragm is seen between the sections afterall. The car bodies are from my original 2700 hp locomotive model and are close-coupled together using the scale drawbar supplied.

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The Stewart models have some very fine detail!  I removed the tiny mounting brackets/bolts (in picture below, the arrows) for the grab irons at the end of the first section and the front of the second section as drawbar Model F’s did not have grab irons here (only coupler-equipped units had these).  I will replace these with fine rivets (.008” diameter) from Archer.

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FT Tidbit: In photographs, it is very easy to spot sections that are connected with couplers.  At the rear of the first section and the front of the second section, there are step-ups and vertical grab irons.  Drawbar FT’s do not have these.  In addition, on the engineer’s side of the B-unit, there is a fifth porthole that was used by the hostler to move the booster unit about the engine terminal.  Drawbar’d sections had to move together always, so movements were made from the cab.

The picture below is of an AT&SF passenger B-unit; the fifth porthole and the step-up on the “front” of the unit (right end) are clearly seen.  Grab irons are not shown as they would need to be added.

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