EMC 103/103A CARBODIES

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The following pictures show the modifications and details added to make the somewhat unique 103/103A Demonstrator.  The carbodies are primer’d with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer “L”.  It goes on very fine and was of great help to see any imperfections particularly where I had removed the vertical rivet strips.  It also helped balance the base color for the very light Imitation Gold color; three body shells are moulded in black and the fourth is in light grey.

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I did try to remove the moulded side air-intake grills and replace them with Detail Associates etched parts.  While these look neat, they don’t really improve the prototypical appearance as FT grill meshes were very fine and this is too demanding of those nice etched parts.  In addition, scribing out eight intakes on each section (for total of 32) plus rooftop fan grills and making the result look crisp, I found difficult to do consistently.

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img_3846_notatedThe trim ring around the headlight was made by stretching sprue to a uniform .010”-.011” diameter for a length of about an inch.  When cool, I wrapped it around a 3/32” diameter brass rod.  When released from the rod, the spring-like curvature was helpful in gluing it in place with Tamiya Extra Thin Cement a portion at a time until it produced a full ring.  When dry, I lightly sanded the ring to produce a slight flat along the top edge.

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I’m definitely not an expert modeller, not even a good one.  I do make many mistakes.  A couple of fix-ups I wanted to make after the primer and touch-up phase were to accentuate a very faint panel line and add air hoses at the rear of the second sections.  I had intended to correct/add these beforehand, but missed them.

In the picture below, the arrow shows the faint panel line between the generator and prime mover roof hatches.  This is in the model moulding.  I was lucky enough to pop these hatches out of the bodies (for fear of over-scribing onto an adjacent roof panel) after I had glued them earlier.

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I had to remove and then replace two lifting rings.  To scribe the line, I bent a strip of .040”x.125” styrene and held it tightly in place as I used a Squadron Scriber to make light passes.  Of course, this was a tense operation that I had to perform four times, but I survived ok :).  All of this is seen below.

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The picture below shows the scribe line after the hatches were re-primer’d again.

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The air hoses at the rear of the second sections were much easier to add, as shown below.  In addition, details of the cut lever and MU cables are seen.

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FT Tidbit:  The 1941 Locomotive Cyclopedia has an advertisement from EMD in 1941.  A photograph of it appears below.  What is interesting is that even at this early stage an A-B-A option was offered.  The pictures are definitely of EMC 103/103A, but it was never run as a 4050 hp A-B-A locomotive (obviously EMD’s publicity department re-touched the photo).

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The A-B-A option, as factory delivered, is quite rare (I think only the CRI&P, DL&W, GN, and the M&StL had the very few made).  In service, FT’s were initially used mainly in A-B-B-A sets, although some railroads operated them as A-B sets during World War 2; the B&M, the B&O, and the SAL come to mind.  Often, though, the A-B set was not enough locomotive and the A-B-B-A was too much.  Post-war, many roads purchased F2’s or F3’s and added one of them to A-B FT sets, making A-B-A sets.  What is it they say about hindsight?

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